Latest Updates: Gaumukh Tapovan Stuns Our Staff And Trekkers

We are a little bowled over by Gaumukh Tapovan. Little may be an understatement. Our first batch came down with these pictures to make us green with envy.

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The Tapovan campsite. Shivling- from the base to its summit, right at your campsite. Meru is peeking behind. PC: Jude Rayen
The Tapovan Campsite. Stunning shot by Ashish Bhatt
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The walk to meru viewpoint: Shivling on side and Meru on the other. PC: Ashish Bhatt

“I cannot believe I have not done this trek!” Sandhya, our co-founder exclaimed. “This is like Nepal – to see the mountains right from its base, just outside of your tent!”

Our founder, Arjun Majumdar, however, has done this trek twice in his younger days. “Gaumukh-Tapovan is a very old trek. At one time, it was the most popular trek of India. When Roopkund opened up, the interest in Gaumukh Tapovan started wearing off. However, I believe this is a must-do trek. Just to see Shivling from its base to the top, the sunrise and sunsets at Bhagirathi, and the Gaumukh glacier. You will get to walk on glacier that is the source of one of the most important rivers in our country, Ganga. You will see the glaciers calving. These sights are not easy to come by on any trek. Each time, your experience of Gaumukh-Tapovan will be different.”

From mountain lovers, this is a trek that keeps on giving! 

Our Trek Leader Jude Rayen took his batch to Meru viewpoint. The much famed Shark Fin of Meru is visible on this trek.  The Shark Fin route, which has repelled climbers attempts for over 30 years, was finally broken through by Jimmy Chin, Renan Oztrurk and Conrad Anker in October 2011.

Mt Meru from the Meru view point. PC: Jude Rayen

Here is what our trekker had to say about the trek.

“I absolutely loved the trek!!! The glacier crossing and climb to Tapovan is an experience in itself. One you have climbed to Tapovan, it feels like you have arrived in heaven (no exaggeration!)! The views of the peaks Mt Shivling, Meru and Bhagirathi sisters will haunt you for months. One word – Exceptional! “”- Sushma, May 2017

We have dates open for September, when the views are much clearer. Check out the available dates here.

Updates from our other running slopes

Speaking of a treks with big mountains,  we have interesting things to share from our eastern slopes. With the onset of monsoon in the eastern Himalayas, our batches for both Sandakphu and Goechala have wrapped up. The Trek Leaders and staff are now moving to Roopkund and Rupin Pass.  Before I move onto those big treks, I’ll talk a little bit about these slopes.

Goechala

Our Goechala batches saw rain almost every day. There was no day that went by without an evening of rain and huddling in tents. There were only few windows of clear weather. However, trekkers say that once you reach Dzongri, you are already rewarded with what Goechala has to give. Anything else is icing on the cake.  This time, our Goechala batches have been lucky enough to explore Lampokhri lake near Thansing and be greeted by blue sheep!

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Blue sheep en route Goechala. PC: Sadguru

Sandakphu

The season has ended at Sandakphu. We are going to be leaving Jaubhari until late September. This tiny village is a model village for all villages en route Sandakphu. Our Green Trails Head Lakshmi worked for this when she was an intern and now, this slope is seeing considerable headway in terms of Green Trails. The interns who have come after have taken the work leaps forward.

Our Green Trails intern Karthik has been trying to mobilise things: involving village kids in regular clean up of Jaubhari, segregation of waste and composting. Here is a picture from our windup of the slope.

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Our Green Trails intern Karthik with our staff.

At Sandakphu, we have been working with Forest Department and other organisations such as WWF Darjeeling, SSB and Maneybhanjyang Swacch Abhiyan to build a large scale segregation unit at Maneybhanjyang. This is so that all the waste that people collect on Sandakphu trail does need to be taken all the way down to Siliguri landfill. The design for the unit has been shared and the DFO has allocated funds for it.

We are excited to see this go further next season!  Before we sign off from Sandakphu, you have to see a trekker’s argument for why April is the best season for Sandakphu.

“In brief, the trek was simply amazing! Sandakphu makes you tear your hair out. Above an altitude of 2,500 m, on most days fog and mist prevented us from seeing anything more than 10-20 feet away. However, despite this gloom we had to admit that we were passing through some of the most beautiful terrain we had ever been through, its charm actually heightened by the whiteouts and the general haziness. Then the skies would briefly clear and we would get to savour our surroundings without the special effects. Mind-blowing! We were told that the views in Oct/Nov are unbeatable, and that in Jan/Feb the snow adds another dimension, but I’m clear that if it is Sandakphu then it must be Apr/May when the Rhododendrons are waxing, the Magnolias are waning and the weather just can’t make up its mind! As if I needed more convincing, the springtime bird-life in and around Tumling, Sabargram and Gorkhey is amazing.” – Arun Annaji, April 2017 batch

Kuari Pass and Pangarchulla

Not to be left behind on Green Trails front is our Kuari Pass and Pangarchulla slope. Since these treks share largely the same route and are an hour away from each other, to hear of one news  is to hear of other. 

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The clean up of Khullara campsite by our trekkers. At the end of the clean up, we had 5 sacks of segregated waste. PC: Arvind Kumar

Our Green Trails interns Aditi and Masoom conducted an extensive clean up of Kharchi village. Trekkers who have done either Kuari Pass or Pangarchulla would recognise this place. It is the village en route the descent to Dhak and is often unspeakably dirty. Numerous batches, as they descend, have pitched in for clean up activities in this village.  The interns with the help of staff and villagers have now set up sacks there for our trekkers to collect waste in. These sacks will be taken down with each batch.

They also held bottle brick making competition with women and school children. The principle behind bottle brick is simple:  plastic bottles are stuffed full of trash until they are as compact as bricks. They then used the bottle bricks to construct the bench at the school. Here is a  picture. 

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Our Interns with schoolchildren. Can you see the massive plastic bottle bricks they have amassed?

Stay tuned to our Green Trails page for the wonders our interns are doing with bottle bricks. It is not just a bench that has been built!

As the lower camps of Kuari Pass and Pangarchulla has turned lush green, the slopes of Pangarchulla is seeing a rapid decline in snow. The last batch of Pangarchulla spent 5 hours of the summit climb on boulders, navigating the morning verglas. Our Trek Leaders predict the next batch will see more of a boulder climb. Our Pangarchulla trekkers, do take note and be prepared!

Roopkund

The first batch of Roopkund lead by our Trek leader Anuja have come down to Lohajung. We can’t wait to hear how their experience was. 25 of them summitted Roopkund.

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Anuja with her batch in Lohajung.

The Rupin Pass batch is running on schedule. We will hear from them once they reach Sangla.

Our season is off to a good start!

CAT S60 Review

To end the updates on a super exciting note, we have recently reviewed CAT S60 smartphone. Read the review here. The exciting news is, Indiahikes trekkers can avail a pretty heavy discount if they are looking to buy this phone! Write to me on aswati@indiahikes.in and I’ll share the coupon code with you! 

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Aswati Anand

Aswati Anand is a journalist in love with the Himalayas. She is interested in stories of resilience from difficult terrains and sustainable living. When not mooning over the mountains, she can be seen doodling in her sketchbook.

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