Pangarchulla 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

A Challenging Summit Climb High On Adventure

Pangarchulla is one of our most coveted summit climbs. If timed right, the summit climb to Pangarchulla is out of the world! You make your way to 15,069 ft up a summit ridge which gives a very high feeling of adventure.

Indiahikes-Pangarchulla-Soorya Sriram-A view of the summit merely few hundred metres away-1
Trekkers walk on the precarious ridge that leads to the Pangarchulla summit. Picture by Soorya Sriram

Having said that, this is a difficult trek. The climb to the summit takes the wind out of you. Which is why it needs proper training for at least a month and a half before you attempt it. But if you’re fit and well-prepared, I don’t think anything would match up to the high you get when you climb the Pangarchulla summit.

Pangarchulla Peak-Indiahikes-Satyen Dasgupta-Summit climb 2-1
The challenging trail towards Pangarchulla Peak. Picture by Satyen Dasgupta

It is one of those rare trekkable summits in India. But it’s open only in April. After April, the snow melts away, leaving large boulders on the trail exposed. The trek becomes very difficult to navigate.

A big bonus that most trekkers tend to miss are the views on the trek. The Pangarchulla trek passes through the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. So the trail is blessed with views of Mt.Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba, Dunagiri, Hathi Parbat, Ghori Parbat and more. These are a true treat for the eyes!

The view from the Pangarchulla summit. Picture by Satyen Dasgupta

We would highly recommend checking this photo story on the summit climb to Pangarchulla. You must also read this account written by a solo trekker of his climb to the Pangarchulla summit.

Click to see a photo story on the summit climb to Pangarchulla. Picture by Satyen Dasgupta

Trekkers often ask us these questions about the Pangarchulla trek:

These questions have been answered by Saurabh Sawant, Head of the Documentation at Indiahikes. 

Is Pangarchulla accessible in winter?

The Pangarchulla peak is not accessible in winters, due to very high snow and the near impossible challenge of opening a safe route to the top. Pangarchulla is a high altitude peak in the Nanda Devi National park, standing at 15,069 feet above MSL. The last stretch of the trek has huge boulders.

Between December and early March, the trail is covered with powder snow. Trekking during this period is dangerous due to increased chances of injury. We wouldn’t suggest the Pangarchulla trek in these months. 

However, during the month of April, the snow on trail is compact enough to be safer and easier to navigate. 

After April, the snow starts melting with the advent of summer and the boulders get exposed. Attempting the Pangarchulla in summers is very tiring and reduces the chance of a successful summit. 

❖ When is the best time to do the Pangarchulla Trek?

The best time to do the Pangarchulla trek is April, when the spring season is setting in and the higher sections of the trail still have snow.
The last stretch of the trek before the peak is riddled with huge boulders. The snow from winter has turned into hard ice or compact snow by April. This greatly reduces the risk of injury and the time needed to complete it.

Also, the Oak forest from Guling to Khulara and the one near Chitrakantha campsite is a sight to behold in the spring season. The snow-clad mountains of Nanda Devi National park that keep appearing through the trees make for stunning visuals as well.

 The day time temperatures will be around 15-degree celsius. Post sundown, expect temperatures to drop to -5° celsius.

Post-April, the snow near the peak begins to melt, exposing the boulders. Trying to summit Pangarchulla without snow would mean climbing up and down thousands of these boulders from the Khullara campsite to the peak. This greatly reduces the chances of a successful summit.

How difficult is the Pangarchulla trek?

We classify the Pangarchulla peak trek as a difficult one. Climbing to an altitude of over 15,000 feet, strong winds near the peak and the terrain demand experience of at least one Moderate-Difficult high altitude trek. 

You’ll ascend and descend more than 3,500 ft during the 12 to 16 hour long summit day. The trail crosses multiple ridges, snowfields and a steep rocky face near the peak which may or may not require rope, depending on the weather conditions. 

Having said that, we have included an acclimatization day in the itinerary to help trekkers deal with the summit push better. You can take a look at the trek itinerary in brief over here.  

Should I do the Kuari Pass trek or the Pangarchulla trek?

If you are an experienced trekker looking for a high-adventure summit climb, then you should go for the Pangarchulla trek. 

