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Borasu Pass Trek

An adventurous 6-day sojourn

If you’re in the mood for adventure, then perhaps this trek to Borasu Pass is what you need. But note that it’s a difficult and long trek. It is complete with all kinds of landscapes that may require you to use crampons, ice axes and glissade down vertical cliffs, bear the windiest campsites and wade through busy rivers. Situated on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, close to Tibet, this virgin trail has rarely been explored.

Borasu is one of the four prominent passes of the higher region of Tons and Baspa glaciers. It’s a wonder why it’s rarely treaded on because it is a well-rounded trek that offers multiple landscapes.

DIFFICULTY:

Difficult

TRAIL TYPE:

Difficult Trek overall. Easy – Medium hike until Har ki-Dun valley. Medium to hard rocky boulder trail until Lamjunga, from there on challenging steep snow trail until the pass and down on either sides. Zupica Glacier moraine and boulders until Bonga camp and a steady downhill to Doria Camp and Rani Kanda ITBP camp. An easy gradual walk from there on till Chitkul.

DURATION:

6 days

ROAD HEAD:

Sankri is the nearest road head which is around 186 kms from Dehradun, 8-9 hours and can be reached by bus or private vehicle.

BASE CAMP:

Sankri from Uttarakhand, it can also be done in reverse starting from Chitkul (Kinnaur District) in Himachal Pradesh.

BEST SEASON:

June, Sep – Oct (Except monsoon season)

About the trek

Borasu Pass or Bara-su is a high mountain pass that is located on the border of Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh along the border with Tibet. It was an ancient trade route between Har ki Dun valley and Kinnaur valley. It is no longer used by the locals and is an escapade for trekkers and mountaineers.

The trek starts from Taluka and passes through the lush green Har ki Dun valley. Har ki Dun is a hanging valley in the Garhwal Himalayas, surrounded by magnificent Himalayan peaks and dense forests flocked with colourful birds and wild life. The trek starts by following the boisterous Har ki Dun Ganga and ends with the colossal Baspa River. One can stay in the Forest Rest House in leisure or camp near Har ki Dun Ganga. Also, one can camp near the beautiful glacial lake at Maninda Tal a few km from Har ki Dun.

The trail passes through glacier moraine, steep narrow ridges, sheer vertical snow slopes and boulder fields. All in all, it is a nerve-wracking trek – a stunning mix of backwoods and vast meadows, packed with spurting rivers and widespread glaciers, with a view of snow-capped peaks and massive boulders.

General Information

Har ki Dun is connected to Baspa Valley by the Borasu Pass. You have several passes that connect Uttaranchal to Himachal. Towards the north is the Lamkhaga Pass and towards the south are Kimalay or the Kimloga pass (no longer used), Singha and Rupin Pass, all of which lead to the Sangla valley. This valley is snow-covered from October to March.

The trek starts from Taluka, passing through dense forests consisting of chestnut, walnut, willow and chinar trees. The trek from Osla to Har ki Dun is through terraced mountain fields, lush green grassy patches and thick coniferous forests. As Har Ki Dun falls within the Govind Pashu Vihar wildlife sanctuary, chances of seeing wildlife are high. In the sanctuary, you will find trees of Bhojpatra, the rare Brahmakamal, and colourful flora and fauna. You can see various bids like Rosefinch, Redstart, Tit, Warbler, Babbler, Thrush and many more. One can see Kalanag, Bandarpoonch, Ruinsara peaks and the majestic Swargarohini even before he reaches the pass.

History

Har ki Doon is a valley of Gods (‘Har’ means Lord Shiva and ‘Dun’ means Valley) and according to the local folklore, this is the place where fairies congregate. It is also mentioned in our religious stories (epics) that Pandavas went to swarg (heaven) through this valley by climbing the Swargarohini peak. Duryodhana was once worshipped as a God by a few colonies here, and one can get to see the Duryodhana Temple in Osla. However it is now called Someshwar temple and calling it Duryodhana temple is taken as an offence. Though it is believed that once, the people of this region boasted of carrying Duryodhana blood in their veins. The area also acts as a base for approaching the Swargarohini peaks. We can also see the Bandarpoonch mountains, Ata peak, Kalanag or the Black peak and Bonga Peak.

ATM points and Mobile connectivity

Purola has the last ATM point before your trek begins.  Purola and Sankri have BSNL mobile phone connections that work intermittently (both mobile and landline). Signal is intermittent in the mountains. Do not depend on it. Finish all your important calls at Purola.

