Located in the western fringes of Nanda Devi Sanctuary, the Kuari Pass trail doubles up as the perfect vantage point to watch some of the big mountains of our country. As you march along the trail, every known summit of Gharwal Himalayas start to pop up. It’s hard to sweep the view in one glance.
There are big mountains to see everywhere — Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Hati Ghoda, Kamet — they loom over you.
At 25,643 feet, Nanda Devi is the highest inland peak in India. It is easy to understand why trekkers burst into tears at the sight of Nanda Devi. Up close, this imposing peak will make you weak in your knees and tremble with joy. If it is your lucky day, you can see snow plumes evaporating from the peaks before curling away into the atmosphere!
Hathi Ghoda Peaks
Hathi Ghoda is a peak with interesting nomenclatures. Hathi Parbat, which stands at an altitude of 22,070 feet is also known as Elephant Peak. And Ghoda literally translates to Horse. It is easy to see why they are named so. Up close, their resemblance to the said animals is striking.
When it comes to views of big mountains, the meadows of Gorson Bugyal hold the best seat in the house. Apart from flaunting unsurpassed views of Nanda Devi, the meadows unveil yet another surprise in the form of Dunagiri. At 23,182 feet, this snow-capped peak looms above the clouds and shines like a beacon.
The Kuari Pass and Pangarchulla trails share the same route for a good three days. So much so that you see the Pangarchulla Peak at 15,069 ft, up close before taking a deviation to Kuari Pass. The peak stays with you for a good part of the trek.
At 21,640 feet, Neelkanth is a pyramidal-shaped peak, which is dubbed as the “Garhwal Queen“. Steeped in mythology, this dramatic peak is revered for its beauty. Frank Smythe, the British mountaineer described the peak as “second only to Siniolchu in Himalayan beauty.”
Not very often do you see a cluster of peaks that are as prominent as the Chaukambha Massif. The four pillars stand tall and straddle together like brothers-in-arms. Chaukhamba I is the highest peak in the cluster, rising above the other three at an elevation of 23,419 feet.
Kamet will always hold a special place in mountaineering history. It is a landmark mountain, having been the first summit over 25,000 feet to be climbed. At 25,446 feet, it is the second highest peak in the Garhwal region, second only to Nanda Devi.
Kuari Pass is a trail crafted for trekkers who are in love with the big mountains. More so that, you’ll be spoilt for choice all through your trek.