At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes

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Ronti Saddle Trek

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

One of the most picturesque and challenging treks of the Uttarakhand region is the Ronti Saddle Trek. The Ronti Saddle is a saddle between the two glorious Himalayan peaks of Trishul and Nanda Ghunti standing at an altitude of 5,200 metres. You must have heard eons about the mysterious Roopkund Trek and might have also done it. The Ronti saddle trek is approached from the Roopkund side and after crossing the Junargali Pass above Roopkund, you enter the Sheela Samudra Valley.

Courtesy: Agniswar Kansabanik

Photo of Roop Kund, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Amrita

After crossing the Junargali Pass, there is a sharp descent to the vast and remote grassland of Sheela samudra. Sheela Samudra literally means the “sea of rocks” (Sheela means rocks and samudra means sea). The name is given to the glacier coming down from the magnificent Trishul. The vast grassland is almost isolated and silent. The only noise you might here is of the frequent breaking of ice from the Trishul while it falls down to feed the Sheela Samudra glacier.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

After crossing the Sheela Samudra, you will pass the Do dang campsite and then the Homkund, another glacial lake. Thus, in this challenging trek, you are going to encounter two very beautiful lakes – the Roopkund and the Homkund. And the remoteness of the trek also adds to its beauty.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Lohajung to Gehroli Patal via Wan (5 - 6 hrs)

Lohajung is the basecamp. From Lohajung, drive to Wan, a small village on the lap of the mountains. The initial trail passes through a cemented path with a brief ascent and then a gradual descent until you come to the gurgling waters of Neel Ganga. This place is a perfect place to take a breather because first day of the trek is always tiring. You can refill your bottle sat the cool and refreshing waters of the Neel Ganga.

Photo of Lohajung - Wan Road, Vaan Madhye Kuling, Uttarakhand, India by Amrita

Next, ascent begins towards the first campsite Gehroli Patal. The trail is through the forests of oak and rhododendrons. After a hard trek, you will come across one of the most beautiful camping sites amidst the canopy of large trees - Gehroli Patal. This campsite is a rewarding place after a hard day of trek.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

Day 2: Gehroli Patal – Bedni Bugyal (2 - 3 hrs)

The day starts with steep ascent through the oak and rhododendron forests. After an hour of steepascent, the trail will open up to a hude meadow. You are at Ali Bugyal. All your tiredness will be forgotten at the sight of the vast stretches of the meadow. Endless, undulating meadow will be just in front of you at whatever direction you lay your eyes on. All your tiredness is sure to be forgotten after such a sight. And the Trishul and Nandaghunti peaks will seem just at a stones throw. Clouds drift in from below, glide over the ridge and slide down the either side, all in a slow swift motion.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

From the Ali Bugyal, you will then trek to the Bedni Bugyal, 5 km away. This is a mild walk with gradual ascent and descent and through the lush green meadows. You may even be tempted to open your shoes and walk barefoot on the carpet of green grasses of the meadows. Towards the end of Ali Bugyal there's a short switchback climb of 20 minutes before the trail levels out to a gentle trail to Bedni Bugyal. It takes about an hour to get to Bedni Bugyal from this point.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

Day 3: Bedni Bugiyal – Baghuabasa (6 - 7 hrs)

The morning starts with the view of the beautiful sunrise on the Trishul. You can view the Himalayan peaks of Trishul, Nandaghunti, Chaukhamba, Kedardome and Nilkantha from your campsite at Bedni Bugyal. The trail starts with gradual ascent and then a flat trail till Ghora Lotani. From here, the trail is a gradual ascent to Pathar Nachauni. Pathar Nachauni can be easily identified by the green trekkers’ hut.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

After Pathar Nachauni, the trail becomes difficult and tests your stamina as well as mental strength. You have to take a steep zig-zag ascent towards Kalu Vinayak. This part of the trail is really difficult till you reach the small temple of Lord Ganesha. Once you reach the temple, seek blessings of the God. Spend some time here for the worst part of the trek is over. Bhaguabasa is an easy trail from here. There is a mild ascent to the campsite of Bhaguabasa marked by green huts. Bhaguabasa is your campsite for the day. Rest and enjoy the beauty around for the rest of the day.

