Pangarchulla Peak Trek

A Challenging Summit Climb High on Adventure
Trek Fee : 12,450 + 5% GST
Difficulty
Difficulty
? Difficult treks have challenging, uneven trails. These can go over 16,000 ft and trekking hours can go upto 9 hours a day. Require excellent cardiovascular fitness and prior high-altitude trek experience. Few exit options.
Difficult
Duration
Duration
7 Days
Altitude
Maximum Altitude
15,069 ft
Pickup point
Pickup point
Zostel, Rishikesh
Required Fitness
Base Camp
Dhak
Age
Minimum Age
15
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
April

The Complete Guide to Pangarchulla Peak Trek

A Challenging Summit Climb High on Adventure

If you are looking for a power packed thrilling summit climb, climbing all the way till 15,069 ft, then Pangarchulla Peak trek offers it in spades.

To begin with, Pangarchulla is a 5-day trek (7 days when you include the travel days from Rishikesh). The trek starts from Dhak, a small village near Joshimath in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. It is situated in the Nanda Devi National Park. 

Pangarchulla is marked as a difficult trek in the Himalayas. There are three things about the trek that will stay with you.

An adventure filled summit climb

This trek is known for its summit climb. For anyone who has done this trek, that will be the first thing to recall about their trek. The summit day is for one very long. You climb over lots of boulders covered over snow, feeling your feet every step of the way.

Pangarchulla summit-Indiahikes
Trekkers walk on the precarious ridge that leads to the Pangarchulla summit. Picture by Soorya Sriram

As you climb high, you also traverse lots of tricky, steep and exposed sections which adds to the thrill and adventure. You also climb till 15,069 ft, almost 4,000 ft up and down on the summit day. All of this makes this trek a very exciting and adventure filled one.

Grand views of the Greater Himalayan Range

While the summit climb in itself leaves you with a strong adrenaline rush, what adds to this experience is the mountain views you get from the top. All along the trek you are accompanied along with grand views of a big part of the Greater Himalayan Range. And at the summit, you are surrounded by them and they all stand so close to you.

Pangarchulla - Greater Himalayas - Indiahikes
View from the Pangarchulla summit. Picture by Satyen Dasgupta

This feeling is unparalleled and very hard to find in any other treks in the Himalayas. You are surrounded by a 360 degree view of Hathi Parbat, Mana Mandir, Kamet, Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, Chaukhamba, Ghori Parbat and many more peaks that are steeped in mythology and mountaineering stories.

Camping at Khullara

Very few campsites in the Himalayas can compare to Khullara. Khullara is a big open ground surrounded by dense beautiful forests and the grand mountain views. The forests for one are a highlight themselves, providing the setting of a forest in a fairy tale.

Khullara Campsite-Indiahikes
The Khullara campsite. Picture by Geet Tryambake

And when you trek in March and April, they are filled with blooming Rhododendrons, providing colors to the already beautiful forest. Being in Khullara will definitely transport you to a different world altogether. And what more, you get to spend two days in this campsite (including the acclimatization day).  

Even if you leave these aspects out, the Pangarchulla Peak is a superb trek. The beautiful sights and challenges of the trek make it a trek worth doing.

Use these pointers to navigate through this extensive trek guide:

(If you still have doubts, drop them in the comments section at the bottom of the page. We’ll have our best experts respond to your questions.)

 


Best Time to do the Pangarchulla Peak Trek

Pangarchulla Peak trek is accessible for only one month of the year — that is in the month of April. This covers the Spring Season of the year.

The trek is not open during the other months of the year.  Before April, the trek has too much snow for the summit climb to be possible.

Pangarchulla in April-Indiahikes
April is the best and the only time to do the Pangarchulla Peak trek, due to the right amount of snow on the trail.

After April, the snow melts away leaving the route to the summit unsafe with exposed boulders. These boulders are big and have a lot of gaps between them, making traversing them quite challenging for any trekker. It is easily exhausting and very unsafe as well. Because of these reasons, the trek to the summit is best done before the snow melts away.

Pangarchulla Peak trek in April

The month of April offers the right amount of snow for a successful climb to the Pangarchulla summit. Though the rest of the route is open for almost 8 months in a year, the summit climb is best done during this small window.

In April, it is proper Spring on the Pangarchulla trek. At this time, the snow is melting, giving way to lush meadows. The campsites are free of snow but there is plenty of deposited hard snow above 12,000 ft. This is the right amount of snow required for facilitating the summit climb.

Among other attractions is that, April is also the season of flowers. You see meadows flowering and Rhodos blooming during this time.

In a nutshell, spring offers the best of both worlds — the perfect window for the summit climb and the time to see fresh blooms. This is the only time the trek is accessible and is safe.

 


Weather and Temperature on the Pangarchulla Peak Trek

The weather on Pangarchulla Peak Trek during April is similar to what you will experience in most of our Uttarakhand treks.

Pangarchulla Peak Trek in Spring

Pangarchulla Peak Trek in spring is marked with sunny days and mildly cold evenings. The day time temperatures will be around 15 °C. Post sundown, expect temperatures to drop to -5 °C.

However, on the summit day, the weather does get colder as you trek on a ridge where constant cold winds blow. So, additional gear preparation for the summit climb is highly recommended.

There have also been sudden surprise showers during spring in the past few years in Pangarchulla. So, we recommend that you come prepared for it, even though the chances are low.

Temperature Chart

Pangarchulla Weather Chart-Indiahikes
Click on the chart to see average temperatures on the Pangarchulla Peak trek

Rainfall Chart

Pangarchulla Rainfall Chart-Indiahikes
Click on the Chart to see the Average Rainfall at Pangarchulla Peak trek

 


How Difficult is Pangarchulla Peak Trek?

Pangarchulla Peak trek is categorized as a difficult trek. At Indiahikes, we classify a trek as difficult if it fits the following criteria: 

Challenging, uneven trails
Goes over 15,000 ft
Trekking hours can go up to 9 hours a day
Few exit options
Excellent cardiovascular fitness and prior high altitude trek experience is required  

We feel that Pangarchulla Peak trek addresses all of these criteria. The trek reaches an altitude of 15,069 ft.  The summit day goes up to 12 hours of hard trek climbing up and down an altitude of 4,000 ft in a single day. The summit climb is challenging and has steep, uneven and exposed sections.

The last 4 hours of the summit climb is trekking on hard snow over boulders. It is extremely challenging, tiring and filled with tricky sections. It requires that you are sure-footed, always high on alert and carrying a lot of energy.

Apart from the first two days, the rest of the trek is marked with long days with a minimum of 8 hours trek each day. On your acclimatization day, you climb to Kuari pass which is in itself a full day’s trek and quite long.

The last day of the trek is also another 8 hour long trek up to Gorson Bugyal from Khullara and climb down to Auli.

All of this makes the trek a difficult trek to do. Without prior high altitude trek experience and excellent physical preparation, this trek is almost impossible to do.

 


Is Pangarchulla Peak Trek Safe?

Pangarchulla Peak trek is a challenging trek. It is marked with a lot of safety risks and requires that you have the right expertise to go on the trek. At Indiahikes, we determine safety on a variety of factors — most important of which includes terrain, altitude and weather.

 

Safety on Pangarchulla Peak Trek — Terrain wise

The Pangarchulla Peak Trek’s challenge comes mainly from its terrain. Until Khullara, the trek follows the route of Kuari Pass and is quite safe. Few tricky sections would be the overhanging stretch from Tali to Gorson Bugyal. But this pales in comparison when we consider the summit day.

