Sunday, March 15, 2020

Skiing with a boarder - Kashmir 2020

I am usually a loner on the mountains. Be it skiing or climbing (except for accompanying paying clients); BUT this was an instance of a pleasant departure from the norm. It was fun hanging out with this guy, a 62 year old boarder from the States. Awe inspiring to see a senior kick butt on the mountains. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Cricket @ 4000m

In Ladakh after skiing in Kashmir. This is a ski tour/recce trip for future ice climbing possibilities. Cricket will always be the first love though. ;)

Kashmir 2020 - Fun never ends.

Kashmir 2020 - Friends making turns :)

Kashmir 2020 - Some more rides ;)

Kashmir 2020 - Pt 2

Kashmir 2020 - Awesome Skiing!

A beautiful year in terms of snow quality and volume. Was great fun skiing every single day in Kashmir. 

Wintering in the Himalayas!

Wintering in the Himalayas is a great idea. One can camp, hike, climb or just laze around a beautiful hill town. My favorite way to winter is to ski in the high Alpine. ;)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Mentok 2019

A fun climb with a couple of fine gentlemen. The father-son duo were always on the ball and unflinching in their approach. They were acclimatising pretty well from the town to the road head and on the acclimatisation hikes to the base camp and to the high camp. 

When we decided to move for the summit climb, I took the boys to the high camp around half past noon. It was a 90 minute climb through scree and mid sized boulders. The Plan was to hang around the high camp long enough to acclimate and then leave for the summit climb by 2 or 3 in the AM. We took a three man alpine tent and a one man bivy. After a light supper we hit the sack. We woke up around 1 to gear up for the summit bid. The route to the summit involved climbing and traversing hard crust and often times negotiating some steep slopes especially closer to the summit. We were at the summit of mentok 2 by 6 and continued climbing from there to the main summit for another 45 minutes. Terrific climb.

I enjoyed climbing "with someone" (anyone) after a LONG time. Hope this was the first of many climbs with these guys. Definitely among my favorite clients thus far. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Kang Yatse '18 (ski descent)

Took some clients to Kang Yatse this July. Also carried my new ski-mo gear for the descent. 6 days UP - 30 mins down. 😂😂. Yes it seems ridiculous. But there is always fun to be had when you're carrying your skis on a Mountaineering trip - even if its only for half an hour. (Just gotta be game for back breaking hikes from the trailhead to the summit).

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Baba Mountains (Afghanistan)

While this was a recce sort of a trip, I thoroughly enjoyed skiing and hiking in Afghanistan. The central highlands are not very high compared to most of my usual affairs (affairs of the mountain sort *grins*); but I went towards the end of Feb when it is still very cold. Besides, I didn't want to risk too much on this trip, because this was supposed to be a trip where I was to gather info about adventures in the future to more remote locations such as Badakhshan. So armed with my 🎿 touring kit, I set off to explore the central highlands of Afghanistan. The skiing was amazing, the food - amazing, the people - amazing, the women - pretty, what more can one desire for. 

Skin track on a hill near Chhap Dhara, a beautiful village, not far from the town. 

Bonjon (Dari for Eggplant)

One of the many hills near Chhap Dhara. The snow was so good. And the skiing was awesome

Sheekh Kebab - My favorite 😘

A couple of skiers on a distant slope. 

Views from the road on the way back after a ski tour

Mantoo - Beef dumpling stew

A rough day (had to hike a couple of hours to the snowline)

Mountains near a village called Jowkher 

Kids from the Village (this is the calm before the storm 🤣)

Lavish meal @ Jowkher 

Kids intrigued by the ski kit

@Burgasoo. A boy flaunting his skis (made at the village)

One of the countless slopes just an hours hike from the Village.

Kids from a village near Garganathoo

A chilly, windy day at Band-e-Amir (Dharmatma?)

Beef 😁

The best rice ever. Simple uncomplicated recipe "Pulav"

On the way back to Kabul (with my driver friend and his kid)
There were hundreds of pictures and lots of videos. Hope to share a few more in time.

(This blog entry is still being worked upon; check again later)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Backcountry Skiing in Afghanistan

The Baba range offers some awesome soft dry snow during winters (even early spring). Skinups are pretty swift and straightforward. There are a number of villages that act as sort of a trailhead. I used to usually gain about 500m in about 90 to 120 min. A lot of fun to be had. More vids to follow. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sh*t Scant Snow in Jan

This vid should demonstrate the crappy conditions in Kashmir earlier this year. We were down to the last few inches of snow and it had been thawing and freezing for so long that it was starting to feel like we were  skiing on glass. Couldn't even keep the ski's parallel. Lol. 

Track courtesy : Blue Shift (Lemaitre)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Kashmir - The worst year ever for me!!

I have been visiting Kashmir for a very long time. In good times, in bad times, after injuries or in good health, in times of duress, curfews, tensions and so on. But this was by far my worst year. There was so little snow even on Afarwat, let alone the village. It was appalling. I think it was commendable we lasted 10 days in these conditions. 

Worst part was that it snowed the day we flew out of Kashmir. LOL. 
(PS: The video shows how little snow there actually is on Afarwat)

The three Amegos?

When you can't ski; You eat.

Awesome views from my room!

My Best Friend; as long as he's not licking me!

Views from G4. Depressing in the vicinity but awesome in the distance. 

In a good year, none of these rocks can be seen. 

Gondola station lit up in the foreground. Afarwat in the background. 

My Best Friend!!

Scant Crusty Snow!!

Fine Tuning!! :P
I just hope that next year is somewhat better. Heck who knows, I might make another trip later this year in early spring. But this trip leaves a lot to be desired. :(

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Chukila (Chakula)

A delayed post about a solo trip earlier this year. A 6400m peak called Chukila (also christened as Chakula on some maps). The peak is not technical but the approach was horrendous. The maps are unreliable; since the glaciers (as depicted on the maps were gone). There are only moraines and loose rocks in place of the glacier. I couldn't quite summit since water was very scarce. But I did climb quite high to a spot close to the summit ridge. Since this was supposed to be a fast (3 day) ascent, it didn't feel that bad.

3 hours from the Road Head. 

First camp. Striking views

Any hint of civilization is about 4 hours behind me

A nice spot adjacent to the moraine (no water)

Steep moraine. No water. Summit ridge in the distance

Views during the weak summit attempt.

An hour before turning back

Wild Rose in the middle of a river bed

Last Camp (on the way back)

Not the worst trip. But I have had more indulging climbs. Hopefully next time will be better.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Spangnak (6150m)

Took a few friends through the rarely explored Spangnak trail and along the way also climbed the Spangnak mountain. It's a straightforward ascent; the only challenge being the long approach to the top. A few pics to reminisce the trip. 

Kyagar Tso - Spangnak Base is about a four hour hike from here. 

Kyagar Tso - As seen from the summit of Spangnak (6150m)

The Summit Party - Pradeep and Maneesha to my right.

The Higher Spangnak - Main summit (6300m) - Seen in the distant background. 

A mutt at our base camp. Total nuisance but very photogenic.

A rocky peak along the trail.

A glacial pool just short of the Spangnak Glacier

Spangnak Glacier in the background. 


The penultimate campsite

First glimpse of Tso Moriri - As seen from a high pass.

Maneesha with her "Rock-y" acquaintances.

Tso Moriri (Chumser-Lungser in the background)

Here are some more snaps from the trail. Also check out the pics from Pradeep & Maneesha.