Name: Kedarkantha Trek
Approx elevation: 12,500 ft
Starting Point: Sankri village
Dehradun to Sankri | ~200 km | 8-9 hrs
The drive from Dehradun to Sankri village takes around 8-9 hrs and goes through some of the beautiful places like Mussoorie, Nowgaon, Purola, and Naitwar. This remote route is one of the most beautiful drives in the Indian Himalayas.
Sankri is a small pretty village. Most trekkers reach to Sankri in the evening, which is a good time to experience the scenic beauty of the setting sun on the Greater Himalayas. The peaks of Swargarohini glisten in the evening sun, standing tall over the ridges beyond Sankri.
Acclimatise properly as in the next two days, you’ll reach an altitude of 12,500 ft, so it is important to keep your body well hydrated to avoid any symptoms of altitude sickness.
Sankri – Juda ka Talab | 6,400 ft to 9,100 ft | 4 km | 5 hours
Take the road out of Sankri to Sol village. 5-10 minutes after crossing the village you will reach to a trail that climbs sharply next to a stream. The trail gets into the pine forest and drops you till a ridge.
An hour later, you will reach to a small bridge which is quarter of your way to Juda-ka-Talab.
Carry on the trail through the clearing to re-enter the dense pine forest on its northern edge. Through a series of zigzags, the trail climbs rapidly through dense oaks finally emerging out in the open over a rising mound to greet you with the spectacular camp site of Juda-Ka-Talab.
Juda-Ka-Talab is a beautiful campsite and completely surrounded by forest. The area is entirely in shadows of the dense pine forest and hardly any light seeps through it. You can try your hands on the snow, create snowman and toss few snowballs on to each other.
It is the scenic surroundings which increases the pleasure of reaching the destination and exhilarates the joy of the thrilling tour that remains yet to be experienced.
Juda ka talab – Kedarkantha base camp
9,100 ft to 11,250 ft | 4 km | 2.5 hours
You first stop today would be Juda Ka Talab, a lake surrounded by pine forests, that freezes during winters and have ice on one side and water on other. You can easily walk on the ice sheet on the lake or try gliding on it with cautious and under guidance.
The trail rises to a ridge at the edge of the lake, takes a sharp left turn and move into the dense pine forest climbing higher. The ridge opens out to yet another meadow with a solitary shepherd’s hut.
White peaks stretch from your left to your right forming a wide arc. Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag and Ranglana stand out in the background.
Your trek leaders will provide you with spikes and gaiters and give you a demonstration of how to wear them. Gaiters will prevent snow from entering your shoe and spikes will ensure good grip on the snow and you will not slip.
After an early dinner, try to get a good sleep as you will be waking up at 3 AM and will start your summit attempt around 4 AM in the morning. Prepare your daypack with the necessary items like waterproof gloves, water bottle, lunch box, and camera gears before you sleep. Leave your backpacks inside your tent and collect them after returning from the Kedarkantha summit.
Kedarkantha base – Kedarkantha Peak – Hargaon
11,250 ft to 12,500 ft to 8,900 ft | 6 km | 6 – 7 hrs
The Kedarkantha peak is clearly visible from the KK Base. There are many trails that go to the top. The best route is to catch the northern ridge, climb up in a series of zigzags to reach the summit. On the way you will come across two small huts that offer refreshments on the way back from the summit.
The trail starts to get steeper from here on. Try to make it to the summit before the sunrise to admire the 360-degree views of the majestic Himalayas surrounding you. Himalayas are famous for being unpredictable in nature, so It could snowfall anytime which is common during winters. Within moments you could feel the snowflakes flying around in the air.
The Kedarkantha summit is marked by a square arrangement of stones with a Trishul and beautiful yet small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. The summit gives you a 360 degree view of the mighty snow clad ranges of Uttarakhand. The Gangotri and the Yamunotri ranges are clearly visible from the summit, as are the Chanshil Pass and Kinnaur Kailash ranges.
It tends to get quite windy on the top, so keep moving to keep your body warm. The descent from the top is initially as steep as the ascent, so be careful with the first few meters.
Getting down from the summit, take an alternate route down to your camp following the southern ridge of Kedarkantha. You will also get a chance to glissade along the way. Trekking downhill could be an amusing experience with many of you slipping, sliding and landing on your backs in the soft snow. You can stop at the tea hut on your way for some light refreshments and make your way back to the base camp for a warm meal. You’ll head to Hargaon campsite after lunch.
It is a straight forward ridge descent to the oak forest below.
The trail is spectacular as it descends through oaks, pines and frozen streams. On reaching the campsites get relaxed and enjoy the time with fellow trekkers on a cup of tea amidst snowfall.
Hargaon – Sankri | 8,900 feet to 6,400 feet | 6 km | 4 hours
The trail evens out and gradually descends through the pine forest to come to a ridge. From the ridge, catch a view of the vast open Har-ki-dun valley. You’ll walk in a pine forest throughout the way and will get an aerial view of the neighbouring villages. It should take you about 2 to 3 hours to reach Sankri.