The summit climb of this trek is very challenging. It is what makes the trek adventurous. Being mentally, physically and technically prepared to handle these sections will determine the success of your summit climb.

1. Once you reach the top of the snow gully, the entire route to the peak becomes visible. It becomes immediately obvious that the last 4-5 hours of the trek will be on the snow over big boulders.  This is the case till you reach the summit.

The challenging part of the trek starts from this section. You will need a technical guide for this part of the trek. Being sure footed is essential as some places can have loose snow that pulls your foot within the gap between boulders.

2. Once you reach the base of the peak, you will be mainly trekking on the ridge. The ridge section can be seen as 6 small ridge sections put together. Some going up and some coming down. Given that you are trekking on a ridge, both of them can be challenging.

3. As you near the summit, the ridge becomes narrow and windy as well. This section might require a rope. Your technical guide will take a call on this and prepare the trail for you. Towards the end of April, the snow can become hard and icy. This again will require the technical guide to prepare the route for you with an ice-axe. Traversing these challenges with proper safety measures will determine the success of your trek and your safety.

At Indiahikes, given these difficult sections, we strongly recommend that you go with a technical guide who knows the trek very well.  It is also important that the technical guide has the right equipment like ropes, anchor, ice-axe to prepare the route for you wherever it is necessary.  So, take these preparations seriously.

 

Safety on Pangarchulla Peak Trek — Altitude wise

On this trek, you are climbing around 8,000 ft in the first four days and reaching a maximum altitude of 15,069 ft. Naturally, you have high chances of getting hit by AMS.

Few aspects of the trek that helps mitigate AMS: 

Except for the first day and the summit climb, every day’s trek and campsites are placed well within a normal altitude gain for each day. With a steady pace, the chances of getting AMS are less. 

You have an acclimatization day on the third day to help you prepare for the long summit climb on the fourth day. This helps your body to prepare itself for the 4,000 ft ascent and descent on the summit day. This also reduces the chances of AMS, HAPE and HACE drastically. 

You also lose all the height you climb on the summit day by the same evening. This again helps your body to recover from any of the altitude sickness symptoms if any. 

However, there are still chances of getting hit by AMS.

On this trek, you are prone to get initial symptoms of AMS right from the very first day of the trek given that you climb about 3,000 ft on the first day. To minimize the risk, climb at a steady pace, hydrate regularly and give yourself ample rest once you reach the campsite.

Also ensure that you do not waste the acclimatization day. Make sure to climb at least a minimum of 2,000 ft on the acclimatization day to reduce your risk of altitude related sickness on the summit day.

Even after taking all of these precautions, you can still get AMS. Most trekkers usually present with the starting symptoms of AMS — headache or tiredness mixed with perhaps lack of appetite or sleep. The immediate step to take would be to start on a curative course of Diamox, which is 250 mg every 12 hours followed by ample rest. The earlier you treat these symptoms, the higher the chances of recovering and completing the trek.

If you present with symptoms that persist more than 12 hours, descend to the base camp immediately.

As you climb higher and proceed beyond 11,000 ft, there are chances of HAPE/ HACE to occur as well. In our history of running this trek, we have never had a trekker present with HAPE/HACE. But nevertheless, it is better to be prepared and mindful of the symptoms.

Read and learn more about HAPE/HACE and how to tackle it here:

  1. What Is Altitude sickness? A Quick Look At AMS, HAPE And HACE
  2. How To Treat Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE, & HACE
  3. How To Prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), HAPE and HACE
  4. 3 Life Saving Drugs You MUST Have To Tackle Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE and HACE

 

Safety on Pangarchulla Peak Trek — Weather wise

The trek gets inaccessible when snow level goes high or when the snow melts away. It is for that reason the trek is closed for most part of the year except from in  April unto mid-May. Given that you will be trekking on snow on your summit climb, winter gear is absolutely essential. Gaiters and crampons are very much necessary. Hence, having this in your winter kit is absolutely essential.

The trek also gets extremely cold on the summit climb as you go up the exposed ridge. This can result in cold related injuries. But this can be tackled with the right winter gear, right technique of layering and good insulation techniques.

 

Exit points on the trek

Pangarchulla Peak Trek has multiple trails that reach Khullara campsite. But at Indiahikes, we have documented and follow the two trails that mark the onward and the descent routes of our trek.   Both of these routes mark the exit routes for our trek.  Depending on where you are on the trek, when evacuation is necessary, you can exit from the nearest exit point.

In general, if you are in the valley where Khullara and Chitrakantha/Tali campsite is located, you can exit from Dhak.  While if you have crossed the overhanging section of the trail and on the Gorson Bugyal side, then exit from Auli.

While evacuation from Khullara is easy and simple, evacuation on the summit day is quite challenging. Given the difficulty of the summit climb in terms of the terrain, it is important to have a strong evacuation plan in terms of an emergency.

You will need a proper evacuation kit which contains a stretcher, oxygen cylinder and a high altitude medical kit along with you to tackle any emergency. You will also need good technical guides who can handle the evacuation in case of an emergency.

 

Nearest hospitals

For mild medical issues, the closest medical assistance can be found in Joshimath.  This includes simple fracture, sprain, etc. 

Joshimath

2009 Field Hospital
Joshimath, Chamoli – 246443
Ph: 8765949852

Chamoli 

District Hospital
Gopeshwar, Chamoli – 246424

However, for major medical emergencies, the nearest hospital is in Srinagar or Dehradun — which is almost 8-9 hours away from the base camps of this trek.

 


How to Reach Pangarchulla Peak?

Pangarchulla peak trek starts from Dhak Village which is about 10 km from Joshimath. When you are doing the Pangarchulla Peak trek, your goal is to reach Dhak by the evening before your trek starts or the morning of your trek. That is the Day 1 or Day 2 of the Indiahikes itinerary.

Reaching the base camp Dhak from your home usually involves three/four stretches of journey depending on your mode of transportation. 

  1. Flight/Train from your home town to Delhi 
  2. Bus/Train/Flight to Dehradun 
  3. Shared Cab or Bus journey to Joshimath
  4. Shared Cab to Dhak village

For some, the first and the second stages can merge when you find a direct flight to Dehradun airport.

Now, let us see each of these stages in more detail:

 

Flight/Train from your home town to Delhi

The first stage of travel is from your hometown to Delhi.  For many, the easiest way is to take a flight to Delhi.  This would mean that you start your travel a day before the first day (Day 1) of the trek itinerary.  The travel time increases when you choose a train.

We recommend that you reach Delhi the morning before so that you can take a bus/train/flight to Dehradun and reach Rishikesh by the night.

 

Bus/Train/Flight to Rishikesh

Once you reach Delhi, the next step is to reach Rishikesh.  There are multiple ways to do this stretch of the trip.

1. Bus

You can find buses to Rishikesh directly from Kashmere Gate ISBT.  There are buses available almost every hour.  Another way you can do this journey is to take a bus to Haridwar and then take a connecting bus to Rishikesh (they are 21 km apart and buses are available from Haridwar until 9 PM).

At Kashmere Gate ISBT, you will find options for normal buses as well as Volvo buses.  The Volvo buses would need advance booking especially during peak season of travel. We advice that you pre-book your seats from https://www.utconline.uk.gov.in/utccounter/ if you are more than 2 people travelling.

We recommend that you plan your travel in a way that you reach Rishikesh comfortably by night.

