Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winter Adventure to Kuari pass - Tali camp to Kuari pass and back (Day 4)

December 17, 2013

<< Chitrakhana to Tali top (Day 3) Tali to Joshimath via Auli (Day 5) >>

Yes, its the summit day and also the most strenuous one. The night was pretty cold and the frozen water in my bottle which I had accidentally left out of my tent indicated it.

Today’s plan is to do a 5km hike (400 mts gain in altitude) to reach Kuari pass, spend some time there and then hike back to the campsite. So in all a strenuous 8-10 kms of hike for the day. Since we were returning back to the campsite we did not have to carry our backpacks and that was bit encouraging as till now my backpack has really bogged  me down.

We packed our lunch and started at 7.30 AM. After a short hike up in the woods we reached the alpine meadows of Khullara, which were covered with typical brown grass which generally grow above the tree line. As the early morning light peeped through the mountains the grass turned golden in color and I went into a photography frenzy. “Aage aur bhi aacha view hai” (There are more better views further) is what Neeraj (trek leader) told and asked me to keep moving.

Passing through meadows of Khullara

Divine light

Soon we reached a patch which was covered with ice and a slip which almost proved fatal made me realize that stepping on ice is not a good idea. Neeraj explained that soft snow will a give good grip but never step on ice.

For some reason I found today’s hike to be less demanding, maybe because I was not carrying my backpack. Soon we reached Khullara top which gave almost 270 degree view of all the peaks way from Nanda Ghunti to Chowkhamba.

Further hike brought us below the Pangarchula peak and now we took the trail towards Kuari pass. We see a man-made bridge damaged by a landslide and covered completely with ice. Neeraj informs us that the bridge was part of the trail to Kuari pass and now that its no longer there, we will have to take some other trail to get around the bridge and he pointed to a steep, rock laden patch of hill which we will have to climb up to get over the other side. He was up in flash and few of us were struggling to find proper support to move upwards. To add to the difficulty there we few patches of ice in between which we had to maneuver. We had to climb up about 100 feet and then again climb down about 50 feet to reach the spot which otherwise would have been very straight forward had the bridge not broken down. For me this was the highlight of the trek. Though this small patch was really scary, once though it I gained lots of confidence. Kuari Pass was now stone throw distance and we there in no time. I felt a sense of achievement on reaching it and not to mention about the amazing view which is enough to pump energy into dullest of person.

Return hike was not very eventful, except for the fact that sun was going down quickly and the entire landscape which was bathed with soft evening light looked ever so beautiful.

<< Chitrakhana to Tali top (Day 3) Tali to Joshimath via Auli (Day 5) >>

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