Joined: 13 Jul 2004
|Posted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 7:02 am Post subject: Roop Kund - a mystery lake in the Himalayas
|HISTORY: RoopKund becomes famous when large number of Human bones was reported. After that explorers and scientists have tried to explain the mystery but it helped in deepening the mystery rather solving it. Two theories have emerged and one is that these bones are of Gen.Zorawar Singh of Kashmir and his men who were coming back after raiding China-Tibet in 17th Century. Second opinion, which is also believed by locals, is that large numbers of people visiting Homkund were trapped in avalanches and snowstorms and got killed. Not even a single man survived to tell the true story.
It is situated in CWM of Trishul and this is again a positive factor for unpredictable change in weather in Himalayas. At 5025 Mtrs. I have very good Idea what and how it could have happened as I myself gone through very tough time there.
PHASE - (1) It was my plan to see Roop Kund solo. Although solo trekking in Himalayas is not advisable but one can not help if he could not find any partner. Specially in a society where scales to judge about good or bad is purely MONEY. But last minute change happened and my younger brother Mr. Noel Ivon decided to go with me. He had been to high altitude with me before. Together we stand on 5242 Mtrs. High Lalanti la in Kunnaur. A dedicated sportsman and now Lectr. of Physical Education at Stamford International college, Hua Hin, Thailand. We started our journey from Punjab and reached Haridawr ,early morning. A long and tough bus journey and we reached Karan Prayag. Next day after changing lot of jeeps, one broke down bus...we reached Mandoli and climbed up for Lohajung. It was 4.0 PM when we were pitching tent…on a open slope...near Forest rest house.
PHASE-(2) Same evening we had a deal and for 800 Rs. We were having a guide who promised that he will show us the route.(we were told that June is not for Roop Kund and it is all snow laden trek and its not open yet but as we have traveled so far and liked the air of the mountain…so we decided that we will give it a try ,otherwise we will camp somewhere and after good rest of seven days...we will descend down) We three started from Lohajung at 6.45 Am and reached WAN at 12.0 AM. A small guest house provided us lunch and at 1.0 PM we were again out on trail….it was drizzling which very soon become heavy rainfall. We have to take shelter for some time…and we again started the grueling climb of Bhagwa Basa. It was a tough climb and I remember that with heavy rucksack on my shoulders, I was interested halt in between but Guide was adamant to reach Bhagwa Basa and I kept on walking step by step and we reached Bedni Bugyal at 5.0 PM. It was cool but sunny evening with clouds settled in valley and sharp colors of sky, mountain and green.
PHASE - (3) Next day we started at 7.0AM and it was day of gaining altitude. Soon snow patch started but our guide put us on a steep climb of Kalua Binayak, which we came to know later that nobody could cross before that. Slope was almost in front of our face but soft snow gave ample opportunity for kicking and climbing. Problem lies in anchors as we were having only one Ice axe and our guide happened to be in love with that. Noel faced some trouble in climbing. And a single word about step climbing was all he needed that day for snow job. He never slipped. We reached upper crest of the ridge and looked down…it was dangerously high exposed ridge and we were not having any security. Very soon snowfall started and we decided to create hot coffee under a overhang which was only shelter posing shear fall ...if anybody slipped. I made that coffee and Noel was sitting showing his back to valley side. I told him that this is not right to sit like that and as he said he started slipping. Somehow, he managed to arrest himself. Very soon we were to face a rock face, which needed free hand climbing experience. I myself was worried as with heavy sacks, a wet hold can take your life but adventure is game of calculations, of judgment, of intuitions, I asked Noel to climb as someone have to be there” if”… I could not restrain myself from giving him a lecture on this hold that hold and he said”. Shut Up yaar (friend)! It is not time to think about holds, let me see how I will do it”. And he completed the rock face beautifully. I still miss him too much but time had taken its course and we are now in different countries…still hope is there ...someday we will climb together.
