NOTE : THE PHOTOS OF THE ACTUAL ROCK CLIMB ARE CAPTURED BY FELLOW CLIMBER MR.ANAND KHARE…OTHER PICTURES ARE TAKEN BY MYSELF..
THE PHOTO CREDITS HAVE BEEN MENTIONED IN THE CAPTIONS OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS..
6th march 2010:The start to the journey of my 2nd technical climb was without any events..
Boarded a Tavera on the evening of 6th march and soon 11 of us were on our way to Telbaila village..The route would go via Lonavala that would also include a tea and chikki-choco-fudge stop 🙂 (yummy!) ..passing lonavla,we bypassed Sahara City and pressed ahead..the car journey was beautiful ..for reasons known and unknown,i like sitting luxuriously inside while my ride cruises the dark serpentine paths..quiet dense vegetation on both sides of the roads..Suresh and Sagar sir were not so lucky though..the duo had to travel on a motorcyle and they were having quite a hard time due to the cold wind..
Landed in the village at around 9.30,,its a little village at the base of the two rock walls that rise at an elevation of 2728 feet (832 meters) above sea level..these rock walls go by the same name as the village i.e.TelBaila..or rather,the village goes by the same name as the mountain.. 🙂
The very first thing that caught our eyes was the star-studded sky..the jewels were just blazing in the heaven!it was hard to get your eyes off them..quite an exercise for the neck!! 😛
The yellow lamps inside the few houses that populate this village laid the setting for some colorful photographs..
we were to stay in the house of a villager who was Suresh sir’s contact..the arrangemetns for dinner and lunch were also done in the village itself..freshening up was followed by introduction sessions..we were again a motley group who had come together for climbing…
Had dinner..it consisted of a lot of RICE(apart from Bhakri,dal and pavta vegetable),on insistence of our very proud looking mavshi…she kept saying that there’s no lack of rice in her household..that they grow the crop in the village itself..so we MUST eat a lot of rice !!! 😀
Some time later,we all were asleep inside the house..
7th march :Had to start early so that climb wud finish by 12 noon..woke up,answered nature’s calls,had tea and started the short hike to the notch that exists between the 2 rock walls..
Its an easy hike..well yes, the route indeed is narrow at times..but if u are an average seasoned hiker,then its just a piece of cake…by 7 we had reached the notch/pass..there’s a small temple here.and a water cistern too…our packed breakfasts had also reached this point…while sagar,suresh and ravi sir immediately moved on to taking out the climbing gear and started with the task of setting the ground belay station,the lesser capable among us,that is,the rest of us finished our pohe and put on climbing harness..
we wud be climbing the inner route of the left wall..its the traditional route..right wall is comparatively more difficult to climb…
Here also,Sagar sir would be the lead climber..i wud first belay him from the ground and then climb as the second man…at 7.40(i think),sagar sir touched the rocks..the entire wall climb is of around 260feet..entire route is bolted already i.e the anchor points have been fixed in permanently..this work was done under the guidance of the french climber Nicholas who had been to pune some time back and had started an initiative to make all rock climbing routes in maharashtra safe..the bolts are called chemical botls..they are drilled inside the rock using drilling maching..hence,they are extremely reliable…
u can say that the climb was divided into 3 or 4 parts..at leat in this trip…
theres a vertical patch of 80 feet at the beginning..there’s deep exposure on the right side of this route…from the notch itself,one can see the konkan valley and two beastly shadows of the telbaila walls on the other side..so when one is standing in the notch,one has maval on one side and konkan on the other…
sagar sir climbed the first vertical patch in no time and reached a ledge..he kept putting in runners at various points..from the ledge,he climbed roughly in a horizontally diagonal direction and reached the caves…
now it was my turn to climb..my task was to climb till the ledge,remove all the runners(quickdraws) on the way and stay at the ledge itself..i wudnt remove the quickdraw clipped at this point and help others to changeover when they reach here..technical terms apart,what i mean here is that,there is a climbing rope and theres a belaying rope..the climbers here onwards would be clipped on to both the ropes via their harnesses and carabiners…belay wud be handled by sagar sir..climbers wud enjoy a smooth climb till they reach the ledge,where i wud be standing..from here onwards,the direction of the rope changes..so the rope is anchored here..when a climber reaches this point,i wud have to clip him into the part of the rope leading to caves from the ledge..and taking care that each of them is self anchored at the ledge while im making this changeover..
the task is extremely simple..doesnt take much to do it..im putting in so many details only because i want my newcomer friends and non climbers to understand what im talking about..
