Scheduled Departure June-2, 2017 9 Nights / 10 Days
Walk along a bubbling river and trek through Himalayan forests of deodar, fir and rhododendron.
Climb upto Binayak Top at 3064 meters (10,053 ft)
Camp at 3500 meters (11,482 ft) in a meadow with a clear view of the Nanda Devi peak.
Go rafting on some of the Ganga's most wonderful rapids.
Best Time To Go: April to Mid-June, September and October
The Kuari Pass trek is often referred to as the Curzon’s Trail - named after the British Viceroy of India, so don't let that confuse you. Lord Curzon was a keen explorer and trekker, and walked this trail in 1905. You're unlikely to meet too many trekkers here - after Kashmir's Great Lakes trek, this is another one of India's hidden trails. Trekking in the Himalayas doesn't get much better than this trail. Enjoy the stunning beauty of the Himalayas around you and feel free to chat with the shepherds and pilgrims that pass by.
The Kuari Pass trek is moderately challenging but the scenic bounty at the end of it makes it all so worth while - spectacular views of snowcapped summits including Trisul, Nilkanth, Changabang and Nanda Devi, almost showing off their best side and rewarding your efforts!
The price quoted is for a group of six people. If the group is smaller, the price will increase correspondingly.
When you trek with MHE, you can be assured that we are backed by many years in the business of providing safe and sustainable adventure trips. The staff you deal with in the office, all the way through to the guides and porters on trek, have years of experience in safe and enjoyable trekking behind them. We can advise you on the right gear, the right training, and no question is too crazy for us to answer.
Our trips are designed for your maximum enjoyment and comfort, taking into consideration the environment and conditions, wherever you are.
We believe in sustainable, ethical and responsible tourism. Our guides are all certified and trained, the porters receive above standard wages, and we do not allow them to carry more than 30kg (the international standard set by IPPG). Our crew are all insured, and provided with suitable clothing and equipment.
We support the local economy wherever possible, and do NOT encourage giving any gifts of sweets, pens etc to the charming local children you meet along the trail. If you are really interested to donate something, please discuss with us first.
Our "all inclusive" trip means that you are not constantly rummaging for money, and you know up front what is included.
Dates: Trip starts from: Shivpuri, Rishikesh No. of days of the trip: 10 No. of trekking days: 6 Maximum altitude: 3500 m / 11,482 ft Trekking Grade: Moderately Challenging All-Inclusive Cost: Please call us for details
DAY 1: ARRIVE AT BULL'S RETREAT, SHIVPURI
The first day of our Kuari Pass Trek begins with your arrival at Bull's Retreat - our lodge in Shivpuri, Rishikesh, in the morning. Settle in and have a continental or Indian breakfast at Karakoram, the dining room, named after one of the peaks summitted by MHE's founder Bull Kumar. Meet the other members of your group and get to know them since you're going to be spending the next 10 days trekking in the Himalayas with them! We'll get the maps out so you have an idea of the terrain and route you're going to traverse. Pack so you're ready for an early departure the next morning. Rest of the day is at your leisure - there's lots to explore in and around Bull's Retreat!
Overnight at Bull's Retreat.
DAY 2: DRIVE TO GHAT & THEN ON TO CHEFNA (10 HOURS DRIVING)
Day two of the Kuari Pass trek begins with a nine to ten hour drive, so the plan is to leave immediately after breakfast. We drive to Ghat and then on to Chefna, the starting point of the Kuari Pass trek. You will drive past regions of huge significance to Hindu religion - four of the five Panch Prayags, Devprayag , Rudraprayag, Karnprayag and Nandprayag - the sacred river confluences in the Garhwal Himalayas.
Overnight at camp.
