A peak winter trek, with delicious views of Mt.Trishul and Mt.Nanda Ghunti
Not many winter treks can be done in January and February. Brahmatal that way is a classic winter trek for that period. For one, most of the trek is on snow, which makes it terribly exciting. Trekkers love camping beside the frozen shores of Bekaltal. Then, when you get to the open, snow covered meadows near Brahmatal, the full grandeur of the trek hits you. Stretched across the sky are the big mountains of Garhwal, and everywhere around you are the white undulating snow fields of Brahmatal.
I am glad this trek is a hidden gem. There is almost no crowd. The silence of the forests is deep enough to hear a hare scampering through the snow.
Thin ice spreading on the Brahmatal Lake. PC: Neerava Mehta
The unmatched summit views from Brahmatal
One more reason to do this trek in March and April is the crackling summit views. In May and June, when it is peak trekking season, the smoky haze over the mountains makes the views disappointing. However, in winter, which often extends to March, mountain views are worth dying for! More often than not, you see clear blue skies that stretch across the horizon. From the Brahmatal Top, you see mighty Himalayan ranges in every direction. Summits that rise above 7,000 meters are common and no where else in our country can you see these big mountains at such close quarters. Just to see this magic, one must trek between mid December and March.
Mt Trishul in full view. PC: Vishwas Krishnamurthy
Who is this trek for?
Very few trails are open for trekking in winter. Not only is Brahmatal accessible in the peak of winter, it is also astoundingly scenic. Brahmatal offers brilliant views of Mt. Thrishul and Nanda Ghunti and that is reason enough to go on the trek. A physically fit person above the age of 10 can do this trek.
Difficulty level and Preparation
In terms of difficulty, this is a moderate trek. The campsites get really cold and windy in the winter months. You need to be well prepared to withstand low temperatures. You trek an average of 8 km each day. To cover this distance with ease, you need to prepare and get fit. Click here to learn how to do this.
Beautiful view from Brahmatal Campsite. PC: Vishwajeet Chauhan
What are the risks involved?
The Brahmatal trek at 12,250 ft falls in the category of high altitude treks. While trekking at that altitude, there is always the risk of developing Acute Mountain Sickness. Trekkers should embark on such an adventure only after educating themselves about AMS and its symptoms.
Winter treks can be a lot colder than what you expect. Inadequate layers can increase the risk of sickness and even hypothermia. Do not compromise on the warm clothes you carry for the trek.
Finally, any trek in the Himalayas requires you to prepare physically for it. Ensure that you have worked out enough to meet our fitness criteria. A fit body is able to cope up with the rigors of the climb and climate while unprepared people struggle. You will be putting yourself in grave danger at high altitudes if you do not physically prepare for the trek.
ATM points and Mobile connectivity
Kathgodam is the best place to withdraw money from. If you miss that point, Dewal has the last ATM before your trek begins.
You will get mobile signal at Lohajung on Idea, Vodafone, Airtel and BSNL networks. There is always a high chance that Lohajung may not have electricity. So be prepared for the “if” situation too. Signal will be intermittent in the mountains. So finish all your important calls at Lohajung. Please inform anxious family members about limited phone connectivity.
Places to see
After the trek you can spend time exploring tourist attractions in Kathgodam. Please note that these are suggestions and Indiahikes does not make any arrangements for the same.
Brahmatal has also been featured in the Top 5 treks to do in February and March by India Today.
Here’s a short itinerary for the Brahmatal trek
|Day 1||Transport will be arranged from Haldwani Railway Station at 5.30 AM to Lohajung. It will take you around 10 hours to reach. Cost of cab per person – Rs. 1,100/-|
|Day 2||Lohajung (7,600 ft) to Bekaltal (9,885 ft); 5 hours|
|Day 3||Bekaltal (9,885 ft) to Brahmatal (10,440 ft); 5-6 hours|
|Day 4||Brahmatal (10,440 ft) to Brahmatal Top (12,198 ft) and back; 5 hours|
|Day 5||Brahmatal (10,440 ft) to Lohajung (7,600 ft) via Jhandi Top; 6-7 hours|
|Day 6||Drive from Lohajung to Kathgodam. You will reach Kathgodam between 6 PM and 7 PM.|
Day 1: Haldwani to Lohajung
- Altitude: 1,817 ft to 7,600 ft
- Time taken: 10 hours. Pick up vehicles will be arranged from Haldwani at 5:30 AM.
