Shivling, Northern India

The Base Camp at Tapovan


All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2011. Not to be copied, duplicated or used for any purpose without permission.


From the road's end at Gangotri it was a day and a half's walk up the stunning Bhagirathi valley to the Shivling base camp at Tapovan. I was very weak during this walk in, owing to a bad stomach upset during the long journey from Delhi. Once we reached the base camp at Tapovan however, I began to recover and regain my strength. This is hardly surprising because the base camp at Tapovan was a place of pristine beauty, the water was crystal clear, the surrounds were wild and clean, and we had the services of Sonam Sherpa and his father Nima, who had come all the way from the highlands of Nepal to cook our base camp food and help us on the mountain. All that was needed to cure a stomach upset by the food of Rishikesh, was a few days of rest in this beautiful place.

We arrived at the base camp on 23 September and this became our home until we left there on 8 October to return home. For much of the intervening time we were climbing on Shivling, and we established 2 more camps higher on the mountain. When climbing we were sometimes camped higher on the mountain for several days at a time. However we returned to base camp several times to rest, eat good food, regain our strength, prepare for the climbing, and retrieve more equipment to portage up the mountain.

These photos are a selection of those that I took during our various spells at the base camp.

My tent. I shared it for a few days with fellow climber Henry, but Henry left the expedition early due to a headache complaint. Thereafter I had the luxury of this tent all to myself.
Himalayan Blue Sheep or bharal. These goat-antelopes wandered freely around the wide ablation valley of our base camp.
Setting up the base camp.
Shivling from Tapovan base camp.
A view of our base camp from the morraine above.
Tent at dawn.
Dawn at base camp.
First light on surrounding peaks.
Sunrise on Shivling.
Frosty grass in the morning.
The sun hits our valley.
Early morning.
A rest day at base camp, sharpening crampons.
Pure water supply at base camp.
Ice flowers in the morning. Overnight the ground freezes and ice extrudes through the stalks of plants. These flowers melt within half an hour of the sunlight reaching them.
The summit of Shivling in early evening.
A nearby peak in afternoon cloud.
Moonlit peaks from base camp.
Night cloud and mist.

Base camp at night.




All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2012. Not to be copied, duplicated or used for any purpose without permission.

Page created 29 Nov 2011, last updated 20 Mar 2012.