HISTORY According to Hindu scriptures,Kailash is home of Lord Shiva. A God of dance and destruction. This is very sacred peak and locals do not like any climbers here.This is circuit of this sacred peak which was hardly visible during our adventure..hidden in clouds.Trek goes through pastures, rocky mountains and then high altitude of 5242 Mtrs. of a Lalanti-La…which is hand -knee job .
Reaching Thangi :- Thangi is well connected by road with Shimla. Ancient silk route…now known as Indo-Tibetans road . We were three friends. Beside myself ,Mr. Gurpreet Singh, (Chief Pharmacist) and another G.P singh , Gurrinder Pal Singh (Lecturer ) having brand new Maruti 800 cc car of Gurpreet Singh. We reached Chandigarh and stopped for lunch. At 1.30 PM, I was on driving seat and we were off for Shimla. We reached Shimla around 5.0 PM and it was still day light so we decided to pull on. But heavy traffic and very bad road shape created a foggy(dense)night and sudden fall of temperature and by 8.0PM we landed in a hotel in PHAGU…tired …we had dinner and we slept. Early morning, at 6.30 ,I started for RAMPUR BUSHEHER . It was a sunny day and we all liked the country side view of Himachal Pradesh. Both my friends were interested to “fresh up” so I applied brakes near a waterfall. By 10.30 AM ,we were crossing Rampur Busheher. We were enjoying classical music as well as regae…BOB MARLEY is somewhat great help in such type of drives as it keeps the mood up. REKONG PEO is Distt. HQ. in summer. We saw lot of people celebrating independence day. Drive from Rekong Peo to Thangi is bit stressful as it needs lot of experience and control over the vehicle.It is 6Ft. road with blind cuts and river Satluj roars…hundred of feats below…..I reached Thangi at 5.0 PM and by 5.30 we started climbing towards the village after parking the vehicle near old ITBP post.
Thangi to Lumbar :- We started early but arrangement of kerosene took some time and after getting registered at ITBP post(which is very necessary,in case…)we started our trek only to see that my Made in Thailand rucksack could not tolerate the load and opened like anything Surjit Negi ,a local friend had been with us…he had some urgent work and could not accompany us He came for “see off” but when he saw badly damaged rucksac..he went back with astonishing speed and gave me his own. Somehow we started again and after having first encounter of trek,nature,adventure of walking on thin lines…we reached Lumbar…a small village.We were four now as our porter young,dark guy from Nepal.We call him Bahadur.Thangi to Lumbar is 2-3 Hrs walk for an average pace.After dinner,we had a good meeting with ITBP personal at lumbar as my friend has dropped keys of car somewhere ,and naturally he was in bad mood……We started at 7.0AM for Surting….our next stop
Lumbar to Surting :- After getting out from Lumbar …the trek starts its upward journey and in sharp sun it become good effort to walk. From Thangi to Surting-Charang….the trek goes on the bank of “Lumbar Gad” gad is known as stream and it falls into Satluj river at Morang…which is on way to Thangi from Reckong Peo. It took us three hrs. to climb first part of the trek and by going through rocky ridges,we reached Surting at 3.30 PM. For an average pace ,It is three hrs journey depends upon attitude,load,weather and partner….
Surting to Charang :- Evening in mountains are very short …very soon we were enveloped in clouds and by the very colour of it…I knew that we may face bad weather…(ironically,it become true ). I was very pleased to see that. Gurpreet had exceptional cooking sense and those were the days when I had experience of one of the best preparation of rice…and God knows what else he put in that…but it was a nice feeling to see everybody involved . By now we had encountered Mr. Dhruv Kumar from ITBP and it was nice meeting him…we got valuable information about area. After dinner for a long time…we talked about our day…we had planned to leave Bahadur (porter ) behind and walk upto village Charang…4-5 Kms. from Surting…an ancient monastry…which is believed to be built by Pandavas…we started around 8.0 and by 12.0 we were in Charang…slight boulder climbing …on way to charang…I was carrying camera so I tried to cover every detail, about the trek.We saw the monastery built of logs which are available only way back in Thangi…so it was shocking experience .We saw ancient war instruments…and paid homage to Lord Buddha. Photography inside the building is not allowed. After meeting ITBP personals,,we started our back journey…weather was showing its teeth…but we three reached back to Surting just in time. Next day ,we had planned to cross Lalanti, a pasture where uncle our friend (Yogesh Boras fromThangi) resides for his summer grazing of sheep’s.
