All of us at Indiahikes have certain “adventure treks” on our bucket lists.
And ask anyone at Indiahikes, whether the founders, Trek Leaders or mountain guides, and you’ll find them speaking highly about 3 specific treks.
Two of these are well-known treks in the trekking circles. They’ve been around for 8-9 years. The third one is a gem we discovered in 2015 and it has become one of our all-time favourites.
Before I tell you the names of these 3 treks, let me tell you what makes them great adventures. Because even though they are popular treks, many trekkers fail to notice these specialities of such adventurous treks.
First, all of these 3 treks climb above 15,000 ft. One of them even climbs above 16,000 ft.
“Given that you start these treks from an altitude of around 6,000 ft, you have 10,000 ft of scenery changes to witness,” says Sandhya, our co-founder, who spent her first few years at Indiahikes discovering one adventurous trek after another.
This big height gain makes all the difference in these treks. When you climb through these range of altitudes in the Himalayas, you are guaranteed three topographical changes: the forest zones, the grasslands and alpine zone.
These three treks on my list — well, they have the best of these zones. Look, there are lots of treks in our country that go over 15,000 feet. But there are very few with such excellent variety in each of these sections.
And all three of my treks have an added bonus zone: a narrow belt of around 1,000 feet where we have the last high altitude villages. These villages are ancient from a culture still not touched by time. Even after so many years in trekking we still marvel at the culture that is steeped in history. Sometimes we feel like intruders in a zone that is clearly not meant for us.
The precarious ridge walk on the Bali Pass trek. Picture by Dr Akhlesh Tomar
Second, these 3 treks I’m talking about are stunning crossover treks. That is, they cross over a mountain pass, taking you from one side of a mountainside to another. In all 3 of my crossovers, once you climb the pass and get down on the other side, it is almost like life has changed totally. The scenery change is stunning.
“Just to experience the crossover change I would do these treks again and again. Not only are the crossovers dramatic, in every season I have seen a different change. I sometimes cannot recognise the trek. It is incredible!”, says Arjun Majumdar, our founder.
The scenery on the Buran Ghati trek are rare to find on any other trek. Picture by Raghavendra Galagali
Finally, these are the greatest adventures. All three treks will test your endurance, play mind games with you and sometimes break you down. And that’s what makes them great adventures. They push you to your limits. But they are pure adventure. In rarefied air, you climb to mountain passes that are higher than any European mountain summit. The adventure, thrill and accomplishment of these treks leave a deep impact.
The impact is so big that we often see trekkers as completely changed persons after such treks.
Trekkers crossing the Rupin waterfall. Picture by Vishwas Krishnamurthy
Which is why, I thought I should tell you about these treks right now, at the beginning of the year, so that you plan them soon. I want to tell you, all of these 3 treks get booked out very soon. So plan for them as quickly as you can.
A note of caution: You need to train well for these treks. And they’re better suited if you have already done a trek in the past.
Here are the three adventure treks I’m talking about.
1. Rupin Pass Trek
Everyone knows of the Rupin Pass trek for its adventure. Climbing the 1,500 ft Rupin waterfall, crossing vast snowfields of Rata Pheri and reaching the Rupin Pass, I doubt we’ve seen any other trek come close in terms of the sheer variety on the trek.
Our founder, Arjun, wrote a piece on the 12 Surprising Twists On The Rupin Pass Trek immediately after he did the trek. It’s impossible to summarise it in fewer words than that.
Insider Note: We have dates in May and June for this trek. May is a better time if you want a snowy experience. June is greener and brighter, and you still get snow. Time your trek in either of these months. A few dates are already full btw, so plan soon.
2. Buran Ghati Trek
Many of them within Indiahikes will tell you that this is their favourite trek. And it’s no surprise. “If you take the best sections of our best treks and stitch them together, Buran Ghati is what you get,” says Arjun.
To add to that, Sandhya says, “You know, many treks have imperfections. They may have some not-so-interesting sections, they may get monotonous, they may be too steep / too flat; but Buran Ghati is perfect. It’s a trek with no blemishes. And it’s the first time I’ve seen a trek like this.”
Of course, trekkers love the adventure of rappelling down an ice wall at 15,000 ft. Simply put, this trek is a class apart.
Insider Note: The best time to do this trek would be in May and June (especially around the second week of June). Until 2017, the trek was still catching up in popularity to other treks, but now it has caught on. And dates are getting filled out quickly. So plan soon.
3. Bali Pass Trek
One of our most difficult treks. And yet, one of our only treks that lets you experience the raw grandeur of the Himalayas.
Bali Pass has been a coveted trek amongst seasoned trekkers for a long time because of the sheer challenges of the trek. Starting from the long days, to the precarious ridge walks, the descent from the pass, this trek is a series of challenges from the beginning to the end.
And yet, it takes you through a few of the most picturesque sections of Uttarakhand, winding through Har Ki Dun valley, across the beautiful Ruinsara Tal.
Insider Note: This is purely for experienced trekkers and we’ll have a screening of participants before we confirm them. So consider this trek only if you have done moderately difficult treks in the past and have high fitness levels. It’s best done in June.
There are other crossover treks to do, in May and June. For example, the Hampta Pass is a great one.
But if you were to ask me to pick my favourites (and our team’s) these three are the ones to do!
If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, or perhaps your experience on any of these treks if you’ve already done them, leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.