Thursday, July 4, 2013

2013 Bhagirathi 2 Expedition - Trip Summary

6512 meter (21,365 feet) Bhagirathi 2 and our route line.

Greetings from Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India.  We're resting here and getting ready for the upper Zanskar Traverse.  Excited!  We had a true adventure on this year's expedition to the Garhwal Himalaya.  Atrocious weather kept us from a summit, and we saw the full brunt of the power of a Himalayan storm that persisted for more than 60 hours with consistent heavy, wet snowfall.  Widespread avalanching in the region kept us from even returning for a climb on the upper slopes of the mountain.  We will return again in June of next year, the best month of the year for climbing in the Garhwal.  Below are images of the region to give you an idea of the experience.

Pilgrims at Gangotri, bathing away the sins of a lifetime with a single dunk (pretty sweet deal, but cold!).

The start of the approach trek to Nandanvan (Bhagirathi BC) in mixed conifer / birch forest.  Note the hard working porter team on the trail to the left.  These guys carry massive loads (up to 35 kilograms) and choose to run on two meals a day. Amazing people!

A detour around enroute to Bhagirathi 2 base camp.

Moving to ABC from base camp with afternoon clouds.

A puja in base camp to the Hindu god Ganesha for protection while on our climb.

 Less than ordinary alpine scenery.
Shivling, Meru (Shark's Fin), and the Gangotri glacier in mid afternoon.

More glacier bashing!

Moving on the Gangotri glacier.

Travelling away from base camp on the Gangotri glacier (Bhagirathi 3 on the left, Shivling on the right).
A day for drying out after the snowstorm.
Sunset in the region.

A landslide covering the road from Uttarkashi to Gangotri.
Kedar Dome and an umclimbed peak.

Extraordinary light.

Landslide debris covering cars in the village of Harsil.


Looking towards the Kumaon Himalaya.

A lot of destruction came to the Uttarakhand while we were on this expedition, unbeknownst to us.  We noticed lots of lightning flashing through the skies as we rested in the evenings, but had no idea about the seriousness of the situation down below. Thousands of people are currently displaced from their homes and facing a lot of hard work to rebuild their lives.  We plan to return to the region in September of this year to offer our hand in the effort.  It will be huge, and they will need all the help they can get.  Contact us if you'd like to assist.

The end.