With the coming of June, flipping over our calendar to the picture of jaw dropping meadows of Buran Ghati, we know our time in Himachal Pradesh has begun.
Last year, at this very time, our co-founder Sandhya flipped the calendar from May and June and saw a picture from Buran Ghati. Believe it or not, she was so enamoured by the picture that she immediately booked her flight tickets and set off on the trek the next week. (She had gone on the trek earlier, but couldn’t complete it because of a bad case of AMS.)
Speaking of the trek, the snow wall on this trek provides the most unique adrenaline-inducing experience for our trekkers. She told us, “The pass is a knife ridge. When I stood on top of the Pass and looked down at that drop, my knees were trembling. I was cursing Arjun for opening this trek!”
When she returned from the trek to office, she was glowing of a trek well-done.
We can’t wait for this season of Buran Ghati. Acting on feedback from last season, we have changed how the rappelling is going to be done down the wall. What took more than two hours last year should take just around 30-40 minutes this year for a whole batch to descend the wall. Our technical team is geared up for the same.
Our Trek Leaders have moved to the base cam, Jangli. The first batch arrives tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Bhrigu Lake trek has started today! The team is moving to Gulaba as I write this. The Bhrigu Lake is completely immersed in snow at this time of the year. It is going to be a lovely experience for them, where they see the meadows at the lower reaches and snow at the upper reaches of the trek.
Close to Bhrigu Lake, our Hampta Pass season begins next week. It is truly a start to our big Himachal season. If you’d like to know how we move slopes based on the season, read Arjun’s article on how monsoon affects our treks here. It should give you a good idea of why we run treks in the seasons we do.
Updates from our other running slopes
There is a lot happening at Roopkund! Let me start with how the trek is going first. Most days have been seeing clear weather until 11 am. It starts getting cloudy and windy after that. There are afternoon showers. Pathar Nachauni is seeing strong winds, so prepare yourself accordingly. There is still heavy snow at Junargali. None of our batches have made it to Junargali so far.
Here is what our trekkers had to say about the trek:
“ONE WORD — AMAZING!! This was my first solo trek and I can without any second thoughts say, I was privileged to be part of such an amazing batch with people from different corners of the country and other than that the Indiahikes family never lets you feel alone/away from home. People at Indiahikes were thorough professionals and ensured health was taken as a priority ever since we landed at the base camp at Lohajung. Indiahikes is not only a trekking community, it is a family which keeps growing every time you go on a journey/trek with them and meet new people which becomes a part of your family by the end.
P.S: I have eaten/tasted food on this trek which I have never ever tasted at home, and this is something my mother is more happy about rather than me completing the summit and safely coming back home.” –Abhinav Sharma, May 2017 batch
Haha! That comment on the food had us cackling as well!
A Green House and Rain Water Harvesting on the Roopkund Slope
On an another note, our Green Trails interns have set up a Greenhouse in Lohajung. They will be growing coriander and methi for now. It is an experiment to see how well the crops grow. If they grow well, we’ll use the greenhouse to grow crops that we use while cooking.
As for rainwater harvesting, a system has been set up in Bhagwabasa. Last year this time, our staff struggled to get water at camps like Pathar Nachauni and Bhagwabasa. With a rainwater harvesting set up at Bhagwabasa and Ghairoli, we hope to counter the problem.
Trekkers heading to Roopkund, I suggest you download the handbook we have prepared for you. Download it here and let me know what you think. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.
On the weather front, most days are similar to Roopkund: clear mornings and rainy afternoons. And sometimes, snowfall closer to the pass around Rati Pheri. While that becomes a challenge to trek in, our team and trekkers have been doing exceptionally well. “Getting a team to Rupin Pass at 9.30 am is a sign of a well-oiled system,” our founder Arjun Majumdar said. “It speaks of a fit team. I hope the trend continues to rest of the season.”
Here is what our trekker had to say about the trek:
“I surely witnessed Heaven at Rupin Pass. Couple of days have gone by and I still keep missing the time spent at the Pass. There are very rare occasions in life when you witness a beautiful movie on 20000×20000 screen with shots changing with every swirl of the neck. Any volume of words for the beauty shall fall short. I have been hiking with Indiahikes since last year. I cant expect myself to trek with any other group except Indiahikes. They are a group of real professionals (and heroes) who make sure that your journey become a memory for life. I had the honor of being with three great people – our trek leader (Sushant) and Trek Guides (Dev and Praveen). Again , I was literally in surprise when I had told Vishnu (our co-ordinator) about the issues we had while returning after the trek – and trust me Vishnu pounced back with a solution in a matter of less than an hour. This is the best customer service I have ever witnessed.” – Shashwath Tiwari, May 2017 batch
Turning Sewa and Jiskun into model eco-villages
On the Green Trails front, our interns are working on making Sewa and Jiskun model villages. Most of the trash on the relatively clean Rupin Pass trail comes close to the villages. The project is similar to what we did on Sandakphu trail.
Meanwhile, here is a peek into life at Rupin Pass base camp at Naitwar.
Here are Trek Leaders and local staff. revising and practicing their medical knowledge: medicines, Acute Mountain Sickness protocols, Ankle immobilisation, recovery position.
Life is never dull at an Indiahikes base camp.
April 2017 Photo Contest results
The photographs we received this month for April 2017 Photo Contest had spectacular compositions, lending a different feel to very familiar treks. So we took help from one of our favourite photographers and trekkers Milind Tambe. We have three winners selected by him, and one selected by all of you!
Congratulations to winners! Keep trekking, keep clicking. We will be putting up rules for May 2017 Photo Contest soon!
The debate – Pin Parvati or Pin Bhaba Pass?
It started off with a picture Sandhya posted. We do this often at Indiahikes: post a picture from the trek and ask the rest to take a guess. It is a fun way to get to know about treks you may not have much idea about.
This was the picture Sandhya posted.
The answer was too easy: Phutsirang camp on Pin Bhaba trek. Seeing this picture, our founder Arjun reminisced: “I remember, climbing over a little ridge, and quite suddenly stumbling upon this vast river delta. I was stunned at the landscape. How could this be hidden from us?”
He continued: “The colors mesmerized me too. Up on the hills to my left were flaming orange shrubs, the names of which I did not know. But they turned the hill into a kaleidoscope of colors. On my right was the towering false pass to the Pin Bhaba. In front this lovely river delta at the most unlikely place. For a moment I forgot the excruciating pain that was radiating from my lower back, a pain with which I had to climb the Pin Bhaba pass.”
We were transported, with his words to the lovely campsite of Phutsirang. However, this sparked off the Pin Parvati vs Pin Bhaba debate in our office. To settle it down, our founder wrote this article, breaking down what makes each trek special. He makes his choice.
I’ll end the updates on this note. Stay tuned to our website for more updates!