Day 6: Bhaguabasha – Roopkund – Bedini Bugyal (5+17km 6.00 am – 3.00 pm), on foot, Trek level: Moderate to difficult (especially Bhaguabasha to Roopkund), Easy at places on the way to Bedini
The way to roopkund, on the front is our Kitchen and in the back drop is Rookund
We got up again at 5.00 am and got ready by 6.00 am to go to Roopkund., about 5 km from Bhaguabasha Surendra stayed at Bhaguabasha so that we could leave everything with him. Myself and Mahendra started with a small backpack, an ice-axe and a wooden stick towards Roopkund. This trek is difficult and tricky due to terrain, risk of land slides, snow and glaciers (or rather frozen water streams) which were melting and thus posed a risk of cracking. We kept moving and one by one we must have crossed some 15-20 glaciers (or rather ice patches on the water falls, some of them can be quite deep if the ice underneath cracks) of sizes from 5 m to 100 m long. At a few places I slipped but managed to stand again and walk. Ice-axe was very helpful. Sometimes, I went quite deep in snow but fortunately never was in trouble. Presence of Mahendra also proved very useful to overcome difficulties. In between there comes a place where suddenly the trek becomes very steep and from that point onwards it can be quite difficult, especially with snow there. The final snow patch very long but we managed to cross it to finally reach majestic snow-clad Roopkund at about 8.30 am covering a distance of about 5 km in 2hrs 30 minutes. Roopkund is like a bowl of water, sort of moon shaped, snow-capped in this season, which was supposed to be created by Shiva when Parvati wanted to see her beauty during one of their sky-voyages. It was great to see snow-capped Jeenargali Pass and elegant base of snow-capped Trishul. I was thrilled to reach my destination, forgetting all the altitude sickness and everything else. However the weather was bad and clouds were hovering making the view of the Roopkund very difficult. However in a few minutes, sun came out and we could see a fantastic view of the Roopkund. It was just a wonderful feeling to be there.
There we met a few local people who were going further to Shila Samudra. These guys are amazing; for them walking on these difficult terrains and at high altitudes is not much of a problem. They covered the same distance in roughly 2/3rd of the time, we took. Since Roopkund was covered with snow with water underneath, we did not venture very close to it. Despite snow, we could see some bone pieces and teeth remains there which are supposed to be about 600 years old. These human remains still mystery and that is what makes Roopkund a fascinating trek. We could see much of these remains due to snow, however merely being there was fantastic. I wanted to go further to Jeenargali Pass which is not too far, but could not because weather became very bad and we had to come back as we wanted to get back to Bedini on the same day.
A view of the way towards Roopkund रूपकुंड from भागुआबाषा (Clouds on the back are hindering the view of Trishul)
We had to go on these part-snow laden paths, many frozen water bodies and quite rocky and slippery route. On the back one can see Trishul.
Magnificent snow coverved Roopkund (रूपकुंड)) sitting at ~5100 m at the base of Trishul
One of pieces of bones at Roopkund (there are many but most were covered with snow)
One of the glacial path on the way to Roopkund
After spending 30 minutes at the Roopkund, weather again became bad and we started returning to Bhaguabasha. Return was difficult as it was much more painful to knees and ankles and one tends to slip on snow readily. However we reached Bhaguabasha at about 11.00 am. There, Surendra had kept the food ready. Soon we had some food and packed the tent and started our return to Bedini Bugyal on the same day. This was important since the weather was getting bad and in fact, it had started to rain before we left. Nevertheless, we started and reached Bedini at about 3.00 pm. During our return quite a few stops and did not hurry. One thing which I noticed that although during uphill trek breath is a problem, it is still easier than moving down on steep slopes, and rocky and gravely routes. There the joints really face the music. This time, weather in Bedini was good and I could take some nice pictures.
Another view of Bedini Bugyal.
