Kedarkantha Winter Trek
Kedarkantha: One of the finest summits climbs for beginners
The experience of a summit climb is special because it stays with you for a long time. Waking up at wee hours in the morning, dawn breaking as you climb up the mountain flank. For a long time, this flank and trail is the only thing you can see ahead of you. And then, coming up to the ridge where your world widens. And then, finally, the summit where everything else is below you.
The feeling on top of a summit is indescribable. There is a sense of achievement, the feeling you have earned this view. The kind of internal confidence you gain after an adventurous summit climb is difficult to shake.
Now, usually, this kind of experience was enjoyed exclusively by hardcore trekkers and mountaineers. With Kedarkantha, however, you get to experience the thrill of a summit climb even if you are entirely new to trekking. No wonder a lot of us have a soft spot for this trek!
It is not just the fact that this trek is beginner-friendly. Kedarkantha has an endearing setting: the campsites, the summit views, the forest walks. This packed along with a thrilling summit climb makes it a wonderful trek for beginners, families and children. The better prepared you are, the more you will enjoy this trek!
What to Watch Out For
This trek has some of the loveliest campsites in Indian Himalayas. Khujey is a meadow, a couple of hundred metres long and about a hundred wide. It is surrounded by forests on one side. Near the forests, we have abandoned wooden huts that once belonged to the local wandering shepherds. Bhoja Dadi is a remote camp in the wilderness, close to the Kedarkantha summit. You can observe wonderful sunsets, sitting on one of the rocks by the campsite. These are settings right out of fairytales.
The view from the summit
While the summit climb to Kedarkantha is a huge thrill, the view from the top is jaw-dropping! When you face the north, all around you are the mighty snow-clad ranges of Uttarakhand at your eye level. You see Swargarohini, Black Peak, Bandarpoonch among the Gangotri and Yamunotri ranges.
And stretching below you in this direction is the Har ki Dun valley. On your north-west, you see ranges of Himachal Pradesh – that extends into Kinnaur ranges. The Rupin valley makes its way to Himachal on your west. And on your east, you see from where you drove to base camp – Purola, Mori. Views of this scale are incredibly rewarding after an adventurous summit climb.
Best drive in the Himalayas
The drive to Kedarkantha takes you through Mussoorie, Nowgaon, Purola and Mori before finally bringing you to Kotgaon. Trekkers need to especially watch out for the section after Purola until the base camp, where the drive curves through a dense pine forest. The scent of pine engulfs you as you make your way towards your base camp. After you drive through the length of pine forest, you enter Mori. The Tons river starts keeping you company here, gushing quietly alongside. It is no wonder that this is one of the most beautiful drives in the Indian Himalayas.
Day 1: Reach Kotgaon (6,800 ft); 10-11 hours drive from Dehradun. Transport will be organised from Dehradun Railway Station at 6.30 am. Cab costs approximately Rs.5,500 per vehicle.
Day 2: Kotgaon (6,800 ft) to Khujey (9,400 ft); 5 hours
Day 3: Khujey (9,400 ft) to Bhuja Dhadi (10,800 ft); 2 hours
Day 4: Bhuja Dhadi (10,800 ft) to Kedarkantha summit (12,500 ft) and then on to Munaila/ Bhuja Dhadi; 7 hours
Day 5: Munaila to Sankri/ Kotgaon (6,800 ft); 5 hours
Day 6: Drive to Dehradun; 10-11 hours. The cab costs approximately Rs.5,500 per small vehicle (6 seater) and Rs 9,000 per tempo traveller. You will reach Dehradun between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.
Please note that you will be staying at a lodge in Kotgaon. The stay on all other days is in tents (3 per tent). You can leave behind luggage (no valuables) that you do not require for the trek at Sankri.
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
[Note: We have changed our trek route to a new one. You can refer to the Short Itinerary or the Long Itinerary’s headings to check the new campsites. We will update the trek description in the Long Itinerary soon.]
Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Kotgaon
- Distance: 220 km
- Time taken: 10 – 11 hours
Leave Dehradun by 6:30 am and reach Kotgaon at 5:30pm. is a small pretty village. A few dhabas and some shops make Kotgaon. Stay at the GMVN guest house slightly up the road. Most trekkers get to Kotgaon in the evening, which is a good time to lookout for the sun setting on the Greater Himalayan mountain ranges. The peaks of Swargarohini shimmer in the evening sun, standing tall over the ridges beyond Kotgaon.
Day 2: Kotgaon to Khujey (9,400 ft); 5 hours
- Altitude: 6,800 feet to 9,400 feet
- Distance: 4 km
- Time taken: 5 hours
Take the tarred road out of Sankri until you come to an extension of the Sankri village called Sol. Once you cross the village, the road takes a wide curve. Around 7-8 minutes later, look for a trail to your right that climbs sharply – it is next to a stream. This is the trail that leads to Kedarkantha. If in doubt, wait for a local to pass by and ask for directions. The trail gets into the pine forest and starts to climb sharply until you reach a ridge ten minutes later. On the ridge, the trail evens out and widens for almost the rest of the day. An hour later, look for a small wooden bridge on your right. A hut that belongs to a shepherd is visible beyond the bridge, about 40-50 metres higher on the trail. You are a quarter of your way to Juda-ka-Talab here. After a while, the stream that you have been hearing catches up with you. This is your last water point, so fill up your bottles to last until Juda-ka-Talab, another thousand feet higher and 2½ hours further. Don’t take the trail that goes over the bridge, but continue on the trail that runs to your left – it is clearly visible and forks clearly at the stream. Half an hour later, in a large grove of Maple trees, look for a large trunk of a tree fallen on the ground. Beyond the tree, a dark forest beckons you mysteriously from the southern edge of the clearing. At 8,100 feet, you are half way into your trek to Juda-Ka-Talab here. Carry on the trail through the clearing to re-enter the sparse pine and maple forest on its northern edge. Through a series of switchbacks, the trail climbs rapidly through dense oaks finally emerging out in the open over a rising mound to greet you with the spectacular camp site of Juda-Ka-Talab. Juda-Ka-Talab is almost too perfect in its setting as a campsite. On your left is the large lake that was once two lakes but now conjoined as one, and on your right is the thick edge of an oak and pine forest. The forest is so dense that light hardly seeps through it. The campsite is a series of gentle undulating mounds that form the clearing and campsite of Juda-Ka-Talab. High above, on your left, is the ridge line through which the afternoon light filters in. The area is entirely in shadows of some of the densest pine forest you will ever see.
Day 3: Khujey (9,400 ft) to Bhuja Dhadi (10,800 ft); 2 hours
- Altitude: 9,400 feet to 10,800 feet
- Distance: 4 km
- Time taken: 2 hours
The trail out of Juda Ka Talab is clearly visible and straight forward. The trail rises to a ridge at the edge of the lake. At the ridge, take a sharp left turn and dive into the dense pine forest climbing higher.
The trail veers further left sticking to the slope directly above Juda Ka Talab, though the lake is not visible. Climbing swiftly, the trail pops out at a ridge in another half hour, gaining about 800 feet over Juda Ka Talab. The ridge flattens out with oaks mainly as company. Continue walking on the ridge to the edge of the meadow and start another sharp climb through the oaks. Half an hour later, the ridge opens out to yet another open meadow on your right with a solitary shepherd’s hut (Hut Point). The setting is strikingly beautiful and calls for a break from the trek. You have less than a thousand feet to climb from here to the Kedarkantha base. A short climb later, again in the shades of the oaks, the trail opens out to a large clearing on the northern edge of which is another shepherd’s hut. Look behind you for your first awe inspiring 180 degree view of snow ranges surrounding the Kedarkantha summit. The trail switches direction moving in a northerly direction under the dry oak trees. Usually over snow, the trail climbs gently in two stages to another clearing. You have arrived at the Kedarkantha base camp site, marked by another dilapidated shepherd’s hut. White peaks stretch from your left to your right forming a wide arc. Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag and Ranglana stand out from the scores others. Note: The cold in the open is intense and it often gets windy. Carry enough woolen wear to protect you from the elements.
