Adventure in the Alpine Trekking & Mountaineering in Uttarakhand Himalayan Hills
GARHWAL Himalayan Range - Uttarakhand
The name Garhwal is usually interpreted to mean the Country of Forts, because it is said to have been occupied by fifty two chiefs, each with his own fort. Garhwal, comprising the districts of Dehradun, Uttarkashi, Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag and Chamoli is not only known for its pilgrimage centres-the Char Dham of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, but also for the limitless possibilities it offers to mountaineers.
The snow bound peaks of Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Kamet, Bandarpunch and other peaks which rise thousands of meters into the blue yonder, offer the challenges mountaineers from the world over come to surmount.
1- Sahastradhara Dehradun Trek
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KUMAON Himalayan Range - Uttarakhand
Kumaon, encompassing the districts of Almora, Bageshwar, Nainital, Champawat, Udham Singh Nagar and Pithoragarh abounds in pilgrimage centres and the mountains of this region. Apart from the scenery filled hill stations of Nainital, Ranikhet and Kausani, Kumaon offers splendid opportunities to mountaineers too.
At the head of the Pindari Glacier is the Pindari Kanda or Trail’s Pass (6,100 m). Before the opening of the motor road mountaineers bound for central Garhwal crossed the Kauri Pass (4,249 m). the Garhwal-Kumaon Axis can also be negotiated by the horseshoe trail beginning at malaria near Kamet, running, North and East along the fringes of the Nanda Devi sanctuary and rising at the 5377 m high Unta Dhura Pass near the Milam glacier. For the thrills of mountaineering the KalaBand Glacier chunk with the Chirringwe group of peaks is ideal. Westwards from the KalaBand Glacier are the 6000-7000 m high mountain passes. In the deep West are the valleys of the Lassar Yankti, the Dharmaganga and the Kuthi Yakti rivers, bordering Tibet.
Kumaon has six distinct trekking regions: the foothills of the Himalayas of the Nainital district and the lake area; the hill areas of Almora, Ranikhet, Kausani, Chaukori and Pithoragarh, the Himalayan glacier area of the Kumaon hills.
Encircling the lake named after Goddess Naini, Nainital is the main hill resort in Kumaon. It has equable weather with the maximum and minimum temperature being 27 degree centigrade and 19 degree centigrade in summer and 15 degree centigrade and 0 degree centigrade in winter. April to June, before the monsoon sets in is the season for flowers, while the second season from September to mid-November is ideal for post-monsoon freshness.
Route-1 – Naukuchiya Tal
Nainital (1938 m) – Snow View (2270 m) Bhowali (1707 m) – Bhimtal-Naukuchiatal (approximately 1706 m). The trail provides a grand view of the main peak of the Nanda Devi, its eastern view and further right on to the pillars of the Central Kumaon region. From the health resort at Bhowali, 11.2 km from Nainital, the trail continues to the cluster of seven lakes at Sat Tal and the nine cornered Naukuchiatal. Tourist Rest House, Forest Rest House and PWD Inspection House are available at Bhowali.
Route-2 – Khurpatal Trek
Nainital (1938 m) Khurpatal (1750 m, 5 km) is an angler’s staging point carrying on to Corbett Park in Kaladhungi.
BASE: ALMORA - Founded over 400 years ago, Almora, with its numerous temples, is spread along a ridge from where the high mountains are seen.
BASE: RANIKHET - Well known for its tremendous panoramic delights of the high Himalayas, Ranikhet is located in the very heart of Kumaon at an altitude of 1829 mtr.
Route1 – Kausani Trek
Ranikhet – Majkhali – Golchhina – Kausani (2 days). Probably the best known routes in this section, the view of the Himalayas from Kausani (1890 m) are a lifetime’s experience. Forest Rest House, Tourist Test House, PWD Bungalow and Hotels are available at Kausani for accommodation.
Chaukori is 82 km from Pithoragarh and is uniquely beautiful with balmy weather and fine views. The region includes Gangolihat, the confluence of the Gori and Kali rivers at Lohaghat. At Lohaghat there are places of interest such as Abbot Mount, Devidhura and Champawat.
Chaukori – Berinag – Patal Bhuwaneshwar – Gangolihat (3 days) Chaukori – Kotmaniya – Dharmghar – Kotgari (2 days) – Chaukori – Thal – Pithoragarh (2 days).
