Bali Pass – Ruinsara Tal

Picture this. A turn around a corner and you’ll see a towering waterfall, look down to see a snow bridge, scan the horizon and you’ll see hundreds of water falls, a river flowing down the valley. Hanging villages, meadows, ancient fir forests… The Rupin Pass trek has got it all!

 

 

 

  • Rated No.1 among the Top 10 Treks in India.
  • Filled with shocking changes in scenery from the first day to the last!
  • A challenging pass-crossing for those seeking an adrenaline rush.

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Trek Fee Per Person
Rs. 15,950
Per Person plus 5% GST

Includes all costs while on the trek:

  • Expert trek leader and support team
  • Accommodation
  • All meals (delicious and vegetarian)
  • Quality trekking & safety equipment
  • Permits & camping charges

Does not include:

  • Expenses to and from the base camp

You'll need to bring or rent:

  • Backpack
  • Trekking shoes
  • Suitable clothing
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A challenging pass-crossing from Har Ki Dun Valley to Yamunotri

There aren’t many treks that let one experience the raw grandeur of a Himalayan pass crossing. Connecting Har Ki Dun valley with Yamunotri, the Bali Pass is an exhilarating trail. It traverses the confluence of Tons and Ruinsara rivers, the undisturbed serenity of the Ruinsara Valley and the lush meadows of Devsu Thach.

Soon, greenery paves way for an alpine zone. At 16,207 ft, the Bali Pass offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the Bandarpoonch, Kalanag and Swargarohini peaks. This reward doesn’t come easy, as this trek is a difficult one, not suitable for beginners.

4 Reasons Why The Bali Pass Trek Should Be Done In June

1. A challenging pass-crossing in snow

Like any other Himalayan Pass Traverse, Bali Pass is best when done in pre or post monsoon season. The generous amount of snow in the pass makes the pass-crossing more beautiful and challenging in the month of June.

Bali Pass Ruisara Tal Ruinsara Lake Trek - Indiahikes (6)
The approach to Bali Pass covered in snow in June. Picture by Akhlesh Tomar

2. The Har ki Dun and Ruinsara valleys are at their thriving best in June

While the higher reaches of the trek are covered in snow, the lower parts are at their thriving best. The flora and fauna are at their peak. The meadows of Devsu Thach and camping grounds of Ruinsara Gad are too tempting to be ignored.

The Har Ki Dun valley is at its thriving best in the month of June. Picture by Anirban Banerjee

3. The view of the mountain ranges is breathtaking in the month of June

It is incredible to be in such close proximity of Swargarohini ranges, Bandarpoonch, Kalanag peaks. Such proximity is rare even on other treks in the same region — Kedarkantha, Phulara Ridge and Har Ki Dun.

A view of Mt swargarohini from Odari Thatch. Picture by Akhlesh Tomar

4. Bali Pass Trek is an ideal trek for anyone who wants a perspective of the inner high region of the valley

From the high grounds of Damini campsite, you can understand and observe the logical approach towards more challenging expeditions like Dhumdharkandi Pass, Tatkar-Puldhar Pass, Phachukandi Pass etc.

Bali Pass Ruisara Tal Ruinsara Lake Trek - Indiahikes (6)
The approach to Bali Pass. Picture by Akhlesh Tomar

5 Highlights On The Bali Pass Trek

1. The ancient villages of Osla and Gangad take you back in time.

On day one, the ancient villages of Gangad and Osla strike a chord with unique village cultures and folklore. The ancient temples at Osla have riveting Himachali architecture that can keep you absorbed for a long time.

The ancient village of Osla on the Bali Pass trek takes you back in time. Picture by Samatv Iyer

2.The alpine meadows of Devsu Thach in middle of the Ruinsara Forest are a grand surprise of the trek.

The setting of Dev Thach is picture perfect. A lush meadow surrounded by tall trees with Swargarohini and Kalanag looming in the background makes for a perfect setting. It makes for a very tempting spot to camp.

Entering the meadows of Devsu Thatch. Mt Swargarohini and Mt Kalanag in the background. Picture by Rakesh

3.The trail from Devsu Thach to Ruinsara Lake, meandering next to the Ruinsara River

This is a beautiful and tricky stretch. The valley is narrow and one can be excused for comparing it with Rishi Gorge from Nanda Devi Sanctuary, although it isn’t as difficult as the latter. The array of alpine flowers across the river bank is astonishing.

