Have you heard of this beautiful classic trek?
Rupin Pass. A cherry-picked trek with loads of challenges all throughout the terrain. But wait, that’s not what I want to tell you here! You can google about Rupin Pass and get plenty of information. You don’t need me for that. You must be thinking…. then what is in store!!
What if I tell you an interesting story about a mad-passionate girl..? The girl who crossed all the barriers to see Rupin Pass. The girl who thought its ‘now or never’. Now, does it sound interesting?
Teetli loves to do different stuff. She feels she’s born for bigger things in life. No no…don’t get her wrong. She’s not the conventional type who would just dream big and do nothing. There’s one life, a long bucket list, and way too less days left to explore her world. Yes, her world. Everyone has one. You just need to be aware of your own.
Teetli always loved mountains. It amazed her every-time. So, when she heard her school buddies discussing a High Altitude Trek, she was super excited. They didn’t pay much attention to her, rather dissuaded her saying she doesn’t have the required fitness. Even her parents didn’t approve of her passion for mountains. But….no one could stop her if she made her mind. She started her preparations. Right from fitness, to booking, to buying the equipment and clothing she would require. All by herself. It was super fun. Decathlon didn’t have her shoe size for a long time and they were expensive too. She also needed money for her trek. So she bought a pair of trekking shoes online. Little did she know, how it would turn out next.
Finally, the day arrived and she like a confident beaming star started her journey. It was the month of June when the monsoon had just started. Let me mention here, she was accompanied by one of her schoolmates. The other one couldn’t make it.
Teetli was already high. It was her 1st ever High Altitude Trek and that too Rupin Pass. Whoa!!
After reaching the base camp at Dhaula (5,230 ft), she was simply amazed to see the surroundings. Deep valley, thick forest and Rupin river. It was as if she’s actually the Alice in her own wonderland. She got introduced to her team and the team-lead. Bunch of exciting trekkers. She went down to the chilling river and dipped her legs till the knee and sat there for some time, soaking the nature within. She had a bad fall the other day in Dehradun while climbing a staircase, and wounded her right foot. The chilling rivers’ ever-flowing water touched her and kept healing the pain she had. No wonder why we call Nature as Mother.
The next day they started their long journey to their next campsite at Sewa (6,300 ft). On her way, she saw a beautiful ancient temple built in the honor of Kunti-putra Karna, the fearless warrior in Mahabharata. Though it was just the starting of June, the monsoon had already settled in. It rained all night at the base camp, and it didn’t stop. With the ponchos on, she and the team were merging ahead exploring the unexplored. The whole day was full of surprises; for every nook and turn, there was something new to unfold. She realized this trek was going to be a challenging one.
After she reached Sewa, Teetli saw there were some signs of blisters under her feet. Painful ones. She was worried, as she realized her shoes weren’t the right kind for this sort of terrain. But too late a realization. It was just Day 2. Seven more days to complete the trek. Would she be able to walk an average of 10-12 kms every day for the next 7 days? ………Let’s see.
The next 3 days were really strenuous with the blisters spreading across her fore-feet and also fingers. Every step she put forth, evoked ruthless pain. She prayed to attain more endurance. Her love for mountains was more than anything in the world.
She reached Lower Waterfall campsite (11,700 ft) on Day 5. Feet totally wounded, but mental strength yet on a high. No medication or first aid helped. Continuous rain with chilling temperatures also played a pivotal role in aggravating the wound. Yet, she was happy as she knew she would get a complete day rest, as they would stay there to acclimatize before setting up for Upper Waterfall. The next day was spent resting, chitchatting, and training on how to walk with crampons, on perpetual snow. In the evening, the team leader suddenly called Teetli and declared she would have to descend down as her condition was only deteriorating and might get worse if she ascends. But, Teetli wasn’t ready to give up at all. How could she not see her dream come true, so close? She’s been a go-getter all through her life. Nope, even if the team disowns her, she would still go ahead on her own. Period. The irked team leader threw her a challenge. She would have to climb with him up to a certain path and come back to the campsite within an hour’s time. If she passes the challenge, she would be allowed to continue on with the team. She agreed. At 7 pm, a pitch dark and extremely chilly night descended upon her venture. It was tough, but she didn’t lose hope and her speed. She forgot all about her pain. All she could see was Rupin Pass. She had won that challenge. She was in.
The next day, she was the first one to reach the Upper Waterfall campsite (13,385 ft). Now, “that” was an achievement. Her morale was beaming high. She kept praying, as the summit day neared.
On Summit Day, she was all set to climb. She tied and covered her wounded feet well so that nothing could bother her. She knew it was going to be the most difficult day, as there was a steep climb to Rupin Pass (15,380 ft) via Rati Pheri, and then a steep descent to Ronti Gad (13,139 ft). The Rupin pass gully is a steep ascent (more than 60 degrees in angle), very thrilling and surreal. Teetli was super cautious in her every step, as the path was steep, extremely narrow, and snake-shaped. She had already slipped once in between and it was difficult for her to climb back then, imagine now. At last, she summit-ted. On reaching the top of the gully, her joy knew no bound. She could see the entire Dhauladhar range. She was indeed in her wonderland. She felt that her whole being was meant to experience this. She had tears in her eyes. No, not because of pain, the excitement of her dream coming true. She did it.
But wait, the story is not over yet. Descending to Ronti Gad was equally demanding, if not more. On reaching the campsite, she was in tears again. This time, because of immense pain. Her feet were in terrible shape. She knew difficult times were ahead. The next day she finally reached Sangla (11,427 ft). It took 3 more days to reach back home with a very high fever and an acute feet infection. Her doctor, too, got disturbed upon opening her wound. If Teetli was a bit more late, she might have got Gangrene, which is what her doctor told her. It took more than a month to recover. But she was again ready to explore Har ki Dun trek the next year. Such is her love for mountains.
She is an explorer. She is unstoppable. She is Teetli.
Titas Chatterjee. A singer, a travel freak, a fantastic baker. Overall a versatile and creatively crazy person, who feels sky is never the limit.