Author: Vinita Chhatwani

Borasu Pass Trek Guide

Borasu is one of the four prominent passes of the higher region of Tons and Baspa glaciers. It’s a wonder why it’s rarely treaded on because it is a well-rounded trek that offers multiple landscapes.

The route to Borasu winds through the ancient valleys of Har ki Dun and Maninda lakeside. Both these valleys are bustling with life with green grasslands and wild alpine flowers. The best part if that the trails here are completely untouched. One can easily be charmed by the beauty of the magnificent virgin forest of Govind National Park. This feeling is further accentuated as you enter Maninda Valley, leaving behind most of the backpackers camping at Har ki Dun.

The glacial lakes of Maninda and Borasu are captivating and perfect for camping. The approach towards the pass-crossing is something that will stun any high altitude trekker. It is a dream traverse and not meant for the fainthearted.

Once at the top of the pass, enjoy the un-obstructed view of Sankri and Kinnaur side. The last day of trekking goes via the beautiful campsite of Bonga. Expect green meadows, milky streams, blue skies and snow-capped peaks as you reach Chitkul Village. Overall, it is a must-do trek for experienced trekkers.

Day 1: Getting to base camp- Sankri/ Taluka

Take an overnight train from Delhi to Dehradun. There are two night trains available from Delhi to Dehradun (check the ‘getting there’ tab for more details.) The drive till Sankri will take you through Nainbagh, Naugaon, Purola, Jarmola,Mori Naitwar (left from Naitwar will lead you to Dhaula, which is the base camp for Rupin Pass and  Bharadsar Lake trek), and finally Sankri.

Sankri is a small village with around 250 houses. In peak season, it is usually bustling with trekking activity as it is the basecamp for many treks- Kedarkantha, Har Ki Dun, Bali Pass. Sankri has gorgeous views of Greater Himalayan mountain ranges. Walk through the village and learn about how the people live there.  The peaks of Swargarohini shimmer in the evening sun, standing tall over the ridges beyond Sankri.

There is a four-wheel-drive road that connects Sankri with Taluka. You can hire a jeep (locally) for this, subject to the condition of the road. This is a landslide prone-route, and is often closed during the monsoons.

The trail to Taluka is almost level, going through 10-11 mountain bends. On the way, there are three big streams, almost submerging sections of the road in water. The hike is scenic, going past a series of wild roses and irises; bamboo, chestnut and cedar (deodar) trees. Just 2 km before Taluka, there is a campsite beside a stream. You can camp here if you’re hiking from Sankri.

Taluka is a small village with concrete houses. This is actually in contrast with the architecture in neighbouring villages like Sankri, Osla and Gangad, which are close to 300 years old. There is also a GMVN Guest house at Taluka for accommodation.

Day 2: Taluka  to Seema 

  • Altitude: 7053 feet to 8530 feet
  • Distance: 14-15 km 
  • Time taken: 6-7 hours

Taluka is a small, torpid hamlet with a few shops, hotels, forest rest house and stone shelters. Replenish your supplies here, as this is the last village on your way. There is no phone booth and you rarely have electricity in Taluka, so make sure you have charged your batteries and made your last phone calls before reaching Taluka. You get an amazing view of Har ki Dun Ganga River from the lawn of the Forest Rest house.

Take the trail that goes down next to the Forest Rest house. It is a well-marked trail because there are many villages until Har ki Dun valley and the trail is frequented by shepherds and locals. After 15 – 20 minutes, you come across a cemented track that leads to a bridge over a small stream. Cross the bridge and follow the trail keeping Har ki Dun Ganga River to your left.

You are just a few feet above Har ki Dun Ganga River, as you see the terrace fields of Taluka behind you. After 30 – 35 minutes into the hike, you see that the trail now passes through dense woods. You can see the river snaking through the woodlands below. Another 20 minutes into the hike, you come across a cemented bridge over the Har ki Dun Ganga river tributary.

Borasu Pass Trek
Bridge over Har-Ki Dun Ganga

Continue on the trail ahead till you see Datmir village on the other side. Proceed on the level mud track until you reach a small green meadow. It takes a little over an hour to reach this point. Another 20 – 25 minutes into the hike, you come across a wooden bridge that takes you deep into the woods on the other side. Upon crossing the bridge, you see that the trail gradually climbs up. You will notice several fallen trees along the way.