Trekking alongisde the Ruinsara river is tricky, yet beautiful! Picture by Akhlesh Tomar

4. The Ruinsara Lake is a special glacial lake

Resting amidst beautiful mountain ranges of Swaragrohini, the lake is serene and calming. The meadows around are neat and untouched. One can experience a sense of tranquility all around the lakeside.

The colours of Ruinsara Tal early in June. Picture by Akhlesh Tomar

5. The challenging approach to Bali Pass

In the month of June and July, the higher regions of the pass are covered in snow. Trekkers who enjoy high altitude pass traverses will find themselves totally at home. The pass crossing day is long over never ending snow dunes and ridges to cross.

The approach to Bali Pass. Picture by Akhlesh Tomar

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Drive from Dehradun to Sankri

  • Altitude of Sankri: 6,398 ft
  • Drive duration: 10-11 hours

Sankri is a charming village with a few dhabas and some shops. Stay at the GMVN guest house slightly up the road. Most trekkers get to Sankri in the evening, which is a good time to lookout for the sun setting on the Greater Himalayan mountain ranges. The peaks of Swargarohini shimmer in the evening sun, standing tall over the ridges beyond Sankri.

Day 2: Sankri to Chilurgad via Taluka

  • Altitude: 6,398 ft to 8,159 ft
  • Distance: 12 km drive, 11 km trek
  • Duration: 1 hour drive, 7-8 hours trek
  • GPS Coordinates of Chilurgad: N 31°06.720, E 078 °19.965

There is a road that connects Sankri with Taluka. This 12 kilometre-long journey may be covered by hiring a local jeep (subject to the condition of the road as this is a landslide-prone route, often closed during monsoon). The trail is almost a level-walk going through 10 to 11 mountain bends.

On the way, there are three major streams gushing down the road, almost submerging certain sections of the road. The hike is scenic, going past a series of wild roses, irises and bamboo, chestnut and deodar trees. Around 2 km before Taluka, there is a campsite beside a stream. Camp here in case there is not enough time to trek till Seema. 

Taluka village is a small one, centered on concrete houses that look out of sync with the village architecture seen at Sankri, Osla, Gangad etc. There is a GMVN Guest House for accommodation. The dhaba food here is very basic.

From Taluka, next to Forest Guest House, the trail descends to the river valley of Supin and continues through a series of forests on your left as the river remains on your right. This shepherd trail goes along the river on a level walk. Around 10 minutes into the hike, you will see the first cemented bridge on a small stream. Another 15 minutes of level walk will have you reach another bridge, this time a wooden one. These two spots are conducive to fill up drinking water.

From here, walk by a series of gradual descends for 15 minutes, till you see a small clearing next to the river. This is an option for setting up an emergency camp if need be. Another 10-15 minutes later, you see a section where you climb down, meeting the Supin’s tributary that flows on your right side. Look for a wooden bridge that can be used in crossing this river, just below Datmir village.

After crossing the tributary, there is a short climb of less than a minute till you reach a camping ground. From here, facing the inside of the valley, locate two trails, one moving up and the other going straight ahead. Take the one that goes straight ahead.

The trail will now deteriorate, owing to a series of landslide-prone sections adjacent to the Supin River. Around 15 minutes of level walking later, you reach a land cleared by shepherds to setup temporary night shelters. The trail moves up with a series of gradual climbs followed with level walks. Around 10 minutes into the hike, look out for your first landslide-prone section. You may have to come down the river and cross the section that has caved in.

After 20 minutes of similar walking, spot a river crossing option via a wooden bridge over Supin River. Ignore it and proceed straight ahead. After five minutes, there will be the first section of steep incline trail in a zig-zag formation. This section will take about 15-20 minutes to cover. During rainy season, expect this trail to be completely in covered in mud. The trail now will relax with a series of level walks till you see a big stream coming down the hill on your right, over a wooden bridge crossing.

The trail picks up a little altitude as you once again enter the forested cover with a series of ascents and level walks. After 30-40 minutes of easy walk, look for an old village setting across the river on your left. This is Gangad village. After another 20 minutes of level walk, take a diversion towards the right side, till you reach a dhaba next to a wooden bridge crossing.

