Thalay Sagar is a mountain in the western Garhwal Himalaya, located in the northern Indian town of Uttarakahand. It belongs to the Gangotri Group of mountains and is the second highest after Kedarnath. This 6,000-meter mountain is notorious for being a difficult mountain to climb, earning it the nickname of The Devil’s Red Wall. Steep on all sides, with a band of shale near the peak, and a rocky summit, the difficulty of climbing this mountain is exactly what makes it alluring to climbers.
The first group to attempt and successfully climb the mountain was an Anglo-American team in 1979. Over the years, a number of routes have been added and completed by teams from the UK, Norway, Hungary, New Zealand, USA, Australia and Russia. Despite these successes and the advancement in technique and equipment in mountaineering and rock climbing, the success rate of climbing this peak remains one of the lowest in the Garwhal.
Admittedly, the main bulk of visitors to Thalay Sagar are serious climbers. This doesn’t mean that travelers who are not into climbing mountains won’t find anything of interest here. On the contrary, the town of Uttarakhand where Thalay Sagar is located, is a very interesting and scenic place. It used to be the getaway of British colonials who wished to flee the oppressive heat of Indian summers. The houses, hotels, boarding schools, and churches that they have built are still in existence up to this day. Skiing, white-water rafting, and hiking are popular activities in this region blessed with mountains, hills, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers.
Elephant rides and photographing tigers in the Rajaji and Corbett National Parks are other outdoor options. Those of a more sedate disposition can attend yoga classes in the many ashrams that one can find especially in the Rishikesh area. Rich in nature and spirituality, a visit to Thalay Sagar is something one should at least take once in a lifetime.