Proceed ahead on the zig-zag trail as you cross a couple of wooden bridges on the small streams en-route. Another 20 -25 minutes into the hike leads you to a well-defined mud trail. Keep the valley to your left and continue on the mud trail. You can see the Har ki Dun Ganga River gushing through the woods below. Continue on the level trail till you see a big stream coming down the hill on your right side. It takes around three hours to reach this point from Taluka.

Proceed on the gradual mud trail that passes through a forested patch with fallen trees. After 15-20 minutes, you see Gangad village at a distance. Continue on the trail for another 15-20 minutes till you come across some terrace fields and a small tea shop. You can have lunch here. It takes around 3.5 – 4 hrs to reach this place. Gangad village can be seen on the other side of the Har ki Dun Ganga River.

After having lunch / snacks continue on the mud trail. You come across a wooden bridge, from where you can cross over and go to the other side of the river. One can directly go to Osla village from here.

For Seema, continue on the trail for a couple of minutes till you come across another wooden bridge. To reach Seema, one has to trek straight up with river to the left all the way. Continue on the trail as it alternates between open valleys and dense woods. If the weather is clear, you can see snow peaks in front of you.

After 40 – 45 minutes through the woods, you come across a small shade provided for the travellers to rest. You can see Osla village at a distance. It takes another 20 – 25 minutes of hike before you finally reach Seema village. Seema is not much of a village as much as a place to halt. You have the Forest Rest house, GMVN Bungalow and a few hotels that provide food and arrange for your stay. Seema’s twin sister is Osla on the other side of the river. Osla has a satellite phone and is a big village. It is from Seema that climbers go to the base camp of Black Peak (Kala Nag, as it is known locally). It takes around 6 – 7 hours of hike to reach Seema from Taluka village.

Day 3: Seema to Har ki Dun

  • Altitude: 8530 feet to 11482 feet
  • Distance: 13-14 km 
  • Time taken: 5-6 hours

Today is going to be a gradual climb as you will gain 900 meters in 5-6 hours. Take the trail that moves out of the Forest Rest House towards the right. Within few minutes, you will come across a suspension bridge. Cross the bridge and continue on the trail that climbs up steeply on the other side. This trail also goes to Osla village. As you climb up, you will see a mighty waterfall on the other side.

Borasu Pass Trek
A suspended bridge over Har Ki Dun Ganga

In around 15 minutes, you reach a cemented bridge. From here, you get wonderful view of Seema below and the waterfall on the other side. You will see a fork ahead; take the trail going to the right. The trail on the left climbs to Osla village and the right goes to Har Ki Dun.

Continue on the well-defined trail till you come across another cemented bridge over the stream coming from your left. It takes around 35 minutes to reach this point from Seema. The trail gradually climbs up, with the valley on the right. After a few minutes, you will see stairs going down on your right, leading to the terrace fields and Kali Mata temple. Continue ahead on the level-headed trail bypassing the stairs. The trail gradually climbs up and down.

Another 20 – 25 minutes into the hike and you come across a log bridge over a huge stream coming from the left. Cross the bridge and continue on the trail, the trail climbs up steeply through loose soil and scree till you reach a grassy plain in around 10 minutes. You will see a wooden hut here surrounded by some fields. The trail climbs up to the hill keeping the hut to the right.

After around 15 minutes of climb, the trail levels up again. Note that through the trail, until Har ki Dun valley, the river stays on your right.

After around 1.5 hours of trekking, you will see the trail enters green thickets with a gentle stream coming from the left. This is a good place to rest. Cross the bridge over the stream and continue on the well-defined rocky trail till you reach lush green meadows with boulders on both sides. It takes around 20 -25 minutes to reach this point. Looking ahead, you get spectacular view of lush green valleys and snow-capped peaks, Kalanag (left) and Banderpoonch (right), from here. You also have a couple of shepherd huts here.

Continue on the muddy trail that passes through the meadows; you will come across a small wooden temple on your right. Continue on the muddy trail, which climbs up and then levels up again. Looking back, you can still see Seema far away. For the next 40 – 45 minutes, the trail climbs up and down the green valley crossing several green pastures en-route till you enter the dense woods. Another 15 – 20 minutes of hike through the woodlands and you come across a stunning waterfall on the left. It takes around 3.5 hours to reach this point. Cross over the logs in the stream. After a couple of minutes, you come across another wooden bridge as you enter dense woods. Continue on the trail for 30 – 35 minutes and you will see the forest opens up and once again you come across huge meadows.

