If the ascent of Kalsubai was fun, then the descent trek was completely a different story. As per the pujari advice, I took the northern route
towards the Indore village. Kalsubai is a triangular peak with tabletop ridges on it north and south. One can also use the south ridge and reach Udhavane village, that is also a tough route. The pujari told me that the Indore route(northern ridge) is easy it does not have ladders, just steps carved out of rocks, he uses it daily and it takes him only 35 mins to climb the whole peak, so I took his advice and decided to descend by indori route.
The views offered on the northern table-top ridge are awesome of the peak itself and also of the AMK mountains. While climbing from the ladder route the peak is hidden for most of the time, as we are climbing the mountain vertically, but from this route its a different story. I met a group of 4 people who had just ascended from the indori route, they advised me to turn back and go by the normal route. I didn’t listen to their advice, I wanted to try a new route, on my first solo trek, without knowing what was going to follow, so I continued.
I was able to reach the end of the ridge in about an hour, from there it was all steep descent for most of the time. I met couple of villagers just before starting my descent and asked them about the safety of the route, they said the route is fine. One thing I learned, is that if its fine for the locals, then it’s not necessary fine for the tourist/novice trekker. Initially there was some trail with dry grass(scree), but there was slope to it, there was nothing to hold to. I was wearing canvas shoes, so one slip and I was off the mountain! I decided to sit and literally scramble with my hands, I also had a 8 kg sack with me, there was not enough water, nor food, and I my legs had started to pain. My canine companion was
following me, he was also not aware of the route. Slowly I was descending through the trail, then some rock patches, which one could hardly call for steps. This went on for 10 minutes and then there where some crude form of steps, which were on steep inclination. The steps were followed by an iron chain, I don’t know why there was chain there. I crossed the chain, the path eases for a while, by this time you have descended the first mountain, it merges into the second mountain, which has pretty much the same story. You have to walk at the edge of the mountain trail to reach the other side, very scary, I literally crossed it on my butt, didn’t dare to stand with canvas shoes on. There are no railings to protect you from falling from the cliff on this route.
After crossing the second mountain, you reach the 3rd mountain table top, which you can cross easily, it has a single tree on the table-top. By this time, I didn’t had any water left with me, also my legs where getting tired with each step. The sun which was cooler at top, suddenly started to feel very hot. I had serious fear that I might suffer cramps, or could feel dehydrated, or lose my senses and fall from the mountain. My eyes had turned red. After crossing the third mountain, there was one more small mountain remaining, before we hit the fields. There was no clear path, I just followed in the direction of the village(Bari). The dog was with me throughout the descent, he was also panting heavily. When the sun was beating down on us, the dog used to stand in my shadow and block my way, which was quite irritating at times. Soon at around 1.22 pm we landed on the fields, still there was considerable distance left.
I was dead tired. I just crossed couple of fields and then looked for some help, there was no one around. Crossed a few more fields and asked for direction with an old man, who also offered me the much-needed water, I felt obliged. The man told us to follow the field path and after considerable walking and descending the final ghat, I reached the village. Here I lost my canine companion. From here the bus stop was 15 mins walk, reached there by 2.45 pm, had cold drink and got refreshed. It took me 3 hours and 45 mins to descent.
The next bus to Kasara was at 3.15 pm, the bus arrived on time, but there was no place to seat, I had to stand for 30 mins before I got a seat. Was able to sleep for few minutes, the bus ticket cost Rs 53 till Kasara. Got down at Kasara, had a long walk besides track to the ticket counter, got ticket and boarded the train on the platform to CST. Reached Thane by 6.30 pm, from there took the bus to Borivali, reached home by 8.45 pm.
All in all, it was quite an eventful solo trek, got more than what I initially bargained for. Was scared like hell for couple of hours in the descent. Had to cancel the trip to Ratangad and Harischandragad due to knee problem, in spite of wearing knee-cap. Felt a sense
of satisfaction of climbing the tallest peak in the state and using different route for ascent and descent. Had a wonderful canine companion, never felt alone, whenever I think of this trek, it reminds me of the faithful dog.
I would not recommend any novice trekkers to travel through the Indori route, especially for descent, ascent with a guide/experienced trekker should be fine. One would also need a walking stick while climbing from this route. The total cost of trek was less than Rs 500.
Grade : Moderate+ (Indore route ascent), Difficult (for descent, due to danger of falling from mountain, no railings, scree.) The route is not technical, no rock climbing equipment required. Walking stick would be helpful.
Endurance : Moderate+ for both ascent and descent.
No food and water facility on this route.
Best time to travel is in winter months, the view from top of Kalsubia peak is mesmerizing.