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Beas Kund - Expedition Reports

Beas Kund :- Report By: Dr. Sanjiv Sharma (Sept.02)

This report is not written to present you with a technical account of the trek but to tell you of my experience of the first trek which I undertook to Beas kund.

I discovered a new world with it's own challenges. It made me realize the temporaries of the matters that surround us in daily life. It brought me closer to God and to be able to appreciate His nature and plans for human life. Furthermore it made me realize my own vulnerabilities and strengths. In fact I can say that if you think yourself to be strong and unconquerable, come to the mountains!

My experience of Beas Kund started with Sammy's idea of taking a trek during a conversation. Getting along with an experienced climber seemed a good idea for a novice like me. So we gathered together as a team of 5 (Samuel, Gurpreet, Gurvinder - the Kinnar Kailash Circuit Team and the two of us - Anjali my wife, and I.)

We reached Solang Nalla in the noon with a cloudy weather awaiting us. Gurvinder was enthusiastic enough to suggest pitching our tents at Solang only. However we checked in at a local inn as it had rained in Solang and the locals were expecting a bad weather. Sammy took us out to the surrounding lush ski slopes for an initial tuning up of our bodies. By evening the weather had worsened and downpour started and our journey seemed to be in jeopardy. My body also gave it's first signal of being unable to cope in Solang by two episodes of dizziness. By night the reports came that a bridge had been washed away by the river turbulence and it would not be possible to go beyond Dhundi, the site of first camp. The porters too were reluctant to accompany us. We slept that night with both a dampened weather and dampened hearts. Gurpreet was in a bad mood and depressed at the turn of events or more to say the weather, and as we learnt later Gurvinder also had his share of a nightmare that night.

However the morning greeted us with a sunny cheer and we decided to proceed with our original plan of hitting Dhundi and decide on our further course as per the situation at the site. We started at 8.30 am, carrying our own loads, and reached Dhundi comfortably by 12.30 pm through the mud and marsh of the road project being undertaken. Four kilometers from Solang we had tea at a local tea stall built for the construction workers. The owner Sohanlal served us tea and very enthusiastically told us mythical stories about the Beaskund.
At Dhundi we pitched our tents next to the river in an area vacated be shepherds as was evident by the makeshift kitchen of slate stones. Some distance away we could see the white tiled establishment of the SASE ( Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment). That afternoon a herd of buffaloes were returning back to lower terrain. We were distracted by shouts and cries coming from downstream. As we watched from our posts we saw a young calf being washed away by the currents of the river we had just crossed. The calf was eventually saved but the tactical maneuvering by the shepherds and the struggles of life encountering death in its face were to leave an indelible mark in our hearts. The team enthusiastically prepared lunch of parathas while I had to lie inside when my body gave a second signal of giving up (probably due to exposure) as I had lightened my clothing out of zeal. Later that evening I had severe nausea and headache a manifestation of mountain sickness, but fortunately it was the last episode to come as my body was slowly acclimatizing.

Next morning after a light breakfast of cold rice pudding we started for Bakkar-thach. This was a tough leg as the river was partially flooded and we had to walk barefoot across freezing waters. The route also became steeper and partially disrupted due to the rains. The bridge reported to be broken was rebuilt by the returning shepherds, as was our expectation. It was a row of small wood laid upon two parallel logs. We reached Bakkar- thach in about three and a half hours along with a group of advanced mountaineering course students. We had to struggle to find a camping place because the main area was already occupied by a Students training course. Bakkar- thach (meaning the Goat Pasture in local language) is a beautiful place surrounded by snow-capped mountains on one side and green hills on another side serving as pastures. We could clearly see the famous peaks of Pir Panjal range - the Hanuman Tibba, the Seven Sisters, Friendship Peak and Laddak Peak. This is also the place used by mountaineering students for basic training. From our camps we could see students practicing on packed snow.

