Why The Khopra Ridge Trek Should Be On Your Bucketlist
For many decades now, the Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp treks have been bucketlist treks for most trekking. If you think about trekking in Nepal, these are the two treks that come to mind.
But there’s another trek, very close to Annapurna Base Camp and much more rewarding, and that’s the Khopra Ridge Trek. Why is it more rewarding?
You see 23 big mountains from the Khopra Ridge
Out of which 3 are amongst the 14 highest mountains in the world – Mt Manaslu (8th highest), Mt Annapurna I (9th highest) and Mt Dhaulagiri I (7th highest)! But that’s not the full picture. You see the Annapurna massif at an arm’s distance (even closer than on the ABC trek). You see the Mt Machapuchare as glorious as ever. You see Mt Nilgiri North and South. There’s Mt Himchuli, Mt Ganga Purna, it’s endless!
Let’s not forget Mt Dhaulagiri. It is right in front of you!
More than just a ridge walk
The Khopra Ridge trek is not just a ridge walk. That would be underestimating it. Simply put, it is a walkthrough on one of the rarest big mountain views of Nepal.
Great views from inside tea houses.
You see great views from even inside your tea house. Just like any other trek in Nepal, the Khopra Ridge trek has tea houses all along the trail, where you stay for the night. They’re almost luxurious compared to other treks where you camp.
Well, there’s a lot of talking points here. We take a deviation to Khayer Lake. It is small hidden lake. But getting there is like a spiritual experience. The locals revere the lake.
If you thought the Grand Canyon was full of deep gorges, on this tek you see the deepest gorge in the world — Kali Gandaki. It separates the summits of the Dhaulagiri range from the Annapurna range.
I am not going to guarantee it, but there’s a very high chance of walking above a bed of clouds. If you’re lucky, seeing the sun set above it.
I don’t know if it is right for me to say this about a favourite trek of ours, the Annapurna Base Camp, but the ABC is full of steps to climb and descend. After a while, it hurts to your knees. On the Khopra Ridge, it is a usual mountain trail. It has its ups and downs and challenges, but not the crazy steps of ABC.
For us Khopra Ridge has turned out to be the best off-beat trek in Nepal. We know what it means to trek in a crowded trail in Nepal. The Khopra Ridge is a godsend in that respect. No maddening crowd on this trail.
Detailed Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Drive from Pokhara to Syauli Bazaar. Trek to Ghandruk.
Reach Pokhara on your own. We will pick you up from near the lake at 8.00 am. The exact location will be communicated to you prior to the trek.
The drive from Pokhara to Sauli Bazaar will take around 3 hours. You cover around 60 km during this time.
Have lunch at Syauli Bazaar before you begin the trek to Ghandruk
- Altitude: 2,713ft (827 m) to 6,654ft (1,940 m)
- Time taken: 3 hours drive from Pokhara to Sauli Bazaar (60 km); 3.5 hours trek to Ghandruk (8.6 km).
- Trek gradient: Easy – Moderate
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way and from Modi Khola.
The initial trail from Syauli bazaar is narrow and runs through a village. The river to your left is Modi Khola. On the opposite side of the mountain, you can spot the trail for the Mardi Himal trek. Ghandruk becomes visible after 1.5 hours of trekking.
The trail continues to ascend gradually.
As you approach Ghandruk, after about another hour, the view starts opening up. You see Mt Himculi and Mt Annapurna south. This is just the beginning of mountain views. As you ascend some more, Mt Machapuchare (the ‘fishtail’ mountain) welcomes you. This is also an indication that you are very close to your first tea house.
Ghandruk is the largest village in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). You will see old stone and slate roofed houses lining the slope. You will also find a lot of tea houses spread through the entire village.
Day 2: Ghandruk to Tadapani
- Altitude: 6,654 ft (1,940m) to 9,020ft (2,630m)
- Time taken: 5 hours, 8 km.
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Mix of gradual ascent and level walk on forest trails.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from small streams and tea houses on the way.
To go to Tadapani from Ghandruk, begin by walking through the narrow path running through the village. Within 5 minutes, you reach a junction. From here, the ACA is divided into two parts – Central ACA AND Western ACA. Central ACA leads to Kommorong and further ahead to ABC. For Tadapani, proceed on the Western ACA.
The trail here consists of steps cut into the rocks. After climbing for 10 minutes on these steps, you will reach the first view point. This is the “Lovely view point”. From here, you will be able sight Mt Annapurna South, Mt Himchuli, Mt Ganga Purna, Mt Annapurna III and Mt Machapuchare (fishtail). These mountains stay with you on your right as you move ahead.
