Basic Mountaineering Course ( BMC) @ NIMAS: Gorichen & Goodbye
Before you check out the last days at Meerathang Glacier near Gorichen peak & the return journey, hope that you have read the previous blogs in the series.
- first part of the series Basic Mountaineering Course NIMAS dirang .
- Second part- Sela pass &Jaswantgarh war memorial
- Third part- Riverside New Melling
- Fourth Part- River Crossing & Survival
- Fifth Part – Hot water springs at Mago
- Sixth Part – The beautiful Jeethang
- Seventh Part- Life @ Meerathang Glacier
May 1 Day 21:
Today was D-Day. Test for 4 point was on. However the weather delayed the start.
I felt that Gorichen would stay hidden all the time. But after an hour or two the sky cleared up & the Gorichen presented itself in all its glory. Finally.
We made way towards the glacier for one last time under the watchful eyes of the Gorichen. The picture below symbolises the entire course. Things that completely drain us, is like a walk in the garden for instructors.
We reached the glacier. Everyone was focussed on the test. The focus in everyone’s mind was clear as the glacier echoed with ” Barfani Baba ki Jai”
The failure that I had in the rock climbing test was still fresh in my mind. I wanted to better that at any cost. I put every bit of energy that I had to surmount this challenge. I bypassed breathlessness as a I slowly made way to the top using proper technique. I was happy. I had finally did it .Climbed this glacier at 16500 ft.
After everyone had completed this test, there was a session on Crevasse rescue. We were taught the C-pulley & the Z-pulley method. This definitely got me interested in the search and rescue operations. Some day will definitely do that course. Someday. AMC first.
That was the moment when we realised that we had reached the end of this wonderful course.
With a feeling of accomplishment we headed back to the camp. Before that one more pic of this fascinating Meerathang tarn.
Jampani awaits. Dinner. Last night at this altitude (14700 ft) for a long time to come.
May 2 Day 22: ( Back to Mago 23 kms)
Return journey starts from here back to base camp. I hate return journeys. Would love a different starting point and end point for a trek. Same route kind of dissolves the fun of the return journey.
Today we carry the 25kg+ monster back pack back to Mago. 23 Kms in one stretch.
This back breaking load ferrying descend was a beautiful journey as we enjoyed the beautiful expanse of untouched beauty. A yak posed for me.
After about 8-10 hrs we were back to Mago. Immediately I headed to Dhodup Chuten, the hot water bath. Half an hour in this heaven and my muscles were rejuvenated.
Having nothing else to do I tried to study for the theory test. Felt asleep. Some things never change 🙂
May 3 Day 23: ( Back to NewMelling 23 kms approx.)
The load ferrying return continued as we moved from Mago towards New Melling. The return can hardly be called a descend as there are continuous ascends and descends atleast 3 major climbs till Half Link.
Once at New Melling apart from the physical pain we were reeling under mental stress as the next day was the day of the biggest tests of the course. There was to be a written test based on all the theory lectures , practicals and GK about Mountains. That was the easy part. The endurance test was the one all of us were really worried about. It meant carrying 15kg rOOksOOk and running all the way to the hydel station & back. That’s 8 km of running for a fully acclimatized mountaineer.
Enough worrying about tomorrow, we had minor celebration at the New Melling Café.
If you fancy my cameras
May 4 Day 24:
The day started. Having spend 6-7 days here earlier meant that we had certain ease of doing things. The morning activities were quickly wrapped up and the bags were weighed for 15kgs. The moment of truth arrived as we prepared ourselves for this endurance race.
Most people’s first race for 8 kms at this altitude with 15kgs load. The army guys rifleman Kuldeep & Raghu had an unfair advantage of having done tougher things in life. The current record was about 55 minutes. It was too be broken today. Army had its eyes set on glory.
Me on the other side of army glory was hell bent on not finishing last. I managed that .
The race started and I was panting as we walked & ran intermittently on the slightly ascended road towards the hydel plant. About a km before the hydel park I met the returning army guys on the way. This really fuelled my pace. On the return journey I upped my pace and definitely covered a lot of lost ground. I managed a descent 1 hr 10 minutes time. The record of 55 minutes was broken by not one but five guys – Rifleman Kuldeep & Raghu and guys like Akshay, Tashi & Richard.
Considering the fact that I was barely able to walk two months back I was indeed very happy with the time. Entire 2 months flashed before my eyes. My struggle with the recurring knee problem. Almost no leg strengthening exercises over the past two months before the course. And here I was running 8 kms with 15kg back in 70 minutes. I was delighted.
Everyone completed the race in descent time. This batch had one of the closest timing seen in recent days.
The race was done. We had a good breakfast & started revising nth time for the written test.
My first written test after so many years after engineering & MBA was quite an experience. We were made to sit in the cold veranda and face the walls to prevent copying. Mountaineers are quite determined though
Hours of study that we had put in between days of hard work paid off as we managed a good score on the test out of 50 marks.