2. Train

If you are taking a train from Delhi, then your nearest railway station is Haridwar.  Take the afternoon Jan Shatabdi train to Haridwar. It leaves Delhi at 3.30 PM — you will reach Haridwar by 7.30 PM.  The train is usually on time you can actually make the bus journey to Rishikesh the same night. You will find the connecting bus to Rishikesh from Haridwar right opposite the railway station.

3. Flight

Another option and a much more efficient way of traveling to Rishikesh would be to take a flight to Dehradun’s Jolly Grant airport either from Delhi or from your hometown directly.

From Dehradun airport, Rishikesh is just 20 km. In fact, Jolly Grant airport is closer to Rishikesh than Dehradun city. It will take you 30-45 minutes to reach Rishikesh by cab.

For the 20 km stretch, it will cost you between  Rs.800-1,000. Another option would be to walk outside the airport gate and take an electric rickshaw till Jolly Grant Bus Stand (this will cost you Rs.150 for 4 people).  From there you can take any bus or taxi traveling from Dehradun to Rishikesh (this will cost you about Rs.20 per person).  This is the cheapest way to reach Rishikesh from the airport.

 

At Rishikesh

Rishikesh being a popular tourist destination has plenty of hotels and hostels for you to stay. We prefer the hostel experience at Indiahikes. There are plenty of them available at the booking.com website for you to book.

In fact, the Rishikesh hotel/hostel standards are far better than Haridwar because of the number of tourists that come there. Book your hostel or hotel online. It saves you the hassle of walking in and finding out.

When you reach Rishikesh, get some rest. You will need a good night’s rest before the long journey the next day. It is a 272 km long journey to Dhak. It will take you 12 hours to reach.

 

Shared Cab or Bus journey to Joshimath

The next stretch of the journey from Rishikesh to Joshimath, is a long one. The journey is by road, 256 km. It will take you a good 9-10 hours until you reach Joshimath.

We strongly recommend that you leave Rishikesh early by 5 AM. When you are trekking with Indiahikes, we arrange our pick up from Rishikesh around this time.

You can either book a shared cab of your own or take a bus. You will find the shared cabs to Joshimath from Chandrabhaga Pull. You will have to pay about Rs.500-600 for the ride till Joshimath.

If you are one or two people, we strongly recommend that you take the bus. There are three buses that go to Joshimath. They all start from Rishikesh Bus Stand.

The timings of the buses are: 

– 4:00 AM to Badrinath
– 4:30 AM to Pandukeswar
– 6:00 AM to Joshimath

If you miss these buses, then you can break your journey till Rudraprayag or Karanprayag on one day, take rest and then continue the journey on the next day.

Views on this journey

The route you will be taking is this: 

Rishikesh – Srinagar – Rudraprayag- Karnaprayag- Joshimath

This route has some of the most stunning views. Our recommendation is that you try and grab a seat on the left side of the vehicle for the best views. Few things to watch out on the way:

1. First off — you will be going via the Badrinath highway along the Alaknanda river. So you will see the panch prayags — the five sacred river confluences: Devprayag, Rudra, Karna, Nanda, Vishnu. The confluences are beautiful — you must ask your driver to take a pit stop at these spots to see the mixing of the bright turquoise waters with a warm green. You will notice temples near some of the confluences. Look out for the changes in culture.

2. The last 3-4 hours of the journey is what you should look out for, i.e., post Karnaprayag it gets really interesting — the whole scene changes, civilization thins down, vegetation changes, mountains become taller and you might see the snow clad peaks if it is a clear day — it is a visual treat! So if you want to take a nap, do it before you reach Karnaprayag! Because from Karnaprayag, all the dust and grind goes away. You are in the pure mountainous scene.

 

Shared Cab to Dhak village

Once you reach Joshimath, find a place to stay for the evening. If you are traveling on your own, it is better to rest at Joshimath and then travel to Dhak the next day and start the trek right away. Joshimath has lots of places to stay and have food.

The next morning take a shared cab to Dhak village from Joshimath Main Bazaar taxi stand. The shared cab will cost you about Rs.30 for the trip. The shared cab will drop you at a hairpin bend where a lot of dhabas are present. Between two dhabas, a road takes you to Dhak village. The route to Dhak village takes about 1.5-2 km.

From there you start the trek.

 


What to Pack for the Pangarchulla Peak Trek?

Before you start shopping and packing for the high-altitude Pangarchulla Peak trek, watch this video to get a clear idea about what you need to take along.

 

Complete Video Playlist: How To Pack For Pangarchulla Peak Trek

  1. What to take on your trek
  2. How to pack your backpack
  3. How to choose your trekking shoes
  4. Trekking shoes vs sports shoes. How are they different?
  5. How to layer up on a Himalayan trek
  6. Why you need a trekking pole
  7. How to manage sanitary waste on a trek

 


Mandatory documents to carry on Pangarchulla Peak Trek

Carry an Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, a passport will do.

You will need to submit your identification to the forest department. Without these, you will not be allowed to trek.

| Tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack to prevent them from getting wet.

If you have registered with Indiahikes, you also need to carry the Disclaimer Certificate and the Medical Certificate.

For an exhaustive list of things to carry, click here.

 


Frequently Asked Questions About Pangarchulla Peak

1. How long is the Pangarchulla Peak Trek?

The total distance covered during the Pangarchulla Peak trek on the Dhak-Pangarchulla Peak-Auli trail is 37.5 km.

The trek spans over 5 days (7 days including the travel from Rishikesh and back). Except for the first two days which are short, you trek for more than 8 hours for the three days of the trek. On the summit day, you trek for about 12 hours long. As such this makes the trek a difficult one for trekkers.

 


2. What is the height of Pangarchulla Peak?

Pangarchulla Peak trek reaches a maximum altitude/height of 15,069 ft.

From Dhak, the trek climbs a height/altitude of more or less 8,000 ft during the length of this trek. You steadily climb up to 4,000 ft on the first three days of the trek. On the summit day, you climb about 4,000 ft up and down on the same day. The last day, you climb down another 4,000 ft again.  Please check the detailed itinerary to understand the trek in more detail.

 


3. Will there be any mobile phone network on the trek?

Network and connectivity is sparse on Pangarchulla Peak. But there are a few locations where you can rely on a good network for communication.

You will find good network connection along with internet connectivity at Joshimath, Dhak village and Guling. Vodafone, Jio, Airtel and BSNL are the networks prominent on this part of Uttarakhand.

Although there is no internet reception at Khullara campsite, you will get good network connectivity towards the edge facing the valley.

At Tali (beyond the lake facing the valley) and at Auli, you will get good network and internet connectivity.

 


4. Where will I find ATMs on the trek?

The last ATM en route to the base camp is in Joshimath. Joshimath being a big town in Uttarakhand, it has a good network of ATMs throughout the entire town.  A google search will reveal the nearest one to your location.

 


5. Will there be electricity at the campsites/on the trek?

Joshimath is the last point that is electrically connected. Given that Joshimath is a big town in Uttarakhand, the infrastructure is pretty good.

However, once you start the trek, you will not have electricity until you reach Auli.  Hence, we strongly encourage you to bring additional batteries for your cameras and a power bank with more than 10,000 mAh to last you the entire trek.

Protip Beware that the power from your batteries will drain faster in the cold temperatures of this region.  So, put the batteries in a small pouch and keep it inside your sleeping bag to keep them warm during the night.

 


6. Is there a cloak room facility on the Pangarchulla Peak trek?

On Pangarchulla Peak trek, you have the opportunity to drop your luggage at the base camp for the duration of the trek.