Borasu Pass Trek
The Valley of God

You will also see some shepherd camps in between. It takes around 20 – 25 minutes to reach the first shepherd camp. Continue on the trail and within 10 – 15 minutes, you will see the second shepherd camp on the other side of the river surrounded by huge boulders. The muddy scree trail climbs down to cross a stream and then climbs up again. Climb up the stone steps and after 10 – 15 minutes, you can finally see the Har ki Dun valley at a distance right behind the dense woods. After another 20 -25 minutes of trek and lush green Har ki Dun valley beckons you. The plush green valley with the alluring Har ki Dun Ganga flowing through the valley is a divine sight.

Borasu Pass Trek
A peak behind the Forest Guest House

You can see the Forest Rest House at a distance surrounded by huge boulders. You can camp here or stay in the guest house managed by GMVN / forest department located on the other side of the river. It takes around 5.5 hours to reach here. The Har ki Dun Ganga flows on level surface and the valley is bejewelled with glittering peaks.

Day 3: Har ki Dun to Ratta-tho

  • Altitude: 11482 feet to 13451 feet
  • Distance: 5-6 km 
  • Time taken: 3 hours

Today is going to be an easy day, with just a few hours of trekking from Har ki Dun Valley. You can camp a little ahead of Ratta-tho campsite. In local language, ‘Ratta’ means red and ‘tho’ is stone. So, this campsite is also referred to by the name Lal Pathar, as you actually come across a huge red boulder.

One can either rest at Har ki Dun and acclimatise and then directly go to Lamjunga (4,700 m) or break the trek into two days, by camping at Maninda Tal, Ratta-tho or a little ahead, just before the Borasu Glacier.

Take the trail descending from the Forest Guest House, keeping the Har ki Dun Ganga on your right. Cross the bridge and take the mud trail in the right, climbing up the lush green valley.  You can see the Hata peak to your right, just behind the Forest Guest House and Swargarohini peak in the front. After 10 – 15 minutes of gradual climb, you will see that the trail turns left and a huge lush green meadow appears on the right, on the other side of the river.

Continue on the trail that climbs up gradually, passing through huge boulders on either side. The trail passes through the tree line. The tree line ends after 10 -15 minutes and you see a huge valley, with a stream on your right coming from Maninda Tal.

Panoramic View of Maninda Tal

The trail passes through rocky terrain with huge boulders all around. Notice that as you walk, the valley gets narrower. Around 10 -15 minutes later, you will see huge rocks obstructing the flow of the stream. Soon, you will come across the beautiful Maninda Tal, a glacial lake formed by the obstruction of the stream flowing from Borasu Glacier.

A little ahead, spot a temporary settlement, which is used by the shepherds and can be used for camping. It takes around an hour to reach here. You will see a huge green meadow covered with yellow flowers and bound by loose rock and snow slopes on either side of the valley. A huge boulder with stone walls forms a temporary settlement here.

Pyramid Shaped Boulder

After soaking in the marvelous snow-capped peaks and the lush green of the meadow, continue on the rocky trail that gradually climbs up. You will see a mesh formed by the streams, passing through rocks and grass patches filled with white flowers.

After around half an hour of gradual climb, you see a lush green meadow and a huge red boulder. This is the Ratta-tho or Lal Pathar campsite. This campsite is also used by shepherds to camp in the summer. You can camp here or continue further.

Borasu Pass Trek
Nearing Campsite

After around 15 minutes, you come across a green meadow on your right. Continue on the grassy trail that eventually climbs up through loose rocks and boulders. After around 30 -35 minutes of hike from Ratta-tho, you come across a flat ground with yellowish green grass surrounded with boulders on all sides, the site is just before Borasu Glacier. You can camp here as well.

Borasu Pass Trek
Campsite ahead of Ratta-tho

It is very windy here. It takes around three hours to reach this place from Har ki Dun valley. You can see Borasu peak and the pass from here.

Day 4: Ratta-tho to Upper Lamjunga 

  • Altitude: 13451 feet to 16,076 feet
  • Distance: 6-7 km 
  • Time taken: 5-6 hours

Today’s is going to be a short but steep climb. Take the trail that passes through boulders and climbs down to reach the waters of Borasu Glacier. Borasu pass and peaks are visible all along the trail. Continue on the muddy trail, keeping the waterbed to the right. The trail passes through grassy meadows avoiding the slush on the edge of the water body. In around 10 -15 minutes, you come across a stream. Cross the stream and continue on the flat meadow.

