Mayali Pass Trek
The Mayali Pass trek starts off at Reeh which is a small village surrounded by rhododendron & pine forest. From Reeh it’s about 12 km to Gangi which is at a height of 8500 feet. Gangi is the last village on the trail. The next day is a 15 km long trek to the camping ground of Kharsoli. Kharsoli to Chowki is approximately 10 – 12 km. Chowki to Masartal is approximately 6.5 km. Our trek started with following a small stream fed from Masartal on our left.
As you look back from the way you can see Khatling glacier. Masartal is a small but a beautiful camping ground with lots of boulders. Way to Masar top is on the left side of the Masar lake and it is quite strenuous, gradient is almost 65 degrees. One has to traverse through a bolder zone to find a suitable place to cross the Mayali glacier. From Vasukital to Vasuki top is another steep climb of 2 km. Vasuki Top is beautiful too.
The pass in between Masar lake and Vasuki lake
- The Mayali Pass trek starts off at Reeh which is a small village surrounded by rhododendron & pine forest. From Reeh it’s about 12 km to Gangi which is at a height of 8500 feet. Gangi is the last village on the trail.
- As you look back from the way you can see Khatling glacier. Masartal is a small but a beautiful camping ground with lots of boulders. Way to Masar top is on the left side of the Masar lake and it is quite strenuous, gradient is almost 65 degrees.
➤ Trail Information
We started from Haridwar at 6 am. There is no direct bus for Ghuttu from Haridwar. At Ghansali we changed bus for Ghuttu. Ghuttu- is a small peaceful village. There is a GMVN cottage just before the bus stand. Village is on the banks of Bhilangana River. We arranged for a guide, paid nominal fees for camping to forest department and took ration for the next seven days trek including kerosene.
Day 1: Ghuttu to Reeh (7,000 ft, 10 km)
Way to Reeh is not steep and starts from the backside of the bus stand. There is a possibility that people of Reeh will have a road connecting their village. We took a jeep for first five kilometers. There was a light drizzle on the last few kilometer stretch. We reached Reeh and stayed at GMVN dormitory for the night. Reeh is a small village surrounded by rhododendron & pine forest.
Day 2: Reeh to Gangi (8,500 ft, 12 km)
Reeh from way to Gangi
The clear morning welcomed us on the way to Gangi- 12 km from Reeh. The first 5 km is a steep climb after crossing a tributary and then gradual ascent and descent. There are few shepherd huts on the way. A small temple of Bhavani Mata welcomes to the village of Gangi which comprises of 30 – 40 odd houses. Gangi is the last village on this way. We stayed in Gangi GMVN. The night was very cold.
Way to Gangi
Day3 : Gangi to Kharsoli.(9,500 ft, 15 km)
We started from Gangi after having breakfast of roti and karela ki sabzi (what a starter for the day). There is a small but beautiful camping ground at Kalyani just 3 km ahead of Gangi.
View from Gangi
There is a trail from Sahasratal which connects here. It was a long never-ending walk. After reaching the camping ground of Kharsoli it started raining heavily. We camped in a nearby jungle 100 meters before the original camping ground. Kharsoli provides an excellent camping ground in its meadows.
A source for water is also available here as it is located at the confluence of the Bhilan Ganga and its tributary. There is a small hut where we cooked and our guide and porter camped there for the night. It kept raining the entire night.
Day 4: Kharsoli to Chowki (12,100 ft, 12 km)
Kharsoli to Chowki is approximately 10 – 12 km. The weather got cleared at 8 in the morning and we started along the bank of Bhilan Ganga. After covering 1 km we entered a forest cover. There are more than one landslide zones on the way which is to be crossed carefully. Mt. Thalaysagar now can be seen at a distance. Two km before Chowki we crossed Bhilan Ganga over a temporary log bridge which is prone to get washed away each year.
