Rupin Pass Trek

Rupin Pass Trek

What is a trek? If you see the dictionary it will tell you that trek is to go on a long and often difficult journey. If asked I might have said something like this before, but now if you ask me I’ll say trek is an amazing and wonderful experience where we not just walk but explore. Explore the new places and surroundings, experience the local people and their hospitality and find new realms of friendship. How some strangers become best friends over night and how they help each other without any motive can be best seen during a trek only. This is also a perfect example of teamwork, where we all work together to attain a single goal never leaving anyone behind.
It is a journey people undertake with different motives like to break the monotony of busy and tiring life, out of boredom of the regular jobs, to challenge one’s self if one is a fitness freak, with the hope of doing something adventures, to be more close to mother nature if one is nature lover and may be to spend some quality time with friends you don’t meet often due to busy life. And believe me a trek gives you all the things you came for and much more.
One of our friend Devina said during certificate distribution ceremony on last day that Trek is a trek but what makes it amazing is the people you share it with and I couldn’t agree more.
Let me tell you a little bit about me. I got to know about trekking and Trek the Himalayas from one of my friend who is a frequent trekker. He shared his experiences of trekking with me and I felt

The place where it all began

like I should also do that. I work in ONGC and I am posted at offshore which means I have to work in between the sea 80 kilometers from Mumbai shore, which is also an adventure. But work is work, no matter how interesting, it gets boring after sometime. I wanted to spend some quality time with myself and also to challenge myself, so I decided to go on the trek. That’s all about me. As to why this trek, I chose this trek because I saw the difficult tag on it. As I considered myself to be fit (which came out to be a myth), I chose this trek.
About the group, we were 22 trekkers, two guides and one trek leader. I got a group that I cannot complain about, couldn’t have asked for better. At Dehradun I got to meet with only three of them, Sarthak, Raj and Harshit. We all came alone so it was an instant connection between us. Later we shared the ride to Dhaula
which made the bond stronger. In the evening at Dhaula I came to meet everyone. Rohit and Rahul two army brothers from Singapore now in Chennai, Teju and Addu two college guys from Coimbatore, Devina and TJ all the way from USA, Prabhat from Lucknow our Indian foreigner, Heli, Pankti, Pooja, Surabhi, Dhaval, Shravan, Mihir, Bhargav, KP, Rutvik and Maulik all from Ahmedabad. That’s all about us, now let’s start trekking.

 

Dehradun to Dhaula (Day-1) 
We started at 08:30 hrs. from Dehradun. Up to the Mussoorie it was a normal mountainous serpentine route so we just chit chatted and got to know each other better. At Kempty fall we stopped for the Breakfast and ate Parathas. After B/F we started our journey again. Now we were in the pine forests. The trees were tall and beautiful standing beside us and fluttering their leaves with the wind like they wanted to say something or may be warning us, I never understood. We stopped at Purola for lunch. But we didn’t have much appetite as on our way we had eaten local Berries and yellow Fruits which tasted like Peaches. Later we came to know that those were Aadu fruits.

Some local women planting rice in the fields and posing for the pic.

On the way we got to see the merging point of two rivers Rupin and Supin. Supin’s water was green as its source was rain water and Rupin’s was white as it was originating from the glaciers. Both formed the river named Tons which is a tributary of the Holy Yamuna River and joins her in Doon Valley. The bridge on the river was also a sight to behold.

We reached Dhaula around 17:30 and met with the rest of our troop. The briefing was done by our trek leader Mr. Shashwat who told us a lot about the trek and how this trek is very difficult. I was forced to question my judgment about choosing this as my first trek. He also told us about AMS.

TJ, Devina Prabhat and Rahul on the bridge in Dhaula near our campsite.

