|Upper Takdung glacier in Miyar valley. Lotus and Neverseen towers.|
Always inspired by the Himalayan stories, I finally had a chance to visit them this August to September. We had an amazing gang with the strong youth Cyrill, the wise man Elias, the wild cowboy Aras and myself for some comedy value. Even though the weather didn't play along, we still had some great climbing days with jokes flowing in spades and good time guaranteed.
We were helped a lot by Prem and his team from Potala adventures. They organized all the transfers, horsemen and the cooks as well as accommodation in all the places we stayed. Their help made our trip a breeze in terms of the logistics. Highly recommend their services!
What follows is a bunch of photos and probably way too much text, so RAYOR :)
|Cyrill, Elias and Aras on the way from Delhi to Manali. Landslide time.|
|Fruits and veggies|
|Let's see if it fits.|
|Driving to the hills. Rohtang Pass.|
Urgos itself is a pretty village, already at 3.5k altitude, yet due to the fact that it is at similar latitude as Tunisia, supports many fields for growing vegetables. When we were entering the valley, it was the season of sweet peas and on the time of leaving, they were harvesting cabbages. The people, though hard working, look content with their life and generally happy. Every inhabited valley has a highschool and even small villages, a few hours in the hike still have very well maintained primary schools.
|Urgos hosts strong women and girls. The girl in the picture carries a sack of peas which was later weighted to be 40 kg.|
|Some upcoming cricket stars also made Urgos their home.|
|Up the valley|
Two days walking from Urgos with support from some pretty mules saw us reaching the base camp, right below a few nice pieces of rock and some boulders. Across the river looms the king of the valley - Rachu Tangmu, which hosts a few mixed climbs up its face.
|Dinner in the making|
|Toro peak with the line we took.|
|The three Ogres on the way to Upper Takdung|
|The approach was for sure beautiful|
|But not always too fun|
|And sometimes even hard work.|
|But it paid off at the end.|
Already at the entrance of the glacier we saw many very nice lines to be climbed and we picked one on the unclimbed south-east face of Lotus peak. After reaching the upper glacier, we found some flat spots, set in for the night and tried to get our psyche up which wasn't easy since the weather had been getting progressively worse with every day. On the planned summit day we woke up to gloomy skies and snow, so we called the climb off. Later on that day it cleared for a bit, so we went for a walk, hoping to tick the hill, which has been called Mt Maudit.
Aras on the lower part of the Mt Maudit
Some beauties across the icefield
In the end, it was only me and Cyrill who were going up the upper fields of Mt Maudit, others saving themselves for the granite. Cyrill was going strong and I was panting in his footsteps uphill. At one point when I thought I am about to catch up with him, I heard a high-pitched metallic noise, as if a carabiner was falling. I then realised that I was struggling to keep my balance and noticed that the mount of my right crampon had broken.
This got me rather scared, so I retreated to the last ledge, where I made a makeshift holder out of the prussik I had in my pocket. It wasn't too stable, so going up was out of the question for me and Cyrill agreed to join me on the way down. Moreover, he was kicking some serious real-deal-old-school steps for me so I wouldn't have the risk of rolling of my crampon. Thanks mucho, dude! This made a scary situation into a rather mellow one. Few hours later, we were brewing more tea and hoping for a starry night.
|Getting close to the ridge.|
|Looks good! Go time!|
|Beginning of the Lotus|
|Rather Psyched for the pretty wall above|
|Aras loving the cracks|
|Cyrill belaying with Mt Maudid behind him.|
|The wise man and the cowboy|
|Aras dispatching his pitches|
|The Fun-Meter - Oh Yeah!|
|Elias in the Wonderland.|
|LT boys psyched|
|And he's there!|
|Elias and Cyrill topping out|
|Mahindra backside - something for the next time|
|Last few meters|
When we reached the summit we saw the a huge bad weather front was coming right at us and we had to go down fast. It started snowing on the second rappel, then it turned to sleet, then to a complete downpour with temperatures dropping again and as we approached the ground.
|Wise man getting serious|
|Happy to be down.|
|The line we took up Lotus.|
We went back to the base camp to recharge, but the weather kept us from climbing for a while. Did some reading, on a bright half-day we would go and boulder on the nearby rocks.
We even made an attempt on the Iris peak once, but the snow and wet rock made us turn around.
|We were still climbing at this time, but soon turned around|
|Guess who slept most comfy.|
|Aras taking us through the glacier|
|Will it be dry enough?|
|King of the valley|
|Elias on the midpart|
|Samosa for lunch!|
|Last pitch to Iris|
|Last summit! Celebration!|
|The line we took|
|Midway camp on the way down|
|The cooks, the horsemen, the drivers, the Urgos chaps - Big thanks to all of you!|
|Our cook Rovi lifting a magic stone near the temple of Udaipur|
|Struggles of civilization|
|Sometimes things got a bit blurry|
|But all in all times were good!|