Rupin Pass Trek

Picture this. A turn around a corner and you’ll see a towering waterfall, look down to see a snow bridge, scan the horizon and you’ll see hundreds of water falls, a river flowing down the valley. Hanging villages, meadows, ancient fir forests… The Rupin Pass trek has got it all!

  • Rated No.1 among the Top 10 Treks in India.
  • Filled with shocking changes in scenery from the first day to the last!
  • A challenging pass-crossing for those seeking an adrenaline rush.

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Anirban Banerjee

The snow fields of Rathi Pheri, just below Rupin Pass

Why This Trek ?


Himachal Pradesh/ Moderate-Difficult/ 15,380 ft


9 days/ Day time temperature: 13-18°C Night time temperature: 0-7°C

Must read about Rupin Pass Trek

Trek Fee Per Person
Rs. 14,950

(Includes all costs of the trek from Dhaula to Sangla) Service tax at 9% is payable on the trek fee

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If there is a classic trek in India, it has to be the Rupin Pass. This trek is like an orchestra, building up momentum with surprises in scenery every hour or so. With every step, the trek throws up a new vista to see, a new scenery to unfold. All along, to complement the scenery, the blue waters of the Rupin run along, sometimes rushing, at times gliding by. It culminates in the famous three stage water fall of the Rupin. In the higher reaches the trek passes through superb snow fields. The pass crossing through an echoing snow filled gully is an adrenaline high. The Rupin Pass trek has got it all: hanging villages, terrific forests, glacial meadows, hundreds of water falls and an exhilarating pass crossing. As a complete experience Rupin is the trek to do.

If the trek dates you’re looking are full, try the Gaumukh Tapovan trek. The trek to Gaumukh, the source of the River Ganga, itself is reason enough to do this trek. To add to that, the mountain views that you see on this trek, especially of the Bhagirathi sisters and Mt.Shivling, are rare sights. Click here to view the dates.

Rupin Pass trek
Trekkers walking to the lower water fall or Dhanderas Tatch campsite. Picture by Sreejith taken in June 2016

Why we love Rupin Pass

Swathi Chatrapathy - Indiahikes
Swathi – Content team lead

“Rupin Pass is a trek that changed my life. And I don’t exaggerate. The sense of achievement I felt standing at the Pass, surrounded by snow fields, meeting the mountains of Kinnaur at eye-level, was unmatched. You don’t get to the Pass easily. It requires four long days of hardcore trekking through coniferous forests, meadows, overhangs and the Rupin River Valley. You really have to earn those 20 minutes at the Pass. And the reward is priceless. The confidence I felt while standing up there still stays with me. It makes me feel invincible.”

Whom is the trek meant for?

Rupin pass is the ideal trek for someone who is fit and looking for a challenging trek. The trek has lots to offer – quaint Himalayan villages, towering cliffs, dark and dense forests, 3 days of trekking on snow, a thrilling gully climb, unforgettable snow slides. In short, an adventure of a lifetime. It is very important that you prepare your body physically before the trek. While we recommend the trek for those who have prior high altitude trekking experience, fitness holds the key to successfully trekking Rupin Pass. A physically fit person above the age of 12 can go on this trek.

Difficulty level and Preparation

Rupin Pass is rated as a moderate-difficult trek. On an average you trek 5-6 hours and 10 km every day. You have to be well prepared to be able to cover this distance with ease. Terrain is another factor which determines difficulty. Trails are not very well defined at several sections. Ascents and descents on slippery mud, scree and hard snow are a part of the trek. The climb to Rati Pheri from Upper water fall and the steep ascent to Rupin Pass through the gully at 15,380 ft  require very good cardio or lung power. While our Indiahikes staff help you tide over tricky slippery sections, you need to be a confident and independent trekker to do this trek. Here’s how you can prepare and get fit for the trek.

rupin pass trek
Traversing the vast snowfields of Rathi Pheri transports you to another world

What are the risks involved?

Altitude is gained gradually but the Rupin Pass trek takes you to 15,350 ft. This is considered very high altitude. There are changes of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness. To prevent this you must stay well hydrated. It is recommended that you be on a course of Diamox starting from Delhi. On the pass crossing day, you climb a narrow, steep portion. The gully to Rupin pass is short yet taxing but technical guides will lead your way and make sure that nothing untoward happens.

rupin pass trek
The final climb to the Rupin pass is through a gully. In the narrow snow laden gully voices echo and reverberate through its confines – something that is new to most trekkers.

ATM Point and Mobile connectivity

Purola, on the way to Dhaula, is the last place that you will find an ATM, in case you need to withdraw money before the trek begins. Mobile network is available at Dhaula and Jiskun, and then once you reach Sangla. Make sure you inform anxious family members about poor connectivity on the trek.

To read about trekkers’ experiences at Rupin Pass, you can read their trek blogs here.

Here’s a short itinerary for the Rupin Pass trek:

Day 1 Pick up at 6:30am from Dehradun Railway Station. Drive to Dhaula (5,100 ft); 10-11 hours. Cab cost – Rs.5,500 per vehicle, to be paid by trekkers directly to the driver.
Day 2 Dhaula (5,100 ft) to Sewa (6,300 ft); 6 hours, 11 km
Day 3 Sewa (6,300 ft) to Jiskun (7,700 ft); 5 hours, 9 km
Day 4 Jiskun (7,700 ft) to Udaknal  (10,100 ft); 5 hours, 6 km
Day 5

Day 6

Udaknal (10,100 ft) to Dhanderas thatch (11,700 ft); 5 hours, 6 km

Acclimatization Day at Dhanderas Thatch

Day 7 Dhanderas thatch (11,700 ft) to Upper Waterfall camp (13,100 ft) or Rati Pheri camp; 2 hours
Day 8 Upper Waterfall camp (13,100 ft) to Rupin Pass (15,380 ft) via Rati Pheri, further on to Ronti Gad (13,100ft); 10-11 hours
Day 9 Ronti Gad (13,100 ft) to Sangla (8,600 ft) via Sangla Kanda (11,427 ft); 6 hours

Detailed Itinerary

The Rupin Pass trek is like an edge-of- the-seat Hollywood thriller. So sudden are the changes in scenery that it makes you always walk a little further just to see if there is another surprise round the corner. What’s intriguing is why many hikers don’t do this trail. It is one of the best treks you will ever do in your life.

Eerie trails dug out of rock faces, trails that look down a precipice, trails over swaying wooden bridges, trails through deep dark folds in the mountain, trails that cut through millions of white Rhododendrons, trails over lush expanse of green meadows, trails on glaciers and icy slopes, trails over vast snow fields, trails through an echoing gully – it just doesn’t stop. The Rupin Pass trek has got it all.

Day 1: Reach Dhaula

  • Altitude: 5,100 ft
  • Time taken: 10-11 hours drive to Dhaula. Pick up from Dehradun at 6:30 AM

Dhaula (5,100 ft) is the base for the Rupin Pass trek. It is a sleepy hamlet of a dozen homes and the last road head of Uttarakhand.

The drive to Dhaula is on beautiful mountain roads and steadily gain altitude as you reach Dhaula. Deep valleys and thick forest cover keep you company.

You will have to reach Dehradun on your own, and from the Dehradun Railway Station transport will be organized to Dhaula at an additional cost. It is approximately a 10 hr drive. Dhaula will be your campsite for the night.

Day 2: Dhaula to  Sewa

  • Altitude: 5,100 ft to 6,300 ft
  • Time taken: 6 hours, 11 km
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Initial climb for a couple of hours followed by an easy, undulating walk with short climbs and drops.
  • Water sources: You can refill you water bottles from the Rupin river.

