City-based HR professional Shravan Poshetty recently went on the Deo Tibba Expedition in Himachal Pradesh along with his three friends —- Venkat S. Bhojanapalli, Nilangini and Sriram, hailing from Bangalore, Goa and Ahmedabad respectively.
Known as the Mountain of the Gods, Deo Tibba is located at an elevation of 6001 meters. “Most of the Everest climbers attempt Deo Tibba for practice since it requires complete technical equipment for the climb and summit. The stretch included camping at Chikka, Seri, Tenta, Chandrataal, Duhangan Col and finally the summit. The path towards these places was covered with rich flora and fauna,” recalls Shravan, who did his course from the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (JIM&WS) located at Aru (Pahalgam).
The team of four apparently left on May 18 from Jagadsukh to Chikka with a total of 13 mules, three porters, one cook and two organisers. “Two of our teammates had no prior experience of mountaineering but showed amazing energy levels and learned things quickly during the short training period,” narrates Shravan, adding, “The route has a mythological background too and it is said that at Chikka, Vasuki was securing the place at the behest of Saint Vyasa Maharshi. The imprint of Vasuki is still clearly visible on the rock at the entrance of Chikka.”
Given that mountaineering is one of the toughest sports, it requires physical fitness, the ability to learn a variety of specific important skills and to utilise those skills in dangerous conditions.
Talking about the challenges they faced, Shravan says, “Each day, we gained elevation gradually from one camp to another. We had a grand welcome by snowfall at Seri, the second camp at 3860 meters. That lasted for four days after which we ferried the load to the next camp, Tenta at 4160 meters.” Interestingly, Seri and Tenta are meadows during the months of May and June. “But this year, these places had about 15-20 ft of snow on the ground and we camped over the slabs of snow,” explains Shravan, who adds that every peak and climb has its own characteristics and climatic conditions.
“During our expedition, we witnessed a live avalanche where a couple of foreigners and their porter were severely hit. However, our trek leader administered first-aid and sent them back safely from Duhangan Col while we waited for a good window for our summit,” narrates Shravan. But continuous avalanches forced them to change course. “The summit takes around 9-12 hours to and from the summit camp, but the avalanches were relentless. Finally, we changed our course from Deo Tibba to Mt Norbu at 5370 meters and scaled it. Scaling Deo Tibba remains an unfinished dream,” says Shravan.