At the end of the trek, the cloak room belongings will be brought back to you.

Please ensure that you do not leave valuable belongings in our cloak room facility. If you do, inform our staff so that they can take the necessary precautions to keep them safe.

Itinerary in brief

Day 1: Reach Dhak, the base camp. Transport from Zostel, Rishikesh will be arranged by Indiahikes. It costs Rs. 6,000 per Bolero (5-6 seater), and Rs. 9,000 per Tempo Traveller (12-13 seater) for the transport one way. This amount is shared by trekkers. Pick up will be at 6.00 am. You will reach the base camp, Dhak by 5 pm.

Day 2: Trek from Dhak (6,900 ft) to Guling/Akhrotghetta (9,396) ft; 4 km,  5-6 hours

Day 3: Guling/Akhrotghetta (9,396 ft)  ft to Khullara (11,125 ft); 2.5km, 3-4 hours

Day 4: Acclimatisation day- Khullara (11,125 ft) to Kuari Pass (12,516 ft) and back; 6.6 km, 8 hours

Day 5: Khullara (11,125 ft) to Pangarchulla Summit (15,069 ft) and return to Khullara; 12 km, 12-16 hours

Day 6: Khullara (11,125 ft) to Auli (8,790 ft); 11.5 km, 8 hours trek 

Day 7: Drive from Auli to Zostel, Rishikesh. The transport costs Rs 6,000 per Bolero (5-6 seater) and Rs 9,000 per Tempo Traveller (12-13 seater). You will reach Rishikesh by 7.00 pm

Important note:
Please note that you will be staying at a guest house in Auli. The stay on all other days is in tents (3 per tent).

It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

Map

Click here to download the KML file of the trek

 

The Trek

Day 1: Reach Dhak

The Pangarchulla trek begins from Dhak. The drive from Rishikesh to Dhak is beautiful. The road chugs along tributaries of the Ganges. It hugs the mountain side and you get views of the vast valleys and forests of Garhwal. You will reach Dhak by 5.00 pm.

  • Altitude: 6,900 ft
  • Time taken: 8-10 hours
A bridge in the Dhak village

Day 2: Dhak to Guling/Akhrotghetta

  • Altitude: 6,900 ft (2,103 m) to 9,396 ft (2,864 m); 4 km
  • Time taken: 5-6 hours trek from Dhak to Guling
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuous ascent – steep for the first 20 minutes followed by 45 minutes gradual ascent. Steep again for 60-70 minutes followed by a mix of gradual and steep ascents for 1.5-2 hours
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. There is one water source around 2.5 hours into the trek, after you have crossed Upper Tugasi village.

Dhak has a few grocery stores and a dhaba.

The trek begins with an ascending, dirt trail that leads away from the main road, towards Tugasi village. This is the trail going inside the village. You will reach a T point where you need to take a sharp left. The trail goes through a series of level walks and gradual ascents along farms. The mountain ridge here is barren with few or no presence of snow-fall in winter season. Look out below for Dhauli-Ganga River forging its way past Vishnugad-Tapovan Hydro Power Station. The trail is well defined and meanders along the mountain ridge with a series of steep and gradual ascents. Observe a rain shelter at a distance ahead on the trail. This shelter is the first landmark of the trek before reaching Kharchi Village. This takes around 20 minutes to reach.

Kuari Pass-Indiahikes-Hemanth Aluru-trail-1
Clear mountain views on the trail from Dhak to Guling. Picture by Hemanth Aluru

At the rain shelter, the trail turns sharply to the right and you’ll have the valley to your left. You can see it curving around the mountains up ahead. The trail for the next 45 minutes ascends gradually, with a few switch backs in between. It leads you to Lower Tugasi. You will find multiple trails leading out of Lower Tugasi. Take the one that goes past the two water based flour mills and turns steeply to the left.

This trail climbs rapidly to Upper Tugasi through several switch backs. You will pass a lot of cultivated land here – wheat fields, poppy, cultivated flowers. You will also see streams that feed the flour mills below. Avoid drinking from these since the water is not clean. You will reach Upper Tugasi in 30-40 minutes.

From Upper Tugasi, the trail continues to climb steeply. The fields are behind you now, but the trail is still populated by villages at regular intervals. Dronagiri stands out prominently among the mountains all the time you’re on this trail. It’ll take you about 30 minutes to cross the last settlement. The water source that you find after the last hut is safe for refilling your water bottles.

It will take 1.5 – 2 hours to reach Guling from here. The trail is a mix of steep and moderate climbs. Around 15 minutes before Guling, the first oaks appear and you are soon inside a mixed forest. The trail takes you around the same valley that you saw when you started from the rain shelter. But this keeps getting narrower as you gain altitude. The Guling campsite is inside the forest.

Look back as you approach Guling. Hathi and Ghora parvat make their first appearance here.

Day 3: Guling/Akhrotghetta to Khullara

  • Altitude: 9,396 ft (2,864 m) to 11,125 ft (3,391 m); 2.5 km
  • Time taken: 3-4 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Moderate ascent all the way to Khullara
  • Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from streams along the trail.

The trail today ascends all the way to Khullara but it’s not as steep as the previous day. Within 40 minutes of starting from Guling, you reach the first clearing. You will be surrounded by oak forests on all sides. Continue on the trail leading into the forest. You will reach the second clearing after about an hour. All this time, you will cross small streams along the trail. The water in them is clean and you can drink it.

Khullara Campsite-KuariPass-Indiahikes-Geet
The Khullara campsite. Picture by Geet Tryambake.

Throughout the day, you see Dronagiri to the left, slightly at the back. You will also get glimpses of the Hathi Ghoda peaks. The peek-a-boo that the mountains play through the forests makes for very enchanting sights.

The Khullara campsite is located in a clearing.

Day 4: Acclimatisation Day – Khullara to Kuari Pass and back

  • Altitude: 11,125 ft (3,391 m) to 12,516 ft (3,815 m) and back to 11,125 ft (3,391 m); 6.6 km
  • Time taken: 8 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Gradually ascending trail.
  • Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water

The trail from Khullara begins to climb steeply out of the tree line. In 1-1.5 hours you reach a ridge, which is a part of Lord Curzon’s trail. From here 360 degree views of the Himalayas open up before you. On one side you see Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Dronagiri, Nilgiri and Hathi Ghoda peaks. Straight ahead of you are Trishul and parts of Nanda Devi. Continue on this trail to reach the upper grasslands of Kuari Pass.

From the ridge, trek up to Kuari top. This is a moderate climb with a few switch backs. It will take you 40 minutes to reach the top. A gradually descending trail from here will bring you to Kuari Pass in about 40 minutes.

KuariPass-Indiahikes-ManjunathN-9
View from Kuari Pass. Picture by Manjunath N

From Kuari Pass, retrace your way back to the campsite.

Day 5: Khullara to Pangarchulla and back

  • Altitude: 11,125 ft (3,391 m) to 15,069 ft (4,593 m) to 11,125 ft (3,391 m); 12 km
  • Time taken: 12-16 hours
  • Trek gradient: Difficult. Initial gradual ascent followed by steep ascent over snow/boulders
  • Water sources: One source, around 3-4 hours into the trek. Carry 2 litres of water and refill your bottles completely at the source.
Trekkers climbing up the ridge before the Pangarchulla summit. PC: Abhisek Bandyopadhyay

Start early at 4 am, as the summit needs to be reached before 11 am.

