The Big One
We left our chilly but sunny camp in Truncoil at 9.30am after a nice breakfast and a wash in the ice. Basically a strip off, pour water and soap over head and scrub with the ice and snow. You feel great after it. The trek took us along the valley through some small pockets of snow to a river crossing. We hopped across the rocks and a gradual climb along a muddy hill, just showing the signs of growth, brought us to a ridgeline where we could see the snowy valley ahead. The new growth and feeling of spring in the air with alpine flowers beginning to bloom and ice melt all around gave a great feeling of nature to the area.
Start of the hike to Gangabal Lake.
The views got better and better as the day went on and so did the hiking. Hiking through the snow, occasionally falling in a deep patch up to your hips and some tricky ridges and balancing acts meant it was tiring work. As we reached our first ridge before entering an area totally snowed in we bumped into some guys trekking with the Indian army. A seriously fit bunch carrying over twenty kilos of gear from their camp above Gangabal Lake to Naranag
Myself, Emma and Indian army with Haramukh peak in the background.
What more can I say about the next few hours trekking except that it was the most amazing trekking I have ever experienced. The views can only be told in a few photos and even these do little to show the vast expanses of snow and mountain peaks in the area.
We continued hiking in over twenty degrees for the next few hours. Just before reaching Gangabal lake, which had just started to melt, we had to cross a river. This was great fun with a homemade ladder and ropes as our aid.
Another twenty minutes and we reached the lake and the views of Haramukh Mountain. A quick stop for photos and we made our way around the lake for a few kilometres to the army camp. We walked straight in past all the guns and were greeted, mostly well, by the guys on site. The camp doctor came over to chat while they cooked us lunch and we sat on the roof of one of the huts taking in the view. They explained how this was base camp for summit attempts of Haramukh. The army had some successful attempts in recent times, however,
Haramukh is feared by the locals and never summited by them. It also falls in the top five most dangerous climbs in the world ahead of Everest according to the army doctor. The mountain peaks at around 5200 metres with base camp above 4000 metres.
Myself, Emma and Haramukh!
The return hike took around three hours with the legs getting a little heavy towards the end. We met lots of locals carrying supplies up to the army camp. Duble the distance of our trek with 20kg on their backs both ways. Now that is fitness. This you have to be born to do.
This trek of over seven hours would be the toughest and most amazing day of the entire trip. Sometimes words are useless to explain the beauty of a place like this one. All I can say is go trekking in Kashmir.