May 27 2016
(continued from) The 5kms hike to the base camp was through this trail that was initially not so inclined but eventually got steeper and steeper, until we finally reached this small stretch of plateau at 16400 feet altitude, an ideal place for setting up ones camp.
Myself and Achyut tried out these snow hiking boots for the trek to the base camp, which I must say takes time getting used to. Initially I felt it being very heavy and straining my ankle beyond my comfort zone, but was slowly getting use to it. We decided to stay with it for the summit hike trusting our Sherpas who stressed on using them for its advantages in extreme weather conditions as expected in the summit(you’ll know later). Unfortunately the shoes our Sherpa bought along with them din’t have a pair that fit Madhuri, Lucky and Manasa. They were left with no option but to resort to their hiking boots and desperately hoped they wouldn’t have to regret during the summit hike.
We reached the camp at around 2:00pm. And following the lunch our Sherpa briefed us about the do’s and dont’s during the summit hike, risks involved and all other things we should be cognizant about. Honestly until then I thought the hike to the summit is going to be just an another day’s hike, but then the adrenaline just got pumped in listening to Kalyan brief us. To be honest he did make it sound thrilling and dangerous. We were told that Madhuri, Manasa and Lucky would go along with Kalyan at 12:00am followed by me and Achyut with other Sherpa at around 1:30am, just so that we could reach the summit at the same time. Until then we were asked to have good sound sleep.
While rest of the guys slept through the evening, I couldn’t. I tried my best, remembering Kalyan’s words on how important it was that we slept well before we started to the summit in the midnight. But I failed and decided to get out of the tent and head to the tent pitched for cooking where I heard the Sherpas laughing and having fun. And it din’t take long before I joined them and laughed crazily listening to them narrate some wild stories from their previous expeditions to Stok Kangri and other places in Himalayas. Trust me when I tell you that these guys have some interesting ways to start naughty talks with gals who came to hike, and got laid many times too. I think we laughed for almost an hour, after which Achyut also joined us. Later we made so much noise that Lucky, Madhuri and Manasa also walked into the tent.
At around 8:00pm we again dispersed to our tents, with feelings of both nervousness and excitement. This was real adventure stuff, which if it goes wrong, the consequences could be fatal. And for some reason I felt that our Sherpas were already convinced that we wouldn’t make it to the summit. We were asked to sleep till 11pm and then get geared up for the big challenging night…
to be continued…