By Anchit Thukral:
You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions. Our lions are the two massive 200-plus feet frozen waterfalls of Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Welcome to ‘The Fall’. In January 2016, a team of passionate filmmakers and mountain climbers will come together to film a first of its kind ascent of two uncharted and never before conquered waterfalls and this is how it came into being.
Almost two years back, Abhijeet, pro mountaineer and photographer, learned (well, realized) that nobody in India had ever climbed a frozen waterfall in the country. Why? Most likely because it is too dangerous. But to Abhijeet, the idea and the challenge were too exhilarating to let go without a fight. He not only wanted to make the climb but he also wanted to film it. He shared the idea with me and, just like him, I was blown away by it. But as the adrenaline receded, my mind was clouded with questions. For example, how will we get the crew competent enough for the project, are people ready to take such risks in our country, does a country like India care about adventure sports and many more such thoughts kept me awake at nights. But, as the saying goes, ‘I didn’t say no because between safety and adventure, I choose adventure.’ And that was it. I decided to take a leap of faith and we started ideating on the campaign. The past few months have taught me that it is not only about the right people being in the right place at the right time, but it is also about knowing what to do when you find yourself there. Fast forward 18 months… that moment has turned into ‘The Fall’.
Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located in the heart of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh. There are two frozen waterfalls above 200 feet in the valley. To give you some perspective, the waterfalls are as big as a 20 storey building. It is for the first time that any Indian is attempting the climb of a frozen waterfall in India. And it is cold out there… very cold, in fact. The temperature in January can go down to as low as -20 degrees Celsius.
This one of a kind adventure gives us goosebumps, but also makes us excited at the same time. Each member of the team has been going through intense physical, mental and emotional training to make this happen because the terrain is deadly and one mistake can lead to death. There really are no second chances. Are we crazy? Perhaps. But the idea behind this project is to make an attempt to let common people like us understand and feel the emotion that goes behind every experience and every triumph by conquering extreme physical, emotional and psychological barriers that we meet along the way. It is mind over matter in the truest sense.
The project is very close to the heart of each and every team member. The team includes 9 members and an independent rock band called ‘The Local Train’. Though the band won’t be travelling with the team, they are giving the soundtrack for the official film, ‘The Fall’.
Our core team includes:
Abhijeet Singh: Mountaineer/Photographer
Pranav Rawat: Mountaineer/Instructor/Apple Farmer
Anchit Thukral: Filmmaker
Ankur Phougat: Director of Photography
Shubhranshu Chaudhary: Mountaineer
Every step has been a challenge. For each of us, this project is very special. For the past few months, we have fought innumerable challenges to make this happen. And this project is a little contribution from our side towards securing Mother Nature and its greatest keeper, the mountains.
We invite you to join this exciting journey and make a small contribution towards our crowdfunding campaign.