Auden's Col Trek preparations in Uttarkashi (Gangotri-Kedarnath Trek 1.)

#1 Aug 3rd, 2013, 20:51
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In September Uttarkashi is lush green, sky is azure and Ganges is also happy. I and Briana are here and she is pressing me to plot the strategies to do Gangotri to Kedarnath trek and it is against my nature to plot a strategy for any of my travel. I travel at random and unplanned. On the other hand she has valid points; we have to cross rivers. We have to walk on the ice and over the crevices and we will be spending several days in the snows and in isolation in the most vicious terrine of the Himalayas.
“You must think about food, fuel, maps and what not. We will be climbing in between of the Himalayan peaks to go across the Audel’s Col. And then there is several thousand feet of dangerous drop of Khatling Glacier.”
To this I have no answer and may be I need to start preparations here in Uttarkashi. Things may not be available in Gangotri. Luckily she brought two lengths of 100 feet each lightweight rope, two feather filled light high altitude jackets, one ultralight and barely enough for two people tent, two lightweight sleeping bags designed for subzero and 4 dark goggles to cope with the sunlight reflection from the snow white etc. etc..

My dilemma is to have a light backpack and that seems impossible. Already combined weight of jackets, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and our other belongings is 22 kilograms. My backpack never weighted more than 7-8 kilos. I am already uncomfortable to carry this much luggage and moreover my previous experience with Briana reflects that I will happen to carry even her load too. Account of other expeditions say they made it to the Auden’s Col pass and then to Khatling glacier in 6-7 days and most of them turned from the glacier towards Ghuttu that is another 6 days but in alpine meadows.
Then many travelers walked from Ghuttu to Kedarnath, that again takes 7-8 days. Rarely any travelers made it straight from Gangotri to Kedarnath via Khatling glacier, because it is difficult to carry provisions for about two weeks (gives or take). All groups had a convoy of support personals, porters and guides so they needed to carry rations for many people.
Moreover I never take my travel as an expedition and I walk with my own luxury and leisure so main problem is to carry food for these many days. OK, we can arrange 300 parothas (20 for each day for both X 15 days) but we cannot eat frozen parothas and then eating same parothas each day will cause havoc on us and in a matter of a three four days we will be having scurvy. And 300 parothas weight 30 kilograms. Then we must carry fuel to warm up our food. If we use Briana’s butterfly stove, very conservatively, we will use at least half liter of kerosene each day to warm our food and to melt the ices into water for our drinking needs and this alone comes to 8 liter and we cannot carry this much luggage if we have to climb the Auden’s pass and then cross the Khatling glacier.

We can carry dry rice but then we need lots of fuel to cook rice and then we also need a pressure cooker to cook because at heights water boils at low temperature and it costs more fuel to cook. Taking noodles, Maggie etc is an option because these are dry and have no water weight like parothas or anything cooked. Then we need to carry more fuel.
After a lot of pondering we opted to carry about 30 parothas (3 kilo), 100 packets of noodles (9 kilo), 1 kilograms of cereals, 2 kilograms of soya nuggets, 2 kilograms of rice and 2 kilograms of assorted daals. 5 liters of kerosene in divided in two plastic bottles of one gallon each, a smallest pressure cooker (1 liter), 2 plastic plates, 2 spoons and 2 plastic mugs. Then we must have another pot to boil water or store water for cooking.
I calculated, this much all becomes 25 kilograms. Then we opted to carry some ginger, garlic, onions, tea, salt, assorted spices, some lemons (to protect us from scurvy), tea and coffee. Then an idea comes to my mind that we should carry lots of curry-patta that grows at the lower areas around Uttarkashi and dry it and carry about half kilograms of it. To reduce weight I decided on not to carry any sugar but Briana vetoed this as she is a doctor. She says sugar is high energy and a rescue ration and we must carry it as emergency measure if we get lost or stranded in a snow blizzard.

This means that our combined weight will be more than 50 kilograms and we each will carry at least 25 kilo each and that is gross. Only one relief is that as days are passed we will be getting lighter says 1 kilo lighter each of us for each day spent and by the time we cross Khatlihng glacier we will be only carrying 18-19 kilo each and that is a relief but if we get to that far. So our weight will be more than 26 kilograms for each.
Airline suitcase for USA to India travel are maximum 50 pound and that is less than 25 kilos and I am familiar with this much suitcase weight and this is damn heavy weight to carry on one’s shoulder. What about if our backpacks give up and tear down. We need to carry some mending materials. We choose to buy most of the provisions from Gangotri so we travel lighter till there.
But at the next morning Briana decided to make our purchases in Uttarkashi and then do a small rehearsal with carrying all the wait and walk till the Thalan Village. Ruining a day in Uttarkashi does not suit me so I veto this idea. OK, we will go to the market with our backpacks and purchase and arrange all items in our backpacks and then bring it in our room. Let’s see if we can do it and then for the real expedition we will be having more weight like our tent, jackets and sleeping bags so let’s fill and arrange all the groceries in our backpack less parothas.
We go to market with empty backpacks and buy groceries form various stores and luckily everything is neatly arranged and we weight our backpacks and weight is about 16 kilo each that still does not include our clothes, jackets, tent, kerosene, water bottles. At another store we purchase pressure cooker, a lightest aluminum pot that can take 2 liter water, spoons, plastic mugs and plates.

We haul this all to our room. Now I want to know how many meals we can make with 1 kilo dry rice. This we ask a dhaba man where we ate lunch several times. He makes a cup with his one hand and pours rice 4 times in a thali saying that this much is sufficient for you both if no other things are also being accompanied with the rice. We weight the rice and it comes to one third of a kg so we assume 1 kg will last us one 3 times. As we cross the foot bridge towards our Hotel in Joshiara there we remember that we forgot to include cooking oil in our groceries. Briana suggests that we must not cut on cooking oil because our food will be mostly starch and we must have some protein and fat. So we purchase 2 one liter each jars of Dalda ghee so to avoid carrying as much possible liquid. This adds to our weight but so far so good. This much we can manage although we will be climbing walls and this is just the half.
Then I remember the liquor, I should have it to have some good time for a couple of evening so let’s say one liter plastic bottle. Braina does not drink but she recommends Brandy. In the evening we go to liquor store and they have some worse brand of brandy and I decide to take my chance at Bhagori village where I will request some illicit moonlighter to prepare me some raw sugar alcohol for whatever money it may cost. Something that catches fire and this can be also used for emergency fuel if … (I doubt).

Then I remember we haven’t bought yet Onions, garlic, ginger, lemons etc. We return and buy these things and now we are heavier by 1 kilo each. Whole idea of going alone without any help from Gangotri to Kedarnath is becoming scary by each moment as we keep remembering another item that we forgot to carry and it is adding to our luggage.
At noon we walk in the Inderavati valley and find curry-patta bushes and there we pluck about 2 kilo of the leaves. I try to chew some dry leaves but those do not carry any fragrance so the idea of having dried leaves is flop. We bring the leaves in the room and decide to dry these in the shade for just one day to reduce the weight. We will carry about half kilo of these. These are eatables. I see people in South India, removing these leaves form their curries but I eat these always anyway.
In our room we pack everything and try carrying our loads and now we are really apprehensive about surviving even first kilometer of the more than 100 kilometers walk that includes half the distance of serious climb, about 10 kilometers are to climb rocky walls to Auden’s Col and then descent to the Khatling glacier and then again climbing till Mayali Pass. We don’t have kerosene and water yet. Moreover we are not carrying parothas yet.
Later on I get another idea about making Poha and Uttapam on this trip both things are easy to make and don’t much contribute to the dry weight. So we should carry one and a half kilo of sooji and one and a half kilo of pohas and we will return 60 packets of noodles. So this reduced our weight by 3 kilos and also volume reduced because noodles were taking lots of space.
At the end I buy more kinds of spices to bring taste to our monotonous food. I also buy cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, aniseed etc. to taste up our teas because these things are negligibly heavy.
I already bought essential assorted medicines from Delhi.

Now I am scared to even look at our backpacks. I suggest Briana to give it up but she says she won’t.
OK with me. I am not a particularly adventurous spirit. I hike or trek on my own luxury and leisure. If life will become tough, I will simply abandon everything on my shoulders and will return to the nearest road-head. I never took a pride or challenge in my any of the journey. I always traveled for my fun and joy.
If I won’t see any fun or joy in this trip, I will simply bolt. I tell this straight to Briana. And she replies, “You are free to bolt but I will be going to Kedarnath.”
“OK, then I will be there waiting for you or create a base camp after Khatling glacier from other side. If you survive and reach there anyway behind the Sumaru Parwat.”
“Thank you anyway.”
At night I call my friend to ask for the recipe to prepare basic Upma, and it turns out the easiest recipe.
============================== =======================
Curry Patta Tree
Grows wild in all over lower Himalayas up to 5000 feet.
Often used in curries, the leaves generally called by the name “curry leaves”, though they are also translated as “sweet neem leaves” in most Indian languages.

Curry Patta Tree (Murraya koenigii)
In a study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition in 2009, several Indian leafy vegetables were compared for their antioxidant activity. Interestingly, total antioxidant activity and free radical scavenging activity were highest in curry leaves. This shows that curry leaves and their extract hold great promise to mediate the immune system and metabolic processes. A study published this year has found potent anti-bacterial properties in curry leaves, which encourages further studies on the use of curry leaves as a viable therapeutic agent. Other studies have also found anti-fungal activity in curry leaves, which explains why it is used to fight bad breath and gum disease.
It is perhaps a good idea to include curry leaves in your diet. They can be used both raw and cooked. Typically, in Indian cooking, a whole bunch is tempered with ghee or oil. It combines well with vegetables, lentils, fish, meats, curds, butter and coconut milk. They can also be ground and used as paste in curries. Leaves dried in open air lose their pungency, while vacuum-dried ones can retain their odor with flavor for up to two weeks. However, the leaves are best consumed fresh. A curry leaf tree is easy to grow in soil or earthen pots in a house garden.
Some practitioners of herbal medicine advise consuming a few leaves in the morning, while others recommend therapeutic doses as juice. However, it should not exceed more than 15 grams. As several metabolic diseases and age-related degenerative disorders are closely associated with oxidation processes in the body, the use of curry leaves as a source of antioxidants warrants further attention.
Like other herbs and spices, curry leaves have a history and a strong presence in our cultural heritage, including food and health. While several health benefits are known, research must focus on identifying the curry leaves’ bio-active substances, validating its traditionally known health effects. With increasing interest in alternative therapies, this information can prove to be hugely beneficial.
#2 Aug 4th, 2013, 21:35
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After two days we hauled our load on the roof of a shared jeep and arrive in Jhala Village that is 6 kilometers before Harsil, at 2PM. We are given a room at my friend Prakash Rotela’s hotel and we walk to the Bhagori Village near Harsil, there I find my friend Mangal Singh and ask him for something of raw alcohol quality. He has none available but promises to arrange two bottles in the morning and send these to our hotel. He keeps his promise. I can write a couple of posts about Jhala and Harsil etc. but this series is not about this area in general. I wrote an whole series of posts on Jhala and Harsil etc. it is pending here on Ghumakkar. So let’s keep these posts about Gangotri-Kedarnath trekking experience and this series is already a huge one.

Next day we arrive in the Gangotri at 1PM. Small town is peaceful and tranquil in September with occasional busses arriving with pilgrim loads.

I love this small town of Gangotri and have some great friends here. My favorite place to hang around here is Sri Krishna Ashram at the other side of the ghats and Gangotri-temple. This ashram is overlooking the temple and the whole Gangotri town and views are spectacular. Everybody is served tea here. Swamiji who runs this ashram is a very friendly man. Once you meet him, you got a friend in Gangotri. Ashram has only 5-6 basic rooms but they give rooms to only very trusted people. I prefer staying in the paid accommodation because Ashrams has strict rules about everything. If you want to enjoy a spectacular, very musical and very long – mornings and evenings aartee, this is the place to visit at Aartee time. I bet my life that you will enjoy this Aartee. Swamiji makes everyone participate in the Aartee. Dinner is also free here but you must let the staff know if you will be eating here so they make advance arrangements.

From Ashram, a path leads towards the mountain and then to Kedar Tal. Kedartal lake is fed by the snowfall over Thalay Sagar (6,904m), Meru (6,672m), Bhrigupanth (6,772m) and other surrounding peaks, and is the source of Kedar Ganga, which in Hindu mythology is considered to be Shiva’s contribution to Bhagirathi. Kedartal, is 17 km from Gangotri. The route involves a steep rocky climb along the narrow Kedar Ganga gorge for 8 Km to Bhojkharak. From there it’s 4km to the next available flat area for camping at Kedarkharak, and a further 5 km to Kedartal. The route passes through scenic Himalayan birch forests, but is made hazardous in places by falling rocks, high altitude and segments of steep ascent.

Kedar Ganga originates from Kedartal and meets Ganges in Gangotri. From Ashram, we pass the ancient wooden bridge over Kedar Ganga, and then we walk along the Ganges but at the other side of the town. Views from the other side are spectacular because Ganges makes a magnificent fall from a rock and this fall is visible from this side. Fall used to be visible from the main bazaars but by each year concrete jungle grew and covered up the view. From certain hotels and Ashrams, this fall is still visible from off the main street points.

In two days we will be going along the Ganges at this side to walk to Kedarnath. If all goes well we will cross the Auden’s Col pass. There is no margin of error, either we will make it to the other side of the pass or we perish in the snows.

Auden’s Col is a mountain pass, it is approachable from Gangotri and one can trek up to Kedarnath following Auden’s Col and Khatling glacier. Auden’s Col gets its name from J B Auden, a famous British geologist. He first explored the region in the year 1939. It connects the mountain peaks Jogin I (6465m) and Gangotri III (6580m) and is at a height of around 5242m. Auden’s Col separates two glaciers on either side – Khatling glacier on the south and Jogin Bhamak on the north. Below Jogin Bhamak glacier is the Gangotri III glacial system.

Khatling Glacier is the source of Bhilanga River. The Khatling trek route passes alongside the Bhilangna River, starting from the last point accessible by road, Ghuttu, until the glacier, which stands at 3700 meters. If one were to go further on the trail past the glacier, one could reach Kedarnath after crossing Mayali Pass. And that is what we are going to do. Many travelers plan to go from Gangotri to Kedarnath but most give it up and take a diversion to Ghuttu. So far I haven’t heard any group made it to Kedarnath because it is already too stressful to cross Auden’s Col and then Khatling Glacier and people just want to get out of the ices soonest possible.

Auden’s Col is a less frequented trekking route in this region of the Himalaya compared to the Khatling Glacier and Kalindi Khal. Not much information was available about the route itself. This trek is considered a very challenging and technically demanding trek. Briana and I compared notes almost everyday for about a month regarding the challenges of this trek. Auden’s Col trek is used by Indian army to train the Everest going teams. This expedition requires the same kind of mountaineering equipment as these are needed for Everest missions. I have read some stories of the people doing this trek, although trekking personals were heavily loaded with all mountaineering accessories but porters were not equipped with anything and still they all made it. Only sad stories are that many porters were not carrying sun glasses and teams didn’t have any extras for them. Porters suffered sunburn in the eyes due to snow white reflections. That’s why we are having extra sun glasses.

Well anyway, I am not ready to do this journey with my heart. My idea of life is to enjoy but not endure or suffer. Of-course several times I got sucked into the situations where others think it was an adventure. Example is my walk from Ritha Sahib to Chorgalia where I almost got mauled by a leopard and got trampled by angry elephants but I undertook that walk solely to avoid a grueling road journey for the same amount of time it takes to walk. I am counting that Briana will give up after the first leg of our descent till Rudugaira Gad where Rudura Ganga meets Ganges and then we are to follow Rudura Ganga till the glaciers and then to the middle of two major peaks. Well may be she will collapse at the first stage of ascent along Rudura Ganga and I will suggest her to distribute all our provisions to the cattle herders and return and then enjoy some great days in Gangotri. I am really betting on this. My idea of life is to enjoy. When I go somewhere I go slowly and royally. I talk with people, animals and trees. I hate snows and cold weather.

We are enjoying our stay in Gangotri and I am bracing myself for this torture. Briana says – Kedarnath or Bust. She had a bad relation and now she wants to do something in her life to say that she achieved something. One month ago I promised her anticipating that it will never materialize but then – here I am.