As you proceed on the trail, you enter a forest trail dominated by a variety of tall trees. Very soon you hear the faint sounds of a waterfall in the distance. The dense canopy of the trees above coupled with moist air from the flowing stream gives you a fresh respite. Rhododendron trees also make an appearance here. You will see big red flowers on these if you are trekking here in April.
Follow the forest trail till you reach a small bridge. From here you get a perfect view of the source of the stream. Take a break here and refill your water bottles. The next section is a steep ascent for about 45 minutes.
As you climb up along the small waterfall, you will reach Bhaisi Kharka, a small village in the far western region of Nepal. This is 5 km from Ghandruk.
The rest of the day’s hike will take you through similar but denser forest trails. Rhododendrons dominate here. These are unusually high if you have only seen the shorter trees in the Indian Himalayas. At certain places, the branches of the trees intertwine on the top to form a gateway for the trail ahead.
Another 2 hours of trekking brings you to the tea houses at Tadapani. Have lunch here. End the day with a perfect sunset view of Mt Machapuchare.
Day 3: Tadapani to Dobato
- Altitude: 9,020 ft (2,630 m) to 11,826 ft (3,448 m)
- Time taken: 5 hours, 7 km .
- Trek gradient: Moderate-difficult. Gradual ascent through forest trails, with a short descent towards the beginning. Last one hour of the trail is above the tree line.
- Water sources: Carry two litres of water. There are no natural water sources on the trail today. You can refill your water bottles at two tea houses on the way at Meshar and Isharu (2 hours apart).
Similar to the previous day, the trek starts today starts on a forest trail filled with rhododendrons and bamboo. The Annapurna range accompanies you on the right. As you trek further, the trail enters deep forests. Oaks appear here. Now, the trail descends. After about 30 minutes, you again start climbing up. This bring you very close to the tree line. From here, you can see the ridge which is a part of the trail from Dobato to Khopra Ridge.
After an hour’s climb you reach Meshar. Fill your water bottles here. Straight ahead of you are Mt Annapurna (10th highest mountain in the world) and Mt Annapurna Fang (7,647 m). The 2 mountains remain visible for the next two hours, till you reach Isharu.
From Meshar, the trail gradually ascends till Isharu, the second viewpoint of the day. You are just above the tree line here. The views from Isharu are outstanding – the panorama includes Mt Manasalu (8th highest mountain in the world), Mt Annapurna II, Mt Annapurna IV, Mt Ganesha Himal along with other peaks of the Annapurna range.
The next hour till Dobato is a mix of ascent and descent. After reaching Dobato, have lunch at the teahouse.
After a short break, set out for the best place on this trek – the MULDHAI peak view point. There is a reason this place has such a reputation among locals. You see twenty-three snow peaks out of which three are among the fourteen highest mountains in the world – Mt Manasalu (8th highest), Mt Annapurna I (9th highest) and Mt Dhaulagiri I (7th highest). The complete Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range with Mt Tukuche and Mt Nilgiri North and South are a sight to behold, especially at sunset. If you want to witness this magic again, don’t forget to come back for sunrise the next day.
Day 4: Dobato to Khopra ridge
- Altitude: 11,826 ft (3,448 m) to 12,581 ft (3,668 m)
- Time taken: 7 hours (10.8 km)
- Trek gradient: Difficult. A complete ridge walk with steep ascents till Khopra
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from streams and tea houses on the way.
Start early from Dobato since it’s a long day today. After 30 minutes of ascent you will reach a junction. The trail to the right leads to the hidden lake and the one to the left goes to Khopra Ridge. Halt here and capture the last view of all the mountain peaks of the Annapurna range. Don’t worry, these mountain views will soon be replaced by the Dhaulagiri range.
Take the trail leading to Khopra ridge. After 15 minutes, the Dhaulagiri range appears to the left. This is also an indication that you are close to your first rest point, Bayali.
From Bayali, the trail descends for two hours through a forest. This brings you to Chhistibang, a tea house inside the forest. Have lunch here.
Make sure you eat a light lunch – you have 3 more hours of trekking to complete.
From Chhistibang, the trail ascends continuously. There are multiple small streams and small waterfalls all along. On both sides of the ridge, clouds form a small playground and enchant you with their changing forms. From here, every step towards Khopra takes you up-close to the Dhaulagiri range. Watch the sun and clouds prepare for a perfect sunset.
On reaching Khopra, you see majestic mountain ranges all around you. Mt Annapurna South, Mt Annapurna Fang, Mt Annapurna I, Mt Nilgiri South and North, Mt Tukuche and the Dhaulagiri range welcome you. The tea house here itself is a view point.
