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Climbing - A thin balance between acceptable risk & manageable uncertainty

By 05:41:00

Since we got hooked to mountaineering 6 years ago, we along with other enthusiasts, have often spoken of the peaks that have yet to be summited by us, a route that has yet to be  conquered, an obstacle that has yet to be cleared, each conversation ending with next year’s target and the next plan.

May 2018,we got to our planned altitude, 3 kms short of the 16,500 feet summit. 


On our way back as our sleeping bags were still wet and stinky, the day bag dirty and shoes with traces of mule dropping and maybe even worse, we realised and accepted something that has made me believe that we definitely are if not ambitious but mature climbers - “We are able to make a decision to NOT go ahead.”

 I have seen that a number of people (myself included a few years ago) cherish only the summit and consider the climb a failure if not completed.  However only you can realise and make a decision to tell the leader that you need to stop, it is true that there are a number of little details out of your control that can go wrong, but the hardest part is knowing that if you turn back or decide not to proceed nobody will judge you


“ Tent jhado-Dust your tents “, yelled Pawan , our very capable guide as he reminded us to wake up and ensure we prevent our tents from caving in .I wake up grumbling pull my hands, out of the finally warmed sleeping bag and moan. 

The irony is that right I was doing exactly what I love the most, but  at the same time all I could think of was that it would end soon.. 3am was our scheduled departure to the summit but the weather was showing no signs of mercy.

Earlier in the day our guide had introduced us to our climbing gear, handed over our individual set of carabiners , snow crampons and harnesses and gave us a serious talk about the final attempt at the push to summit IF weather cleared. He warned us about the dangers we may face keeping in mind that a storm was looming over our heads.

We were at day 5 of this journey and were heading to where we wanted to be , but at that moment we  sat and as we felt the tents sway, we took a well thought moment and agreed,that we were okay with not going ahead if the gods didn’t show mercy. 

I think the fact that we could take an informed decision and not feel upset , gives me  sense of maturity. Yes it is the summit that drives us all , but in this case we chose to enjoy the climb we had experienced so far  and hoped for a safe and healthy 2 days of descent.

"There's no glory in climbing a mountain if all you want to do is to get to the top. It's experiencing the climb itself - in all its moments of revelation, heartbreak, and fatigue - that has to be the goal."

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Mount Trishul is a group of three Himalayan mountain peaks with the highest (Trisul I) reaching 7120m. The three peaks resemble a trident - in Hindi/SanskritTrishula, trident, is the weapon of Lord Shiva. 




Bugyals are alpine pasture lands, or meadows, in higher elevation range between 3,300 metres (10,800 ft) and 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) of the Himalayas 







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