Day 4: Bhuja Dhadi to Kedarkantha summit and then on to Munaila/ Bhuja Dhadi
- Altitude: 10,800 feet to 12,500 feet to 10,800 feet
- Distance: 6 km
- Time taken: 7 hours
Sunrise from the Kedarkantha Base is something worth getting out of your sleeping bags early for. The Kedarkantha peak is clearly visible from the KK Base. There are many trails that go to the top. The best route is to catch the northern ridge of the Kedarkantha summit, climb up in a series of switchbacks to reach the Kedarkantha summit. It takes an hour and half to climb the summit from the Kedarkantha base campsite. The Kedarkantha summit is marked by a square arrangement of stones with a Trishul that points to the sky. Towering over the rest of the region, the summit gives you a 360 degree view of the mighty snow clad ranges of Uttarakhand. The Gangotri and the Yamunotri ranges are clearly visible from the summit, as are the Chanshil Pass and Kinnaur Kailash ranges. Getting down from the summit, take an alternate route down to your camp following the southern ridge of Kedarkantha. It is a straight forward ridge descent to the oak forest below. Note: Depending on the amount of snow, many trekkers prefer to climb Kedarkantha from the southern ridge and descend by the northern side. The snow is less on the southern ridge and makes climbing easier. Both routes take approximately the same time, so choose a route depending on the snow. Get back to your Kedarkantha base camp site by noon and not later than that. A quick lunch later, wrap your camp and begin your descent to Hargaon. The trail is spectacular as it ascends and descends through oaks, pines and frozen streams. It moves through small clearings every half hour or so. The clearings are a unique feature to the Kedarkantha trail and a rarity in the Indian Himalayas. Some of the clearings are marked by huts of the shepherds. Continue your descent until you come to the wide clearing of Hut Point. Instead of taking the ridge down from here, descend to the meadow that runs below you. At the end of the meadow, move to your right, cross the open stream and take the trail that moves down the slope but avoids the ridge that runs parallel above. A while later, get to the cluster of four shepherds’ huts that you saw on your way up from the trail on the ridge. Continue past the cluster of four huts and re-enter the deep dark pine forest that engulfs the trail as it moves further and further away from the ridge. The trail gets exquisitely beautiful as it winds its way down an enchanted forest of pines to reach the Hargaon clearing in an hour and half’s time.
Day 5: Munaila/ Bhuja Dhadi to Sankri/ Kotgaon
- Altitude: 10,800 feet to 6,800 feet
- Distance: 6 km
- Time taken: 5 hours
The trail to Sankri is clearly marked by stones and its well-paved nature. Descend through the pines and in a series of switchbacks, come to a stream to your left. This is a good spot to fill water. The trail evens out and gradually descends through the pine forest to come to a ridge. From the ridge, catch a view of the vast open Har-ki-dun valley. Slightly below, as you descend, an apple orchard mixed with potato and cauliflower farms greet you. Huts that belong to local farmers line up on the right, standing out in the skyline. There are numerous trails to Sankri, but the main one is the five foot-broad trail that everyone uses. Resume your descent until you get to the pine forest a couple of hundred feet above Sankri. The trail forks multiple times here, with each heading to a different part of Sankri. Wait for a local to show you the direction to GMVN, which is a sharp detour from the main trail to the left. Descend down to GMVN in ten minutes to culminate a grand trek in the Uttarakhand Himalayas.