Day 5: Khopra ridge to Khayar lake and back
- Altitude: 12,581 ft (3,668 m) to 15,640 ft (4,560 m)
- Time taken: 8 hours, 15.5 km
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Starts with gradual ascent on a ridge and becomes steeper as you proceed.
- Water sources: Carry two litres of water. After the first three hours, there are no water sources.
Start early today. It’s the summit day and the longest day of the trek. The initial 45 mins is a level walk with scenic views of the Dhaulagiri range. The trail turns into a ridge walk with multiple climbs and descents for the next two hours. Take a look to your left – in addition to the Dhaulagiri range, you will see the world’s deepest valley, Kaligandaki, between Mt Dhaulagiri I and Mt Tukuche.
Slowly the trail brings you to an open field surrounded by barren mountains. This is similar to the cold desert landscape of Spiti in the Indian Himalayas. This also means that you are approaching Khayar lake.
A small dhaba at Khayar Ghat welcomes you with some local tea and snacks. From here, it is another 1.5 hours’ trek to Khayar lake. The trail ascends continuously from here, on steps. All along, there is are symbols of a temple and bells clubbed together, which is a sign of khayar lake and mythological stories of the area. Before you see the lake, you see Mt Annapurna South. The lake is at its foothill.
The lake is surrounded with praying flags, bells and a lone temple. Sit down here for a while and take in the surroundings. You have reached the highest point of the trek.
In the month of July a yatra (pilgrimage) is undertaken by Nepalis who visit Khayar lake to seek fulfilment of wishes and sacrifice an animal to lord Shiva. They believe that if the wish comes true, they will have to return as a token of thanksgiving.
It will take around 3.5 to reach Khopra Ridge on the same trail. Have lunch at Khayar ghat on the way. Every step on the descent is an ideal spot to view the sunset.
Day 6: Khopra Ridge to Shwata
- Altitude: 12,581 ft (3,668 m) to 7,786 ft (2,270 m)
- Time taken: 5 hours, 9.6 km.
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate-difficult. Descend along a ridge for the first two hours. This is followed by a level walk through a forest all the way to Shwata.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from streams on the way.
Today’s trek starts with a ridge walk which which descends into the forest. Up to Chhistibang, it’s the same trail that you took to get to Khopra ridge. After 2 hours of continuous descent, you reach Chhistibang.
At Chhistibang, the trail splits. The one to the left goes back down to Dobato. Avoid this, and take the trail to the right – this leads to Shwata and further on to Ghorepani.
From Chhistibang, you will trek through a dense forest which is entirely different from the initial two days of forest trails. You mostly find oaks here, followed by bamboo.
Three more hours of trekking through this forest trail brings you to a village named Shwata. There is a lot of agricultural land here, but very few tea houses. Your tea house is near a basketball court. Enjoy your rest of the day exploring the quiet village life of Shwata.
Day 7: Shwata to Ghorepani
- Altitude: 7,786 ft (2,270 m) to 9,775 ft (2,850 m)
- Time taken: 4.5 hours, 9 km
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. A short day with gradual ascents and descents.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from natural streams tea houses on the way.
The trek today begins by descending right down to a water stream. Here, you cross the only bridge on the trek. After crossing the bridge the trail goes uphill but it is not very steep.
After a hiking for about an hour, you will reach the village of Chitrey.
The next three hours of the hike is a mix of ascents and descents. After about 1.5 hours, You can see Ghorepani in the distance.
Ghorepani is one of the most developed villages in Annapurna Conservation Area. There are hotels here instead of teahouses. You also find bakeries and clubs.
Another popular trek to the base camp of Poon hill starts from here. If you’re interested to do this trek you have an option to go till Poon hill which is 45 minutes from your tea house. The entire Dhaulagiri range is visible from Poon hill top.
Day 8: Ghorepani to Ulleri; leave for Pokhara
- Altitude: 9,775 ft (2,850 m) to 6,400 ft (1,960 m)
- Time taken: 3-4 hours trek, 7 km + 2-3 hours drive to Pokhara, 34 km.
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Gradual descent throughout.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from streams and tea houses on the way.
The last day of the trek takes you till Ulleri which falls on the old route for Mansarovar lake. Because of this it is also known as old pilgrimage route. It’s a completely easy descent through forests for initial 2 hours. Post that you walk along a water stream till the time you reach Ulleri. Your trek ends here. Take a bus and reach Pokhara.