Borasu Pass Trek
Maninda Tal campsite seen behind

Soon, locate a stream flowing from the glacier moraine ahead; you have to climb over the moraine and move to the other side, leaving behind the Borasu Glacier. Cross the stream once again and continue on the trail.

Another 10 minutes later, you will come across rocky terrain, small loose boulders that require some balancing act. Continue on the rocky trail for 5–10 minutes till you come across another grassy meadow. The trail alternates between grassy plains and rocky terrain along with several small streams all formed by the waters of Borasu Glacier.

In around 30 minutes, you come across a huge boulder in the moraine with vertical black lines seen on the other side of the stream. Continue on the trail, which now passes through boulders over thin ice and then continues to climb over the scree ridge ahead.

You can see a small stream flowing from the ridge; keep the stream to your right at all times while climbing the moraine. Soon, you will come across a few snow patches in between the rocky terrain, which will give you some relief. It takes around an hour to cross the moraine and reach the flat land full of boulders. You can rest here for a while.

Borasu Pass Trek
Borasu Glacier Moraine

Continue on the trail that gradually climbs up the snow field followed by a flat walk. In around 15 – 20 minutes, you come across a 20 feet-tall pyramid shaped boulder, followed by some huge flat boulders. Proceed on the snow trail that gradually climbs up initially followed by a steep climb later.

After around 20 – 25 minutes of climb, spot a few vertical rocks placed on boulders to the mark the way. Continue on the trail that passes through the boulders, followed by a snow patch with some mushy land in between. Another 10 minutes later, you reach a huge meadow, which is damp. In summer, shepherds camp here and hence this campsite is called Saunbhera (‘Sauni’ from ‘sawan,’ which means rain, ‘Bhera’ from bher, as in sheep).

Borasu Pass Trek
Saubhera Campsite

It takes around 1.5 – 2 hours to reach here. You will see some temporary stone shelters used by the shepherds in the huge yellowish green meadow with mesh formed by the stream that collects and then flows down to form Maninda Tal. Also, you will see mesmerising views of snow peaks including the Borasu peak and Borasu pass towering right in front. You can rest here and replenish your energy as the Upper Lamjunga campsite is another 1.5 – 2 hours from here.

Borasu Pass Trek
Mesmerizing View from Upper Lamjunga

Continue on the trail that crosses the meadow moving through the rocky terrain in the left of the meadow. After around 5 – 10 minutes, notice that the trail gradually climbs up the scree slope with loose rocks and huge boulders on the left. From the top of the slope you can see a spider web formed by small streams over yellow-brown meadow.

Continue climbing on the loose rocks passing through the boulders and within an hour you will reach the Lamjunga campsite. In local language ‘Lam’ is long and ‘Junga’ is moustache. So, Lamjunga actually stands for ‘long moustache.’ Looking at the pass, one can see the left and right ridges below the pass appear like a long moustache. From here, the Upper Lamjunga is a steep climb over the ridge.

Borasu Pass Trek
Upper Lamjunga

It takes around 45 minutes to reach Upper Lamjunga campsite. The campsite has snow even during the end of June and has space enough to pitch 2-3 tents just at the end of the ridge, where you can clear the snow. You are surrounded by snow-clad peaks on all sides. See the Borasu glacier, the Saunbhera campsite on one side and Borasu pass on the other.

Day 5: Upper Lamjunga  – Borasu Pass – Bonga Camp 

  • Altitude: 16076 feet to 17224 feet to 14763 feet
  • Distance: 10-12 km 
  • Time taken: 8-9 hours

Today is going to be a long day. You need to start as early as possible. You can see golden peaks on your left as the sun’s first ray shines upon them. Looking behind you can see blue skies, snow-capped peaks, beautiful green valley, Borasu glacier, and Saunbhera campsite down below. Start walking on the gradual snow slope in the direction of the pass. Within 5 – 10 minutes, you come across some boulders surrounded by snow; the trail passes between the boulders.

Borasu Pass Trek
Borasu Pass as seen from Upper Lamjunga Campsite

The slope gets steeper and then eases down into a level walk. Another 30 – 35 minutes later, you reach some boulders on your left. For those who are tired, boulders in snow are very helpful as you can take quick rest before moving ahead.