Take the trail that starts at the village and heads up the valley to Sewa Gaon. Past a cattle shelter and an enormous collection of dung, the trail starts to climb sharply, 200 metres outside the village – a gentle reminder of more such climbs to come. The climb eases out in 20 minutes into the first change of scenery: the Rupin fans out 500 ft below you into a wide river bed. Friendly villages hang out of the hills on either side. Village kids scamper about with their shy smile and a gentle Namaste.

The huts at Dhaula, right next to the Rupin river

A curve in the trail and the next change in scenery: the Rupin careens out of a gorge. A sheer cliff face towers over the river so high that clumps of clouds hang about its face immobile and undecided. On the other slope, the trekking trail snakes its way up through apple and apricot trees.

Half an hour into the ascending trail, stop by at a road side eatery and the only one you’ll find before getting to Sewa. If you are lucky, a friendly girl will take your order for tea and biscuits. She is the owner, manager, cook and the washer woman of the place. Sip the much welcome tea and enjoy the view of the cliff face looming over you and the sound of the Rupin pounding at the bottom of the gorge many hundred feet below.

Sewa at 6,300 ft is your camp for the day. Visit the village temple adorned with medals and an electric clock.

The two storey temple combines local and Kinnaur traditions, not surprising with the Himachal border so close.

Rupin Pass Trek
The temple at Sewa set amidst wheat fields and fruit orchards

The temple is said to be a combination of classical and local folk art mastered by the local kingly clans who once use to rule the Tons and Kinnaur regions. To understand the true theocratic character and historical background, one can look at its details – such as the Kinnauri carvings on the wood, the old relics of local deities, the old coins engraved on the walls.

The temple was build in reverence to “Karna” from Mahabharata. Look out for old hanging medallions of sorts on the walls. Not much is known about the symbolism of the temple. If you want to read more about these temples history and architecture, we suggest reading “Temple Architecture of the Western Himalaya: Wooden Temples” by Omacanda H.

Day 3: Sewa to  Jiskun

  • Altitude: 6,300 ft to 7,700 ft
  • Time taken: 5 hours, 8 km
  • Trek gradient: Difficult. Easy walk for the first 3 hours followed by a steep ascent to Jiskun for 2 hours.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Sewa. Water sources are available up to about an hour before you reach Jiskun.

The trail out of Sewa cuts across a mixture of barley and potato fields and suddenly dips into a deep dark jungle – so thick that the darkness is overpowering. The descent through the mixed forest over a slushy and often smelly trail pops out into the bright river bed of the Rupin. A change so sudden and different that you need to look back just to check your bearings. For the first time on the trek you actually trek on the river and not alongside it.


Gleefully hop over and crisscross the many rivulets of the river. Veer to your left and join the trail that goes over a small wooden bridge across a stream that flows into the Rupin. Spend some time on the bridge, which is no-man’s land. On either side are the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

In fifteen minutes you get down to the bank of the river where you can easily pitch 7-8 tents. This place is called as Haldi Khad. The trail goes flat until you climb up from the banks to the roadhead of Gosangu.

The village of Dodra, the remotest Tehsil of Himachal, is above Gosangu and takes a half hour climb to get there. If you decide to break your trek at Gosangu, you can get buses to Rohru and then to Shimla from Dodra. The other end of the road climbs up to Kitwari, where there’s a BSNL tower coming up.

Prepare yourself for a bit of huff and puff that the trail has in store for you for the day. The good bit is that the climb sections are always followed by gentle level walks.

Take the road towards Kwar, cross the wooden bridge and head towards the iron bridge over the Rupin. Just before the road takes a dip to meet the river, take any of the trails on the left that climb and meet with the overhanging trail to Jiskun.

Once on the main trail to Jiskun, the changing sights start to confront you relentlessly. First, the trail itself: what was until now a wide bodied path suddenly turns into a narrow trail. The mountain slope no longer gentle, but a towering precipice, climbs interminably. The trail hangs out of the face, like a lip. As you peer over the edge, far below, the Rupin glistens as the sun catches its rapids.

A bend in the trail, a short clamber over a narrow section and you stop short: a sight least expected. A picturesque waterfall cascades down on the trail, it’s source so high above that you can’t see it. The water so gentle and fine, yet with so much volume, that you want to take in a shower. Spend a while taking pictures — and perhaps even a refreshing swipe under it.

Another few anxious moments of overhanging trail walk and you come to a rapidly flowing stream, the Raj Gad. This is an ideal place to take a breather – after this is a long climb to Jiskun village. Take off your shoes to cross this stream. You don’t want to get your feet and boots wet at this stage.

The trail forks immediately as the Raj Gad vanishes from view behind you. Both trails look suspiciously similar. Take the trail heading up. It is a long hour’s climb to Jiskun village.

Rupin pass trek
You catch the first glimpse of the snow clad mountains from Bawta or lower Jiskun.

Jiskun, high above the confluence of Nargani and Rupin, is a village in two parts — lower Jiskun  is now called Bawta. For a trekker it is a welcome break. You sight a friendly tea house for a much welcome rest. Soon after the trail winds endlessly up, until you reach upper Jiskun half an hour later. Cross the first post office of Himachal Pradesh, and take a break at the many eateries here. Jiskun is a good place to replenish your supplies if you are running short. There are local stores where you can stock up on your rice, wheat, sugar, spices and vegetables.

Day 4: Jiskun to Udaknal

  • Altitude: 7,700 ft to 10,100ft
  • Time taken: 6 hours, 8 km
  • Trek gradient: Difficult. An hour’s descent followed by an hour’s steep ascent, easing off till the fir forest. Steep descent for an hour followed by a gentle walk.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at Jhaka, 3.5 km from Jiskun. An hour’s descent from Jhaka will bring you to the Rupin river, which will stay with you for the rest of the day.

It is a 3½ km walk to Jakha, the highest and the last village on the Rupin pass trek. The trail out of Jiskun descends rapidly through a forest of deodars and walnut until it reaches an enchanting dark fold in the mountain. The fold’s upper reaches are dark and beyond human touch. Sight the remains of an old wooden bridge, almost hidden in the foliage. Below, at eye level, cross the new wooden bridge and crane your neck up to an eerie trail cut out of the rock face. So out of place and strange, you need moments to fathom how this was built and who made them.

The next one hour climb to Jakha is through one of the best trekking trails. The scenery changes frequently. The trail initially zig-zags up on the ridge line of the slope. Looking up from below, the trail appears ominous, reaching out to the sky. Once you start climbing it isn’t as monumental as it looks. The trail winds through an enchanting mixed forest – with cliff faces on the other side of the valley and whistling birds keeping you company on this side. Two thirds of the way up, watch out for an equally broad trail that forks to your left. The other trail heads up to a village, Dhara, higher than Jakha. Stick to the trail that veers to the right.

On my way to Jhaka..the village that hangs on the mountain.
On the way to Jhaka..the village that hangs on the mountain.
Stepping past the post office of the Jiskun village, peer straight ahead and high up into the horizon. A cluster of houses, marking a village, hangs out of the mountainside – so incredulous, that it takes time for you to fathom how a village can hang from the walls of a mountain. The village is Jhaka.

The trail mostly climbs with one gentle walk in between. Jakha is a village completely enveloped in the ways of the Satsang. No meat is taken here. Avoid asking for any live animals or eating meat out of canned tins. The campsite is just above the village and doubles up as the children’s playground. An alternative campsite is the school courtyard itself.

Jakha is the last stop to replenish your supplies and also to look for porters if you are running short of either. For the next few days of your trek, there is rarely a soul you’ll encounter, except shepherds tending to their flocks. This is how it is until you reach Sangla.