Dhaula to Sewa (Day-2)
We started the trek at 09:00 hrs in the morning. Many of us were in the dilemma of offloading the back pack including me but some of us were very clear. I had made up my mind from starting that I won’t be offloading the backpack as without any luggage the trek will become very easy, but as our T/L has given the description of the trek I started thinking if I’ll be able to complete the trek with this bag as I had comparatively heavier bag.
We started following the trails on the mountains, in the valleys, up and down through the forest and through the villages, helping each other and singing songs together to encourage those who were feeling tired. We got to see Apple, apricot and walnut trees on our route.
On the way I got a chance to interact with one child who crossed paths with us. After asking him I found out that he was travelling back from the school to home. His village was in Sewa and he travelled every day in this hilly terrain 3-4 Kms. just for the sake of going to school. It is so heart touching that people in these remote locations have to work so hard for the simplest things of life which are so easily available for us in the cities and that’s what makes them stronger than us. The route from Dhaula to Sewa was a challenge for us and we gave our 100% effort to complete the task and felt like achieved such a big goal after reaching Sewa, whereas a 12 year child was doing the same thing every day without even realizing it.
We reached Sewa around 14:00 hrs. After lunch we took rest for a while and then our trek leader took us for acclimatization walk on a hill. It felt so good to walk without the bag, but the feeling was short lived as the mountain on which we were to climb was a very steep one with slope of approximately 60 degrees. We managed somehow to drag ourselves up to the top. After reaching there we took some photographs and selfies.

Resting after reaching at the top during acclimatization walk in Sewa

After reaching Sewa we were feeling so tired and sleepy but after the acclimatization I was feeling so fresh and full of energy. After the evening soup we decided to play Dog and The Bone and we enjoyed a lot.
We woke up at 05:00 hrs. after the breakfast I went to see the temple near the camp site with Raj and Sarthak. It was a very beautiful temple constructed in Kinnauri architecture style standing in between the valley. Raj told us that we can make a wish after embedding a coin in the wall of the temple. I made a wish that all of us complete this trek successfully.

A welcome sign made with stones by TTH staff at Sewa
The beautiful kinnauri temple at Sewa.

Sewa to Bawta (Day-3)
We started our journey to Bawta around 09:00 hrs. following the course of our companion the Rupin River. Our trek leader told us that 30% of today’s route will be wilderness, 20% the ascent and remaining 50% we will following a road. We started with the wilderness and walked alongside the river for approx. one hour. The sweet sound of the flowing water was like music to our ears. In the rapids it made very harsh noise and sounded like deafening loud music otherwise it flowed very softly sounding like soothing melody.
Following the course of the river and after a small ascent we reached a road that was from Sewa to Bawta. Just after few minutes’ walk we came across a shop. It served Maggie, Tea and cold drinks. Some local guys were playing cricket on the road. Harshit and some other guys joined them and played for some time. We relaxed there for a bit and resumed our journey after some time. We walked for around two hours on the road. We got to see one bridge on the river which formed the boundary between the Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The bridge was known as no man’s bridge. After walking for 2 hours we reached a beautiful waterfall where our T/L told us to stay and rest for some time. We enjoyed the view.
After few minutes rest we started moving again on the road, soon after we saw a big mountain on the side and our trek leader told us that now we had to leave the road and climb the mountain, which was very steep and sloppy, but we had no choice. We started climbing slowly, some of us were very fast reached on the top and other of us were looking at them from the below thinking how much we have to climb and how we are going to do that. Today I really felt the weight of my bag on the shoulders and questioned myself again if I made a mistake by not offloading it. We all encouraged and helped each other and reached the cliff and felt like we have reached at the summit.

Group pic at Bawta just outside the home we were staying
Teju, Adu, Rahul and Raj at the beautiful waterfall at Bawta

It felt very good when I came to knew that we will be staying in the homes today. It felt so good to lie on the mattress under the blanket. We relaxed for a while and then went for the lunch upstairs.
After some time it was time for acclimatization walk again. We walked to a beautiful waterfall. We clicked some pictures near it and then came back. After reaching there we had soup and cornflakes for the snacks.

Today we were very happy to sleep with the mattress and blankets. We all slept well today. I woke up again at 05:00 hrs. in the morning. I don’t know why is it that I have been waking up at 05:00 in the morning without any alarm for last three days.