So i too climbed the vertical patch…the rock was EXCELLENT..friction holds..cracks…pressure holds..i was getting an awesome grip barefooted..but yeah,the exposure on one side did take the adrenaline ticking a bit..at one point,my leg was shaking..not due to real fatigue,but i guess it was a premature fatigue owing to psychological factors when one looks at the depth below…in any case,the climb was thrilling but easy..and i had an advantage in the fact that i was getting a top belay from sagar sir..he is such a master climber that i trust him blindly and when my belay is in his hands,i can rest assured that i can NEVER fall..
reached the ledge,got self anchored,took stalk of the position i wud be in for next 3 hours and somehow,settled in the narrow space..cudnt sit at all for next 3 hours..there was no scope for that..what i cud do was to keep changing positions and rest each leg alternately..
Suresh sir climbed after me and he took charge of the top belay while sagar sir moved on futrther..he stationed himself below the cave..
next 3 hours were the best..i was there,literary on the cliff..valley on one side..bamboo trees were spread over on the plain before the valley… this part of the wall was in the shadow..so sun wasnt a problem at all…it was fun guiding every succesive climber at the last few holds b4 the ledge,getting them self anchored and guiding them on the way onward..simply fun!job wasnt tiring also….everyone managed to climb this patch with their courage and help of the top belay by Suresh sir..some of them were complete novices and their performance was commendable..
everyone had reached the caves n it was my turn to go there..removed every piece of equipment attached to the bolt and reached the cave in 5-6 steps that seemed very simple..as i said,the rock is easy..its just the exposure that takes ur breath away at times..the traverse was easy..
reaching the caves,one completes one third of the climb..enjoyed chikki bytes in the cave..and moved on to next cave..route from cave 1 to cave 2 is a walk on a very narrow trail along the wall..
while we rested and had chitchats in the breaks between these cave stops,sagar sir was already on the top of the next rock patch..the 2nd cave is quite spacious..theres a water cistern here and above this cistern is the rock patch that has to be climbed..its a hard problem to tackle..
thankfully,thres a permanent bolt drilled a the base of the patch..sirs put in a quickdraw through that bolt..we would use this bolt and quickdraw as a hold,stretch our legs across the patch and try to hold another bolt that is drilled someway to the side and up the patch…its hard to describe..3 amongst us decided to stay back at this point since the patch was difficult..
rest of us managed it..tackling it involved a lot of moves,maneuvers,power play and most importantly,oral guidance and instructions from below..and in little pranav’s case,pull from the belayer too! :)there we were now..on the top of the patch,at the 1st of the high n narrowly cut steps…one has to climb these stairs..they r quite broken and not so easy to tread upon..afte rthe stairs,there’s one last scree like patch after which one finds her/himself at the top of telbaila left wall..
by 1 O’ clock(i think),6 of us were on telbaila top..sagar n suresh sir,anand,girish sir,pranav and me..i was exhilerated..the 360degrees view was mindblowing..i cud see sudhagad on one side..the plain around the telbail walls descended into konkan valleys…I hope Girish sir later showed his picture at the summit to his daughter(proud dad that he is 🙂 ).. 🙂
the feet had started burning by now and after spending about 10 minutes on the top,we started the descent…rappeling down,we were back at the notch by 2…
Concluding Remarks:1)Unlike lingana where one has to climb more through scree than rock,telbaila is all about rock climbing..its well known as the destination for beginners in the art…precisely because the rock is so good for gripping and holding..at the same time,there is a certain thrill factor involved because of the vertical nature of the climb … i personally had an excellent time climbing the inner route of the left wall…
2)i was better prepared and didnt commit mistakes the way i had done at lingana,..of course,what i had to do here was relatively simpler…but still,my confidence level regarding the climbing techniques and roping mechanisms has increased a lot due to this climb…
3)I am always amazed to see my mentors:suresh,sagar,sachin and ravi sir bringing along complete novices on climbs as these..not only do they encourage these newbies on such adventures,they also make them learn and at the same time ensure their safety to the utmost…
Many thanks and kudos to these leaders for taking us along such wonderful journeys..
4)My respect for Sahyadri mountains and what these ranges offer to us climbers has increased many folds over these last 2 climbs…
Wish me luck on my next climb 🙂
For complete album,courtesy Mr.Anand Khare,click on Tailabaila photo album.