Day 6: Drive to Dehradun
- Distance: 220 km
- Time taken: 10 – 11 hours
Drive back to Dehradun through lovely pine forests and beside the Tons river. It’s a long 8 hour drive. Try and get the window seat on the right side to get a good view! Stop for lunch somewhere near Kempty Falls. You’ll reach Dehradun by 8 pm. You can read these trek blogs to know of some trekkers’ experiences on the Kedarkantha trek. You could also watch a video of the Kedarkantha trek here. To read trekkers’ blogs about the Kedarkantha trek, click here. Banner image by Mani
How to get to the basecamp – Kotgaon
Delhi → Dehradun → Kot Gaon
The Kedarkantha trek starts from Sankri, around 180 kms from Dehradun.
Indiahikes organises transport from Dehradun to Sankri. The pick up is at 6.30 am from Dehradun Railway Station on Day 1. The cab fare is Rs.5,500 per vehicle. This is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
The drive is beautiful, beside the River Tons. You pass through Mussoorie, which is a popular hill station. Stop for breakfast at Kempty Waterfalls, which is a popular tourist destination. You can stop at Purola for lunch. The Dhabas here serve delicious Aloo Parathas. You will reach Naitwar around 4.00 pm.
To reach Dehradun
The best way to reach Dehradun is to take an overnight train from Delhi. There are two trains available from Delhi to Dehradun. We recommend that you take this one –
- 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 5.40
- 12055 DDN Jan Shatabdi – 15.20 – 21.10 (reach the previous night)
If you cannot find a train, then take a bus. To stay on the safe side, book buses online in advance. Book such that you have some buffer time to make it to Dehradun on time for the pick-up; buses usually get delayed.
Kotgaon→ Dehradun → Delhi
The Kedarkantha trek ends at Sankri. From here, you’ll be retracing your route back to Dehradun. It takes around 8 hours to drive back to Dehradun. Indiahikes organises this transport for a fare of Rs.5,500 per cab. This is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid to the driver directly. You will reach Dehradun by 6.00 pm.
If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your onward travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express (21.20) or Nanda Devi Express (23.30).
If you want to get to the basecamp by yourself
Take a bus headed towards Kotgaon from Dehradun. It leaves at 6.00 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.
How to get fit for the Kedarkantha trek
The Kedarkantha trek is marked as an easy-moderate trek. It starts at an altitude of 5,600 ft at Gaichawan Gaon and climbs to 12,500 ft at Kedarkantha peak. This means there is an altitude gain of 6,500 ft over the first three days of the trek. Consequently, all the three days leading to the Kedarkantha summit involve constant ascent.
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
Here’s a fitness routine that works:
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
–>Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in 40 mins.
–>If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5km in less than 47 minutes.
If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.
How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?
Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.
Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.
Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.
Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek
For < 45 years age : One screenshot of 5 km in 50 minutes and the second 5 km in 47 minutes.
For > 45 years age : Two screenshots of 5 km in 40 minutes.
If you love cycling, cover a distance of 22 km in one hour and upload the same.
Fitness proof to be uploaded with GPS on and along with your picture.
Here’s a guide to help you prepare for 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 Kedarkantha Trek
If you’re trekking to Kedarkantha in winter, the temperature during the day will be at around 8-12 degrees and at night, the temperature will drop to -5 to -7 degrees. You will need to carry a minimum of five warm layers. Apart from this, ensure you carry your warm accessories such as synthetic (water resistant) gloves, woollen socks, balaclava and thermals. These are imperative on a winter trek.
Apart from this, there might be snowfall in winter. Ensure you carry a poncho to have a comfortable trek.
- 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.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- 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 spring (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. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- 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 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.
- 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 woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Ponchos: At high altitudes, snowfall and rain are quite common and hence it’s mandatory to carry a poncho so that you don’t get wet.
Indiahikes offers rentals on this trek. You can now rent trekking shoes, trekking pole, padded jacket and poncho instead of buying them. You can collect these directly at the base camp and return them there after the trek. Get the details here.
- Daypack (20 litres): You will need this to carry water bottles, light snacks and medical kit in case you decide to offload your backpack.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. We do not like biodegradable wet wipes because they take a long time to decompose in the mountains. Use toilet paper instead.