The well defined trail ascends past the playground, passing through fields of the upper Jakha village before entering a magnificent fir forest. The entry to the forest is again so sudden that it is almost like someone has opened up a gate to let you in. The towering blue pines, each more than few centuries old, take you through pristine and untouched surroundings. If you have a keen eye, catch a few maple trees within the pines, their golden orange leaves strewn amidst the pine cones.

rupin pass trek
Half an hour outside Jakha village, the trail flattens out and plunges into a fir forest, so sudden that it is almost as if a gate has opened up. Pine trees over 100 feet tall tower over the trail.

On the other side of the trail, high above, cliffs hang over the V-shaped valley. In their crags you notice the first patches of snow. An hour into the descending walk through the fir forest, and around a bend in the trail, is the biggest surprise of the day.

Stretched under is a vast snow bridge across the Rupin – the last thing that you would expect on the trail. With no trace of snow earlier and only glimpses of snow patches at higher ground, finding a snow bridge at a lower height will make you gasp.

Run down to the snow bridge, put on your sunglasses, and for the first time on the trek feel snow under your boots. The snow bridge is magnificent, with the Rupin carving out gaps and holes through it. Climb up to the higher reaches of the snow bridge, cross the Rupin and get on to the trail on the other side.

Note: During some blistering summer years the snow bridge melts with no chance of crossing. But don’t worry, the original trail, after a brief crossing of a tributary stream over wooden logs, continues further until you come to a wooden bridge that gets you to the other side of the Rupin.

The snow bridge over the Rupin after the Fir forest
The snow bridge over the Rupin after the Fir forest

The trail is no longer wide but a narrow foot trodden path made by passing cattle and the shepherds. Follow the trail until you get to a wooden bridge mentioned above. Do not cross the bridge, but carry on with the Rupin on your left.

The bridge has its advantages though. Higher up, to the right of the bridge is the first open grassland of Udakanal. Trekkers often camp here. But 2½ hrs out of Jakha is hardly the time to camp. Carry on further for more excitement stored for the day.

The scenery is rather different form what you have left behind. Most times the trail follows the course of the Rupin. Little tributaries from the upper reaches of the mountain flow into the Rupin, their bottom characterized with perennial snow patches. Often you are walking on the boulder strewn river bed. The Rupin changes colour to a glorious icy blue – the water clear as crystal. No need to look for water to quench your thirst – just dip into the Rupin.

After an hour and half of intermittent boulder walk, and hopping over many cascading streams that feed the Rupin, the trail climbs and heads to the right, heading for a clump of forest. Just before the trail enters there forest, you are met with a small open grass land. It is easily recognizable by a big rivulet that gushes out of the hill side – the water pure and clean. This is Buras Kandi, an excellent place to camp if you don’t mind the many cows that graze in the bounties of nature here.

Day 5: Udaknal to Dhanderas thatch (lower water fall camp)

  • Altitude: 10,100 ft to 11,700 ft
  • Time taken: 5 hours, 6 km
  • Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Gradual ascent all the way; tricky terrain over the snow bridge.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill water bottles from the river.

Below, the Rupin thunders on. On the opposite bank, huge snow patches cover the gullies that once were part of glaciers feeding the river. A clump of forest starts just outside the camp area, and before you know it, you are in deep foliage.

The ascent is steep. The Rupin next to you and on your left climbs along rapidly in a series of mini water falls. The climb isn’t for long. Ten minutes later it evens out to leave you speechless. You are surrounded by thousands of Rhododendrons in full bloom. Where did they come from? They are in myriad colours – white, pink, purple. They are everywhere. The Rhododendrons are the dwarf kind and rarely cross your chest. The trail weaves through the roots of the plants and some hang out on the Rupin – their flowers touching the clear waters of the river.

A small clearing and the Rhododendrons now adorn the slopes, the plants climbing a few thousand feet into the air. Walk a bit further to a bigger clearing and get your second surprise of the day. You are in a glade with the Rupin on your left forking to give away to a little island. The island has a carpet of green grass, lush with life. Right in the middle are a few Silver birch trees completing a picture of utmost serenity. Just as you thought that the glade was a pretty sight, for the first time on your trek you catch a glimpse of the famous Rupin waterfall in the far distance. You can’t help but gasp. The sight of the U-shaped valley and the Rupin climbing down from the clouds above will make you hold on to something just to steady yourself. Bet on excitement to set in as you relish the prospect of an amazing adventure in store.

rupin pass trek
The trail suddenly tunnels into a view of the U-shaped Rupin glacial valley. In the far distance, at the end of the valley, are the famous three stage Rupin waterfalls. They appear to be falling from the clouds.

The day’s walk is perhaps one of the best you’ll ever do. What’s amazing about Saruwas thatch is the sight of the Rupin gushing out of a gorge just ahead and to your left. While everyone’s seen a gorge from above, very few can claim to see a gorge at eye level.

The heady sight behind you, walk along an even trail with snow patches on the mountain side to your right getting bigger and lower around you. Silver birches (Bhoj trees) are common, their barks peeling off to reveal the sacred Bhoj leaves. Collect a few as souvenirs. The legend goes that the epic Ramayana was written on these leaves. Climb to a bump on the trail – and let the big surprise of the day overcome you.

The climb through forest and shrubs makes way to a grand amphitheater of green. You stand on the edge and enjoy front row seats of a grand scale production. As you peer from the lip of the U-Shaped valley you notice thousands of waterfalls cascading down its brown walls to meet the Rupin. In contrast, laid out in front of you are miles of green meadows, dotted with thousands of yellow marigolds. And in between the undulating meadows the Rupin gracefully snakes its way down from its source. To top the scenery you have white snow patches lying scattered all along on the edges of the meadows.

Climb down to the valley of yellow marigolds. Enjoy the gentle undulating walk to the first hurdle of your trek: a snow bridge over the Rupin. The slope of the snow bridge is much steeper than you can anticipate. Get a good grip and try to climb upward and higher. The steep bit isn’t for long and the flat of the snow bridge is a thrill to walk on. Crossing the snow bridge is easy and soon you are on the left bank of the Rupin.

The walk climbs gently through the lushness of the meadows. Every few steps tiny brooks gurgle under your boots as you hipety hop over them. Wild flowers sprout everywhere. This time they are blue, purple, green, yellow and white. The Rupin gently makes it way down the valley, an icy blue.

Cross a big boulder sitting on the edge of the river and find the Rupin fanning out into a wide river bed. Step on the river bed and walk along its edge and reach the base of another snow bridge, the biggest of all you have come cross. Climb on to the snow bridge and cross the Rupin once more, bringing you to the base of a short climb that leads to a plateau above.

The climb is like inching along near the top of a roller coaster ride, waiting, anticipating for the next view. It doesn’t disappoint you. You have arrived at the prettiest meadow of the trek, a site so beautiful, that you want to set up camp right there. And you do, for no Himalayan camp site can better the location. You are in the middle of the valley’s bowl. Ahead, the Rupin thunders down its three stages of waterfall. Beyond the waterfall is the alpine Dhauladar Range looming large. On your two sides are the snowy valley walls with their numerous waterfalls.

Water isn’t a problem. You just have to walk in any direction to find a crystal clear icy rivulet passing by. Pitch tent but sit out on the grandest landscaped lawn that nature can serve up. This is Dhanderas Thatch.

The lower waterfall or Dhanderas Thatch campsite. May is usually under snow while June is a carpet of green.

Day 6: Acclimatization day at Dhanderas Thatch

A view of the waterfall

Day 7: Dhanderas thatch to Upper Waterfall camp 

  • Altitude: 11,700 ft to 13,100 ft
  • Time taken: 3 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuously climbing trail, tricky around the snow patches at the base and top of the water fall.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at streams.

