Being compelled to spend long hours indoors as the virus is lurking outside has been building up a thirst for adventure. Yet at times maybe it is best to relax and create strategies and plans with regard to prospective exploration activities in the future. Break free from those conventional negative shackles binding your mind and seek for something positive in every situation.
There exist several hazardous possibilities that a mountain can harbour. Such scenarios often tend to wreck your peace of mind with zealous determination.
Keeping your snow boots properly locked onto a slanting gradient of snow to avoid skidding downhill with a series of painful somersaults down the slope.
Pitching a tent in the middle of a terrible tempest which is freezing your fingers and soaking your non-waterproof shoes.
Sleeping with six more bulky hikers in a five-man tent and simultaneously experiencing a bout of claustrophobia.
There are so many such dilemmas that can be described in detail. Let me narrate an ordeal that I had faced while doing my basic mountaineering course.
It was the day, the 20th day to be precise, when we hiked from our Bakarthach base camp up to Camp 1 of Kshitidhar peak (in Himachal Pradesh), ascending from a height of 10,000 feet to 15,700 feet. We commenced this long trek at 5:30 am, and were supposed to reach by midday.
Well at first I was charged up with adrenaline and a load of enthusiasm, and strode up and down towering jagged ridges at the head of the group for quite some time. As we reached the Beas Kund area, our pack soon started scattering and re-arranging according to each person’s stamina level. That was the point where I began to falter.
After crossing a glacial stream, there was a final rocky slope sprinkled with some alpe greenery along the way. At this time I was accompanied by one instructor and two other trainees, and couldn’t really see the rest of the team obscured by the rocks far above.
I was progressing, but more slowly than I expected. My eyes blinked furiously and tried to focus on the ground before and below me. An occasional headache stung across my forehead, and a shortness of breath persisted. My legs felt weak and rickety not so much due to exhaustion as a profound, ominous drowsiness engulfing me.
Yes, I was feeling sleepy. It was not like the usual eyelids drooping and head tilting to one side. My ears were ringing and I could hear my heartbeat. My limbs were genuinely weak, so I was stopping quite frequently to rest. I hardly heard the instructor when he shouted to me that it was hardly 200 meters more. I somehow pushed myself harder, something innately driving me to continue moving, and not fall asleep. The instructor played a soothing Bollywood song that perked up my senses. I was further motivated by the energetic words of a course mate returning from the top.
Well, when I finally joined my other course mates, I was overjoyed. Bursting with smiles and laughter. The instructor who had dragged me to the top handed me a litchi drink as a prize.
It was only the next day while attending a class on survival that it came to light that I had experienced a bout of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Well, to keep it brief, if I had succumbed to that haunting sleep, my heartbeat might have stopped.
So do definitely keep a cool head and engage in creative stuff. Positivity heals. The darkness will soon give way to cracks of light.