Well, once again, the mountains do what they want, regardless of planning. The monsoon stayed late this season, and the fall weather patterns have continued to be generally unusual. Generally September and October are a great time to climb in Manali/Solang and the northwestern Himalaya, but the rains stayed well into September, and the weather has been uncharacteristically unsettled throuch most of October.
So Lin and I set our sights on a shorter-expedition peak, only 4-6 days, but I again managed to get sick on day 2 (this isn't a habit I'd like to cultivate), this time with Giardia, a nasty stomach/digestive bug. Check that off on the life list of things I don't need to do again. Concerned with being alone at base camp in a compromised physical condition, I headed back down to Solang to recouperate while Lin headed up Shitidar peak, about 17,500'.
They had fabulous weather through summit day, climbed well (nice job Lin!), then got chased down the valley by clouds and snow the next day. Perfect timing! The weather forecast was for continued unsettled weather. Sure enough, I saw a newspaper story on our return flight to Delhi about the rain and snow that arrived there just as we left. I'm feeling rather thwarted by these mountains, and may have to spend April next spring just camping out, skiing whatever looks good when the weather clears.
On arriving in Delhi, we spent the day doing laundry and going to the IMF, the Indian Mountaineering Federation's headquarters where they have a climbing wall and bouldering area. It has been a while since I've spent much time on rock, so we figured we'd warm up before our next chapter of adventuring. In one of those only-in-India moments, however, we ran across the production of a segment of Indian Sesame Street about climbing, on location at the IMF! Grover and his young friend had just finished a climb and were feeling rewarded but tired, Grover falling asleep on his friend's shoulder. How funny!
From Delhi we headed to Hyderabad to start a more south-Indian itinerary of touristing and climbing. Today we just wandered around this tech-central city (there's actually a district called Cyberabad!), checking out Charminar mosque and the garment variations introduced by a predominantly Muslim population here (as opposed to mostly Hindu in the Delhi area). A different type of architecture from a different historical background - beautiful.
Tomorrow we'll sightsee for a bit, then meet up with a local climber for some bouldering - there are beautiful rocks scattered on low outcrops throughout the city, so there must be some good terrain somewhere. Looking forward to getting hands back on rock...