"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Off the Grid In India: Altitude Climbing & Cooking

The mountain in the background, on the right hand side, is the Indrahar Pass. That is where we are headed. I've stayed two night in Dharamsala. I met two awesome people from Kenya and two from England and we've decided to go on a climbing/camping adventure to the Indrahar pass. I don't have any trekking experience of this level and I'll soon discover that it is much harder than it looks. So hard actually that just before reaching the pass, about 50 meters from the mountain top, I'd start to cry because it is so hard, cold, painful. I'd pull it together and make it to the top but climbing mountains is a very humbling experience. If you look closely in the picture above, I'm with a backpack with all my gear turning the corner. Before leaving for this adventure we hired a cook and a guide to come with us. The mountains are ruthless and a lot of people get hurt trying to do it on their own. Our cook, Gulab was incredible. In the freezing cold and pitch dark elements he would prepare a warm meal. We climed to a certain altitude each day. Our first evening Gulab prepared the heart warming meal below: Clockwise from the spoons we have, papadams, vegetable curry, cucumber with cayenne, rice and dal.
Here is a visitor that joined us for the meal...these hard core mountain goats are all over the place!
The hire altitude we climbed the longer we could see the fog lingering up to us. It's remarkable to be hiking, literally, above the clouds. You can watch them slowly glide up to you - it usually takes about 2-3 hours once you are 4500 meters. After day three of hiking up to the Indrahar pass, we camped out in a cave and hung our clothes to dry as the fog sneaked up on us - then it cold really cold.
From 4500 meters, Gulab would prepare the best plate of vegetable pakoras I've ever had:
with the best view I've ever had....
The hike and days and nights continue - here is a pic of some of our crew. That's me, with the white shirt, heavy backpack, looking up.

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