Banner image by Aditya Raghavam
Day 1: Reach Pokhara on your own before 7.00 am. Pick up point will be near the lake. Drive from Pokhara to Syauli Bazaar; 3 hours. Trek to Ghandruk (6,654 ft); 3 hours
Day 2: Ghandruk (6,654 ft) to Tadapani (9,020 ft); 5 hours, 8 km
Day 3: Tadapani (9,020 ft) to Dobato (11,826 ft); 5 hours, 7 km
Day 4:Dobato (11,826 ft) to Khopra ridge (12,581 ft); 7 hours, 10.8 km
Day 5: Khopra ridge (12,581 ft) to Khayar lake (15,640 ft) and back to Khopra ridge; 8 hours, 15.5 km
Day 6: Khopra ridge (12,581 ft) to Shwata (7,786 ft); 5 hours, 9.6 km
Day 7: Shwata (7,786 ft) to Ghorepani (9,775 ft); 4.5 hours, 9 km
Day 8:Ghorepani (9,775 ft) to Ulleri (6,400 ft); 3 hours, 7 km; Depart for Pokhara; 2-3 hours drive
Please note that you will be staying in tea houses on all days of the trek.
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
The best way to reach Pokhara is to reach Kathmandu and take a bus or flight to Pokhara. You are expected to reach Pokhara before 7.00 am on the first day of the trek. The pick up point will be near the lake.
Regular buses leave from Kathmandu at 15 minute intervals to Pokhara starting from 7.00 AM. Tourist buses cost between 800-1200 NPR per person and a local minibus costs between 400-600 NPR per person. The duration of the drive is between 5-7 hours. The drive winds through beautiful hillsides and valleys. You can check fares and routes here – http://greenline.com.np/routes/
Most hotels help with booking bus tickets so you don’t need to book them in advance.
It is a 40 minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Flights fly daily on this route between 8.00 am and 3.00 pm. Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air and Simrik Air operate on this stretch.
Here are a couple of websites where you can buy flight tickets. A single person’s return airfare is usually in the range of INR 5,500 – 9,000. This could vary depending on the airline and when you buy the ticket.
Syauli Bazaar is a 3 hours drive from Pokhara. The trek up to Ghandruk from Syauli Bazaar will take about 3 hours.
Getting back to Pokhara
The trek ends at Ulleri, which is the road head. Private cabs and buses are easily available from here to Pokhara. Make sure you stop at Birethanti to let the TIMS and ACAP office know that you are exiting the trek zone. Indiahikes will arrange transport from Ulleri to Pokhara. You are expected to reach Pokhara by around 6.00 pm. It is advisable to stay the night at Pokhara and plan your onward journey on the next day.
How to get fit for the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek
The Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek is classified as moderate-difficult. You start from an altitude of 3,740 ft at Syauli Bazaar and reach a highest point of 15,709 ft at Khayar. You will have long trails almost everyday and there will be days with very steep ascents and descents. On the longest day of the trek, you walk over 15 km at high altitude. This can make the trek quite demanding, especially on inclines.
As the trek demands a high level of fitness, we have a screening process for our trekkers.
Once you register, you will get a questionnaire from your Trek Coordinator who will ask you to send a screenshot of the GPS track and also the splits.
You need to cover 5 km in 35 mins and record it with splits of the run for the entire week using any fitness app before you register.
You will be able to make the payment only once he/she approves the fitness screenshot.
In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets. In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 10 km in 90 minutes before the start of the trek
- Gradually bring up your speed to do 5 km in 35 minutes
- Start increasing the distance you jog to 10 km in 90 minutes
Before the start of the trek, you should be able to cover 10 km in 90 minutes.
Strength – Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each
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. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here is a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
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 Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek
- Trekking shoes: There could be slippery patches on Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trail, especially where you’re crossing streams. You will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable. 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.
- Three warm layers: At the campsites, especially Khopra ridge where you stay for two nights, the temperature after sundown can drop down to below 0 degrees. You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek.
- Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry the other two. 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. Again, wear one and carry two. 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 (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. You’ll be walking on barren, desert like mountains on the way to Khayar lake on Day 5. The glare can get severe without sunglasses.
- Suncap: The sun feels stronger while walking on the mountain slopes. Carry a suncap to protect your head and neck from the heat, especially if you’re trekking later in the day.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof 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, medical kit and some light snacks.
- 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. The use of plastic is not permitted in the Annapurna region. You will not find plastic or mineral water bottles on sale anywhere, in case you plan to buy and reuse bottles. So make sure you bring your own water bottles.
