Whenever we come across this abode of snow, smiling coyly at us, series of romantic movie sequences screenplays in slow motion in front our eyes. Himalayas has always been a part of our life, mysteriously though, through these beautiful depictions. But with so many trekking expeditions on the loop, it has become easier to scale the innumerable peaks of Himalayan Ranges. One such trek that takes us through a legendary trail up on one of the Himalayan Peaks is the Pangarchulla in Uttarakhand.
Trekking in Uttarakhand could never have been this better with one more added to its list. Pangarchulla Peak Trek can be summed up to a larger than life theatre play unfolding different emotions all at the same time. You will witness love for the snow peaks, awe for the dramatic and changing views of the trails, adrenalin rush when you river raft and of course pride when you reach the summit. Pangarchulla is a gorgeous peak near to the Kauri Pass which is perched more or less at the height of 14,700 ft. The snow peaks ascending can be best enjoyed during the summer months between late April and early June.
There are many trekking peaks in Uttarakhand but Pangarchulla has a charm that many of the former ones fail to display. To start with, you may not come across many treks with a well-rounded trail. The trek takes us through the Garhwal Himalayan region where the meandering path begins with breath-taking green streaked valleys to snowy peaks as we go higher on the trail. There are plenty of adventurous opportunities flooded in the journey; apart from the stimulating summit, you may also want to try White Water River rafting at Rishikesh. Rishikesh is the most popular stopover for river rafting in India and Pangarchulla Trek gives us the perfect chance to be little groovy on the river. However, the trekking expedition during the spring season will let you to witness some amazing transformation in the landscapes. The lower trails during this period are adorned with vibrant colours when the Rhododendrons are in full bloom.
The trek is a 6 day expedition with little challenges posing here and there. We start at Haridwar, a well-known pilgrimage spot in India. The trekking on foot actually starts on the second day. Beginning from Haridwar we will be covering approx. 250 kms by road to reach Joshimath. In between the locales that we cover are Rishikesh, Devaprayag, Rudraprayag and Kanrnprayag. These pilgrim centres are the confluences of quite a few holy rivers.
We drive 12 kms from Joshimath to our starting point of walking trajectory. The second day covers 5 kms of route and takes around 4 – 5 hours to complete the first lap. We will be covering few quaint villages on the way to the Gulling Top Camp site which is at the elevation of 9600 ft. Dronagiri, Hathi, Parvat and Gori Parvat are few peaks we will be greeting on day 2.
The third day will be little tiring as the trail is much steeper to hike than the previous day’s gradual ascent followed by hilly terrains. We will be passing through oak, rhododendron and walnut forests on way up to the Khulara camp site situated at 11, 122 ft. The third day covers 6 kms of walking trail that will take around 5-6 hours of journey. Along with the previous day’s peaks glimpses, you will also be spotting the famous Nanda Devi peak and Kalanka and Chang Bang.
This is the day we have all been waiting for, The Pangarchulla Summit day. Without going into details and to sum up, we will be covering 12 kms of continuous trek where the challenges will be to face steep sleek terrain ascent followed by meandering through villages and forests. The highest altitude is reached on 4th day scaling up to 14, 700 ft. We return back to Khulara on the same day.
Day 5th and 6th will be journey back to Haridwar following the same trail – Khulara to Dhak Village to Joshimath, and then a drive to back to Haridwar.
First of all, snow treks can be a challenge. Not huge though, but big enough for you to consider a little bit of strength endurance practices before running for the Pangarchulla Summit. Book well in advance so that you would be briefed about your trip Itinerary and you can prepare yourself ahead of time. Make sure your travelling gadgets and equipment are taken care of and in good shapes. Even though there will be medical help available during the trek, it is advisable to carry any specific medication recommended by your doctor.
As we all are aware of one of the disadvantages of a high altitude trek, decreased level of oxygen which may or may not cause AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Hence, it is recommended to follow the guidelines given out and exercise a fully-fledged acclimatization practice so as to avoid any kind of risks associated to thinning of air. However, there is nothing to worry about as proficient mountaineers will be part of the trek as guides to help you in any possible way.
Don’t forget to carry cameras because you may be stunned to see few amazing visions which may not come back in any part of your life. Also, if you are a photography maniac, then Pangarchulla Peak trek may turn out to be the perfect model backdrop for you to take advantage on. Glorious sun rays peeking through the rhododendrons forests, the supple texture of the river water or the mighty mountains towering above us are worth capturing for a lifetime. Also, if you are lucky enough, you may encounter with few wild species of birds during the spring season.