One of the most popular questions I get from trekkers is – How difficult is the Kedarkantha trek? I find this question very relevant as Kedarkantha is one of our most sought after treks. In this article, I’m going to give you an idea of Kedarkantha’s difficulty level and the amount of preparation you need for it.
➤ Kedarkantha – Good for Beginners
Let’s start off with some good news – Kedarkantha is a really good trek for beginners. We see a lot of first-timers who choose this trek have a really adventurous summit climb and come back safe and happy. Anyone without prior experience can attempt the Kedarkantha trek in any of the seasons.
However, I don’t want you to take this trek too lightly, as it is a high altitude summit climb after all.
➤ Areas of Difficulty on Kedarkantha
There are quite a few things that make Kedarkantha challenging, for which you need to be prepared.
Infographic shows the difficult areas of the Kedarkantha trek
You start the trek at around 6,500 feet to begin with. After which, you climb all the way up to 12,500 feet in 3 days. This means that the trek involves quite a few climbs and you gain altitude every day.
(Day 1 – 9,400 ft; Day 2 -10,800 ft; Day 3 – 12,500 ft)
➤ Difficult Terrain – Summit Climb and Snowy Winters
Our next point is the terrain. There aren’t many steep ascents on this trek. It’s mostly a gentle ascent all the way to the summit. But the summit push is the hardest part of the trail. Throughout the rest of the trek, however, there isn’t much that you need to worry about in terms of gradient or terrain.
This is not the same all year round though. The trails are covered with lots of snow in winter, which is when it could become a little tricky. Of course, our technical team is going to be with you throughout. They clear out the entire trail if there is snow and make sure that you are walking on a safe path.
An adventurous summit climb. Picture by Abdul Raoof
But if you’re going on your own, make sure that you are aware of where you’re going, because verglas is very common on Kedarkantha. Certain sections with a lot of verglas and snow is something you need to tackle. However, this is only in the months of December to around mid-April. After that, you’re not going to experience too much of this.
Verglas – extremely hard or slippery ice. If stepped on, it slips immediately. Picture by Abhirup.
➤ Winter Temperatures
We now come to the last point of difficulty – the temperatures. This is a problem specific to winters. The temperatures can get challenging and drop to around -5 to -8 at night. But during the day, it’s bearable. So, carry at least 5 warm layers and take care of yourself on the trek.
Watch this complete guide on layering correctly for a Himalayan trek.
➤ How to Get Fit for Kedarkantha
Now that I have told you about the difficulty levels of Kedarkantha, let’s look at how you need to prepare yourself for the trek. All of the aspects mentioned above can be easily tackled only if you’re fit. If you’re not, you will find yourself struggling on the trek.
Start by running everyday. Target running at least 5 km within 40 minutes before your trek starts. You should be able to do this consistently and not just once or twice.
Start slow if you’re not a runner. You can start by running 1 or 2 km every day and cover this until you can reach 5 km in 40 minutes. So, you will need to plan approximately 45 days to 2 months in advance, in order to get fit for the Kedarkantha trek.
And if you’re fit, you have absolutely nothing to worry about, when it comes to the difficulty of the trek!
Here’s some more tips to get fit for a high-altitude trek.
➤ Frequently Asked Questions about the Sandakphu Trek:
Can Kedarkantha trek be done solo?
You can do the Kedarkantha trek solo. Just make sure to be careful in winter as the snow and verglas increases the difficulty level of the trek. You need to be aware of the path you’re stepping on, due to this snow and slippery ice.
Can the Kedarkantha trek be done in a day?
Even though it is physically possible to manage the trek in a day, it is not something we would recommend. Here’s why:
- It is not possible for our body to acclimatize while climbing from 6,500 feet to 12,500 feet, all in a day. If such an altitude is covered at such a fast pace, it is not good for our body and there is a high chance of altitude sickness.
- You won’t be able to enjoy the trek. Kedarkantha is a beautiful trek which takes you through picturesque forests, clearings and has campsites with wonderful views. This is something that you should get to enjoy on your trek, instead of rushing through and skipping the pleasure in it. You could spread the trek over 3 days, but we wouldn’t recommend shortening it more than that.
Can we do the Kedarkantha trek without a guide?
Yes, it is possible to do the Kedarkantha trek without a guide. However, we would highly recommend using a GPX file if you are trekking on your own. Keeping track of your trek is very important as the forests here are very dense, making it very easy to get lost.
If you have any doubts, just drop in a comment and I’ll help you out.