- Sanitary waste: Make sure you bring your used sanitary napkins back to the city with you. Carry a zip lock bag to put used napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose 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. We do not allow biodegradable or disposable cutlery on our treks.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each. For winter treks make sure, one of the water bottles is a thermos flask. We recommend the Lifestraw Go. Indiahikes trekkers can get it at a discount here.
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 1 Strip
- Crocin – 10 tablets
- Avomine (optional, in case of motion sickness)- 1 Strip
- Combiflam- Half Strip
- Muscle relaxant – Half Strip
- Digene – Half Strip
- Avil – 1 strip
- ORS – 6 packs
- Knee Cap (If you are prone to knee injury)
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.) – It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek. Since Sankri will have limited facilities to photo copy, do not leave this till the end.
- Medical Certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF
- Disclaimer form (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
What are the risks on the Kedarkantha Trek?
Kedarkantha is an easy to moderate trek in terms of difficulty but it goes up to an altitude of 12,500 ft. Which means it’s still a high altitude trek. As with every high altitude trek, the Kedarkantha trek comes with certain risks.
At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure your life is safe, we also expect you as a trekker to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it.
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.
From the time you register for a trek, we will keep you informed of safety procedures on high altitude treks. We have listed a few of them below.
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over the years, we have come to notice that safety issues are widespread among unfit, unaware and ill-prepared trekkers. Therefore we have brought in an eligibility criteria for the Kedarkantha trek.
Before registration, you need to meet the fitness requirements. The primary measure for fitness is BMI or Body Mass Index. An ideal BMI is a minimum requirement to register for this trek. You can take a look here.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
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. It contains details of symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies as well. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.
On the Kedarkantha trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring your Oxygen levels and Pulse rate twice a day. Your blood pressure is measured once every day. Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and immediate action will be taken.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will also 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 campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
Kedarkantha is popular for its snowy terrain. If you go on this trek in the months from December to mid-April, you will be trekking on snow. To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes.
These are attached to your shoes and will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can wear over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you. They lead the way on difficult terrain, where there might be too much snow.
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. Our sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degree Celcius.
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.
What you need to know if you’re going on the Kedarkantha trek
If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitude.
Like in every winter trek, a common risk factor on the Kedarkantha trek is slippery snow. You will be provided with micro spikes to help you walk better. But if you fall, no need to panic.
Even the smallest wound takes longer to heal at higher altitude. Reasons for this are increasing stress hormones and lower overall oxygen delivery to the tissues. Keeping your wounds clean and covered will prevent infection. To prevent the bruise from festering, apply a triple antibiotic ointment regularly.
Where on the Kedarkantha trek is Acute Mountain Sickness likely to affect you:
Any campsite above 11,000 ft poses a risk of AMS. On the Kedarkantha trek, the Kedarkantha Base camp is at 11,250 ft. It is the only campsite on this trek where you could be affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. From here and while going up to the summit is when you should watch out for symptoms.
AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader.Only then will he be able to take steps at the right time.
What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS at Kedarkantha Base Camp
Very few cases of AMS have been recorded on the Kedarkantha trek. Nevertheless, don’t let your guard down. If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, 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 video below to understand how to treat and prevent AMS. The information in this video is rare to find. With this knowledge, you can probably save your own life or another’s trekkers life.
As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour.
If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage. The increased dosage of Diamox usually takes care of the Acute Mountain Sickness. Evacuation will be done if no improvement is shown. You will be taken down to Sankri as descent is the sure cure for AMS.
Exit points on the Kedarkantha trek:
There is just one exit point on the Kedarkantha trek – the base camp, Sankri. It takes around 5 hours top descend to Sankri from the highest campsite of the trek. Sankri is at an altitude of around 6,500 ft. So any symptoms of AMS will stop showing there.
For advanced treatments, the closest hospital from Sankri is in Purola which is around 54 km away. Please note that these are mountain roads and usually takes around 2-3 hours to cover this distance. It takes longer after nightfall.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If you cannot find your fellow trekkers or anyone else 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.