This is perhaps the most important day of your trek. The acclimatization climb to the top of the waterfall will help you immensely for a super successful climb to the Rupin pass.

From Dhanderas Thatch the altitude gain for the Rupin pass crossing is almost 2,500 ft. It is considerable and it is almost certain that many will suffer from altitude sickness. It makes better sense to climb up about 1,500 ft to the top of the waterfall, allow your body to feel the effects of the altitude.  Acclimatized somewhat, your body is better prepared for the grueling climb to the Rupin pass the next day. Unlike most days, start your day at leisure. Let strength come back to your limbs. After breakfast, prepare for the climb to the top of the waterfall.

The upper waterfall campsite PC Anirban Banerjee
The upper waterfall campsite PC Anirban Banerjee

It is about a kilometer to the base of the waterfall from Dhanderas Thatch. On the way you’ll get plenty of streams to hop and jump over and the wild display of yellow marigolds. Sometimes, the marigolds are laid out in a carpet and you just want to lie down on them.

Things get serious when you reach the snow patch at the base of the waterfall. Avoid getting on the snow patch directly, but climb against its side on the boulder strewn hill side until you come to the trail that cuts across the snow patch. It would make sense to have a stick or trekking pole for support. An ice-axe is extremely helpful here. If the trail has already been made on the ice-patch, send a prayer of thanks upwards. If the trail is barely visible, then start cutting steps with your boots or ice-axe and slowly inch your way across the ice patch. This brings you to the top of the lower water fall.

(Note: the step cutting is invaluable and can save your life from a slip or a fall)

It is another similar series of snow patch crossing and intermittent climbs before you are on to the big snow bridge over the Rupin. The sight is spectacular when you stand on the middle of the snow bridge and look up to the waterfall and watch the Rupin disappear under your feet hidden somewhere under the snow bridge. At this spot you are over the middle water fall.

Crossing over to the other side of the Rupin, it is a steep climb flanking the slopes that leads to the top of the waterfall. It is like climbing a series of ledges (and a minor snow patch) before getting down to the meadow at the top of the waterfall.

For the first time you catch a view of what it is actually like at the top of the waterfall. It is quite unlike what you expected, keeping to the tradition of surprises of the Rupin trail. It is a wide meadow, reaching out to a flat bowl. Streams fed from the alpine snowy flank that converge on the bowl merge together to form the Rupin.

rupin pass trek
The upper waterfall campsite in June when the snow gives way to the green shoots. Pic: Rohil Waghmare

Get down to the snout of the waterfall and sit on the edge. Dangle your legs over as you watch the Rupin crash down to the valley below. This is the top of the waterfall, a spot that has been in your sight the last two days.

Day 8: Upper Waterfall camp to Rupin Pass via Rati Pheri, further on to Ronti Gad

  • Altitude: 13,100 ft to 15,380 ft to 13,100 ft
  • Time taken: 10-11 hours
  • Trek gradient: Difficult. Steep climb to the pass followed by a steep decent.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water from the camp before starting. Refill your water bottles completely at Rati Pheri – 1 hour after you begin. Water sources will be limited hereafter.

Steep climb to the pass followed by a sharp descent. This is the longest day of your trek and the most gruelling – and perhaps the most exciting too. It has enough adventure in store to haunt your memories for a long time.

Start your day even before sun up. Make sure you are out of the camp by 5:00 am. Carry breakfast with you. You’ll need the energy boost for your brief halt at the top of the pass.

The trail to Rati Pheri starts out to the left of the meadow, climbing steeply along a snow patch that looks a mile long. The climb gains altitude in bountiful. An hour into the climb, the ascent veers left, rounding the shoulder of a ridge and opens out to the camping grounds of Rati Pheri. Stop here for a breather and much needed drink of water (and also fill your bottles for water source is limited until you cross the pass). Also, marvel at the change in scenery.

The Rupin valley that has been your companion for the last six days is lost to view, and the alpine Dhauladar range takes its place to your right and across the valley. It is now snow fields and alpine country till you get to the Rupin pass. This is a good time to put on your gaiters if you are carrying them.

From Rati Pheri, for the first time, across vast acres of snow fields, you get a glimpse of the Rupin pass, a tiny gap on the ridge line of the Dhauladar. It looks so far away, that the thought of actually climbing through the gap does not register.

rupin pass trek
Traversing the snowfields of Rathi Pheri in May/June pic: Nikhil Agarwal

The slow walk over the undulating snow fields is endless. The snow makes the going difficult. At times you are going to slip and slide a few meters. At times your foot is going to sink in up to the thighs. But never is it going to get so difficult that it scares the life out of you. The scenery is singularly white.

There are no tracks on the snow and you need to keep a general sense of direction towards the Rupin pass gully. The good news is, there are hardly any chances of losing your way, and if you keep your sight on the pass and stick to your right, you will eventually, after an arduous trek of an hour and half, come to the foot of the Rupin pass gully.

Rest for a while, collect your breath and prepare yourself for a thrilling adventurous climb through the Rupin pass gully.

Towards Rupin Pass
Marching towards Rupin Pass pc: Vinod Krishna

A word of caution here: The trek through the gully is a short climb of about 200 meters. What makes the climb tricky is the loose stones and boulders (scree) that line its entire length. Add to it the initial climb leading to the gully over a steep snowy flank of the slope. Footholds on the icy slope are difficult to find and scrambling on all fours is sometimes the only option. An ice-axe to cut steps is extremely handy here.

It is a good idea to let your guides and porters go in advance as they can mark out the route for you. In addition they can give you precious hand-holds in some of the tricky stretches.

Climb in a single file and place your step in the hollow of the footstep in front. Watch for falling stones and rocks and gingerly make your way to the base of the gully.

The gully is a half tube cut out of the mountain side. Voices echo and travel sharply all over the gully. Conversations at regular tone get amplified and it is fun listening to the travails of the trekkers as they make their way up the gully.

Climb to the Gully P.C Anirban Banerjee
Climb to the Gully P.C Anirban Banerjee

Crane your neck up to the mouth of the gully. A multitude of prayer flags flutters in the high winds that blow across. You are looking at the Rupin pass.

The climb through the gully is as thrilling as it gets. The rocky world is surreal. The anticipation of reaching the pass exhilarating. It won’t take you more than fifteen to twenty minutes to get to the top of the pass.

The pass is a saddle on a ridge line cutting its way through and across the Dhauladar range. For the first time you catch views of the Sangla side of the mountain – and you are again spun into the world of eternal surprises of the trek. The green open mountainscape is so much in stark contrast to the snow and alpine country behind you that it takes a while for the scenery to sink in.

The Rupin Pass

Hundreds of little stone cairns line up the ridge line of the Rupin pass. Multicolour prayer flags flutter in the high winds of the pass. All around are the many branches of the Dhauladar range, like a spider’s legs branching off from the Rupin pass.


View from Rupin Pass with the Razor sharp Kinnaur Kailash range in the background
View from Rupin Pass with the Razor sharp Kinnaur Kailash range in the background

On the Sangla side, the descent is steep and the only place to camp is in the vast meadows below the snowline. Unlike the Rupin side, getting down to the snowline is quicker and steeper.

Step out of the pass and slide down the chutes of the snow. And if you think you can walk down the slope (like I did), that’s a big mistake. There’s only one way to get down and that’s on your bottom.

The slide down the slope is in three stages and each them is so much fun that you want to do it again. Grown ups squeal and whoop in delight as the rush of sliding the slope brings to surface the little ones in everyone. Within minutes you lose about 400 ft in altitude.

The slide
The slide P.C Anirban Banerjee

After the slides the slope evens out to a more manageable trudge over snow. Numerous melting streams trickle out of the snow below your feet joining the now roaring feeder of the Rukti gad.

