Kedarkantha "Best Winter trek" organized by Trek The Himalayas (TTH)

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Kedarkantha "Best Winter Trek"

Before you read anything about Kedarkantha Trek, first read this:

"This is a must-do trek for every trekker/nature lover/adventure lover person".

It was the year-end festive season of 2018 and as a mountain lover, I was planning a mountain trip. I did search almost every place of Himachal and Uttarakhand. After a few days, one of my colleagues suggested for Snow trek in Kedarkantha. I gave a thought, googled, researched, and found this image which is at the top of Kedarkantha Peak.

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and looking at this, I ended up deciding this as my first Himalayan winter snow trek .

In this article, the first section is dedicated to all the information/preparation related to the trek followed by my personal experience along with the group.

Registration:

Many certified trekking groups conduct these kinds of trips. A few of them are TrekTheHimalays ,IndiaHikes, AdventureNation, Moxtain etc.

I chose Trek The Himalayas based on feedback I received from many friends and TTH did not disappoint. Registration can be easily done on their website before about 2 months.

Fitness:

This is not a very hard trek but it doesn't mean you come out of the office and start your trip. It requires some fitness. Better to prepare well before this trek so you can enjoy the beauty instead of giving too much trouble to your body. At high altitudes where oxygen is less, should be very aware of how your body reacts. Drinking a lot of water and getting good sleep helps in these conditions.

Connect to Base Village and Campsites:

Sankri is the base village for the Kedarkantha trek. It connects with Dehradun and it takes around 8-10 hours to reach Sankri. It is a quite place in the foothills at an altitude of 6400 feet. Starting from Sankri, the first campsite is Juda Ka Talab at 9,100ft height. The next day campsite is Base camp which is at 10,200 ft and is the most beautiful site. The final day campsite is in Hargaon (Opposite side of Juda Ka Talab) which is encountered after the summit.

Mobile Networks and ATMs:

Mobile networks slowly dies after Mussoorie and should not expect ATMs after Dehradun. So should be well prepared with cash. There is a P.C.O. in Sankri with broken BSNL networks.

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Day 1: The Journey started in the early morning from Dehradun station, where one of the TTH members was there to greet us and provided the tempo traveler to Sankri Village. Being solo I could easily get a window seat and was looking curiously at other fellows with whom i was supposed to spend the coming days.

Dehradun to Sankri road journey is very beautiful alongside the Yamuna and Tons rivers. We stopped in Mussoorie and Purola Village for breakfast and Lunch.

Coming from Pune I was already feeling the cold. After 8 hours of hilly roads we reached to our hotel (named as Trek The Himalayas) and we our rooms were already allocated. There we met with our trek leads, we completed all the formalities and briefing , had good dinner and slept.Since we all were tired , we slept early.

Day 2 morning 7:00 o'clock: I went to balcony of hotel with a cup of tea . This morning was very beautiful. Snow caped mountains in-front of us , only sound of Tons river and few birds. Temperature was hovering between 2 to 5 degrees maybe.  Everything was so beautiful there.

We all were so excited and started our journey for first campsite Juda Ka Talab.

For first timers, It was challenging ascend of around 5 hours. On the way we witnessed first snow of trek.

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First Snow

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Much needed Maggie Break

 

We halted at Maggie point and started posing for photos. By this time I became familiar with 21 strangers .

After a long ascend of around 5 hours, we finally reached Juda Ka Talab campsite where a frozen lake alongside our tents was waiting for us.Temperature was around 2-3 and everything was covered with snow.

This had to be one of the best campsites of TTH.

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Frozen Juda Ka Talab, Few dared to walk over that :)

 

We played few games there to get used to with temperature . Made snow man :)

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Need to work harder for Snow art

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Precious

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There I had few talk with group member during evening tea , then soup and followed by some delicious dinner and songs and stories to end a beautiful day. Initially it was not that easy to get used to with snow and low temperatures. I couldn't sleep properly. Bones were freezing in the night even though i had few layers of thermals. Whole body was covered but still we were shivering with cold. I said to myself "Welcome to Winter Trek :) ".

Then i saw a guy with  his tripod at midnight in mid of snow at temperature of around -3 degrees to capture these images.