DAY 3: TREK FROM CHEFNA TO GHUNI, 3 - 4 HRS
Have breakfast cooked by our camp chefs and then we're off for the official start of the Kuari Pass trek. It’s a nice 6 KM walk next to the river followed by an ascent through coniferous and mixed forests. The walk along a wooded ridge takes us to a village called Ramni at 2,550 meters (8,366 feet). It is a typical Garhwal village with warm, friendly people and quaint but attractive homes built with heavy slate roofs along paved alleys, surrounded by fertile farmlands. A solar-powered electricity scheme provides electricity to this village.
Overnight at camp in Ghuni.
DAY 4: TREK TO SEMKHERK MEADOW - 2600 m, 9 - 10 HRS
This is a long day but the views make it all worth it. It's a steep climb from the campsite - about 300 meters (1,000 feet) on a zigzag track that leads to open, high altitude meadows. Look up, just above the forest line and you get your first glimpse of snow-capped peaks! The path continues uphill through forests of rhododendron, pine, and oak that intermittently break into green pastures - summer fodder for the livestock owned by the nomadic shepherds that live in the region. You may even get to meet flocks of sheep and goats moving along the track.
About 2 Hrs:15 Min into the trek you will reach Ramni Pass at 3,064 meters (10,053 feet) often called Binayak Top. From this point, you can see Kuari Pass, but you'll have to wait till Day 8 to actually get there! Keep an eye out for exotic birds especially the Himalayan Monal Pheasant with its multi-coloured plumes. Hunted by local poachers for its exquisite blue feathers they are very shy, and prefer to stay away. The last part of this day's Kuari Pass trek is a gentle down hill across more pastures and open glades, through lovely forests of horse chestnuts and walnut trees and past waterfalls and little rivulets. A zigzag descent and soggy socks later, you've reached your camping place for the night. The meadows of Semkherk, at an altitude of 2,600 metres (8,530 feet) give you a glorious view of two of Trishul's peaks!
Camp overnight at Semkherk.
DAY 5: TREK TO KALIGHAT, 9 - 10 HRS
Day 5 of the Kuari Pass trek starts with an almost constant descent - into the colorful village of Jhinjhi, pretty much the last village you will see while on this trek. It's a lovely little hamlet, that has just one school with a single teacher and around 25 - 30 curious little children. The trail continues past small farms and through wooded paths that lead straight to the Birehi Gorge. Once you cross over the spectacular suspension bridge, it’s a very steep climb to almost 2250 meters (7,382 feet) after which trail levels out a bit - this is a challenging trail and should take you around 2 - 3 hours depending on your fitness levels. It's a rewarding climb though - once the track evens out you pass through rhododendron forests and can spy long-tailed magpies flitting about. The route circles around deep ravines and little rivulets and waterfalls dot the area. Your campsite for the night is Kaliaghat, reached after a short ascent, near the village of Pana. Yes...it's a long day but all so worth it!
Camp overnight at Kaliaghat.
DAY 6: TREK TO DHAKAUNI VIA SARTOLI, 5 - 6 HRS
You wake up to a misty morning - the village below is all covered in mist, and you're hoping the sun will make an entrance pretty quick! Dhakauni is at the base of Kuari Pass and the campsite itself is above the tree line at 3,600 meters (11,811 feet). So yes, this is going to be another long day on the Kuari Pass Trek! The trail traverses above the village and then starts a steep climb into a rhododendron forest. About two hours later, you reach Sartoli meadow from where you get a clear view of Kuari Pass! You walk through the crests and troughs of valleys, past several little streams, and then plunge down a very steep and loose section, much of which has been washed away by the monsoons. The loose rubble and soil makes it a slow and awkward descent to the river below - into wild country that is home to the blue sheep and the Himalayan black bear. It is yet another steep climb up from here; cross a large stream and a final climb later you emerge into large pastures of land well above the tree-line. Look up and there's the wondrous Kuari Pass towering above - and suddenly, you are breathless for different reasons altogether!
Overnight at campsite.