It takes slightly more than an hour to get to the edge of the snowline. Looking back, Rupin pass is high above, a speck in the ridge line.

From the snowline, there is a sharp descent to the endless meadows that stretches all the way to Sangla Kanda (3 hours away). At the base of the descent there is a clear bountiful stream. Pitch camp at the even grounds that is around it. Remnant of old camping fire are another way to recognize the camping ground – otherwise indistinguishable from the surrounding. This is the camping grounds of Ronti Gad – another green paradise on earth.

You are again in meadows land – but the scenery is different. Towering, snow capped mountains lean over the campsite. The visual is a blend of whites of the snows and the greens of the meadows. A just reward for a hard day’s trekking, starting at 13,100 ft, climbing to 15,380 ft and then dropping down to 13,100 ft. At Ronti Gad you are going to spend your coldest night of the trek, so dive into your sleeping bags early for a well deserved rest.

Day 9: Ronti Gad to Sangla Via Sangla Kanda

  • Altitude: 13,100 ft to 8,600 ft via 11,427 ft
  • Time taken: 6 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate – difficult. You will be constantly descending today.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You will find several water  taps along the trail as you begin to approach villages.

The descent to Sangla is hell on your knees and toes but makes up for everything with its ever changing scenery. For the first time you get to view the Kinner Kailash range and the blue pines of the Baspa valley.

Start the day leisurely but not too late. The descent will make you lose height rapidly and it can get rather warm near Sangla (that’s all comparative with the chilling height of the Rupin Pass)

The trail out of the campsite is a shepherd’s trail that heads to the valley below. After days you will come across shepherds tending to their flocks. Multiple trails join your path and some go away from it. If you come to two trails that look alike and you want to make a choice, it doesn’t matter. All of them lead to Sangla Kanda. Only, avoid the trails that head down to the river.

Sangla Kanda
Sangla Kanda P.C Anirban Banerjee

After an hour and half and a drop of over a 1,500 ft, the trail leaves the narrow valley of the Ronti Gad, veers left and opens out to the valley overlooking the Rukti Gad. To the right, is the snow bound Nalgani pass, a gentle reminder of a trek for another day.

The meadows abound the entire slope of the mountains, the snows behind and out of sight. What takes your breath away is the sudden appearance of the Kinner Kailash range right in front. The sharp serrated edge of the range all over 20,000 ft overlooking the meadows of Sangla Kanda is enough to make you stand still, awed by the moment — that has now become an expected twist and turn of the Rupin pass trek plot.

Far below are the first signs of civilization – the lake of Sangla Kanda and the tiny settlement of the village. It takes another hour and half to get to the village. The sharp descent would have taken a toll on your toes and knees – and the village is a good place to take a break. The villagers are warm and friendly and you can always get yourself a warm cup of tea exchanging stories of your climb to the Rupin pass.

There are many trails that lead out of Sangla Kanda to Sangla. Ask a villager for directions or take any trail that turns right. Most trails would join the main trail that skirts its way around and below the lake. After days, you get below the tree line – and almost welcome it.

The mixed vegetation abruptly gives way to a forest of blue pines – the last of the surprises of the trek. The trail to Sangla is now entirely along the Rukti Gad (about 500-700 ft below). The descent through the pines is refreshing and occasionally you come across hectic activity of a road being built. The road is a feeder that in future would connect Sangla and Kanda – a much needed infrastructure for the locals but a blob in the landscape for a trekker from the Rupin pass.

The trail is broad and descends rapidly to Sangla passing quaint wooden houses and step farms. The woods of the blue pine give way to apple orchards and more of civilization. Telephone lines, a resting place in the middle of the track, cell phone connectivity and you know Sangla is not too much further off.

Half an hour later and a sharp descent to the Baspa along a school with children in uniform, you get to the bridge below the forest rest house. Cross the muddy waters of the Baspa, look back one last time at the blue pines behind and above you – a symbol of a trek that is part of the best that the country can give you.

Footnote: From the bridge over the Baspa, it is a steep 20 minute climb to the motorable road at Sangla. There are many concrete lanes that you can take to get to the main road and some wind their way without seeming to go anywhere. Ask for directions to the bus stand, though the route is clearly marked in paint.

At the bus stand, there are restaurants where you can eat and places to stay. Most of them are good and offer basic bed and bedding. Charges are reasonable and quite negotiable. The last bus to Shimla leaves at 5:00 pm and gets to Shimla at 3:00 am the following day.

How to prepare for the Rupin Pass trek

Rupin Pass is a moderate – difficult trek. No two ways about it. Every day, you cover around 10 km on an average and gain a good amount of altitude. Over 4 days, you climb from 5,100 ft to a highest point of 15,380 ft. So you gain 10,000 ft over just the first five days of trekking! If you want to do this trek comfortably and enjoy all the surprises it offers, you will need to prepare well.

Stamina – Target 10 km in 60 minutes
Start by jogging every day. Jogging increases your stamina and cardiovascular endurance. Start slow and increase your pace. Your aim should be to cover 10 km in 60 minutes once a week and 7 km in 40-45 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks. On the first 3 days of the trek, you have to cover an average of 11 km every day, gaining a good amount of altitude. That’s a long distance to cover and with steep ascents. You need stamina for the same.

Prepare for ascents       
To prepare yourself for the steep climbs, you can add stair-climbing to your routine as well. The second and third day have long stretches of ascents to Jiskun and Jhaka. Start simply by climbing upstairs for two minutes non-stop. Overtime, increase this to five-minute bursts of climbing, and take it to ten minutes with a short break in between.

Strength – Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each
A stiff ascent at 15,000 ft in snow requires sheer body strength. Also, the last day of the trek from Rontigad to Sangla involves a killer descent of 12 km. This can be extremely taxing on your knee. So work on your core body strength and also your thighs, to take pressure off your knees. You can do some squats. Do three sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Apart from this, you can include planks and crunches in your routine. This will help increase your core body strength.

When you’re working your muscles a lot, you need to keep them loose and flexible. 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 chart that you can follow to get fit for your 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.

Things to take on the Rupin Pass trek

The Rupin Pass trek has different kinds of terrain. A majority of the trail is rugged, with rocks, loose soil and boulders. After the first few days on rugged terrain, you walk on lovely meadows and then on snow. So its imperative that you have a good pair of trekking shoes. So ensure you wear a good pair of shoes. You can learn how to select the right pair from this video.

Also, it gets cold on the Rupin Pass trek, even in summer. The Upper Waterfall and Rontigad campsites are both at 13,100 ft and can get extremely cold and windy. Even the day of the pass crossing is very chilly, as you set out at 4 am. Don’t overlook the three warm layers and the required accessories.

The Rupin Pass trek is also a crossover trek. So you will be carrying your backpack all the way. There is no day where you can leave your backpack behind, carry a smaller one and return to the same campsite, like on other treks. So make sure your backpack is light. Don’t overpack.

Here’s everything you need.

Bare necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: you can get Forclaz 500 from Decathlon
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame.
  3. Daypack (20 litres): This is required ONLY if you are offloading your backpack.


  1. Three warm layers: Here’s a video on how you can layer yourself.
  2. Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry one pair. This should be enough. But your pants could get wet while sliding, so carry an extra pair.
  3. Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms.
  4. Thermals: Carry thermals to keep warm at night. Keep them fresh. Don’t wear them while trekking.


  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. They are mandatory.
  2. SuncapThe sun is more harsh on your skin at high altitude and will zap your energy quickly. Wearing a suncap will help.
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of water proof/resistant gloves.
  4. Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
  5. Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
  6. Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
  7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.


