Trekking expeditions are adventurous. Some are done for just fun, some are done to explore new things, some are done to view the nature from the top; but some are done to challenge yourself, dare yourself. Such is the trekking expedition of Lingana. Expedition of Lingana personifies trekking; it brings in you the mentality of facing the challenge right up front. It is one of the toughest treks in Sahyadri’s of Maharashtra.
So here I was in office on Friday in dilemma whether to go for this trek or not. At that time I did not have much idea about Lingana. I came home still in confusion, the bus was going to leave from Panvel at night 11:00 pm. I had my dinner and suddenly decided to go for the trek. It was an impulse that I should do it, anyways being at home on weekend’s is waste of time. So I called trek leader to inform that I am coming.
Packed my bags and left for the trek. The bus came around at 11.30. We were to reach the base village in the morning. Lingana is situated in the Mahad region. We reached the base village on time that is at 5.30 am. The trek was planned accordingly that we would reach the top at about 4:00 pm and descend and reach back to base village at about 8:00 pm in the evening, have dinner there and start the return journey.
Start of trek
So we started the trek at 6:00 am in the morning, it was still dark out there. There is 45 minutes’ walk till the ascend starts. Stream of water was flowing down here. The ascend is easy till a plateau from where the pinnacle is clearly visible. We had the introduction session here, after all we are all here to form connections.
The pinnacle of Lingana is marvelous it is exactly like the shape of Shiv Linga; hence the name, In Chatrapati Shivaji’s Kingdom it used to be a prison for criminals. The prisoners were taken here and put in caves and left there; the ladders used to be removed so they could not escape, they had to find water and food on their own.
We climbed further to reach the base of pinnacle. Here we rested for a while and had breakfast. Bread butter, with cheese, mayonnaise sauce and jam is such energizing. Small Steps Adventures had taken support of a technical team of Maharashtra trekkers for the trek. The technical team had taken its guidance from one of famous trekkers of Maharashtra and the person who had climbed the pinnacle without any equipment Hira Pandit Sir.
So anyways the technical team then went ahead for setting up the climb, the free climber went ahead and clamped the rope. We also geared up with equipment provided like harness, carabiner and figure of 8.
The first patch was fairly simple to climb. The rope was all the time tied to us that passed through our carabiner hence enough precautions and safety was taken.
As it was a pinnacle climb we were always on the edge even if the climb was not totally vertical.
The second patch was also not that difficult as one could take grips on rock and climb it. After the 2nd patch there was slippery soil that had to be crossed. I remember this because while climbing this part I caused a lot of soil to erode and disperse which caused team leader to caution me that other people are climbing.
After the second patch, there was a small plateau and vertically rounding it off there was a cave and water tank.
The third patch was a difficult climb. The rock was flat and one had to completely depend on rope to climb, I slipped many times here but eventually could climb. Further after climbing one was still on edge and climb further a rock by taking grip.
The fourth patch was also quite difficult one; one had to properly take the grip: one grip on rock and one grip on rope; this climb was totally on hands grip as there was no space for legs to support. Well when you have decided determination is all you need.
After this there was a narrow path leading to another climb. This patch the fifth one of climbing was fairly simple one could easily take the help of rock crevices to support palms and legs and climb up
Now the last patch of climbing; the sixth patch. We had ascended on a circular flat surface and ahead was vertical rock to be climbed. The trick here was to first climb from one side and then climb across. Further up on broken steps and one has climbed the top.
On the Pinnacle’s top.
What a feeling it is to have climbed the pinnacle. Viewing from the top of mountain is something of an inexplicable experience. It was around 5 pm when we reached the top. We could see the sunset. In front of Lingana is Raigad fort, great, big rectangular structure of it can be seen. The sun was setting beyond it into the horizon. As the darkness followed the sunset, millions of stars were visible in the sky. It was so clear that we could even spot satellites encircling.
The 3 rappelings
Soon the technical team came collecting all its equipment and rope and started the activity of setting up rappelling. The rappelling anchor has already been fixed into the ground their on the top we rested here, we were tired by climbing for whole day. The first rappeller had gone down and made arrangements. One by one we started rappelling. The descend had 3 rappelling spots, the first one was of about 400 ft. Imagine that. It was already dark and rappelling down the 400 ft rock is actually a thrill, a fear factor exists even if one has worn all the equipment.
One by one we rappelled down. When my turn came it was already midnight. We had to rappel till a point where rope length ended and the next rope was tied with technical knot further ahead on a narrow plateau which had extended itself from the hill like a nose.
After the first rappelling we were sitting on a rock on the edge, then moving further ahead went on plateau. The plateau was narrow with valley on sides. The soil on it slippery. We waited on plateau till everyone rappelled down. It was such a thrill to wait here, as we were on the edge. The wait till morning was like eternal. After that when last person rappelled we had to pull the rope down.
The rope was pulled and the technical team started setting up rope for next rappelling which was immediate. We sitting on edge went ahead and rappelled as soon the set up was complete. This was 150 feet rappelling. After rappelling down we arrived on a big plateau as big as large field. This was relief from sitting on edge to on a flat surface. It was already 5 am
The grass had grown tall till knees here. We found a place under a tree and slept till dawn broke. Then next rappelling of about 70 ft. Again we went ahead and alighted on a narrow pathway laterally running through the hill. We rested till all others came. There was a cave and tank of water here. We refreshed ourselves from it filled our bottle with it and were ready for descend.
The descend and back hourney
The descend surprisingly was easy, just had to follow a trail of path in woods and grass. After the climb and rappel it was a pleasant experience of descend some relief from constantly being geared up for rappel. We climbed down in about 2 to 3 hours and reached the base village. We freshened ourselves in the pond of water nearby and had lunch in village at villagers home. After the lunch we packed ourselves and sat in the bus back to the city.
Looking at the pinnacle from down we couldn’t believe that we had climbed and came down successfully. The technical team that lead us was great, they were experienced and had done this trek many times also the encouragement from Small steps adventures leaders (Sagar and Yogi) helped us complete this trek successfully.
Base Village: Paane
Transport: ST is available from Mumbai (150 km) and Pune (130 km) till Mahad.
Private vehicle is preferable.
Height: 3000 ft (914mtrs) from sea level.