The forest trails, beautiful campsites and the challenging climb to the peak are things that appeal even to the most seasoned trekkers. The Indiahikes itinerary for Pangarchulla trek has a day reserved for acclimatization when the trekkers go all to Kuari pass and come back down to the Khullara campsite. So you get to climb up to Kuari Pass as well. Having said that, Pangarchulla is classified as a difficult trek. The terrain and summit day, where you might have to trek up to 16 hours, demand exceptional fitness and prior experience. 

On the other hand, Kuari Pass is one of the best treks possible for beginners. It traces the same route as Pangarchulla except the summit day. It also has shorter days with an additional campsite at Chitrakantha or Tali. You can read more about it here.

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

How to get to the basecamp – Dhak

Delhi → Rishikesh → Dhak

The base camp for the Pangarchulla trek is Dhak, 256 km from Rishikesh.

Click on image to setup Google Navigation from pickup point to basecamp

Indiahikes arranges transport from Rishikesh (Zostel) at 6 am on Day 1 of the trek. The cost of this transport is Rs.6,000 per cab and Rs.9,000 for a Tempto Traveller. This amount will have to be shared by trekkers. You can pay the driver directly. You will reach Dhak by 5.00 pm.

How to reach Rishikesh

Rishikesh is well-connected to most cities in India. The closest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport (It is the Dehradun airport, but is closer to Rishikesh than to Dehradun). It is just 20 km from Rishikesh. The closest railway station is the Haridwar station, an hour’s drive from Rishikesh. And there are plenty of buses that ply directly to Rishkesh.

Travelling from the Jolly Grant Airport to Rishikesh

If you decide to fly to Jolly Grant airport, make sure you reach at least one day before your pick up. You will need to stay there overnight and make it to the pick up point at 6 am on Day 1 of your trek.

If you’re travelling from the airport, there are buses that ply from there to Rishikesh every hour.

Pre-paid taxis are also available from the airport but we wouldn’t recommend these as they charge exorbitant amounts — Rs 800 to Rs 1000.

Instead, flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Usually most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Rishikesh.

If you’d like to travel by train, take a train from Delhi to Haridwar and then a bus to Rishikesh

Haridwar is just an hour away from Rishikesh. And there are several trains that ply from Delhi to Haridwar. The day trains are best suited to your needs.

In Haridwar, the ISBT bus stop is across the road from the railway station. There are buses which ply at frequent 10-15 minute intervals to Rishikesh. It takes about 1 hour to get there.

Taxis are also available but buses are convenient enough.

Trains that would suit you best: 

Dehradun Shtbdi (Train No: 12017). It is an AC train that leaves at 6:45 am from New Delhi Railway station (NDLS) and reaches Haridwar at 11:30 am.

Dehradun Jan Shatabdi (Train No: 12055). It leaves Nizamuddin station at 15:20, arrives at 19:33 at Haridwar.

Note: Do not take a train to Dehradun, its longer to reach Rishikesh from Dehradun railway station. Take the train only up to Hardiwar.

Bus from Delhi to Rishikesh

In case you do not get a train ticket, there are regular overnight Volvo AC buses from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Rishikesh. You also get Non-AC buses.

Buses are frequent and not usually crowded. You can get a bus almost every half hour. Buses take 8-9 hours to get to Rishikesh from Delhi. AC bus tickets cost about Rs 900. Take a bus that reaches at 5:30am.

Note: Whichever mode of transport you choose make sure you reach Rishikesh a day earlier, Day 0.

Getting back to Delhi

Auli → Rishikesh → Delhi

The trek ends at Auli. The drive back to Rishikesh from Auli takes around 7 hours. Indiahikes arranges transport from Auli to Rishikesh. The cost of this transport is not included in the trek fee. The cab fare will be Rs. 6,000 (Bolero) or Rs 9,000 (Tempo Traveler). This will have to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver. You will reach Rishikesh at 7.00 pm. You can take a train back to Delhi – Mussoorie Express (23.15) or Nanda Devi Express (00.55) the same night. 

If you are travelling further from Rishikesh, you can book your transport post 9  pm, keeping two hours as buffer time in case of road blocks in the mountain roads.

If you’re travelling out of Delhi the next day, make sure you keep enough buffer time for booking your onward journey, to factor in train delays. 

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.

Useful videos to help you with your gear:

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

Available dates

We will open up dates shortly. Click here to see other similar treks that might have dates.