Have you ever made Rotis at the height of 3600 meters? At Kuari Pass Trek
It was my Day 3 of Pangarchulla-Kuari Pass Trek. We were at the campsite of Gelaghad (3,600 m), one of the most intimidating campsites I have ever been to till now.
It was around 6 pm. We had just come back from our hike to Kuari Pass, me and 8 other Bengali men who I was accompanying on the trek.
It was friggin cold, around 1 degree Celsius. Rather than going to my cold, solitary tent I thought of stepping into the kitchen tent. The heat from the cooking stove had made it warm and snugly.
I broke a chitchat with the staff who were working so swiftly and efficiently preparing dinner for all of us.
Since I wasn’t really being helpful to them sitting idle in the tent, I volunteered to make Rotis for dinner. Plus working up my muscles to make those Rotis would only make me warmer, I thought.
Had I been in the kitchen at my home, I would have nagged about this task. But it was so much more fun at the campsite.
When all the food was prepared, I saw them taking out the first roti and a bite from each dish in the name of God and offer it to the birds. I was impressed by their humility and gratitude for food.
The next morning, it was still dark at 5 AM when we began our climb to Pangarchulla Peak. It would have been my maiden peak if I succeeded.
And, I did.
No climb is ever easy. Neither was this. Never have I ever seen so many boulders in my life. It’s like all the rocks on the earth had been deliberately placed to make our climb difficult than ever.
It was not the only test of our endurance, but also a test of our patience. We were pestering our Expedition leader Wakeel with desperate question ‘Are we there yet?’.
The views of peaks like Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Hathi Godha and Dronagiri we’re sure a great booster.
We were looking at each other expecting that any moment one of us would break and ask us to stop.
Thankfully, no one did.
At 12:30 pm, we were finally at the top. The view from the top was a dichotomy of nature. ‘Kahi dhoop, kahi chhaon’. While snow was falling over our heads, the rest of the place shine brightly in the sunshine.
The weather was getting worse. So we began to.descend in no time. It was a long way back to our campsite, colluded by fog and hurdled by big boulders.
The route to our new campsite, Tali, was via Gelghad, the place where we camped previous night.
It was around 5 pm and already dark when we reached Gelghad. And it would still take us 3-4 hours to reach Tali. We took out our headlamps and began our journey to Tali.
It was all pitch dark around us. But walking through the jungle in dark was thrilling and again my maiden. We were all walking coherently in a line.
As soon as we reached Chitrakantha, half way of our journey, we found two guys from Kitchen staff waiting for us with a kettle of tea and biscuits. They even offered us to carry our backpacks.
Finding them there was a moment of Hallelujah. What else can make you feel better after walking for more than 15 kilometers? I had more respect and love than ever for those guys.
I was touched by their generosity and concern for us strangers who they may never see again.
Mountains do bring people together. Among many things which mountains teach us, compassion was one. It was amazing to see all of us sticking together as a team looking after each other.
That day brought us closer than ever. First, it was our expedition to the peak. It was an encouragement to each other that kept us all going. The second was the trekking in the night that bound us as a team.
I high-fived all my team members as we reached the camp in the night by 9. It was the best experience of my life.
By Dhaaran Kukreja
A gypsy with a heart of a writer, Dhaarna has just stepped into the world of trekking and she is falling in love with the mountains with one Himalayan trek at a time. When not trekking, she can be found talking and thinking about the food all day long. She is also a cinephile.