Monday, September 1, 2014

Short Treks in the Indian Himalaya

Kangyatse peak on the Markha Valley trek
In today's world there is always a constraint of time. Many of us want to get away to the  mountains  for a trek but getting  leave from office is not always possible. Hence, we continue to sit at our desks with a computer in front of us dreaming of the high Himalaya! So if you don't have the time to go on  a marathon twenty day  hike, here is a list of some of the shorter treks in the Indian Himalaya that are possible. The time given is from road head to road head, you will have to add some days to each trek depending on where you are located. Those of you living in and around Delhi, enjoy a definite advantage!

Rumtse to Tso Kar  4 days
This popular trek crosses some high passes and then comes to Tso Kar lake from where there is a motorable road to Leh. It is also possible to extend this trek further to Tso Moriri by adding three days to the trek. The route  is Rumtse 4325m - Kyamar 4055m- Tisaling 4215m- Ponganagu 4500m-Tso Kar. The best season for this trek is June to August. You should acclimatise in Leh for two days before starting out and you need to carry full camping gear, tents and food.

Spituk to Stok 4 days
This trek, very close to Leh, is often described as a "baby trek" but you cross a 4900m pass! The route is Spituk 3600m- Zingchan -Rumbak-Stok La pass 4900m-Stok. The best season for this trek is June to early October. Like all Ladakh treks, you should acclimatise in Leh for two days before starting out and you need to carry full camping gear, tents and food though some homestays will be available on the way. Check the latest status with any trekking company in Leh before starting out regarding the homestays.

Lamayuru monastery
Lamayuru to Chilling 5 days 
Though this is a five day trek it does cross a number of high passes and good acclimatisation is essential  for this route.  The route is  Lamayuru-Wanla-Hinju 3720m-Sumdo Doksa 4400m- Base of Dung Dung Chan la 4440m- Chlling 3550m. The best season for this trek is June to September. Like all Ladakh treks, you should acclimatise in Leh for two days before starting out and you need to carry full camping gear, tents and food though some homestays will be available on the way.

Indrahar Pass  5 days
This trek starts from Mcleodganj crosses the Indrahar Pass 4300 metres and then ends at Machetar which is a four hour drive from Chamba. The route is Mcleodganj 1650m-Triund 3000m- Lahesh Cave 3600m- Indrahar Pass 4300m- Laka Got 3850m- Chata Kuarsi 2200m-Machetar 1950m. The best season would be April-May and again September to November. You need to carry your own camping gear, tent and food.

Rupin Valley  5 days
The scenic Rupin valley is a very under trekked area which is  a pity as it offers a lot in terms of fast flowing rivers, bird life, mountains and lush forests.  The route is Netwar 1350m- Sewa 2025m- Jakhu 2600m- Camp below Rupin Pass 3500m- Rupin Pass 4540m- Kanda 3425m- Sangla 2675m. The best season would be April-May and again September to November. You should carry camping gear and food.

Kangchendzonga view from Sandakphu
 Sandakphu  & The Singalila Ridge 4 days
Though a jeepable road goes to Sandakphu it still remains a popular trek especially with first timers. It is possible to combine this with Phalut and make it  a seven day trip. There are different route options but the most popular one is Manebanjan- Tumling-Jaubari-Gairibash-Kalapokhri-Bikebhanjan-Sandakphu-Rimbick.  This is one of the few locations which has views of four of the five highest peaks in the world. The best time would be March to May and again October to December. You can stay in the home stays/bungalows on the way so there is no need to carry tents and food.

 Tunganath and Chandrashila 3 days
This is probably the shortest and most popular of all the easy treks in the Garhwal, but, with a great view from the top. The route would be Ukhimath 1300m - Deoria Tal 2100m- Chopta 2900m- visit Tunganath 3685m  and Chandrashila 3900m- Dugalbitta 2347m. 

On the trail to Bhojbasa
 Gangotri to Tapoban 5 days
This is another very popular trek to the source of the Ganga and on to the high altitude meadow of Tapoban with it's spectacular views of the Bhagirathi sisters and  Shivling. The route would be Gangotri 3140m- Bhojbasa 3792m - Gaumukh 3890m- Tapoban 4460m and back the same way. Beware of going up to Tapoban too quickly, a stop at Gaumukh is definitely recommended! You need to camp at Gaumukh and Tapoban. 

Some Useful Links

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature

Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker were two outstanding British mountaineers who vanished high  on the north ridge of Everest in 1982. In their memory, the Boardman Tasker Award is an annual prize for the best in mountain literature. There are 41 entries this year and choosing a winner would be a tough choice! The jury are also expected to read all the books so that is a difficult call!  For those of you who would like to start reading these books before the award is finalised, here is the list courtesy . Happy reading!

