Latest Updates: Har Ki Dun Winter Trek Called Off

We have some bad news for Har Ki Dun trekkers. We have to call off the Har Ki Dun trek this winter.

There was a heavy snowstorm this week. There have also been several landslides and avalanches. Taking into note the snowstorm, the district magistrate passed an order this morning, disallowing the trek. They are not allowing any trekkers till February.

Our trekkers who left for the trek last week could not complete the trek either. There was very high snow blocking the trails.

What are the alternatives?

We really don’t want anyone to miss out on a Himalayan trek, especially after all the planning and getting fit.

So Har Ki Dun trekkers are free to choose out of four other treks – Dayara Bugyal, Deoriatal, Kedarkantha and Brahmatal.

The December 22nd batch has just two options – Kedarkantha and Dayara Bugyal (23rd batch).

If you have registered for the Har Ki Dun trek this winter, we have sent you an email. Check your mail immediately.

Quick updates from other slopes

The snow gods have made their appearance early this year. There was a snowstorm on Monday. It lasted through the night until Tuesday morning, white-washing all our winter treks.

Consequently, many of trekking trails were blocked.

Har Ki Dun

Har Ki Dun, as I mentioned above, saw a lot of snow. There were landslides too. Our Trek Leader Imroz took a call to not proceed further from Kalkathiyadhar. They returned to Osla village, waited for a day to see if the weather would relent, but it didn’t. “It snowed continuously for 11 hours,” says Tanuj Malhotra, a solo trekker who made it all the way to Har Ki Dun and was returning when the storm struck. Here’s what he saw at our campsite.


Kedarkantha

Moving onto HKD’s neighbouring trek, Kedarkantha, the December 8th team summitted successfully and returned to Sankri. The December 9th, 10th and 11th batches, however, could not complete the trek. They returned from 300 m below the summit, the second campsite and the first campsite respectively.

“On the second day, as we reached Pukhrola, the beautiful meadows invited us with warm weather. As evening approached, it got cloudy and the temperature dropped. It started  to snow at 7 pm. By 11 pm, my guides and I woke up to see 1.5 feet of snow around our tent!” says Ashwin, our Trek Leader. “We then got out of our tents and gave instructions to all trekkers to constantly shake the snow build up off their tents. The snowing had continued through the night. This led to some of the tents being buried in snow. Some of the  trekkers, the  guides and I dug through the snow to get the trekkers out of their tents,” he continued.

Here’s what he means by tents were buried under snow.

Many of our tents were damaged after the snowstorm. Picture by trekker Naveen KN 

But the weather has subsided now. Our teams on the slope tell us that we can run the next few batches successfully.

The Kedarkantha trail after the snowstorm

Kuari Pass

Moving on, the last batch to Kuari Pass started on December 9th. They were at the Khullara campsite when the storm struck. They couldn’t make it further and returned a day earlier. They were thrilled to have experienced a full-fledged snowstorm in the Himalayas (what a story to tell!). Meanwhile, our team in Joshimath tells us that the weather is back to being sunny and the snow is slowly melting.

The December 17th batch should be able to complete the trek if the weather stays this way.

kuari pass winter trek - indiahikes
The Khullara campsite after the snowstorm ended

Brahmatal

On the Brahmatal trek, two trekkers out of ten were able to make it to the summit despite the bad weather. The rest of them were just a few hundred metres short of the summit. The weather has cleared up now and the next batch need not worry.

Rhododendron and oak trees on the Brahmatal trail. Picture by Trek Leader Gurdit

Deoriatal-Chandrashila

The last batch to Deoriatal was on December 10th. The team crossed Tungnath, but had to return just before hitting the summit. The snow was way too high to go any further. Again, the weather is now clear, so tomorrow’s and Sunday’s batches can trek through the snow!

This is what Chopta looks like right now

Dayara Bugyal 

The Dayara Bugyal trek starts tomorrow! It’s the first time we are running Dayara as a winter trek and it already looks promising! There’s two feet of snow on the trail. Here’s a peek into the trek.

Sandakphu

Meanwhile, in the east, the Sandakphu team will be back at Sepi tomorrow. There has been no snowstorm there. The views have been fairly clear on a few days. So no worries for those headed to Sandakphu on 17th or 19th. We have no pictures from the latest batch, but we’ll post some as soon as we get them.

Those are the updates from all our winter treks.

It’s very normal for weather to play havoc in the Himalayas, especially in winter. It’s part and parcel of a Himalayan experience. If you’re a truly experienced trekker, you’ve probably done more unsuccessful treks than successful ones!

So approach your trek with that mindset and come back with a story to tell! Good luck!

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Swathi

Swathi

Swathi Chatrapathy is a journalist from Bangalore. She heads the content team at Indiahikes and runs a video show called Trek With Swathi. Writing, reading and trekking are up there on her list of favourite things!

4 thoughts on “Latest Updates: Har Ki Dun Winter Trek Called Off

  1. Though I didn’t do these all treks in starting of December but in Feb. March I also faced snow storm in kedarkanth, Har ki Dun,,trek, lkuaripsss trek in April. These pics reminded me. My treks. Waooooooooo so pristine but very hard to trek.

    1. Hi Amritansh,
      The trek has been disallowed only until February. January and February are usually peak winter months. The March batches will happen as scheduled.

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