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Magic images captured by Shaurya

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This image already speaking thousand words

 

He was Shaurya, One of my new friend. His dedication to his photography was really motivating.

Day 3 Morning: My fingers got numb while completing morning duties. Every touch with water was felt as current to body. Thanks to TTH team, they provide some hot water, which i used to drink and wipe my face. Everything was so memorable but torturous .

It was the day to reach our base camps covering about 2 KMs in 3 hours, so it was a bit relaxed day compared to previous one. We started from Juda ka Talab around 10 AM and reached to base camp around 1 PM . In between we witnessed frozen waterfall , beautiful snow landscapes , Pine trees. It was most scenic route of the trek.

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Beautiful path to cross

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Everything was Frozen

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Almost at the base camp

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This campsite provided a view of all snow caped peak in-front and behind us a snow mountain which we had to cross next day to reach the peak.

I think this was the best place to get profile pic. After relaxing we had lunch , then took some rest and we all were literally lost in nature by now.

My group had amazing talent, few were singing, few busy with their DSLR setup , some dancing , few story tellers. It was really a great experience to be part of that group.

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View from base camp

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Nothing else matters

 

Next day was summit day and we had to start early by 3 AM, so it was a quick shut down for day 3.

Day 4 Summit day: At 2 AM we got a call for tea , 2 : 30 AM was Maggie time and 3 AM. We put our crampons and were set to conquer the Kedarkanth peak.

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Thanks to head torches

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From base camp to peak it was around 4 hours ascend and most magical ascend we could ever had.

We started to climb the mountain behind our camps and we walked and walked and walked ....

I had experience of night trek (Kalsubai) , so i was confident about my pace and stamina. With small steps we reached half way point. By this time it was not that dark. As the affect of night was melting down , we all could see the peak . I got goose bump at that time.

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There is the peak

 

Magic started. When we looked at that peak we never thought it could take that much of effort to reach at the top but as we were getting closer to that, looked like peak was running away from us. Minute by minute we were taking some heights, feeling the lack of oxygen, stopping almost every 15  mins walk and meantime I realized why this is said to be the most beautiful winter trek.

Sun started to smile from left side , the snow caped mountains became golden , horizon went orange then blue.

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I though of that Trident of Shiva image again ,i smiled, increased my pace. It was just 80 - 100 meter distance between me and that Trident. I turned back and saw this.

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Simply Breathtaking

 

In the way there were stacks of stones

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I finally reached at the top. It looked like i was at top of everything. 13 peaks were visible including Swargarohini, yamunotri, Bandarpuch. All were snow caped. I saw that Trishool, clicked a photo, had some biscuits and cake. Sat down their and thanked to almighty and got lost.

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Lost

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Peaks of Yamonotri , Swargarohini

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We congratulate each other took group pictures with our trek lead who motivated everyone to climb even in difficulties.

I forgot all those numb fingers, sleepless nights , lack of oxygen , current of cold water. It was all about 360 degree view from KedarKantha peak.

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That was it

It was time to return back . We chose other side of mountain to go down. As expected, we all took  a natural snow slide to get down. It was fun. It didn't take much time to reach half way back.

I was descending alone and was so happy and satisfied. Smiling all the way.

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Thanks to my gears

We reach to our base camp around 11 AM, had rest . After lunch and individual stories of everyone , we started towards our last campsite Hargaon.

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Last night in tent

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Hargaon Campsite

This site is close to Juda ka talab. As descending is always tricky and got trickier in melting snow. By 5 PM we reach to our last campsite.

Day 5 Back to Sankri:  It was all about descending that day. This was our last day of trek . We reached around 1 PM to Sankri . Got good bath . Had lunch. Took rest. It was time to celebrate our success. So we partied and danced till night.

All was good.

Day 6 Back to Dehradun:  We had to return to Dehradun . We started sharp 7 AM and crossed those hilly roads by listening some beautiful local songs.

My train was at night so with my two new friends we stayed in a hotel for a while .

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happy memories with friends during trekking journey on kedarkantha

The only thing i could say about this trek , all those pictures and words don't tell you the the full stories. You should do this trek at-least once in lifetime.

As they say, you go alone but come with many friends .

Image of Trident at 12,500 ft will always remain as it is in my heart.

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