From Khullara Campsite, walk towards the forest ridge ahead of you as you connect with famous Lord Curzon Trail. The initial 30 to 45 minutes of the trek is through a forest ridge along a frozen rivulet. This section will be found buried in huge accumulation of snow. The ascent of about 100 meter is stiff. Carefully climb up the snow ridge section until you see a vast snow field in front of you. Observe the snow gully above you in the middle. That is the point where one has to reach. The incline gets steep as you walk on soft powdered snow. You finally leave the forest line behind you. Wear a sunglasses to avoid snow blindness.

After walking for 30 to 45 minutes you reach the top of the snow gully. From here you get the view of Pangarchulla Main and Pangarchulla subsidiary summits.

Stay towards the true right of the snow ridge as you walk alongside gaining altitude. The snow accumulation on the ridge from here forth can be huge during winter season (Mid January till April). After 45 minutes of watchful snow hike along the ridge, you reach the level snow grounds. This can be a possible Advance Base Camp for Pangarchulla Summit. However there is no source of water here in winters.

Potential Advance Base Camp at Gailgad. PC: Ramshankar Sahu

From this point observe Chaukhamba massifs in the far north, followed with Mana, Kamet, Abl Gamin, Hathi Parvat, all the way to Nanda Ghunti and Trishul. In the middle sight, the Drunagiri, Changabang and Kalanka peaks are prominent.

The onward approach to the Pangarchulla summit is laborious, but not difficult. It is advisable to have a qualified guide with you for opening the snow route. There are multiple steep sections on soft snow. Proper high ankle trek boots, gaiters and crampons will help in climbing. Crampons are highly advisable to minimise chances of slipping on snow. The section of the climb can take five-six hours in snow conditions. In post monsoon season one can reach the summit in 4 hours.

From this point, observe the summit approach all the way to the base of Pangarchulla main peak. There are six mountain ridges that needs to be traversed to reach below the base of the peak. During winter season the whole region is carpeted in snow making it difficult to traverse the area swiftly.

Take the snow trail that descends sixty meters down and then climbs up 120 meters till you reach a level hump. This section is laborious with a sharp descent and ascent. Once you reach the top of the first snow hump, it is time to climb the second one above it.

Traversing the second, third and fourth snow ridges may take an hour and half. Once you reach the top of the fourth ridge a clear perspective of summit climb from base of Pangarchulla Peak can be seen. Move forward towards the fifth ridge which has a gradual ascent as you reach nearer to the base of the peak. As you cross over the fifth ridge, the sixth one appears to be a stone throw away.

The ascent from here to the summit of the peak is around 300 to 350 meters. The climb to the summit is best approached from following the connecting ridge moving along the right side to begin with. Half way through the climb, look for an appropriate point from where summit route needs to be established.

Ice carving a route via an ice axe will be required from here forth. Take a left as you face the side ridge wall with a sixty degree incline section. Depending upon the accumulation of snow a fixed rope may be required. As you climb to the top of the razor sharp cornice, the final summit climb section awaits you. The team should be harnessed on a rope here as the wind here is very strong. Avoid walking on the edge of the cornice at any point as you do the final ridge walk. The summit is less than 100 meter away.

Indiahikes-Pangarchulla-Soorya Sriram-A view of the summit merely few hundred metres away-1
The trail that leads to the Pangarchulla peak.

Once at the summit, enjoy the breathtaking 360 degree views of Garhwal peaks. Nandaghunti, Trishul ranges are clearly visible from the summit for the first time.

The return is a three-four hour descent down to the camping grounds of Khullara. Take care while descending on snow.

*Note- During the month of late May till December, the snow melts at Pangarchulla Peak making it a rocky moraine climb. Reaching Pangarchulla in these months takes less time and requires no climbing gear.

Day 5: Khullara to Auli

  • Altitude: 11,125 ft (3,391 m) to 8,790 ft (2,679 m); 11.5 km
  • Time taken: 8 hours trek
  • Trek gradient: Difficult.
  • Water sources: You can refill your water bottles at Padiyar and once you enter Auli.
Tali Lake. PC: Anurag Satapathy

Begin the trek today with a moderate climb to Tali lake. This should take you around 40 minutes. At Tali lake, you’re above the tree line so you start getting mountain views again.

A 20 minutes steep climb from Tali lake brings you to an overhanging trail which cuts through a cliff. Continue on this trail. You can spot Lower and Upper Tugasi villages way below in the valley and also see rhododendron forests form above. After about 40 minutes of moderate ascent, the overhanging trail ends abruptly at Gorson Bugyal.

At Gorson Bugyal, the trail turns sharply to the left. Wide mountain views open up to the right and behind you. You will trek across the entire length of Gorson Bugyal, which gives you enough time to savour the views. This is a lovely, descending walk. In 2-2.5 hours you will reach Padiyar. From here, the trail enters an oak forest. Within 15 minutes you reach Padiyar temple. You can take a break here if you wish.

From Padiyar temple, the trail continues to descend. Upper Auli, which is the end of the ski lift (number 10), appears in 10-15 minutes. Auli is 1,000 ft below this. You will reach after gradually descending through the meadows for 1-1.5 hours. The trail in this section is quite populated.

The meadows of Auli. PC: Vinit Adur

Auli which is famous for its ski slopes. Auli also gives outstanding views of India’s highest summit Mt. Nanda Devi. From Auli, get to GMVN.

Day 7: Drive from Auli to Rishikesh

Please note, the Pangarchulla trek has issues related to availability of water in the natural water sources. Campsites may vary at times depending on availability of water.

Banner image by Satyen Dasgupta

Plan Your Travel for Pangarchulla Trek

It is great to see you going on the Pangarchulla Trek. While it is a great trek to do, you need to get your travel plan worked out perfectly. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next. Use this guide and nothing else to plan your travel.  

Here’s a quick view on how to plan your travel. 

Day 0: Book your air/train ticket to Delhi or Dehradun. If Dehradun, proceed to Rishikesh. If Delhi, book night bus to Rishikesh. Click here for more explanation. 

Day 1: Rishikesh to Dhak drive. It is a 9-10 hour drive from Rishikesh. Dhak is the basecamp for your trek. 

We organise transport to Dhak from Zostel, Rishikesh. Our vehicles leave at 6:00 am sharp. It costs Rs 6,000 per vehicle (shared between 5-6 trekkers).

Day 2: Trek Dhak (6,900 ft) to Guling/Akhrotghetta (9,832 ft);  5-6 hours, 4 km

Day 3: Trek Guling/Akhrotghetta (9,832 ft) to Khullara (11,100 ft) 2.5 km, 3-4 hours

Day 4: Acclimatisation day –  Khullara (11,100 ft)  to Chitrakantha/Tali (11,031) via Kuari Pass (12,516 ft); 7 km, 8 hours

Day 5: Khullara (11,125 ft) to Pangarchulla Summit (15,069 ft) and return to Khullara; 12 km, 12-16 hours

Day 6: Khullara (11,125 ft) to Auli (8,790 ft); 11.5 km, 8 hours trek  

Day 7: Drive from Auli to Zostel, Rishikesh. Start at 9.00 am for the drive.

Day 8: Book return bus ticket to Delhi from Haridwar / Rishikesh. Or book direct air ticket from Dehradun. Do not book plane tickets to your hometown from Delhi on Day 7. Click here for more explanation.  

| Important points to note:

  1. While getting to Dhak, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at Rishikesh (Day Minus One). Staying at Rishikesh gives you a well deserved rest for the night. Plus some bonus sightseeing.
  2. On your return from the trek you get off at Rishikesh. You reach Rishikesh between 7.00 and 8.00 pm. 