DAY 7: DHAKAUNI TO KUARI PASS AND THEN ON TO TALI, 5 - 6 HRS
The day starts early today - so you don't miss out on the magnificent early morning views at Kuari Pass. The trail from Dhakauni climbs through the forest,, pass the tree-line...and then you wait. Wait for the spectacular Himalayan views that the early morning sunrise will bring you! Capture this in your mind's eye or on your cameras, it's not a view you will get to see often! The shutterbug in you might just go crazy for a while and many photographs later the trail descends to a bifurcation to Tapovan & Tali. The trail to Tali leads to a ridge with a temple and prayer flags fluttering in the wind, and from here the two massifs of the divine Nanda Devi come into view. Her name means Bliss-Giving Goddess and truly the sight leaves you speechless. On a clear day you would be able to see Dronagiri, Trishul, Changabang, Hathi Parbat and Rishikot as well. This is where you will settle for the night - in a meadow amidst rhododendron trees gazing up at this panoramic view of the Himalaya.
Overnight at campsite.
DAY 8: TREK TO TAPOVAN & THEN DRIVE TO JOSHIMATH, 5 - 6 HRS + 60.5 K DRIVE
The trail from Tali is a gradual climb across the mountain ridge which narrows down until it reaches three grassy dunes, collectively called Gorsons Top. Over here the Himalaya achieve a kind of astounding perfection; the view is of a formidable fortress standing guard over the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, a place Sir Edmund Hillary once called a “God-gifted wilderness”, and from the center, rises the divine Nanda Devi, all all 7,817 meters of her! Time stands still here and you now understand why the Himalaya enthralled Lord Curzon (after whom this trail is often called) as much as it did.
From here, its a gradual descent to Tapovan, through woods and pastures, when we finally meet our vehicle at the road head to drive on to Joshimath. A little hamlet often referred to as the gateway to the Himalaya - several trekking and climbing expeditions start from Joshimath. It is also one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankara, the great Hindu philosopher of the early 8th century.
Overnight at Joshimat.
DAY 9: DRIVE FROM JOSHIMATH TO SHIVPURI (7 HRS DRIVE)
This is a 235 KM stretch and we start the journey immediately after breakfast. Lunch will be enroute and you should be safely ensconced at MHE's forest lodge Bull's Retreat in around seven hours. Evening at leisure.
Over night at Bull's Retreat.
DAY 10: RAFTING THE GANGA & DEPARTURE
After breakfast you gear up for a refreshing rafting session on some of Ganga's biggest rapids. Roller Coaster, Golf Course, Club House - quirky names all, and you are guaranteed a wonderful two-hour ride! Rafting ends at NIM Beach and then it's a short drive to Bull's Retreat, MHE's forest lodge, for lunch.
Departure at leisure.
Our "all inclusive" trip means that you are not constantly rummaging for money, and you know up front what is included.
Two nights accommodation at Bull’s Retreat on twin sharing basis.
Six nights accommodation in expedition camping tents on twin sharing basis.
One night accommodation at Dronagiri Joshimath on twin sharing basis.
Transportation services by AC Innova/Scorpio (four guests per car).
Pick-up and drop to the Dehradun airport/Haridwar station as per the itinerary.
Camping and trekking costs including sleeping bags
One rafting session on the Ganga.
All meals from Lunch on Day 1 to Lunch on Day 10 (09 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, and 09 Dinners).
All government taxes included.
COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:
International/Domestic air fare or train fare.
Unforeseen expenses that demand a change in itinerary like natural forces, changes in weather, road blockages, flight/train cancellations and illness.
Medical, Travel, or Evacuation insurance.
Expenses of a personal nature - tips, laundry, phone calls, beverages.
When we have groups of 4+ people we supply a comprehensive first aid kit carried by your guide. For individual trekkers and small groups (less than 4 people) we supply a basic first aid kit carried by your guide.
All guides and porters are fully equipped with gear and clothing (snow gear, warm gear, sleeping gear).
Sleeping bag and inner based on the altitude (this is supplied is most of our treks. Do check the inclusions under price details to be doubly sure).