Behind the dhaba is a small hut where locals use the momentum of water to run a mechanical turbine that grinds cereal into flour. Those who want to camp at Osla may cross a wooden bridge to get to the other side of the mountain, left of Supin River and then trek straight along the river till they reach Osla. To reach Seema, one has to trek straight up by remaining at the true right of the river, all the way till Seema. There are a few steep ascents but are not in continuity, as the trail relaxes giving certain sections of level walks.

The landscape and condition of terrain will remain like this for an hour and a half. Look for cemented houses built across a series of barley and wheat fields towards your right. The ground next to the cemented house is Chilurgad. One can camp here for the night as there is no spot available in Seema for camping.

Day 3: Chilurgad to Devsu Thach 

  • Altitude: 8,159 ft to 10,016 feet
  • Distance: 6 km
  • Duration: 4-5 hours
  • GPS Coordinates for Devsu Thatch: N 31°07.442, E 078 °23.042

Start early in the morning, taking the trail going ahead from the campsite. Pass a cemented bridge and take the trail going ahead. Observe Osla wooden bridge towards your right over Supin River, which goes to Osla village. The trail is a well-defined leveled one, with few gradual ascents.

After 20 minutes of trekking, you will reach Seema. Pass a series of dhabas and GMVN and Forest Guest Houses in Seema. A 200 metre-long brisk walk will have you pass another bridge, crossing over River Supin. Do not cross over.

Take the trail going down, with River Supin on your left as you by-pass the bridge. Ensure you do not take the trail ascending from here. Note that from here onwards, the trail gradually ascends as you near the entry point of Ruinsara Valley. Pass by a series of streams and landslide zones.

Around 30 minutes into the hike, you will cross a series of huge boulders as you enter Ruinsara Forest. The trail from here ascends sharply over the boulders. Leaving the river below you, climb up briskly as you near the point from where the trail takes a right. This is the point from where you will be able to see Osla village behind you for the last time, as you enter the Ruinsara Valley.

Another 30 minutes of level walk later, you will enter the meadows of Devsu Thach. Follow the trail going from the centre of the meadow surrounded by tall trees all around. Devsu Thach is approximately 2 km in length and is a delightful walk.

On your left, observe Har Ki Dun Valley, below which is the confluence of Har Ki Dun and Ruinsara rivers. Walk for another 15 minutes till you reach the last section of the pasture land.

Day 4: Devsu Thach to Untigad 

  • Altitude: 10,016 ft to 11,450 ft
  • Distance: 9 km
  • Duration: 4-5 hours
  • GPS Coordinates of Untigad: N 31°05.019, E 078 °26.912

From Devsu Thatch, look for a forest trail descending sharply towards the Ruinsara river below. The descent is rapid and steep. Around 15 minutes and 100 meters of careful descent later, you reach a wooden bridge that crosses over River Ruinsara. Observe the Ruinsara Valley towards your right. Cross the bridge and take the trail going inside the valley, with the river on your right.

A wooden bridge across the Ruinsara River. Picture by Akhlesh Tomar

The next 45 minutes of the trail are a series of level and gradual ascents over boulders and patches of pasture land next to the river. Observe a cemented hut ahead of you. This is a good spot of camping or taking a break for lunch.

The condition of the trail deteriorates rapidly from here forth as you trek towards the interiors of the valley. Pass through three mountain bends, after which you’ll pass through a series of landslide zones. The trails have been completely or partially broken in these sections. Take great care in crossing these sections.

Depending upon the conditions, one may have to use ropes for crossing over the broken bends. These sections are consistent for another hour and a half till you reach a waterfall at your left side. Descend down the trail and pass the waterfall section. Once crossed, the trail again ascends sharply as you leave the last bend and enter a series of meadows covered with glacial snow and scree. Walk over this ridge carefully.

In a few minutes, you’ll come across a vast meadow with birch forests forming a background. The Untigad campsite is another 30 minutes’ walk from here. There is a small river-crossing over a tributary of Ruinsara here. The crossing is fairly simple. Once crossed, walk straight and re-join the trail that is next to River Ruinsara. Look for a makeshift bridge over the river. The ground towards the left of this bridge is Untigad.

