Roopkund Trek blog – My First Himalayan Camping and Trekking
A trek to the Himalayas was not an expedition I imagined doing in my wildest dreams. But a little bout of inspiration led my footsteps to Roopkund, known as the ‘supreme’ Himalayan trail for the trekking enthusiasts.
From snow clad mountains to untamed meadows and exhilarating camp sites to intriguing folklores, Roopkund is an epitome of beauty, history and mystery. Perched at at an altitude of 16,000 ft, Roopkund meaning a ‘beautiful lake’ remains frozen almost throughout the year. Did you know that a walk around this lake will also give you a nerve wrecking glance of hundreds of human skeletons lying around?
(A Roopkund Trek Blog)
My journey began with the group tour organized by Renok Adventures Team. We took a train from New Delhi to Kathgodam, the closest railway link to Roopkund. From Kathgodam, we drove to the Roopkund base camp in Lohajung. The best way to reach Kathgodam from Delhi is by train.
The 7 days trek started at Lohajung, which is at an elevation of 3200 meters. Passing through a lovely cluster of houses, cool waters of gushing Bedni Ganga and lush green trees, we reached out first camp site Didna village. An overnight tent stay under the stars coupled with piping hot chai and mouthwatering dinner comprising phulkas, sabji and khichdi (courtesy: the local villagers) – our camping experience couldn’t have got more authentic and rustic than this!
Next morning, after drinking in the beauty of an early sunrise amidst the dewfresh mountains, we embarked on a steep trek to Ali Bugyal via the never ending rows of lofty oak and bamboo trees. Nothing could have prepared us for the panoramic view of enticing green meadows nestled in the lap of magnificent Garhwal Himalayas. A herd of majestic equines indulging in a grazing tete-a-tete with each other was an added visual bonus. Imagine spending a night in the tents on this stunning site!
The new dawn brought along a comparatively easier trek to Ghora Latoni, or the last stop of horses, as it is referred to. At this intersection, the meadows and mountains merge, and a fresh water stream trickles down one of the slopes, making it an amazingly trekker- friendly camp site. We spent an entire afternoon and evening here, exploring the nooks and corners of Ghora Latoni, before binging on Maggi (a rare treat during camping!) and retiring to our tents.
It was about time to greet the snow patches of Bhagwasa and Kalu Vinayak the next day, albeit with a challenge to reach an altitude of 14,500 ft from 12,500 ft! As we ascended the highest altitude trekking part and zig zag trails of Roopkund, the crisp air started thinning out, making us feel the lower levels of oxygen. But that didn’t deter our spirits! We continued our journey, taking pit stops every hour to hydrate our body. It was difficult to bear the icy northern winds during our night stay here, but we braved it in anticipation to reach our ultimate summit, the Roopkund lake the next day.
Roopkund is about 5 km up-hill ascent from Bhagwasa, but we were instructed to start in the wee hours of the morning before the sun rays start melting away the icy patches, making it tougher to trek. And then, after a three hour trek, we witnessed, what could be only described as the nature’s hidden jewel. There, it was, the pristine and unruffled lake, surrounded by the snowy flanks of the mountains. The skeletons scattered around the lake caught us off guard for a moment, though. We lurked around there for some time, thrilled and overjoyed.
We then dared to trek further to Junar Gali, the highest point of Roopkund Lake. After soaking in the unspoiled grace of nature, we started our return trek, against the backdrop of the mighty peaks of Trishul, Nandaghungti and Choukhamba.
It has been a few months, since I am back to the hustle and bustle of the urban life. But, my first Himalayan camping experience at Roopkund is a memory etched forever in my heart!
If you have gone for a trek anywhere in the Western Himalayas then you must have heard about the famous Roopkund trek. Roopkund is to treks what David Beckham is to football. It would be hard to match its combination of pristine high altitude lakes, meadows(bugyals), spectacular mountain views, alpine camps, secluded villages and pristine oak and rhododendron forests.
Roopkund Lake is a glacial lake at an altitude of 5029 metres which lies in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand in NDBR (Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve). It lies in the lap of Mt Trishul masstif in which the Trishul I is highest mountain with a height of 7120 metres.