  1. Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste.If you plan to use wet wipes or sanitary napkins on the trek, make sure you carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
  2. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
  3. Two water bottles: 1 litre each
  4. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit 

  1. Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Dexamethasone – one strip
  3. Nifedipine – 5 tablets
  4. Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
  5. Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  6. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  7. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  8. Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
  9. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  10. Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
  11. Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  12. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  13. Gauze – 1 small roll
  14. Band aid – 10 strips
  15. Cotton – 1 small roll
  16. ORS – 10 packets
  17. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  18. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)

Mandatory Documents

Please carry the below documents. Document two and three need to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp.
  • Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
  • Medical Certificate – Download PDF
  • Disclaimer- Download PDF

If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.





Trek fee: Rs. 14,950/-*

*Service tax at 9% is payable on the trek fee


  • Accommodation during the trek (camping – 3 in a tent)
  • All meals – vegetarian
  • Trekking permits and forest camping charges
  • Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
  • Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
  • Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
  • Services of an expert trek team  (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)


  • Food during transit to and from the base camp
  • Backpack offloading charges – Rs.1,925*plus service tax of 9%. Charges for last minute on slope offloading during the trek will be Rs. 335 per day plus service tax of 9%. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
  • Stay at Sangla on the last day is not included
  • Personal expenses of any kind
  • Anything apart from the inclusions

 Terms & Conditions

1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please e-mail us at Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.

The cancellation charges are as under:

  • Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
  • Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.

Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid. 

2. The trek fee includes all cots of the trek from the start at Dhaula to the end at Sangla.

3. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from Dehradun Railway Station at 6:30 am. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to Dhaula in shared cabs.

4. Transport:Transport from Dehradun to Dhaula and return from Sangla to Shimla can be arranged by us at an extra cost. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab (approximate cost of the cab: Rs. 5500 for Dehradun to Dhaula per vehicle, one way). The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No service tax is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.

5. Backpack carrying: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.

Backpack offloading charge for the entire trek duration is Rs. 1925/-. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.

6. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.

Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.

Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.

7. Fitness: 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. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.

8. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.

9. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.

10. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.

11. Route changes, postponement, delay or finishing the trek a day earlier:
 Under some extraordinary circumstance, your trek may end a day earlier  or start a day later. This may become necessary due to inclement weather, snow and ice conditions, political restrictions or any other cause. In the event of a change, postponement or delay, participants have no right to refund of the trek (in whole or in part) or other compensation for any injury, loss or damage. Trek fee is not charged broken down in terms of days but is a composite fee for the whole trek.

12. Safety Protocol: 

      a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.

b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.

c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.

How safe is the Rupin Pass trek?

The Rupin Pass trek is a difficult one. The most difficult part of the trek is the crossing of the pass itself. The Rupin gully is steep, at around 45 degrees, with lots of fresh snow. It is short yet taxing but technical guides will lead your way and make sure that nothing untoward happens. Altitude is gained gradually but the Rupin Pass trek takes you to 15,350 feet. This is considered very high altitude. There are chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness though the trail is designed such that your body has enough time to acclimatise to the surroundings.

If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.

What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety

Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.

Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:

1. Fitness criteria before registration

Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Rupin Pass trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Rupin Pass trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.

2. Monitoring health on a trek

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

On the Rupin Pass trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.

  •      Oxygen Level
  •      Pulse Rate

Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.

This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.

Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.

3. High Altitude Medical Kit

Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.

4. High Altitude Trek Equipment

To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.

All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.

5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek

You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.

We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.

With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.

Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.

What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Rupin Pass trek


Acute Mountain Sickness:

On the Rupin Pass trek, the trail is designed such that your body has enough time to acclimatise to the surroundings. So probabilities of Acute Mountain Sickness are low, even though you hit a maximum altitude of 15,380 ft.

However, at campsites such as Udaknal, Dhanderas Thatch, Upper waterfall and Ronti Gad, AMS can hit anyone since these are all at very high altitudes. Hence, it is imperative that you take necessary precautions.

At any campsite, inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you identify any symptom of AMS. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to a lower campsite.

This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours.And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.

Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox

We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.

What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?

If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.

Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.

Exit points on the Rupin Pass trek

The closest exit on this trek is at Bawta, on the way to Jiskun (before crossing the pass), where there is a road head. After crossing the pass, the closest exit is at Sangla. Evacuation can take time, even 1-2 days, especially from high camps. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.

Closest hospital

Depending on where in the trek a medical emergency occurs, there are different hospitals that you can access. On the Dhaula side, Purola has the closest hospital. If you’re a few days into the trek, then Rohru will have the most accessible hospital. Towards the end of the trek, your best option would be to reach Sangla, where you will find a hospital.

Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks

If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.

Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.

If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.

Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.

You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.

We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.

Acute Mountain Sickness

If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.

For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.


Click on the AMS Manual to open and download

About Diamox:

Diamox is a tablet that is available off the counter. You can start your course one day before the trek. Take half a tablet once in the morning and once at night (after your meal). It reduces chances of AMS by 80%. There are almost no side effects of Diamox, except a tingly feeling at your finger tips. You might also feel the need to urinate more often, which is normal as Diamox makes you drink more water. You can learn more about AMS, its symptoms and treatment here.

Note: Diamox is a sulfa-based tablet. If you are allergic to sulfa-based drugs, don’t take the tablet. If you do not know whether you are allergic to sulfa-based drugs, take a Diamox around ten days before your trek and look out for any reactions, If there are none, you can safety take the tablet on the trek.

If there is a medical emergency on the trek, your trek leaders are trained to handle crisis, especially related to altitude and medical emergencies. Indiahikes team carries high altitude medical equipment, oxygen cylinders, and other emergency kits.

Most situations are resolved by the trek leader’s intervention. If, however, evacuation is required, it is carried out by the Indiahikes team. The affected participant is moved down to the nearest emergency medical centre as soon as possible. The closest exit on this trek is at Bawta, on the way to Jiskun (before crossing the pass), where there is a road head. After crossing the pass, the closest exit is at Sangla. Evacuation can take time, even 1-2 days, especially from high camps. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.


Expert Opinion

Safety and preparation during a trek

Why Trekkers need to take Safety on Treks more Seriously

In the second article of his three-part series on safety, Arjun Majumdar writes about a worrying trend that is spreading in the Indian trekking community.

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How to pack your backpack

If you’re off on a high altitude trek and you’re wondering how to stuff ALL the things you need for 7 days, then here’s a video that will help you out! You’ll thank yourself for watching it!

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What is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)?

Every high-altitude trekker needs to be aware of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Arjun Majumdar, who has witnessed hundreds of cases of AMS amongst trekkers resolves all doubts about it.

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Trek with swathi

Can you trek during your periods?

If you’re trek dates and periods coincide, don’t worry! It’s alright to trek during your periods. In this episode, Swathi interviews Sandhya UC, a partner at Indiahikes. Sandhya gives you quick and effective tips to manage periods in the mountains.

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Trek With Swathi

Trek with swathi

How to choose the right trekking shoes

You’re off on a trek and don’t know what kind of shoes to buy? It’s not that hard. You can decide which shoe to buy in less than a minute after watching this video!

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trek with swathi

How to keep warm on a high altitude trek

The secret to staying warm in freezing temperatures is the same principle that we follow in cold winters. Layering.
In this video Swathi explains what all you need to stay comfortably warm on your Himalayan trek.

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Why alcohol is a big NO at high altitude

Many people like to drink alcohol at high altitude assuming it keeps them warm. But they cannot be more wrong. Alcohol is the worst thing at high altitude! In this video, Swathi explains the adverse effects of alcohol at high altitude.

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Assess your BMI before choosing a Himalayan trek

High altitude trekking is not the same as vacationing in Manali or Ladakh. Your BMI plays the biggest role in making or breaking your trek. Here, Swathi tells you how to assess your BMI before choosing a trek.