The transport costs Rs 6,000 per Bolero (5-6 seater) and Rs 9,000 per Tempo Traveller (12-13 seater).

  1. You can take a late night bus from Rishikesh/ Haridwar to Delhi on Day 7      as well. You will reach Delhi early in the morning around 5:00 to 6:00 am. 

Your travel route to the Dhak  basecamp passes through Rishikesh, Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag..

2. Planning your onward flight/train booking

If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your 

air tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If your trek start day is 25 August, book your air tickets for 24 August to either Delhi/Dehradun. 

There are two options for your flight booking.

Option 1: Fly directly to Dehradun. 

We recommend this. It gives you an added rest day at Rishikesh. Most metros are directly connected to Dehradun. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Dehradun is too high, book to Delhi and connect to Rishikesh by bus.

Tip: Dehradun Airport in Jolly Grant is closer to Rishikesh than Dehradun. It is 20 km from Rishikesh and 35 km from Dehradun.  

The Dehradun airport is somewhat inconvenient when it comes to city connectivity (either to Rishikesh or Dehradun). Airport buses that ply between Rishikesh to Dehradun via airport run every hour. In our experience, the hour can stretch to even 1½ hours. 

Taxis are available from the airport (plenty). Prepaid taxis are available (look for the pre-paid taxi counter just out of the conveyor belt at the arrivals). You can also flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Airport taxis are exorbitant. They usually charge between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 to Rishikesh. 

Usually most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Rishikesh or Dehradun. 

Pro Tip: If you want to save real money try to catch an auto just outside the airport terminal complex. They usually come there to drop passengers off. Autos are not allowed to enter the airport complex. They charge approximately Rs 300 to Rishikesh. 

If autos are not available, walk for further 1.5 km to get to the Rishikesh Dehradun highway. From the highway you can flag down regular town buses or shared autos (shared autos are called Vikrams). Bus fare is about Rs 30 to Rishikesh. Shared autos charge about Rs 20.

Option 2: Flying to Delhi.

Flying to Delhi may be a lot cheaper than getting to Dehradun. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Delhi by 8.00 pm. You must arrive in Delhi on Day Zero and not on Day 1.

Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Delhi and Dehradun less than Rs 1000 then book directly to Dehradun. The rest and shorter travel time is worth the difference.  

Next, book yourself in a UPSRTC bus to Rishikesh. They are fully AC volvo buses that leave between 21.00 to 23.00 hrs from ISBT Kashmiri Gate and get to Rishikesh between 3:00 to 5:00 am in the morning. 

At Rishikesh, wait for Indiahikes pickup at 6.00 am. Contact your driver by 5:30 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure.

3. Planning your return flight/train booking

Next, if your onward flight departs from Delhi, then book flight tickets for Day 8 or Day 9. Depending on the day you leave Rishikesh. 

Sometimes trekkers worry if they can book an early morning flight out of Delhi on Day 8 Yes, you can. But book flights that depart only after 8 am. Do not book any flight between 6.00 and 8 am. You may not reach Delhi in time. 

How to get to Delhi on time for an early morning flight

If your flight is early, say between 8.00 and 9.00 am, then there are two options. 

Train: Take the Nanda Devi Express from Haridwar (12402) that leaves Haridwar slightly past midnight (00.17 hrs) to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 4.50 in the morning. From Hazrat Nizamuddin you get airport buses from outside the station as well as taxis. For Metro train walk down to the Hazrat Nizamuddin metro station, take a metro to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus, get off and connect to Dhaula Kuan Airport line metro station (there are convenient travelater belts over a skywalk). From Dhaula Kuan you get metro train to the airport. 

Note: Earlier Nanda Devi express would arrive at New Delhi railway station. From 26 August 2019, it has been extended up to Kota. It no longer goes to New Delhi railway station. Instead it goes to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train number has changed from 12206 to 12402.    

Bus: The other option is to take a bus from Rishikesh. It is about 5½ – 6 hrs journey to Delhi. From Rishikesh add another hour to the journey. So if you take a bus that leaves around 9.00 pm, then expect to reach Delhi at around 3.00 am (ISBT Kashmiri Gate). A bus that leaves at 10 pm will reach Delhi around 4.00 am. AC Volvo buses are the fastest, so opt for them. Non AC buses can take up to 7-8 hrs for the journey. 

From Kashmiri Gate ISBT you get Airport buses or taxis.

Note: Metro trains in Delhi do not start before 5.00 am.  

If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun

If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun then book yourself on Day 7. Most metros are now well connected by Dehradun by flight.

4. Planning your hotel/stay

Hotel options at Rishikesh

Zostel is a modern backpackers hostel, excellent for women travelling alone. It has basic amenities such as bunk beds, towels, good bathroom. Entire premises is quite hygienic. Bathrooms are shared. Average cost Rs 400 – 800 per bed. Rooms start at about Rs 1,200
https://www.zostel.com/ (for online booking).
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/ugqLXUBcbgxnFt638

SK International which is next to Zostel is another good option. It has clean rooms with good amenities. Charges are about Rs 1,000 – Rs 1,200 per night.
Phone: 013-524-42943.
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/3nWu58ynjFyNn6on8

Shiv Shakti Hostel is another good, decent option at similar price range to Zostel. This is a hostel like Zostel. They also have rooms.
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/qLs5wAThyyP8cmfR8

Hotel options at Haridwar

Bedhubs is a good bunk bed stay in Haridwar — which is rare amongst the Dharamshalas and Ashrams of Haridwar. It is quite close to the heart of the action at Haridwar, approximately 500 m from Har Ki Pauri, Ram Ghat. Charges are around Rs 800 -1,000.
Phone: 01334 224 567.
Location:
https://g.page/bedhubs?share

Hotel Radiant near the Haridwar railway station has decent spacious rooms. Room rates are around Rs 750 for a non AC room and Rs 1,050 for an AC room.
Contact person – Nitin Sharma – 9557155557.
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/1AdiMiTtnAeGfF4Y8

Hotel Rahi, a government owned GMVN property is fairly decent. Spacious but old building. Almost opposite the Haridwar railway station, just past the bus stop. Prices start at around Rs 700 for a room.
Phone: +91-135-2431793
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/bH25Zp8Di9SE3p757

Hotel options at Dehradun

Hotel Drona, which is a government property owned by the GMVN is decent. It is an old, but a large and spacious property. It is about 1.5 kms from Dehradun railway station. Rooms start at Rs 750. Phone: +91-135-2746847.
Book online
http://gmvnl.in/newgmvn/online_reservation/
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/sjWSkGhe5LfAN8wDA

MyRoom252 is a new backpackers facility in Dehradun. Modern, colourful and clean. Bunk beds start at Rs 300. Rooms are available too. It is not too far from the Dehradun Railway station. Shared autos (which are called Vikrams) can get you there.
For online booking:
http://www.myroom252.com/.
Phone: 086308 81083.
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/p5xkbMyUF4X5VHwx9

Nomads House is another new backpackers hostel in Dehradun. The atmosphere is good. The place neat and clean. Indiahikes trek leaders love Nomads House. It is about 10 mins from the Dehradun railway station. Bunk beds start at Rs 400, rooms start at Rs 800. Shared autos are easily available to get to Nomads House. Phone: 9760596464
Location:
https://g.page/NomadsHouse?share

What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? Getting to Dhak on your own.

If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from Rishikesh. Here is how you can get to Dhak base camp on your own.

