This Hidden Trek In Uttarakhand Might Be The Most Dangerous Indian Trek: Kalindi Khal Pass Trek

Tripoto

This trek is considered to be one of the toughest treks in India. With a total distance of almost 100km, you pass through natural lakes, rough glaciers, valleys and crevasses while on this trek. Kalindi Khal Pass itself is located at an altitude of 19,500ft and you never get below 13,000ft after day two until the last day. The trek begins from Gangotri and ends at Badrinath after a minimum of 12 days.

How to reach Gangotri

This Hindu pilgrim destination is filled with crowd of devotees. It is well connected with rest of the big cities of Uttrakhand but not connected to Delhi directly. You will have to reach Haridwar from Delhi and from there you can take bus or taxi for Gangotri. There is also an option of shared jeeps to reach there.

Difficulty level

This trail just gained popularity amongst trek enthusiast, before 2011 the administration was skeptical about even giving out permits to do this trek because of high causality rate. Crossing Kalindhi Khal Pass is a challenging task which requires basic knowledge of mountaineering as well.

Cost

This trek is strictly to be done with professionals and proper gear. Organisers like Bikat, Tourmyindia and Thrillophilia do this trek, starting from ₹85000, Gangotri to Badrinath, inclusive of all the equipment, guide, camping, support staff and meals.

Trek route

Gangotri - Bhojbasa - Gomukh - Tapovan - Nandvan - Vasuki Tal - Khara Pathar - Kalindi Khal Base - Kalindi Khal Pass - Raja Parv - Arwa Tal - Ghastali - Mana

When to do it

The ideal season for this trek is from July end to mid October. For the rest of the months it is impossible to access the pass because of snow.

Before commencing on this trek it is very important to check the weather since things can change drastically at such high altitude.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1

Gangotri - Bhojbasa (12,440 feet/14km)

The trek begins from the holy city and continues on the banks of river Bhagirathi. You walk leisurely with a mild ascent for 14km, enjoying the fascinating view of snowclad peaks all around you.

Day 2

Bhojbasa - Gomukh - Tapovan (14,632 feet/13km)

You trek through plains of moraines until you reach the birthplace of holy river river. You continue on the trail through the glacier and finally reach Tapovan, where you camp for the night. You can see Meru Peak and Bhagirathi I, II and III Peaks right next to you.

Day 3

Tapovan - Nandanvan (14,271 feet/8km)

You cross the meadows of Tapovan along with Gangotri glacier to reach a boulder rich terrain. The trail for this day is almost a vertical ascent full of crevasses, making it very difficult. At the end of the day you reach the high altitude meadow right next to the Shivling peak.

Day 4

Nandanvan - Vasuki Tal (16,010 feet/6km)

You will have to climb Chaturangi Glacier on this day, cross streams, gorges and valley. Support ropes would be required as the difficulty will keep on increasing. At the end of the day you will reach a half frozen lake right next to the Vasuki Parbat.

Day 5

Vasuki Tal - Khara Pathar (17,060 feet/6km)

You will have to trek almost 5km on a vertical ascent over moraines. All signs of vegetation will disappear and the altitude will make it tough for you to cover even small distances. You will have to camp in moraines.

Day 6

Khara Pathar - Shweta Glacier (17,880 feet/8km)

Another day of trekking with almost the same terrain like previous day. At the end of the day you will have clear view of Kalindi Peak.

Day 7

Shweta Glacier - Kalindi Base Camp (18,569 feet/6km)

An exciting day of trekking completely on glaciers, you will have to be in full gear with crampons. The trek is going to be very exhausting as the oxygen in air would be very low, it will take 5-6 hours to complete a 3km trek. You camp on the glacier only, preparing to climb the Kalindi Peak the next day.

Day 8

Kalindi Base - Kalindi Khal Pass (19,500 feet) - Raja Parav (16,076 feet/13km)

You will have to start really early on this day, leave camps at 1:00am - 2:00am. The ascent and descent both requires the use of a fixed ropes. The trail is full of tricky patches and hidden crevasses. Once at the summit you will be awed by the jaw dropping view. You descent to the otherside after crossing the pass and camp overnight.

Day 9

Raja Parav - Arwatal (14,763 feet/13km)

This is the last touch day on this trek, another day to start really early in the morning. You have to cross the glacial streams before the glaciers start melting. Once you cross them you will be done for the day.

Day 11

Arwatal - Ghastoli (12,467 feet/7km)

The trek will start getting easy from this day. You will see trees and grass after a while on this day. You will also see the first signs of civilization in form of a ITBP(Indo Tibet Border Police) camp. You will camp overnight on the banks of Arwa river.

Day 12

Ghastoli - Mana Village (10,500 feet/ 6km) - Drive from Mana to Badrinath

The trail from Ghastoli to Mana Village is well constructed and if you are lucky enough you can also hitch a ride in army vehicles moving on this trail. Once you reach Mana, you can get taxis for Bandrinath.

You should keep 1 or 2 days in buffer for acclimatization or any delays in trek due to bad weather conditions.

What to pack

Trek Shoes: Carrying good quality anti skid and waterproof trek shoes is a must as the terrain is going to be tough. Also crampons are required for this trek.

Backpack: A 50-60 litre backpack is required to carry all your essential for the trek.

Clothing: Multiple layers of clothing with heavy jackets, woolen socks and gloves are required. Thermals are a must as the temperature remains low.

Accessories: Sunglasses, cap, sunscreen with high SPF, moisturiser and toiletries.

Safety gears like harness, ropes, crampons and ice axes are required for this trek. Please ask your organisers about all the safety gear they are providing.

You can read in detail about things to carry on a Himalayan trek here

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