The trail alternates between steep slope and plain snow field for the next 30 – 45 minutes, after which you reach a steep gradient. It takes around 2 – 2.5 hours to reach this point. From here on, the trail moves towards the left ridge of the pass; you may have to use a rope / ice axe here or cut in steps in the snow. After 20 – 25 minutes of steep ascent, you finally reach the left ridge, which is full of loose rocks. The last 20 – 30 feet of climb is the through these loose rocks. In around three hours, you finally reach the pass, where you’ll see rocks placed one over the above to make two stone towers indicating the pass.

Borasu Pass Trek
Snow peaks and Vast Zupica Glacier Seen Below

The view on the other side is mesmerizing as you see clear blue skies, snow peaks, vertical snow slopes and the vast Zupica Glacier field below. The descent on the other side is a sheer vertical, so you may have to use rope / ice axes or you can simply glissade down.

Replenish yourself and be ready for 125 – 150 ft of glissading. Keeping the pass to your right, continue on the snow field. The trail gradually descends and gradually becomes level.

Borasu Pass Trek
Glissade down the sheer slopes of Borasu Pass

Continue on the trail for another 20 – 25 minutes till it descends again. After around 45 minutes of hiking through the snow field, you come across the final snow slope, below which you can see the Zupica Glacier moraine. Continue descending the snow slope. Spot some huge hanging ice and frozen waterfall on top of the mountain on the other side of the Zupica glacier.

After around 1.5 – 2 hours of climbing down the snow slope, you finally reach the rocky terrain, loose boulders and glacier moraine once again. You need to cross the glacier moraine and move to the other side. The glacier is vast and it takes a good 30 – 45 minutes; of walking through thin ice, moraine and water before you reach the other side. Continue on the rocky trail that passes towards the right of Zupica Glacier, keeping the glacier to the left. Within 15 – 20 minutes you come across some huge boulders, which can be used as an emergency campsite.

Borasu Pass Trek
Snow Field on Other side

Continue on the trail that passes though rocky terrain till you see a steep scree slope on your right. You need to ascend this scree slope. After around 20 – 25 minutes of vertical climb, you come across a ridge. You can see the Zupica Glacier stream and another small stream on either sides of the ridge. After 10 – 15 minutes of ridge walk, the trail forks into two. Take the ridge on the right.

Soon, you’ll be able to spot the Bonga campsite. You will come across a stream and snow patches just before the campsite. Cross over and you can see a green meadow right next to the stream, with a temporary shepherd settlement constructed by placing rocks one over the other on three sides. The Bonga peak is visible on the right side.

Day 6: Bonga Camp – Doria Camp – Chitkul

  • Altitude:14763 feet to 13123 feet to 11318 feet 
  • Distance: 15-16 km 
  • Time taken: 9-10 hours

You can split this trek into two days by halting 1-2 km before Rani Kanda ITBP camp on the first day and moving towards Chitkul the next day. After absorbing the captivating green meadows, milky stream, blue sky and snow peaks of Bonga campsite, proceed towards Chitkul.

Borasu Pass Trek
Bonga Campsite

Take the trail that follows the stream. You will soon find loose rocks, mud and scree on your way. After around 40 minutes, the trail descends through loose boulders to join the stream. Continue on the trail that goes parallel to the stream. You can see that the slopes are still covered with snow on the other side of the stream. After around 10 minutes, you cross the stream followed by a small snow patch and then the trail continues through loose rocks.

Borasu Pass Trek
Day 6: A few minutes from Bonga Campsite

After around 10 – 15 minutes, the trail gradually climbs down towards the level of the stream coming from Zupica Glacier. Take the muddy trail full of loose rocks and scree that descends with the snow slope on the right. In between, you come across a small stream. You can fill water here. The entire trail until Chitkul has several streams.

In around 2 hours, you finally reach the level of the stream. From here continue on the flat trail on the right. Another 15 – 20 minutes later, you come across a clear stream passing through green meadows. You can see a temporary shepherd settlement on the right.

The trail alternates between flat land and boulders for the next hour or so. The lush green Doria campsite is visible at a distance. Continue on the trail through loose rocks till you come across a temporary stone structure used by shepherds. You will find leafy vegetable that are used by shepherds to make chutney. It takes around 3 – 3.5 hours to reach this place. The trail gently climbs up green slopes filled with colourful wild flowers!

