Illaqa to Lahesh Cave
As we reached the centre of Illaqa we were welcomed by inbounding thick dense fog with visibility of 5 to 10 meters. Now we were dependent on the Cairn.
(I remembered the night of Dec 15th-16th 2012 when in snow I’d lost my way here while attempting to reach Lahesh Cave and had to take shelter under a rock makeshift cave and to save myself from cold…and initiate a run to SnowLine Cafe. Well that was a lesson and I learned that I’m not experienced in trekking in dark and need to work on that.)
I asked Gordon to sit and wait for me and went further searching for Red Arrow markings. At one moment the thick fog forced me to think whether we’ll be able to reach even Lahesh Cave or not. But I kept searching for the “Om” symbol and Red Arrow markings and was lucky to spot the arrows and finally the “Om” symbol.
It took more than 45 minutes for us to spot the markings and then only we were able to resume our Lahesh Cave trail. We refilled our water bottles from the Mineral Water Stream coming right from the Glaciers of Dhauladhar Mountain. From that point it was a smooth climb even in thick fog but we were not overconfident and were stepping up cautiously. I told Gordon that in Dec 17th 2012, it was the same trail where I’d lost my Sleeping bag in snow.
But this time I was confident and we reached Lahesh Cave at 10:00 AM. The Glacier on the opposite ridge of Lahesh Cave had shrunk to smaller size and the strength of waterfall was also considerably weak.We sat up on the huge rock of Lahesh Cave and eat biscuits and Gordon was not happy with cave. For him this was not a cave. He kept on defining what a cave is like and I was listening to him and also enjoying. Well after some time Gordon started video recording the flow of waterfall and started enjoying the surrounding.
The fog was still thick and now our concern was the group of Manu Singh. We were not sure on seeing this type of dense fog they will come up for Indrahar trail. But we were optimistic, so we waited for them and in the mean time enjoyed the Fog and mystique sounds of waterfall (sounds like of some girl singing with the flow of water).
Around 30 minutes later we heard some voices…they were shouting…..hearing them we shouted back since it was not possible to see in thick fog. We shouted about the directions for Lahesh Cave, so that they could follow our voice. It took another 30 minutes and we saw two silhouettes appearing in distance and realized that it was Manu Singh and his friends….but wait we saw only two and we’d met four of them in SnowLine Cafe. We could see only Manu Singh and Vicky but Nirpender Singh and Kirit were not in scene. Vicky shouted that they had lost traces of two of their friends. Now that was not good. Our eyes tried to scan around through the fog but no use. We kept on looking for them and then Gordon pointed towards waterfall. We were able to spot Nirpender and his friend and that was relaxing. Now we were a group of 6 persons ready for Indrahar Pass and with the blessings of Dhauladhar Mountain the dense fog was not causing any trouble.