- Duration 15 days
- Altitute 5950m
- Stay Rooms/Tents
- Difficulty Expedition
Kalindi Khal Trek
This is the big daddy trek of the Indian Himalayas and it doesnt get any better than this. This expedition is set in a region that is steeped in spirituality, home to several hundreds of very high known and unknown mountains, is bordering China and is in a very remote location and bestowed with endless natural bounty. Add to this the challenge of scaling a difficult 6000m Himalayan pass and you have a blockbuster in the making.
Once experienced, rest assured the beauty of the region and the experience around it is going to be permanently etched in your memory.
Kalindikhal is not just a trek but a trekking expedition. While selecting this trek it would be good for one to understand the experience completely and make judgment basis past experience and personal capability. The challenges that this trek throws at the trekkers are:
- Acclimatization This is mountain travel at very high altitude so we will need to get acclimatized properly and in good time
- Uncertainty of weather conditions It is very difficult to be completely sure of conditions and weather can throw challenges during the expedition
- Remoteness This makes evacuation/back up difficult at times
- Crevasses, river crossings & some difficult traverses Along the expedition one will come across such difficulties
- Long Pass day On the Pass day depending on conditions one might have to trek for a long distance
While judging your capability it would be advisable if you could evaluate yourself on the following:
- Mental strength You will be travelling in a remote location for number of days and with challenges thrown in between
- Endurance & Fitness We will be trekking & camping for 13 days in mountainous terrain so you need to have requisite endurance and body fitness
- Past experience in the mountains This will help you understand the requirements better and also you would know how your body acclimatizes at higher altitudes
- Risk taking & handling ability This is pure adventure travel and one takes calculated risks on this trek
- Your overall health You should not be suffering from any major ailment.
Please note that it is not essential for one to have knowledge of technical climbing/mountaineering. We will have a lead climbing guide, an assistant guide and a safety guide accompanying the group and so between them they will brief and assist you wherever required.
This expedition starts from the beautiful temple town of Gangotri on the banks of Ganga, the holiest river in the country. Having taken the blessings of the residing deity, Ganga ma (Mother Ganges) we start our trek. In the first stage we trek up to Gaumukh, the snout of the Gangotri glacier and source of the holy Ganges. Continuing ahead we get to the heavenly meadows at Tapovan surely one of the finest camping ground in the Himalayas with lush green pastures, network of streams and awe-inspiring peaks like Shivling, Bhagirathi & Meru all around. Having spent an extra day at Tapovan and well acclimatized to the conditions, we move to another majestic meadow across the Gangotri glacier called Nandanvan.
In the middle stage we trek up to Vasukital and camp by the beautiful lake for 2 nights for better acclimatization. From here we hike up to the base of the pass in 3 days through a maze of moraine, glaciers and high mountains. Its the most important day of the expedition when we scale the pass. Our team of guides will decide on a route and time for starting the climb. Depending on the conditions the route can become a bit technical and we stay roped up throughout. We might need to cut steps, rappel down and use some other technical manoeuvres but rest assured that all this will be taken care of by the team of guides. The climb will surely be exhausting but well worth the effort when we scale Kalindikhal at 5950m. Here youre literally on top of the world with giant peaks at an arms distance and spectacular views all around. Shivlinga PeakWe take pictures and rest for some time before we start our descent, which also needs to be negotiated very carefully till we are out of crevassed regions. Be prepared for a long descent today.
In the last stage lasting 2 days we descend through a beautiful landscape making a few adventurous river crossings to reach the temple town of Badrinath. We visit the Badrinath shrine and pay obeisance for the successful expedition before heading to our scenically located lodge at Auli where we rediscover the joys of hot shower. In the night we have a grand celebration for the successful expedition.
Day 01: Dehradun Harsil (2600m) [drive/280 kms/8 hrs]
Day 02: Harsil (2600m) Gangotri (3050m) Chirbasa (3550m) [drive/20 kms & trek/3 hrs]
Day 03: Chirbasa (3550m) Bhojwasa (3850m) [trek/2 hrs]
Day 04: Bhojwasa (3850m) Gaumukh (3890m) Tapovan (4463m) [trek/4 hrs]
Day 05: Tapovan (4463m) rest /acclimatisation/exploration day
Day 06: Tapovan (4463m) Nandanvan (4337m) [trek/3-4 hrs]
Day 07: Nandanvan (4337m) Vasuki tal (4880m) [trek/4-5 hrs]
Day 08: Vasuki tal (4880m) rest & acclimatisation day
Day 09: Vasuki tal Khara pathar (5480 m) [trek/3-4 hrs]
Day 10: Khara pathar Shweta glacier (5500m) [trek/4-5 hrs]
Day 11: Shweta glacier (5500m) Kalindi base camp (5600m) [trek/4-5 hrs]
Day 12: Kalindi base (5600m) Kalindikhal (5950m) Beyond Arwatal (3980m) [trek/8-13 hrs] depending on conditions
Day 13: Arwatal (3980m) Ghastoli (3796m) [trek/5-6 hrs]
Day 14: Ghastoli Badrinath Auli trek/5-6 hrs & [drive/2 hrs]
Day 15: Auli Haridwar/Dehradun [drive/8-9 hrs]
We begin the drive from Dehradun to Harsil, passing Uttarkashi on the way. Harsil is a small hamlet and is considered to be one of the most scenic places in the Indian Himalayas. Here we will stay at the beautifully located Himalayan Eco Lodges (www.himalayanecolodges.com/harsil.php). Check into the lodge and relax. Overnight at the lodge.