Bridge on the way to Chowki
There is another point from where one can cross over at a snow bridge which is 2 km ahead. It took us another half an hour to reach the camping ground. As we reached the campsite it started to snow. In the late evening, we experienced the magic of sunset looming on Mt. Thalaysagar.
Sunset from Chowki
Day 5:Chowki to Masartal (15,000 ft, 6.5 km)
Chowki to Masartal is approximately 6.5 km. Our trek started with following a small stream-fed from Masartal on our left. As you look back from the way you can see the Khatling glacier.
Masartal is a small but a beautiful camping ground with lots of boulders. Today’s trek was easy but we had a considerable altitude gain. Patches of snows were there on the camping ground. The temperature dropped below zero degree after sunset.
Day 6: Masartal to Masar-top to Vasukital via Mayali Pass (14 km)
Sunrise from Masartal
We started early for Mayali Pass (17,800ft approx) in the shivering cold. At first we stopped at Masartal a beautiful lake on a high mountain with lot of camping spots.
The way to Masar top is on the left side of the lake and it is quite strenuous, the gradient is almost 65 degrees. This was by far the most challenging day of the trek. The boulders covered in patches of snow made the trek more demanding.
After spending some time on the top we came down to the other side. There is no defined path we could find. One has to traverse through a bolder zone to find a suitable place to cross the Mayali glacier.
It was a long winding way over fresh ankle deep snow to Mayali Top. Once at the top, it took some time to believe that I was standing on Mayali Pass. Mt. Thalaysagar, Kedardome, Bhartekuntha and many other peaks can be seen from here.
As weather started to close in we started getting down to Vasuki tal and it’s knee breaking descent over boulders. Just below the top, Pania-tal can be seen on the left.
Mayali pass to Vasuki
We reached Vasuki camping ground at 3 p.m, where we crashed in our tents exhausted.
Vasuki Tal camp
Day 7: Vasukital to Kedarnath (7kms)
From Vasuki Tal camp
Today is the last day of our trek. We started from Vasukital camping ground and reached Vasukital within 15 minutes. Nobody camps near this sacred lake.
From Vasukital to Vasuki top is another steep climb of 2 kms. Vasuki Top is beautiful too. On a clear day, Mandani region can be seen from here. A lot has been said about the meadows of Mandani region. Once we climbed the trail to the top, we descended down to the Mandakini River.
From Vasuki Top
We crossed the river to the true left of the valley to reach Kedarnath. If one has a day to spare, one can proceed from Kedartal to Gauri-kund which is another 13 km well laid pilgrim trail.
Kedarnath birds-eye view
➤ How Difficult is the Mayali Pass Trek
This trek 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 4 km in 20 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.
This is another area you should work on. There is a lot of trekking distance that you will cover carrying your backpacks and trekking along with your backpack is not a very 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. Do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set.
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 Your Trek
- Trekking shoes: The trek distance is long and you will have to walk for long distances which needs you to have comfortable trekking shoes. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for the backpack is essential.
The Miyar Valley Dun trek happens round the year except for monsoons so make sure you have the proper clothing as per the season demands so you can keep yourself protected during the trek.
- Three (Five in Winter) Warm Layers: You will be trekking and camping at high altitudes. So make sure you have the apt clothes for the climatic conditions. It will be cold at the higher altitudes so make sure you have at least three layers of warm clothes to protect yourself.
- Two trek pants: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case the first one gets wet. Wear one pair and carry one pair.
- Two collared t-shirts: Carry light, full-sleeved t-shirts that prevent sunburns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one.
- Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow in Har Ki Dun Valley or from Kalkatiyadhaar (depending on the season you are going in), so carry a pair of sunglasses.
- Suncap: The sun is harsher at high altitudes so wear a sun cap to protect your face and neck.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of waterproof/resistant, windproof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): 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.
- Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, a medical kit and some light snacks.
- Toiletries (Sunscreen, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste)
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- 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)
Author: Sandhya UC