Surting to Lalanti :- We started early ,around 6.30 after tea and sweats with ITBP friends but by 8.0 , a bad news was waiting for us. Our lecturer friend was having dysentries…a common problem in mountains for those who are not used to jungle life. Somehow he managed to pull on and after having lunch of porridge and coffee…we reached lalanti at 4.0 PM .I met with my shepherd uncle and it was a emotional moment for me.as I was meeting the”old man” after two years…so we talked about mountains,weather,climbing etc etc. We decided to push some more Kms. and by 6.0 we pitched tent near raging stream.By now it was raining…all night it was drizzling…we experienced downfall in night temperature and sudden change in air and altitude.Surting is approx. 3000 Mars above sea level and Lalanti is 4100 Mars. Lalanti to ? (20 mtrs. below the Pass (5242 mtrs.)
We started in cloudy weather, I was worried about my friends who were new to such type of situations.at high altitudes weather effects human body like some magicians act…and it need experience and attitude to tackle problems related to situations arising due to this factor. and ultimately we had our time…it all started when I was filming a fossil…My lecturer friend god sever diarrhea and he expressed his inability to lift his rucksack…me and Gurpreet shifted his wt. in our sacks and we kept on pushing..slowly slowly…although I have to wait for my sick friend who was struggling with his problem.We had only two options…either to go back or to move ahead and we all decided that if any one us is not suffering from High altitude Sickness then we will complete the circuit. And we pushed and by now it started raining…with temperature going down and clouds coming down…after following cairens…we decided that cairns have brought us in relatively dangerous situation…it was heavy boulder area and it was getting wet and slippery…and with no place for rest/shelter from wind and rain ..it was only alternative left ..to push ahead…Gurpreet (Pharmacist) is comparatively much stronger than I thought of him.He succeeded in maintaining very good pace which ultimately brought us near to the moraine of glacier from where stream originates.Here , we took rest of 20 minutes remember drinking chilled water and I looked back…our sick friend was way back..but moving and making bit positive steps…we started our crucial work…climbing on scree…It was already 5.20 PM and by experience I knew that it is not good to tackle such job at this time…but there was no other way left…with a sick man on my tail…i decided to push the heaviest barrier in our way..the 5242 Ht.Very soon I realized that our progress is not upto my calculation…bahadur was having very light wt. by now as he gave heavier load at lalantti and he cleared the pass without much difficulty.
Later on I have to call him down .I knew what can happen in such type of situations…so I kept Gurpreet ahead of me…but he encountered severe problem in finding a firm foot.I remember telling him where to keep his left/right and many times have to put my wrist under his shoe. By now it was looking like fight for survival as were both struck up on steep scree slope…up we were not getting and down was looking terrific .
