Mountaineering Course - Icy Affair!

Catch up! Catch up...चलो चलो मिलो ..
टरकाओ  मत! Chalo Chalo..
थोडा पानी थोड़ा, सर!

(and then follows another one throwing off his 25kgs rucksack.. .while others, the army folks, zoom off as if a bullet train trespasses little hamlets enroute... )

Duty instructors try to gather their patience and roars back to get those weakers up & hiking again....patiently tries to gather some roar over and calmly ask to get on...

Resting off, one rather feels why not just camp up in this lovely forest and have a great campfire tonite...and someone somehow please get us something to munch on..)

And there goes on the folks again following the trails up another mountain...

कितना है सर, Sir?(~~How much is remaining?)
...such is the eternal question on a long day hike only to fetch a wonderfully manipulated answer...

बस इधर ही, और दो पहाड़ी point वोह दिख रहा है ...(~~just here, only the next hill)
 ...and the mind even if it knows all the manipulation in the count just wants to be believe the manipulation and carry on...
इतना slow क्यों? Ropes है क्या...
हाँ सर...
Rope leader कौन है...?
अरे रोप लीडर रोप change karo... ( fyi ropes are 5 kgs/- only...)

(...then on with the 'now' feather-weighted rucksack goes on the journey...
Only to make you realize at another ascend that ice boots and crampons are still hovering around on your back probably around 22-25kgs... but now that’s considerable ...)

Goes on the trek to Tela Camp as our 1st campsite...

After first day trek (24.03) to Tela, we head for Gujjar next day(25.03).
Quite likely for March, we do our first rendezvous with snow today but that’s a tad early still! Nevertheless those steep ascends & fast pace left me with any energy if at all only to stop, drink & munch on.  With 11k hike and mostly hike through snow post lunch for around 6-7 hrs, I was dying....

After getting to Gujjar – full of snow, surrounded by pine trees - tents were to be pitched up. Fresh snow lying all around made the process a tad longer... it was Beating the snow time while everyone was still gasping for breath and rest after long day trek!
Beating the snow! Are there any crevasse left yet? ;)
Beat It! Beat It! Beat It! Pave paths to tents, ek number area, do number area, kitchen...
Camp Site Ready! Now get tents camped up.

26.03 Load Ferry to Base Camp
Load Ferry to Dokrani Bamak Base Camp
Lucky that I was, I got the share of Perks and bourbon chocolate cookies as ration to be carried over to Base Camp. Though not much far, gaining height to 12500ft. made all the difference! Plus, it was the first time ever, I used the snow boots. No doubt they were much better than usual trekking boots while traversing snow paths. After spending time at Base Camp and again setting up the camp site beating snow, paving the routes for another 1 hr, we returned back to wonderful Gujjar for lunch!

Hardly some rest post lunch, and it was time for Kheda tal lake visit. Khed Tal, a mushy lake nearby, harbours a temple. And the legend says there's quite an interesting story related to it. Almost semi frozen that it was, the sight was something I want to behold for long.

Next day 27.03  Ascend to Base Camp (12,800 ft)
Finally we ascend to Base Camp(12,800ft), our stationed site for next 10 days...for all the ice and snow activities....

Usual chores at Base camp

(early morning at 5) Whistle blows..
Pheeeee...pheeeeeee... Early morning teatime!

Hardly just out of sleep but not really bothered for tea, I get back in my cosy sleeping bag. With more hustle buzzing building up around in our white 'arctic' tent, finally it’s time to say good bye to sleeping bag and BIG God morning! So beacons pretty bright with clear skies... And snow all around the campsite and literally just about every direction my eyesight can wander around welcomes us.

Standing at 12800ft just under the whitened peaks such as Jaonli, Drapati Ka Danda II, Aaron, and other ridges such as Macha Dhar and Choro ke dhar, I was overwhelmed. As for morning chores, we used to negotiate that narrow snow-covered slippery path off for the morning chores.  Someone was complaining about such a route & location and 'the' legendary reply was shot back..."220 courses कर चुके है !, what's your problem?" (220 courses have already been there..done it what's wrong with you?), 

 Breakfast usually at 0730/0800 used to on top of everyone’s mind...usually 3 bread sandwiches, omelette, some jam, butter & cheese, cornflakes with milk, sometimes porridge though later on it got monotonous.

