The place where you can see people walking is the place of the accident !! Our team is upon the mountains still. Can never forget this place !!
Here, we had just climbed down a steep hill, the ice was not at all formed, but there was no option but to walk on semi-formed ice on the turn. I was more than confident that it was doable. The guide went ahead and i followed.
After a few steps, I realized it is going to be risky, so i held the hands of on of the porters. I kept moving ahead as i could see both the sled marks and the second layer. The water closeby was fast and flowing with power. Then, all of a sudden both me and the porter was half under the ice. The layer of ice below us had broken in one go.
The local guide was roughly 11 steps away from me, I made noise, and one fellow trekker and a good friend also saw and she made a much larger noise. Now both the local guide and the trek lead were active, but that was not an easy stretch, so I knew it will take minimum 30 secs for either of them to come to my rescue. By that time I was still not in touch of the river water, I was on the second layer of ice. Safe !
But, cold was taking over me and I thought I can come out, so I tried coming out to self, and in that process broke the layer of ice below me. Now my legs, till slightly above the knees were in the water, and my body till chest was under ice.
The local guide was 8 steps away. I had faith that he will come.
I decided to keep holding the sides strongly, and not to make any movement to disturb the ice leading to the hole becoming larger. The next moment i knew he was there, asking me calmly to give my hand to him.
Next, I remember my trek lead was close to me, furiously removing my boots which were full of "fresh ice"! He did an amazing lightning speed work in getting my clothes changed. That day, i have increased my number of bottom layers to three, reducing my net spare layers to one. My friends came to my rescue, and soon i have covered once again. My cook who was close by offered me "Bidi", nothing tasted or felt more soothing than that to me in that moment.
So, that's my story of survival. But ask me again, was Chadar worth it?
Yes, it was.