In the evening we had a brief counselling with the Director Col. Sarfaraz Singh. We exchanged handshakes and provided our feedback on how to improve the course. From my side I was very happy with the experience and cribbed about the lack of documentation about this course. This blog series is an effort to spread awareness about this beautiful journey.
The day had scurried away. We had fish for dinner. The best fish at 8642 ft.
Let me re-iterate the fact. The cook which accompanied us from New Melling to Glacier & back was one of the best chef you can get. With all the equipments available at base- Dirang , the food there was sub par compared to this scrumptious food prepared with lack of equipments & under the harsh conditions of higher altitude. Truly a marvel !
May 5 Day 25: ( Back to Jang- 15km of walk ) [ TAWANG visit]
Today we leave this beloved heaven of New Melling. The entire staff is supposed to accompany us till Dirang. But this time around an expedition to Gorichen was planned. The entire support staff & instructors were heading back again to the higher altitude. The emotional turmoil was beyond description. All the golden memories that we shared will be etched in my mind forever.
The only good thing was that Subedhar Dan Singh Sir would still be with us till Dirang. One last group cheer.
” Rock Baba ki…..Jai.
Bharat Mata ki…….. Jai“
While the mind was wounded emotionally the physical distress didn’t stop. The huge ass rOOksOOk was the heaviest ever as we carried back the stuff kept back at New Melling as well. The river felt beautiful as always.
We reached Jang in the afternoon.
JULIE – The warrior
Julie had accompanied us from day 6 at New Melling to about every moment then onwards till the glacier till today day 25. She was the warrior from New Melling always barking against the horses & yaks making sure the way ahead was clear for us. Even when we were tired and breathless her energetic frolicking kept us motivated & cheerful. Every trekker understands that it the mind which breaks the last. She prevented us falling at this final frontier. Today we bid her good bye at Jang as we continue our journey & she watches another batch just leave her back. Cruel hearts.
After a heart felt good bye we headed for a day off in Tawang. The famous monastery awaits.
We were put up at Government Tourist Lodge. We had modern amenities like electricity, bed to sleep, personal bathroom, a commode in a separate room with a door. I had never shed a tear in my lifetime before 🙂
We roamed in the market in the evening. Seeing so many people after such a long time does feel a bit different. We had reached food heaven. After surviving so many days of bare minimum, all of a sudden we had the privilege to select what we could eat. There was chicken, mutton, pork, beef & fish. I ate till my cash was burned out. We ravaged the nearby bakery outlet.
Back to the lodge there was home-made chicken by aunty. I helped myself with another serving.
That night I slept on a bed :’(
May 6 Day 26: ( moving Back to Dirang):
After having bathed after many days , we packed our bags and set for the sumo journey to Dirang. It had snowed and the views were terrific. We passed through the same route covering Jaswantgadh memorial, Sela Pass & Baisakhi army base.
We reached the camp, it was a bit nostalgic to see this place again. We took possession of our big tent as we enjoyed a leisurely day.
May 7 Day 27 – LAST DAY OF THE PLANNED COURSE
Being a backup day nothing was planned for today. We had a Puja in the morning thanking the almighty for the safe course.
It was at this moment when the almighty blessed me and finally found the artificial rock climbing wall at Dirang just besides the temple.
We had nothing to do through out the day. We chilled the [email protected]@K out that day doing nothing and relishing the memories. We had to giveback the equipments. Sad.
The ceremonial send off dinner that day was a special. We had camp fire. Guys were expecting free booze.Nothing happened.
May 8 – Get you @$$ out of our campus
We bid adieu today. People from around India had a jolly good time over the month. So many unknown faces turned out to such good human beings. I hate Good Byes.
Some planed there return journey from Guwahati while the lucky others decided to go around North east for few more days.
We started our journey back to Guwahati via Rupa pass. This was my brush with the beautiful nature of the seven sisters for one last time.
I stayed at a hotel called Prince B,Guwahati . Seemed to be a good budget hotel
I took the AC bus to the airport. It starts from a place 10 minutes from the railway station.
The boring Indigo flight didn’t provide me free food. You can charge me 6000 rs for a ticket cant provide me food. They are like malls who charge you Rs 2 for the freaking bag after shopping for Rs 100000.
The layover at Bangalore for 4 hrs didn’t help my case. I splurged 250 rs on the sub we normally get for half the price & another 250 at KFC. My hunger was insatiable as I was back into this concrete jungle. The heat showed a noticeable difference.
Next Indigo Fight to Mumbai. No free food 😐
However i spotted my home from the sky.
Back to the city I could feel myself sweating profusely. The heat is unbearable as there is difference of about 40 degrees.
Anycase feels good to see the traffic again. No It Does NOT.
Till next time. 🙂
Here are some moments of the last few days at NIMAS