She is pressing me several times to take a rehearsal trip with all our luggage but I decline. I don’t want to prolong this torture. I talk about this trip to some locals and they laugh it off saying that we cannot even survive till snowline. Briana mentions this to my friend Swamiji at Sri Krishna Ashram and he also laugh it off. He knows it all about what goes on in Gangotri. He has witnessed several expeditions going towards this route. Convoys of coolies, guides and people go on this way once a while. He says just 20 days ago a New Zealand team with 20 support personals went that way but only till Ghuttu. They bought several goats for food and then they had several mules to accompany them for as far possible. Then on the other side after Khatling Glacier they had another reception committee waiting with more arrangements.

Briana takes it as good news.
She says, “So we will find their traces and that will ensure us that we are in a correct direction.”

At night we have a visitor at our room. It is half naked Baba in this freezing cold. He is smoking ganga. He is about thirty and has a folded blanket on his shoulder.
He says, “तुम नारदमुनी के रस्ते केदारनाथ चल कर जाता?” (You going to Kedarnath on Naradmuni's route)
“अरे बाबा, यह मेमसाब जाना मांगता. कोई उम्मीद नहीं की हम वहां पहुंचता कि नहीं.” (Baba, this lady wants to go, there is no chance if we reach there)
“अरे क्यों नहीं पहुंचता. हम साथ चलता. हम सब पहुंचता. भोलेनाथ बुलाता.” (We will reach there, God shive is calling us)
“बाबा फिर कल मिलना.” (Then meet us tomorrow)
“ले गांजा खींच.” (Take and suck this gunza)
Baba hands me his pipe and I suck it deep and then return it to him.
Baba shouts, “बम बम भोले.” (Bum Bum Bhole)
I shout back, “बम बम भोले.” (Bum Bum Bhole)
He leaves dancing and singing – हम तेरे नगरी को चले. (We are going to your town)
Instantly my head begins spinning. I have no intention to have this crazy Baba with us this only makes things complicated. I guess we will just sneak out of Gangotri or he will stick to us.

Briana pointed me that he was bare-feet and his heels were all cracked, that she noticed but I failed.
She asks me about Baba’s visit and I tell her that this Baba is keen to join us.
“This means we need to buy provisions for him also.”
“I don’t mind buying provisions for him but we will end up carrying his stuff too. I doubt if we are going to buy anything additional for additional person because we cannot carry anything more. This crazy will keep himself drugged forever and can endure just anything in the world. He may be unpredictable and create some serious hazards for us or he may push us to endure with him.”
“Well this is good – very good. I want him to be with us.”
But I decide if Baba wants to tug along, we will simply sneak out of Gangotri without him.. This crazy was only wearing a small loincloth over him in this bone chilling cold of Gangotri. I don’t want any crazy joker with us.

Probably my friend Swamiji told him in amusement and he was out in the cold of night to find us.

I am very restless at night. I wish something happen tomorrow so we abandon this mission and enjoy some days of peace in Gangotri.

The very idea of carrying a coolie’s load down to the base at Rudugaira Gad at 2800 meters and then haul it to 5600 meters at Auden’s Col. Then hauling the load back to 3200 meters height at Chowki Bugyal and than hauling it back to Mayali Pass at 5300 meter height and then down to Kedarnath at 3600 meter height. We will be carrying this backbreaking load for 6 kilometers above us and then below again. And for more than 100 kilometers in the permanent ices of Himalayas.
God forbid.
This is going to be some punishment.
If this Sri Sri 1008 too joins us and he sure is going to create some serious life threatening situation for us.
God forbid.
I pray Mother Ganges to bung some sort of monkey wrench in this whole affair and I will donate all the load here.
I even beg God for I or Briana to get sick tomorrow.

Wish I were in Ooty and looking forward for a double dose of Medu-vada and a triple dose of Idly-Sambar in the morning.
काश! ऐसा होता ……….. (Alas! things were like that)
ये हो न सका. (But this couldn't happen)

Sleepless in the Gangotri and that that dosage of ganza made even things worse.
#3 Aug 9th, 2013, 18:08
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Auden's Col - 3

In the morning we visit Sri Krishna Ashram and there we look over the town of Gangotri in the golden morning while having tea. Swamiji admits that jokingly he told Baba about our walking to Kedarnath via Icy Mountains because it is a dream of that Shivnath Baba who calls himself Sri Sri 1008 Shivanath Baba Avadhoot and lives in a cave above the Gangotri temple. He is one of the few people who stay in Gangotri even in the freezing winters. Swamiji is not even a bit skeptical about Baba being able to cross Auden’s Col.

“He can live in freezing temperatures without food and water for several days.”
My dilemma is that Baba may cross Auden’s Col but this only shuts down my own escape route because on the slightest indication from Briana that life is now difficult, I will tell her to return.
But then another surprise is waiting for us in the temple. Swamiji sends a boy to call for another person who arrived in the ashram last day and was asking for some serious trekking routes.

As we are on our second cup of tea in the Ashram premises, Mr. Biswas Mahajan from Calcutta comes. We shake hands and Swamiji introduces us all. He is about 30 and a bit short height than average Desi. He says he is a Pharmacist working in a medicine manufacturing factory. His family owns Kiryana stores and Bangali Sweet shops in Calcutta and in his free time he helps his father and brothers on the shops. Each year in September he takes off for 2-3 weeks and does some hard tracking or mountaineering.
He asks, “Are you going to Kedarnath via Auden’s col?”
“Well, yes and no,” I tell him in Hindi to avoid Briana to know what is going on. Then I explain him that doing some adventure is not my goal of life but I am in this difficult situation that I will be going there. However we will return if going gets tough.
Biswas tells that he is prepared with all the rations, tent and sleeping bag etc. He is carrying the provisions for a week that he can stretch it to a couple of days more. He is thinking of either going to Kedartal or to Badrinath but his life long dream was to cross Auden’s Col and then walk to Ghuttu. He has learned that this trek can only be done by well equipped and well supported teams accompanied by guides who are familiar with this terrain.

Briana jumps in the conversation and order us all to speak in English and now Baba also arrives jumping and singing. Mr. Biswas is very excited with this whole setup and he decides to join us on this expedition and Briana cheers up and claps.
Now Briana and Baba both dance and sing and Biswas also joins them. I have no choice but to participate in the celebration. Now it appears that we all will be walking in the hell for several days. Biswas will be with us for the more than half of the journey till Chowki bugyal, there he will split for Ghuttu. He say he is carrying 25 kilo weight.

At the afternoon I try searching my friend Murari who gave me a nice shave two year ago. He was only 9 years old at that time and my shining face was his triumph. After asking several people I find Murari on the ghat by the Ganges, he is now an apprentice of a barber who shaves heads to perform Mundhan ceremonies. He is not busy at this time and we sit and talk, he says that he is an apprentice for the namesake only because of his small age nobody trusts him as a solo barber so he is under someone but most of the work is done by him. He offers me another shave on the face or on the head for free but I decline.

Now we are in our room attending to our ever growing monstrous backpacks.
Briana suggest, “We should do some rehearsal and carry our luggage and make a round of Gangotri town from one bridge to other.”
This triggers a cold chill in my back, my mouth goes dry and I feel dizzy and about to faint.
I grunt, “Tomorrow.”
“We must do it now, just in case if there is any weakness in the fabric or seams, I want it to tear down now so we can do something about it.”
“No, may be it fall down on our foot and then we won’t be able to walk tomorrow.”
“Are you crazy.”
In the evening Mr. Biswas and Sri Sri 1008 come to our hotel. Both are excited for this journey that we are going to undertake tomorrow. Baba whispers in my ear that he got 3000 rupee that he saved by selling gunza. He also says that he will be carrying his sattu powder so we need not to worry about carrying any food for him.
I whisper back the we may find Sadar Bazar near Auden’s Col to spend his 3000 rupee and he gives us a bray of a laughter.
I ask him, “What about tent?”
He shouts, “बाबा तारों की छाँव में सोएगा और बाबा की जिम्मवारी भोलेनाथ के उपर है.” (Baba will sleep under the shadow of stars. His responsibility takes Bholenath)

Biswas says his tent is narrow but Baba is most welcome but what about sleeping bag.
Well, anyway I am not serious about this conversation anymore and we are now a motley’s crew. Now what happens happens. We arrange 5 liters of kerosene and we are all set to hit the trail to the peaks tomorrow. Since I am aloof and indifferent to this mission so Briana and Biswas are putting their heads together to think if there is any gap in the preparations. 1008 is self assured and will not carry anything. He also made it clear that he will not carry even our luggage if a need arises. And I want something to go wrong so we return and enjoy some days of our life in Gangotri.

Crevasses before the Col
However 1008 finds a great friend in me.
He gives me a bear hug.
Handing me his smoking cheroot he shouts, “ले नारदमुनी खींच गांजा.” (Hey Naradmuni, suck gunza)
And I obey.
He is calling me Naradmuni because I am taking them to Kedarnath on the route used by Naradmuni.
Baba says he will be carrying about half kilo ganza with him, more than enough for two of us. By the time we reach Kedarnath I will be also an addict. Or may be I will return to Gangotri with 1008 and find some cave for me, Today when I visited 1008’s cave and I didn’t find it suitable as per Vaastu Shastra. I may have to dig my own cave because all existing ones are occupied.

Other thing I love about Sri 1008 is that he often says – मैं सिर्फ अपने एक श्राप से किसीको भी भसम कर सकता हूँ. पर मैंने आजतक आपनी शक्ति का कभी गलत इस्तमाल नहीं किया. (I call burn anyone to ashes with my curse)
That is so nice of him that he never misused his shakti.
My initial plan of sneaking out of Gangotri without taking 1008 with us is now collapsed. Now Briana, Biswas and Baba are ganged up and I am no voice in this affair.

I and Briana have dinner in the Ashram and then return to our hotel at night, Biswas comes to our room to discuss about the maps of the route etc. I show him some hand drawn maps and some notes those I prepared myself after reading a couple of travel journals from the internet. Most valuable are the pictures those I got developed to identify the peaks and the Auden’s Col. Upon seeing this all meager guiding resources, Biswas is very angry and now want to pull out of the expedition.
“I thought you have some professionally prepared topological maps like I brought with me for the Kedartal and Badrinath route.”
“Well this is what I got. I believe route is straight forward, we walk to Rudugaria Gad and then walk along the Rudura Ganga ravine to the ice shelf and there we will identify this goddamned Auden’s Col from these pictures and then make that depression in between two peaks as our target and follow it to the top and then we come down there to Khatling glacier.” I tell him, “This simple.”
He shouts, “Not this simple, this is suicide. We will die there without proper maps.”
He pursues us to go to Kedartal because he has all the maps of that route. I tell to Briana that I don’t mind going even to Kedartal if she agrees but she refuses.
She screams at me, “You promised to take me to Kedarnath. A deal is a deal.”
Then Biswas asks me that he want to speak alone with Briana and I leave the room.
I take a walk towards the temple in the freezing cold of night and then see Biswas coming out of our room shouting that we are crazy.
When he approaches near me he shouts at me, “I don’t know what she is seeing in you. You are taking her straight in the death trap. Don’t you know about Khatling glacier – I know about it all.”
I calmly reply, “Well, she is a free citizen. If you want to pursue her again, you are most welcome and be my guest.”
Angrily he walks away from me.
I go back to our room.
Briana tells me, “Biswas says that you are crazy and are leading me and Baba to a definite suicide. He asked me to come with him to Kedartal or even to Badrinath without you. He was badgering me.”
“Well, may be he is correct.”
She says, “I told him to go away. I told him that it is not your’s but my dream to do this trek.”
“Well he is out. What now?” she asks.
“Good riddance. And hopefully 1008 also leaves us.”
She puts her hand on her eyes and mutters, “No – no – no. God No.”
“Oh yeah! Misery loves company.”
Tomorrow morning we are suppose to carry all our luggage to the Sri Krishna Temple first and there Swamiji said he will do pooja and prayers for our safe passage. Actually tomorrow we will be carrying our entire luggage for the first time because so far we haven’t carried it as whole.

To Auden’s Col
Then Baba 1008 comes to our room and he says tomorrow morning he will take us to his Shiva Pindi he says our journey will start from there.
Form his personal Shiva Pindi to the Baba Kedarnath Pindi.
“और ख़बरदार जो तुमने मुझे छोड़कर भागने की कोशिश की. मेरा श्राप तुम्हे भसम कर देगा.” (Beware, if you run without me, my curse will burn you to ashes)
I shout, “बम बम भोले.” (Bum Bum Bhole)
He shouts back, “बम बम भोले.” (Bum Bum Bhole)
“ले नारदमुनी खींच गांजा.” (Naradmuni, suck gunza)
Baba hands me his pipe and I suck it deep and then return it to him.
I say thanks to him because this time I really crave for his pipe.

As we are going to sleep and now lights are all out because Gangotri town is given electricity power for just 2-3 hours at night by a generator in the temple.
Briana says, “Under no circumstance we will leave Baba behind.”
“Where will he sleep? Our tent cannot take 3 people and it will break. And he smokes Ganza day and night.”
“We will figure something out.”
Who knows what will happen in the days ahead?
It appears that tomorrow we will be leaving Gangotri.
Gods are all set to punish me for my past karma.
It was all my fault, I invited this trouble – आ बला पकड़ गला. (Trouble come and get me)
Or may be tomorrow morning I should run away.
From what?
From whom?
One cannot run away from oneself.
बलि का बकरा तयार है. (Goat is ready for sacrifice)
But then an idea comes to my mind.
Tomorrow when I will see Baba, I will inhale a large dose of gunza from his cheroot and -
चारों खाने चित. (Faint)
This will scare away Bryana that Baba, his gunza and I don’t mix together.
When I am enlightened I start shaking my legs.
She says, “What happened to your legs.”
“Well sometimes these go automatic.”
“No, I know you are very excited for this journey. Anticipating tomorrow, these are in warm up mode.”
I yelp, “Could be.”
Now I understand the saying: Behind every great man there is a great woman.

============================== ===========

Grows wild in the bugyals of Himalayas.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Ovaltine, Bournevita etc are made of its roasted roots. The roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive. It is also added in the coffee to enhance its taste.
It is used as a tonic and as a treatment for gallstones, gastro-enteritis, sinus problems and cuts and bruises. (Howard M. 1987). Chicory contains inulin which may help humans with weight loss, constipation, improving bowel function etc.
Due to its high demand, it is cultivated Kemloops (British Columbia) Canada and also in Mediterranean countries.
#4 Aug 9th, 2013, 22:52
Join Date:
Nov 2008
in the heart
  • tulsi is offline

Smile get guides/porters for this trek

Praveen, I think you had better hire a guide for this trek otherwise you both could land in serious trouble. Just behind Krishna Ashram there is the Ramdev ashram. Ask Swami Raghavananda who lives there to arrange a good guide cum porter for you. Sure the porter will charge you a few thousand rupees but is your life more important or a few thousand rupees? If either of you slipped or let's say sprained an ankle or fractured a bone, who would get help for you in the mountains? Mobiles do not work there and I do not think you have walky talkies. If you had porters/guides they could get help for you and arrange for an evacuation. The ultimate decision is yours of course, but trekking in the high Himalayas is no cake walk. I wish both of you luck in your journey. Cheers! Tulsi
drinking tea alone-- everyday the butterfly stops by. Issa, Zen Master
#5 Aug 10th, 2013, 07:32
Join Date:
Aug 2013
New Jersey, USA
  • praveenwadhwa is offline

Out of Gangotri

Day 1:
We are in Gangotri and ready to set towards Auden’s Col although my heart is not in this expedition.
I wake up at six and curse myself for being here to see this day, Briana is still snoring. I go out and check the quality of parothas at many shops and then at one shop I order 15 aalo parothas, 15 gobi parothas, 15 onion parothas and 15 plain ones. I tell the man to pack the assorted parothas in four packs so to distribute the burden.
So today is the scary day when I or rather we both will be putting over selves to severe torture by carrying more than 25 kilos each.
When I come in the room with two cups of tea, I find Briana packing up her backpack. With reluctance I pack up and arrange my own belongings. Our backpacks are bulging full to the bursting point, our sleeping bags are tied on the top and sleeping mats are tied on the bottom. Then we both tie one kerosene container to the sides of the backpacks. I go out and bring the plastic bag full of parothas. Damn – it is heavy, at least six kilos. Also he gave us lots of pickle and chilies.