If you are at Haridwar, take a bus to Rishikesh as quickly as you can. A bus generally leaves every 15 mins from Haridwar to Rishikesh.

From Rishikesh take the first available bus to Joshimath. Buses leave at 5:00 am to 6:30 am. Last bus would leave by 7:00 am. From Rishikesh you will find State roadways buses to Joshimath. 

Joshimath is about 9 hours by bus from Rishikesh. On the way the bus passes Devprayag and Srinagar (the Uttarakhand Srinagar, not the Kashmir one).

At Joshimath, from the main market shared taxis leave for Dhak every half an hour. The last taxi is at 5.00 pm. After 5 pm vehicles are scarce, you’ll have to book a private taxi.

It takes about half an hour to get to Dhak. It is 13-14 kms from Joshimath. So it is almost there. 

Tip: While this bus hopping may sound cumbersome, we do it regularly at Indiahikes. They are a fun and a good way to know the real Uttarakhand. You also get to meet very interesting local people. So while no one wants to miss a pick up, don’t be too disheartened if it happens. You may just experience one of your best travel moments!    

The Pangarchulla trek is classified as a difficult trek. You start the trek at 6,900 ft and reach the highest point of 15,049 ft at the Pangarchulla summit. This means that you gain over 8,000 ft over just three days of trekking. Consequently, there will be a lot of steep climbing to do on this trek.

The summit climb to Pangarchulla is challenging in the presence and in the absence of snow. When there is snow, you’ll have to carve your way to the top using an ice axe, and when there is no snow, you’ll have to walk for hours on boulder sections. Either way, the trek is demanding and requires high levels of fitness.

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 30 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 70 minutes before the start of the trek
  • Gradually bring up your speed to do 5 km in 30 minutes
  • Start increasing the distance you jog to 10 km in 70 minutes

Before the start of the trek, you should be able to cover 10 km in 65 minutes. 

Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with 15 in each
This is another area you should work on. When you’re climbing from Khullara to Pangarchulla and back, you cover around 13 km. You gain 4,000 ft and lose 4,000 ft. This is more than climbing up the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, and coming back down! And that’s not easy when the air is thin and the temperature is at around 2-6 degrees. You will need to build strength in your muscles and in your core body. You can do some squats to strengthen your leg muscles. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks. Apart from this, you can add planks and crunches to your work out.

Flexibility
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. 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 Pangarchulla trek

Things to get for the Pangarchulla Trek

Pangarchulla is a high altitude trek with snow. You’ll need enough warm layers and accessories to keep you warm and help you trek comfortably. So pay careful attention to this entire section. 

First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.

1. Trekking Shoes

Pangarchulla requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.

| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.

| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean. Rent here.

2. Backpack

For a trek like Pangarchulla, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.

| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from. 

| Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack. Rent here.

3. Clothes

Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take take off or put on layers as required. 

Base layer: 3 T-shirts

Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.

Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.

| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is a blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)

| Buying tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.

| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them. 

5 Insulation layers

For the Pangarchulla trek, you will need at least 4 warm layers.

You will need 1 pair of inner thermals, 2 light fleece layers, 1  light sweater and 1  padded jacket. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.

For your outer later, a padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.

| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.

| Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.  

| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter. Rent here.

Two trek pants

Two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry one just in case it rains. Trek pants with zippered cut offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon in case of small stream crossings / rain.

| Buying tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.

| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trek pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup. 

Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.

These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Pangarchulla without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first. 

1. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a trek like Pangarchulla, expect to walk on long stretches of snow. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection

| Wearing tip: Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.

| Buying Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.  

| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.

| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens. Read this article for more guidance on managing contact lenses on treks.

 2. Suncap

A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance. 

| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woolen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.

| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way. 

3. Synthetic hand gloves

On a trek like Pangarchulla, you want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.   

4. Woollen cap or Balaclava

Ensure these cover your ears. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. Which is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.

Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is absolutely essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woolen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. Do not get a woollen cap that only covers your head. 

5. Socks (3 pairs)

Apart from two pairs of sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry.

As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well. 

6. Headlamp

Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Pangarchulla trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles. 

| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.

7. Trekking pole (a pair)

Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Pangarchulla trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.

| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.

8. Rainwear

On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing. 

| Pro tip: Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.  

| Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.

9. Rain cover for your backpack

Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built in rain-covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.  

| Pro tip: It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.

10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional)

Some trekkers opt to offload their bags to a mule on the Pangarchulla trek. While we do not encourage this practice, in case you opt for offloading, then carrying a daypack is mandatory. In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites. 

A daypack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not daypacks. Do not get them. 

Other mandatory requirements

1. A toilet kit

Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics — toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.

| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.

| Pro tip: Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Pangarchulla. 

| For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose your sanitary waste.

2. Cutlery

Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.  

| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest. 

| Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack: Pangarchulla has many hours of trekking everyday (approximately 6 hours). You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.   

| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store. Rent here.

3. Plastic covers

Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.

Personal Medical Kit

Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader

  1. Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend down to Yamunotri. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Pangarchulla trek.    
  2. Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
  3. Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
  4. Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol. 
  5. Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS. 
  6. ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking.  Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
  7. Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.

Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.

| Pro tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.   

Mandatory Documents to carry

These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.

  1. Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.  
  2. Disclaimer certificate. This is a legal requirement. Download the PDF, read carefully and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during registration at the base camp – Download PDF
  3. Medical certificate. There are two sections in this. The first part must be filled by a practising doctor. The second part must be filled by you. Without the medical certificate the forest department will not issue permissions for your trek. It is also a requirement by Indiahikes – Download PDF

| Pro tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet. 

Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek – 

Here’s a quick info-graphic to give you an overview of everything you need in your backpack.

 

What are the risks on the Pangarchulla Trek?

The Pangarchulla trek is a difficult, high altitude trek. With every high altitude trek comes the risk of altitude sickness. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us 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.

But we strongly advocate the statement, “Prevention is better than cure.” Right from the time you decide to register for a 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

A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually. 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 Pangarchulla trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Pangarchulla trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof.

2. Breaking the ascent at Khullara

The general rule to follow for acclimatisation is not to have your camps have more than 1,000 ft of altitude gain each day. This becomes a difficult rule to follow in Indian Himalayas when the mountains climb so quickly.

In Pangarchulla, the trek starts with from close to 7,000 ft and gradually climbs up to Khullara at 11,000 ft.  We have an acclimatisation day in the itinerary where we go up to Kuari Pass and come back down to Khullara to get used to the altitude.

3.Monitoring health on a trek

Any abnormal reading will be paid attention to and action will be taken immediately.

On the Pangarchulla 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. It contains details of what symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.

4. 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.

5. High Altitude Trek Equipment

The summit climb to Pangarchulla will involve walking on a considerable amount of snow in April. People often slip and fall on snowy or icy terrain. Individuals who travel to altitude may have noticed that even the smallest cut or wound takes longer to heal the higher the altitude. Reasons for this are increasing stress hormones and lower overall oxygen delivery to the tissues. Wounds tend to get infected more easily as well. Keeping your wounds clean and covered will prevent infection.

ams-symptoms-indiahikes

Often applying a triple antibiotic ointment regularly will keep the wound from overly drying and aid in healing. Wound healing becomes an issue only at very high altitudes, over 14,000 ft or so.

To avoid falling/slipping 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.

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.

6. 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 need to know if you’re going on the Pangarchulla 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.