The best way to reach the base camp Lohajung is from Haldwani. The route once you cross Nainital will be beautiful, as you along mountain roads, through forests. You will also get glimpses of the Garhwal mountains in the distance on a clear day.
Once you reach Lohajung, you will find yourself face to face with the beautiful Nanda Ghunti peak and if you reach before sunset, the colours of the peak will enthrall you.
Lohajung is at the centre of 12-15 nearby villages. There are a couple of local stores where you can buy jackets, hand gloves, caps, shoes etc. if need be. However, it is advised that you carry all required things for trek beforehand and not rely on these shops. You will have mobile network in most parts of Lohajung.
Lohajung, as the locals say, is the place where Goddess Parvati had a war (jung) with the demon, Lohasur. Hence, the name, which translates to ‘War with Lohasur.’
Day 2: Lohajung to Bekaltal
- Altitude: 7,600 ft to 9,689 ft
- Time taken: 5 hours, 5.8 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate; gradually ascending through forests on well defined trails
- Water sources: The first point where you can refill your water bottles will be around 3 hours into the trek, followed by another at the place where you stop for lunch
From Lohajung central market (chowk), move upwards from Bisht General Stores (compass direction 3000 NW). The trail is a human-made stone trail and is well-marked. Walk through the upper region of Lohajung and then through the forest trail with a few more houses. After a short trek, spot the Mandoli village on your left.
As you climb higher, on your left, you will be able to see the Kail Valley, where Kail and Pindari Rivers join. Follow the water pipes that supply water to Lohajung, as they lie along the trek trail. After some time, cross a small cluster of homes called Budla, on the left. Here, you will find rhododendron trees, which make this part of the trail very beautiful from February to March.
Trekkers walking through a forest trail. PC: Vishwas Krishnamurthy
At approx 8,500 ft, you will find a 10 metre bridge (known as Link-gaad), which will help you cross the stream. After around two hours, you will reach Begum, where you can rest for some time. This place provides splendid views of Navali Bugyal (145o SSE) and Bagdi Bugyal (125o SE).
After 10-15 minutes of walking from Begum, you will find another stream. From here, an hour’s walk will bring you to Gujrani stream. From here, it is approximately 75 minutes walk to Bekaltal. This lake is a beauty in the midst of oak forests. You can camp near the small adjacent lake, Khopdaliya.
Day 3: Bekaltal to Brahmatal
- Altitude: 9,689 ft to 10,440 ft
- Time taken: 5-6 hours, 7 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Initial steep climb for an hour brings you to a meadow where you ascend gently, followed by a gradual descent to Brahmatal.
- Water sources: None. Make sure that you fill 2 litres of water before starting the trek since this will be a long day
The trail starts out of the campsite and climbs steeply into the Oak and Rhododendron forest. After an hour of ascent, the trail opens out to a meadow.
Trail leading to Brahmatal. PC: Vishwas Krishnamurthy
The gently ascending meadow walk brings you to the highest point of the day at 11,500 ft. From here, it is a very gradual descent to Brahmatal.
All through the day’s trek, you will see the Almora and Nainital side of the valley. The big mountains in the vicinity, Trishul, Nanda Ghunti and the rest are just there but still hidden.
The Brahmatal campsite at 10,351 ft is 500 meters away from the lake.
Day 4: Brahmatal to Brahmatal Peak and back
- Altitude: 10,440 ft to 12,198 ft
- Time taken: 5 hours, 6.4 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate; slow zigzag walks while ascending
- Water sources: None. Make sure you carry 2 litres of water from the camp before setting off to trek to the top
Today is the most visually fascinating day of the entire trek. It begins with a 40 minute climb through mixed forests. This brings you out in the open meadows and to the base of the big climb to the top.
As you reach the summit, an entire panorama of mountains opens up. You have Chaukhambha, Mandir, Mana, Nilgiri, Neelkanth, Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Maitoli and mountains stretching all the way to the Panchachuli range.
Day 5: Brahmatal to Lohajung via Jhandi Top
- Altitude: 10,440 ft to 7,600 ft via 10,935 ft
- Time taken: 6-7 hours, 8.9 km
- Trek gradient: Difficult, mainly because of the long descent
- Water sources: You will find one spot to refill your water bottles, near a hamlet, about 4-4.5 hours into the trek)
The descent from Brahamatal to Lohajung takes about 7 hours. We retrace the route to Khabekhal, after which we deviate to the route which gets you directly down to Lohajung.
