My Experience with Kedarkantha and TTH (Dec13 – Dec18, 2020)
Finally, the day has come when I felt the real coldness in Sankri village. Altitude – 6400 feet. The trek leader asked us “it is warm here right?”. He was comparing the climate with the one in Kedarkantha. It was only two weeks back when I booked this trek. But reading and gathering information about the trek created more excitement and seemed like a long wait. Trek The Himalayas (TTH) team picked us up from Dehradun Railway Station in two tempo travellers and we reached Sankri village by 6 pm. They served us nice tea and then dinner. During tea time they gave us a lot of information along with the dos and don’ts of the trek. When we asked the start time for the next day, they told us 7 am, 8 am and 9 am which is tea time, breakfast time and departure time respectively.
The timing was perfect and we started the trek by 9 am with a group photo. Within an hr of walking uphill, we could spot some snow patches and in no time, snow was all around the path. The walk was a bit long and we reached the Juda-ka-Talab lakeside camp by 3 pm. Altitude – 9,100 feet. There were a couple of Maggie points along the way. We finished the day’s trek with stretches and mild exercise organised by TTH leaders.
Read also This Article:- Kedarkantha – A Dream Trek
The campsite was superb with a small frozen lake by the side and dense pine and oak trees around. We had an amazing lunch followed by a relaxing time. We were not allowed to sleep during this time. The TTH team engaged us with a small expedition trek and group games to keep us busy. The expedition trek was the first time we saw an abundance of snow covering the entire region. Evening tea followed by soup and then dinner, all with snacks and sweets kept us refreshed all the time. They checked our oxygen level and pulse rate to ensure we are all fine. The night sky was so clear with a lot of shining stars far more than what we usually see.
My first sleep in a snow tent was a unique experience. We were literally inside two zipped bags inside the tent. Need to open up the zip for airflow, but it will be so cold if the zips are open so open and closed and this continues till we get tired and fall asleep with the zips closed. Tent-based restrooms were made available in all campsites and a few Maggie points.
The next day’s timing was 7.30, 8.30 and 9.30 as the trek was for a short distance. We started the day with tea at 7.30 am. The sun was not out as we were surrounded by mountains and the chillness was high. We did some warm up including jogging by the lakeside. Some of our teammates started playing frisbee over the snow. Only such activities helped us warm up ourselves. As we were on top of the snow, some movement helps and without any movement, our hands/ legs are frozen.
We started the trek around 10 am. This time with gaiters and microspikes on as the snow level was high. The microspikes help us in climbing the steep mountains with ease and gaiters help us to prevent our socks from getting wet while walking over the thick snow. We reached the Kedarkantha peak base camp soon (around 12.30) and had a relaxing evening to get ready for the big day. Altitude – 11,250 feet. As usual, we had fun activities and an expedition trek where the trek leaders taught us how to walk up and down on heavy snow.
The Kedarkantha peak base camp was so beautiful and opened up to the valley in front of the tents. From here we could see Kedarkantha peak which we need to climb the next day. We spotted a lot of crows and some small birds here.
The timing for the big day was 2 am, 2.30 am and 3 am. Yes, we need to be at the peak for sunrise and hence this timing. We couldn’t believe we started walking by 3.30 am after tea & breakfast. It was very cold in the morning with a chill breeze throwing snow particles on our faces. We were walking with our heads bent down looking at the feet of the person walking ahead.
After 2hr walk, we reached Maggie point where we could take some rest. During this 2hr walk, we could only stop for some time on the way for water. There is no place to sit until we reach this spot as the entire stretch is covered with snow. As it was dark we could not enjoy the beautiful views on the way, but we could feel the thick snow around us and the walking trail had little hard snow.
Again, we continued the trek from Maggie point with a steeper path ahead. Due to the speed variation between the teammates, sometimes we get mixed up with other teams. The TTH trek leaders were observing each one of us and made us feel that we are not lost anywhere. They were so encouraging and kept us all motivated. They timed the trek so perfectly that we reached the peak right for the sunrise at 7 am. Altitude – 12,500 feet. It was an amazing view to see the sun’s rays filling the top of the snow near us. The golden colour view of the snow cannot be explained in words.
It was so cold that I could not take out my gloves for taking pics. I was thinking of capturing so many different shots at the peak. But it did not work for me. Though there were a lot of others who were normally clicking pics over there. The experience of seeing the mighty Himalayas all around you was so amazing.
The return journey was furthermore exciting in a different path less used by people and covered with thick snow. We covered around 1km of the return journey by sliding in the snow. The trek leaders were so experienced to show us the right spots where we can perform snow slides.
We reached the Hargaon campsite around 3 pm and stayed there for the night to relax. Altitude – 8900 feet. This site also has an excellent viewpoint and we spent our evening with team games. As usual the evening tea, soup and dinner were tasteful with gulab jamun as dessert. Morning tea was served in the tent as tent tea since it was too cold for us to come out at 7.30 am. After breakfast at 8.30 am, we started from this site at 9.30 am and moved through the snow-filled mountain. The views were excellent here too and we wanted to continue the trek for a few more days. Reached Sankri village by 12 noon. Yes, as the trek leaders told us, Sankri was warmer than the peak. We all received a certificate for successful completion of the trek.
Last but not least the trekking team was amazing with people from different parts of the country. Had a memorable and fun time with them. We played a lot of games during the relaxing time like dumb charades, kho-kho, anthakshari, guess the personality etc. The trek leaders also joined us to make it more fun and to get to know us before the summit climb. I would say not a lot of people in South India know about these treks. But it is far more enjoyable for trek enthusiasts and cost-effective too. The TTH team was perfect in all aspects and ensured the safety of the trekkers.