We were up early on the 2400 mtr take off and ready to go. Soon everyone was airborne and intensely engaged in their thermal battles. It was a game of patience and concentration. The climbs were easier and faster today. The cloud build up began with small puffy clouds slowly growing into bigger shapes and starting to cover the higher mountain tops. Guys were on top of their game today. Topping up on every ridge and making easy transitions to the next ridge.
Unlike SIV, here I was always the laato take off after guiding pilots in the house thermal and the first ridge. I took off and soon was on the upper ridge behind soon to catch up with Jitu & Alok who wwre making their way upwards from the finger ridge after the first one. Viz & Remy by now had crossed the red temple on the third ridge. Rohit was on top of the gaggle on red temple. I was at cloudbase, it was beautiful. There were a couple of Griffin vultures who were playing hide n seek in and around the fringes of some lovely cumulus. These were growing big and had by now almost covered the upper ridge. I was cruising at the cloudbase level which was now at 3000+ mts (around 9000 feet) but descending slowly on its own weight.
Alok & jitu were hovering high over the red temple. It was quite an achievement for first timers to make it to the red temple & back in the first opportunity they got. Remy n Viz took the Waldo route towards the big face while I went on a straight line where I met them on their way back. I was taken by the beauty of the mountain valleys & the ever changing sky. If only the cloudbase base was a thousand metres higher it would be a wonder ride to Dharamsala. The big face, facing the sun n full of rock, was fully covered in cloud. The flight back to base was on cruise mode at cloudbase. Rohit enjoyed a rodeo ride over the red temple and had close shave when an unguided missile went whizzing past below his feet. Sajid had an amazing first climb to cloudbase and headed straight to his favourite place, the red temple, looking out for his sky mates & eager strike radio conversations with them. Imran got some good initial climbs. I headed back to take off while Viz headed to tower. I was over the upper take off when I saw Karthik setting up for launch. He was taking it easy today. We were all a happy bunch at the landing. Shared stories and lots of laughter at our last debrief. It had been an awesome ride of fun, flying, friends and 10 days of high adventure.
The day ended with all of us watching an adventure film titled ” Himalayan Odyssey” where a group of pilots traverse the Himalayas on paragliders.
A beautiful day for sure, a blessed life indeed