Bawta to Jhaka (Day-4)
We started from Bawta @ 09:00 Hrs. This was one of the easy day. We had to descend and then climb a little. On the way there was a valley with a beautiful view of the river. We filled our water bottles with the fresh water of the river. From the last few days we were drinking the water from the river only. It’s amazing how we can drink any water we see in the mountains. Otherwise in the cities we don’t even believe the packaged mineral water.

The beautiful valley on the way to Jhaka

After we ascended from the valley there was a Maggie point above. These Maggie points acted like boosters for our tired bodies. I never liked the Maggie better. We all enjoyed the Maggie and tea in that point and then resumed our journey.

Recharging ourselves with the maggie and tea on the way to Jhaka

We reached the destination i.e. Jhaka Village around 14:00 hrs. Jhaka village is also known as hanging village as it is situated on the edge of a mountain. This was a home stay which I loved very much. It was a beautiful house made of wood and glass, very well insulated from the outside and hence very warm inside and that’s what we needed in that cold climate.

The hanging village of Jhaka

Then again it was time for the acclimatization walk. The village we were staying was at a lower level, so we started climbing again to reach another village named Dhara as it was situated at the edge of the cliff (Dhar in Hindi means sharpness of the edge of a tool). It was an easy climb as we were not carrying anything. We reached the village in half an hour and we saw a very beautiful temple. The locals told us this was the temple of Dhara Jhaka god and name of the villages are named after him only. The temple was made of the wood only and on the wall the beautiful pictures of Rama, Hanuman and Krishna were etched.

Temple at Dhara. Pictures of Rama and Hanuman are etched on the wooden walls

We stayed near the temple for some time and then walked further. We reached at the other end of the mountain where we saw the beautiful and breathtaking valley below.

Jhaka to Dhanderas Thatch (Day-5)
Today TTH provided us with packed lunches as it was going to be a long walk ahead and we will be reaching our destination i.e. Dhanderas Thatch around 17:00 hrs. We started our journey little early today around 08:00 hrs. Just outside the village we saw a huge herd of goats with two shepherds and three shepherd dogs. The dogs of these mountains had very thick furs.

The herd of goats which trekked with us to the Rupin Pass

We crossed the herd and kept walking on the ascending descending trails through the wilderness. Our T/L told us that this was the last day we stayed with the civilization and now for next three days we would be walking and living away from the civilized land.
After two hours walk we reached the Maggie point again and charged ourselves with whatever we could get. It was sunny day and Maggie point was just beside the Rupin River. We relaxed for almost an hour there on the boulders beside the rivers and enjoyed the sun while it lasted.
We started walking again after fulfilling our hunger. After sometime it started raining again and we followed the rain protocol and covered ourselves and the bags with rain covers. We walked for about one hour in the rain. It was not a heavy rain just drizzling little bit. We reached the lunch point after sometime and
ate our packed lunches. It tasted very good as we were very hungry. Johnty Bhai our guide made some fire with some wood as many of us were feeling chilly due to the rain and cold weather. After lunch we resumed our journey. There was a very long ascend at the end of our journey and we also had a huge patch of ice to cross. Johnty Bhai made steps for us in the snow so that we won’t slip and still many of us did. This was the first time I saw the snow. I was supposed to be very excited and still only thing I felt was cold and tiredness. We reached Dhanderas thatch around 16:30 hrs. We all relaxed a bit then enjoyed the view later. Our campsite was in beautiful meadows. From three sides we were surrounded by the mountains, in front of us was a majestic water fall and beside us was flowing our companion for the whole trek Rupin River.

View of upper waterfall from Dhandedras Thatch
Meadows of Dhandedras Thatch

Oxygen metering was done for everyone, we all passed. I got 88% which was little low but I passed. Later we saw people dancing outside on Garba, we also joined them and danced for a while. Johnty Bhai was also dancing with us. We enjoyed a lot and then retired in the tents for sleeping.
Next day we had to climb up to the waterfall which we could see from here. It seemed a very herculean task as there was no visible trail and mountain seemed very steep.

