Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget!

Tripoto

For my first trek of 2020, I decided to take the Kuari pass winter trek during end of December. The recent weather reports suggest that mountains in Uttrakhand will continue to receive heavy snowfall in the first weeks of January, so i figured this is the perfect time.

Photo of Kuari Pass, Salud Dugra, Uttarakhand, India by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon

Getting there

The nearest town to reach Kuari Pass, also known as the lord Curzon trail, is Joshimath. There is no direct bus for Joshimath to Delhi, so in order to reach Joshimath, first you will have to reach Haridwar from Delhi and then take a direct bus from Haridwar to Joshimath.

Photo of Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget! by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon

I got into a bus to Haridwar from ISBT Kashmiri Gate, Delhi (Rs 250), the bus left Delhi at 10.30 pm and reached Haridwar by 3.30 am. The bus to Joshimath was at 4.00 am (Rs.400). There are many buses from Haridwar to Joshimath which usually leave early (all before 6.00 am).

Note: You will hardly find any bus going to Joshimath after 7.00 am.

Even though it was a long and treacherous 12-hour-long bus ride from Haridwar, the beauty of the mountains doesn't let you feel a thing.

Photo of Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget! by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon

Entering the snow covered Joshimath

Located at a height of above 6,000 ft, Joshimath is a small town nestled between tall mountains. I was already captivated by the beauty of the snow-capped mountains as soon as I'd set foot in the town.

For the trek, I had made prior arrangements with a local guide. It was the first time ever that I'd hired a guide for a trek, but it was required as the trail was snow covered and I was going solo.

Photo of Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget! by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon

Since it was 4.00 pm when I reached Joshimath, my plan was to start trekking early in the morning, the next day. I got myself a nice cozy room at Hotel Elephant View for just Rs 300 per night.

Photo of Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget! by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon

Trek to Kuari Pass

The next morning, I took a jeep ride till Dhak village (arranged by the guide), 15 kms from Joshimath.

The trek began with a spectacular view of the beautiful Himalayas including peaks like Nanda Devi and Dronagiri and was uphill for all parts. By the end of day one, we were in two feet deep snow and decided to camp at Talli (10 km from the starting point). There was no one else camping here, we pitched the tent and started collecting dry wood. It started getting really cold as the sun went down.

The temperature dropped below 0 degrees and it was hard to survive without the wood constantly burning. We packed ourselves into our sleeping bags as soon as the fire went off and drifted off to a numb slumber.

Photo of Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget! by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon

We started early the next morning after having a quick breakfast. We took a detour towards Talli top for a 360 degree view of the spectacular white mountains. I experienced snow blindness (caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light) for the first time. We were in 4-5ft of snow and trekking had become really difficult by now.

Photo of Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget! by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon

It was another 5 km from Talli to Kuari Pass when we hit the most difficult stretch of the trek. Snow of the trail increased making every step slippery and the high speed winds added to the struggle.

Proper trekking gear including gloves, cap and goggles are vital while attempting this trek in the winter. We were the first one to reach the Kuari Pass after the recent snowfall and for that, we were rewarded with these stunning views:

Photo of Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget! by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon
Photo of Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget! by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon
Photo of Begin 2020 at Kuari Pass: A Winter Trek You'll Never Forget! by Rohit kumar Singh Jadon

Finding our way back

We got back from Kuari Pass and reached Talli by 4.00 pm and camped there for the night. It was a good 12 kms trek back in 4-5ft of snow.

The trek next day was relatively easy as it was all downhill. We were also embraced by snowfall on our way back and everything just became overwhelmingly beautiful. I reached back Joshimath by 3.00 pm and checked into Hotel Elephant View once again for the night.

Buses to Haridwar depart early morning from Joshimath. The first one leaving at 4.00 am and the last at 6.00 am. From Hardiwar, you can get bus to Delhi anytime you want.

More about the trek

This is considered to be a moderate trek and the total distance is between 30-35 km. It can be attempted without a guide in summers but it is advisable to take a guide during the winter.

Essentials for winter: Warm clothes, waterproof shoes, gloves, goggles and cap.

If you wish, you can connect with Rakesh (my guide for the trek) at 9536454287.

Day wise itinerary

Day 0: Board the bus to Haridwar from ISBT Kashmiri Gate at 10.00 pm (Cost Rs 250).

Day 1: Reach Haridwar by 3.30 am. Catch a bus leaving for Joshimath (Rs 400) at 4.00am. Reach Joshimath by 4.00 pm. Check into a hotel for the night and start the trek, the next morning.

Day 2: Reach Dhak village from Joshimath, start trekking from Dhak to Talli. Camp overnight at Talli.

Day3: Trek till Kuari Pass and back till Talli. Camp overnight at Talli.

Day 4: Trek back to Joshimath. Explore Joshimath, rest overnight at the hotel.

Day 5: Take the early morning bus to Haridwar and then proceed towards Delhi from Haridwar.

Need travel inspiration for the new year? Click here to go around the world in 2020!

Check out the ultimate 2020 bucket list!

This post was originally published on Travel Beings.