First thing you should know is that Pangarchulla is a High Altitude trek. It climbs up to an altitude of 15,069 ft. So it comes with its fair share of risks – altitude sickness, cold, and and daunting ascents.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)


AMS is one of the biggest dangers on a high altitude trek . 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. Since Pangarchulla is largely an open meadow trek, it can get very cold and windy. If your body is not able to tackle the cold, it could accelerate any symptom of AMS you were already having. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.

Where on the Pangarchulla Peak trek is AMS likely to affect you

Over a year of conducting the Pangarchulla Peak trek, we have noticed there are two camps on this trek where AMS is most likely to affect you. One is the Khullara camp on Day 3. It is important you recognise your symptoms early.

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.

The next is Summit day. This is a risk after the summit climb as well. This can happen after you return from the summit if your body has not acclimatised to the altitude there. Most trekkers take this camp lightly, believing the highest altitude they could have reached is behind them. So don’t let your guard down, keep an eye out for any symptoms.

What to do if you feel 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 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. If you’re not at your 100% at the end of Day, then again, report to your Trek Leader. He will make you descend to Tapovan or Auli – depending on which side of the pass you are on. Descent is the most effective cure for AMS.

Do NOT attribute your symptoms to anything other than AMS. If you have a bad stomach, suspect AMS. At high altitude, AMS is the first thing that should be suspected and treated.

If Diamox alone doesn’t work, he might administer Dex or Nifedipine, or perhaps oxygen, depending on the circumstances.

While AMS can be treated with 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.

Exit points on the Pangarchulla trek

Pangarchulla has easy exit points. Every exit point on this trek is a rapid descent so you lose all the altitude you gained. From Chitrakantha, you can descend all the way down to Auli. From Deli Sera, you can descend to Tapovan. Joshimath, the nearest town,  is a 40 minute drive from Tapovan.

Closest hospital

Joshimath has the closest hospital. Joshimath is a 40 minute drive from Tapovan and an hour’s drive from Auli.

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 you should always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.

If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.

The video below will help you understand what medicines to administer when and how much. 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.

The Indiahikes Cancellation Policy 

We understand the pain of cancelling a trek. As trekkers, we always look forward to treks, and after months of training and planning, if we have to cancel our trek, there’s no greater disappointment than that. 

Given that, we have one of the most trekker-friendly cancellation policies. 

Take a look at the Indiahikes cancellation policy below. This policy is effective starting January 29th, 2020.

In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:

– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.

– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.

– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher 

 

In the rare event that we cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:

We almost never cancel our treks. But in case we cancel a trek because of natural calamities (snowstorms, thunderstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes) or unexpected political unrest, curfews, local riots, government orders, unexpected global health issues, Indiahikes will issue a voucher for the full amount of your trek fee (minus the trek insurance). You can redeem the Trek Voucher on any of our treks over the next one year.

Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable once it has been paid for. 

If you cancel any rental gear from our store:

  • Cancellation of rental gear 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a monetary refund with 4% cancellation charges.
  • Cancellation of rental gear less than 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a voucher of the whole amount you have paid for the rental gear. This voucher is applicable on your future treks.

If you cancel the offloading of your backpack:  

The offloading fee will be refunded to your account with a 4% transaction charge. 

If you choose to cancel your backpack offloading AFTER reaching the base camp, you will get a voucher of the offloading fee. 

Special Cases That Could Occur:

There are some special cases that could occur when you’re on a trek.

1. You may not be able to complete the trek because of bad weather, high snow conditions, or any natural calamity.

2. You may have to leave your trek abruptly (could be due to altitude sickness, abnormal BP, unpreparedness for the trek, any emergencies at home)

In the above two cases, you’re welcome to come back and repeat the same trek any time in future. You do not have to pay us for this. If you’d like to repeat your trek, get in touch with your Trek Coordinator and they’ll help you. 

Important note: Your offloading and rental fee will not be refunded in the above two cases.

3. You may not be able to report at the base camp at all (could be due to blocked roads / cancelled flights/curfews), we will try to accommodate you in the next day’s team (if we have one). 

In the third case, if we cannot accommodate you in the next day’s trek, we will give you a Trek Voucher of the entire trek fee (including your offloading and rental fee), which you can use on any Indiahikes trek within the next one year.

How to cancel your trek: 

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, follow these steps. 

  1. Login to your Indiahikes Trek Dashboard using this link
  2. Find your upcoming trek on your home page. 
  3. Click on “Cancel Trek” 
  4. Mention why you’re cancelling your trek on the form that appears.
  5. Choose either a voucher or a refund (where applicable). 
  6. Click on “Cancel Booking” 

How long does the refund process take?

After you have cancelled your trek, if you have opted for a refund, the refund amount will land in the same account that you have made the payment from. It will take 4-5 working days.

If you have chosen a trek voucher, it will land in your inbox within an hour. You will also be able to see it on your Trek Dashboard.

What is a Trek Voucher?

Trek Vouchers are credit amounts added to your Indiahikes account. You can redeem these on any of your future treks with Indiahikes. Every Trek Voucher has a validity of one year.

Important note: Indiahikes Trek Vouchers are non-refundable, not transferable to others or extendable. 

How to use an Indiahikes Trek Voucher?

If you have received an Indiahikes Trek Voucher, you will automatically see it when you are making a payment for your next trek. 

Once you click on the voucher and apply it, the system will deduct the voucher amount from your payable amount. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. 

The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” Policy (trekkers love this!)

At Indiahikes, we can’t help but fall in love with a few trekking trails. And we love revisiting them, perhaps in other seasons, when treks take on a totally different hue. In such cases, we do not like the thought of having to pay for it. Our trekkers shouldn’t have to pay either.

So if you have loved a trek that you did with us and want to repeat it, you’re welcome to sign up for the trek. We will not charge you for this. (Many people think this is a rumour, but it’s true.) 

To repeat your trek for free, just get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. We’ll help you sign up with no charges. 

Note: The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” policy does not apply for our international treks.

Your trek fee includes:

  1. Accommodation –  Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 6 (Dhak to Auli). You will be staying in Guest house at Auli and camping on remaining days of the trek (3 per tent).
  2. Meals – All meals from dinner at Dhak on Day 1 to breakfast at Auli on Day 7 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
  3. Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
  4. Trekking equipment – High-quality tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, roped, microspikes, gaiters etc. as required.
  5. Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc.

Your trek fee does not include:

  1. Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Rishikesh and drop you back. This will cost approx. Rs. 6,000 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
  2. Food during transit to and from the base camp
  3. Backpack offloading charges – Rs. 1,250+ 5% GST for the entire trek. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strollers/duffel bags will not be allowed.
  4. Anything apart from inclusions
Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher

Fitness Policy

Fitness Policy

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 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.

Backpack Offloading

Backpack Offloading

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 250 plus GST of 5% per day. 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 Policy

Discount Policy

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

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.

Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?

Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?

Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack (have a mule carry it for you). This will cost Rs 250 + 5% GST per day if you inform us in advance. 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?

Is there a mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?

Where is the pickup point for the trek?

Where is the pickup point for the trek?

Zostel, Rishikesh is the pickup point for the trek. The pickup time is 6.00 am

Will I get snow on this trek?

Will I get snow on this trek?

You find snow around throughout the month of April at the higher camp sites. Post this, you won’t have snow on this trek.

What are washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?

What are washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?

The guest houses at Auli 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.

Hi-Five with Yamaraj! – Pangarchulla Trek

"However, nature springs surprises at all times... I opened the zip of the tent to see the whole place white, covered with think snow and almost zero visibility", read on to see what unfolded on Sampath's Pangarchulla trek.

Read full blog

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