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Friendship Peak Expedition| Manali Valley – Solang Valley|Himachal Pradesh

Name: Friendship Peak Trek
Approx elevation: 17,450 ft
Grade: Difficult
Starting Point: Manali

Introduction

Friendship Peak is situated in the Beas Kund area of Pir Panjal range at an altitude of 5,300 mt. It is a difficult level trekking peak which requires prior trekking experience and good fitness. It’s a semi-technical trek and ideal for people with limited or no mountaineering experience. It is the only open peak in Kullu-Manali district where no fee is required to be paid to IMF.

This is the most popular mountain area for foreign tourists also. The surrounding peaks like Hanuman Tibba, Shetidhar,Indra Asan, Seven Sisters and Deo Tibba offers amazing panoramic views of the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges.

The mix of Great Himalayan Ranges, Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal is the main highlight of Friendship Peak trek that grabs attention and interest of mountaineers from all over the world.
The trail to Friendship Peak unfolds from Solang Valley, and winds through beautiful oak forest, flowers, boulders, meadows, moraines and glaciers.

The lush expanses of the trail give way to a beautiful snow bed after a certain altitude.  As the summit ridge requires fixed rope, crampons and ice axe hence it surely demands a good fitness but it needs no formal training of mountaineering to climb it.
The Friendship peak trek is an unmissable for those who are seeking a pure thrill.

Manali – Dhundi – Bakarthach | 7,500 ft – 9,500 ft – 10,700 ft
Distance: 5-6 km | Duration: 2 hr drive +  4-5 hrs trek

Travelling from Manali to Dhundi by road via Solang valley, we will begin our trek to Bhakar Thach campsite. Dhundi, the last village in Solang Valley, where the Beas River meet its first tributary between the Beas Kund and Rohtang Pass. From Dhundi our trek starts from the coniferous treeline to the high altitude meadows.

The climb to Bakartach is a not very steep and step by step the trails will grow beautiful, pain easing and rewarding. Huge Pine and Birch trees can be found on the trails.
The campsite is beautiful, beside the river and one of the beautiful places around. You can see the glacier from a distance.

Bakar Thach is a high altitude ‘shepherd field’, a marvellous expanse of greenery all around, where the shepherds let their cattle graze during summers and majority of the monsoons.
Bhakar thach can witness strong winds sometimes, so carefully set up the camp at a stable place covered by boulders.

Bakarthach – Beas Kund camp | 10,700 ft – 12,600 ft
Distance: 4-5 Km | Time: 4-5 Hrs

Today’s trek begin with a steep climb through subalpine bushes and wide variety of flowers leading to a maze of boulders.
You will notice lots of Cairns (perfectly balanced pule of small rocks to mark direction) on top of boulders which will help you to find way especially when the clouds are hanging low and visibility is low.

After crossing the boulders the trail continues on the left side of Beas river and later the valley opens to the vision of Beas Kund in distance.
Just before  the campsite you will have to cross many small streams. The streams are narrow and easily doable.

Beas Kund is 20 min walk from the campsite. The lake has beautiful greenish blue water and floating ice surrounded by steep meadows and alpine flowers.

Beas Kund | 12,800 ft

The trail towards Beas Kund goes through moraines and one has to cross streams flowing down from the Glacier. The landscape in the surrounding of Beas Kund is vast open valley with snow-capped and rocky mountains.
As you walk around the lake, you get a view of the mountains forming a veil that keeps this natural beauty untouched by human intrusion. Shetidhar, Ladakhi, Friendship, Hanuman Tibba are some of the famous peaks near the Beas Kund.

Beas  Kund is a serene lake from which River Beas originates. The lake isn’t great in its dimensions but is of great importance among Hindu inhabitants of the valley, who used to visit and worship on occasions. The lake is holy and polluting around it is prohibited.
As you touch the pristine, blue water of the lake, you can feel all your senses conspiring to relieve you from the exhaustion.

Beas Kund – Lady Leg | 12,600 ft – 12,900 ft
Distance: 4 km | Duration: 4-5 hrs

Today’s trek to Lady Leg campsite is pristine and beautiful. First you will have to trek till Beas Kund then a steep climb over the ridge.
The steep trail reaches highest point of the day – a small gully through which you cross on the other side of the ridge. While climbing you can have the top view of the Beas Kund which is awesome!

After reaching Lady Leg campsite have a good rest, enjoy the beautiful mountain ranges in front and clouds playing around. You will get proper view of Hanuman tibba from here.

You can also camp here for an extra day to rest and acclimatise properly. This day you can also have short visit to summit camp in your Koflach boots to get comfortable with the boots and also to check and decide a spot to put your camp next day.

Lady Leg – Summit camp | 12,900 ft – 13,900 ft
Distance: 3 km | Duration: 3 hrs

Today’s climb is steep but relatively short and takes around 2-3 hrs and it will be your first close encounter with Friendship Peak.
Make sure to carry all the equipment that you might need while climbing the peak.
The summit camp is situated between the mountain ranges and gives an alluring view of the peak. Spend the day to acclimatize and adjust in the ambiance.

Equipment briefing – Snow craft training

Also plan this day on Summit Camp for Equipment briefing and snow craft training. Learn how to use gears and techniques of rope fixation. Most importantly learn to arrest yourself on the slope because of the presence of almost perpendicular slopes which can be strenuous to climb.

Snow craft Training will mainly focus on following techniques

  • Self-arrest technique.
  • Using fix ropes.
  • Fixing and De fixing of carabiners.
  • Walking with crampons – front pointing and flat footing
  • Basic knot practising
  • Ascending and descending techniques
  • Basic self-rescue techniques

Summit camp – At the Summit – Lady Leg | 13,900 – 17,500 ft – 12,900 ft
Distance: 3 km to Peak, 6 km back to Lady Leg.
Duration: 6-8 hrs to Peak, 3 hrs back to Lady Leg.

Today is going to be a long day so start early in the morning around 2 am so you can cross the max distance over snow before it starts melting in the direct sun. Also, It will take min 8 hours to reach the summit.
Quickly have an early morning breakfast and get ready with all your equipment, wearing your Snow boots, Gaiters, helmets, head torches, gloves, and harnesses and start the trek on time.

The climb is challenging due to the presence of extremely steep slopes and numerous crevasses. As you climb forward the route becomes narrow and full of rocky patches.
Use the marching technique as you’ve been told and change your carabiners  carefully while shifting from one fixed rope to another. Take care of your crampon while walking.


At the Summit | 17,500 ft

The views from the top are stunning which make this expedition worth undertaking.
Celebrate your moment and click picture but be careful since the platform at the Summit is not too wide. Descending early is also important because the way back is also long and once the snow gets slushy, descent would become difficult. After reaching summit camp pack all your luggage and get back to Lady Leg campsite for overnight stay.


Lady Leg – Dhundi – Manali | 12,900 ft – 7,600 ft
Distance : 6-7 km | Duration  : 4-5 hrs + 2 hr drive

Next morning start your trek for Dhundi, and drive back to Manali.

 

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