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How to get to the basecamp – Dhaula

Delhi → Dehradun → Dhaula

The Rupin Pass trek starts from Dhaula. From Dehradun, Indiahikes organises transport to Dhaula. We organise the transport at 6.30 am from Dehradun Railway Station on the first day of the trek. The fare of this transport is not included in the fee. It costs Rs.5500 per cab one way and this fare is shared by 5-6 trekkers. 

To reach Dhaula
It is advisable to reach Dehradun a day earlier, stay overnight and report to Dehradun Railway station by 6:30 am the next morning for the pick up to Dhaula. From Delhi you can take an overnight bus to Dehradun. Book buses online in advance.

Getting back

Sangla → Shimla / Kalka / Chandigarh

The Rupin Pass trek ends at Sangla, which is a small touristy village in Himachal. There are several ways you can go out of Sangla.

Option 1: Sangla → Kalka → Delhi
You will reach Sangla at around 1 pm after you trek. You can take a cab that evening and head to Kalka. The cab will cost you around Rs.12,000 for an SUV. Around 5-6 people can share this cab. From Kalka, there is a Shatabdi that goes to Delhi. It leaves at 6.15 am. You will be in Delhi by 10 am. If you leave Sangla at 4 pm, you will reach Kalka by 4 am and have some buffer time at the railway station.

Option 2: Sangla Shimla Delhi
From Sangla, you can also take a cab to Shimla. The cab will cost around Rs.8,000 for an SUV that 5-6 trekkers can share. If you leave Sangla in the evening, by 4 pm, you will reach Shimla by 2 am. You will have to book accommodation at Shimla in advance. From Shimla, buses leave to Delhi in the evening at around 4pm. You can spend the day in Shimla and head to Delhi in the evening. You will have to book buses in advance in peak tourist season.

Option 3: Sangla → Chandigarh
Another option if you have to get to an airport is to go to Chandigarh. From Sangla, you can take a cab to Chandigarh. This will cost you around Rs.12,500 for an SUV that 5-6 trekkers can share. If you leave Sangla by 4pm, you will reach Chandigarh by 6 am.

Here’s what trekkers have to say about trekking to Rupin Pass with Indiahikes

“I absolutely loved the trek. Everything was phenomenal and I genuinely cannot think of anything I did not like. The Trek leader was a fantastic, friendly, and informative. The scenery and the trek itself was gorgeous and the assisting staff (guides and cooks) were exemplary; and the food was beyond what I could have expected!” – Ori Gutin, batch of October 2016

“One word : Spellbound. The views and scenery is breathtaking. We were luck enough to see a snowfall which added to the beauty. The Indiahikes team is awesome and they make sure you have one hell of an experience. I am going to cherish this trek for a really long time!” – Kriti Gupt, batch of September 2016

“I loved it – every bit of it. For me the mountains have a mysterious pull, and its magical being amidst them. This time as always it was a very memorable experience. It wasn’t easy, considering the ever changing weather and the sub zero temperatures. Anxiety regarding the actual pass crossing and ups and downs with health. However the actual pass crossing day was euphoric – worth every bit. Our anxiety regarding snow, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. And the snow covered vistas were hard to leave behind!” – Sonali Gupta, batch of September 2016

“You don’t always wake up to see snow covered peaks, free flowing rivers, deep valleys and lush green mountains! This trek is the combination of adventure and beauty. Indiahikes took all the efforts required to make this trek a pleasant experience for all of us.” – Varun Vaidya, batch of June 2016

“You could keep guessing on what comes next and this keeps you moving all the while. Combined with the friendly as well as very disciplined guides and a heap of enthusiastic trekkers this is one great experience. Far from any sort of contact from the outside world, this is one of the best holiday experiences filled with adventures. Awesome food, awesome people, awesome trek and well managed by Indiahikes.” – Arun Premkumar, batch of June 2016

“Loved it. One of the most soul-satisfying and amazing experiences in my short life till now. Never though I’ll meet such helpful and amazing people. Loved the trek leader, probably one of the most interesting people I’ve met. And the support staff were entertaining and helpful.” – Divyanshu Sharma, batch of June 2016

“This trek did so many things for me it’ll take way more than a google form to elaborate. With terrain changing every few kilometers, the trail is extremely engaging. The scenic beauty is breathtaking and it’s a waste even trying to put it down in words.” – Tushar Ghei, batch of June 2016

“This was my fifth trek with Indiahikes in the Himalayas and I rate Rupin Pass the best trek. Never expected this to be so good. We had almost 15 hours of sunlight and clear sky for most of the trek. The camping sites were out of this world. Gurpreet was an awesome trek lead. Had a great time” – John Raviraj, batch of June 2016

“This was my first Himalayan trek, and to be honest it was very good. Every hour during the trek view changes dramatically beautifully. For a moment you think this is the most beautiful place you have been, but after sometime you think this is the most beautiful place now. I’m so glad that I decided to go with Indiahikes. Apart from the trek, the experience with Indiahikes is another experience for me, I never felt like a client, I was part of community. Everyone including the Trek leader, Guides, cooks and porters were friendly and courteous. I made good friends among them. 10/10 for food. 10/10 Green trail initiative. 10/10 for management at camp sites. ” – Dhaval Gulhane, batch of June 2016

“Awesome. I enjoyed a lot and carry life time memories.Food was amazing. Hats off to all people working on ground in such a hostile condition to make things easier to all trekkers at every nick of time.” – Shakti Prasad Raturi, batch of May 2016

“The trek was a wonderful experience” – Akshatha Arodi, batch of May 2016

“Awesome is the right word for Rupin Pass trek. This was my first himalayan trek and I’m very glad that I chose Rupin pass and India hikes. The views during the trek gets better and better every passing day. Especially the upper waterfall camp, believe me it’s nothing but heaven. Very impressed about how the trek had been organized by Indiahikes and kudos for green trails initiative. Also hats-off to the trek lead and supporting team for the extreme kindness they have exhibhited all throughout the trek.” – Pavendhan Krishnan, batch of May 2016

“It was interesting with lots of scenery & terrain changes a do to trek for all trek lovers.” – Arun Joshi, batch of May 2016

“Awesome management, loved the food and other arrangement. Technical staff is really helpful and well equipped. Trek lead, chetan sir is really great person to have as a trek lead.” – Nimish Gurav, batch of May 2016

“I loved the trek. The food was very good and camp sites were also awesome.” – Pravin, batch of May 2016

“The arrangements, organising trek and Technical Staff were highly appreciable.” – Shekar Babu Penuganti, batch of May 2016

“I loved the landscape and the trails” – Anurag Rao, batch of May 2016

“I loved the trek. Natural landscapes, crew members and food quality and the adventures during the trail. Abhirup,Yashpal and Santosh are very much supportive. Its been awesome and memorable and first life time experience for me, we enjoyed a lot during our trail and group activity conducted by crew.” – Sumit Waghmare, batch of May 2016

“Rupin is awesome trek, organizing, hospitality, food and technical advice was very good ” – Sabhareesh, batch of May 2016

I loved the trek because of the ever changing trails, road walk, jungle walk, magnificent views of Rupin river throughout the trek and of course because of the scenery of the last three days. The very responsive people of Uttarakhand and Himachal added a different sweet flavor to the whole trek. But above all it is the Indiahikes team who made it dead easy for us. I was literally in a different world in between them. Chetan, Shravan, Nitin and Praveen from Indiahikes were simply awesome. Whether it was food or micro spikes or the toilet tents, the management of Indiahikes was top notch in each and every case. It will take weeks or even months for me to come out of the hangover of the trek.” – Sabyasachi Manna, batch of May 2016