Entries for 2014

1Tears of the DawnISBN 978-0-9576817-0-5Jules LinesShelterstone
2THE K2 MAN (AND HIS MOLLUSCS)ISBN 978-1-906000-58-5Catherine MoorheadNEIL WILSON Publishing
3A Snow Goose & other utopian fictionsISBN 9781907090929Jim PerrinCinnamon Press
4THE ATHOLL EXPEDITIONISBN 978-1-78407309-1Alex RoddieSelf published, printed by Feed-a-read
5The Corbett Round, A unique continuous traverse of 219 Scottish mountainsISBN 978-0-9927716-0-7Manny GordonSelf published
8CLIMBING RAMABANG, One Irish climber's explorations in the Himlaya and his overland trip homeISBN 9781909461031Gerry GalliganVertebrate Publishing
9My Father, Frank, Unresting Spirit of EverestISBN 9781898573876Tony SmytheVertebrate Publishing
10Peak Rock, the history, the routesISBN 9781906148720Phil Kelly, Graham Hoey, Giles BarkerVertebrate Publishing
11Among Secret Beauties, A memoir of mountaineering in New Zealand and the HimalayasISBN 978-1-877578-48-9Brian WilkinsOtago University Press, NZ
12Fast and Free PETE LIVESEY, STORIES OF A ROCK CLIMBING LEGENDISBN 978-1-910077-01-6John Sheard and Mark Radtke2QT Limited Publishing
14FAR, FAR THE DISTANT PEAK, The Life of Wilfrid Noyce, Mountaineer, Scholar, PoetISBN 978-0-9574043-0-4Stewart HawkinsCurbans Books in collaboration with Amolibros
15A PASSION FOR MOUNTAINSISBN 978-0-7198-0719-0Hannah Burrows-SmithRobert Hale Ltd
16HIGHER GROUND: A mountain guide's lifeISBN 978-1-908-737-564Martin MoranSandstone Press
17IT'S A HILL, GET OVER IT, FELL RUNNING'S HISTORY AND CHARACTERSISBN 978-1-908-737-571Steve ChiltonSandstone Press
18THE SUNLIT SUMMIT, The Life of W.H.Murray ISBN 978-1-908-737-380Robin Lloyd-JonesSandstone Press
19Shackles of Convention, Women Mountaineers before 1914ISBN 978-1-85058-964-8Malcolm CraigSigma Press
20TEMPTING THE THRONE ROOM: Surviving Pakistan's Deadliest climbing Season 2013 ISBN 978-1-494-845-841John QuillenAmazon Creatspace
21NANGA PARBAT 1970,Tragedy and ControversyISBN 978-0-9563163-2-5Richard Sale and Jochen HemmlebCarreg Ltd
22Pirates of the Hourglass: Wrong No Beauty Jeffrey O-BrienJeffrey
23ADDICTED TO ADVENTURE, Between Rocks and Cold PlacesISBN 978-1-4729-0586-4Bob SheptonBloomsbury Publishing
24LURE OF THE MOUNTAINS: The Life of Bentley Beetham 1924 Everest Expedition mountaineerISBN 978-1-906148-94-2Michael D.LowesVertebrate Publishing
25The MantisISBN 978-1-906148-88-1Philip TempleVertebrate Publishing
26THE STEADY RUNNING OF THE HOURISBN 978-0-434-02233-5Justin GoWilliam Heinemann, Random House
27CHASING THE PHANTOM, In Pursuit of Myth and Meaning in the Realm of the Snow LeopardISBN 978-184819-172-3Eduard FischerSinging Dragon
28DICK ISCHERWOOD MOUNTAINEERISBN 978-178456-010-2Anthology Compiled by John AshburnerFast Print Publishing
29Letters from ChamonixISBN 978-0-9918076-3-5David StevensonImaginary Mountain Surveyors
30Clawing for the Stars, A Solo Climber in the Highest AndesISBN 978-1-4582-1323-5Bob VillarealAbbot Press
31LAW UNTO HIMSELFISBN 978-0-9875264-1-0Michael LawOpen Spaces Publishing
32My Father's Keep, A Journey of Forgiveness through the HimalayaISBN 978-1-49436-738-1Ed AbellSelf published
33HANGING ON A LIFE INSIDE BRITISH CLIMBING'S GOLDEN AGEISBN 9781910240007Martin BoysenVertebrate Publishing
34Doubling Back Ten Paths Trodden in MemoryISBN 978-1-908754-54-7Linda CracknellFreight Books
358000 metresISBN 978 185284 5483Alan HinkesCicerone Press
36The Cairngorms: A Secret HistoryISBN 978 1780271880Patrick BakerBirlinn Limited
37The Call of the MountainsISBN 9781 908373 70-0Max LandsbergLuath Press Ltd
38A Walk in the CloudsISBN 978 185284 726 5Kev ReynoldsCicerone Press
39The Alchemy of ActionISBN 978 0 9898551 1 2Doug RobinsonMoving Over Stone
40The Summit. How Triumph Turned to Tragedy on K2's Deadliest DaysISBN 978 1 84717 643 1Pat Falvey & Pemba Gyalje SherpaCo Published by O'Brien Press & beyond endurance publishing
41Travels in Zanskar-A Journey to a Closed KingdomISBN 978 1 908308 51 1Mark BoydenThe Liffey Press
Entries are shown in order received

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Spicejet introduces Bagdogra-Kathmandu flight

On August 13th 2014, Spicejet introduced an international flight linking Bagdogra to Kathmandu. For those of you who are not familiar, Bagdogra is the airstrip in the Darjeeling foothills and serves as a major hub for Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Dooars, Sikkim and the Bhutan foothills.

This thrice a week flight which will originate from Kolkata and fly to Kathmandu with one stop at Bagdogra will go a long way to fulfilling the needs of both tourists and local travellers in the region who earlier had to drive to Bhadrapur airport in Nepal and then fly to Kathmandu or make the long fifteen hour drive from Siliguri to Kathmandu.

This flight will operate three times a week — on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “This is our first international flight from the state of West Bengal to Kathmandu. We believe this flight will not only facilitate tourism, but also be important for the growth of trade between the two neighbouring nations,” Kaneswaran Avili, chief commercial officer of SpiceJet Ltd, said.

With the introduction of this flight, SpiceJet will become first Indian airline to operate international flights between Kathmandu and Bagdogra. This new service will help the people in Kathmandu have comfortable connectivity with Bagdogra and Kolkata.

Spicejet has started with an introductory fare of Rs 99 plus taxes on the Bagdogra- Kathmandu sector.
With this connection, Kolkata also gets linked to Kathmandu  six days a week (excluding Sundays) as Air India is flying to Kathmandu from Kolkata four times as week.

One can also expect rationalisation of fares on the Kolkata-Kathmandu sector.


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