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Rupin pass - expect the unexpected - part 2

8 min read • 11th October 2020

This blog post is in continuation to the part 1 of the Rupin pass trek that I attempted last year.

An hour passed by. With our essentials and porters crossing us, it was time for us to resume our trek to the lower waterfall campsite.

The view from the meadow of the gigantic Rupin waterfall
That's my Himachali hat, my coolers and the trek poll that I had borrowed from a mutual friend. While atop a beautiful meadow, we could spot the Rupin waterfall being so gorgeous. You could also notice the camps at a distance.

While we were arriving at our camps, it was slightly drizzling so we quickly settled down into our tents and moved to our dining tent to play a game of mafia and cards.

As we had a lot of time in our hands between now and dinner, our trek mates and Vitso started sharing their trek experiences in the past. That's when I got to know Vitso wasn't a young kid, but an experienced professional with massive years of experience behind his back. I felt ashamed of myself, doubting his credibility 4 days ago!

The rains were slightly heavier at 7 pm. Since our previous day was a bit too long, and our next day will be a little challenging, we all decided to have our dinner and sleep soon.

Link to this sectionDay 5, 1:30 AM: Lower waterfall campsite

Someone seems to be pushing and moving the tent. I was dreaming that a mule which was carrying our essentials was now grazing close to my ears. I could hear him exhale into my ears and I feared he was going to next stomp on our tent and make it fall. I was moving my arms and was trying to shoo away the mule. I also pushed the tent back in shape and dozed off.

Link to this section15 mins later

I could hear some noise around. By now, I thought the mule had gotten angry and now brought friends to fight me 😂. My heart started racing fast. All of a sudden, my tent mate was trying to wake me up and said "It is snowing outside". I was confused about my dream of mule attacks and what he said. I started performing martial arts stunts now that my tent mate realised I was still dreaming. That's when I realised it's not the mules that were attacking us, but it was the snowfall. It was too dark to see anything.

Despite beig dark, with the headlamp at full swing, I fell in love with the place ♥️ immediately. I saw our porters clear the utensils left in the open and clear up the tents covered with snow. It was extreme cold by now that I started to shiver. I had never expected I would experience snow, especially during that time of the year in Rupin. Snowfall was early!

Geared in full, I started to clear the snow that had covered up on our tent. Quickly checking-in on our friends in the other tents if they were ok, I moved back into ours. I was super excited that it snowed and I had a first-hand experience of it. It also meant we would have a delayed departure the next day, and I had ample time to doze off 😂. My tent buddy, who had done quite a lot of treks before, also told me that fresh snow would be slippery and it would be difficult to walk. Without thinking about this too much, I went back to sleep.

Link to this section7am

The snowfall across the valley
That's our tent. In a distance, there were other groups from IndiaHikes.

The snowfall reduced slightly. We were asked to assemble in our dining tent for tea and instructions. Since it was cold, we were to skip our morning exercises and yoga sessions. Vitso was detailing us what would happen next and the sequences, etc. Similar to what my buddy had said, fresh snow would need us to be cautious and slow. Every inch needs to be covered carefully from slipping and shaming yourself 😂. Also, he was detailing us about what would be the minimum time that we would need to cover the next trail and by when we should have started.

That meant, latest by 10 am we should have started from the camp if we are to reach the Upper Waterfall camp. 3ish hours in hand, we were both excited and concerned. Vitso also made it clear to us that, if it doesn't stop to snow in an hour, we should be prepared to return back to Jiskun (skipping Burans Kandi campsite) and not proceed further. With his numerous years of experience in the trekking industry, he can never go wrong, and we had to blindly trust him on everything.

Returning to Jiskun is also a huge task, where one needs to do 2 days of trek in a single day. All of us were disappointed initially, that we might not proceed further, but we trusted Vitso's team on this decision. They are trained for this, and they know if they should make it or not. Without arguing or discussing this further, we decided to pack our rucksacks and head out to enjoy the snow and capture some unforgettable moments.

A view from our dining tent
With our rucksacks packed, a view from our dining tent monitoring the sitution of what to do next.

Link to this section9am

By now, snowfall had reduced! It was also raining. It was more like a mixed bag now. We could spot a herd of animals descending the Rupin waterfall at a distance. If the animals can't make it or they don't climb up, then humans cannot do it either.

Hence, the final decision was to return back and not risk it for anyone.

The snowfall on Vitso
Vitso after his discussions with his team arrives to announce what next!

With a heavy heart 💔, I stepped out of our dining tent and started capturing every single moment in my DSLR. Everything seemed white with black dots of mules here and there which were also descending. The Rupin waterfall, which was perfectly visible the previous day was totally invisible because of the snow up there.

Animals descending the trail
The herd returning

"The weather in the mountains will be unpredictable and keeps changing!"

That's me playing with the fresh snow
I didn't want to miss the opportunity to enjoy the snow either

That's me again heavily layered in clothes
Rupin waterfall wasn't clear at all behind me, but I didn't want to waste the opportunity!

In half an hour, we prepared for our descent after having packed our lunch for the day. That was probably the worst heartbreak I've ever had!

Just before the descend, I turned around to see if I can catch a glimpse of the majestic Rupin waterfall. To my surprise, I could. That was a minor bit of satisfaction at the least. It felt like, Rupin had just given me one last opportunity to say thank you and goodbye!

Till date, I haven't known or seen any photographs of what was beyond the Lower waterfall campsite. I am curious to know it, but I don't know if I would get an opportunity.

This was my first Himalayan trek and a failure at it. But, I had a mix of everything. I witnessed the beautiful rainbow with all its colours distinguishable. I had the first-hand experience of snowfall of my life. In fact, I learnt how to roll a sleeping bag properly into its covers.

Most importantly, I learnt to be patient and calm! 🙂

Hope you enjoyed reading the blog posts!

Wanted to sign off this post with few mind calming videos

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