What gear you will need to bring with you:
Sleeping bag and liner – a 3 or 4 season bag is recommended, depending on your trek (if it's not in your inclusions already or if you prfer to use yopur personal one).
Down jacket – need for this depends on the season and where you are going.
Kit / duffel bag – required to pack your gear in (suitcases are not suitable).
Please note: Unless you advise us otherwise we will assume you are bringing these items with you. If you need help to buy or rent them, please just let us know, we’re more than happy to help.
Other items that we recommend you take on trek:
Loose comfortable T-Shirts NOT COTTON or long sleeved shirts for sun protection
Long trousers (for cultural reasons, we request you not to wear tight pants or
shorts. If you really want to wear shorts, please make them loose fitting and long)
A warm jacket / fleece pullover
A thermal layer (shirt and pants)
A water and wind proof layer (jacket and pants)
Woollen or thermal gloves
Sun hat and sun glasses
Woollen or fleece hat
Scarf / stretchy ‘buff’
Socks – depending on the season bring either warm, woollen socks or cool, breathable cotton socks
Comfortable and worn in trekking boots
Sandals or flip flops for camp
A comfortable day pack with adjustable waist and shoulder straps
Personal toiletries - shampoo, soap, shavers, moisturizer, travel towel, etc
Ziplock bags are handy for convenient leak-proof storage
Sun block and lip balm
Dust mask/ scarf / stretchy ‘buff’ for dusty trails
Personal first aid kit + any personal medications you need to take + water treatment tablets/drops
Camera, batteries and charger, music, book
Airtight and waterproof ‘dry bags’ are great for 1) keeping your clothes dry and 2) storing your dirty
laundry separate from clean clothes!
Sleeping bag liner – either silk, cotton or fleece
WATER BOTTLES - please be able to carry 2 litres of water and have bottles that can handle boiling/hot water
HEAD TORCH and spare batteries
Your sense of humour and adventure!
What to take with you in your day pack:
Please carry the following in your day pack, as a minimum:
2 litres of water (please make sure your water bottles will take boiling/hot water)
Sunscreen, sun glasses, sun hat, lip balm, dust mask / scarf / ‘buff’ to help on dusty trails
Warm fleece or thermal layer and gloves
Water proof layer
Any money you want for snacks/drinks along the trail
CRITICAL – take any personal medications you require during the day – you will not see your kit bag until evening.
The rest you can put into your kit bag which will be carried by the porters, whom you won’t see until camp in the evening. It’s a great idea to use dry bags (ie airtight/waterproof) in your kit bag to store your dry clothes in to keep them DRY in case it rains and one to put your dirty laundry in (to keep from making everything else in your bag smell bad!).
Food on trek:
You will probably be surprised by the menu items on an MHE trek. We know how important food is, and we don't stint by giving you 2-minute noodles and Cup a Soup. You'll get real food, home cooked style. And plenty of it!
If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us when booking your trek so that we can cater for you. Note: sometimes not all dietary requirements are able to be met, but please inform us and we will certainly do our best!
Some tips for staying healthy:
Do NOT drink or brush your teeth with tap water or untreated water!
Drink only properly boiled water or use water purification tablets, such as iodine. Bottled water is available, but as the plastic cannot be recycled we request you to consider the waste impact of your bottles – we recommend you drink boiled water or use iodine.
Your hands are perhaps your biggest enemy in terms of your health as they get very dirty during the day. Wash your hands before every meal or snack. People often think they get sick from the food, but it’s far more likely they forgot to wash their hands!
During the trek DO NOT try to test your fitness and walk too high, too quickly! Listen to your guide and take their advice as they are trained to look after your safety. Altitude sickness is a killer and you MUST take it seriously.
It is recommended that your personal medical kit includes not only your preferred painkillers, but also throat lozenges, plasters, strapping tape for blisters, etc. If you are taking regular medication you MUST bring those medicines with you PLUS an extra supply in case one pack is lost.
If you have any allergies and/or take any medications, you MUST advise us when booking your trek!