Bhagarithi Peaks

We arrange parothas in our luggage. We help each other to put our humongous backpacks on our shoulders. We walk out and take a descent to the bridge near the main temple.
So far so good although my shoulders and back are already about to buckle.
After the bridge several steep steps lead to the Sri Krishna Temple and after three or four steps, I am seeing black circles but I continue going and stop at the temple. There I collapse on the floor and it takes me a while when my panting is under control. I get rid of my backpack and walk to the railings to see where is Briana. She is resting below. Boy brings me tea in a steel glass and it takes another five minutes to Briana to join me.
I say to her, “Give it up.”
“I can’t.”
“We’ll see.”
“We’ll see.”
Biswas also shows up walking while being crushed under his backpack. His load is bigger and greater than ours.
He says, “I am sorry about last night?”
“Why sorry,” I ask, “anyway what made you change your mind?”
“After I left your room I planned for Kedartal trek and opened up my maps but I was unable to comprehend those contours. In the morning I took a small walk on the trail with my map but everything looked totally different than the map. Now I have realized that common sense is better than these maps. Now I know the value of your handwritten notes and picture of the peaks.”
I say, “Well, Man, let’s hope those notes and pictures guide us.”
“If not then I have the maps for the region up to Auden’s Col,” he says.
I ask, “What about Khatling drop?’
“That we will see from the ridge of Auden’s Col, I will take one day at a time.”
“Man, what did you eat, you turned into a philosopher overnight.”
“Well, it was my dream to be on the Auden’s Col. This much is simple so I am in the game till Auden’s Col and then I will access the situation.”
“So we are all set to hit the road.”
Along Rudur Ganga
I ask him about why so heavy backpack and he replies that since his family owns stores and he is used to carry heavy weight as he moves around sacks of things in the stores.
Okey with me, if he collapses on the way under his own bori, I will simply bolt and order Briana to return.
She also whispers me about his bori saying me to do something about it but what can I do anything about anything. Her main concern is that Biswas may collapse or get hurt under his own load and then we all may have to abort our mission.
Then we hear “Bum Bum Bhole” shouts.
As Sri-Sri-1008 is here too, barefoot, still wearing only a short loincloth and a blanket on his one shoulder and a small sack on his other shoulder and here I will get my chance to implement my scheme.
First we all have breakfast in the Ashram kitchen.
As we come out I take Baba’s cheroot and begin smoking ganza, I suck large puffs in a rush. I feel a fire in my chest. I smoked a maximum 10 cigarettes in my life but never took the smoke to my chest before.
I keep taking large puffs for a while but this goddamned gunza too is not working.
Then suddenly my head spins and I run behind the ashram, there I throw up and then faint.
When I wake up I find myself surrounded by many people they all are laughing at me.
Baba says, “ज्यादा ही खींच गया था गांजा. धीरे धीरे प्रैक्टिस होगी.” (Sucked too much, do it slowly to build practice)
Briana says, “Nice try.”
Biswas points at me and says to Briana, “You still trust him, you should come to Kedartal or Badrinath with me. That would be fun.”
Briana shouts at Biswas, “No he will be taking us to Auden’s pass, he is fit like a horse. He is only putting up a show.”
It is apparent that I stayed passed for only a couple of minutes, Baba and Briana help me to stand up and drag me to water tap there I wash my face that is already wet because they threw water on me.
After another cup of tea we gather at the temple exit.
Swamiji performs pooja for our safe passage and as we are ready to go to Baba’s Pindi.
Swamiji calls us back and shouts, “Who is your leader?”
I point at 1008 and he begins laughing and shaking his head. Then I point at Biswas and he begins laughing and shaking his head, then I point at Briana and she begins laughing and shaking her head. They all are shaking their head from side to side.
I shout back to Swamiji who is standing on the ledge looking down at us, “Nobody is our leader.”
Now all point their fingers at me including Swamiji.
I guess I am the leader.
This is not a good omen.
बलि का बकरा हाज़िर है. (Sacrificial goat is ready)
I am responsible for this Motley’s crew.
Hope we all give it up and return to Gangotri, if not today then tomorrow or even at the day after tomorrow and after that there’d be no sense to return because Auden’s Pass would be closer and then a descent to Khatling glacier and then to Ghuttu would be the better option.
I shout, “God bless the leader.”

Loaded like mules we take a descent and return to the main path, there we have to visit 1008’s personal Shiva’s Pindi. We drop off our luggage at a tea shop and walk to the temple and then climb over the hill and visit Baba’s Pindi. Baba performs Shiva Pooja.

We return to the tea shop I eat another two parothas there because two in my belly were kicked out when I threw up. We have our last tea in Gangotri at the last tea shop. Baba runs to the Ganges and brings some water in a small vial to carry it to Kedarnath.
It is time to remount our backpacks and I am very scared of the backpack.
One of my friend chants Hanuman Chalisa in such situations, wish I had that booklet because I don’t remember the whole poem.
अब ओखली मैं सर दिया तो मूसलों से क्या डरना … (Why fear when I am already committed)
We load ourselves up and begin our walk. At the path where steps to Sri Krishna Ashram begin we find Swamiji is waiting for us.
So it it is the time to begin. I am skeptical. We all are a motley’s crew of misfits, an assembly of characters. Baba is barefoot and carrying only his pooja gear, a blanket and ganza. Biswas is carrying a huge backpack and filled to the brim with God knows what. I am not carrying enough essential things for myself because half of my weight is Briana’s belongings. I gave away my many things to ashram to relieve my weight.
Amid the final chanting of Baba and Swamiji a small mob gathers around us.
We all shout with Baba: Bam bam bhole.
And march begins.
We all cross the Kedarganga Bridge and then after passing Ganges falls, take a steep descent in the jungle along the left bank of Ganges. It is already 10AM. Our aim for today is to walk at least 10 kilometers.
At this point Swamiji and others shake hands with us and say final prayers and farewells and they turn back.
We begin our walk.
The trail moves down steeply on the left bank of Bhagirthi upto the power house that was never functional. We rest there and then resume our walk till the Rudugaira Gad where Rudur Ganga comes from the steep valley like a thousand feet long and high cascade. Now begins the steep ascent and let’s see if we will survive it. Now till Auden’s Col we will be going higher and higher with each step.
My heart is not pumping but it is about to explode. Not just heart but I feel my head too will explode. After half kilometers I pray Ganga Mai for either chest or head should explode. Why prolong this torture? Briana is even worse shape than me and I am counting that this whole ordeal will be over withing few kilometers and there would be happy ending back in Gangotri. Biswas too is in bad shape but he is maintaining a smile on his face. I guess he is doing some immense efforts to impress Briana.
We stop to rest at a place and look back at the Ganges river. There we see the spectacular confluence of Jad Ganga and Ganges. Jad Ganga brings the water from Tibet’s Nelong region.

On the way
We begin climbing and panting along the Rudugaira gad on its right bank. So far we are walking on the trail that now starts to climb up through the birch jungle and after an hour it became a good trail easy to follow. Baba is ahead of us because he has little weight, then I and then Biswas and then Briana. We stop at many places to let Briana to catch us up and in those stops we rest but poor Briana is getting no chance to rest. Now path is going down to the river and we cross over to the left bank over a log bridge setup by the sheepherders. Sheepherders here are mostly local tribesmen and not really Gujjars.

After we cross the river, the trail is moving up and up along the cascading river, in the stunted paper birch tree forest, it is very tiring being the first day with full loads. My head is pounding and I am seeing flashes followed by blackout in front of my eyes. As we stop at a waterfall, I order everybody to halt for lunch break. Firewood is available and we make a fire and heat up parothas on the flames. We all eat 4 parothas each except Baba; he eats little but smokes a lot. We are drenched in sweat and we take a quick bath at the waterfall. Water is snowmelt and near freezing.
Waterfall on the way
Slowly we keep moving up through a reasonably good trail and soon encounter the first sheepherder. He tells us that we still have some kilometers to cover to reach the flat meadow. He shows us the patch of ground high above which has red bushes. We ask him about some more information about passage to Auden’s Col but he says he has never ventured that far. He remembers that New Zealand Team went this way about two weeks ago. All he is able to tell is that everybody goes along this river and then after some kilometers many other rivers meet this river so it gets next to impossible to know which one is the main river because the flow in the branches keep changing in the whole day. He tells that if we may find a river impassable due to lots of water, then it would be wiser to wait till evening to cross it because during day snow melts more.
Going to that height is a scary with this entire load but we look below and this gives us a hope that we already gained a serious height so we keep moving silently. Nobody is talking or joking because we have no spare energy for that. My back and shoulders are paining and I simply want to quit and run away. The path goes through several water streams coming from right and after that we are at the flat ground.

We drop our loads and nobody is willing to go any further including Baba 1008. It appears a good camping place. We setup a fire and as we begin relaxing we hear the sounds as someone has lighted fire crackers. We wonder about what this is and suddenly Briana shouts and points at the mountain above us. Rocks are coming down straight in our direction. I shout everybody to not to run but keep an eye on the rocks. We all look at the rocks and as each comes crashing down we jump to protect us. We decide to move away from this place and again load ourselves up.
We walk about another kilometer and find another suitable place to camp near a sheepherder’s beaten up shack made of mud, tin and polythene. It is 5PM of evening and temperature is now near freezing and sun is already gone behind the mountain. We make preparations for tea. Two sheepherder with many sheep and goats show up. Their dogs surround us and are ceaselessly barking. We again decide to move a bit further. Sheepherders ask us if we want goat or goat meat but we decline. I heard that sheepherders stole things of the travelers at nights so we decide to move a little further and again pack up in a hurry because cold night is about to descend in the tall mountains.
We decide to walk further.
We update our passage with sheepherders and they point us to the way saying that everyone comes and goes along the main river. They themselves have not ventured too far from this area so they cannot tell us what lies above.
We walk another half kilometer and collapse there. Nobody is willing to go any further, no matter what might be the consequences.

We make camp there and erect tents and now nobody wants to eat parothas. Everybody is very tired and nobody is in the mood to cook. We all want to lie down to give rest to our aching backs. Luckily Baba brings us some firewood and lights a fire and we boil rice in a pressure cooker but firewood is not enough and fire dies. We are in tundra and trees are stunted and rare. Briana lights her butterfly stove and we boil rice and then add some oil and chat-masala in it. Baba offers us his sattu and this reminds me of Andhra Style food where they put sattu like thing with lots of spices in the rice to eat it. I add red chillies in sattu and rice is now more palatable. Everybody follows the suit.
Biswas opens a tin full of chum-chum. I rarely eat sweets but after some serious walk on the mountains I get the craving to eat sweet things so we all enjoy a piece from his can. He says he got another can full of Rasgullas.
Wow! No wonder he is carrying so much weight.
I suggest to pack up our backpacks and bring everything in the tents but everybody is dead tired and we leave everything outside. Baba is with Biswas and we all give him just all our clothes to use as mattress or quilt or just anyway he wishes.

Baba arranges a small temple with the objects he is carrying in his bag and asks us all to join in the Ganga aarti followed by Shiva aartee.
It is bone chilling cold here we are desperately waiting for the aarti to come to an end.
I ask Biswas if he would like to have a drink with me and he agrees and comes to our tent. He says he drinks rarely and is carrying a bottle of Liquor with himself for medicinal purposes only. I fix him a light drink but it goes over his head in no time. Briana does not drink but for the sake of company she accepts a drink with few drops of raw sugar alcohol.
Biswas starts telling us why he came to Gangotri to do some hard trekking.
He was engaged to a girl by family arrangements but she broke it off. He felt it very insulting because wedding cards were distributed. He packed up his backpack and arrived to Gangotri.
Well Briana also came here because of some unpalatable ordeal was happening in her life and I ordered her to come to India. She implied she wants to suicide and I promised her that suicide it should be, at that time it was a joke. Jokingly I suggested her to walk from Gangotri to Auden’s Col and Khatling Glacier, just we two together. She came on the condition she wants to attempt something that may bring some life and death situation.

I say to Biswas, “Now I am eating my words and here I am or rather we all are. You can still go back it you wish but Baba is here for good.”
Biswas says, “Nah, I will rather walk with you guys. I was skeptical about your finding directions to the Auden’s Col and tomorrow or day after tomorrow this question will be settled. After the Col, route is straight forward. We have to scale down 7000 feet high wall and we cannot get lost there because glacier turns into Bhilanga river and there we will find a trail to Kedarnath and people do walk over that route.”
Then talk steers towards his broken engagement and he begins crying.
We all collapse in our sleeping bags. I find it hard to sleep after a serious hard ascent with the entire load. It is my nature that when I am very tired I find it difficult to sleep whereas Briana is sleeping like a baby. I make myself a drink and that helps me to go to sleep but sleep is very dreamy and restless in this thin air.

It is again Briana who hears something strange outside in the freezing night, she wakes me up. I open the tent and shout and see a man running, he was here to steal our things and we got lucky. I wake up everybody, it is 10PM and freezing cold, hardly our feet warmed up and we again leave our sleeping bags and pack everything and bring it in the tents.
It is just the beginning.
Hopefully tomorrow everybody’s spirit caves up and we return to Gangotri.
I may get lucky tomorrow.
If not then – there wont’ be any sense to return after that.
I am upset that we are carrying so much food but didn’t use much today to reduce our weight. From tomorrow we must have a party each day.

End of day one

============================== =========================

Common names include pasque flower (or pasqueflower), wind flower, prairie crocus, Easter Flower, and meadow anemone.
This makes one of the greatest Homeopathy medicine. Medicine is given based upon mainly mind symptoms.
It is said to be a very good medicine for women, for blondes, especially for tearful blondes. It is one of the polychrests and one of the medicines most frequently used, as well as often abused. The Pulsatilla patient is an interesting one, found in any household where there are plenty of young girls.
She is tearful and generally has little credit for being sick from her appearances; yet she is most nervous, fidgety, changeable, easily led and easily persuaded. While she is mild, gentle and tearful, yet she is remarkably irritable, not in the sense of pugnacity, but easily irritated, extremely touchy, always feels slighted or fears she will be slighted; sensible to every social influence.
Cold drinks relieve, even though the patient is not thirsty. Cold foods are digested while hot food make the body warm from which symptoms are worse. Ice cold water feels good going down the esophagus, and is retained in the stomach, though there is not thirst.

Pulsatilla (Meadow Anemone)
by William BOERICKE, M.D.
Presented by Médi-T
Wind Flower
The weather-cock among remedies.
The disposition and mental state are the chief guiding symptoms to the selection of Pulsatilla. It is pre-eminently a female remedy, especially for mild, gentle, yielding disposition. Sad, crying readily; weeps when talking; changeable, contradictory. The patient seeks the open air; always feels better there, even though he is chilly. Mucous membranes are all affected. Discharges thick, bland, and yellowish-green. Often indicated after abuse of Iron tonics, and after badly-managed measles. Symptoms ever changing. Thirstless, peevish, and chilly. When first serious impairment of health is referred to age of puberty. Great sensitiveness. Wants the head high. Feels uncomfortable with only one pillow. Lies with hands above head.
Mind.–Weeps easily. Timid, irresolute. Fears in evening to be alone, dark, ghost. Likes sympathy. Children like fuss and caresses. Easily discouraged. Morbid dread of the opposite sex. Religious melancholy. Given to extremes of pleasure and pain. Highly emotional. Mentally, an April day.
#6 Aug 10th, 2013, 13:18
Join Date:
Nov 2005
  • ash is offline
interesting but must say i am a bit confused! Are you there right now or something you did in the past as per your web site below?
#7 Aug 10th, 2013, 17:51
Join Date:
Aug 2013
New Jersey, USA
  • praveenwadhwa is offline
It was two years ago.
#8 Aug 10th, 2013, 17:59
Join Date:
Aug 2013
New Jersey, USA
  • praveenwadhwa is offline

Beyond Bugyals

Day 2:
Baba woke up everybody by his loud chants. It is 6AM and freezing cold. Moisture is frozen on the walls of our tent and it is difficult to leave the comfort of the sleeping bag. I gather the courage and wear my shoes and come out. Not many peaks are visible and as per my written notes, we must follow main stream to the end and then we must identify Auden’s Col by pictures. From that point we must find the suitable way to walk to the pass in the snows and ices.
I and Baba go out towards stream to bring water and then we scavenge firewood to make a fire to warm us up but not much wood is available in this meadow. Trees are mostly birch and juniper and all vegetation is stunted due to the climate stress. When we return we see Biswas lighting his brass kerosene stove to make tea. Nobody wants to eat parothas but also nobody has any courage to start preparing some real breakfast in this freezing cold and it is just the beginning. We all eat parothas and then prepare second cup of tea.