We will drive for a short distance in the Bhagirathi valley through stunning landscape to reach Gangotri, a revered temple town bestowed with exceptional beauty. This small town is situated on the banks of Ganga, the holiest river in the world. The spiritual intensity of this place is something people of all religions from different parts of the world feel and experience here. There are many Sadhus (holymen) & pilgrims inhabiting this small and beautiful town. We will visit the temple here and the holy ghat at Gangotri and seek blessings for a safe and successful adventure ahead. Our trek starts from Gangotri as we enter into the Gangotri National park. Every step from here on is a pleasure for mountain lovers. Few minutes into the trek we get great views of the Bhagirathi peaks. It's a short stage today and we will make it to our campsite at Chirbasa in about 3 hours or so. This stage has been planned to help us acclimatise well before we get into high altitude region. Overnight in tents.
We start our hike getting fantastic views of Bhagirathi, Shivling & Bhrigu parbat. This is again a short stage and we hope to be properly acclimatised after spending a full day here. Bhojwasa gets its name after the bhojpatra trees or silver birch trees that grow in abundance here. We will set up our camp here, have lunch and then trek up to Gaumukh to gain altitude. After spending some time at Gaumukh we will head down to the campsite at Bhojwasa. Gaumukh, means Cow's mouth which is with reference to the shape of the glacier snout. The snout is the source of the Ganges and is a very holy place for millions of people around the world. Today you are quite likely to see Bharals, variety of mountain antelope. These animals generally are comfortable around humans and might come visiting the campsite. Overnight in tents.
After breakfast we trek up to Gaumukh again and from there walk on moraine for quite some time before climbing a steep section to reach Tapovan, a place of exceptional beauty. Tapovan is a little paradise and hits you hard with its contrasting beauty. This high altitude meadow has endless green pastures, network of small streams and backdrop of some of the most popular mountains in the world. We will camp at the edge of Shivling peak (Matterhorn of India and surely the most famous climbing peak) and will face the famous Bhagirathi I, II & III peaks. Also visible from our campsite is the Meru peak. Overnight in tents.
Kalindikhal trek takes you to almost 6000m and for us to be able to do this we need to be acclimatised very well and our body should have energy required to take on the climb. Keeping this in mind we spend another day at Tapovan. You are sure to enjoy every minute spent here. Do your own thing today - explore the meadows of Tapovan, or attempt a short climb towards the Shivling base camp or hike up till Kirti glacier or just relax. Overnight in tents
Today we will crossover to the other side of the Gangotri glacier to reach the meadows of Nandanvan. It's going to be an interesting hike today as you traverse a glacier full of moraine, scree and small pools with turquoise glacial water. There are going to be several ups and downs. It's a short stage and should take about 3 hours. From Nandanvan there are super views of Shivling, Bhagirathi, Sudarshan, Thelu and Kedardome peaks. Overnight stay in tents.
There is no drastic change in the scenery today and we basically climb up to the lake with the gradient being moderate. We will for most time climb up along the Chaturangi Glacier. Just like yesterday this is also a small stage with one trick crossing just before the lake. This might require the guides to set up a rope for safe passage. Once at the lake relax and soak in the beauty. We might come across teams scaling Satopanth and Vasuki Parbat at Vasuki tal as most teams set up their base camp here. Overnight stay in tents.
Our next campsite is going to be at an altitude of almost 5500m so we take rest at Vasuki Tal and get acclimatised properly. The setting is perfect for relaxation and exploratory hikes. Overnight in tents.
The scenery changes a little as mountains start seeming to be much closer and moraine all around. The network of mountains all around is mesmerising. To stay in good shape for the pass climb we do short stages. Khara Pathar is a small camping area with moraine all around. Overnight in tents.