 

Dhanderas Thatch to Upper Waterfall (Day-6)
This day we started at around 09:00 hrs. We had only 2 kms to cover but it was a steep ascent and the trails were not well defined. We climbed slowly and reached our destination i.e. upper waterfall around 12:00 hrs. Just yesterday from below it seemed like an impossible task and today we were standing here. From here we could see the tents in which we were dwelling from yesterday till this morning. This point gave us an amazing view of the valley below.

View of the Dhandedras Thatch from upper waterfall

In the evening it was again time for acclimatization walk. As I was not feeling well, I informed T/L and he told me to go back and rest. I felt really bad skipping the walk, but I had no option as I didn’t had the strength to stand, leave alone climbing. I was thinking what if my oxygen levels are down and what if I have to go back from here, I was feeling really bad thinking about all those things. It was almost dark when they all came back from the walk.

Our campsite at upper waterfall.

Johnty Bhai came with the Oxymeter, I was really scared at the time. I put my finger in it and was amazed to see that it read 88% which was very good as I got 88% in Bawta and 89%in Jhaka. I was little relieved but my head was still hurting. After dinner I took tablets for Vomiting and Headache and slept.

Upper Waterfall to Rupin Pass to Ronti Gad (Day-7)
We were told to be ready at 04:30 hrs. as later the sun will come up and snow will start melting making it hard to climb. This was the summit day we all were excited. I woke up at 03:30 hrs. today and was feeling good. It was so damn cold in the morning but my headache and nausea was gone which meant that I won’t be going back which was enough to make me feel good. We did breakfast in the dining tent. After the B/F we made our bags ready and started the journey.
We had to climb one mountain first which was a very steep one. After reaching at the top of the mountain Johnty Bhai pointed towards the Rupin Pass and told us, that’s where we have to go.
It was a very beautiful thing to see. A peak covered in the milky snow, glowing with the sunbeams. It was a treat for the eyes but surely not for the legs. We had to climb to the peak. We reached at the base of the peak around 08:00 hrs. We were resting at the base when we saw the herd of goats which we had seen outside Jhaka was also going to cross the pass. We gave way to them and saw them climbing with such easiness like they were walking in a garden. We geared ourselves with gaiters and crampons for the task in front of us.

All geared up and ready for the final push.
The herd of goats summiting before us.

According to his strategy our T/L Shashwat divided us in two groups one with the active trekkers and other with the slow ones and he told us to be in single queue and the second group to lead. It was a very good strategy as the leading guys will always be under pressure from the back and they will not stop. Slowly we started climbing on the impossible looking trail. It was more than 60 degrees in angle. But with the help of crampons and more than that with the help of each other we reached the summit.
There was an Indian flag at the top fluttering with the wind and welcoming us. It was a feeling of utter happiness as we completed the task we came for and that to in the record time of 45 minutes only as told by our trek leader Shashwat. We all were very happy, but the best was yet to come.

Indian flag welcoming us at the summit.

After celebrating our achievement everyone clicked pictures at the summit. We took the group photograph with Shashwat, Johnty and Lucky Bhai. Probably this was the first and only group photograph with all of us in it. It started snowing after few minutes. It was the first day that I saw snowfall. We were all feeling very cold, yet some guys were insane enough to go naked and click pictures.

Celebrating the latest victory with group pic.
Rohit, Raj, I, Sarthak and Harshit at the summit.