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry a 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)
To enter the Annapurna Sanctuary Area, where this trek lies, and to trek, you need to register and pay the entry fee. This fee is 1,000 NPR for Indians and 4,000 NPR for International trekkers. This includes the fee to the National Trust for Nature conservation and for registering with the Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS). The Indiahikes trekking fee is inclusive of these charges. If you choose to go with a guide, the guide will do the necessary paperwork. If not, you can get this registration done at Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nayapul checkpost or Birethanti checkpost. It takes around 15-20 minutes to get this done. At Pokhara, you can get this in the Tourism office of Pokhara. If you are getting it at Nayapul or Birethanti, get down from the bus, get your permit and then push up to Ghandruk. You will receive a TIMS card which you will carry with you on the trek.
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
What are the risks on the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake Trek?
The Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek is graded moderate-difficult. 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 altitudes.
This trek has long distances to be covered everyday. Although there are no technical sections, this high altitude trek comes with several risks. The trek climbs over 2,000 ft each day till you reach Dobato. There are several stretches with very steep ascents and descents. These are some of the things you need to be mindful of.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek. Anyone who wants to register for this trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the ABC trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At high altitudes the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out.
Dobato andKhopra ridge are the highest campsites on the trek. Trekkers tend to develop symptoms of altitude sickness at these camps.
Inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you feel any symptoms of AMS. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to a lower campsite.
This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
** Being a tea house trek, alcohol tends to be available easily on this trek. Although prohibited on our treks, some trekkers make the mistake of sneaking in a drink. Nothing can be deadlier than this. Alcohol multiplies the chance of being hit by AMS by several times.
Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox
We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.
What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
Exit points on the Khopra ridge and Khayar lake trek:
In case of an emergency, you would need to reach Ghorepani. This is a road head and vehicles will be available for further evacuation. Please note that it could take up to a day to reach Ghorepani from Dobato.
Ghandruk has the only medical centre on the trek.
In case of an emergency, it is possible to get a helicopter rescue from Isharu. This is will cost 25,000 NPR. Trekkers have to bear this cost on their own. This is not included in the trek fee.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.
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 35 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above try to cover 10 km in 90 minutes.This is a minimum, mandatory requirement.
If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 25 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 charge for the entire trek duration is Rs. 4,725 inclusive of tax. Partial offloading is not allowed. You will need to inform us in advance, in writing, if you wish to offload your backpack. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to two weeks prior to the trek start date. Porters in Nepal expect to be tipped. The tip amount for people who offload their bags will be INR 1,000 per person. If you do not offload your bags, the tip amount will be INR 700 per person.
Emergency during trek
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
Helicopter rescue expenses are not included in the trek fee or under the insurance that you opt for.
Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 7 (Ghandruk to Ghorepani). You will be staying in tea houses on all days of the trek. Rooms will be shared with fellow trekkers.
At what time should we reach Pokhara?
Reach Pokhara preferably a day earlier. This will help you get enough rest before the start of the trek on the next day and meet other trekkers. The trek leaders prefer to have a briefing during the evening at Pokhara.
If that doesn’t work, then get there latest by 7.00 am on Day 1.
The pickup point will be near the lake.
Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.4,725 for the entire duration of the trek, inclusive of tax.
You will need to inform us in advance if you wish to offload your backpack. 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 two weeks prior to the trek start date.
Offline offloading is not allowed on this trek
We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision.
Is there a mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
Network on NCell Namaste Nepal telecom is available till Ghandruk. Major tea houses have the facility to make calls for an additional charge. You can buy wifi at all tea houses for 200-300 NPR.
Tea houses charge you 100-300 NPR for the use of electricity charging points. The rates increase as you go higher up on the trail.
The dining area in tea houses at lower altitudes usually have common charging points that you can use for free.
The normal brands like Airtel, Vodafone do work, but you will have to pay more and also the connectivity is not reliable compared to the local networks.
Do we get a visa on arrival and do we need to carry our passports?
A passport is not required for Indian citizens. A voter id should suffice.
However, if you travel on beyond the trek, you might require a passport for identification.
Will there be water sources on the way? Will two litres of water be enough?
You will have access to drinking water at the tea houses where you stay. For your day’s trek, two litres of water should be enough. You will be able to refill water bottles from tea houses on the way on all the days of the trek. Tea houses provide filtered drinking water free of cost.
If you wish to drink RO purified water, you can purchase it in tea house for 100 NPR a bottle. You need to carry your own water bottles since plastic bottles (even packaged drinking water bottles) are not sold anywhere in the Annapurna region.
Do we have to tip porters on the trek in Nepal?
Yes, porters expect a tip from trekkers. The tip amount will be INR 1,000 per person if you offload your bags. If you do not offload your bags, this will be INR 700 per person.
This amount is not included in your trek fee and will have to be paid directly during the trek.