All I wanted was to escape to any secluded place, but summers and this sweaty hot weather left me with very a few options, and I don’t know how I thought of going to the Himalayas. But that turned out to be the best decision I ever made. And yaayy! I summited Pangarchulla Peak (14,700 feet) on 2nd May 18′.
Here’s my 7 days journey when I was lost in the Himalayas, although I am still lost in its thoughts.
*Day – 1* ‘Rishikesh to Joshimath’
My journey to reach and summit the mystical mountains started from Rishikesh after spending a day there at a small town JOSHIMATH which is also the base camp for many other prominent treks like the Valley of Flowers, Kauri Pass, Nanda Devi…
My Rishikesh Trip– https://www.tripsygirl.com/rishikesh
The whole route was just breathtaking. After a sleepless and a bit tiring journey, we reached our base camp and were introduced to our group followed by a briefing session about the trek. I was now so much pumped up, also a hell lot of thoughts started bombarding as what’s reserved for me throughout my first Himalayan trek.
Let’s see how was the next day…
*Day – 2* ‘Joshimath to Gulling Top’
A heavenly 12km drive from Joshimath to DHAK VILLAGE (6,790 feet) took the breath away but brought us closer to the gigantic Himalayas. Mt. Dhoragiri, Nanda Devi, Hathi, and Ghora Parvat already started greeting us with their magnificent views. After reaching the Dhak village – ascending narrow rocky patches, passing through Tugasi village, Gulling village, crossing water streams, seeing a gradual change in scenery turning green from dusty brown color was a delight in itself.
After a 6km trek, we finally made way to our first campsite GULLING TOP (9,600 feet) and learned to pitch in our tents. A short acclimatization walk and playing sitoliya amid nature rejuvenated us and made our day more enjoyable.
Playing Sitoliya amid the mountains
*Day – 3* ‘Gulling Top to Khullara’
Yayy..we are going higher and higher! After having some snacks, warm-up and stretching sessions we started for our next campsite KHULLARA (11,122 feet) a little early as it was a 6 km steep ascent through the coniferous forest which had giant pines, oaks, walnut trees.
The trail also treated us with some dramatic streams and with incredible views of Mt. Neelkant, Chaukhamba, Mt. Dhonagiri, Hathi and Ghora Parvat and a few other Himalayan ranges. We were then gifted with beautifully laid out mountain flowers and rhododendron trees. The landscapes still didn’t stop changing its color along the way.
In the end, we reached the lush green sprawling Khullara meadows which held mesmerizing and breathtaking views all around.
*Day – 4* ‘Khullara to Jhandi Top and Back’
Initially, it wasn’t an exciting or thrilling day for us, as our next campsite GAILGAD (12,300 feet) was already occupied by other trekkers and there was space scarcity so we had to spend another day at Khullara itself. But our trek leader planned our day wisely in a way that we can enjoy the day and get enough acclimatized as well.
After the yoga session in the morning, we summited (after a 3 km climb) JHANDI TOP (12,000+ feet) which is not so far away from Gailgad. The trail had no tree lines as hostile winds and low moisture content didn’t let the trees grow there. Also, there are absolutely no water sources on the way, so water needs to be carried along.
The trail only had boulders, grasslands, mountain flowers, medicinal plants (only locals can identify them) and yeah also bones (scary). 😛
This time we were treated with 360-degree spectacular mountain views from the top. We descended to Khullara and were ready to hit the bed by 7 PM so that we can relax well for the big day – Summit Day!
*Day – 5 ‘Khullara to Pangarchulla Peak and Back’ *
Finally! The much-awaited day – SUMMIT DAY started at 2 AM for us as we had to start from Khullara and not from Gailgad, excited and a bit nervous as we had to cover approx. 16 km (ascend and descend) in a day. We started ascending at night in the bone-chilling weather under the full moonlight and with our head torch on.
After crossing some narrow trails and climbing steep ascends, we somehow managed to reach Khullara top by approx. 5 AM. The landscape again turned its color from brown and green to glistening white. After a few minutes, the sun rose over a mountain leaving it orangish white and leaving us in wonderment.
Now it was time to put on crampons and walk on that white sparkling snow and enjoy some jaw-dropping views more closely. Initially, the trail wasn’t so steep and tricky but starting changing.
After reaching Pangarchulla Base we were given a surprise – we were served tea on the mountains, yeah really that was the best surprise one can get in that chilly weather and before a strenuous walk.
We now started ascending on extremely steep narrow ridges, also the crazy winds accompanied us all along the way. At a few places, our leaders helped to make the trail by cutting down the snow.
The weather, the winds, lack of sleep, continuous ascend, tough trails started taking a toll on the body but we were all determined and kept going. It was an ultimate test of willpower, stamina, and endurance.
We all successfully reached the Baby Pangarchulla Summit and were only a few meters away from the Pangarchulla Peak Summit (14,700 feet). The trail to the summit was the most grueling ascend and much narrower but we were all super excited as we were only a few steps away from the summit. And yessssss, WE MADE IT! It was a WOW moment! 🙂
Everyone started congratulating each other and it was a moment to rejoice. Some people had beaming faces and some cried out because of that achievement feeling and happiness!
The mountains God mustn’t be happy with us and the weather turned completely foggy blocking all the views which we were dying to witness for long. Hard Luck! 🙁
After a hell lot of photo sessions, we started descending, now this was the trickiest part. On both sides, thousands of feet down there were valley glaciers, so we had to be super cautious about not slip on either side. (P.S. Avoid taking photos there). The snow already started melting as we started descending at 11 AM.
After some time the weather changed dramatically and it started hailing.
After crossing some giant boulders, after falling ample times and walking down the snow, we did the craziest part, we slid down a couple of times. 😀
While descending down from Khullara top, bad hailstorm again started followed by heavy rainfall and turned the trailing white. Somehow we managed to reach our camps by 7 PM dead tired.
We were lucky to have a leader who served us tea in our camp while it was raining heavily. We all crashed into our sleeping bag without having our summit special meal after 17 hours of exhausting walk and hardship.
*Day – 6 Khullara to Joshimath*
Now it was time to say goodbye to the mystical mountains which will start hiding as we will descend down. It was getting hard to think that we will be back to Joshimath base camp and leave the mountains and those jaw-dropping views behind.
Early morning we started descending down, crossed the forest, villages and stopped at a few places to talk to the locals and learn something about their culture and how’s their life in the mountains.
Also, I couldn’t resist taking a picture with these cute mountain kids.
We all descended 12 km well on time and enjoyed some street side food at Joshimath. In the evening we were given our certificate of achievement and everyone poured their heart out and shared their experiences.
*Day – 7* ‘Joshimath to Haridwar’
At 7 AM, we started for our journey back to the city, the mountains must have certainly called us so we had reached but now it was time to bid audie to this different and magical world, to the mountains and to the team. After breakfast and lunch pit stops, we reached Haridwar at 6 PM. Now everyone departed and I had to catch my train back to home 🙁
I must have missed the views from the top but I discovered my strengths, my hidden potentials, I conquered. I must have left the mountains behind but a piece of my heart and soul is still there – WANDERING!
Trek Booking was done through– www.trekthehimalayas.com