It is advisable to camp here rather than Ruinsara Lake, as this camping ground is more secure from cold winds. It is also on the next day’s trail to Ruinsara Lake, however, is a 30 minutes’ hike ahead. One can halt at Untigad and do a short excursion to the lake and return to the campsite.

Day 5: Untigad to Ruinsara Tal and further to Thanga

  • Altitude: Approximately 12,000 ft 
  • Distance: 4 km
  • Duration: 4-5 hours
  • GPS Coordinates of Ruinsara Tal: N 31° 04.831, E 78° 27.499

The trail to Ruinsara Lake goes inside the birch forest towards the true left of the river. Ensure you do not meander towards the right. Once you leave the forest behind, cross a boulder zone till you see a hut on your right ahead. Walk towards the hut. Observe Ruinsara Lake below you towards the left. The lake is surrounded by meadows where one can camp. Swargarohini ranges are behind the mountain ridge next to the lake and are not visible from here. 

From Ruinsara Tal, follow the trail until you reach Thanga. The trek should not take you more than 3 hours.

Day 6: Thanga to Advanced base camp via Odari (Bali Pass Base Camp)

  • Altitude of Odari: 13,287 ft, ABC: 15,154 ft
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Duration: 5-6 hours
  • GPS Coordinates of Bali Pass A.B.C: N 31°02.482, E 078 °26.837

Today is a light day with a promise of great views of the entire Ruinsara and Kyarkoti Valley. Cross the bridge from your campsite and take the landslide-prone trail on your left. The mountain ridge is completely broken as you ascend through a maze of boulders. It takes 20 minutes to cross this till you reach level ground and are able to see a tributary of Ruinsara River passing on your left.

Look for a suitable spot for river crossing. It is advisable to start early so that the depth of water is not high. There is no makeshift bridge and one may have to boulder hop across this tributary. A rope can be handy as well, though not necessary. Once you’ve crossed, take the trail going straight towards the snow moraine that lies ahead, keeping Ruinsara River on the left.

Treat yourself to the beautiful Swargarohini ranges that are completely visible for the first time. You’ll see the first patches of snow in the meadows ahead. Cross over these meadows and move to the right side of the valley as you start gaining considerable altitude. The steepness of the climb gradually increases as you enter the snow line. The snow is slippery here and a micro spike/crampon is very handy in this section.

The route to Odari swerves to the right. You now enter a funnel valley. In an hour or two (depending upon the pace of the ascent), you will reach the top of first ridge. From here, you can see a small snow ridge. Behind that ridge are the ice fields of Odari.

The views of Kyarkoti towards the left and Swargarohini massif behind you are outstanding. The trek from here to the B.C. is another 20-30 minutes of gradual ascent over slippery snow. Observe a level ice field with a few semi frozen small glacial ponds in between. This is Bali Base Camp. Look for a level ground for pitching the tents. In the month of June and July tents will be pitched on hard snow.

If one wants to trek further, one can proceed ahead to the Advance Base Camp of Bali, which is another 2-3 hours on a snow ridge away.

Today is a short day but involves a steep climb as you gain nearly 2000 ft of altitude in a 1.5 km distance. 

Start very early in the morning, preferably around 4 or 5 am. One can start much earlier, depending upon prevailing weather conditions. Micro-spikes are required for today. There is also a section where ropes need to be fixed. Carry plenty of water as there are no water points for a long section of the trek.

Looking ahead, observe a series of five snow ridges that need to be traversed. Bali Pass summit is not visible from this section for the moment. It takes around 30-45 minutes to climb to the top of the third snow ridge as you gain an altitude of 200 meters.

From this spot, you will be able to see a snow ridge line that connects to a steep climb over a series of snow ridges. The initial walk is a gradual walk over a level ridge. There is huge accumulation of snow all around. It is wise to remain on top of the ridge and climb up via that route. No ropes are required here.

These sections are not technical but are long and tiring. After an hour or two (depending upon your pace) you will reach the top of the fifth ridge. From here, you can see Bali Pass Col towards your left ahead. Below the pass is the camping spot of A.B.C. Walk towards the left side, crossing as many as three snow dunes to reach the spot, from where the true ascent of Bali Col begins.

