Frozen Courage – Between Life & Death at Satopanth Tal

On way to Satopanth Tal Trek

On way to Satopanth Tal

This is an ordinary story of extraordinary courage which I never knew I had. A frail girl who happened to be a doctor shall be pushed to her limits and end up saving her husband from severe AMS (acute mountain sickness) slipping into oblivion. That adversary would give her strength to rescue her husband single-handedly in the dead of the night at 4390 meters above sea level on a seemingly innocuous trek where they kissed and slept promising to get up at midnight to watch the magnificence of the Milky Way together.

Thinking about it still gives me shivers.

Something about us. We (Gautam and I) both love mountains and adventure. Love was bound to happen and soon we were married. He had planned to do Satopanth Lake trek (4600 meters above sea level) in Uttarakhand (India) Himalayas for many years but destiny had plans for us to take this journey together. What fascinated him was the spiritual aspect of those Himalayan crags.

Just ahead of the lake lies the Swargarohini glacier where according to Hindu mythology, the king, Yudhisthira had climbed the stairway to heaven thousands of years ago. Perhaps for some, the legend was hogwash but for us we knew that if we tune ourselves to it, the universe will reveal itself.

It was a sunny day in June 2017 when the journey began from the hot plains of Gurgaon and we reached Rudraprayag on day one. Next day we reached Badrinath and stayed overnight in Badrinath. Hot humid weather was replaced by cool breeze and gentle chill. We did an evening hike to Charan Paduka for acclimatization.