If you are trekking independently, you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Here, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about HAPE and HACE. Here, you can learn about the advanced symptoms are and how to tackle them.
It is a myth that fit and experienced people are not affected by 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 case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel.
Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
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% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen 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.
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. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important.The trek has long climbs and steep descents on a daily basis. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 40 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5 km in 47 minutes. This is a minimum, mandatory requirement.
If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.
Unable to do so can make your trek difficult.
In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.
Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
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 charges – Rs 1,000 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 375 per day inclusive of tax. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.
Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.
Discount for a group of 10 and above
If there is a group size of 10 trekkers and above, then we will waive off the trek fee charges for one person.
Note - There is no discount available if the group size is 9 or less than that.
You can register the entire group and send us an email. If the group is registering individually, then the primary participant needs to send an email to the Trek Coordinator with the list of trekkers from the same group.
If you want to make the payment individually, then individual registrations have to be done.
This will be the case for a group of 10 trekkers. So if you have a group of 20 trekkers, then we will waive off the charges for 2 trekkers.
Repeat Trekker Policy
At Indiahikes, we believe that the mountains hold all the aces. The weather could play spoilsport, the altitude could mess with a trekker, the unpredictability of nature itself could turn against him. Whatever the reason might be, it is never nice to turn away from a trek midway.
In the event that a trekker has to come down without completing your trek, they can always head back to the mountain and do the same trek again. If this happens, trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee. They have to just make the optional payment for the insurance amount.
On another note, it could also happen that you love a trek so much that you want to go back time and again. Trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee for repeating a trek.
Note – The Repeat Trekker Policy holds good only for Indian Treks.
It is not valid for treks we run in Nepal.
Can I keep extra luggage at the base camp of Sankri/Kotgaon?
Yes, you can keep the extra luggage at the base camp.
Once the trek ends, you will be able to collect the luggage.
Our team will arrange for this.
Ensure you do not keep any valuables at the base.
Laptops, mobile phones, cash or any important items cannot be kept here.
Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack (have a porter carry it for you). This will cost Rs 1000 + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Sankri, the amount will be Rs 350 per day inclusive of tax. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. Online offloading in advance is possible up to five days prior to the trek start date. You can opt for this from your dashboard directly.
Is there a mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
You won't get any network on the trek or at the base camp. There are no charging points as well on the trek.
If you are very lucky, then small connectivity is possible for BSNL network to send a message.
The last point where you get connectivity will be Purola which is 20 km before Sankri.
Can you arrange pickup from Mussorrie?
Yes, trekkers will have the option to stay at Mussorrie and get picked up as well.
The pickup will take place an hour later from Library Road end at 7.30 am.
Will I get snow on this trek?
You find snow during the winter and summer season, from December to April is when you can expect snow. Post this, you won’t have snow on this trek.
What are washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
The guest houses at Sankri will have concrete toilets. On the other days, toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. A toilet tent will have a deep pit, where one can answer nature’s call. There will be a mound of soil and a shovel to cover it up. These are dry toilets, where you’ll have to use toilet paper. There will be a room freshener as well. It’s the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and do not use wet wipes since these are not bio-degradable.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Kedarkantha Trek
In our years of experience as a trekking organisation, we have observed that adults imbibe lessons from the outdoors on a daily basis. Children are much more receptive to the world in their growing years. It is the perfect time to inculcate valuable lessons from trekking which will stay with them throughout their life.
On a family trek, not only are you exposing your child to trekking at a young age but you are also deepening your bond as a family. Trekking facilitates this sense of heightened bond as well their own personal growth.
Kedarkantha is right up there as one of the best treks for children.It’s a trek that comes with a huge sense of achievement upon climbing the summit at 12,500 ft! The bonus is that it covers short distances everyday and you’re at the next campsite before lunch!
This initiative is under the Experiential Learning Programme.
How Is It Different From A Regular Trek?
Family treks will have only families with their children of age limit 8 to 17. Children of age 13-17 can also join this trek without their parents.