Day 7: Bali Pass Advanced Base Camp to Bali Pass and further to Lower Damini

  • Altitude: 15,147 ft to 16,207 feet to 11,076 feet 
  • Distance: 14 km
  • Duration: 9-10 hours
  • GPS Coordinates of Bali Pass: N 31°01.909, E 078 °26.392
  • GPS Coordinates of Lower Damini: N 30°59.919, E 078 °27.218

The climb to Bali Pass is steep and you might require an expert guide to find the route. There are no crevasses here, but there’s a lot of snow. An ice axe is useful here, to ensure sure footing. It is advisable not to take a straight line ascent route. Making scissor-bend trails is more practical.

The climb can take anything from 45 minutes to one and a half hours. As you reach the top of the mountain col, you will be able to see the Yamunotri side of the valley for the first time.

The Bali Pass summit is another 10 minutes of ascent towards the connecting ridge on your left. The last climb is again steep, but doable. The summit of Bali pass has enough space for a large group of 30-40 people to assemble.

Once you’re reached the Bali Pass summit, enjoy a clear 360 degree view of the Ruinsara and Yamuntori side. One can see Bandarpoonch (White peak) and Kalanag (Black Peak) and also the logical route to Saptarishikund.

Look down towards the Yamunotri side for a connecting snow ridge that descends. This is from where you will descend. Fixed ropes need to be placed in the initial 60-70 metres. Care must be taken while descending. The second section of descent can be done by merely sliding down towards the A.B.C. site on the Yamunotri side.

Once down, observe snow fields descending on your right. There are multiple routes that one can take to descend from here. Moving down on soft snow can be done swiftly. After 15 minutes, you will reach the last point of the A.B.C. ridge. From here, there is another sharp descent down to base camp. Let an experienced team member find a best possible descent route from here. You will cross a few boulders over snow. Once this section is crossed, one can slide down till the B.C. From here, move briskly as you lose altitude. Another 30 minutes of brisk descent later, you will be required to traverse to the right side of the mountain ridge till you reach the pinnacle.

From here, you will be able to see the upper and lower Damini forest ridge below you. The descent from here is tricky, especially if there is snow. If the accumulation of snow is large, you may need to place ropes. The trails here are nonexistent and one has to descend sharply over huge boulders and snow. Look for a land clearing 500 meters below you. This section is like a maze and the team must do this with extreme caution. It may take an hour or two to cross this section safely.

Once you enter the upper forest of Damini, rejoin a well-laid trail that now descends rapidly. There is no water source at Upper Damini camping ground anymore. Hence, it is advisable to trek down to lower catchment area inside the forest. The trek down is another 2-3 km, till you reach a small camping spot next to a stream. You have now reached lower Damini camping spot. (One can also camp at the Base Camp location in the Yamunotri side of Bali Col, depending upon weather conditions.)

Day 8: Lower Damini to Yamunotri and back to Dehradun

  • Altitude: 11,076 ft to 10,797 ft
  • Distance: 1.5 km trek
  • Duration: 1 hour trek, followed by 8 hour drive

Today is an easy day. Take the trail descending the lower Damini forest. The trail is well-defined and after 30 minutes of steep descent, you will connect with the old Yamunotri trail. Take a left if you want to detour and visit the Yamunotri temple. Otherwise, take a right and follow the trail that descends and connects with the new Yamunotri to Janakchatti pilgrim trail.

The trail from here is cemented and one can reach Janakchatti in couple of hours. From Janakchatti, board a bus or a shared jeep to Dehradun or Barkot.

How to prepare for the Bali Pass trek

Bali Pass is a moderate – difficult trek. Every day, you cover around 7-8 km on an average and gain a good amount of altitude. Over 5 days, you climb from 5,100 ft to a highest point of 16,207 ft. You gain 10,000 ft over five days of trekking. If you want to do this trek comfortably and enjoy all the surprises it offers, you will need to prepare well.

Cardiovascular endurance – Target 10 km in 60 minutes before the start of the trek
The Bali Pass trek requires a good amount of endurance and stamina. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.

In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –

–>Target completing 5 km in 35 minutes when you begin.
–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in less than 35 mins.
–>If you are above 45 years and is comfortable with brisk walking, then target covering 10km in 90 minutes.

If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.

How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?

Record your run on an app like Nike Run or Strava. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.

Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.

Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.

Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek — one of you covering 5km in less than 35 mins along with your picture and the other with splits of your run.

