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From Martoli our trail left the Gori Ganga and turned West up the Lwan Gad. Here we saw the first brilliant display of the fall colours on the hillsides. Shamsher also amused us by reading the passages from Eric Shipton's "Nanda Devi" where he, Houston and Pasang had retreated along this valley after crossing Longstaffs Col out of the Sanctuary. Houston and Pasang chose the North side of the valley to descend, while Shipton came down the South side that we were on. How smug we were in the comfort of our camp, reading of the travails of Huston and Pasang on the cliffs opposite that were clearly visible to us, and how miserable they must have been to be benighted there. Tantalizing views of Nanda Devi East egged us on. Two more days of steady climbing through spectacular terrain got us up to N aspanpatti at l3,500ft (4l20m); just below the vast plain that serves as base camp to N anda Devi East. The fall colours of the ground cover and a variety of flowers made every step a delight. At times it felt as though we were walking through a cultivated garden of flowers, grasses and shrubs. While we did not get wet on the trip, the clouds did interfere with the view at times, and on the final day when we hiked up to the base camp plain at l4,500ft (4420m), we could not see the high peaks at all. But then, a miracle: the clouds parted horizontally like the curtains on a stage, and there was the whole North face of Nanda Kot- a magnificent sight. We felt well compensated for our effort, and after some rambling around the moraines at the base of ND East, we retreated to Naspanpatti once more. On the downhill I was bothered a bit by my 70 year old knees that are still the originals. None the less, now that they are practically recovered, I would urge you, if you can muster the energy, to go to this spectacular place before the idiot damn builders make a mess of it. Just call Theo, and he will set it up. (Emmanuel Theophilus, +91 94-56-lO5758 , ( Rose Bowl January 2014113

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