Kuari Pass Trek

Trek Fee : 8,950 + 5% GST
Difficulty
Difficulty
Easy-Moderate
Duration
Duration
6 Days
Altitude
Maximum Altitude
12,516 ft
Pickup point
Pickup point
Required Fitness
Base Camp
Trekking with the best views of Nanda Devi
Age
Minimum Age
8
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
March-May, September-December

Kuari Pass – The Best Himalayan Trek For Beginners

If you are stepping into Himalayas for the first time then Kuari Pass is the trek to do. It is almost crafted perfectly for the beginner.

To begin with, Kuari Pass is an easy-moderate trek, which makes it easy enough for someone starting out in the Himalayas. But more than anything else there are three things about the trek that stay with you.

Kuari Pass-Indiahikes- Navneeth Dwarakanath
Trekkers dwarfed by big mountains on the Kuari Pass trek. Picture by Navneeth Dwarakanath

Ancient Forest Trails

First, are the beautiful forests on this trek. These forests are very old. They are mostly of oak and rhododendrons. Somehow, the forests are laid out perfectly. It is never too thick, never too thin. Every time you walk through the forests, you can see into the distance, which gives you a sweeping view of the forests. This is what makes the forest spectacular. There is something else magical about the forests. Every now and then, you get out of the forests to a clearing or a meadow and then get back in. This interplay of two different kinds of landscapes is something to watch out for.

Outstanding Campsites

Secondly, the campsites. Undoubtedly, you must look out for them. While we have many treks in the Himalayas, there are very few treks with campsites with such spectacular settings. Trekking is not always about going from place to place. It is also about the camping experience. Be it the Chitrakantha campsite in the heart of the forest or the Khullara campsite with Mt Dronagiri rising in the background. This is where the Kuari pass trek really makes it superb for someone starting out in the Himalayas.

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View of Mt. Dronagiri from Khullara. Picture by Mallikarjuna Mylapur.

Mountain Views from the First Day

Finally, the mountain views. Even from the first day of the trek you get to see superb mountain views. Mt Nanda Devi, Dronagiri are right in front. As you go higher, more mountains reveal themselves. They span the horizon making it a spectacular show.

KuariPass-Mallikarjuna Mylapur
Hathi Ghoda lit by the stars. Picture by Mallikarjuna Mylapur.

Even if you leave these aspects out, the Kuari Pass trek is a superb trek. The beautiful sights and challenges of the trek make it a trek worth doing – whether it is your first time to the Himalayas or not.

The Trek

The Kuari Pass trek begins at Lata. The drive from Haridwar to Lata is a beautiful one. The route is along tributaries of Ganga. The road goes along hugging the mountain side and you see the forests and valleys of Garhwal below you.

  • Altitude: 7,601 ft
  • Time Taken: 10-12 hours drive from Haridwar
KuariPass - Indiahikes - Mallikarjuna Mylapur
The valley view just before Kuari Pass. Picture by Mallikarjuna Mylapur.

Day 2: Lata to Guling via Dhak

  • Altitude: 7,601 ft (2,317 m) to 9,832 ft (2,997 m)  via 6,956 ft (2,120 m)
  • Time taken: 45 minutes drive to Dhak. 5-6 hours trek form Dhak to Guling
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuous ascent – steep for the first 20 minutes followed by 45 minutes gradual ascent. Steep again for 60-70 minutes followed by a mix of gradual and steep ascents for 1.5-2 hours
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. There is one water source around 2.5 hours into the trek, after you have crossed Upper Tugasi village.
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Clear mountain views on the trail from Dhak to Guling. Picture by Hemanth Aluru

Dhak is around 11 km from Lata. The drive usually takes around 45 minutes. Dhak has a few grocery stores and a dhaba.

The trek begins with an ascending, dirt trail that leads away from the main road, towards Tugasi village. This is the trail going inside the village. You will reach a T point where you need to take a sharp left. The trail goes through a series of level walks and gradual ascents along farms. The mountain ridge here is barren with few or no presence of snow-fall in winter season. Look out below for Dhauli-Ganga River forging its way past Vishnugad-Tapovan Hydro Power Station. The trail is well defined and meanders along the mountain ridge with a series of steep and gradual ascents. Observe a rain shelter at a distance ahead on the trail. This shelter is the first landmark of the trek before reaching Kharchi Village. This takes around 20 minutes to reach.

At the rain shelter, the trail turns sharply to the right and you’ll have the valley to your left. You can see it curving around the mountains up ahead. The trail for the next 45 minutes ascends gradually, with a few switch backs in between. It leads you to Lower Tugasi. You will find multiple trails leading out of Lower Tugasi. Take the one that goes past the two water based flour mills and turns steeply to the left.

This trail climbs rapidly to Upper Tugasi through several switch backs. You will pass a lot of cultivated land here – wheat fields, poppy, cultivated flowers. You will also see streams that feed the flour mills below. Avoid drinking from these since the water is not clean. You will reach Upper Tugasi in 30-40 minutes.

From Upper Tugasi, the trail continues to climb steeply. The fields are behind you now, but the trail is still populated by villages at regular intervals. Dronagiri stands out prominently among the mountains all the time you’re on this trail. It’ll take you about 30 minutes to cross the last settlement. The water source that you find after the last hut is safe for refilling your water bottles.

It will take 1.5 – 2 hours to reach Guling from here. The trail is a mix of steep and moderate climbs. Around 15 minutes before Guling, the first oaks appear and you are soon inside a mixed forest. The trail takes you around the same valley that you saw when you started from the rain shelter. But this keeps getting narrower as you gain altitude. The Guling campsite is inside the forest.

Look back as you approach Guling. Hathi and Ghora parvat make their first appearance here.