Strength – Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each

This is another area you should work on. There is a lot of trekking distance that you will cover in high altitude carrying your backpacks.  You have to walk on uneven terrain during the trek. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.

Flexibility

Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.

Here is a chart that you can follow to get fit for your trek.

Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

On this page, you will find

Useful videos to help you with your gear (Skip to section)
> A list of everything you need for the trek (Skip to section)
> A list of medicines for your trek (Skip to section)
> A list of mandatory documents (Skip to section)
> A downloadable checklist (Skip to section)
> Rental gear (Skip to section)

Useful videos to help you with your gear

Bare necessities:

1. Trekking shoesThe Bali Pass trek has different kinds of terrain. A majority of the trail is alpine, with rocks, loose soil and boulders. So its imperative that you have a good pair of trekking shoes. So ensure you wear a good pair of shoes.

2. Backpack (30-40 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.

Clothes

On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. But enough to keep you warm.

1. Four warm layers: The highest altitude you reach in this trek is 16,207 ft and the climate may require you to have more warm clothes. You will need at least three warm layers (two light layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek. In non winter months, two warm layers should suffice.

2. Two trek pants: Two pairs of pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry an extra pair just in case it rains. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.

3. Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry two. Let one of these be a dry fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. 

4. Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.

Accessories

1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow closer to the lake, so carry a pair of sunglasses.
2. Suncap: The sun is more hard at high altitudes, which is why a sun cap is mandatory.
3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woollen hand gloves which is water resistant.
4. Balaclava or a woollen cap
5. Socks (3 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
6. Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.

Others

1. ToiletriesSunscreen, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you.
2. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. Lunch box is a mandatory since there will be packed lunch provided during We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
3. Two water bottles: 1 liter each
4. Plastic covers: While packing, use Ziploc covers to compartmentalization of things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes. You also need ziploc packets to keep soiled sanitary napkins if you use them on the trek.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit

  1. Diamox – 6 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Crocin – 3 tablets (fever)
  3. Avomine – 3 ablets (motion sickness)
  4. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  5. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  6. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  7. Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
  8. Omez/ Rantadine – 3 tablets (antacids)
  9. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  10. Gauze – 1 small roll
  11. Band aid –5 strips
  12. Cotton – 1 small roll
  13. ORS – 10 packets
  14. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  15. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
  16. Knee cap, if you are prone to knee injury
  17. Anti fungal powder

Mandatory Documents

Please carry the below documents. The Disclaimer certificate needs to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp.
  • Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
  • Disclaimer- Download PDF

If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.

Here’s a quick info-graphic to give you an overview of everything you need in your backpack.

Rent gear from Indiahikes

What you need to know about the trek fee

The trek fee of Rs. 15,950 + 5% GST covers all costs of the trek from Sankri to Yamunotri.

Here is what the trek fee includes:

  1. Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 8 (Sankri to Lower Damini). You will be camping on all days of the trek (3 per tent).
  2. Meals – All meals from dinner at Sankri on Day 1 to lunch on Day 8 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
  3. Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
  4. Trekking equipment – You will stay in high quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
  5. Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
  6. Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
  7. Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.

Here is what the trek fee excludes:

  1. Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Dehradun and drop you back from Yamunotri. This will cost approx. Rs. 5,500 per 5 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers.
  2. Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to and from the base camps.
  3. Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 2,200 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Dhaula (Rs.375 per day inclusive of taxes). Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
  4. Stay at Yamunotri/Dehradun on the last day 
  5. Personal expenses of any kind
  6. Anything apart from inclusions

Terms & Conditions

1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.

The cancellation charges are as under:

  • Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
  • Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.

Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.

2. The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start at Sankri to the end at Yamunotri.

3. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from Dehradun Railway Station at 6.30 am. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to Sankri in shared cabs.

4. Transport:Transport from Dehradun to Sankri and return from Yamunotri to Dehradun can be arranged by us at an extra cost. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab (approximate cost of the cab: Rs. 5,500 one way). Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.

5. Backpack carrying: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.

Backpack offloading charge for the entire trek duration is Rs. 2,200 plus GST of 5%. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading – Rs.375 per day inclusive of tax. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.

Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.

6. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.

Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.

Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.

7. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.

8. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.

9. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.

10. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.