Then we pack up everything and look at the way ahead, some serious climb is beginning straight away. It appears that today we will be climbing over the walls. We start climbing by the cascade and each step is burdensome. At 9AM we arrive at somewhat level ground and so far there is a faint trail that we can follow. We walk at the mild pace and then we encounter a bubbling stream and it is a crisis about how to cross it. We walk along the stream and somehow cross it and then we lose the path. We have to climb to get to the next ledge and my notes say that we will again find a flat meadow.
Luckily we find some passage that is going up and we begin climbing on the rocks and our hearts are pounding and breathing is becoming difficult due to the thin air. We crisscross the stream several times and at many places crossing becomes difficult and we roll large rocks in the water to make our passage. We all decided that under no circumstance we will take any chance that may result in someone getting hurt. I made it clear that reaching at any destination is not our goal. Enjoying the life is our goal and everybody must avoid any risk taking at any cost. At a point stream becomes unmanageable to cross because as the day is growing water too is increasing in the rivers, we have no choice but to make a dam at the stream so we pass it. We all feel very week and sick.
After a brutal climb we come again to a flat terrain. Due to lack of oxygen in the air, our heads are spinning and we all are in a constant day dreaming state.

We find walking difficult and our legs are trembling. We decide to end our day’s walk at any next suitable place where ever we will find water. Now we see several streams but all are muddy and originating from the glaciers not far away. Slowly we keep moving ahead and it is now 2PM. We all want to stop to have a cup of tea but nobody is ready to unpack the belongings to repack again so we keep climbing and wheezing. We arrive at a big brook but water is muddy. We decide to make tea with whatever water is available in our bottles.
After tea, nobody has courage to walk any further and we all are in a confused state about to find better source of water and settle there. I and Baba walk further and cross the muddy brook and we keep walking and actually I am enjoying my walk without any burden on my shoulder. We come upon a tiny clear water stream but no flat ground to make our camp. We find a dangerously hanging flat ground after some distance just barely enough for two tents and we must be careful not to fall in the ravine. We return back and inform others about the finding of good water and carry our burden and go to that place.
It appears that we are at the edge of ices. If we walk another kilometer then we will be in the ices. It is better to spend our last night at some dry place.

It is 2.30PM and we keep our belongings at the brook and unpack things to make some fabulous spicy lunch. We are very alone at this place and it is apparent that no cattle-herders ventures in this areas because this area is devoid of any vegetation and grass.
Yesterday we made a good distance and height. I guess it was minimum 15 kilometers and we also gained about 3000 feet height, because we walked from morning till sunset. That was some achievement tomorrow but today it is not possible to cover same distance in such thin air. Although we are not dead tired like yesterday but we are in the persistent day dreaming state and everybody is stumbling or falling. We all are having a mild headache also.
It is decided to cook daal and rice and we fire up both kerosene stoves and simultaneously begin boiling daal and rice in two pressure cookers, I also add a fistful of curry-pattas and bear garlic that I plucked on our way. Meanwhile we cut onions, garlic, ginger etc for tadka. Result is a superb lunch. At 3.30PM, sun is already set behind the mountain. Frigid gust is whistling.
We leave behind our cooking arrangements there but haul rest of our stuff to the dangerous ledge where we found a flat place barely enough for out two tents. At this place no bakriwalas or any animal ventures so our belongings are safe and no need to worry. We erect our tents and I and Briana go out for a walk to a high ground to catch some last sunlight and to view the peaks so to identify the area. Otherwise I have no means to know where we are. Tomorrow we must find two peaks Jogin I and Gangotri III and Auden’s Col in between.

We walk about half kilometers to sit in the much needed Sunlight and there I take a bath at a waterfall, lucky for me. Otherwise in this cold there is no concept of taking bath here. After taking bath I feel very cold and then sunlight also dies so we walk. As we are near our campsite we hear 1008 shouting at Biswas.
“कम्बखत तू इतने बड़े बाबा से जुबान लड़ाता है. तुजे अभी भसम कर दूंगा.” (Foolish, you argue with a great Baba, I will burn you to ashes right now.)
We hide behind the rocks and see them fighting. It appears that Biswas discovered some burn holes in his tent and in his bedding and it is understood that it is Baba’s smoking cheroot. Poor Biswas got angry and said something to Baba and now always-righteous-Baba is angry on him.
“एक तो मेरा बिस्तर और टेंट जला दिया अब उपर से मुझे जलाने के बात करते हो. सारी रात तुम गांजा पीते रहे और मैं खांसता रहा.” (One you burned my tent and bedding, now you want to burn me. Whole night you sucked gunza and I was coughing)
I am so engrossed in this juicy dog-fight and Briana is very desperate to know about what is happening and I don’t want to miss anything.
My entertainment evaporates when Baba shouts, “आने दो लीडर को. या यहाँ मैं साथ चलूगा या तुम चलोगे.” (Let the leader come, either I will go or you will go)
“हाँ हाँ, आने दो लीडर को. तुम अब मेरे तम्बू मैं नहीं घुस सकते.” (Yes, let the leader come, you cannot enter in my tent)
“अरे जा तू और तेरा दो टके का तम्बू. आने दो लीडर को. अभी फैसला हो कर रहे गा.” (You and your cheap tent go to hell. Let the leader come)
I explain this to Briana, first she has a hearty laugh and then asks me, “What are you going to do now?”
I say, “Let’s go to a distance near the brook and make some strange noises and as they both come there to investigate, we return there from the back side and gather our sleeping bags and run away from here to Gangotri.”
“No way, we must reach Kedarnath. Running away is not a honorable solution.”
“Who cares about honor, we will leave behind our tent and all the rations for them to reach Lahasa in the Tibet.”

Well, fighting gets ferocious and they are about to beat each other and Briana asks me to go there and intervene. I have no choice because the only way is either towards the pass or towards our tents. There is no other way.
As they see me they both simultaneously being telling me.
I shout to 1008, “महाराज जी, यह अब आपको अपने टेंट मैं नहीं रखे गा.” (Maharaj Ji, he will not be letting you come in his tent)
“इसके टेंट मैं रहने की हमारी कोई इच्छा ही नहीं.” (I have no desire to live in his tent)
“फिर आप रात कैसे गुजारो गे.” (Then how you'd spend your night?)
“आसमान ही हमारी छत है.” (Sky is my roof)
“चलो इस बात का फैंसला हुआ. अब तो कोई झगडा बाकी नहीं.” (Well, okey then.)
Peace returns and we descend down to the river to make tea and some light dinner although we are not hungry because we had late lunch.

At night it is a crisis about what to do with 1008-Baba, he may die freezing without a roof on his head. Biswas does not care about him and I ask Briana if Baba may squeeze into our tent but she has smoking allergy. I tell her to sleep with Biswas in his tent so I sleep with Baba and she gets angry instantly.
After tea we all eat a packet of noodles each. Baba curses us all and then disappears saying he is going to find some cave for himself and I doubt if he will ever find a cave here. He takes his blanket and sack with him. We return to our tents and wait for Baba’s return but he does not return at night. It is extremely cold and wind is howling and we have no energy to go out to find Baba in the naked mountains. I go out and shout for him several times but no reply, we could have given him our each and every spare cloth for cover like last night. He could have easily made a sleeping bag with our two backpacks although it was a tremendous effort to empty out both bags and then re arrange everything in the morning.
Biswas goes to the cooking site and then returns; he says he went there to hide kerosene containers because that is the most precious thing we got.

I return to my tent and ask Biswas if he wants a drink, he says yes and comes to our tent. Unfortunately Biswas’s tent’s fabric was not fire proof and sparks from Baba’s cheroot made two potato sized holes in there that he mended with needles and a rag. He found several small holes in his sleeping bag and in other scattered clothes also. After the drink Biswas tells us that he hid kerosene bottles otherwise Baba may return and burn our whole fuel in the night to keep him warm. I don’t know what to say, whether Baba is entitled to all our fuel or not.

Well we don’t know where Baba is and what will happen to him. Briana and Biswas both have a light Brandy drink and I have a drink from my raw alcohol bottle. We are only worried about coming out of tent at night and any misstep could be mortal and we may fall 300 feet below. Actually nobody is much worried about Baba now, including Briana. Nobody can share a roof with him with his obnoxious behavior and ceaseless gunza smoking. I don’t blame Biswas. We all only hope that he is returned back to Gangotri. After 10 kilometers of descent he may find bakriwalas and then Gangotri is a day away from there. Reaching here from Gangotri is treacherous but returning is no big deal. So nobody is shedding any tears and lucky for him that he took all his belongings with him.
But who knows where he is?
We don’t’ want to think about it and our thinking is already impaired in the lean mean air.
If any mishap occurs or simply I get lucky then tomorrow we can return to Gangotri and after tomorrow, there’d be no sense in returning because then it makes no difference either to go back or go forward. We don’t know if we will be seeing Baba again. Temperature is below freezing and moisture in our tent is becoming ice on its walls.
Single drink again hits Biswas and he begins telling us about his broken engagement.
“I did everything for this girl. One day it was early morning and she had to catch a train to take an exam. I promised her that I will send her a rickshaw. At 5 in the morning I went to the slums to this rickshaw puller’s home but he refused to come at this time because last night he slept drunk. I myself brought that rickshaw to her home and pulled her to the station because there was no other transportation around in those narrow streets of Sealdah.”
I say to him, “Wow man, bravo.”
Briana says to me, “This is some commitment, you should learn from him.”
“OK, I will give you a tour of Haridwar on cycle rickshaw. I myself. Or we visit Calcutta if you want a ride on that pulling rickshaw.”

Biswas again mentions that he will access the situation on the Auden’s Col, there he will decide to return to Gangotri or proceed further.
In the drunk state of mind he again offers Briana to touch Auden’s Col and return with him (let him [pw] go alone die in the ices) because Khatling drop is a very dangerous drop of more than 7000 feet and we have no first hand report about the current passage because Nature is always at work there.
Briana says, “We will see.”
“You are so beautiful and fragile, here is no sense in putting your life in danger, even a slight injury could be mortal. Nobody is there to carry you till Ghuttu, that is 12000 feet below. I myself feel responsible for your safety, I don’t much care about myself.”
She grins and replies, “Thanks for the compliments but we will see.”
He says to Briana, “I can do it all by myself but I am worried about you.”
“Well, thanks, Let’s get to Auden’s Col. Hopefully tomorrow or day after tomorrow.”
“Okey we will decide there.”
Biswas returns to his tent and we go to sleep.
Now Briana is real worried that Biswas would be leaving from Auden’s Col because deep Inside he is very apprehensive and scared.
I tell to Briana, “If he is wise enough, he should make his mind tonight to return at tomorrow morning or he can never return. Auden’s Col climb is going to be like Mount Everest walk. A collective effort of rope work is required to get there and returning is even more difficult and almost fetal for a solo person. As you know very well that, in the ices, going upwards is a lot safer than walking downwards.”
Briana sighs, “Please don’t tell him, he is not aware of this. We three people are better than two in such a terrain. I doubt if Baba will be returning and even if he returns it will only create problems for us. From tomorrow we will be in the ices.”
“Yeah, that would be the fun to watch him at Auden’s Col.”
सांप के मूंह में छुछुनदर (Musk rat in the snake's mouth)
It is too early and unwise to say anything, who know what will happen to us in the following days.
Nobody can win against nature.
I jokingly ask her, “What if Baba dies in this night?”
Now she is really scared. Swamiji told that Baba is one of few people who spend winter in his cave but he is given enough kerosene and has enough blankets. Moreover he is always inhaling gunza smoke. But here Baba got only one blanket. If he is straying in the mountains at this height then he got good chances to die off.
If tomorrow we won’t see him, then we will know about him after several days.
Whether he lived of died.
Nothing we can do about it.
She says, “What if he dies, responsibility would be ours. Had we not coming here, he were not to die.”
“Stop worrying, we worry for so many things those seldom happen but other mishap happen for what we never worried.
I need another stiff drink and also I need to ration my alcohol so it lasts till end. We haven’t even seen frozen hell yet, there we all may need drinks to stay alive. Who knows, we may get stuck in some snow blizzard or just get trapped at some place or crevice. Alcohol would be the only lifesaving thing we got for such situation.
Wind is dangerously shaking our tents, some time we feel we may be uprooted from this spot. I curse for our choice of the spot in this hanging place. We are right in the path of howling and whistling wind. Hope our tents hold and we survive this night.
We made a mistake for not roping both tents together. It is too cold to anything now. Now on we will bind both tents together so if one slips other becomes an anchor.
Or one takes other too with it ….
So now on we will bind both tents and also make some secondary anchor. We neither have any hammer or spikes, to reduce out weight I got rid of spikes.
Somehow I fall to sleep.
============================== ================

Podophyllum grows in the Himalayan Alpine meadows. Although it is engendered and almost vanished from Himalayas due to its usefulness but it grows in abundance in North America’s hardy zones.
Its name in Hindi and Ayurveda is bantrapushi or Giriparpat. It is highly poisonous plant if misused. It is also called as May Apple because red apple like fruits appear in the month of May.
Late Professor of Materia Medica in Hering College, Chicago.
Presented by Dr Robert Séror

This remedy is seldom used except in acute affections, but it is a long acting and deep acting drug; it produces a powerful impression on the economy; it relates to the deep-seated miasms.
Everything taken into the stomach becomes sour. The glands of the stomach are as if paralyzed; there is no digestion; this goes on until we have vomiting and diarrhea. During this there is a severe disturbance in the abdomen; rumbling; gurgling as if animals were floundering about; clinically, as if fish were turning and tossing in a pond, as we have seen them before a storm.

Rumbling and rolling. This is attended with severe cramping pains doubling her up. Abdomen is sensitive; so sore she cannot endure pressure. The soreness extends to the stomach, intestines and finally to the liver. The whole abdominal viscera are sore, sensitive to pressure. After this comes a gurgling.
So this is a number one remedy for Cholera or Cholera like symptoms.
#9 Aug 11th, 2013, 02:10
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Aug 2013
New Jersey, USA
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Trapped over cliffs.

Day 3
Intense cold wake us up at very early. We have no desire to come out of the sleeping bags and leave the tent. Suddenly an thought comes to my mind that today we have to spot the peaks to evaluate our course of journey. There is no other way but to identify the peaks and the Auden’s Col. Peaks are only visible in the morning or in the evening. This means we must start early to get to the point where we see the peaks. I come out of the tent and wake up Biswas. He does not want to leave the tent but I tell him that we must get to the point earliest to find the peaks this sets him to the frenzy to pack up everything.
Briana says, “But what about Baba?”
“Baba wakes up early and he is suppose to come here unless he is dead somewhere or is already on the way back to Gangotri. All we can do it to shout for him.”
Briana says, “If he is lost then what?”
“In either situation we cannot do anything. He is a responsible adult. Either he is dead, or running back to Gangotri or lost.”
We bring our belongings to the cooking site and everything is untouched there. Biswas brings the kerosene bottles from where he hid these. As we make tea we shout for 1008 but hear nothing in return. Nothing else we can do. He might have gone back to the cattle herders camp, some hours walk. We make Pohas with onions and ginger and then pack up and begin walking upwards to the visible snow. After just one kilometer we see golden peaks shining in the early morning sun. With the pictures we identify many peaks. The sun is coming up from behind Patangana dhar the Gangotri peaks one by one start to turn crimson. We identify our beloved Auden’s Col at our right hand side and the gully ends and we are facing the glacier and across it is the Col. There can not be any mistake in identifying the Auden’s col as it is the only dunk in the ridge joining the Gangotri III and Jogin I peaks.