You will pass by Daldum which is a beautiful location surrounded by trees. After 20-30 minutes, you will reach Malling, which is outside the forest area and is a water source. From here, you can see a few villages below.
After walking further for an hour, you will reach Burali, a small settlement with a few houses. Villagers come here for few months to grow crops (mostly potatoes). From here, you will again find the man-made stone trail leading to Lohajung.
Day 6: Lohajung to Kathgodam
Depart from Lohajung to Kathgodam. We will arrange for transport from Lohajung to Kathgodam Railway Station, the cost of which is to be shared by the trekkers.
Click here for details on getting back after your trek.
It is advised that you keep a buffer day because the weather is unpredictable in the mountains. Rest at Kathgodam for the night. You can explore Kathgodam the next day and take the Ranikhet Express to Delhi in the evening.
How to get fit for the Brahmatal trek
The Brahmatal trek is classified as a trek of moderate difficulty. You start from an altitude of 7,600 ft at Lohajung and reach a highest point of 12,250 ft at Brahmatal top. You gain around 4,650 ft over two days of trekking. While this isn’t much altitude gain, there is a lot of snow on the trail in the months of January and February, which makes it a trek of moderate difficulty.
Cardiovascular endurance – Target 4 km in 25 minutes
On the Brahmatal trek, you have to cover an average of 7 km each day. This requires a good amount of endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. You should be able to jog 4 km in 25 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Start by a slow jog and gradually increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.
Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with 15 in each
This is another area you should work on. Trekking with your backpack is not an easy task. 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. You can start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards meeting your target within 3 weeks.
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 guide to help you get fit for the trek in 4 weeks.
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.
What to take on the Brahmatal trek
If you’re trekking to the Himalayas in January and February, you will need to take five layers of warm clothes with you – two sweaters, two fleece jackets and one padded jacket. Carry a pair of thermals for using at night.
Another thing you should carry is a poncho, as it might rain or snow at any time. Of course, a trekking pole will help greatly on a winter trek as well.
- Trekking shoes: Carry trekking shoes and not sports shoes. The trail will be slippery at several places and will require shoes with good grip and ankle support. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes. You can get Forclaz 100 from Decathlon.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
- Daypack (20 litres): On the climb to Brahmatal Top on the fifth day, you will be leaving your bigger backpack behind at the Brahmatal campsite. So you’ll need a smaller backpack to carry water, snacks and your medical kit. Bring a foldable backpack. If you’re coming in a group, two of you can share a daypack.
- Five layers of warm clothes: If you’re trekking in winter, carry two sweaters, two fleece jackets and a padded jacket. If you’re trekking in summer (March/April), three warm layers will suffice.
- Three trek pants: Carry light cotton trek pants. One of your pants can be tights that you can wear as an inner layer while trekking, especially on the day of the summit climb.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. If you’re too cold, you can wear two tshirts together for more insulation.
- Thermals: Carry thermals (top and bottom) to keep yourself warm at night. Keep your thermals fresh and don’t wear them while trekking.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are mandatory. There will be a lot of snow in winter and can cause snow blindness.
- Suncap: At high altitude, the sun is extra harsh, as the UV rays don’t get filtered. So carry a suncap to protect yourself.
- Synthetic hand gloves: Avoid woolen gloves as they will get wet if you touch snow. Carry one pair each of fleece and synthetic hand gloves. You can add the fleece glove as an inner layer, and wear two gloves on each hand if you’re more susceptible to cold.
- Balaclava: You’ll need this to cover your head, as most of the heat escapes from your head.
- Socks (2 pairs) and a pair of woollen socks: Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
- Headlamp LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste. If you plan to use wet wipes or sanitary napkins on the trek, make sure you carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- One 1 litre water bottle. We recommend the Lifestraw Go. Indiahikes trekkers can get it at a discounted price here.
- One 1 litre thermos flask
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry a few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
Trek fee: Rs. 8,450/-*
*Service tax at 9% is payable on the trek fee
- Accommodation during the trek (camping)
- All meals – vegetarian
- Trekking permits and forest camping charges
- Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
- Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
- Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
- Services of an expert trek team (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)
- Transport to and from the base camp (Haldwani to Lohajung and back)
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1000* plus service tax of 9%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs 335 per day plus service tax of 9%. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
- Stay at Kathgodam on the last day is not included
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from the 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 e-mail us at email@example.com. Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.
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.