“I loved the trek … the itinerary was well planned.” – Gajendra Kumar K M, batch of May 2016

A professionally run trek where everyone was allowed to walk at their own pace and perhaps that was the single greatest attribute of Indiahikes trek team . The team bonded well together. Also the trek offered multiple landscapes, from pine forests to high altitude snow deserts, and that made it memorable.” – Subramanyam Venkatakrishnan, batch of May 2016

I absolutely loved the trek. Well, honestly, our trek team made it way more enjoyable and an experience worth remembering for a lifetime. Ankit, Trepan and Praveen were exceptionally amazing help and guided us really well. They were available for any kind of help, assistance and support required and really grateful to have had such an incredible leading group. Also, must mention how generous and tasty the food given during our trek was, considering the kind of circumstances we were under.” – Sama Ankolkar, batch of May 2016

I really liked it! I had a tough time with adjusting to the high altitude. But our trek leader and the staff on the trek were brilliant and did not faulter one bit on their end. If I completed the trek I owe it completely to them for their motivation and immense help. Right from the food, to the cleanliness, to instructions to food and friendliness everything was perfect!” – Anam Ankolkar, batch of May 2016

The trek was awesome and adventurous. it helped me to learn attitude and focus which will entail me to get desired results. the way our trek leader handled situations, people and motivated us helped us to complete the trek.” – Sumit Pachlangiya, batch of May 2016

Loved the trek.. Definitely one of the best experiences of my life till date.. from lush green mountains to calm peaceful villages to barren lands to snow capped peaks.. facing intense heat, rain and snowfall.. this trek had it all! One week of pure bliss and tranquility.” – Umang Dhawan, batch of May 2016

Being a first time trekker I enjoyed the trek to the fullest specially I time I have spent in between the nature for those days. Things I liked about the trek is Discipline and professional environment to do the trek, Good support staff at every base camp, maggie breaks in between the treks, scenic beauty on every corner of the trek, Snow fall on last 3 days, Each Camp site location and definitely the food served to all of us.” – Robin Gupta, batch of May 2016

The entire trek was just awesome. Everything was so meticulously planned and the staff (ground & onsite) is really passionate about what they do and I think that made a big difference.” –Santosh Reddy, batch of May 2016

The overall experience was amazing. The trek leader, Mayank and our guide, Yashpal were thoroughly responsible and ensured that everyone managed to finish. Food was brilliant and the onsite team did a wonderful job with tents, toilets and washing pits. A completely satisfying trek.” – Aditi, batch of May 2016

Well, I never expected that a trek can be such beautiful and memorable one. Before registration I had many doubts about Indiahikes(I did not go on any trek with IH before it), like how will be their management or will be the stuffs friendlier and much more. But IH not only meet all the expectations but it has crossed it’s limit. A standing ovation for your management, professionalism and responsibility towards the environment(Green Trails).” – Milan Sir, batch of May 2016

“Really loved the trek. The entire trek was mindblowing and way better than what i had expected from a trek overall. It includes scenery, experience, and the way we were treated. Special thanks to Dashod Bhai, Vishal Sir and our team Sweeper, Lovely. We were introduced to everyone in the staff, everyday. This was the best thing I’ve seen. Meeting the back team that makes us feel like family.” – Utsav Shah, batch of May 2016

Excellent setup, guides and leads. Way to go, good job in promoting the untouched and amazing hiking places in India.” – Swanand Pathak, batch of May 2016

Rupin pass trek was challenging and beautiful. Campsites were awesome. Indiahikes’s staff especially Ankit(Trek Leader), Trepan and Praveen were very professional and proactive in every aspect related to health, food or other facilities for trekkers.” – Rajnish Kumar Singh, batch of May 2016

I liked everything about the trek right from the way the route has been planned so that the body acclaimatizes and builds strength for the climb to the pass. Food was excellent and IH staff trek leader, assistant trek leaders were very professional and did their job well.” – Saurabh Chowdhury, batch of May 2016

“The trek was one of the most memorable event in my life. With the serene nature around you everytime the trek leaders always ensured to give us the best out of the trek. Trek leaders were more like our brothers rather than a leader. Always encouraging, giving us tips, monitoring our performance, health…  I particularly liked the discipline and the clarity of trek details. We always felt secured and could rely on Indiahikes when in doubt. This was my first trek and could feel the professionalism and care instilled with IH. Thanks for the memorable experience.” – Raghu R, batch of May 2016

I loved the trek to Rupin Pass. Under the trek leader’s and the technical staff’s able guidance, all 25 of us were able to complete the trek. Thanks Indiahikes.” – Rekha Singh, batch of May 2016

It was very well-organised. I really appreciate the efforts made by the crew to make our trek not only successful but also a joyful experience. The technical staff at the Pass was also well-versed in their skill & the entire group had a very enriching time. I am sure there must have been innumerable people, back stage including the ground coordinatores, who ensured a seamless delivery. Thanks!” – Sangeeta Karkhanis, batch of May 2016



Short Itinerary

Day 1 : Pick up at 6:30am from Dehradun Railway Station. Drive to Dhaula – 10-11 hours. Cab cost – Rs.5,500 per vehicle, to be paid by trekkers directly to the driver.

Day 2 : Dhaula (5,100 ft) to Sewa (6,300 ft); 6 hours

Day 3 : Sewa (6,300 ft) to Jiskun (7,700 ft); 6 hours

Day 4 : Jiskun (7,700 ft) to Udaknal (10,100 ft); 5 hours

Day 5 : Udaknal (10,100 ft) to Dhanderas thatch (11,700 ft); 5 hours

Day 6 : Acclimatization Day

Day 7 : Dhanderas thatch (11,700 ft) to Upper Waterfall camp (13,100 ft); 2 – 3 hours

Day 8 : Upper Waterfall camp (13,100 ft) to Rupin Pass (15,380 ft) via Rati Pheri, further on to Ronti Gad (13,100 ft); 10-11 hours

Day 9 : Ronti Gad (13,100 ft) to Sangla (8,600 ft) Via Sangla Kanda (11,427 ft); 6 hours

 Please note that you will be staying in tents on all days of the trek (3 per tent).


Click here to view the Trail Map

What Other Trekkers Are Saying About Rupin Pass Trek

“I loved the trek because of the ever changing trails, road walk, jungle walk, magnificent views of Rupin river throughout the trek and of course because of the scenery of the last three days. But above all it is the Indiahikes team who made it dead easy for us. I was literally in a different world in between them. Whether it was food or micro spikes or the toilet tents, the management of Indiahikes was top notch in each and every case. It will take weeks or even months for me to come out of the hangover of the trek.”

– Sabyasachi Manna

“Really loved the trek. The entire trek was mindblowing and way better than what i had expected from a trek overall. It includes scenery, experience, and the way we were treated. Special thanks to DashodBhai, Vishal Sir and our team Sweeper Lovely. They were all really amazing and we loved the way how they made us feel like family.”

– Utsav Shah

“Well, I never expected that a trek can be such beautiful and memorable one. Before registration I had many doubts about Indiahikes, like how will be their management or will be the stuffs friendlier and much more. But Indiahikes not only met all the expectations but it crossed its limit. A standing ovation for your management, professionalism and responsibility towards the environment(Green Trails).

– Milan Sar

Whom is this trek for?

Rupin pass is the ideal trek for someone who is fit and looking for a challenging trek. The trek has lots to offer – quaint Himalayan villages, towering cliffs, dark and dense forests, 3 days of trekking on snow, a thrilling gully climb, unforgettable snow slides. It is very important that you are physically fit. Prior high altitude trekking experience is desirable but not mandatory. A physically fit person above the age of 12 can go on this trek.

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