Our Roopkund Itinerary: Fail-Safe and Frustration-Free
Our bags are packed for the post-monsoon season for Roopkund Trek, but the two differing itineraries for the Lake have got interested trekkers in a fix! Which one is fail-safe and frustration-free? Mountaineers Sandeep and Rakesh from the TTh house are here to clarify.
The two itineraries–
Itinerary A– Lohajung> Wan> Ghaeroli Patal> Bedni bugyal via Ali Bugyal> Patar Nachauni> Bhawabhasa> Roopkund> Patar Nachauni> Lohajung via Wan
Itinerary B– Lohajung> Didna> Ali Bugyal> Patar Nachauni via Bedni Bugyal> Bhagwabhasa> Roopkund> Patar Nachauni> Lohajung via Wan
“If itineraries were people, A is a rash and raving bully and B, it’s calm and collected elder brother” says Sandeep. It’s obvious why TTH chooses one and rejects the other.
Steep vs Smooth
Starting Steep: Trekking starts from Wan in Itinerary A, crosses Ran ka Dhar and enters Ghaeroli Patal. It’s a distance of about 6.5 km of sheer ascent, and that’s only the beginning. A thoroughly exhausting climb continues the day after to a campsite at 11, 700 ft in Bedni Bugyal, dearly calling for a break. Consequently, an entire day has to be spared for acclimatization halt, stretching trek time to 9 days.
“What we don’t understand is why this unnecessary swagger when there is a smoother, better route open?” asks a disgruntled Rakesh.
Starting Smooth: Keeping trekker’s health in forefront, Team TTH takes Itinerary B breaking for first camp at Didna village. The ascent is a breezy 300 ft. starting from Lohajung. “It feels odd to our mountaineering sensibilities tiring out trekkers early on in the trek. Minimizing exhaustion, we take the longer 17 km route uphill, a smoother slope compared to Itinerary A’s steep hike over a shorter distance.” states Rakesh.
Throughout Tent Stays vs Occasional Village Stay
Tent Stay: In Itinerary A, it is camping every night even when there are other options available. Third camp is at Bedni.
“Though staying in an alpine valley seems a tempting feature of Itinerary A, let’s not overlook it’s beyond where the tree line trails off, thus practically disregarding an acclimatization thumb rule and what’s more pathetic, this itinerary leaves out much of Ali’s lush slopes.” says Sandeep. “At TTH, we rest trekkers in Didna at a more reasonable height. The homestay’s a sweet respite after the first-day walk which always feels inhumanely strenuous.”
Village Homestay: Breaking the monotony of putting up in tents night after night, TTH trekkers are given a cultural experience of Garhwal at Didna, helping local employment and also fulfilling acclimatization criteria.
Same Path vs Newer Vistas
Double Treading the Same Path: Post summit, Itinerary A stubbornly takes the same way back, missing the path through Ali Bugyal meandering to village Didna.
“It’s only 8 days to know the mountains up close and personal. Why ramble up and down the same way when maximum exploration is possible?” asks the TTH mountaineer duo.
While there is no satisfactory answer available, our navigators are careful to steer clear of such shortcomings.
Coming Full Circle: TTH utilizes the roundabout route so that none of the Bugyals are lost in transit. A mixed ascent is scheduled on the way back from Patar Nachauni to Lohajung ensuring minimum exhaustion. Trekkers can buy time exploring the beautiful Bugyal stretches, one slope at a time!
On second thought Rakesh and Sandeep decides to christen their itinerary “C” instead of “B”, not because it is way cooler but it follows the celebrated Lord Curzon Trail of the Garhwal Himalayas opened by the then viceroy of India— Curzon!
Compiled by Ahana, official writer and explorer with TTH, from discussions with mountaineers Rakesh and Sandeep, founders of Trek the Himalayas, with illustrations by Pramod Gupta.