Mountain Self Sufficiency Course
We were picked from Shimla bus stand and dropped at the Giri Ganga camp site.
Pranav Rawat gave us a briefing on acclimatization (Climbers must adapt to the higher altitude in order to avoid altitude sickness). There was a lot to learn about camping and climbing practices. Rope work being the most important thing to learn. We learnt about various knots, hitches and anchoring techniques.
The most important practice in high altitude solo trekking, is to travel light in order to improve efficiency and save energy. We were tested for rock climbing and running in order to gauge our capability to walk for long. It is important to maintain your pace while walking or trekking, staying hydrated and healthy.
In order to assure we learned the knots properly, we were made to rappel down a 70 m high wall, using an improvised harness made of tape sling. It saves a lot of time and effort when descending steep terrain. One can climb up easily but it’s difficult to retreat.
Diet is as essential while trekking or climbing, as any other skill or ability. We were educated about trail food and single pot cooking practice.
Navigation too plays a critical role in efficiently completing an expedition. We learnt how to create our own route using GPS, eliminating the need for a guide. Offline-GPS activated smartphones come in handy for this exercise.
We were put to test again, requiring self navigated trek to Kupper top. We executed this exercise successfully using the View Ranger App.
Journey begins. We moved out from our campsite in Giri – Ganga and drove down to Tangnu village. Everybody was pumped. In order to reach our first campsite, we covered 7 km of steep terrain. We continued our trek via Janglikh village till Simru Thach.
After setting up shelters and sleeping systems, everyone gathered and discussed the day; sharing their experiences. We were allotted energy bars for the next day, for a continuous source of carbohydrates on the arduous trek.
The next day was seemingly easy as we had to walk only for 2 hours for acclimatization. Going to the summit camp based on 15,000 ft. and back.
While climbing to the summit everybody was pumped to see the peak so close. But the route contains big rocks and shaky boulders. One needs to go through this sketchy terrain in order to reach the top.
Using proper anchoring techniques and rope work, we were finally able to summit the peak.
The first batch of the Mountain Self Sufficiency Course, atop Bhushan Peak (5200m).
Author: Utkarsh Mittal