Borasu Pass Trek
Wild Flowers

Continue on the trail for 10 – 15 minutes and you reach the first tree, followed by another and then in a couple of minutes, dense woods. It takes around 4.5 hours to reach this point. Continue on the mud trail that gradually descends into the woods. You also come across several fallen trees en-route.

In around 20 – 25 minutes, you reach huge green meadows surrounded by trees. From here, the trail moves to the right towards the end of the meadows. At the end of the meadow, you can see the Beas River flowing down and the trail going from Rani Kanda to Chitkul on the other side of the hill. Continue to descend the slopes till you reach the trail that goes parallel to Beas River, keeping the river to the left. While descending, spot a cave formed by a huge boulder in the right, used as settlement by shepherds.

Borasu Pass Trek
Chitkul seen at a distance

After around 5.5 hours, you come across a grassy meadow just 1-2 km before Rani Kanda ITBP camp, used as temporary settlement by shepherds. You can camp here or proceed further. Chitkul is another 3 – 3.5 hours from here. Continue on the trail keeping the river to the left. Just before the ITBP camp, the trail climbs up loose rocks and soil.

After 20 – 30 minutes, you reach the ITBP camp. From here, Chitkul is around 8–9 km of flat walk, which can be covered in 2–3 hours. From the ITBP camp, a trail goes down to cross the bridge over Beas. Cross the bridge and continue on the trail.

The path is well-defined till Chitkul because it is regularly used by shepherds and the ITBP personnel. You can see the trail snaking through the green valley a few feet above the Beas River. In around 10–15 minutes, you come across another small log bridge called Bally Bridge. Continue on the trail till you come across another stream coming from the right. Since the bridge is under construction, you may need to go a little up and cross the stream where the flow is less.

Borasu Pass Trek
Chitkul

Soon you come across lush green meadows that can be used as a campsite. Continue on the trail till you come across another stream. A log is placed over the stream to cross over. You will see many campsites on your right. After around 1.5-2 hours from ITBP camp, you see Chitkul in the distance.

You’ll soon find trees on your right and then a broken gate that will lead you to your campsite. Continue on the trail till you see the Nagasthi ITBP camp. From here, it takes around 20 minutes to reach Chitkul.

How to get fit for the Borasu Pass Trek

The Borasu Pass Trek is classified as a difficult trek. You trek up to an altitude of over 17224 feet. You have to make sure your lungs are strong for this.

Cardiovascular endurance
On the Borasu Pass Trek, apart from huge altitude gains, the trails have rocky boulders and steep snow to negotiate. Hence, this requires a good amount of endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday.  Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. Make sure you are able to jog 5 km in 30 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.

Strength
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. Do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set.

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.

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 Borasu Pass Trek

Bare Necessities:

  1. 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.
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.

Clothes

  1. Three layers of warm clothes: Carry two sweaters, and a padded jacket. If you are more susceptible to feeling cold, add another layer.
  2. 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 Pass day.
  3. 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.
  4. Thermals: Carry thermals (top and bottom) to keep yourself warm at night. Keep your thermals fresh and don’t wear them while trekking.

Accessories

  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are mandatory. You would need it to protect yourself from snow blindness.
  2. SuncapAt high altitude, the sun is extra harsh, as the UV rays don’t get filtered. So carry a suncap to protect yourself.
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: Avoid woollen gloves as they will get wet if you touch snow. You can add a fleece glove as an inner layer, and wear two gloves on each hand if you’re more susceptible to cold.
  4. BalaclavaYou’ll need this to cover your head, as most of the heat escapes from your head.
  5. Socks (2 pairs) and a pair of woollen socks: 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. Toiletries (Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste)
  2. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box.
  3. Two water bottles: 1 litre each
  4. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit 

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

To reach Dehradun
The best way to reach Dehradun is to take an overnight train from Delhi

  • 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 3.55

There is a direct bus from Dehradun to Sankri. It leaves at 6 am from Dehradun Railway station. Be there by 5.40 am to get a seat.

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 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 more 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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Vinita Chhatwani

Vinita Chhatwani

Vinita is an IT professional who is passionate about mountaineering. She visits the Himalayas every year with her friends, to explore and be one with the creator. To better equip herself during explorations, she went onto complete a Basic Mountaineering Course from WHMI Manali in the year 2005.