Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gulmarg '16

The second half of 2015 wasnt half as engaging as the first half. The first half was so incredible; an alpine ski trip to Kashmir, a solo ski mountaineering trip to Ladakh, a solo alpine ascent of a couple of 6000+ m peaks and an ascent of Kun, which was one of my toughest climbs. After Kun however, I got so busy with stuff at home. A couple of minor injuries and the floods in December just ruined the latter half of the year for me. So it was with great anticipation that I planned the trip to Kashmir. It had been 6 months since I had been to the mountains and 9 months since I had ski'd.

I had planned to ski for a couple of weeks and Divyansh was supposed join me for few days (its been a couple of years since he had an invasive surgery on his knee) As much as I had hoped for the trip to be rewarding, it was a disaster in every sense of the word. First, the snow fall was shit scant this season. Second, The Hotel where I stayed (and have always stayed all these years) was indifferent to Divyansh; so after a few untoward experiences, I shifted to a different hotel in the middle of the trip. Third, I had to return home just ten days into the trip because of a great personal loss. However, there were also a few upsides to the trip. I made a few new friends which is quite unlike me. There was this gang from Baroda that I would often run into on the mountains. I got especially friendly with a chap from Bombay. When I saw him on the mountains, I thought he was a foreigner. But then he spoke and he had a great sense of humor. We hit it off straight away. We would often ski together and hangout in the evenings for drinks and dinner. I just wonder how mortifying this trip would have been had I not met Prasad (and Divyansh). We would hang out at Global or Bakshis or Yemberzaal for drinks and dinner.

Although the trip began (poor snow) and ended on a disastrous note for me, I did manage a few pics. Prasad was carrying a Go Pro 4 and managed to get a few good shots while we were skinning up to Merry Shoulder.

Also had some good shots skiing down through different routes. Prasad had a guide for a couple of days, but once we got acquainted, we would mostly ski together. 

Perhaps the most hilarious of all pics is this. A Jain and a Brahmin hogging chicken and chugging beer. This was the highpoint of the trip for me.

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