Roopkund, a trek that's high on adventure
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
How it happened: As far as I remember it was end of April and summer was in full swing. Going to office is so tough in a city like Hyderabad and especially around 11'o clock. Both the traffic and sun will suck the juice out of you. I was there in office around the same time, cursing the traffic, biting my teeth as hard as I can, opening and closing my water bottle cap as I was going to fill it.
While going to pantry, I saw my friends filling out something seriously. Curious about what made them to unlock their work stations at that point of time, I asked them what they were doing. They were actually planning a himalayan trek in October and it's Roopkund, a high altitude trek in Uttarakhand, India. One of them said, "We were just about to ask you on this and there are just five seats left, will you be joining us?". I said yes instantly. And it happened, the trek dates were confirmed with a team of six namely Nikhil, Jana, Pradeep, Vajresh, Brahma and myself in on this adventure.
The plan: Except few videos that have been coming through some whatsapp groups, we didn't really think about this trek as we've booked it months before. But I believe attempting this trek in May would be much difficult with frequent hailstorms and heavy snow fall some times.
Of six of us, Nikhil has previously done a trek before. It's Chanderkhani pass, a trek in Himachal Pradesh. For remaining five of us, I think it's our first time we were boarding a domestic flight. So, obviously Nikhil has come up with a plan, like what places we gonna cover, how we will reach base camp, flights, trains and all. We booked all to and fro journeys based on his plan.
The boarding day: Since it's our first time boarding a flight (for five of us), we did so many things at airport. Took pictures, lost boarding pass, searched it everywhere and finally found it in our own pockets. We reached Delhi by 7PM and took a cab to old Delhi railway station. From Delhi we'll reach Kathgodham the next day morning and Kathgodham is nearest railway station to our base camp, Gwaldam. Coming from South India, even smallest breeze coming from windows is making us freeze. How we gonna tolerate that mountain breeze is a big question for us now?
Day 1, the reporting day: We reached Kathgodham early morning. We met our fellow trekkers there with whom we were in touch since last few days. While we were introducing ourselves, the local cab drivers came running to us. Bargaining was a tough job there, that too in places where you've never been. We finally took a cab to Gwaldam. It's a 6-8 hours journey in full ghat road. The journey was so amazing with forests and river streams everywhere. It'll just pull a child out of you and make you smile for nothing. By 3 PM we reached our base camp and finished our formalities, got a tent for next two days stay. Gwaldam is a nice little town in the district of Chamoli with its stunning views of mountains all around. We were almost at the end of the town with only few houses scattered here and there. We went for a walk to nearby tea stall from where we can see Gwaldam town right below. At base camp we met people who completed their trek and they shared their experiences with us. We have been introduced with all new terminology here like mountain sickness, acclimatisation, terrains like that. At that time I was not sure I'm gonna use same words when I describe about these mountains to someone else.
Day 2, Acclimatisation day: We had a 5'o clock wake up call and everyone is aware what's gonna happen. It was damn cold out there and people were moving with their tumblers. We never went through schedule properly(except Nikhil) and thought they just woke us up for a tea. But later we got to know that we should go on a morning jog. We never went on early morning jog, at least we never tried to wake up at this point of time in Hyderabad. We don't just want to come out of our sleeping bags. But you can't escape this because camp leader will come and check every tent. We went on jog and bit of exercise. From that point, for the first time I've seen a snow capped mountain range with my naked eye.
As soon as we were back we were given breakfast and all set for acclimatisation walk. We were taken to a near by hill for a walk with some luggage in our bags. We introduced ourselves to each other here. Here we became a batch of 27 people all hailing from Gujarat, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ghaziabad, Delhi and Haryana.
Day 3, Rock climbing and Orientation: This day almost the same except the thing that, acclimatisation was replaced with rock climbing & rappelling and our afternoon nap was replaced with orientation. In orientation we've been given instructions and dos and don'ts throughout our trek. We've been told about how weather and terrains vary in this trek.