Sunday, July 04, 2010

Kedartal 2008

This trek should have been blogged long back but thanks to lazy me , it took 1 year and 9 months of realisation to convince myself. Also thanks to my not-so Pachydermic memory ( did I just coin a new term) I’ve lost all my mental as well as jotted down notes . So this would be more of a visual blog.

The team comprised of following people

Amit Manchanda

Gurmeet Singh Kalsi

Hemam biju singh

Saurabh Vedi

Sunny Das

4 Porters

1 Guide

A snapshot of the region we were trekking in. Take off point is Gangotri and destination was Kedartal lake

13 September,2008

We Reached Gangotri from Uttarkashi by late afternoon. Decided to explore more of Gangotri.

We visited GauriKund falls. The sheer force of raging bhagirathi had crafted a beautiful rock-scape.

We decided to visit Pandu Gufa ( Cave) since we had ample time in hand. It was a 2 hour walk from GMVN guest house

Inside the boulder cave, there were 3 sadhus who had congregated and were smoking up. The one on the right appeared to be a guru as the other two clad sadhus were seeking his blessings. We were inside the cave for a short before we decided to head back to Gangotri.

Back at Gangotri we visited a yoga guru’s ashram.

A picture of baba during his younger days adorned the walls of his modest dwelling

His hut was a well kept one with a nice courtyard among which a apple trees were the star attraction. He let us pluck some.

14 September,2008

It was showtime. We got up early and started from Gangotri at 7:00 AM.

Crossed the bridge to the other side from where we had to start climbing. En route we were stopped by forest officials for forest fee. There was a short delay of 20 minutes.

As we climbed we saw the kedar gorge formed by KedarGanga It was a scary yet beautiful sight. There were pine trees and the gorge was quite deep, in fact at some places very little light was reaching.

As we climbed higher we came across a big herd of sheep's against the backdrop of kedar gorge.

One of the sheep gawked at me as I approached closer.

We met the shephard who was herding the flock. He had traveled all the way from Chamba ( Uttrakhand).

Everyone posed around the hardy shephard dog who had become a local celebrity

We continued our climbed till we reached the first stretch of landslide. It was a scary patch and we had to hurry as a lot of rockfall happens. Every second here meant danger.

Usually on Kedartal trek the day 1 camp is set at a place called Bhoj Kharak which is actually a shepherd's camp site.

To get there one has to negotiate another obstacle in the form of a rock face.
Seen here is biju negotiating the rock wall

Gurmeet takes a momentary break to pose.

Soon after crossing the Rockface we were at the Day 1’s supposed campsite called BhojKharak. It was just 12:30 by the time we had reached. The sun was very strong and it was very hot. I had a headache here. The campsite was not clean and we basically had the whole day to walk so we decided to just have lunch and move further ahead for a better camping site. Oh by the way for lunch we had maggi which sucked big time.

As we climbed the terrain began harsher and mountains more rugged

Mount Thalaysagar was appearing in view.

The landscape was breathtaking. There were hues of red,green,grey.

As we neared our would-be campsite we spotted a big group of Bharals ( blue sheep) on the opposite slope. I’ve noticed that these guys have a very keen eye-sight as some of them had spotted us as well.

This campsite was a much better compared to Bhoj kharak which was basically on a surface strewn with goat droppings. Incidentally here i got to pitch my Kelty tent for the first time. It could comfortably house 4 people. Our tents were ready by 5:30

Our kitchen tent

Some fauna around

As the sun was setting, Mount Thalaysagar bore an orangish tinge. We called it a day.

15 September

We woke up before 7 AM and took some shots of the neighboring peaks

Panorama as seen from our campsite

After our ablution and breakfast etc we started our trek to the lake.

Around 11 Am we reached Kedar-Kharak campsite

We spotted a big group of Bharals

Some were precariously perched on rock fall prone slopes. Must say they really are sure footed.

We reached Kedartal by 13:40 pm.The view was simply breathtaking. Mount Brighupanth(6772m) and Thalaysagar( 6984m) were in the background of lake kedartal (4900m). Also seen is Kedar Glacier on the left.

We camped by the side of Kedartal lake. The white tent was the latest addition to my trekking paraphernalia arsenal- kelty 4 man 3 season tent.

In the evening before finishing dinner went for a leak outside. It was very spooky outside. A layer of mist had descended on the lake giving the surroundings an ominous look. In those few minutes only I fell ill.

Couldn’t eat dinner properly as I felt pukish

16 September

It was time to head back but before going we decided to so some glacier exploration. We had noticed some glacial tarns . Me and sunny along with the help of guide took the decision to walk up till there. It was my first ever experience with glacier, moraine and a mini crevasse. The constant hopping over ever shifting stones soon started to take toll in the from of mental frustration.

This was the small crevasse over which we hopped

So finally we reached the tarn. It was green with chunks of ice constantly breaking and adding mass to it.

As I was positioning myself a stone gave away under my weight and I fell but managed to arrest my fall with my left palm, in the bargain injuring it. I almost thought it was a hairline fracture but luckily I was wrong as I discovered the same later.

Its an amazing feeling to see geology in action. We were actually in the midst of something that we have always studied in ncert text books and somehow never really related. Of course now with advent of technology ( internet etc) things are different

We decided it was time to head back. By the time we were at campsite the tents were already packed and team was waiting for us. We continued our march.
Took a break at Kedar Kharak after descending the moraine ridge from Kedartal. There were more groups present there heading for the lake

On reaching short of Bhoj Kharak we thought it was possible to push forward to Gangotri since we did have some time but again we were not sure if we could make it down in that time frame.

The favorite spider wall section

KedarGanga Gorge

By the time we reached Gangotri it was dark. We had managed to push ourselves from kedartal to Gangotri in one single day. Lost an altitude of approx 5500 feet.

Back at rishikesh the boys managed rafting as well :)