So far so good and no sense in returning back to Gangotri now. We happen to be lucky in a sense because within minutes all peaks are engulfed by clouds. With my memory I try to draw the peaks and directions on the paper. We have to keep walking in the northeast direction. I draw and memorize the general landscape towards the Auden’s Col.
It is intense cold. Going is difficult as we are wearing heavy jackets and fingers get instantly numb if we take our hands out of the pockets. Briana wants to celebrate because she always suspected that I will try to find this or that excuse to run back to Gangotri but we have sighted the Auden’s Col and reaching there is my current target for the day.
To celebrate and also to wait for Baba we again stop for making tea although stopping and resting makes the thing worse. It is difficult to open our backpacks and pump up the stove because frost is biting our fingers, noses and ears. As per other traveler’s accounts, we can make it to across the Auden’s Col today and there is a long distance and serious height to be covered over extremely difficult terrain. The climb down on the other side of the Col is a major concern as I have read it to be very bad and requiring rope and ladder work.
After tea we repack everything. It is 10am and no signs of Baba. We assume that he has returned back to Gangotry. Ravine is gradually going upwards and as we are near snows we find an abandoned camp site. It seems like camping party abandoned many things in a rush. We find torn tents and unopened canned food, tea, coffee, biscuits, oxygen tanks and many other things. God knows what happened here, may be people abandoned the site after some heavy snow or hailstorm. We may need some tent pole sticks to probe soft snow so we gather some folding sticks.
We are already loaded and have no desire to add anything to our luggage. Now we are on the glaciers in the midst of the peaks. We keep walking on the glacier with utter care because there are many deep holes covered by soft fresh snow and we cross over many cervices. We poke our pole sticks in the snow to find some firm place to put our feet but still we get many false indicators and time and again we step into deeper snow holes. But so far so good.
For some cervices we make a diversion to find the passable width. We descend to a roaring brook in the middle of glacier and banks are either snow or ice and it is very slippery. We place each step with utter care and first time we use rope. I cross first with the rope other end is held by Biswas and Briana crosses the brook by holding the rope and then Biswas comes. As sun is hitting the white snow we notice the flashes in our eyes and eyes feel itchy. We wear dark goggles.

We keep walking on the ice and some times ice is soft and covering deep holes. I slip in the ice-hole but get entangled with my bulky backpack and Briana and Biswas pull me out. After some more climb on the flat white ice Briana sinks and we pull her out. We halt for rest. We tie each other with ropes and Briana walks in the front because she is the lightest weight. Before taking each step she pokes the ice with her stick and this way we avoid many falls but still once a while one sinks in the soft places. We place foot in the marks made by Briana.
At a place we rest and my backpack begins slipping fast down. No sense in running after it for the danger of falling in some hidden hole. Luckily backpack stops at some soft spot and almost sinks but its top is still visible. Briana walk down with a rope and ties it and drags it to me. This gives us an idea, now instead of carrying our backpacks we use our ropes to drag these but after a while we feel more tired and we again carry our load on our shoulders.
Then I hear Biswas’s shout and we look back, his goggle fell down is slipping on the ice slope very fast. We keep looking at it till it disappears far away. Luckily we have a spare goggle. As we are looking at the sliding goggle there we find something moving. Briana’s sharp eyes recognized the moving object.

She screams, “Baba is coming, Baba is coming.”
We all shout for the Baba to listen, he is at least 4 kilometers away. It is only Briana who can tell it is Baba otherwise we don’t see much except a dot in the snow. I doubt if Baba is listening to us or seeing us. He is following our foot-marks on the snow.
We burn pages from a book to make smoke and shout. We keep watching 1008, then we see him slipping over the ice and sliding for long distance and then he again begins walking. He is running on the snow and it is very dangerous. He disappears from our site, probably sank in some hidden crevice and we give up on him but then he reappears from the ground and resume his run. Then he finds our line of trail and walk over our foot-marks and finally he meets us.
He is all black and blue, ice hanging from his beard, eyebrows and hairs.
He only stammers one single words again and again, “म्मम्म माआआअ चिस्स्स्स. माआआअ चॆऎएस. माचिस माचिस.” (Match box, match box)
I locate a match box from my backpack pocket but his gunza is wet because he fell down in the frozen holes and then again in the river. I wrap wet ganza in a dry paper and light it and he sucks it up fast several times. Now he wants tea and we cannot make tea on the infirm snow and ice terrain. He asks for food and I give him frozen parothas and now he is mad at me and curses me that he will burn me us for abandoning him in the freezing night. He wants warm food and we cannot set up kitchen here on the ice slope. We cannot even place our backpack on the ice because if anything slips it runs down thousands of feet below. We are lucky to be standing on our two legs on this 30 degree slope and Auden’s Col is about 5-6 hours away. Biswas gives him the can of cham-cham and he eats the whole can. He dries his gunza on the burning papers and becomes normal. His feet are blue. I give him Briana’s spare shoes, her spare jacket; Briana gives him her shawl, socks and muffler.

As usual weather in the peaks becomes suddenly cloudy at 1PM and we all are hungry. It begins snowing. Baba’s eyes are red and painful and he is compiling a lot and cursing us all. There comes a big crevice and we walk around for long distance to cross it at the narrow opening. Then we come right below the Auden’s Col and face a rocky wall that we must go up. I leave my backpack on the ground and try to climb on the rocks but my hands are freezing and I wear woolen globes and try again, my hands become numb but I don’t give up but keep climbing and a stage comes when I feel I will faint. Luckily I find a place to stand and then find some passable opening in the rocks. There I throw rope below but it is not enough to reach them. Baba takes another rope and begins climbing with his bare hands to catch the rope and then to tie another rope to it. He slips after few steps, luckily he is not hurt and he gives it up. Biswas takes his rope and begins climbing and as he is about to give up he catches the rope and climbs rest of the fifty feet. There we tie two ropes and ask Baba to tie our backpacks and everything and we pull everything. Then Briana comes up followed by Baba. We walk the rocks and we have made it up to barely one third of the rocky wall. We see barely a two feet square level place and decide to have tea and parothas.

Luckily there is still some kerosene in Briana’s butterfly stove, we fire it up and make tea that gets cold instantly and warm up frozen parothas and have lunch while standing on the dangerous cliff. After lunch we have another cup of tea by melting snow on our stove. Snow is still falling. After lunch we resume our climbing on the rocks and at two places I climb alone with all three ropes then all others climb by rope. When we come to the almost top we see now we must go down at the other side and it may take several hours and no chance of our reaching Auden’s Col today.
Our hands are numb and legs are trembling and cold is entering in our bones. Our shoes and socks are wet. We have no choice but to stop at this cliff. I and Biswas climb further to find some flat place to spend night. Luckily we find a level ground barely enough to squeeze our both tents on the sloped rock over hanging on the cliff. We throw ropes to pull our belongings and then pull Briana and Baba.
We are only wondering if we will be able to go either side but I want to leave this worry for the morning. We pitch tents and find another small level place to arrange our kitchen, that is barely two feet square. Not much room to maneuver around so we melt snow and boil rice with salt and spices in it. It is 6PM and luckily snow stops falling and it is misty now. We cannot see anything beyond ourselves and it is extremely dangerous. One misstep and we will fall hundreds of meters below.

I take out a strip of Dexamethasone tablets and give two tablets to Baba because he is all blue and black. Give one to Biswas and take one for myself. As Dr. Briana notices it, she becomes hysteric and gives me a big lecture about not to use such dangerous medicines freely.
She shouts at me, “You ought to behind the bars.”
After half hour as it is about to get dark, I find her quietly taking out two Dexa pills from my backpack pocket for herself and I hand her water bottle.
We ask Baba about his night and he says he went far to find some cave but then night fell and he was unable to find his way. He shouted and shouted but we didn’t come to his rescue. He then spent night shivering in the ices. I told him that we didn’t hear his shouts but he didn’t believe us.
I told him or to rather everybody sternly: Staying with the group is one’s own responsibility and if anyone wanders around no one will be coming to search. One man cannot jeopardize the safety of the whole group.
Biswas lets Baba to sleep in his tent again and accepts the fate of his tent, sleeping bags and belonging. We give all our spare clothes to him again to use as a cover. His toes are blue and frozen and Briana fears gangrene. We all give him our spare socks.
We fear our tents may fall down the cliff and we use all our ropes to tie both tents to the rocks for as much possible and it is slippery. Briana is touching the rock and my back can feel the end of the ledge. I make a stiff drink and begin sipping it. We have no light etc. and it is dead dark.

Briana has fever and I can hear wheezing sound coming out from her lungs. She asks me to dissolve another two steroid tablets in the liquor so they act fast. In my leftover drink I dissolve two Dexamethasone tablets and hand it to her.
She says, “Without this medicine one of us was to die tonight.”
I have a medicine kit with some essential medicines but we have no flashlight except matchsticks and lighter. Both things are in our backpacks lying outside on the rocks. Somehow I make it outside and bring in the strip of paracetamol tablets. I ask Biswas if he needs any, yes he too has fever and Baba also has fever. I hand Biswas some paracetamol and dexamethasone tablets for him and 1008-Maharaj.
I still have some water that is not frozen yet because I had the plastic bottle in my pocket; I make another stiff drink in the plastic bottle and share it with Briana. She says she is having liquor second time in her life. It hits her instantly and she falls to sleep.
It takes me a while to get to sleep and over the night we hear ice and rocks falling and crashing around us.
Somehow we fall to sleep.
============================== =====================

Arum Triphyllum
Jack of the Pulpit
It grows in Himalayas.
This is an important remedy in Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Chinese and Tibetan medical systems. Bill Clinton had hoarse throat near his second term elections. His friend Harbhajan Singh Yogi gave him a homeopathy dose of Arum Triphyllum and he was cured at that crucial time.

Jack of the Pulpit, Arum Triphyllum
Late Professor of Materia Medica in Hering College, Chicago.
Presented by Dr Robert Séror
Arum Triphyllum
Jack of the Pulpit
(Indian Turnip)
Generalities: Many boys have wandered in the low grounds where this wild turnip grows, and have taken a nip out of it, and probably remember the sensations in the mouth that they received at that time.
I distinctly remember making an endeavor to enjoy a piece of wild turnip. The tingling that is left in the lips and tongue and from the throat to the end of the nose, and wherever sentient nerves come to the surface, is astonishing.
The prickling and tingling is painful. It is a sensation that cannot be let alone. It requires a continued manipulation, and from this we gather the sensations that must be present in children when they are suffering from acute diseases and this remedy is indicated.
For, in spite of the rawness and bleeding and smarting of the parts, they will insist on pinching and scratching and picking the lips and pressing around the mouth and boring into the nose.
It has been a guiding feature in acute diseases, scarlet fever, many throat affections, diseases that take on a low type, such as continued fever and eruptive fevers.
Among other complaints, sore throats, zymotic affections, delirium and excitement, even maniacal manifestations. It is manifested to a great extent in these associated symptoms. It must be that there is in the nose and lips painful tingling that the patient persists in boring the fingers into the nose.
“the nose itches,” and the other is “he rubs the nose,”
Heat in the head, determination of blood to the head. It has also cured eruptions upon the scalp like eczema.
#10 Aug 11th, 2013, 19:20
Join Date:
Aug 2013
New Jersey, USA
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Auden's Col crossing

Day 4
We spend night at a dangerous spot in the middle of the cliffs.
I hear the loud shouts of 1008-Maharaj: Bum Bum Bhole and we woke up.
It appears that he is ok. It is intense cold and air is thin and frigid and snow is not falling anymore. Sky is clear. As I tried to leave my sleeping bag I am instantly stung by the severe cold. We all shout to each other to check if everything is ok. Everything is OK. Snow is not falling and golden morning is appearing at 6AM.
However as I am about to leave by sleeping bag I feel intense cold and I fall to brutal shivering. I feel as I am thrown in the minus 200 degree freezer. In my childhood I had malaria several times and had shivering but this one is unprecedented and I collapse back in my bag. I want to take pills of Dexamethasone and Peracetamol but I am totally dysfunctional and moreover there is no water and everything is frozen. It is such a bad shivering that I feel I am going to freeze and die. Briana is out preparing to make tea and when she checks in the tent and anticipates something is wrong with me. She touches my forehead but no fever yet and she returns. Somehow I find dexa and peracetamol pills and the bottle of raw alcohol, because that is the only liquid I have in my access and take both pills with mouthful of alcohol. My whole body is seems frozen and I feel the burning sensation of alcohol from my mouth to the stomach. In ten minutes chills are gone but I am feeling burning hot now. Briana again peeks in the tent because everybody is out in confusion about what to do. We are stuck on the cliffs in this freezing cold.
She checks again my forehead and cries, “Oh my God.”
She checks my temperature with her ear thermometer and I have 106 degree fever. Everybody is now scared of the situation.

They prepare tea and hand me a glass. Gradually medicines work and I find my fever gone. Briana checks and now I have just 102 degree and I come out to assist everybody to make breakfast and I feel normal. We make Utpam with lots of spices, curry-pattas and bear-garlic. It comes up excellent but before we finish up our breakfast it freezes.
With great efforts We pack up everything and look below. Time and again our fingers go numb and blue. Cold air is biting us and as we inhale cold air our chest is becoming cold and we feel a knife is driven into us with each inhale.
Now – how to get down this way or that way?
I and Biswas go around and I find a passable area and I descend some feet. There I find a one rupee coin. So someone was here before and that might be a good news. Somehow I climb down to about 100 feet and now is the puzzle to come to the general area above where Biswas is standing. But I am able to get only to the half of the distance and somehow Biswas comes above me and throws me the rope. It not a straight wall but about 60 degree slope so Biswas brings everybody at that point above me. First our backpacks are lowered and gradually one by one everybody comes down to me. Now we need to untie the rope to reclaim it. Since I came down and know the way so I go up and find the rope and open the knot and return back.
Somehow we all make it to safely to the glacier below and now is the steep climb on the ices to the Auden’s Col that is our next destination. My and Biswas’s hands are bleeding. Baba offers us his gunza cheroot. Briana discovers that half of sole of her shoe front is plucked and hanging. With a string she ties the front of her shoe.

We are facing a scary slope to the Col and we don’t know what to do. In this situation I tell them to prepare another cup of tea as we are standing on the firm and level ground. We make tea with snow.
There we reevaluate our luggage. We all believe that we are carrying too much. Biswas wanted to go to Ghuttu and we ask him to shed some of his luggage here because tomorrow he will be out of the ices but now he decides he will stick with us till Kedarnath. We have too much kerosene and food. We are eating frugally and not cooking much because of the intense cold and exertion. We leave one kerosene container there and many other things. Our backpacks are now about 2 kilo lighter.
We tie ropes with each other and make a chain and begin probing the ice with tent poles and begin walking up towards the ridge. Biswas is ahead of us and Briana is at the last. There comes a grand rock pillar at our right this means we are very close to the top.

Climbing one step at a time we reach at the top in one hour. Many peaks are visible from the top and below us is the dangerous Khatling glacier. Crossing this glacier is considered as the most dangerous part of the trek upto the Col. Air is whistling and push is dangerous. At all sides we can see the snows and white only. Below at the Gangotri side we can see the cliffs where we camped.
Wow so this must be Auden’s Col.
So we made it to the Auden’s Col, there is no doubt about it. We are on a very high ridge with a steep descent at both sides.
Nobody is feeling well at this height and in intense cold and we want to move down immediately. Baba is still not wearing his sunglasses and is not comfortable with the glare. My fever returns and I swallow some snow in my mouth and then take another paracetamol tablet.
We look towards Gangotri side at one last time and prepare ourselves for a long and dangerous descent.
The climb down is through a ravine filled with ice, snow and loose rocks. Very slowly we descend in the worse unstable ravine. Once a while we hear rocks falling but we are lucky. Area above us is dangerously hanging with a danger of stone fall. Finally we reach at the bottom of the ravine and find a deep crevasse. Somehow we find a narrow gap and we jump across it.
Now land is a gently incline on the Khatling glacier. Only problem is the visible and hidden crevasse and we find weather gentle. It is not very cold here. It is 1PM now. We spend lots of time negotiating our way in the ravine. Baba is compaining about his eyes although we gave him glasses but he has no habit of wearing these.
He walked without goggles and is now feeling great stabbing pain in the eyes. He is not getting relief even on closing the eyes and also had a bad night. Now he is not able to open the eyes more than a few seconds.

