Stock Khangri Trek part 4
All experienced trekkers know descent is worse than ascent especially in the snow. This was no exception. We held hands as we started our descent from the summit and crossed the ridge with utmost care. My head started throbbing at that height and I could barely keep up with their speed of walking. I signalled them to go ahead and leave my guide behind with me. I cursed, cribbed that I could not walk anymore.
Stan Bhai very patiently said Well, don’t you want to go home? I want to.” I stopped talking and walked holding his hand. We decided to slide for a certain distance. A good 50mt distance we slid, however as the path was too steep and ended in a sharp fall, could not continue. Heavy sideward steps, one hand held by Stan and the other gripping the ice axe I walked heavily on the snow, occasionally screaming out as my legs went deep in the snow.
Two hours on this crazy snow, my toes froze, ankle hurt and knees ached. Getting back home was the only hope. We walked till almost the sun rose high up. Upon reaching the glacier, we took off the crampons and headed towards the base camp slowly. A fellow trekker joined us as he was dizzy and could barely stand. We pushed him along, rested once in a while. There was a stream passing by, we could see ice blocks standing still, flowing water under the glacier we walked upon. Just the three of us walking in the middle of nowhere.
I wondered to myself why I had not noticed all this in the night when I walked! After 3.5 hours of gruesome walk on the snow, I saw the base camp at a distance, people running around, my life pumped back into me. All the pain vanished and smile set in. The pride and happiness overshadowed all the pain and difficulty I faced in the past 12 hours. At 11.15 am, I was welcomed with a tight hug by Shiva Uncle, team leader from Tiger Adventures and he said “you are one hard nut to crack!” The entire team hugged, congratulated, some asked for a party and we all rejoiced. However, everything went in the background. I still wondered “I dint know I had it in me and look at me and what I am capable of!”
I rested for the whole day, just popping my head out for lunch and dinner. The next day all of us packed our bags, tents and winded up the journey with a picture with the entire team. We started at around 9.30am from the base camp and walked down to Stok village from where all this started. As we walked down the path we climbed just a couple of days ago, we relived the entire trek. Clicking pictures, making merry, singing songs, bidding goodbye to the mountains, clear blue sky, living beings in the wild, people we met on the journey. We wished “Julley” to the trekkers trying to go up to the base camp and wishing them luck. Stok was waiting for us with carriages which dropped us back to the hotels where I ended this amazing journey of rediscovering myself.
Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, and often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins.
Anjali V. Bhat, Mysore