And now it was time for the most awaited slides. We had to slide down for about 300ft. It was an amazing experience and not comparable to any slides in any waterpark. Our backs were numb in the first slide, still we wanted to do more. I was freezing cold, my gloves, trousers and shoes were all wet. Snow was going inside my shoes despite wearing the gaiters.
After enjoying our latest victory we resumed our journey to Ronti Gad which was going to be our campsite for the night. We had to pass many snow patches. Many of us were already growing weary of the snow but I was enjoying it. We learnt how to slide down the snow very quickly and were enjoying going down the trail. On one of the snow patch, the trail was on the edge on which many of us slipped and fell.
We crossed all the snow patches and it was again the rocks. We stopped for the lunch in between near one of the stream. We were eating when hail showers started so Shashwat told us to continue with our journey.
We kept going down the slopes with a very fast pace. I thought that it must be very easy going down the slopes but it was not. While ascending we go out of breathe and exhaust ourselves very easily but there are very less chances of injury, on the other hand while descending we don’t exhaust ourselves but the chances of getting injuries are higher as we have to maintain the our body balance. My knees and toes were killing me and we still had a lot of ground to
cover. On the way we saw the campsite of India hikes which was below in the valley beside a stream exactly opposite to that of our campsite which was on the top of one mountain. We reached campsite around 16:00 hrs. The kitchen staff was ready with the hot samosas and tea, which we enjoyed very much. In dinner we had kofta curry and very delicious Gulab Jamuns. We ate voraciously and slept.

Raj, I, Harshit and Sarthak on the way to Ronti Gad
Rahul and Raj with the bull skull at Ronti Gad

 

Ronti Gad to Sangla to Shimla (Day-8)
Today we started for Sangla @09:00 hrs. Before starting the journey there was a small ceremony of the certificate distributions. We all received certificates of successfully completion of the trek and shared our experience with others. Everyone talked about how difficult the trek was and how much we enjoyed. We all thanked T/L, guides, porters and kitchen staff, without whom this trek wouldn’t have been possible. I was happy that we made some great friends during these days. There were prizes, first for the best trekker which went to Surabhi as she completed the trek despite having knee injury which was a really brave thing and the second one was for the silent trekker which went to Mihir Patel.

Our Guide Jhonty Bhai, T/L Shashwat and Rohit during certificate distribution
Group pic at Ronti Gad

After the ceremony we started walking again down the mountain on the trail away from the snow and away from the wilderness. Soon we started crossing paths with other people and vehicles and we knew that we were entering the civilized world again. We all gathered at a beautiful bridge on the Baspa River. We had lunch at Sangla before starting our journey to Shimla.

The beautiful bridge on the Baspa River at Sangla

We started our journey to Shimla in three SUVs. We were five guys in my vehicle. Harshit, Raj, Sarthak, Prabhat and me. We said our goodbyes to everyone with the promise to keep in touch. We reached Shimla @23:30 hrs. All the buses to Delhi had already left and we were standing at the ISBT with our aching bodies and huge bags so we had to hire a taxi for Delhi at exceptionally high fare.
We reached Delhi next day around 09:00 hrs and everyone went their own way. It felt awful, I mean we were together for eight days which were no doubt one of the best days of our lives, laughing with and at each other, playing together, taking care of each other and most importantly spending the best times with each other, suddenly we parted ways and there was nothing and no one just the beautiful memories and a promise to meet again in future, which everyone knew was very hard to keep. But I think that’s what life is, you meet someone create
some memories for the lifetime and then go your separate ways for we have different purposes to fulfill.
Next day I took a flight to Mumbai and reached exactly where I started feeling like I was here all the time, but my tired body and peaceful mind with beautiful memories of past days were reminders of what we did.
On behalf of all of us I want to thank Trek The Himalayas team for making this trek such an amazing experience and to all my friends for being there with me who helped in creating some wonderful memories for the lifetime and hoping that we will be there for each other in future too, no matter how far we are.

My heart is gloomy and eyes are wet,
You all must have same feelings, I bet.
But let’s not be worried my friend,
For we have a remedy for this to end.
Just look back to those wonderful days,
To the songs, laughs, walks and plays.
To the mountains, valleys and the snow,
To the trails, bridges and Rupin’s flow.
You’ll start walking on the same trail
The memories will cheer you without fail
Some say time is the best healer
I say memories are real cheerleader
They allow us to relive the best day
Whereas time doesn’t let them stay
With time the memories will fade away
To make stronger, relive them everyday

PC: Raj, Sarthak, Rohit, TJ and Pankti

Written By:-

Sanjay Kumar

 

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