2. The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start at Lohajung to the end at Lohajung.
3. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from Haldwani railway station at 5:30 am. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to Lohajung in shared cabs.
4. Transport:Transport from Haldwani to Lohajung and return from Lohajung to Kathgodam can be arranged by us at an extra cost. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab (approximate cost Rs. 5,500 per vehicle, one way). The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No service tax is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
5. Backpack offloading: 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. 1000/- plus 9% service charge. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
6. Emergency during trek: During a trek any medical or other emergency might 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 gear/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. Safety Protocols:
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 Brahmatal trek?
The Brahmatal trek is a moderate one. The trails are well laid out. The altitude isn’t too high – the highest point is 12,250 ft and you gain this slowly over 3-4 days. At 12,250 feet, the risk of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness is relatively low. However, you still need to be mindful of the fact that you are in the mountains in extreme weather conditions, and take necessary precautions to ensure that you have a safe trek.
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 introduced an eligibility criteria for the Brahmatal trek. Anyone who wants to register for this trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Brahmatal 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 Brahmatal trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At altitudes above 10,000 ft the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out. 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.
Diamox is a tablet that is available off the counter. You can start your course one day before the trek. Take half a tablet once in the morning and once at night (after your meal). It reduces chances of AMS by 80%. There are almost no side effects of Diamox, except a tingly feeling at your finger tips. You might also feel the need to urinate more often, which is normal as Diamox makes you drink more water. You can learn more about AMS, its symptoms and treatment here.
Note: Diamox is a sulfa-based tablet. If you are allergic to sulfa-based drugs, don’t take the tablet. If you do not know whether you are allergic to sulfa-based drugs, take a Diamox around ten days before your trek and look out for any reactions, If there are none, you can safety take the tablet on the trek.
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.
The one stretch where trekkers have to be safe is when there is snow while climbing to the summit. This is taken care of by providing trekkers with micro-spikes for better traction on snow. Trekkers are also provided with gaiters such that no snow enters their shoes.
Most situations are resolved by the trek leader’s intervention. If, however, evacuation is required, it is carried out by the Indiahikes team. There is a quick exit point on the Brahmatal trek that can be reached within a day – Lohajung. The affected participant is moved down to the nearest emergency medical centre as soon as possible. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.
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.
Acute Mountain Sickness
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.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
In the second article of his three-part series on safety, Arjun Majumdar writes about a worrying trend that is spreading in the Indian trekking community.Read More
Trek With Swathi
Trek With Swathi
Trek With Swathi
Trek With Swathi
Trek With Swathi
Trek With Swathi
How to get to the basecamp – Lohajung
Delhi → Haldwani → Lohajung
The Brahmatal trek begins from Lohajung, a picturesque village in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is also the basecamp of the popular Roopkund trek. Lohajung is situated around 230 km from Kathgodam.
From Haldwani, Indiahikes organises transport to Lohajung at 5.30 am from Haldwani Railway Station on Day 1 of the trek. The fare of this transport is not included in the fee. It costs Rs.5,500 per cab (Tata Sumo) one way and this fare is shared by 5-6 trekkers. You will have to pay the driver directly.
The drive to Lohajung is a pleasurable one, as you pass through several Kumaoni and Garwahli hill stations – Nainital, Kausani and Gwaldam. You will reach Lohajung at around 6 pm.
To reach Haldwani
Take the Ranikhet Express from Delhi. It leaves at 8.05 pm from Old Delhi Railway Station. This train will reach Haldwani at 5.30 am. Haldwani is the last but one station and it is around 31 km from Nainital.
What happens if you don’t get tickets on the Ranikhet Express?
Ranikhet express is a crowded train and often gets booked many days in advance. Firstly, don’t look for an AC ticket. It is an overnight journey and even sleeper berths are comfortable. Book a Tatkal ticket. Your chance of getting a sleeper ticket in Tatkal is very high. If, for some reason, you still don’t get a ticket on the Ranikhet express, there are two options for you.
Take the earlier day’s Sampark Kranti from Old Delhi, which leaves at 4 pm. Tickets on the Sampark Kranti are usually easy to get as it is a day seating train. Stay overnight in a hotel at Kathgodam (or Haldwani) and join the team vehicle the next morning. KMVN Kathgodam is a good place to halt for the night. KMVN is Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, a government tourist guest house right next to the railway station. The place is decent and clean. You can contact them on (Ph: 05946-266090, 8650002525, 9411589448) or you can book online at http://www.kmvn.gov.in/
Take an overnight bus from Delhi’s Anand Vihar ISBT to Haldwani/Kathgodam (7 km apart). Volvo buses leave Anand Vihar for Haldwani/Kathgodam around 9 pm. It is usually an 8 hour journey. There is no online booking, so arrive a couple of hours early at Anand Vihar to book your tickets. No advanced reservation is required. Try to get to Haldwani early (by 6 am) to catch the Indiahikes pickup at the station.
