Clouds, clouds, clouds.
(I had mistakenly included some of the next day's stuff in the 21 July episode. Sorry about the mixup. It has been fixed.)
21st July (Vasuki Tal to Khada Patthar, 6km): Clear views in the morning! For once we're all cheerful :). Vasuki, Bhagirathi and a cluster of four peaks we could not identify in the distance, across the lake.
The route today involved yet another glacier crossing, and then climbed up a rocky, grassy slope to Khada Patthar ("Vertical Rock", 5456m), a grassy patch bisected by a stream. Here's Gagan Singh coming up the slope, with the glacier we'd just crossed behind him.
We dumped our packs in camp and walked up a little higher to check out the terrain beyond the surrounding ridges and to climb some boulders. Here we are being monkeymen:
Hiking boots are awful to climb in, btw.
Something about our oh-so-incredible nightlife -- evenings in camp mostly consisted of card games by torchlight, frequently simultaneously in multiple tents. Twenty-nine was immensely popular (I suck at it). Vishnoi, who assumed responsibility for teaching Vladlen the game, started with a stripped-down version and gradually introduced more complex rules as the evenings went by, until he happened to introduce some new rule that totally destroyed an exceptionally good hand held by Vladlen. "Fuck you!" screamed my venerable advisor, "There is no such rule!!! There is no such rule!!!"
Normally, we cook on treks ourselves, but this time the conditions were tough enough for us to assign the job to the porters (we took this decision after the first couple of days, and a subset of the staff pocketed extra shekels for this duty), and they did a great job, relatively speaking, for trek food is rarely palatable. The tomato/garlic soup and morning daliya were big hits.