Climbing Kedar Dome with the best of the best – White Magic Adventure Travel

Climbing Kedar Dome with the best of the best – White Magic Adventure Travel

I have travelled and adventured and explored and learned so much over the past 11 years, with White Magic Adventure Travel, a Delhi-based climbing and trekking company who are, in my opinion, the best of the best.

Over the past decade, I have climbed and trekked with WM both in India and Nepal

I have summited/not summited, as per the mood of the mountain in question

I have reviewed the company several times here – I’ll share links to earlier blog posts at the end of this review.

But on a scale of amazing trips I have been privileged to do with White Magic, my just-concluded climbing expedition to Kedar Dome in the Indian Himalayas, is in another league altogether.

This expedition was meticulously organised, oh-so-carefully planned and executed, and was, quite frankly, on a scale I have never seen before.

For just 2 climbers, we had a huge team:

  • The expedition leader, Sunny Sharma
  • 2 highly experienced Sherpas, Ming Temba and Pasang, who went ahead all the way to Base Camp to set things up, while we slowly trekked our way towards them. Then these 2 amazing men did the rope-fixing for us, and tried to navigate a passage through the treacherous bergschrund just below the summit.
  • Eshey was my personal porter and guardian angel and an all-round brilliant, kind young man, always ready to help out.
  • Pushkar the brilliant cook
  • Dipesh the kitchen helper and a gentle, quiet reassuring presence who calmly ferried hot meals up and down the higher reaches of the mountain for us
  • Raghav, a trainee with WM and a kind, polite, ever smiling young man
  • Ankush, the Liaison Officer mandated by the Indian Mountaineering Federation because I am a foreigner and the peak is over 6000m
  • And last but not least – 19 porters.

This was truly an expedition.

We were blessed with perfect weather, and near empty camp sites – though our first night in the decidedly dirty, litter-strewn Chirbasa camp site was a bit of an ordeal, thanks to a huge party of 27 trekkers from Trek The Himalayas, some of whom decided to use our toilet tent (without asking and without cleaning up after themselves) and help themselves to our hot water and handwash, and even clean their teeth in our handwashing bucket.

But all of that rude behaviour is, of course, nothing to do with WM, though to our credit, we did all go and give the Trek The Himalayas mob a bit of a talking to…

But back to our trip.

Individual sleeping tents, a mess tent, a cooking tent and – up until Base Camp – the ultimate luxury, a toilet tent.

A bowl of hot water delivered every morning for a quick wash and freshen up.

Talk about breakfast with a view 🙂

Excellent food, filtered water to drink every day, full attention to hygiene with hand sani always in the mess tent, plus a hand-washing station outside our mess tent (see above re the ill-mannered Trek the Himalaya lot 😛 ).

(Yet another use for one’s ice-axe !)

So, the creature comforts were well and truly provided, and now what about the main event, the climbing?

I had requested a personal porter, to help carry my gear up the mountain, and for Eshay’s help and gentleness I am eternally grateful. On days when Eshay was required to help with opening up the trail or setting up higher camps, Sunny seamlessly took over as my guide and porter, slowly walking with me as I edged my way up the mountain at a snail’s pace. Thank you, thank you.

We took our time climbing Kedar Dome, both with rest days and also following the climb high/sleep low mantra, in order to aid our acclimatisation.

When we finally made it to Camp 2 for our summit attempt, WM had done everything possible to get us ready for the final ascent.

My home from home at Camp 2 – our summit camp.

Our Sherpas went ahead to fix the lines and we slowly inched our way up the mountain – to about 6500/6600m I think (do NOT get me started on my Garmin watch playing silly Bs…just when you need an accurate piece of tech, it goes into some kind of meltdown…).

So yes, I THINK we got to 6500m-ish when the sherpas announced, after 2 hours of trying to work out a safe route through the crevasses, that the bergschrund was simply too dangerous to attempt. We were, I think, less than 200 vertical metres from the summit, on a stunning day with breathtaking views over the surrounding peaks, and this was as far as the mountain was going to admit us.

And you do not argue with the mountain.

She had permitted us a safe ascent and glorious weather and stunning views, and so we posed for our photos and slowly descended to Camp 2 for a long night’s sleep – the whole team exhausted, but safe.

Another fabulous trip with White Magic, where I exceeded my own personal “achievements”, in going higher than I have ever been, but only because of the loyal and professional support from the WM team.

Alone, there is NO way I could have done this.

So, once again, let me reiterate that White Magic Adventure Travels are, in my opinion, without question, the best in the business.

Safety conscious. Ethical. Supportive.

Yup. The best.

And Pushkar’s delicious high-altitude cake had nothing to do with swaying my opinion – not at all 😛 😛

Style, even at high altitude!

As I have stated on many occasions, even though by now, the lovely team at WM know that I blog, they have NEVER once asked me to write anything or promote them.

As I said, totally ethical and above board.

As promised, here’s the roll-call of my earlier reviews of WM:

My first-ever climb, Mentok Kangri, in August 2013

Chadar Trek in 2017

Friendship Peak in 2017

Banderpoonch in 2018

Panpatia Col in 2019

Mera Peak in 2019

Gangotri 1 in 2021

Lobuche East in 2023

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