Lohajung → Kathgodam → Delhi
The Brahmatal trek ends at Lohajung. We arrange transport from Lohajung to Kathgodam Railway Station. This cost is not included in the trek fee and it costs Rs.5,500 per cab (Tata Sumo), which is shared by around 5-6 trekkers. You will reach Kathgodam at around 6 pm.
If you are travelling further from Kathgodam, you can book your transport post 8 pm, keeping two hours as buffer time in case of road blocks in the mountain roads.
If you want to reach the base camp by yourself
Option 1: Delhi → Lohajung (24 hours)
There is a direct bus from Delhi to Mundoli/Lohajung. It leaves Delhi Anand Vihar terminal at 9.15 pm. You will reach Kathgodam at 4 am and Lohajung at 5.30pm.
Note: This is an extremely long and tiring journey and the buses are not too comfortable. We recommend Option 2 and 3.
Option 2: Delhi → Rishikesh → Lohajung (cab)
From Delhi, get to Rishikesh/Haridwar and hire a Sumo to Lohajung. The route: Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Karanprayag – turn right to Tharali – Debal – Mundoli – Lohajung
Note: Most taxi operators may not have heard of Lohajung. So, you’ll have to show them the direction as given above.
Option 3: Delhi → Rishikesh → Karanprayag → Lohajung (bus)
From Rishikesh Bus Stand., take any bus on the Joshimath/Badrinath route and buy a ticket to Karanprayag. It is a 6-7 hour journey from Rishikesh to Karanprayag. Take a bus that leaves as early in the morning as possible, preferably around 6 am. From Karanprayag Bus Stand (Karanprayag to Tharali – 47kms). Take a shared Jeep to Tharali, which is in an another direction. The road to Tharali runs along the Pindar river.
At Tharali (Tharali to Debal – 14kms). Get off at Tharali and again take a shared taxi to Debal. At Debal (Debal to Lohajung: 24 kms). Contact our transporter, Raju Shah Ji on +91 8979 321 600. He will help you with an onward transport to Lohajung.
Here’s what trekkers have to say about trekking with Indiahikes
“You guys are doing a terrific job. Few things can be done on ensuring the safety of trekkers. Also trekking is best when combined with some stories or the areas trekkers are visiting. You guys can organise some story telling sessions during the evening at camp sites.” – Neerav Mehta, batch of January 2016
“It was a fantastic trek with excellent view and moderate difficulty level. Enjoyed walk over the snow and steep slopes. Most amazing part was the Trisul and Nanda Ghunti range from such a close proximity (though we were lucky to have good weather with us) The trek guides and leader was amazing. The overall setup by Indiahikes was brilliant..”- Somnath Mukherjee, batch of January 2016
“Our experience in snow was great! I loved the way Indiahikes managed the trek with perfection and humility.”- Krunal Desai, batch of January 2016
“I loved the group, the stay, the food and the very helpful staff. The trek is memorable for I made some good friends and the fact that I made it to the summit. Our guide was an angel in disguise. He was very therapeutic especially after a hard day of trekking. He not only accompanied us to the summit but kept us in good spirits throughout the trek.”- Thirumurugan Somasundaram, batch of January 2016
“Everything about Indiahikes and the trek was Fantastic. The food was too good. Thanks to the kitchen staff for providing us with delicious food. Having gulab jamun and gajar ka halwa at 11,000ft, when it’s cold is just so amazing. Hats off to our ground co-ordinator Prathima. From the beginning till the end the coordination was superbly done, with instant replies for our mails and calls. This actually applies for the entire Indiahikes team. Well managed, the rules and regulations and everything is just perfect.”-Vidushi Yadav, batch of February 2016
“loved everything, right from the coordination among the trek leader & trek guides, their responsibility to handle the trek team, the food quality as well as the variety, hot water arrangements, cleanliness & hygiene at campsites, to the humbled & very grounded staff! Kudos to you guys for your efforts in retaining the actual spirit & meaning of Trekking!”-Sakshi Dhamija, batch of February 2016