Parents have the support and comfort of having other parents in the same group. Children will trek and be engaged in activities along with other children. This will encourage them to form meaningful bonds of friendship.
On the first day, we will organise the children into teams. They will be responsible for certain camp related activities and will switch roles every other day.
Here’s a peek into what the teams will do:
- The Camp set-up team oversees pitching of tents. They make sure pitching and dismantling is done properly. They also help those who need assistance.
- The Green Trails team ensures that everyone are engaged with keeping the trails and campsites clean. They oversee waste segregation. They see to it that the toilets and washing areas are set up and clean.
- The Cooking team assists the cook and helps in serving all meals. They ensure that all eat well and there is no wastage.
- The Trek Leader Assistants team assists the Trek Leader in keeping discipline with regard to timing. They will also aid those who are struggling or need any help.
Along with this there will also be co-operative games, star gazing on clear nights, story time, wilderness survival tips and knowledge sharing sessions.
Reflections at the end of each day will allow children to contemplate their learnings and experiences of the day. It’s a time of introspection and gratitude.
What Scholarships we provide
We are offering a scholarship to all children trekking with us on the exclusive family batches.
- 8 – 12 year olds – 50% scholarship
- 13 – 17 year olds – 30% scholarship
You can follow these steps to avail them:
Step 1: Click on the date that suits you on the selected trek page.
Step 2: Start the registration process. You will require unique emails IDs for all participants, including the children.
Step 3: Before making the payment, send an email with a proof-of-age of your child to email@example.com. Any id card with the Date Of Birth will do.
Note: Mention the subject line as “Proof of age for (selected trek).”
Step 4: Our Trek Coordinator will get back to you within 24 hours with a voucher for your child.
Step 5: Make the payment once you get a thumbs up from the Trek Coordinator.
Will My Child Be Safe on trek?
We understand that trekking with your child may cause you to worry about their safety. All our past family trekkers however have always found our treks to be safe.
Here are some of the commonly asked questions we receive from parents.
– Who will ensure safety on the trek?
Our Trek Leaders are certified Wilderness First Responders. They have been trained in wilderness survival and emergency medical aid. They are capable of taking care of any emergency on a trek.
Our staff is constantly in touch with each other though radio communication to ensure that all the children and safe and sound.
– What safety gear do you carry?
We carry fully stocked high altitude first aid kits, oxygen cylinders, ropes and stretchers. In addition to this these treks have easily accessible exit routes for any emergency evacuation. Click on this link to watch a video about what equipment we use.
– How do I prepare my children for a Himalayan Trek?
Active preparation is important for any trek, especially for children. Watch this video on how to get children trek fit.
Also remember to pack the right things for the trek.
Our Experience With Children
In 2018 alone, we have taken 943 children below 18 years of age on our Himalayan treks. This is not counting the 1000+ school students we have taken on local and Himalayan treks.
There is no doubt that children naturally learn more in the outdoors. The joyful memories created and the natural learning experienced can last a lifetime!
What is The Himalayan Mountain Challenge?
The Himalayan Mountain Challenge is a 6-day programme, designed for college students (18 and above) that aims to impart real life management skills from the outdoors. It is an innovative programme which integrates experiential learning with trekking in the mountains.
The objective of this programme is to help build important soft skills which are paramount in all life scenarios. The exercises are designed to bring qualities of team work, resource management, cooperation, consultation, creativity and decision-making under demanding situations prevalent in the outdoors.
The Himalayan Mountain Challenge has been designed under our Experiential Learning programme. Read on to understand what you can expect, what you can gain and the eligibility for this challenge.
– Must be a student at any Institute
– Must be 18 years and above
– Must have good fitness (You need to send us a screenshot of a 5km run done in 40 mins)
What happens in the challenge
This programme will have 30 participants.
They will be divided into 5 teams of 6 students each. One member from each group is appointed its leader.
The Challenge comprises of a trek, camping-related team activities and a project that all teams will work on. Basically you will run your own trek – with a little assistance from us.