We had another sumptuous lunch by our culinary skilled members (Gurpreet, Gurvinder and Anjali). The warm sun at Bakkar thach removed all our apprehension and we could look forward to another better day.
We started for Beas Kund the next day at around 9.30am. This was the toughest bit because of the sudden change in terrain. A moraine of large rocks, the way through which could only be discerned by Cairns placed by trekkers and shepherds, followed a steep slippery terrain of about 60 degrees. This place also bears strange marks on the rocks that seem to be fossilized remains of ancient ocean life that was once a submerged area. Sammy also showed us the rocks containing quartz. We crossed a crevasse with our hearts in our mouth. Soon we were descending into the sprawling valley of Beas Kund that presented a spectacular refreshing sight to our weary bodies. This valley must have been the bed of the river Beas now reduced in flow as was evident from the sandy terrain of the valley and the myriad streams in which the river had been split. We pitched our tents in almost the center of the valley at around 13.00 pm along the bank of a stream. All we could see was a shelter of some shepherds who came to higher altitudes to graze their goats and sheep and wild strawberries plants growing in abundance all over. The serenity of the valley broken only by the sound of the streams and falls was enough to take away the tire of the last three days. This place is worth spending four to five days away from the complexities of civilized life. After a hasty lunch we went to see Beas Kund that was around one kilometer from our camp. This is a small sized pool with a yet unexplored depth fed by a waterfall. The other end of the pool opens into a small stream considered to be the starting of the river Beas. Because of its peculiar location the pool has many beliefs and stories associated with it.

Returning to our camps we were joined by flocks of sheep descending from the high pastures. Shepherds bring their sheep for two months in a year to this area to improve the quality of yield. Intrigued by this fact I tried to look into the vegetation and found that this place has got a special type of grass with soft and rounded blades that I did not see in the lower areas of Solang. We just made it in time to our camp as a dense fog soon surrounded us with visibility reduced to only a metre. The weather is much more unpredictable in this area. The fog that took us unaware stayed for a half hour and then cleared away as fast as it had descended. Sammy's experience came handy in this place and by night he decided that we pack up next morning as the weather did not look good. The morning came with the rains and we prepared to leave as soon as was feasible.

The drizzle stopped at around 7.20 am and we started off. However we could see the return path enclosed in deep fog. Soon after, the drizzling started again but we decided to continue as the weather was expected to turn worse. We had expected to stop midway and to pitch our tent for rest. However that seemed unwise, as the weather grew ominous. We continued on our journey and decided to hit back Solang the same day somehow. During this journey I came to realize the endurance built inside the human body and was amazed to see my own performance. Not only we finished our return journey in one stretch but we also went back through the same slopes that we thought was impossible to descend again. All I knew was the continuous work my legs did as my body fought with the cold and rain with the heat it produced.

I cannot imagine how we all gathered the strength to walk the slippery rocks, loose scree and muddy goat tracks down slope with drenched tents, rucksack and clothing. The trip was not void of funny incidents as we slipped one after the other. The first noticeable fall was of Anjali but her sadness was soon cured by Gurpreet's secret confession that he had already accomplished the feat twice! All in all he had seven falls as the poor fellow was carrying the largest tent. The cheerful spirit maintained by the team members and the Sammy's constant motivation and push kept our feet moving.
Finally after walking for six and a half hours in the incessant rain we crossed the now churning Beas a last time and reached Sohanlal's tea stall where we relished two rounds of hot tea. However we soon realized that our bodies were shivering as the rest had made us realize the harsh weather around us.

We reached Solang in another forty-five minutes to finally enter the hotel and enjoy a hot relaxing bath. The one pair of clothing we had left behind for our trip in Manali came handy, as water had percolated through our rucksacks completely. It was fun to realize that even the locals would not believe that we had accomplished it in this rough weather.
We returned back to our homes the next day to find that the smooth roads had given way to landslides and dangerous potholes throughout the way. The rains remained with us throughout the drive back home and even till the next day. It gave us much relief to realize that we had returned well in time to get one extra day to relax in our homes. And while the exhaustion of the days was soon washed away their footprints remained!

NOTE: Beas Kund can be used as camping, High altitude camping, Climbing open peaks ( You do not have to have
permission to climb ) and some hardcore open routes for climbing are also there.

* Trying unclimbed routes require very good experience in mix climbing. (Rock, Snow & Ice)

 

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