Due to intense descend our legs are trembling and time to time they collapse. We all are falling down without any indication or prediction and it is the time to stop today’s walk. We find a Clearwater brook and decide to make our camp there. Finally we are camping at a good place.
It is just 3PM and we set up our tents and arrange kitchen. We can see ice and rocks falling on the mountains. I place my ear on the ground and I can hear the glacier moving and scrapping the ground slowly. Nature is at its work. This Glacier makes up the Bhelanga River that meet Ganges at Tehri town but now it enters in the Tehri Dam Lake near Ghanshali.
We start making tea and find Biswas’s condensed milk can is rock solid and frozen. We make lemon, ginger and bay-leaf tea.
We all have a low fever of some sort and we avoid taking bath in the bubbling brook, water is freezing cold but weather is now bearably cold at this time. I go to the brook to wash myself up because for the two days we were either drenched with sweat or feeling cold. Biswas also comes there and we are just two.
Now I feel like taking a bath in the river so I wear my loincloth and put water on me with my cupped hands so to take bath with the minimum water. We all have already washed our socks and clothes. Our shoes are drying under the sun.
Biswas asks me, “May I ask you some question if you won’t fee bad?”
I know exactly about what he wants to talk about, I say, “Of-course you may ask me anything.”
“I see your relation with Briana is as of a friend, am I right?”
“Yes you are very much right.”
“Do you mind if I make some efforts to get closer to her? I like her. I am a pharmacist and she is a surgeon and we have a lot in common.”
Briana mentioned to me that Biswas is making some comic efforts to please her. Then I also began observing it. He was combing his hairs at each half hour and was applying colon several times a day. He was looking at his face in the small pocket mirror several times. Moreover he was shaving his face everyday in the freezing colds. It all was very amusing to me as well Briana.
I reply to Biswas, “Man, go for it and I will help you anyway possible. Initially we loved each other but I didn’t commit and then love turned into just bare friendship.”
“But I am a committing kind of a man. I will commit at the first opportunity. I always commit.”
“Yeah Man, I know it. I also know that because of her you joined us on this expedition otherwise you never had any trust in me.” – I was making all the efforts to suppress my laugher.
“Well Praveen, it appears that you are an antaryami. I admit that I never trusted you but came with you folks anyway in the anticipation that worse come worse we will get stuck in the mountains ……… and I will bring you back because I have the maps of that region before the Auden’s Col area.”
Smilingly I said, “I know Man – in Gangotri you felt that there were good chances that we will get lost and getting lost would serve double advantage for you to be a hero to rescue her and then she was to curse me and hate me for putting her life in jeopardize. You are an experienced mountaineer and went to Mount Everest till the half way.”
He replies, “In a way you are correct but I didn’t think about the things this far. I am joining you to Kedarnath for this sole objective.”
View from the Auden's Col

I begin liking Biswas for his truth telling habit and his mind is very simple and subtle. He is a pure Sagittarius and cannot lie. His problem is that he can only look at the big picture and looking at small details is out of his character. Neither I want to impose any restriction on him in any regard. Only thing I doubt is that his efforts are not working and actually Briana is a bit annoyed and wants to stay away from him.
He pleads, “So you will be helping me?”
“Yes sure.”
“But why?”
“In Punjabi we say: Jodian jag thodian – means it is rare to find a marriage full of love. So if you happen to love each other then it is sacred thing for me to do is to step aside.”
Then I see Briana coming towards us and as she sees me taking bath she starts shouting at me and returns. She forbade me to take bath or go near water because my fever is now not responding to paracetamol.
Biswas is done shaving and I use his razor and do my own shaving because my beard is biting me.
When returning I tell to Biswas, “Too bad that we made it to the Col and we are right over the Khatling Glacier, tomorrow we will be touching Bugyals.”
“Why too bad?”
“You missed the chance to rescue her but I can push her in some crevasse and you can rescue her.”
He laughs.
To amuse myself I say to him, “By the way you never asked me about how I met Briana at the first place.”
He asks, “How? But I always assumed that you met in England or America somewhere.”
“Form Dodital to Hanumanchatti, I carried her backpack and she fell in love with me.”
He says, “But I cannot carry her backpack here, mine own is like an elephant.”
I admitted, “Your backpack is humongous.”
“Yeah, but I am also carrying many lifesaving things for all of us.”
What I didn’t tell him that half of my backpack weight is Briana’s stuff. I am carrying her extra pair of shoes, one pair I already gave to Baba because his feet are small. I am carrying her two light jackets whereas I gave away my own light jackets and all spare clothes to Ashram volunteers. To reduce my weight further, I gave away some provisions also. When we begun from Gangotri, my backpack weighted 27 kilos and her was 22. Now our backpacks are about 22 and 18 kilos respectively because we discarded many things in the morning to reduce our luggage. Biswas’s backpack is now near 30 kilos now because he brought lots of things and didn’t discard much except 2 liters of kerosene.

View of Auden’s Col from our Khatling Glacier Campsite
I explain to him that I never wanted to do this trek. Putting my body in any discomfort is never my theme and I don’t love adventure although fate brings me to these situations. I knew from the beginning that doing this trail is no big deal but I was not happy about it.
He says, “And we made it. Now rest of the way is a routine tracking mission.”
I have heard about some serious dangerous about Khatling glacier and we are just on the edge of it. We have to cross the whole of the glacier. But nature is at the job all the time and different groups encounter different dangers. Who knows what is waiting for us or may be we are lucky and we will find a gentle slope to all the way to the bugyals.
At 4PM sunlight is week and sun is about to go behind the mountain and cold air is beginning to howl. We begin cooking a great dinner. We are carrying a lots of ration and it is the time to be generous with ourselves and give ourselves a favor.
Today’s menu is rice, mixed daal and packed soups. We try to cut onions but they are frozen, ginger and garlic too are frozen. Somehow we crush onions, ginger and garlic for our tadka. After having a grand dinner we take our pots to the river for cleaning.
Secretly I go alone to take a long walk on the Khatling glacier to keep my promise with Biswas so he can make a try on Briana. My other objective is to check for our further route for tomorrow.
May God bless him?
Bum Bum Bhole.

When I return I find Baba and Biswas fighting again and Briana comes running to me.
“You owe me a walk, let’s go.”
“Why are they fighting?”
“I can only guess. Biswas was telling me his life’s story and Baba was interrupting him and then they begin fighting. He shoved Baba and Baba started doing some sort of Shiva Dance the kind we see in the pictures. They both were cursing each other.’
“Wow I missed the Tandav Dance.”
“Let’s get out of here.” She drags me by arm.
Baba shouts at me and orders me to return and I return.
He comes to me and whispers to me that Biswas is after my woman
“यह नासपीटा कम्बखत तुम्हारी लुगाई के पीछे है. मैं गंगोत्री से इसे चेक कर रहा हूँ.” (This bad man is after your wife, I am checking on him from Gangotri)
“पर बाबा यह मेरे लुगाई नहीं है. यह तो मेरी मित्र है.” (Baba she is not my wife, she is a friend)
Now Baba is very angry at me.
He begins cursing us all.
I am particularly feeling that Baba has a soft spot for Briana because she is taking extra care of him. Last night she was very worried about his blue frozen toes and massaged his feet with my precious raw alcohol to save his toes from gangrene. Baba wears her jacket and shoes (he looks like a joker). At night he uses most of Briana’s clothes to make a cover or cushion for himself. Moreover Briana has promised him to take him to England once he gets his passport.

We escape his wreath and have another walk on the glacier till Briana falls in a crevasse and luckily it is not very deep and I am able to pull her out. Her hand and elbow are bleeding.
We return. Cold is again becoming unbearable and my fever is also rising and I feel a weight on my chest.
Time for a drink and more pills.
Biswas forbids Baba to sleep with him in his tent. In front of him I tell Briana to go in Biswas’s tent and Baba will be sleeping with me and she shouts at me viciously.
I raise my hands to indicate Biswas that I am keeping my promise. Then I whisper to him that if he won’t let Baba to come in his tent the Briana will feel bad. Biswas let’s Baba to come in his tent again.
Since we didn’t wear wet shoes for the rest of the day, our feet are freezing cold. We all find it hard to deal with the cold feet.
At night wind is whistling and hauling and we fear our tent may slip and fall from the ledge into the brook. It was our mistake to camp very near the river.
A very juicy dog fight erupts between Biswas and Baba in the tent.
Briana fears that they may beat each other.
Liquor helps me to fall to sleep.
#11 Aug 12th, 2013, 18:18
Join Date:
Aug 2013
New Jersey, USA
  • praveenwadhwa is offline

Trapped in Khatling Glacier

Day 5.
Briana wakes me up in the very early. She is very scared and wispers to me that some animal is around our tent and scratching it to gain entry.
I whisper back to her, “There are no animals and even there are no birds not even ravens.”
“But there is some creature, may be big foot Yeti. What do we do?”
To peek outside I unzip the tent from below and then instantly that animal pokes his head in our tent.
Briana screams very loud and I am also very scared, it is still dark outside.
Then we hear, “बच्चा, यह मैं हूँ, 1008 अवधूत. शिव का सैनिक.” (My child it is me, a soldier of Shiva)
So it is Baba, inserted his head from the bottom. I wonder he is belly down outside on the snow.
Then we hear another loud shout from Biswas, “क्या हुआ मैडम जी को?” (What happened to Madam Ji)
Then we hear someone stumbling. It is apparent that Biswas ran to our tent and then stumbled upon laying Baba, his head in our tent.
Then we hear Biswas screaming and running, “बचाओ बचाओ, कोई जानवर, कोई जानवर, कोई जानवर. खतरा खतरा.” (Help help, some animal, danger danger)
Then we see Baba’s head is no more in our tent.
Baba shouts at Biswas who is standing far away and is very scared, “चल बे, जा अपने तम्बू मे. चल भाग. मुझे लीडर से खास बात करनी है. डरपोक कही का.” (Go back to the tent, I am talking something serious with leader. Coward)
Biswas shouts, “मैं डरपोक नहीं हूँ. मैं मैडम जी को बचाने और चेताने आया था.” (I am not coward, I came to protect and inform Madam)
We open the zipper and see embarrassed Biswas going back to his tent. He is wearing a tight thermal sticking to his legs and heavy jacket and a monkey cap on his full face; due to panting a large amount of steam coming from his nostrils and mouth. As he is barefoot on the ice so he is doing Pom-Pom dance while returning. Briana falls to a fierce laugh but muffles her face in her sleeping bag.
Baba says, “कैसे आदमी के साथ मुझे रात गुजारनी पड़ती है. कार्टून.” (What type of man I spend my night with)
Then Baba says to me pointing to Briana that Biswas may murder me to elope with Briana.
I reason out with him, “अपनी बोरी को ले कर भागे गा की गोरी को ले कर भागे गा? कैसे भागे गा? कहाँ भागे गा.” (He will run with his sack or with this lady. How he will run, where he will run)
“बात यह नहीं है की कैसे भागे गा. और ना ही गोरी इसके साथ भागने वाली है.
बात यह है की वोह तुम्हारा खून कर दे गा. इसका इतना दिमाग नहीं है की कैसे भागे गा पर तुम्हारी तो छुट्टी हो जायगी, की नहीं?” (Neither lady will run with him, but he got no brain. He may murder you)
I try to reason out with 1008 but he is adamant. He is sucking ceaselessly on his gunza and cooking his own theories.
He finally says, “बच्चा तुम मेरे लिए नारदमुनी सामान हो क्यों की तुम मुझे इस नारदमुनी के राह से केदारनाथ ले कर जा रहे हो. यह गोरी मेरे लिए माँ सीता के सामान है और रावण भी हमे साथ है." (Child you are like Naradmuni to me. This woman is like Sita to me and this evil is like Ravana)
I promise 1008 that we all three will keep a hawk’s eye on the Ravana.

There is no sense in sleeping now at 5.30 in the freezing morning. I and Briana come out of the tent and make tea. Sun is beginning to come out and mountains peaks become golden and slowly the crimson glow is increasing and we watch golden triangles on the peaks becoming larger and larger and finally it is a happy morning.
I take two glasses of tea to Biswas in his tent, one for me and other for him. Upon seeing me tears fall down from his eyes.
“I guess I made a fool of myself in the morning, now she will be laugh at me forever.”
“Oh, Noooo Sir, she sent you this cup of tea herself. She is much concerned that for her sake you ran barefoot on the ice. Baba poked his head in our tent from below and we got scared.”
“Yes, that is true. This goddamed foolish Baba, this number one idiot – look at the new holes in my tent, bedding and also on Briana’s jacket and other clothes those you give him each night.”
“Yeah man, what cannot be cured must be endured. Don’t worry about her and keep trying and I think ice is beginning to melt.”
“Really, it is melting out?”
“No you idiot, ice in her heart about you?”
A smile comes on his face and he is again happy.

Weather is gently cold and we start preparing a grand breakfast. Biswas is also out and chirping with Briana because I told her to be nice with him. Baba is staring at him venomously. After washing pots we wound up our camp and begin walking. We hope to pass the glacier today. Walking turns out easy in the snow and we walk for 3 kilometers nonstop. We encounter several crevasses and cross these without much problem.
We again arrive upon ice and rubble mixture and walking gets difficult and our foot slips several times. Stones act as roller bearings under out feet. We stop to make tea but decide to make lunch because we find clean water nearby. At 2 PM we again begin walking and to our amazement we see the snout of the glacier. It is apparent that the thought of crossing the glacier won’t materialize today. We keep walking and walking on the unstable ground and keep crossing one after other crevasses. We had no choice but to move on the left of the glacier and suddenly the route ends and we face the wall of ice under us. Glacier ends at a 200 meter deep ledge of ice and then rubble below it.

Crossing Khatling Glacier
It is too much to deal with just anything. There is no way at our right, and no way at our left to go any further. Even if we make it to below somehow, there is steep rubble and ice slope for miles.
As we begin walking, Baba picks up some object and shouts, “किसी जानवर की हड्डी.”
But there are no Janwars, there are not even birds.
As Briana catches up with us and she looks at the bone, “This is a human bone, Femur bone of some adult who died not long ago.”
Wow! this is a news to us.
I tell it to Baba and he throws away the bone and begins trembling.
“What do we do with this bone?” Biswas says.
I say, “Leave it exactly form where we took it.”
I pick it from the ground and take it where Baba picked it up.
We saw a water fall half kilometer before and we decide to return there to end our day and make a camp. After descending for a day now it seems Herculean task to climb again. In one hour we reach at the fall and find some flat ground by a clear water stream and we settle there and call off our day. Who knows we may be spending more nights there because we are just deadlocked and stuck in the mountains.
Temperature is mild as we have in Delhi in the winters. We all take a bath in the stream and erect our tents and make tea and cook food. Baba is near blind due to snow white reflections. My eyes are also playing games with me because time to time I walked without sunglasses.
We establish our kitchen and erect tents. Baba is using all our surplus clothes but we pack and repack everything and carry everything for him. So I and Briana again remove each and every garment from our backpacks and throw these in Biswas’s tent for 1008. Now most the things including our backpacks smell cannabis. Most of the clothes have burn holes now.

Crossing Khatling Glacier
Baba is most apprehensive about our finding a passage out from this crater. He is jumpy and nervous. As we begin cooking, he walks back towards the fall to search for the passage. As dinner is ready and we eat early and wait for Baba and he is not here. As sun sets in the mountains at six we are worried about Baba who has not returned yet. We take a walk back towards the fall to look for him as it will be getting dark soon. Biswas has a flashlight but batteries are now very week. We reach at the ledge and no Baba here and we can see at the miles but no signs of Baba.
May be he fell in some crevasse. We shout and shout for him and then at 7PM we give up because it is getting dark and cold. Then Briana hears a faint sound because her hearing is superhuman. She says it is Baba calling us but where we don’t know. Then we spot smoke below in the ice at about the midway to the drop, and shouting in that direction. We don’t see anything in the ice there below us but notice smoke coming out from the ground. We are about to give up but then we see Baba coming out from the ground and is calling us frantically. He is standing naked and waving his smoking loincloth.
We cannot do anything because night is falling. We cannot go to get Baba, it is a definite suicide. We shout to Baba to stay there and spend the night there. Baba starts cursing us.
Helplessly we keep looking at him and as it gets dark we return back to our campsite.

Crossing Khatling Glacier
Luckily it is not viciously cold and we hope Baba will survive. Biswas discovers that Baba has left his bag and we find about 200-300 grams gunza also. His blanket, kamandal, a brass glass and a Shiva’s photo and a brass joth all are here in his sack.
Too bad for him to spend a night on the ice without his gunza supply.

Khatling Glacier
We make another cup of tea, luckily no winds and cold is not so vicious because we are at around 12000 feet.
We all sit in our tent and I and Biswas have drinks, he drinks little and only for the sake of cold but I am from Bhatinda.
Biswas goes out and when he returns again he smells of fresh perfume and Briana blink to me. Raw alcohol hits him hard and he sings many songs till his flashlight dies completely. He is also very worried about out being able to get down to more than 200 meters of the wall drop. Same situation is with Briana, she suggests us to cut our rations because we might stay holed at this place for several days.
I say, “We will cut the rations but what about kerosene?”

From Auden’s Col to Khatling Glacier steep passage on the Ices. Below the ices is the unstable 500 meter straight drop.

