I love the outdoors. For many years I did high altitude trekking in the Himalayas. Apart from being a liberating experience, trekking  reveals several insights about managing people, adverse circumstances and so on.

 

Trek through Markha Valley, Ladakh (Himalayas). June 2011

Markhavalley1 I set out to climb the Kang Yatse 2 peak in Ladakh. At just over 6000 metres, it would be my biggest    challenge. Unfortunately, bad luck and inclement weather put paid to my plans.

Nonetheless, it was a  difficult yet enjoyable hike through an unusual and vastly different terrain. A  picture  is good as a thousand  words, they say. Pictures from the trek

 

From Gangotri to Vasuki Tal and back

gangotriThe 120 km trek from Gangotri (10,000 ft, 3049 mtr) to Badrinath (10,000 ft) would   take us through Kalindikhal Pass at 19,600 ft (5975 mtr). In the event, bad   weather forced us to abort the expedition from roughly the half way point – Vasuki   Tal (16,000 ft, 4878 mtr). Here are some of the photos.

Across the Gangotri glacier. June 2009

My latest trek was across the Gangotri glacier to the high altitude meadows Tapovan andmount_shivling Nandanvan.

Gangotri, one of the longest glaciers in the Himalayas (30.2 km long; 0.5 to 2.5 km wide, 4120 to 7000 metres – 13500 to 23000 feet above sea level), has two idyllic meadows Tapovan (4463 m, 14640 ft) and Nandanvan (4340 m, 14240 ft) on either side. They are reached by climbing the very steep and treacherous walls on the edges of the glacier, where a slip can plunge one several hundred feet below.

The sight of the peak, Mt. Shivling (6543m, 21466 ft) that rises directly above Tapovan, is awe inspiring. High altitude trekkers and climbers attempting to summit Mt. Shivling camp at Tapovan for transit. The meadow also attracts blue mountain goats (Bharal), which descend from the higher reaches to graze.  Here are some of the photos I took.

Valley of Flowers National Park & Vasundhara Falls. September 2007

vasundharaI trekked to the Park, nestled high in West Himalayas and renowned for its   meadow of alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. True to its name, the   Valley of Flowers is splashed with colour as it blooms with hundreds of different   beautiful flowers, taking on various shades of colour as summer months pass. The   Valley is home to many celebrated flowers like the Brahmakamal, the Blue Poppy   and the Cobra Lily. Located at 3600 m (11800 ft) and spread over 87.50 sq km,   the gentle landscape complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi   National Park. The Valley was declared a national park in 1982, and now is a World   Heritage Site.

Vasundhara Falls, located at 3750 m (12300 ft), leaps from a height of 145 m (475 ft) in a great shower of mist and spray through a V-shaped crack in the sheer granite wall. It flows to join the stream in the valley.

Four kilometers from the temple town of Badrinath is Mana, the last Indian hamlet before the China (Tibet) border. At the edge of the village, the river Saraswati emerges with a thunderous roar from a cleft in the rocky mountain wall. From the narrow bridge above the river, the trail climbs gently for another five kilometres to the Fall.

The snow melt water is clear, sweet and cold. From the edges of the rocky hollow where the waters end, the scene is gorgeous. Across the valley are glacial moraines. Far upstream are the majestic Neelkanth peak and a glacier in its lower reaches. On a clear day one can see a number of 6000+ m peaks beyond the mountains that ring Mana and Badrinath in the East.

On the way back to Mana a stream flows along and to the right of the trail through a green and flat valley. A farmer’s cottage, grazing cattle and an occasional hiker at a distance are the only companions. Pictures from that trek.

Skandagiri, Sakleshpur Railway Track and Kudremukh

I also go on short one or two-day treks in the hills of Karnataka and neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Here are a few sakaleshpurphotographs from my outings to Skandagiri, Sakleshpur Railway Track and Kudremukh peak.

Pictures: Sakleshpur Railway Track  Kudremukh Peak