11. Route changes, postponement, delay or finishing the trek a day earlier:
 Under some extraordinary circumstance, your trek may end a day earlier  or start a day later. This may become necessary due to inclement weather, snow and ice conditions, political restrictions or any other cause. In the event of a change, postponement or delay, participants have no right to refund of the trek (in whole or in part) or other compensation for any injury, loss or damage. Trek fee is not charged broken down in terms of days but is a composite fee for the whole trek.

12. Safety Protocol: 


      a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.

b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.

c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.

How safe is the Bali Pass trek?

The Bali Pass trek is a moderate-difficult one. The most difficult part of the trek is the crossing of the pass itself. There’s usually excessive snow pre-monsoon, and the ridge is narrow. You also climb to 1,207 ft, which is very high altitude. There are chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness though the trail is designed such that your body has enough time to acclimatise to the surroundings.

If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.

What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety

Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.

Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:

1. Fitness criteria before registration

Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have an eligibility criteria for the Bali Pass trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Bali Pass trek has to meet the fitness requirements. We ask you for proof of your fitness and guide you to get fit enough for the trek.

2. Monitoring health on a trek

Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.

On the Bali Pass trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.

  •      Oxygen Level
  •      Pulse Rate

Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.

This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.

Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.

3. High Altitude Medical Kit

Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.

4. High Altitude Trek Equipment

To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.

All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.

5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek

You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.

We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.

With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.

Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.

What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Bali Pass trek

ams-symptoms-indiahikes

Acute Mountain Sickness:

On the Bali Pass trek, the trail is designed such that your body has enough time to acclimatise to the surroundings. So probabilities of Acute Mountain Sickness are low, even though you hit a maximum altitude of 15,380 ft.

However, at the Odari Thatch camp or the Advanced Base Camp, AMS can hit anyone since these are all at very high altitudes. Hence, it is imperative that you take necessary precautions.

At any campsite, inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you identify any symptom of AMS. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to a lower campsite.

This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours.And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.

Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox

We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.

What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?

If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.

Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.

Exit points on the Bali Pass trek

The closest exit on this trek is at the base camp, Taluka, where there is a road head. After crossing the pass, the closest exit is at Janki Chatti in Yamunotri. Evacuation can take time, even 1-2 days, especially from high camps. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.

Closest hospital

Depending on where in the trek a medical emergency occurs, there are different hospitals that you can access. On the Sankri side, Purola has the closest hospital. Towards the end of the trek, your best option would be to reach Yamunotri, where you will find a seasonal hospital.

Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks

If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.

Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.

If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.

Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.

You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.

We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.

Acute Mountain Sickness — Good reads

If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.

What Happens To Your Body At High Altitude

What Is Acute Mountain Sickness? A Quick Look At AMS, HAPE And HACE

How To Treat Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE, & HACE

How To Prevent Altitude Sickness

For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.

ams-manual-indiahikes-2-pages
Click on the AMS Manual to open and download

 

How to get to the basecamp – Sankri

Delhi → Dehradun → Sankri

The Bali Pass trek starts from Sankri, 197 km from Dehradun. 

Indiahikes organises transport from Dehradun to Sankri. The pick up is at 6.30 am from Dehradun Railway Station on Day 1. It costs Rs.5,500 per cab one way. This is not included in the fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver. 

To reach Dehradun

The best way to reach Dehradun is to take an overnight train from Delhi. There are two trains available from Delhi to Dehradun.

  • 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 5.40
  • 12055 DDN Jan Shatabdi – 15.20 – 21.10 (reach the previous night)

If you cannot find a train, then take a bus. To stay on the safe side, book buses online in advance. Book such that you have some buffer time to make it to Dehradun on time for the pick-up; buses usually get delayed.

Getting back

Yamunotri → Dehradun→ Delhi

The Bali Pass treks ends at Yamunotri. From Yamunotri, you’ll be driving all the way to Dehradun. It takes 8-9 hours to drive back to Dehradun. Indiahikes organises this transport for a fare of Rs.5,500 per cab. This is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid to the driver directly. You will reach Dehradun by 8.00 pm. 

If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your onward travel from Dehradun post 9.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express (21.20) or Nanda Devi Express (23.30).

If you want to get to the base camp by yourself

There are direct buses from Dehradun to Sankri. They leave at 6.00 am, 7 am and 8 am respectiveley from Dehradun Railway station.