It was here when a stone started rolling…the very size of it was enough to shock me..and what at that moment was worrying me…constant bombardment as I have earlier gone through on my solo trips in himachal…but this stone came zooming in towards us…i whispered to Gurpreet” don’t take your eyes from it”.and God bless him…he did that.The rock was falling directly on his face… last memory I have of this incident is..rock came close.. .just infront of us,two meters away it had its terrible bump and it was this moment when I saw through corner of my eye…Gurpreet moved his head quicky….I gave “watch Out” call for my upcoming friend…the rock did hit Gurpreet in other way ..it triggered sliding of other stones which ultimately injured him…and he was oozing blood when I looked carefully..to check him.We carried on ..(it was close to 6.0PM)…I waswwatching very closely..we were too late .With no place (safe)to pitch tent on other side of the pass…and unavailability of water..it was sheer foolishness to make an attempt..when one member was lagging behind.It was this moment which forced me to take a decision..which I still feel..was bit harsh…to spend night right there…we were 25-30 Mtrs.short of pass and in our struggle..we were tired..cold and wet and bluish tingle on Gurpreets face was enough to make me stubborn about staying there.( I should have decided to retreat back and camp should be erected on glacier bed)but with Bahadur waiting on top..and we all most covered 75%,and doubt on our sick friend clearing the pass next day…I decided to stay..in mountaineering style…like bivauc)When I told Gurpreet about our intended halt..he new the danger very well…I am sure that he knew…but he was adamant on climbing the pass..he told me he can do that…may be he could but in that case..still we were not secure…our friend was lagging behind and I knew that we have to descend a long way for good place for pitching tent and water.
I have to be harsh…thinking about possiblities…helplessness is itself half surrender…I remember he told me that he thinks his arm has been broken. Its only arm”. I replied. I wanted to realize him that broken arm is very safe payment for “brush” he had just few minutes back. We climbed 5 meters of scree with hand -knee job and by now I selected the place for our night halt…a 3-4 ft. of 65 degree bed….bahadur came down after much shouting..(which triggered more rockfall which “could be” more dangerous to our friend deep down)but there was no other way out…I still remember that what I was thinking while shouting for him to come down.Had he walked away ?he he he he well,that was the situation for which I was not ready to put my friends in. God ! ultimately he came down..very quickly I erected the poles..(Erected is wrong word..placed!)and OH! yes,here we were at least sheltered from wind/temperature.We were shivering….So I slipped into my wet sleeping bag..all wet to my underwears…and Lo ! our friend had reached and was asking for a hand. Bahadur was near the exit and moreover I decided not to send badly tired Gurpreet (had he been slipped ,It could have been two causalities) So, bahadur went out and we all were together/timely safe/all wet/badly tired/badly thirsty…above all ..threat of slipping down OR being hit by rock !!! It seems bit horrifying picture now!!!….I recorded the last segment of this trek in my video camera and told my friends not to sleep…I was awake upto 1.0 AM but Gurpreet slept near 11.30 and Gurrinder singh was just slept when I decided to take my chance…there was no wind outside..just drizzling…fear of being hit by rock/slipping down…I slept.
We were having only 200 ml of water which we consumed last evening. I can remember how Gurpreet pisssed in that bottle(inside sleeping bag) .We four were out of our tent at 6.0 am…smiling… there was ice vorglass on our tent. We packed our sacks…started climbig..standing on the La at 6.40 Am…a bright sunny day !!!…did filming and snaps…and started the dscending…it took 4.30 PM to reach Chitkul..and ofcourse I was tired..how one can say he is not..it is steep descend and requires good knee and ankle fitness.
Chitkul-Nagasthi -Thangi:- Next day ,after breakfast we went out for sight seeing/shooting..when we met four ladies of Chitkul and our conversation starts when they requested me to shoot a snap from their camera. Our conversation which ultimately took us on a picnic spree with them. They were all married in Chitkul and that day they ask their mother-in-laws for picnic..and they were here with us. It will be looked upon very “strictly”in “so called” advance society of educated people that young girls(age group
And we started our bus journey for Reckong Peo-via- Sangla valley. It was really beautiful sight to see Sangla Valley…full of colour and fragrance. We dropped from our bus at a place where someone told us that we can have mechanic for operating with steering lock of our car. So we hired two mechanics and a taxi and we came to Thangi.Only to know that three Punjabis with one local driver had been killed when their car went out of control from a steep bend and all of then died.
We reached Thangi,steering lock was opened and we spent evening shooting in Yogesh’s family. It was so nice to have home feeling after all that by what we three had gone through. We started back journey at 6.40 AM for Punjab. It took me continuos driving of 20 hrs., upto 3.0AM .Tired and dizzy-I slept whole day !!