We sleep very well at night although we are sad for Baba.
After all he is a team member. He is definitely paying a visit to a hell.
Well – too bad for him.
Nothing we can do about it.
#12 Aug 15th, 2013, 03:30
Join Date:
Aug 2013
New Jersey, USA
  • praveenwadhwa is offline

Lucky to be Alive

Day 6.
Without any event we wake up in the golden morning at 8AM and amazingly it is not very cold and we all are feeling better. Nobody is in a particular rush to go to the rim-balcony to check upon Baba. We make tea and then begin making breakfast.
Briana is a bit concerned she says, “First let’s do something to bring out Baba.”
Biswas says smilingly, “But he must be hungry, so we must have food ready for the poor bugger.”
It is not that we are not compassionate about Baba but we gave up all the hopes and fear going there because we won’t be able to do anything at all.
Let’s see.
It is not my character to worry about things.

At nine we are getting ready to visit ledge with 3 ropes and we hear an animal like screeching sound and we all look in the east direction – to the source of the sound. There we see Baba is coming running and making noises. We run to him, he is looking very scary, his half loincloth is burned and he has many bruises and bleeding at several places. His one shoe (Briana’s shoe) is missing. Before we meet, he drops down and has epilepsy like attacks. His whole body is shaking violently.
Only solution is to give him his drug. We all wait for the spasm to end. Now he seems in a lifeless catatonic state. We lift him up and bring him to our town. He is awake but not showing any resolve to make any movement or speak. He is cold and blue, and his blood pressure is very week.
I put some gunza balls and tobacco in his cheroot and burn at top while sucking it and put it to Baba’s mouth but he makes no effort to suck it. He is looking at us in a brain dead state.
I tell Biswas to give him smoke mouth to mouth.
He shouts at me, “Not me.”
Briana says to me, “Someone got to do it, you do it.”
I make a pipe with paper and inhale the smoke from the cheroot and close Baba’s nostrils and force smoke in his mouth with the paper pipe, hoping he will suck it.
Still no result.
Half way to cheroot I feel dizzy and then run to vomit and then I pass out.
When I wake up I find myself laying next to Baba and both Briana and Biswas looking at me in worry. Baba is in sitting position and smoking. He gives me a faint smile.
I ask Baba about how is he and he says he is fine. Briana tells me that luckily no bone is broken, only bruises and concussions.
I passed away for good one hour and my head is still spinning.
I ask for a lemon tea so tea is made for all again.
Baba eats food and is walking again. I always keep a Silver Sulfadiazine tube for wounds and Biswas has a Bitadine tube, we cut off my loincloth in half and give it to Baba to wear and we use my night shirt to make bandages for him. We leave the stove running and water being hot so he can wash himself and have warmth from the steam and flames.

At 11AM, we dismantle our camp and –
Now what to do, where to go, how to go?
I give another of Briana’s shoe to Baba, it is thin walking canvas shoe. Baba wants to wear one existing shoe because that is cushy and has more treaded and on other foot he wears the second one. Now he looks like a circus joker wearing Briana’s girly jacket, two different shoes (one pink) and half of my lungi.
We walk to the ledge again and begin walking to the right side. We stop at a crevasse that is five feet wide and about fifty feet deep. In the ordinary circumstances it is easy to jump across five feet but if one of us slips then what? Slit is getting wider towards the drop. We walk next to it for half kilometers and there it narrows down to four feet. There we throw our backpacks at the other side and jump across. We return to the drop again and keep walking.
No symptoms of passage just anywhere.
“We can never make it,” Biswas says.
Briana says, “hey Pal, then look back towards the Auden’s Col. You sure you’d make it back.”
Biswas looks back at the wall from where we came from and shakes his head from side to side several times.
“I cannot even believe we came from there, it is a wall of ice, snow and rubble.”
We again keep moving to the right of the glacier. Then we find a Huge rock and under it seems we may descend over the unstable rubble with hands and feet like babies learn to get down the stairs. After a couple of hundred feet, slope is steeper and more small gravel are there.
I say, “We have no alternative but to try this way and be prepared to slip to the the bottom. If anyone slips, under no circumstance you must resist yourself. Keep slipping. Wrap some clothes over your heads to make a turban for protection and slide your hands in your jacket and slip on your back.
Problem is: how to get below the rock. There is no anchor to tie the rope. If three people hold the rope and one goes down, then what next. How others will come and then our backpacks and then rope itself.

I have an idea, as people bury half of the cycle tire in the ground to make an anchor for the rope. We should try it. We tie several elongated rocks and make a ten feet long necklace and begin digging the ice but it gets rough because ice is rock solid and also bottom rocks are glued to the ice. We decide to pile up the weight of the rocks on the necklace. It take us half hour and we tie a rope to this necklace and push it, it is holding one person’s weight.
I wrap my loincloth on my head but cushion is not enough then I wrap my spare pant over it. Biswas wears two monkey caps and then over it his jacket’s hood cap. Baba wears Briana’s shawl as his turban. Briana wears her various clothes over her head and then puts on her jacket’s hood cap.
My as well Briana’s jackets are ultralight, ultra-thin and feather filled (she brought both jackets from UK). I and Briana both wrap our upper-side with our sleeping bags and strap it up. Biswas’s jacket is very thick and cotton filled he try to wrap his sleeping bag over it but then his mobility is hindered so he settles with his canvas thick jacket. We wrap Sri-Sri-1008 with my sleeping pad in upright positions. We all decide to wear our backpacks in such a way that our backs stay half inclined.
It is the time to act as life demands action.
Would we see another day?
would we see today evening?
It is September 16th 2011, Time 13.00 IST
Just to amuse myself I draw a chart of the time.
Since Sun rose in Virgo so I guess the ascendant should be in Sagittarius. And anything that is to cause harm lies in the seventh house that is Gemini.
Wow! Mercury is in Virgo and Mercury exalts in Virgo. This means forces opposing us at this time are at their peak.
However lord of ascendant Jupiter is in Taurus and also moon is exalted in Taurus.
I guess both sides are strong. Our chances are strong and forces those may harm us are also equally strong.
What should we do now?
About 2PM ascendant may be in Capricorn and Saturn too is exalting in Libra. Moon is exalting in Taurus and then Jupiter to is there. Again it is the same situation. Both sides are strong.
Things will change at 4PM when 1st house should be Aquarius and 7th Leo and nothing is supporting us and nothing is opposing us.
It is the time to say goodbye to this place and to others also.
I take the rope and decide to go first.
Everybody shakes hands with everybody and all are tearful but I laugh it off saying it is only a quarter of kilometer below.
Briana says crying, “can’t you wait below the rock and I will join you. We will both go together.”
“No. Together is more weight on the rubble slope.”
She bursts into weeping.
Then suddenly Baba snatches the rope from me and jumps first but in a rush his bag entangles with the rope and we pull him back because he is not wearing any headgear yet. I tell Briana to use all the clothes to give him more cushion with her spare clothes.
Now I bid goodbye to all and take the rope.
Biswas says, “We should go back. We have food enough to reach Gangotri. We will get to the Col in two days. Let’s go back. After Col it is all the way down.”
I say, “I will buy you all a spectacular dinner in Kedarnath.”
Briana shouts, “You always say that ….”
I point towards the Col, pretending to notice something above there, and as they all look back and I jump and in some seconds I am below the rock and look at the 45 degree slanting unstable rubble slope. Without wasting any time I begin crawling down. Initially I do reverse crawling like babies with my backpack on my back but after hundred feet of descent my hands give up due to the sharp rocks, I am tired and numb with cold.
Then suddenly ground slips under me and I slip my hands in my jacket and begin sliding creating a landslide. I gain speed over the round rocks those are working as a roller bearing under me. To my horror I watch the huge black rock about 200 feet from me and if I strike it – It is the End for me. I turn my legs to go around the rock but I continue sliding down towards that rock but my side is facing it, making it even more dangerous for me. I have no alternative but to relax myself and turn over so my backpack creates resistance on my side.
Wow! this works and I zoom along the side of the rock, almost hitting it. Now slide becomes narrow.
We were unable to look the end of slide below but now it is visible to me. It takes a turn and now I am falling with full speed to the end of the slide and a landslide is chasing me behind. To prevent myself from striking the bottom, I dig my shoes in the rocks, I feel a severe shock but my legs bear the momentum of my fall and it works and I slow down and reach down with a shock.
A mass of rocks passes around and over me and many hit my head but luckily turban saves me from serious injury. When my slide stops I am surrounded in the dust, one rock hits my head and gives a jerk to my neck and I see flashes and thunderbolts.
I thought at that time
- That is it –
My eyes open and I see the world again in disbelief. I try to rise but I have no legs and I am again in a trauma.
My legs gone.
Then I realize that my legs are under the rubble.
Slowly I set myself free.
Bottom is still about 20 feet below.
After this point I do it with my hands and feet and get to the bottom although many rocks slip under me.
I reach at the base where a river is coming out of a hole in the ice wall. I cannot see above me and they cannot see me. I want to stay there for them to be in suspense but this is not a joke by any definition.
I cross the freezing water and run to other side so they see me that I am OK. Then I hear shouts from the above and they have seen me.
I can see them standing and looking at me but 200 meter height it too far to listen to each other. As dust settles down I see them still standing in confusion. They are looking at me in disbelief. They saw a landslide and dust and assumed the worse.
I wave my jacket for them to follow me.
I also frantically wave them to make a turn at the rock and I have no idea if they have understood it.
On the other hand I am in fear for them and cursing myself to inviting them to the danger.
I want to tell them to go back to Gangotri but they won’t listen to my voice anyway.
Either they have seen me maneuvering a turn around that big black rock or their own instincts will guide them further. I tell them to come down my way.

We landed below this rock slide over Khatling Glacier
Briana’s number is next. I see her reaching the rock with the rope, There she begins doing baby walk and then she begins slipping at about the same point where I slipped. My slip made a channel from top to bottom and she is automatically deflected around the rock in the channel.
She comes exactly the way I came and luckily she trigger lesser landslide then I did. At this moment I begin running at the landing point. Luckily I arrive there in the split second and I lie there in the channel I created with my backpack facing up. She hits my backpack and throws me a good five feet on the rubble. I shout her to stay laid and cover her head and hands for the rubble to pass over us. We wait for a five minutes for the dust to settle.
We drop our backpacks and run to inform Biswas and Baba that we both are now safe. Now Biswas comes with his huge backpack. His burden makes him slip ahead of the channel I created. He creates a bigger landslide. We both watch with horror that his slip is aimed towards that black rock. Luckily his backpacks unbalances and rolls and he changes direction. I run and make a cushion with both backpacks and then I lie at the end and he hits with great force but then as he is trying to stand up I shout him stay belly down and protract his head. Landslide hits us with force and a dust cloud and we are half covered with rocks. As I am about to stand up, one large rock hits me on the backpack and I fell down. Another almost hits Biswas. We leave our three backpacks and run to tell Baba.
Baba cuts the rope to salvage as much possible and comes down easily because he is lightweight and most of the lose gravel is already displaced by others.
We made it without a scratch.
We are covered with dust.
At the bottom we all hug each other.
Brianna sits by the river and puts her hands on her face and begins weeping.
Biswas sits beside her and pats on her shoulder in bravo.
I blink to him.
It is already 2PM. We lost much time in the morning in the wait for Baba and then other things concerning him.
I point towards Mayali Pass behind that is Kedarnath.
Baba is in ecstasy.
He begins dancing and then he sets up a small Shiva temple by the river. He lights his joth and ringing a small brass bell he sings Ganga Aartee followed by Shiva Aartee.
We all participate.

We walk over the rubble, boulders and in the muddy slushy grounds. We continue walking over the large and small rocks. Many rock begin rolling as we stepped over.
When we saw a big problem solved, another one appears. We come on the top of a waterfall and there is no way down but only to go down over it. Sides of the waterfall are the wall of the rubble and ice.
1008 shouts, “भोले बाबा, पहले हमें आसमान से गेरा और अब खजूर मैं अटकाया.” (Bhole Baba, first you threw us from the sky and then you gotten us stuck in the date-palm tree)
Biswas sighs, “We cannot go back, it is simply impossible.”
Briana reacts as usual, she sits at a rock with both her hands over her eyes and chants nonchalant: Oh my God! Oh my God and so on …………
To be continued ……..
#13 Aug 17th, 2013, 08:48
Join Date:
Aug 2013
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Back to the ices

Day 7 and 8
Day 7
In the morning we made quick tea and warmed up some leftover food from the night and wound up our camp quickly because we were restless due to falling rocks. Some rocks crashed around us. In two hours we touch the grass and bushes and we sit there and relax by the river and set up our kitchen to make lunch, weather is very nice and heavy Jackets is the thing of past now, neither I nor Briana wore these since yesterday.
As per my written notes, this general area is called as Chowki, from here here we are suppose to find various sheaphearders trails and also a bridge on the river. In this general area we are suppose to find another trail going back again in the ice mountains to Kedarnath via Mayali Pass. We don’t see any human here.
We cook both Poha and Upma and enjoy our lunch in the extremely beautifly area. We are surrounded by snowy peaks at three sides and fourth side is lush green mountains below us. We see many bears and their dropping everywhere. Much water stream crisscross this bugyal and then noisy Bhelangna River is also next to us. Kedarnath as well Ghutto both are now 3 days walk. I ask again to Biswas if he wants to go to Ghuttu but he says he wants to come with us. OK – no problem.
Place is so serene that we want to spend a night in this bugyal but first we want to identify trail going to Kedarnath. We keep walking and enjoying on the rough trail made by human feet. Time and again trail disappears and then again reappears.

We are confused now but anyway we are not taking the trial to Kedarnath today. First day of trail we are suppose to climb 1000 meters in 7 kilometers but not today. We take the trail going above, it seems that this trails is being used by people and we assume it is going to Kedarnath. It is 1PM. Below we see a log bridge over the river and now I am assured that we are on the correct trail to Kedarnath.
We find a small clean water brook, I believe that we won’t be finding anymore brooks because the trail is about to touch the mountain and we are at the edge of bugyal. We decide to make our camp here. It is 2PM and plenty of sunlight.
We put up our tents and establish kitchen and then start washing our clothes. I give a RIN bar to Baba for his laundry. Water is freezing cold and it is difficult to remove soap from the clothes but somehow we do our whole pending laundry here and spread our clothes on the low stunted bushes. We even wash out boots.

After laundry I and Briana empty out our backpacks and spread out everything in the sunlight to make an inventory and discard anything that we may not need anymore. We still have about 2 liter of kerosene, just enough for three days. Many noodles packets are remaining and we will only keep 10 only. About half kg of daal, phoa and sooji remaining and we will keep it all. All parothas we already ate long ago. We have surplus sugar and either we can discard it or make Halwa. We used mostly our provisions, it is not because Biswas avoided using his stuff, but we always aggressively pursued to use our things to lighten ourselves as fast possible.
As we are about to cook, to tease Biswas, Briana says to me, “I want to eat some vegetables and too bad we didn’t carry any.”
Biswas goes to his backpack and brings out his vegetables.
He says, “Actually I was embarrassed to bring these out thinking you may laugh at me.”
“Biswas, you are a Godsend, believe me.”
We make cauliflower curry and rice.

From here we can see colorful meadows below us, as we are touching the green line but as we go below many species of wildflowers and herbs grow. Had we gone to Ghuttu, we were to enjoy our journey but we are going to Kedarnath. It is a designated trail territory and local people and sheepherders move around here. Anyway we haven’t seen any other human after our first day from Gangotri.
I sneak out for a walk because I want to give Biswas some time with Briana as I promised him so he vents out his desires and does not feel that he wasted this trip, as he is with us only for this goal. Chance of his success is not even one million to one, but actually I need an excuse to be with myself. I am my own best friend. It is 6PM and I keep walking on the rough ground of the bugyal for long distance. I see huge moon on the sky and whole meadow is lit up at this early. I arrive at the Bhelanga River and sit on the rock for long time and remember my summers in British Columbia.