If you are reaching Dehradun late, you can take a bus to Purola/Naugaon and then a connecting bus to Sankri. The last bus leaves from Dehradun Railway Station at 12.00 noon. If you reach Purola late, you can stay there overnight.

If you are taking a hired taxi, the route is pretty straightforward. First, head to Mussoorie, then move down to Yamuna Bridge via Kempty falls. Then follow the Yamuna on your left until you reach Damta and further on to Naugaon. Cross the Yamuna at Naugaon and head towards Purola. The route immediately turns scenic, with pine trees overlooking the road.

At Purola break for lunch. From Purola, the route gets mesmerising with the road climbing up and descending through thick pine forests until you get to Mori along the Tons River. 5 km out of Purola try to locate the south face of the Kedarkantha peak on your left. The highest peak, it is not difficult to spot.

From Mori, follow the Tons to Naitwar, again through some breathtaking mountain scenery. At Naitwar, the road branches off to the right along the Supin, until you get to Sankri an hour later.

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Must read about Bali Pass – Ruinsara Tal

REGION: Uttarakhand DURATION: 8 days DIFFICULTY: Difficult HIGHEST ALTITUDE: 16,207 ft MINIMUM AGE: 18 Years AVERAGE TEMPERATURE:

SHORT ITINERARY

Day 1: Drive from Dehradun to Sankri. Approx. 8 hour drive. The cab costs Rs.5,000 per vehicle, shared by 5 trekkers.

Day 2: Sankri to Taluka drive then Taluka to Chilurgad trek – 11 km trek

Day 3: Chilurgad to Devsu Thach – 6 km trek

Day 4: Devsu Thach to Untigad – 9 km trek

Day 5: Untigaad to Thanga via Ruinsara – 4 km trek

Day 6: Thanga to Advance Base Camp – 4.5 km trek

Day 7: Advance Base Camp to Lower Damini via Bali Pass- 16 km trek

Day 8: Lower Damini to Yamunotri to Dehradun – 1.5 km trek and then 8 hour drive.

You’ll be back in Dehradun by 8 pm. Organise your return transport only post 9 pm.

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Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy is the Chief Editor at Indiahikes. She also runs a video series, Trek With Swathi. Before joining Indiahikes, she worked as a reporter and sub-editor at Deccan Chronicle. She holds a Masters in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications such as Deccan Herald. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates that mind like nothing else can.Read Swathi's other articles. Watch Swathi's video series here.

5 thoughts on “Bali Pass – Ruinsara Tal

  1. Hello IndiaHikes Team,

    Thank you for the information. I have gone through the details of the trek and i believe that images/video posted on the website was shot 2 years back. Can we expect same amount of snow this year (June’19) as well?
    Kindly share recent pictures if any of your team member have been to this trek.

    1. Hi Parth, given the high snow conditions in the Himalayas in 2019, there will be a similar amount of snow even in June this year. We don’t have any pictures yet, but will share them as soon as we get them.

  2. Hi Swati,

    I know indiahikes insists on a three person tent for all your treks. However I wanted to know if there is an option of a 2 person trek, since I intend to trek with a new friend, for us it will be a bonding while trekking and we are only going to be a couple. So would it be possible to accommodate this request?

    1. Believe you me, at first you are reluctant about the idea of three per tent. But once you let that resistance go and share with three. You will not look back. You will thoroughly enjoy the experience (aside from all the logical reasons why 3 per tent is good idea). I was in tent with two huge guys and I didn’t face any problem. So my suggestion will be just let it go and flow.

    2. @Ebrahim,
      I went for Kedartal trek with IH and me and my friend stayed in one tent. However, that wasn’t a luxury asked/provided to us. It so happened that my friend was the only female in our group and it’s not exactly feasible to have one tent for just one person. My friend had a stomach upset and puked at 2am in night. Fortunately I was there to help her. This is the reason it’s not advisable for a girl(or any person for that matter) to stay alone in a tent in case of any emergencies. So I believe if your partner is the only female you’d have one tent. You’d have plenty of time around\at the campsite to bond well 🙂
      Besides, trekking is a lot more fun if you mingled with the entire group 🙂
      3 in a tent is very comfortable unless (sorry to say) all 3 people are very obese which is never the case.

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