Roar comes along..

Fall in... Fall in... Fall in... 
 ...poor Co-senior roars off having real hard time getting people together...

Gradually, folks flock up like the army lineup ready for next in line instructions for the day. And thereafter all the participants rush on wearing their ice boots, collecting their axes, sacks with all the necessary equipment and run on to get in their respective ropes (P.S. a rope is a group of 4-5 people).  Usually someone used to forget the depressingly heavy rope

In such a hurry, Chintu misses out the depressingly heavy rope (now that’s the real rope...freaking just 5kg/- only) and runs off back to the tent and collect that neatly coiled rope that was lying silently in the corner.

So goes on the daily routine for next 10-12 odd days learning various types of manoveuring methods in Ice crafting, snow crafting and Rescue operations in general.

After a hard day's work, everyone used to be back by 12.30-1pm for lunch at base camp. No later than 3-4, a tea break and then on a mandatory mountaineering-movie session, yes in wilderliness at 12,800ft. Nevertheless, everyone used to usually too tired to bother at all...but I must say, couple of those mountain movies/documentaries were amazing! To name a few, we saw 7 years in Tibet, Everest based documentaries.

{ It's just a subtle attempt to recreate the magic one might experience while undergoing a mountaineering course at NIM, Uttarkashi, India based on my experience in Mar-Apr 2012. If you've any specific questions related to course, mail me over or post on course's FB page. }

Fuel on the adventure and fun will follow suit....:-)

Always Yours Adventurers,

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Cheers Mumbai Marathon 2012..

Running Mumbai, however humid, heated or crowded it may be, it's something many of us in India consider as an annual running traditional event. Eventually, it's become culmination point to meet the best athletes, many virtual friends you train with throughout  year apart from obviously soaking into the electrically charging atmosphere. 

Though the training went on quite well last year, there's still lot to try whether in form of running styles, or pattern of trainings. With cross trainings, interval training, few long runs, I tried to jumble and experiment throughout the year.

Well, targeted for timing of 4.30 hrs prior to the start, though reevaluating I figured that 4.40 can definitely be given a kill for. The start went on quite well especially since I could tame the monstrous beauty - Bandra Worli Sea link early enough before brightness could dry me off! Given last year's experience, Bandra-Worli was indeed a monster and my crisis point. Nevertheless, I had a reason to participate this year and that's to beat that legendary bridge, fronting a sprawling Mumbai coastline, open to public on foot only on marathon day! Thoroughly enjoyed by Link while taking some shots and must say, I hands down won it over esp after my loss last year if I may say so..

Running went on quite smooth with couple of mudane patches until 37-38th mark with the strategy to maintain HR around 150. I had to slow down later given to cramps and sensation that it could go worse had I paced. That was one of those situations when you've loads of willingness to pace off and cash in those last few miles and use all your HR but for the risk that you may lose out all out before it ends off. Something like having a pocket full of cash yet you can't spend since currency isn't one you can spend or exchange.
And so, with a little more experience,  little more practice, I still knocked it up for 4:48:56, substantial improvement. Yet, a long way to go ... 

But it's those training runs that I cherish the most whether training 21k run as early as 4.30am or pumping in those intervals on ground just after back from office or trying barefoot runs to improve running posture. Or experimenting with Chi/Pose style with forefoot/mid-foot ground hit or using metronome. It's been an interesting running year with loads of experiments...whether successful or not!

No matter what I love being addicted and running is my addiction! ;-P

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Juley Ladakh

In my way of “Experiencing Hi-gh” to the Majestic Land & People of Ladakh, India, the journey of knowing, understanding and sharing happened…

With Juley Ladakh, I bring onto you how I “Experienced Hi-gh” while Volunteering to teach Ladakhi students, Trail Running at High Altitudes and Exploring & Understanding the magical Natural, Cultural & Eco-friendly wonders Ladakh offers!

Check for more....


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