The three trek routs keep to a mean altitude of about 1,900 m and are the take-off points for the high grounds of upper Kumaon with Pithoragarh being on this route to the Lipulekh Pass on the pilgrim trail.
Route-1 – Pindari Glacier Trek
Song-Loharkhet – Dhakuri-Khati-Dwali-Phurkia-Pindari Glacier (7 days).
The trail goes to Loharkhet, 1,753 m. which has a Tourist Rest House and PWD Inspection Houses. Onwards , this well-known route goes past the staging points at Dhakuri, 2,621 m, Khati, 2,210 m., Dwali 2,621 m, and Phurkia 3261 m, which has a Tourist Rest House and from where the ‘Zero point’ view for Pindari Glacier (3,353 m to 4652 m) is visible
Route -2 – Sunderdhunga Glacier Trek
Song – Loharkhet – Dhakuri-Khati-Jaitoli-Dhungiyadhang-Sunderdhunga Glacier (8 days).
The route is the same upto Khati, after which the trail continues to the fork at Kathalia. The westward track leads to Nagkund and the eastward one to Maiktoli, both approximately 7 km from Sunderdhunga glacier (3880 m)
BASE: MUNSIYARI - At 2135 m. Munsiyari is on the arterial water body of the Gori Ganga which emerges from the Milam Glacier system of the eastern flanks of the Nanda Devi sanctuary, fed also by the Kalabandar Glacier and the Panchchuli from further east. The Milam glacier snout at 3872 m is not only the objective of the trek route indicated but also the nodal point for a variety of high grade routes and peaks.
Munsiyari-Lilam-Bogdyar-Milam Village Millam Glacier (7 days)
Munsiyari is also the base for Ralam and Namik glaciers.
BASE: SONG - At 1400 m Song is at the bus terminus of the two routes branching towards the Pindari, Katri, and Namik and Sunderdhunga glaciers.
A popular pilgrimage centre Joshimath is the base for trekking to the famous Valley of Flowers The season here is short lived:
It starts from mid - July and lasts till end of August.
Route-1 – Valley of Flowers & HemKund Trek
Joshimath (1,875 m) – Govindghat (1,849 m, 19 km) – Ghangharia (3,048 m, 13 km). The trek begins at Govindghat, which has a Forest Rest House and a Gurudwara. There is a small market at Ghangharia during season, and overnight accommodation is available in a Tourist Rest House, a Forest Rest House and a Gurudwara. Please note that camping within the Valley of Flowers is not permitted.
HemKund, a centre of Sikh pilgrimage can be reached from Ghangharia and is 5.5 km from there. The climb is steep and there is a lake at the top with a Gurudwara by its banks. A Laxman temple is situated close to the Gurudwara.
Pauri is a divisional headquarter town of great beauty and has a Tourist Rest House to stay in. The views from this quiet Himalayan town are captivating.
Route -1- Doodhatoli – Binsar Trek -
Pauri (1,814 m) – Thailisain (2,090 m, 92 km) – Biyasi (7 km) – Marrow (1,061 m, 3 km) It is important to carry alpine tents as the only accommodation likely to be available are a few shepherd huts and that too at limited stops. From Thailisain one can get a bus to either Pauri or Ramnagar.
Route – 1 # Roop Kund Trek
Gwaldam (1,960 m) – Deval (1,218 m, 13 km) – Mundoli (2134 m, 8 km) – Wan (2,436 m, 14 km) – Bedni (3,354 m 13 km) – Bagubasa (4667 m, 9 km) – Roop Kund (5,029 m, 5 km) – Sheila Samudra (3,658 m, 4 km) – Homkund (4,061 m, 4 km) – Sutol (24 km) – Ghat (25 km) Nandprayag (19km). Situated in the lap of Trishul Massif, it was at the Roopkund Lake that a large number of human skeletons and remains from the Paleolithic age were found. The place was visited by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India. The route was hence named Curzon Road. There is a Forest Rest House, a Tourist Rest House and a few dharamshalas at Deval. Tourist Rest houses are available at Mundoli and Wan, which is also the last village on the route. Badini, with its beautiful meadows, has a Forest Log Hut and Snow huts. At Bagubasa too, there are snow huts and a cave where one can take shelter. Beyond that, tents are required for camping. Ghat is a road head, with a PWD Inspection House. Buses are available from here to Nandprayag.