Kanchenjunga Expedition-Halfway walk to Base Camp (Day 18)

Slope down which my camera rolled down

7thSep-Halfway walk to Base-Camp
My camera with its camera bag rolled down the hill landing at the base, when I was too careless and too tired from climbing the hill to bother about slinging it across my shoulder. The moment I reached the top of the ridge I slumped down on a rock leaving my camera on the incline near my foot. No sooner did I catch my breath the bag rolled down the rhododendron laden shrubs. The UV- filter broke but the lens is all right but for a minor shifting of its seal. I now shoot fearing if the lens is broken.

Our campsite surrounded by craggy mountains. The yellow tents are ours the rest the Sherpa’s.

Kazi, because of his exposure with the western groups he guides, treats us to English food. The day we landed there was fried potatoes, lemon juice a bread made of `maida’. The main meals are always preceded by either some juice or soup. The meals are a welcome change from the bland fare we received at Tapleyjung. My appetite is not bad as I find myself taking a second helping. Tea is served in big cylindrical almunium cups and there is only hot water for drinking. I still have to get used to drinking hot water though.

Wild yellow flowers growing on the slopes of Ramche. Down below- our camps and the glacial lake.

Today straight after a very hearty meal-Kazi has now somewhat Indianised the menu for the benefit of us Indians-of rice dal ,kadi and fried eggs. After breakfast we go on a trek towards Base Camp. The idea is to acclimatize oneself and I am more than eager to go even though the army guys neither invite us nor inform us. Gary for his part is reluctant but he comes along seeing my enthusiasm. True there is all fog and mist but my idea is not to take pictures-though I have both the cameras-Nikon F-80 and F-100, slung across my chest. The ideas is to get a taste of the trek we would all take in a few days and also to acquaint myself with the road and the stamina required to walk to the Base Camp.

In this trek from Ramche i realised i would have to walk over the moraine to get to the Base Camp. Was pretty intimidated looking at the route.

It is a one hour walk-we walk mid-way to Base Camp-and the mist follows us and envelops us as we trek. The army guys are up ahead-they started without waiting for us-and it is next to impossible catching up with them. Mid-way through the trek-when we ascend through rock-strewn ground I feel myself breathing hard and pain in my thighs makes me all worried. I am not sure if Col Sharma would at the last minute accede to our request to have a porter carry our rucksack. I am scared to be a straggler among them all.

Relaxing after reaching the half-way mark. Without the senior officers to inhibit them the JCO’s and the young officers had a nice formal chat on lot of things that concern them both.

We reach the mid-way mark, which is a Buddhist stone paramid with tattered weather beaten prayer-flags atop it and across it. We rest there and take in the full height of the North Kabru peak. I look at the vertical slope-the sheer 90 degree climb at some places and wonder just how these army guys and particularly Gary will climb up such and more daunting slopes in Kanchenjunga.
There is a movie show again in the evening. I catch up with `From Heaven’s Lake’. The weather is foggy with a light drizzle. We sleep by 8:30.

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