Experience is nothing but a practical contact with events and observations that leave a lasting effect on a person. And a man learns from his experiences which make him plan better in his future endeavors. However for us, hanging on a rope over a vertical drop of over 200 ft while crossing the landslide zone and seeing the cruel side of nature from such a close distance was “The Experience” that actually made us incapable to learn for future and took away last few drops of fear we preserved for the Goat route that we have to measure immediately after the Bali pass Summit. Yes, you heard it right. We preserved some fear as fear is sometimes important so as to ensure we don’t become reckless, specially in the mountains where one wrong move can be the last move of your life.
So this is how we started our very first day (17th Sept) from Taluka. Unfortunately we were not blessed with a good weather. Journey from Sankri started with clouds and rain but with pure determination and spirit of adventure we started in spite of some resistance from the Base Camp owner at Sankri.
The planning started well in advance and this time it was a serious preparation (mostly through discussion in whatsapp among five of us – me, Anirban Chakladar, Santanu, Anindya, Shubhayu and Arpan Da who had to drop out at last minute due to personal reasons and dreaming of becoming a superman…LOL) after we were informed about the difficulties of this trek and how physically challenging it is.
The weather was favorable till midnight of 16th and then nature God shocked us with a sky full of clouds and rain. However with dream in our eyes, spirit of adventure in our blood and bonding among us all, we started our journey from Taluka through the slippery trails, landslide areas, continuous rainfall and reached our first camp Panigrahat near Seema Village at around 6 pm.
Next few days went by with not much of a difficulty and credit goes to Bikat Adventures team for making us do various stretching exercises after the day was over, keeping us informed about the trails and most importantly ensuring we are hydrated/well fed . And to our team member Sneh for her yoga session every morning. We enjoyed some of the sites/trails that one can find only in calendars.
The unbelievable beauty of Ruinsara Tal(Lake), the astounding view of Swargarohini peaks from Camp Odari, the endless beauty of Ruinsara River, the never ending songs of Supin River flowing along with us through most of the trails were some of the experiences one can’t forget in his lifetime.
The history of Bali Pass and the surrounding areas dates back to the mythological era. It is said that Bali (brother of Sugreeb in the Ramayana) took rest for a night in a cave before crossing the pass to reach Yamunotri and thus the name Bali came into existence. This land is also called “Angarajya” ruled by Karna(character of Mahabharata). It is that land Dooryodhana gifted to Karna when Karna was denied to participate in the weapon test as he was not a descendant of any king.
Enjoying the endless vistas of mother nature, panting through the uneven and difficult terrains, crossing number of small and large water falls and finally trekking over the ridge of over 70 degree inclinations with both sides having jaw dropping drops, we finally reached Advance Base Camp at around 2 pm on 21st Sept.
But again, all that go well may not end well and nature god proved once again the unpredictable nature of the mountains. We had to face a terrible weather in advance base camp with snow fall, Snow blizzards and were worried on how to summit next day.
We all dream of various natures of ours and what our probable reactions would be foreseeing some hypothetical incidences. But no one knows actually how one would react to certain situations till that moment comes and to some extent we were faced with such a moment. And once again we the team (Pooja, Sneh, Debjyoti, Agatha and five of us) proved our mettle and started our trek at 5 am instead of 3 am on 22nd through the glaciers with almost 80 degree inclinations, white out where seeing beyond 4 ft is a luxury and continuous rain and snow blizzards. We came across crevasses and had to opt for a safer route and finally were at Bali Pass Summit at an altitude of 4950 mtr (16300 ft) at around 10 am.
Hey, its not over yet… the biggest challenge of Bali Pass is nothing but the descend where we had to first come down from the summit to the first descend point which is around 200 ft below and then trekking almost 1 km before reaching the Goat Route where for over an hour we had to literally count each step on the 6 inches trail with mountain one one side and valley on the other. And this challenge was multiplied by few Xs due to weather. Our hands were numb, body was not accompanying the spirit of mind and I just wanted to go back seeing the nearly impossible path to be covered. But there is no going back … more so thinking of the route we covered while reaching here gave some more jolts to my already injured knee…..
Finally after almost two hours of struggle with weather and terrain, we could reach a point from where we started our final descend through the muddy roads and reached Lower Damini Camp site at 5.30 pm. This 12 hour trek gaining an altitude of 1500 ft and then descending another 5000 ft was the most tedious part of the trek.
And now we can say, all is well that ends well….happy to be a part of the “BaliPassTrekCompletion” club 🙂