I know I am spoiled beyond belief – 2 trips to the mountains in almost as many months, but you know how it is, when the mountains beckon…
In late January/early February I went on a high altitude trek in Ladakh with my all-round favourite adventure travel people – White Magic Adventure Travel. I wrote about the Chadar Trek in a blog post – here it is again for reference.
Then, come mid April, off I set again on a super exciting, super challenging 2 week trip to the mountains of Himachal, yet again with the one & only White Magic Adventure Travel. Just got back late last night, tired as anything but smiling happily as only a mountain addict can 🙂
The first week, we were taught the basics of climbing. The second week we attempted Friendship Peak.
And, yet again, the amazing folk at White Magic delivered a fantastic experience, for the 12 of us on the course and then the 8 of us who attempted Friendship Peak. The weather for our climb was crazy – huge amounts of snow, as in HUGE amounts of snow – knee-high levels, that kind of thing, so we got to within 200 metres of the summit but then turned back. The snow was simply too deep and too risky to continue. Avilash felt it was avalanche-prone and indeed on the l-o-n-g descent from 5000m+ to our Base Camp, there were numerous small avalanches happening all around us.
Oh yes, before I go on – one night, as we were all sitting in the mess tent at Base Camp, Avilash very quietly & diffidently told us that WM had just won the Outlook Traveller Award for excellence – recognising WM as the ‘Best Adventure Tour Operator’. Cheers all round, as we were living this excellence – plans being rearranged to deal with the weather, sick travellers being looked after, oxygen saturation levels being checked twice a day – that kind of attention to detail which bagged them their much-deserved award.
Here, these are photos of the award ceremony:
So, yes, back to our trip.
Difficult logistics, with all that snow at high altitude and rapidly melting snow at the lower levels. Indeed, when we descended on the last day to Dhundi, where we were based for the training course, the slopes were virtually unrecognizable, most of the snow having melted.
The training course consisted of practical sessions on the slopes in the morning – terrifyingly exciting skills like arresting your own fall with your ice axe, an adrenalin-pumper if ever there was one. Kami Sherpa would rock up half way through the morning sessions, with tea and juice and biscuits and we were allowed a quick 10 minute tea-break, and then back to work. (See what I mean about the WM service and attention to detail, by the way?)
After a late lunch, there would be a classroom session – how to wear your boots and crampons, how to pitch a tent, how to tie knots, many of them conducted by the wonderful Tashi, with whom I trekked on the Chadar.
There was not one single thing to criticise on this trip.
Fabulous professional service & attention to detail.
Top class equipment.
Great food, including a high altitude sponge caked baked by the brilliant kitchen staff.
I was so knackered after the summit climb, that I slept right through lunch & emerged about 5pm, absolutely starving. Staggered through the thick snow to the mess tent, where I was fed bowls of Maggi noodles. That famous WM great service again.
Every single member of the WM staff was a rockstar – special thanks have to go to our 3 trainers, Avilash, Kirti & Tashi. Kami Sherpa was beyond wonderful on summit night – I think shovelling snow to make me a space to pee, when we were all on a fixed rope, at 4500m, in the dark, goes way beyond the call of duty…
Fab trip with a fab company.
Would I recommend White Magic Adventure travel?
Disclaimer: the guys at WM know by now, after 4 trips with them, that I blog, but they have never, ever once asked me to write a favourable review. This is all 100% genuine feedback.
I paid for my trip.