PHASE - (4) We reached Bhagwa Basa but not without tackling with loose surface of snow which cracked under our feats. And many times I have to tell Noel that he should make his own footsteps, as surface is week. But when we reached Bhagwa Basa we were shocked to see that neither there was enough place to pitch tent. Somehow we erected a loose Dome tent and I spent one of the toughest nights I had in Himalayas. Poor quality of sleeping bags, and a tent without outer fly...was enough to create atmosphere of a “tough night”. Roop Kund was in clouds and doing hide and seeks with us. Bur its sheer appearance was giving a ghostly look, giving a further truth to gory history of its.
PHASE - (5) Next morning was not all good for us as guide declared bad weather and nothing was visible except white fog. We stayed in our sleeping bags. Around 10.0 AM we started for Roop Kund. Bit excitement, slight tension of negotiating a slope without proper security, I could not manage to gulp down “maggy” we prepared. Soon we were struggling with fresh snow but managed to clear good length. I kept Noel in between guide and me. Till now I cannot take myself out from “brother” syndrome although with passage of time he had matured, have a much much better record and capability as compared to me. But I can’t help…so can’t help. The drama starts very suddenly. A thick cloud overlaps the horizon and snowfall started and very soon could not make out outlines of man walking ahead. I remember I have to call Noel to know where he is. My own green pant was only color, I remember of that time. He was confident and least worried and I decided to push a little bit further. Roop Kund was so near that I was sure that in clear weather it was job of minutes. We kept on step a step job but wind starts and within seconds I understood that crucial time to decided the fate has come. I talked with already “ready to cry” guide and decided defensively. A last look on Roop Kund ...but all was white and I did not even knew which direction it was…the all around me, it was sheer white that it gave a strange type of feeling even today. We were all silent , specially me as it was so hard to see our own footsteps. And by experience I knew that we are just in need of a single mistake. A fall, a slip, wrong direction and it will be end of road for someone. Many times I have to bend down and decided which is our footstep and which is natural texture...ha ha ha ha weather was still the same and wind was putting loose snow in air. Its pressure was felt on our backs and it was giving a slight push also. But we managed to walk somehow…our heads bent …for three hrs. Nobody talk and we felt great relief when we saw faint red color of our tent. Although it was much far than my judgment. Weather cleared like some magical drama and with that new problem comes. We saw marks of a animal trailing our marks. Some animal had followed us. It was a snow fox but before Noel could take out his camera…it disappeared. But what was worrying me was..What if this creature had damaged our tent/ration etc.? I looked back for Roop Kund but it was still under cover of clouds, same fear crept in my spine...the behavior of the mountain was so dramatic that It seems as “someone is not happy” with us being there. But I had decided to stay and try next day.
PHASE-(6) We came back with my feats numb and shooting pain in my thumbnail. Guide had decided to give up. He was just interested to go back and said that he did not even need money. I talked with Noel and what again have to decide defensively. It was not time to be here, with poor equipment, and limited ration. I was worried about being struck there, if weather changes again. And this thought was bit horrible for me. We prepared some porridge, coffee and packed our sacks….for down. But seems to me that mountain wanted to test our last bit of tolerance….it started heavy snowfall and again a thought of “trouble” comes to my mind. But this time I was going to teach Noel about some glissading….ha ha ha..we managed to clear snow patch...although it took sap out of my hungry bones. It was 6.30 when we reached WAN. It was drizzling, barely able to walk…we met horde of people who were told by members of English team that “Indians” have reached. He was watching us through binoculars. I did not come out of my sleeping bag. Many locals did not believe, especially when they saw our sacks. But our guide told them in their native language and we came to know that we are first in their memory that had managed to reach there. Five trekking and two mountaineering (English) teams tried but somehow failed and came back. I still think that it is not any medal/achievement for both of us. Through this experience we both have become more mature and respectful about mountain and its power. Man is nothing against nature. Very delicate, very fragile. Its all luck/chance/dare/bravery ….all are words to express a single truth. If you survived...you are brave and if not….its your calculation +mountain and only mountain decides. We came back and still feel thrill of those days we spent in that mountain.
Hope to be together again!!
<web address removed>