Each team will also be given a Case Study problem. This is a real life problem faced by the Himalayan people. The teams must present a sustainable solution to this problem at the end of the programme.
There will be limited resources to complete the challenge at hand. The teams focus on excelling in their area of responsibility and at the same time cooperating with each other in a real-life setting. This happens through a series of activities that focus on teamwork, communication and individual capacity building.
You will be handed the Programme outline at the base. This outline contains all the details of the programme: guidelines to the treks and activities, what to expect out of the programme and the trek itinerary.
Here’s a short programme itinerary
Here’s what every day of the challenge will look like.
Day 1: Pick up at Dehradun at 6.30 am and drive to Kotgaon (6,800 ft). This is a 10-11 hour beautiful journey, taking you through Mussoorie, Nowgaon, Purola and Mori before finally bringing you to Kotgaon by 6.30 pm. After room allocation, you will be briefed about the trek. Teams will be split and instructions about the mountain challenge activity will be handed over as printed sheets for you to strategize.
Day 2: After an hour of Himalayan Mountain Challenge briefing, you start off on the trek to the next camp Khujey (9,400 ft). Trek duration is between 4-5 hours. You’re expected to reach camp by 1 pm. Post lunch, you will be given time to plan your upcoming activities and trek. Activities wind up by 6 pm.
Day 3: You will have to execute your trekking plan beginning at 6 am. You are expected to reach the next camp, Bhuja Dhadi (10,800 ft) by 1.30 pm. After lunch, you begin preparations to cook an elaborate dinner. The day ends by 6 pm.
Day 4: This day is of the thrilling summit climb! So the trek begins at 4.30 am. After reaching Kedarkantha summit (12,500 ft), you will return to base, wind up the campsite and then move down to the Khujey. With this, all trek activities come to an end and the students can relax for the rest of the day.
Day 5: Return to Kotgaon by 2 pm. In the evening, your team will present solutions to the Case Study problem given to you beforehand. After discussions, all teams will present songs, poems, skits or any other creative performance to bring out their learnings and the Joys of Trekking. Certificates of participation are presented to all. This concludes the Himalayan Mountain Challenge.
Day 6: Depart from base camp by 7 am. You will reach Dehradun by 6 pm.
Why you should do the Himalayan Mountain Challenge
The Himalayan Mountain Challenge leaves a lasting impact. The lessons learnt during this short period in the outdoors stays with you throughout your life. Here’s what a professor from IIM Bangalore had to say about it.
“I do believe the program changed each and every student’s outlook and I’m sure it changed their lives. It took them out of their comfort zones. Literally. We are not talking about a hypothetical situation. The conditions were hard. I believe they will remember this and they will carry it forward when they go into corporate life. And at some point they will say ‘I have survived harder things than this’, and that’s where I think the change will actually come.”
Prof. Bringi Dev, IIM Bangalore
If you join the programme, here’s what you’ll gain:
1) You get to learn teamwork in mountain settings where resources are basic, which require a high order of cooperative skills. You realise that most personal limitations are largely imagined.
2) For some of you, this will be a humbling experience. For all, it is a great boost in self-confidence. These lessons have direct implications in real life.
3) You learn that to achieve a common goal, as you need to function as a team and not think individually.
4) You discover how to improve your skills so that you can contribute to the joint effort. In doing so, you also learn how to allow your teammates to take over on matters they might be good at.
5) You learn how to strategize, manage resources and make critical decisions.
6) You also get to exercise your creativity, coming up with solutions to real life problems of waste management in the mountains.
All of this learning and more is possible from just a week of trekking in the majestic Himalayas.
How you can register
The November 2nd batch of Kedarkantha is the batch exclusive for Himalayan Mountain Challenge participants.
If you wish to compete as a team with your friends then come as a team of 6. But keep in mind: The benefits of being part of a team with unknown people enhances the experience.
We will be taking only 30 students in our first Open HMC this November.
If you have any questions, write to firstname.lastname@example.org