Manali & Mountaineering

Tripoto
1st Jul 2015
Photo of Manali & Mountaineering 1/25 by Sushmita Haldar
Manali
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Way to Spiti
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Way to Camp
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Spiti
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Kunzum Pass
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Kunzum Pass
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Kunzum Pass
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Spiti
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Chandra Taal
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Way to the Institute
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View while Lunch
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Where we relax
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Camp Site
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Chandra Taal
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Spiti
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Trekking
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Chilling
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Manali
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Manali
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Institute, view from the Canteen
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Institute
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River crossing
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Beas
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Institute

Travelling sometimes can get monotonous, so this time I decided to add some adventure to it. Manali, Himachal Pradesh, has one of the oldest mountaineering institutes in India, AVBIMAS. The basic mountaineering course is a 26 days rigorous course, where you learn your limits through back breaking exercise and lots of adventure. The institute is located only a few kilometers from the city, surrounded by beautiful pine tress, mountains and river. The schedule was tough, we were up by 5-5.30 a.m. running the streets of Manali, watching the sun rise and the darkness fade into a lovely day. We ran in the drizzling rain, sometime with a rucksack, sometime to the temples and sometime to the river sites. The afternoons were fun climbing the rocks. Often it was shameful to see how the goats did a better job climbing the rocks than us. But as the days passed by we learned to let go, be part of the nature, and climb the dam rocks. The day ended with the teachers watching us jump the hurdles and try fake the exercise. After a week of breaking our bones, we were off to Spiti for our next session on snow and ice climbing. The journey to Spiti was spectacular. The bad roads shook us up, but the view just wished the journey wont end. Eight hours, few breaks, mis-adventures, we reached the camp site. The barren land in the middle of no where, surrounded by rocky and snow peaked mountains were all waiting for us. So we set out our tents and made us home. Everyday we walked 3-4 hours up the mountains to reach the snow and the ice. The climb made us cry and wonder if we are at the right place. But all the pain was quickly forgotten in the excitement once we saw the snow/ice, and climbed on. We spent 12 days in Spiti. The nights were full of stars, sometime we would find a wondering shepherd with his flock of sheep around the camp, or the guard dog hauling at us or searching for food at our camp site. The nights were cold and sleeping bag was to survive, not for comfort. As part of the trip we walked to Kunzum pass and Chandra Tal lake, the walk was long but the mountains, the river and the landscapes were there to keep us distracted. The icing to all these was the peak of 17460 feet our group had to climb on the final day. We stopped, we struggled, we fell, we cried but we made it to the top. The price was the breath taking view from the top of the snow peaked mountain, probably heaven. I often wondered why people like trekking, isn't it walking against gravity? Then someone told me, its all for the view :)

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