Views of Chowki Bugyal from Masar Top
When I return I find a usual scene. Biswas tried to communicate with Briana and Baba poked his nose, and this made Biswas very angry. But this time they challenged each other and tried to beat each other and Briana intervened. Upon seeing me they all begin fighting with me.
Briana is angry that I left here alone to see all this.
Baba is saying that Biswas hit him and Bisway says that Baba bit him first.
I listen to them in utter amusement while sitting on a rock.
When they see I am not doing anything about it, they again rush to each other to fight but Baba changes his mind and comes to me.
He shouts, “इसे बचा लो, मैं इसे अभी भसम करता हूँ.” (Save him, I am going to burn him now)
“इसका भूत फिर सब को तंग करेगा.” (Then his ghost will bother everyone)
“करता रहे, मुझे क्या?” (Who cares)
“बेचारे मुसाफिरों के चूल्हे उल्ट पलट करेगा, उनके बर्तन पटके गा.” (Poor strangers, their stoves he will mess up, will throw their utensils)
“मुझे क्या फरक पड़ता है.” (Doesn't make a difference to me)
“रात को सबको हैरान करेगा, परेशान करेगा.” (Will create problems at nights for others)
“करता रहे.” (let him do it all)
“अरे बाबा, मैंने सुना है वैसे ही यह जगह भूतो के लिए कुख्यात है. ये खास जगह.” (already this place is infamous for ghosts)
I say this because Biswas told me that Baba is very scared of ghosts.
“चलो ठीक है, आज बखशा पर कल नहीं बचेगा.” (okay, then I will forgive him but tomorrow he won't be saved)
I feel the worry in Baba’s tone, his forehead is now wet with sweet.
I shout, “इस ख़ुशी में आज हलवा बनाया जायगा.” (We will cook halwa at this happy occation)

After Halwa, we gather our clothes, most are dry. We pack every eatable lying lose because bears are attracted to the food and retreat in our tents. Weather is great and vicious cold days are now past.
At night we hear shouts of Baba when he goes out to take a leak.
He runs back to the tent shouting – Bhoot – Bhoot – Bhoots are here.
We have a good laugh and then again fall to sleep.

Day 8.
We all had a great sleep. After breakfast we brace ourselves for some brutal climb to Masar Tal. Climb begins instantly along our brook on our left. Later on we discover that this same brook is fed from Masar Tal. On the way we can see Khatling glacier and all the landmarks we walked. From this height this dangerous glacier looks innocence, harmless and beautiful. Without talking we keep climbing. Our hearts are pounding. Biswas is in bad shape due to the amount of weight he is carrying.

After one hour, it is too much for us and we decide to make tea and then we resume our 45 degree climb over the unstable boulders. As sunlight is intensifying, ice is melting under out feet and it is becoming very slippery. We cross a ridge and then cross another. Views of Khatling Glacier are spectacular and we can figure out the location of Auden’s Col but it is behind the other mountains.
We are passing through huge fallen rocks, as usual Baba is gone ahead of us since his is not carrying very little luggage and a blanket. As we make a turn and pass a huge rock we want to rest. To scare Baba we walk behind the huge rock and sit there to relax. We stay there for half hour and then see Baba running back to find us. He passes us and keeps running and shouting. He gets to the point where he can see several kilometers of descent to Chowki meadow area but don’t spot us.
He shouts, “वापिस चले गए मुझे छोड़ कर.” (They left me and returned)
He starts weeping.
He looks at the sky and shouts:
भोलेनाथ, मुझे क्यों अकेला छोड़ दिया. (Bholenath, you left me alone)
बर्फानी बाबा कुछ करो. (Hey Shiva, the God of ices, do something)
अब मैं क्या खाऊंगा? (Now who will feed me?)
अब मैं कहाँ सोऊंगा? (Where do I sleep now?)
Then he walks a bit further to look for us.

We regret doing this and know that he will curse us. We secretly come out of the rocks and quietly resume our walk. After some distance we shout and then we find him running towards us.
He asks in anger, “तुम कहाँ चले गए थे.” (Where did you all go?)
“हम तो यहीं हैं, तुम कहाँ चले गए थे.” (We are here, where did you go?)
Calm fully he replies, “हम भी यहीं हैं.” (I am also here)
He walks behind us and is very confused now.
We are hungry but want to get to the Masar Tal that is now about 200 feet below us. These 200 feet are a unstable boulder zone but it is a peace of cake for us after crossing the Khatling glacier. We reach at the Tal and fresh snow is everywhere.
We find many safe flat placed around the crystal clear small lake. There is this small flat climb and you get a little flat ground. It was very cloudy, cold and misty and we cannot see the whole Tal.

We make a camp here. All over are the symptoms of other people’s camps. We see some discarded chips wraps and plastic bottles etc.
It is intense cold again and we make lots of food so to last for dinner time also. We walk to the lake and stay there for half hour but in the worse cold staying here is getting rough so we return to our tents. Area is full of rubbles and getting lost in the mist is easy and I have heard travelers getting lost here and had difficulty to find their campsites.
We hear noises and find a large group of people arriving from Kedarnath, they are going to Ghuttu. They are the first people we have seen after several days. We exchange pleasantries and share information. They are amazed that we are coming from Gangotri. They crowd us and keep asking us for our experience. We share tea with them. We are their heroes.
In the evening, nobody wants to cook so we only boil noodles and retreat in our tents. Air is heavy and snow begins falling again. It is accumulating on our tents and walls are now leaning down with its weight. Actually it is lucky that we are having Snow and temperature will stay near zero but not go below. We may see a hell tomorrow.
We all have restless sleep.
#14 Aug 19th, 2013, 19:20
Join Date:
Aug 2013
New Jersey, USA
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Mayali Pass Crossing

We hear noises and find a large group of people arriving from Kedarnath, they are going to Ghuttu. They are the first people we have seen after several days. They will be halting here for the night. Their worse journey is over and now is the all the way 3-4 days descent to Ghuttu. They are 7 people, 1 guide, 3 porters and one cook. They are loaded with mountain and high altitude gears including ropes and harnesses etc. etc.
We exchange pleasantries and share information. They are amazed that we are coming from Gangotri. They crowd us and keep asking us for our experience. They share tea with us. We are their heroes.

Now atmosphere is full of noise and camera flashes. Some have songs running on their cellphones as they are carrying extra batteries.
In the evening, we warm our food to eat and then retreat in our tents. Air is heavy and snow begins falling again. It is accumulating on our tents and walls are now leaning down with its weight. Actually it is lucky that we are having Snow and temperature will stay near zero but not go below. However we will be facing a hell tomorrow.
We all have restless sleep.

Day 9
In the early morning we make our breakfast cum lunch in the below freezing temperatures and in the knee deep snows. We eat breakfast and pack out lunch. Area is full of noise as other group is also ready to leave. They all come to us for consultation about Khatling glacier. They will be making a base camp in Chowki area and leave their most of the weight and take packed lunch to explore Khatling glacier for one whole day and try to walk as far as possible before returning to their base camp.
We are eager to get out of here. This general area is not offering any invitation to stay further. It is tasteless, unstable and bare. All over are the landslides and lose rocks but we already saw worse over the Khatling Glacier.
Sunrise is extremely beautiful, mountains turn to crimson gradually. As sun is rising we see widening orange band on the peaks or rather in the whole sky. We are overlooking the whole Chowki valley from this very high place.

We are wondering about which way to go. This group shows us the way that we must climb the almost vertical cliff next to the Tal to the Masar Top. We begin our climb on the snow and ice and it is slippery. Luckily I and Briana are carrying about half the weight from what we begun from Gangotri. Poor Biswas is crushed under his still heavy backpack. Whole way I and Briana persuaded him to discard some of his belongings but he stubbornly thinks that we may need something from his warehouse in the emergency that is always lurking around us. Something may come handy and something that he may discard and we may later require it to save our lives.

We keep climbing over the boulders and more boulders and over the snow and ice. Under the snow there is a thin icy film on most of these boulders and although we are walking in knee deep snow still our feet is slipping under us. We are panting and steaming from our noses and mouth. We arrive at the Masar Top at 9AM.
And Wow! What a spectacular view, a memory of a lifetime. This view alone is worth this travel and nothing else can come close to this. What you see is the valley that we cannot see from Masartal. Whole Chowki Valley and Khatling Glacier is visible. Right below us is the Masar Tal.

And in the other direction is a huge snow land something from some other planet. At far left we are seeing the other side of the Kedarnath Peak also called Kedarnath Dome that people from the Kedarnath can never witness. In between us and Kedarnath Dome are a huge snow field and a glacier below and we must cross this glacier. It is a vast snowfield and we have to cross a long distance over it.
We lose all senses upon seeing this spectacle. When we ultimately arrive there and walk across it, we cannot see the size of it at that time. It can only be witnessed from the Masar Top. One side we see sparkling green Chowki area and Khatling Glacier far below and other side is the Kedar Dome and a huge snow field waiting for us. This is the last time we will be seeing the greens of Chowki area or may be the last time in our lives. One undertakes these kinds of journeys only once in the lifetime.
We want to stay here forever so we halt to make tea and eat.

After that we begin descending over a steep landslide area. Luckily we find footprints of the group whom we met and initially we don’t walk on the glacier but on the edge of the landslides. After that we walk over stable glacier with proper snow cover. Footprints of the other groups are now lifesavers for us.
Once you traverse through the landslide hill to avoid the glacier, then you have to cross those snow fields and after that you have a proper climb through snow and that’s how you reach Mayali Pass. We keep walking on the easy climb over the glacier. It is white every where. Luckily it weather is cloudy so your eyes are safe from the ultraviolet flashes. We can afford walking without the goggles.
Wow we cross snowfields by 1PM and there we stop at the ice to warm up our food and now it the steep climb to Mayali Pass. Group told us that we may need ropes and we have about 100 feet of rope left, probably well enough. But before the climb we arrive on the ground with cones of ice protruding from the soft snow.

I step my foot and instantly slip in the waist deep snow slush. We again take out poles from out tents and I go forward slipping and sinking at several places and find a way dragging the rope for hundred feet. There I tie rope to a ice pillar and Briana makes it first and then Baba. As Biswas is coming he slips deep in the snow and vanishes. Then he reappears and as he is on the firm ground I tell him to first tie his backpack and we drag it and then he comes walking and slipping. It takes two hours and it is already 4 PM. We are wet and find a place to camp but water is not available only snow. Melting this much snow may cost us all of the kerosene we have. We keep climbing and it is getting tough and rough again at this very high altitude. We arrive at Mayali Pass at 5.30PM.

We don’t see much view due to the clouds. Pooja samagri is scattered here and there on the top and it appears that guides etc do pooja and pray here to safely cross the glacier below that we already crossed. It’s almost close to 5500 meters, exhausted and wet. Our breathing is very heavy and hard due to cold and thin air. We cannot stay at the pass due to wind and non availability of water and intense cold. We rest here till 6PM and then begin steep descent.

Descent is worse than hell, extremely steep in the snow. We are tired and our legs are trembling. Time to time we each buckle down without any indication. At a flat place I stop walking and tell everybody to prepare for the camp. I fear if we keep going we will only get hurt or break our ankles. Several time we all slipped but luckily no mishap yet and we cannot extend our luck. Vasuki Tal is about 2-3 hours away and is not visible.
We clean snow to erect our tents and arrange kitchen in the very small sloped flat area. We start both stoves and melt water to drink and wash our faces and then make tea and then dinner. We use our last of the sooji and poha and to make upma and phoa. Food comes up nice and hearty.

Nothing else to do here on this steep slope in the snows but luckily view opens up and we witness spectacular scenery of the other side of Kedar Dome. I make myself a stiff drink and that is all remaining in the bottle. Another weight reduced.
We go to sleep but near morning Briana wakes me up because 1008 and Biswas are again fighting and she believe that this time something serious may happen.
Baba woke up and went out to take a leak around 4 in the morning but ran back in the tent saying there are ghosts and pishas outside.
He asked Biswas to give him some papers from his backpack to burn as he believed that ghosts stay away from fires. Biswas refused to give him papers saying that those are his valuable maps.
1008 shouts, “किस काम के नक़्शे. तू खुद तो पढ़ नहीं सका इन्हें.” (What good are your maps, you cannot even read these)
Biswas says, “हाँ मेरे काम के हैं, यह दुसरे रस्ते के हैं. मुझे यह रखने हैं.” (I want to keep these)
“अरे तुज्हे तो सुब कुछ ही रखना होता है. अपनी बोरी के नीचे दब चूका तू. फिर भी अक्कल ना आयी.” (You must keep everything)
Biswas yells at him, “मैं नहीं देता तुम्हे अपने कागज़. लीडर से मांग लो.” (I wont' give you these maps to burn, ask leader for papers)
“अरे लीडर के पास अगर एक भी कागज़ होता तो वो कब का फूक चुका होता.” (If he had papers, he would have burned'em long ago)
Fight gets intense and Baba shouts, “तुजे अभी भसम करता हूँ.” (I will burn you right now)
Biswas shout at him, “उठा के पटक दूंगा. मन मन की बोरियां उठता हूँ मैं.” (I will throw you on the ground. I can lift heavy weights)
“अरे कभी तू अपनी बोरी के साथ पहाड़ से लुड़का तो फुटबॉल की तरह ठप्पे खाता नीचे पहुंचे गा.” (You will fall from the mountain with your sack)
“एक दूंगा लेट जायगा.” (I will give you one good one)
Sri Sri 1008 comes out of the tent and chants loudly Shiva Tandav Strotam and begins dancing.
Biswas shouts, “अब कहाँ गए भूत.” (Now where are the ghosts)
“इति श्रीरावण- कृतम् शिव- ताण्डव- स्तोत्रम् सम्पूर्णम् – बच्चू अभी तू भसम हो जायगा.” (Reciting mantras)
At this point I run out of tent to pacify them. Due to seclusion and living in the ices in the high altitude, devoid of basic necessity is taking toll on us all. We all lost weight and our all jaws are bleeding due to scurvy catching us on all. Even lemon does not work. In the bugyal I was so desperate to eat green things, I ate lots of grass there. I suggested them also to eat but they refused. When I walked to the river along there I plucked the roots of plants and ate those roots. Probably that is the reason my condition is a bit better than others.
Everybody is cranky and kooky in the ices and long isolation from the world. Everybody is out to find some excuse to fight and vent off. Briana too is nagging and quarreling with me at any given chance. We did this Kedarnath trek in the reverse way whereas all trekkers do it from Kedarnath to Ghuttu that is all downhill from Mayali Pass. Rarely anyone do this backbreaking climb from Khatling glacier area.
It is morning anyway and we do not go back to sleep but make tea and breakfast.

Day 10.
It takes 2 hours to cross the snows and ice hell and then begins boulders. Boulders are getting smaller and incline is turning in to a sloped meadow. We arrive upon orange and grassy sloped meadow, it is lucky to see any vegetation again. There is no path or trail, we are simply descending and don’t know where we are going. In the grass we find trails and get lost and then return and then again get lost. This area seems like the the outer boundary of the cattle trails, Finally we find a well defined trail and walk over it and see Vasuki Tal and arrive there at 10AM. We have no water and we are extremely thirsty and there is no snow to chew.

We rush to Vasukital, we are at approximately 4000 meter height. Now we see lots of grass, meadow flowers and gentle slope. Lake is a big in India standard; it is about 1 kilometer long. We see a group of people here who just arrived from Kedarnath and are beginning to install their tents.
Vasukital is a very serene and very spiritual place, beautiful settings, no snow around this place. Small trails around. Some people take full pradakshina of Vasukital, its sacred for them.

We drink water from the Tal and then using water from here we cook lunch here and use last of our rice and tomato puree. After eating lunch I decide to give away my tiny one liter pressure cooker and other pots to the other group but Biswas wants the pressure cooker so he takes it.
I give away my other pots. I give them away all our leftover kerosene, spices, sugar and all because we are close to Kedarnath now.
We again take inventory of our belongings and I and Briana discard all our those clothes burned by Baba’s cheroot, we or rather he won’t need these anymore. My backpacks is now barely 16 kilos and Briana’s is about 10 kilos and most of the weight is tent, sleeping bags and our jackets. I discard my jacket also but Biswas wants it and requests me to keep carrying it till Kedarnath for him.

Kedarnath is 4 hours away.
We begin our last climb from this pretty valley of Vasuki Tal to get to the other side to Kedarnath. Grass accompanies us to this whole climb. We climb slowly in our luxury and arrive at the top of slope in 3 hours.
Suddenly Kedarnath is visible and views are spectacular.

We make tea in Biswas’s pot with the leftover kerosene in Briana’s butterfly stove, and there we see another group and I give them away our remaining tea, coffee and other things. We begin our extremely steep descent walking next to Mandakini River. It is the same river that is in Kedarnath and then in Gaurikund. We walk midst green grass and bushes in the lush green Kedarnath Valley.
Below is the famous Temple town of Kedarnath.
Bhasmasur is in ecstasy and shouting and chanting Shiva’s many names.
To be continued -
One last part.
#15 Aug 20th, 2013, 11:17
Join Date:
Apr 2011
mumbai, india
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Amazing narration and Kudos to your spirit,I felt as if I am travelling with you I just read your full log in one go...Good that you had 1008 for company,he was 100% entertainment material.

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