Monday, March 28, 2011

Devara Gudda + Mogala Betta ~ Virgin Route

Our earlier attempt to capture Mogala Betta via Virgin Route turned out pretty disastrous. We ended up meters short of Mogala betta summit. The team this time was Gururaj & Rohit. We were well prepared to beat all odds, new trek gear, sufficient water and escape routes.
Mogala Betta Rojo on Mogalabetta Ridge

Day 1 - 2011-03-26
We got off at Gundya check post at 0500 hours. Freshened up sipped Tea followed by tender coconut waited for 1st ray of light to start our arduous journey. We locked compasses to head North-East. To start with the weather conditions were pleasant, but with no breeze, extremely dry conditions and spiny shrubs it was pretty tough clearing through the jungle. We forgot our sickle and used bare hands to maneuver thorny shrubs bruising our hands. We reached open grasslands by 0830 hours. From here begins the hardest part. Our rate of assent dropped considerably; we ended up taking longer breaks in open grasslands with sun shining right into our faces all the way up.
Mogala Betta Mogala Betta peak in the distant far

We summit Mogala Betta by 1130 hours. We got into the adjacent forest took rest and a long lunch break till 1300 hours. We next headed towards Devara Gudda further north. We reached the base of Devara Gudda by 1330 hours, there were 2 peaks almost of same height and I could not figure out Devara gudda off them :). So we decided to head back and hurried our way back another new route. By now we had run out of water, with no known source of water nearby we had to get moving faster.
Mogala Betta View Down Mogala Betta Peak

We picked up a new valley for our descent; by the time we entered the thick tree cover it was already 1900 hours. We used mobile torch light and an led torch to cut through thorny shrubs and thick forest cover. Just 100 meters down we found water!! We kept going till we realised it was raining. The terrain around was steep descending valley; with absolutely no other possibility we stayed up all night in the stream completely drenched, shivering... After drinking too much hard water we had to skip dinner. Gururaj ended up even puking each time he drank the water from the stream.
Devara Betta Devara Betta Ridge

Day 2 - 2011-03-27
The night was very unpleasant, we thought we will not make it through the night; we had imagined we would meet our end with one of flash floods, lightening strikes or snake bites. It was the first time during any trek I was so cold and blank; I did not know what to do... In the morning we were disoriented due to de-hydration, lack of food and sleeplessness all acting at the same time :). We just kept following the stream which led us back to civilization. We took bath in the nearby stream and head back to Bangalore in a Rajahamsa (something unusual - we generally take the Red-bus :)).
Devara Betta Devara Betta as seen from Mogala Betta Peak

1. Carry sufficient portable water, drinking water from streams can make you puke in summers.
2. Use a sickle to cut through thorny shrubs and obstacles.
3. Use leather gloves to prevent thorns pricking.
4. Avoid trekking during summers.
5. Take care of your camera and other belongings, I lost my camera hood; if you find it please return it :)
6. Photos are off Day1 only, I was too dis-oriented to click pictures of Day 2 :P
7. Parasitic Tics are active around March, Guru had few on him, the bites heal very slow.
8. Our legs took a beating getting down steep ridges, we have blisters all over :)
9. Due to inflation the total expense of the trek was INR 500 per head.

Terrain Map Red - The Assent, Blue - The Descent