Please Note: Due to the recent ban by the Hon'ble High Court Of Uttarakhand on camping in high altitude bugyals(meadows), Roopkund trek is currently not being operated. Here are a few alternate treks that you can undertake in the summer of 2019 instead.
Have you ever been in a situation when you have reached the top of a mountain or a beautiful view point with peaks all around and you either don't know the name of those peaks or can't recognize them. Then you ask your guide or the local people but no one gives you an answer you could be satified with. Well this has happened to me a number of times. I know not everyone is interested in knowing details of the peaks but for me it is something that helps me connect with the landscape and the country I am in and also lets me trace back some paths in the history.
Being an avid reader of adventure and travel books, I like to know if I am tracing a path that had been walked by some great adventurer/explorer/mountaineer some 50-100 years ago or if I am looking at some peak that was summited by that great mountaineer I have been reading about. This connecting of dots with history and the geography of the region is a process which leaves you with some stories, memories and lots of information about your trek that you can share with others, assist them and of course you become a story teller.
During my Roopkund trek, I was astonished by the views of snow capped mountains around Bedni bugyal campsite. I was able to figure out Nanda Ghunti and Trishul in the north. But a great range of peaks to the north-west was something I didn't know much about. I asked our local guides/helpers we figured out some peaks like Nilkanth, Chaukhamba, Hathi Ghoda, Banderpunch etc. Few of these names didn't let me believe that the I information I am being provided with is correct. As Hathi Ghoda falls in the Nanda Devi sanctuary and Nanda Ghunti that seemed so close to our campsite sits at the outer rim of Nanda Devi sanctuary. And the fact that the duo of great british explorers Eric Shipton and Bill Tillman saw it from Tapoban, Joshimath some 80 years ago made me rule out that Hathi Ghoda would be visible from here. And for Banderpunch massif that stands 6,316 metres tall in the Sankari range, I was confused wether it could be visible from such a distance.
Similarly when we were trekking to Roopkund from Bhagwabasa, just a few hundred metres before Roopkund I rested for a while during the daybreak. The view was majestic and the same range was visible that we saw from bedni bugyal but it seemed closer now. Here again I was left with a desire to know these peaks, at least their names. When I reached home and processed my photographs, I thought of naming all these peaks in my pictures and write this article.
The range of peaks in the north-west as seen from Bedni Bugyal :
And these are the peaks I saw at the daybreak, just before reaching Roopkund :
And here is Trishul I and Trishul II as seen from our camp near Bhagwabasa (300 metres away from Bhagwabasa towards Roopkund).
This was not all, during our return journey from Lohajung to Kathgodam, after crossing Pinder river and driving few kilometers uphill we stopped to savour the views of Himalayas. From here we could see not only Nanda Ghunti and Trishul but some other peaks too that were hidden through out the trek. I tried my best to accurately name these peaks :
Some more peaks came into view as we moved from Gwaldam to Baijnath and later to Kausani. At some point Nanda Devi was also visible. But unfortuantely I couldn't take a picture. Knowing their names and being able to identify them is just a start to a whole new set of explorations. Each has its own story that holds a lot of information and may be it could inspire us or attract us, may be its the key to our next adventure.