Trek Duration : 8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS
Destinations Covered during Roopkund Trek : Kathgodam, Lohajung, Didna Village, Ali Bugyal, Ghora Lotani, Bhagwabasa, Bedni Bugyal
Cost per Person: RS 10500 + 4.50% Service Tax Per Person(Ex Kathgodam)
Early Booking Cost per Person: RS 9950 + 4.50% Service Tax Per Person(Ex Kathgodam) (valid till 31st March 2017)
What’s Included :
Accommodation (Camping during Roopkund Trek)
Meals while on trek(Veg)
First aid medical kits
Qualified and experienced Trek Leader, Guide and support staff
All Transport from Kathgodam as per itinerary of the Roopkund Trek.” color=”violet”]
Arrive early at the Kathgodam Railway station. Various overnight trains run from Delhi and other cities(For more information click here). We will meet you at the station. We begin our drive from Kathgodam to Lohajung (Starting point for the Roopkund Trek ). Although this drive is long it is very scenic for the most part as we will be driving along rivers before turning right into the beautiful Pindar valley. En route you will be crossing Almora. Founded in 1568, Almora, is a district in the Kumaon division of Uttarakhand . Overnight stay in forest guest house/tents.
Day: 2 Lohajung to Didna Village
The trek to Roopkund Lake starts from Lohajung to a village called Didna. This will be our first camp of the Roopkund trek. Initially the trek is a steady climb up to the Lohajung pass and then downhill to the Bedni River popularly known as the “Bedni Ganga”. We then cross a bridge and then start climbing through oak & bamboo forests to the village of Didna. We will cross the village and continue walking up to a meadow where we will camp for the night. Overnight in tents.
Day 3: Didna village to Ali Bugyal
We get up early in the morning and do some stretching exercises. It is essential that we stretch ourselves properly to avoid muscle problems through the trek.
Today’s stretch of the Roopkund trek is a steep one through oak trees and large stands of bamboo. You will after this climb start enjoying the stunning views of Garhwal Himalayan peaks and reach the alpine grazing meadow called Ali bugyal. AliBugyal is as beautiful as Bedni and lies on top a hill and from there you can enjoy the views of unending vistas in all directions. This is probably one of the finest camping sites in the Garhwal Himalayas. Overnight stay in tents.
Day 4: Ali Bugyal to Ghora Lotani
Today is a comparatively easy day. Walk while listening to chirping birds and admiring the beauty of our surroundings. After few hours of trekking you will be on other side of the ridge and the view from this point is absolutely Fanta bullous. Ghora Lotani on the Roopkund trek is a brilliant campsite and offers you great views all around. We should reach the campsite by the afternoon with enough to relax and acclimatize to the weather conditions and altitude. Overnight camp at Lotani.
Day 5: Ghora Lotani to Bhagwabasa
The day’s snow trek will bring you to an altitude of 14,500 ft from 12,500 ft. This part of the Roopkund Lake trek is to be considered as high altitude trekking and you can feel the effects of this during trekking from Ghora Lotani to Bhagwabasa. Shortness of breath, mild headache and tiredness are some very common in high altitude trekking. Trek slowly and steadily, stop for water after every hour for 2 to 5 minutes. A steep and zig zag route takes you to Kalu Vinayak. Compared to the beauty of Ali Bugyal, it is hard to imagine a more desolate, boulder strewn campsite than that of Bhugu Basa (4100m). It is exposed to icy northern winds that whip around the stone shelter huts. Overnight stay in tents.
Day 6: Bhagwabasa to Roopkund Lake.Back to Bedni Bugyal via Bhagwabasa
The D day of the Roopkund Trek is here. We will start the day as early as 5 AM. We will start early as during early hours snow is tough due to lower temperatures and it’s easy to negotiate without getting your shoes drenched in water. Roopkund Lake is a 5 km gradual up-hill climb from Bhagwabasa. We will have steep climb towards the end of the trail to reach the Roopkund Lake. It would take about 3 – 3½ hours to reach the Lake. A further trek of around half an hour takes to the highest point of Roopkund Lake trek Junar Gali. Then we head back for our campsite at Bedni Bugyal. The views from the alpine camp at Bedni Bugyal extends west across the main Himalaya Range as far as Gangotri, while the peaks of Trisul and Nanda Ghunti provide an awesome backdrop.
Day 7: Bedni Bugyal to Lohajung via Wan.
Return trek from Bedni Bugyal via Wan. You would see the end of meadows after a few minutes. On a clear day, you would be astonished by looking at the Trishul on your way back from Bedni Bugyal to Wan at Kanakdhar. There is a steep descend and then a short climb from Bedni Bugyal. On our way we will go through a Rhododendron forest. You would have a steep descent for the Neel Ganga. On reaching Wan we drive to Lohajung. Overnight stay at Lohajung.
Day 8: Lohajung to Kathgodam
After getting to the base camp at Lohajung and finishing the Roopkund trek, you might think of spending a day at Lohajung. This is a great place to relax and chill out and our rewarding trek.Early morning start drive towards Kathgodam. At Kathgodam our trek ends.