Trekking trails vary from wide, road-like avenues to narrow, slippery paths built out over enormous drops. In many places, a fall from the trail would be fatal. One must pay attention at all times to where you are placing your feet. Be especially careful not to move while looking through the view finder of your camera!
Be prepared for the weather:
Each altitude has its own weather, from tropical heat to arctic cold. In the main trekking seasons in the spring and autumn, the weather is generally stable and even the high passes may be free of snow and relatively easy to traverse at times.
Some trekkers who have encountered an easy day at altitude may spread the word that boots and warm clothing are not required. This is a mistake. Sudden storms occur at any time, dumping snow on the passes without warning. At that point, anyone poorly equipped will not be able to proceed and may even be stranded for a number of days risking their life and the lives of others.
You are heading into the worlds highest mountain range. Be prepared for changes in temperature and weather!!
Altitude and preventing Altitude Sickness
Being in a hurry in the mountains can be deadly. Acclimatization is the word used to describe the adjustments your body makes as it ascends to higher altitudes.
Ascending slowly, with appropriate rest days and drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways not to get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Data indicates that drinking 3-4 litres of fluids (water, soup etc) per day to avoid dehydration helps in the acclimatization process.
You should not plan to go to high altitude if you have heart disease, difficulty breathing at sea level or are pregnant. You should consult your doctor about any known medical conditions if you are considering trekking in high altitude (over 2500m).
Avoid sleeping pills, alcohol and smoking while at altitude as they tend to decrease breathing and lead to AMS.
The first aid kit carried by your guide includes Diamox and other altitude medications and he/she is trained in the identification of AMS symptoms and their treatment. You MUST take their advice. If anything happens to your guide the first aid kit has a Wilderness Medicine handbook with comprehensive information about altitude sickness and other ailments.
When relevant, your pre-trek briefing will include information about what to expect and what to do to avoid AMS before embarking on your trek.
While all main meals are provided on trek, do not forget to bring some money for drinks or snacks that you might purchase on the way. You will be surprised by what is available on the popular trekking routes.
The amount to carry on the trekking routes depends on the area you are going to trek in, so please ask your guide for advice. Tipping is now common but there is no strict rule about how much the tip should be. Needless to say, you should only tip if you are satisfied with the service.
Photographing and interacting with local people:
During your trek you will have many opportunities to photograph local people and the amazing scenery and you will use tons of film/memory space! When you want to take a photo of a person, please ask them first and respect their right to refuse – you will be surprised how easy it is to convey the request to take someone’s photo even when you don’t share a common language!
If you have a digital camera it is considerate (and fun!) to show them their photo and if it’s possible to arrange to have copies printed and sent to them this is an amazing gift! However do not promise to do so if you are not sure you can deliver on the promise, so please talk to your guide about this! Photos can be a brilliant way to establish a connection with local people, but please respect their right to privacy.
Refrain from giving money or food to children. There are many good organisations working to help these children and we recommend you support them instead of encouraging them to beg. One other way is to collect books, pencils and other such articles and donate them to village schools you will find on your way.
Considering the Environment: There are many ways you can help to conserve the environment of the area in which you trek. Here are some simple tips.
While trekking you have to be careful not to destroy the very environment you are enjoying so much. It is not only for your enjoyment - people and wildlife rely on this environment for their drinking water and food supply and many places are of enormous religious significance to local people.
Pick up any litter along the trail.
Burn all your toilet paper and bury your faeces when not in camp, make sure you go at least 50m away from any water source.
Try and avoid making a campfire - if you must, be sure to use only fallen wood. Do not consume food cooked on wood fires.
Drink boiled/treated water instead of mineral water as the plastic bottles are a problem.
Stick to the trails to prevent erosion and damage to fragile alpine flora.
Ensure all rubbish is packed out (or burnt/buried if appropriate).
All tour participants should obtain their own personal insurance which covers medical and emergency evacuation at a minimum. You will of course also want cover for loss or damage to personal effects, flight or trip cancellation etc.