|Our troupe with Chain Singh ji in the middle|
After our plans to go to ROOPKUND were jeopardized by poor weather conditions, we decided to trek to Rupin Pass. This trek was similar to Roopkund in terms of altitude and length of the trek. Better part was that you don't retrace your path in case of Rupin Pass as one starts to trek from Dhaula in Uttarakhand and the trek ends in Sangla in Himachal.
|First view of the valley|
Finally, we reached Sankri around 5 pm after travelling for 10 hours. The road to Sankri is in good condition for the most part except for last 40 kilometres where we were moving on a narrow mud patch. At Sankri, we were received by Chain Singh ji, our trek organizer. After some tea and a short walk around, he introduced us to our Guide Kamlesh and the rest of the guys who were to go with us for this trek. Tired of the long journey, we slept early after a simple dinner.
|Temple at Sewa|
After Dantadhar, we moved under shade mostly until we reached Sewa village. There was a temple in the village which had trophies and shields hung over its entrance and the door was locked. Talking to the local villagers, we learnt that the trophies were won by the village teams in various inter village tournaments. Also, the temple was locked because the Idol was common among twelve villages, and it keeps moving among temples of those villages each month.
|Beautifully presented Salad|
|The Landslide point|
|Pine forests gave way to the mighty Deodars|
|Jhaka, the hanging village|
Soon, we met a shepherd who was from Kwar village. Surprisingly, he was searching for his 800 strong herd as he wasn't sure of the direction they have moved. Intuitively, he was moving toward higher altitude as sheeps tend to move to higher altitudes in summers and come down to low lying grasslands in winters.
The trek today seemed easier as there wasn't any long incline to climb and we were excited by all the patches of ice that were coming our way. We didn't find it easy to find grip on them but an occasional slip here wasn't dangerous enough apart from a few scratches.
After about 4 hours of trekking for the day, we reached Bras Kandi. Kandi is a point where treeline ends. Here we walked through a lot of colorful Rhododendrons until we reached a vast riverbed where we had our lunch of fried rice. Lunch was followed by a bit of lazying around in the beautiful valley and then we were ready for a one hour walk to our campsite at Saruwas Thatch. On our way, were a few benign glacial crossings which were crossed with ease.
|Camp at Saruwas Thatch|
Today was probably the least tiring day till now and we had enough energy for some snowslides on the small snow mounts around. The normal routine of refreshments and dinner had a welcome addition of a Bonfire tonight. Thanks to a couple of porter guys with a singing talent, the night was enjoyed to the fullest.
|Near Dhanteras thatch|
|Avalanche from last night|
|Our route for the day marked with the red line|
|View from Lower Waterfall|
|Glacier between lower and Upper Waterfall|
|Rupin river meandering its way through ice|
|Hats off to these guys. they lifted 25-30 kgs |
of weight and still walked faster than us
|Final Climb at the Pass|
|View from the Pass|
|Only way to go down|
After about half an hour of really tough and tiring work, I reached the top of the pass, found myself the only rock devoid of ice and lay there until I had my breath back to normal. It was only when it did that I opened my eyes to the view that was there to be appreciated. Thankfully the sky was clear and we could see the Dhauladhar Range and the Kinner Kailash range from there. Other than the very peaks, the only other color visible was the WHITE of ice/snow.
|Campsite at Sangla Kandi|
After about 45 mins of rest + photography on the top, we started proceeding downwards. I had wondered earlier that when Rupin pass is closer from Sangla, why don't people climb it from this side. I got my answer as soon as I saw my way down: It was just too steep an incline!!! It was just impossible to walk your way down. The only way downwards is to sit on your bottom and SLIDE. We did exactly that and were enjoying sliding downwards until we realized that we were gaining too much speed and were not able to stop. It was dangerous because you might end up banging on a rock if you don't stop before that. Sadly, we realized this from personal experience.
Today we were not worried about getting up early, so we slept till 6 am only to be woken up by sound of rain. Upon unzipping our tent, we were pleasantly surprised to see flakes of snow coming down with the rain. That was my first experience with snowfall!!!
It seemed to have rained all night long, as the mountain near our campsite was shining with fresh ice in early morning sun. We started our trek around 8 when the rains subsided and reached Sangla around 12 as I had a bad pull in my knee and ended up trekking in severe pain for over 2 hours.
|Nag Devta Mandir at Sangla|
THUS ENDED AN AWESOMELY BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE.