Thursday, December 7, 2023

Tata Steel Adventure Foundation sets national benchmark in ‘Triple Pass Challenge’

Jamshedpur, Nov 12: Tata Steel Adventure Foundation did a triple pass challenge for the first time in history of India. The expedition started on 9th Oct 2020 and ended on 29th Oct 2020, spanning across three peaks and same number of weeks. Normally, trekkers complete single pass but it was the first time that expedition was organized for three high altitude passes in one go.

A total of 11 participants were part of this expedition apart from TSAF team.

Below are details related to different aspects of the expedition.

Three peaks– Darwa Pass (13,500ft), Bali Pass (16200ft), Borasu Pass (17300ft)

Start & End – Expedition started from Uttarakhand and finished in Himachal Pradesh

Weather – Expedition was organized in Oct – Snow fall starts in high altitude regions by mid-October, team faced as low as -12 Degrees Celsius on the trek

Terrain – Navigating rocks, exposed section, rivers, streams, glaciers and crevasses

Exploration expedition – with team was reliant on themselves.

TSAF team – included 4 Everesters – Bachendri Pal, Hemant Gupta, R S Pal, Poonam and highly experienced instructors – Mohan Rawat, Dharmendra and Randev

Planning – Extremely well-planned expedition by TSAF keeping acclimatization and difficulty level in mind

COVID19 safety measures – All the participants were tested before joining the expedition and all standard government guidelines were followed during the expedition.

Participant Profile –

•             Triple Pass – The participants hail from different parts of India, Kamal, a professor at IIM Indore, Malav from Ahmedabad, Amol from Pune, Priya from Bangalore, Anurag from Jaipur

•             Double Pass – Bali and Borasu Pass – Seema Toliya, Anita Vaidya

•             Single Pass – Nirmal Pandey, Manish, Somnath, Pranav Mahajan

•             1-day rock climbing, rappelling and river crossing in Kaflon.

Stages –

(12th – 16th Oct) Darwa Pass – Expedition started from Sangamchatti in Uttarkashi. Crosses dense forest of pine and rhododendron. Dodital – the mystique lake on the way. After crossing Darwa pass (14th Oct), the trek is in meadows till Seema. Steep downhill climb till Hanuman chatti

(17th Oct – 22nd Oct) Bali Pass – Team was happy and tired after crossing the Darwa pass, but it was not time to take rest. Start preparation and climb the next challenging Bali pass. Trek for Bali pass starts from Janki chatti – also the road head for Yamunotri. (Famous pilgrimage.)  Steep climb from Janki chatti to Lower Damani. The next day trek to Bali pass base (14400ft) was really challenging with some exposed section on the way. TSAF team helped each member to successfully pass through the section. Team woke up early next day with bit of excitement to cross the Bali pass. After navigating moraine and steep rocky section team reached Bali pass around 11:30 am, 20th Oct. Everyone was very happy on reaching the 2nd pass. While coming downhill from Bali pass, team crossed glacier and very exposed ridge till Odari (14000ft). Next morning at Odari was one the coldest nights in the expedition. Team visited Ruinsiara tal on the way to Seema.

(23rd Oct – 28th Oct) Borasu Pass – 2 passes were done. Team had rest day near Osla. But the expedition was far from over. Team didn’t know the biggest of the challenge still awaits them. The final one – Borasu pass. The pass which is rarely crossed and very less information available beforehand. 1st stop on the trail was Har ki dun – the valley of Shiva. Next day was gradual along the river and team camped near the river. Base of Borasu pass was at 14000 ft. The toughest day finally arrived. After having breakfast at 6am, team started for crossing Borasu pass. Exposed rocky ridge team and then crevasse field were on the way. Navigating crevasse field was time consuming. Slowly approaching the target, last hurdle was bergschrund and the final slippery steep climb to the pass. Finally, around 2:30pm, 27th Oct team was on the Borasu pass. It was an overwhelming and emotional feeling for everyone. Exchanging hugs, sweets and clicking pictures team started the arduous downhill. Misery was still far from over. After having the exhausted 12 hours day team had to spend a bone chilling night on the rocks on the moraine. Final day downhill also proved difficult especially crossing the never-ending moraine field. Team was still walking after the sun set. Finally, they camped in abandoned ITBP camp near Chitkul. Next day after packing everything team reached Chitkul – the destination.

Team was very happy and on the moon after achieving the feat. Almost 3 weeks they were away from the comfort of luxury of home. Finally, they found mobile network, started uploading their pictures and shared the sweet memories of the expedition with family and friends.

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