You will surely feel the difference in landscape today. There is moraine, glaciers and very big mountains all along the trek. The route is short and is fine with no technical patches anywhere. There are no grassy meadows for camping and we will need to create space on moraine to camp with the glacier being under us. One can clearly feel a lot of glacier movement in the area. Overnight in tents.
If you had any doubts about being on an expedition, today is the day your doubts take flight. As we move up to the base camp it becomes pretty evident that we are entering a beautiful terrain with an intricate network of mountains and glaciers and one which requires careful navigation and passage. It is yet again a short hike of about 4 hours to the base camp. Base camp is a completely wild place and from here you can see the route almost till the top of the pass if weather is clear. We will rest and prepare for the big day tomorrow. Team of guides will go on a recce hike and decide on the route to be taken the next day. In the evening there is going to be a final briefing by the lead guide on the climb for tomorrow and safety measures that team members need to adhere to. We have an early dinner as we will be departing very early tomorrow morning. Overnight in tents.
We will wake up very early (around 1:00 a.m.) and get ready to start the climb when we get the signal from the lead guide. A lot depends on the snow and weather conditions and keeping this in mind the climb will be planned by the team of guides accompanying the group. It's a challenging climb to the top of the pass with the gradient being pretty steep almost throughout. We will be roped up for almost the whole climb and descent as there are crevasses and tricky sections along the route. In case of fresh snow we will need to be extra careful about the crevasses which get hidden also the effort to climb increases as one sinks into the snow. All the hard work that one puts into the climb is paid for in gold when we reach the top. More than the views it's the sense of achievement; having scaled a difficult 6000m Himalayan pass in a very remote location. Pat yourself on the back soak in stunning views, take a few pics and get back to business. Half the job is still left, we need to descend carefully to the campsite. We trek down to Rajparav (4910m) and then further to Arwatal and beyond. It's a very long descent and we take breaks in between. On reaching the camp we have a celebratory drink (don't get ideas it's going to be masala tea!!!). Tiredness would be forcing you to sleep and the excitement of having crossed one of the most difficult passes in the Indian Himalayas will keep you up. Overnight in tents.
We have some more adventure waiting for us in the form of 3-4 river crossings that we need to do today but nothing in comparison to what we have tackled the previous day. Other than this it's a beautiful walk today. At Ghastoli we will see first signs of inhabitation in the form of army establishment here. This area is very close to Tibet/China border and hence sensitive from security point of view. We will have a cup of tea with the soldiers and interact with them for some time. Today we will camp on a beautiful campsite by the Arwa river. Overnight in tents.
There's a fully constructed road till Ghastoli now and we will be walking on it most of the time. It's a long downhill walk and if we get lucky we might get to hitch a ride on an army truck. We go down to the Mana village which is the last settlement before the Tibet border on the Indian side. It's a very scenic and cultural village. At Mana we get into the waiting vehicle and drive to the scenic temple town of Badrinath. Here we visit the ancient temple and thank god for the safe and successful expedition. From Badrinath we drive for another 90 mins to reach the famous skiing destination, Auli. Here we stay at the scenically located Himalayan Eco Lodge. In the evening after a hot shower and change of clothes we celebrate our achievement. Overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast, we drive down to Haridwar/Dehradun. Trip ends here.
- 2 guides for the small group. This will ensure high safety and more information and personal attention which are necessary to appreciate a trek. All our guides are professionally trained and have many years of relevant experience in guiding treks.
- Accommodation in a hotel/guesthouse at Barsu on single/ double occupancy. Accommodation will be in a basic but neat & clean hotel/guesthouse
High quality Camping arrangements
- 3/4 season imported alpine tents
- Fresh and clean sleeping bags of very good quality
- Good quality Camping Mattresses
- Camping stools & tables
- Mess Tent
- Toilet tents (2) with portable toilet seats
- First Aid / Medical kit
- All meals starting from dinner on Day 1 till breakfast on Day 15. A lot of emphasis is given to nutritional needs and a menu of vegetarian dishes is prepared accordingly.
- Tea/coffee will be served throughout
- Porter/mule charges for carrying camping equipment & rations
- Forest entry charges, permits & camping fee (if any)
- First aid kit (our guides are certified in handling first aid situations)
- Transport of any nature (to include transport click on the transport box above)
- Porter/mule charges to carry your personal bag
- Any meals/services not mentioned above
- Any charges for video cameras, still cameras, etc.
- Alcohol, soft drinks, beverages, etc.
- Personal expenses like tips, telephone calls, laundry, etc.
- Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances like landslides, road blocks, bad weather, etc.
- 5% GST
Rs. 125,000Departure Dates
Recognised by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India as an Approved Adventure Tour Operator