Day 9 — Training Camp
There’s quite a lot I want to write. Long post coming up!
It was really interesting last night. It started raining at about 1800 hours, while we were practicing knots in the dinner tent. The rain did not seem like it was going to stop. Some of us went back to check our tent shelters to ensure that they were properly built and no water could get in. Dinner was served at 1900 hours and there was meat! Sardine though (awww). Not something I really fancy but the team enjoyed it. Contrary to other nights, we went back to our tents immediately after dinner as we wanted to check on our tents again.
Javier & I were in our tent reading. The rain was relentless. Every drop of rain could be distinctly heard when it hit the canvas. Not sure if it was therapeutic or irritating. At about 2130 hours, the rain was “stopping”. The thudding of the rain drops subsided and even stopped.
Hurray! Or so we thought. I dressed up to get out of the tent to take a piss. As I unzipped the tent and stepped out of it, it was actually snowing heavily outside!
I looked at our tent and it was totally engulfed in snow! That explained why the thudding stopped. I got back into the tent and started hitting the sides of the tent to knock off all the snow that was piled on top of the tent. A pity that we didn’t get any photos as we were all caught unprepared. It was quite amazing how the weather could take a 360 degree turn from rain to snow in blink of an eye. The rain/snow stopped at about 2200 hours and we decided to call it a day.
We woke up to a cloudy and rainy day. It was quite daunting as we had sunny days everyday before this. I did not feel like getting out of my sleeping bag. I lazed around for a little and pulled myself together at 0735 hours to wash up and prepare myself for breakfast at 0800 hours.
Breakfast was a scrumptious meal of pancakes, oats and masala omelette. Naturally, we ate to our fills. However, since it was still raining, training was postponed. We were just hanging around in our meal tent and suddenly a pair of wild travellers appeared! Okay calling them wild is a little rude. But you know, it’s like “wild pokemon” appearing yeah? They were 2 Indian locals travelling — one of them is an explorer and the other was a avalanche researcher. They were coming down from the mountain and saw our camp. They stopped by to say hi and chatted with us a little.
Finally, the sun smiled at us through the clouds and we smiled back (Javier: what…) We went out of the meal tent and began fixing out tents again just to make sure that it doesn’t collapse on us when we were sleeping. We got ready our gear and went for the crevasse rescue training.
We went into an area with lots of steep snow slopes. The walk there was interesting as we took a different path. We walked over an area that was the result of a recent avalanche. The ice was hard, slippery and full of mud.
We roped up into teams of 4 and took turns to jump off the steep slope, simulating falling into a crevasse. When we jumped off, we would shout “FALLLING!” and everyone would jump into the snow, drive their axes into the snow to attempt to break the fall of the casualty. The rescue operating then began and the team collectively pulled the “casualty” up. It was raining heavily throughout the exercise thus making it really cold and annoying. We stopped our training a little earlier and headed back to camp when we saw the dark clouds approaching.
Raymond being the casualty here
After lunch, it was still raining and there was a white out at our camp as a huge cloud came in. It rendered our vision to about 10m ahead of us as the mist engulfed the whole area.
White out 1 — Visibility 0
Some fried snacks (pakhora) were served during tea and it was really tasty! we spent the rest of our time reading and Yi Qian was drawing portraits of Ozgun & Yong Siang. It was really bad.
BEST THING EVER
Fun fact: NUS is coming to Manali for training too!
I heard there will be girls in the team. I didn’t write that, kena sabo.