For a place like Spiti, where people have been worshiping nature, adventure activities like skiing and rock climbing are considered quite foolish. There are only few in Spiti, who are involved in adventure sport and exploring the depths of this remote land. Though skiing is becoming popular among the youth here, but rock climbing doesn’t interest many and extreme sports like ice climbing the frozen waterfalls is something unheard of.

A team of mountaineers, Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

Bharat and Prerna near the waterfall area.

In the middle of February, I was surprised to see Bharat Bhushan, my mountaineer friend at the doorsteps of my home in Kaza. Bharat was among the first person who introduced me to rock climbing few years back. He is now an instructor at NOLS.  He couldn’t reach me as we had no power for the past few weeks. He was accompanied by his friends from Geck & Co Adventures, Prerna Dangi and Karn Kowshik. They wanted to climb the frozen waterfall that I posed on Instagram and explore some more waterfalls in the area.

So, now I became a guide and took them to the waterfall me and my doctor friends of Kaza were exploring a month back.

There are many frozen waterfalls in Spiti, but reaching them is another adventure in itself. First you have to reach Kaza in winters, that itself becomes one of the most memorable trips of your life. If you are traveling like a local, you’ll be in a non-4WD Sumo, driving on snow without any snow tyres or even snow chains. After you reach Kaza, you’ll have to walk through powder snow and camp in -30˚C. The remoteness of the region and lack of a skilled rescue team makes it really dangerous and hence very expensive.

A team of mountaineers, Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

A team of mountaineers, Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

A team of mountaineers, Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

A team of mountaineers, Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

A team of mountaineers, Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of HimachalA team of mountaineers, Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

A team of mountaineers, Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

A team of mountaineers, Bharat, Prerna and Karn practice ice climbing on a frozen waterfall in Spiti valley of Himachal

Ice climbing in unknown regions comes at a risk. Here Bharat hangs on to the waterfall, when a 90 second avalanche drops from the top. Luckily there were no huge stones and no one was hurt.

For ice climbing enthusiasts, these links will help you.

  • Sakya Abode can take care of the logistics and stay in Spiti during the winters. Inform them in advance.