Day 7: Bedini Bugyal बेदिनी बुग्याल – Wan वाण (6.00 am – 9.00 am)
We started next day at 6.00 am towards Wan and by crossing the same route through Gairoli, Neel Ganga and Ranak Dhar, we reached Wan at about 8.45 am. Upon reaching the guest house, we found the place closed. Locals told us that the care taker had gone Lohajung or Gwaldam and won’t be back until late evening. Then, there was nothing else to except to put out stuff outside and to camp. So whole day was spent in roaming around in Wan. I was sick of Khichdi so in the evening Mahendra and Surendra made Aaloo ki sabzi and Roti which were too good. Then at 9.00 pm, Negi came from Gwaldam. Then we crashed into our beds to leave next morning.
Day 8: Wan वाण – Haridwar हरिद्वार (7.00 am – 9.00 pm)
We started from Wan at about 7.00 am in the same jeep, Wan Express, to go to Debal. We reached Debal at around 10.00 am. This time the jeep carried more than 15 passengers, quite unbelievable stuff! From Debal, we got another jeep for Tharali where I parted ways with Mahendra and Surendra who went to Gwaldam. It was very nice to be with them for last 6 days, both of them nice chaps. I then caught a jeep to go to Karna Prayag. From Karna Prayag I caught another shared jeep to go to Rudra Prayag and then another jeep to go to Srinagar. From Srinagar, I got another jeep to go to Haridwar. I reached Haridwar at about 9.00 pm after roughly 13 hour-long journey on hills in cramped jeeps. I was very tired, perspiring like hell as it was hot and humid in Haridwar and very hungry. I went to Har Ki Paudi, had a bath in nicely flowing Ganges and then had a dinner. Then I pushed off to the Bus Stand as no reservations were available in trains.
Pinder river (From Pindari Glaciar) passing through the valley on the way to Karna Pragag
Day 9: Haridwar-Kanpur (10.00 pm – 5.00 pm)This was a tortuous journey and was clearly a mistake not going to Haldwani from Tharali. Anyways, first I took at bus to Moradabad which started from Haridwar at 10 pm and reached Moradabad at about 2 am. Then soon I got another bus to go to Lucknow, which reached Lucknow at 2 pm via Barielly. This was a painful journey in hot and humid weather and bus being non-AC. From Lucknow, at about 3.00 pm I fortunately got an AC bus to go to Kanpur which reached at around 5.00 pm. So finally after sitting for 18-19 hours in bus without sleeping, I reached my home in IITK at about 6.00 pm.Overall, the experience was fantastic barring the last leg of travel. The people were nice, the scenery was exemplary. It is something which is motivating me to go to higher altitudes like Leh, Rontee etc. So more when I make it to any of these.Stuff to CarryIn my opinion one doesn’t need to carry too many clothes. The necessary items are
* good quality water proof rucksack (50l) and a small one
* a good sleeping bag,
* 2-man tent with water proof liner
* few plastic bags
* a plastic sheet
* a light sleeping mat
* two light but good sport trousers
* a few cotton t-shirts
* woolen inners
* enough socks and undergarments
* 1-2 woolens
* one light rainproof attire
* an umbrella
* daily hygiene kit
* a pair of sturdy but comfortable shoes (I would suggest to keep an extra pair)
* medicines for cold, fever, allergy and stomach.
* Candies, chocolates, energy drink if you are fond of them
* A multipurpose knife
* sun screen
You can leave the arrangement of cooking utensils and related stuff like stove etc to the guide.
Guide and porter’s details:
Mahendra and Naveen Martoliya (associate with GMVN): available from Gwaldam 9456057247, 01363 274376, very nice chaps (charge about Rs 300 per day)
Porter: although arranged by the guide but Surendra Bhandari was good (Rs 300 per day)
Tent and cooking stuff charges are separate
One would also need to pay for their travel during the trek from start to finish and return.
Try and go in August-September, not in Monsoon. I went at wrong time though luckily it was alright.
If you need any details, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org..
Pictures on http://photos.ibibo.com/album/79615/1/trek-to-roopkund