Day 4: Baghuabasa – Roopkund – Junairagali Pass – Sheela Samudra (6 – 7 hrs)

Today, start as early as possible. Start your climb towards Roopkund, the Skeletal Lake. Trek to Roopkund is an ascent and you have to negotiate some stone steps to reach there. It will take about 3 hours to reach Roopkund and the last hour of the trek is a steep climb. Once you reach Roopkund, enjoy the serenity of the place. you can see the circular lake and also the skeletons scattered around. Spend some time there and then start your ascent towards Junargali.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

Climb to Junargali is not an easy one; it is a steep climb against a wall of hard snow. Hence, proper guidance and equipment are required to negotiate the Junargali Pass. Once you are at the Junargali top at 5150 metres, you will be greeted with majestic views of the mountain ranges. From here, you will get a panoramic view of the Trishul massif, the Nandaghunti and Ronti Saddle. This is the grandest views you can see at the trek.

The descent from the Junargali Pass to Sheela Samudra is also a steep one and snow makes it much trickier. Follow the advice of your guides well here. After 2 hours of trek, you will come across a huge boulder. That is your campsite for the day. The Trishul will be seen much closer now. Enjoy the views of the nature.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

Day 5: Sheela Samudra – Dodang (5 hrs)

Start you trek by crossing the boulders of the Sheela Samudra. The route then follows the Nandakini River. there is a gradual climb which can get slippery at times with almost no trail. Soon you will reach a huge boulder near a cave. This is your campsite for the day – Dodang.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

Day 6: Dodang – Homkund – Ronti Saddle – Dodang (5-6 hrs)

This is another difficult day of the trek. Start early this day. The trail starts with an easy climb after which you will come across a sharp ridge. Take the trail that is a little downside on the left of the ridge. After trekking for sometime, you will come to the Homkund. Offer your prayers at the Homkund and then start your climb towards the Ronti Saddle.initially, the climb is through the rocky boulders and then you have to zig-zag your way through the snow field. It is a steep and strenuous climb of 2 hours from Homkund to the Ronti Saddle.

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

But you will get the most breathtaking views from the top of the Ronti saddle. The Ronti peaks 1,2,3, the Nandaghunti and Dronagiri simply looks magnificent and spectacular just in front of you. after spending some time up there, retrace your steps back through the same route to reach Dodang.

Day 7: Dodang – Chandaniya Ghat – Latakhopri (6 hrs)

Today is a long day. The trekking part is easy, but you have to cross the river that turns out to be a bit tricky. After crossing the river, an easy trek will take you to Latakhopri, your campsite for the day. It is a beautiful campsite amidst the deep jungle.

Courtesy: Agniswar Kansabanik

Photo of At 17,000ft, This Himalayan Trek Will Take You To Shimmering Glacial Lakes by Amrita

Day 8: Lata Khopri – Sutol (4 hrs)

Today, there is a gradual descent through the picturesque forests to an equally picturesque village, Sutol. It is a small village with a few houses, shops and a temple. Spend your time here exploring the village or you might take rest after the hard days of trekking.

Day 9: Sutol – Sitel – Ghat (5 hrs)

Today is the last day of the trek. 4 hours of trek will bring you to Sitel. From there, you have to take a vehicle to reach Ghat.

Day 10: Ghat – Rishikesh

Drive back to Rishikesh from Ghat.

How to reach the Base Camp, Lohajung:

The nearest Railway Head is Kathgodam, Uttarakhand. Lohajung is 230 km from Kathgodam. Kathgodam is well connected by train from Delhi and Kolkata.

Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, Uttrakhand

Best Time to do the Trek:

May, June and September, October are the best time to do the trek. You will definitely find snow on your way as well as the passes during May and June. Due to snow, crossing the passes will be more technical using ice axes and ropes. During September and October, snow will be lesser and you will get clear views of the mountain ranges.

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