Shrutha's climbing adventure at Friendship Peak

“I love solo travel. One of my most memorable travels was on a mountaineering expedition to the ‘Friendship Peak’. This was back in 2018, I had been preparing for months for that climb. But weeks before the planned climb,Manali saw one of the worst floods in history. Most passes were shut and I wasn’t sure if the climbing route would be open. But my tickets were booked and I was mentally already in the mountains, so I took the flight out. We were the last trek permitted by the officials while all others got cancelled. We began the trek just the two of us. I had trained only on hard ice but this was soft snow, a whole new ballgame. It took 4 hours to cover just 3 kms. There was a specific way to walk and each time I goofed up, my legs sank into the snow, uptill my hips. Every wrong step would delay our journey by a few minutes, it was frustrating. There was a deadline before which we had to hit the peak, if not, we had to return, months of effort down the drain. Each time I had to remind myself “Shrutha, you wanted this, you chose to do this!”. Something as simple as drinking water also becomes an ordeal. I was stuffed with so much gear and clothes, I could barely reach my bottle in my bag without sinking into the snow. Washing your vessels at -15 celsius or using an axe to dig yourself a toilet really makes you appreciate the small things like we take for granted in our lives. It was definitely one of the most thrilling 15 hours of my life.

Travel means different things for different people. For some it’s a hobby, for others it’s a passion, for me every travel is a character defining journey. I love the uncertainty that comes with exploring a new place. I love the near death situations I put myself through. I believe every decision and reaction I have to that alien environment, helps me understand myself better and learn from those experiences. Every new place I visit, is like me exploring a piece of Earth with no judgement, no hypocrisy, I can be whoever I want and in the process connect with some wonderful souls who tread this planet” @shrutha_sm
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