Day 3: Guling to Khullara

  • Altitude: 9,832 ft (2,997 m) to 11,100 ft (3,352 m)
  • Time taken: 3-4 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Moderate ascent all the way to Khullara
  • Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from streams along the trail.
Khullara Campsite-KuariPass-Indiahikes-Geet
The Khullara campsite. Picture by Geet Tryambake.

The trail today ascends all the way to Khullara but it’s not as steep as the previous day. Within 40 minutes of starting from Guling, you reach the first clearing. You will be surrounded by oak forests on all sides. Continue on the trail leading into the forest. You will reach the second clearing after about an hour. All this time, you will cross small streams along the trail. The water in them is clean and you can drink it.

Throughout the day, you see Dronagiri to the left, slightly at the back. You will also get glimpses of the Hathi Ghoda peaks. The peek-a-boo that the mountains play through the forests makes for very enchanting sights.

The Khullara campsite is located in a clearing.

Day 4: Khullara to Chitrakantha/Tali via Kuari Pass

  • Altitude: 11,100 ft (3,352 m) to 11,031 ft (3,362 m) via 12,516 ft (3,815 m)
  • Time taken: 8 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep climb for 1-1.5 hours followed by a moderate ascent for 1.5 hours. Slight descent for about 40 minutes to Kuari Pass. Descent for about 1.5 hours followed by 1 hour ascent easing off into a moderate descent for about 2 hours.
  • Water sources: You can refill your water bottles from streams along the trail.

The trail from Khullara begins to climb steeply out of the tree line. In 1-1.5 hours you reach a ridge, which is a part of Lord Curzon’s trail. From here 360 degree views of the Himalayas open up before you. On one side you see Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Dronagiri, Nilgiri and Hathi Ghoda peaks. Straight ahead of you are Trishul and parts of Nanda Devi. Continue on this trail to reach the upper grasslands of Kuari Pass.

From the ridge, trek up to Kuari top. This is a moderate climb with a few switch backs. It will take you 40 minutes to reach the top. A gradually descending trail from here will bring you to Kuari Pass in about 40 minutes.

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View from Kuari Pass. Picture by Manjunath N

From Kuari Pass, retrace your way back to the ridge. Once you reach the ridge, walk along ahead instead of turning towards Khullara. An hour’s moderate climb will bring you to Jhandi top, which is on top of the ridge. The views from Jhandi top are even better that what you get at Kuari Pass.

From Jhandi Top, start descending towards the Chitrakantha meadows. This is a forest trail and the mountains get hidden behind the tall trees. You will reach Chitrakantha in 1-1.5 hours. From Chitrakantha, you get 180 degree views of the mountains. Dronagiri is again very prominent here.

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Trekkers resting at Chitrakantha. Picture by Dan Alagarajah.

The trail from Chitrakantha to Tali dives deep into the forest. You are surrounded by oaks, pines and rhododendrons. The forest is so dense that hardly any sunlight reaches in. The Tali forest camp is around 40 minutes ahead on this trail. The campsite is located right in the middle of the forest, with a stream flowing close by. You are surround by tall trees on all sides.

Day 5: Chitrakantha/Tali to Auli. Drive to Joshimath

  • Altitude: 11,031 ft (3,362 m) to 8,625 ft (2,629 m)
  • Time taken: 4-5 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Gradual ascent for about 40 minutes followed by a 20 minutes steep climb. Around 45 minutes of gradual ascent which eases off into a descending trail for about 3 hours.
  • Water sources: You can refill your water bottles at Padiyar and once you enter Auli.

Begin the trek today with a moderate climb to Tali lake. This should take you around 40 minutes. At Tali lake, you’re above the tree line so you start getting mountain views again.

 Kuari Pass-Indiahikes-Vaibhav Jain
Reflections in the Tali Lake. Picture by Vaibhav Jain.

A 20 minutes steep climb from Tali lake brings you to an overhanging trail which cuts through a cliff. Continue on this trail. You can spot Lower and Upper Tugasi villages way below in the valley and also see rhododendron forests form above. After about 40 minutes of moderate ascent, the overhanging trail ends abruptly at Gorson Bugyal.

At Gorson Bugyal, the trail turns sharply to the left. Wide mountain views open up to the right and behind you. You will trek across the entire length of Gorson Bugyal, which gives you enough time to savour the views. This is a lovely, descending walk. In 2-2.5 hours you will reach Padiyar. From here, the trail enters an oak forest. Within 15 minutes you reach Padiyar temple. You can take a break here if you wish.

From Padiyar temple, the trail continues to descend. Upper Auli, which is the end of the ski lift (number 10), appears in 10-15 minutes. Auli is 1,000 ft below this. You will reach after gradually descending through the meadows for 1-1.5 hours. The trail in this section is quite populated.

Once you you reach Auli, get to GMVN. Take the exit here to the parking lot and get a vehicle to head back to Joshimath.

Please note, the Kuari Pass trek has issues related to availability of water in the natural water sources. Campsites may vary at times depending on availability of water.

Short itinerary

Day 1: Reach Lata, the base camp. Transport from Haridwar Railway Station to Lata can be arranged by Indiahikes. It costs Rs. 6300 per Tata Sumo (5-6 seater), and Rs. 10000 per Tempo Traveller (12-13 seater) for the transport one way. Pick up will be at 5.30 am. You will reach the base camp, Lata by 6 pm.
Day 2: Drive to Dhak; 45 minutes. Trek from Dhak (6,956 ft) to Guling (9,832) ft; 5-6 hours
Day 3: Guling (9,832) ft to Khullara (11,100 ft); 4-5 hours
Day 4: Khullara (11,100 ft) to Chitrakantha/Tali (11,031 ft) via Kuari Pass (12,516 ft); 8 hours
Day 5: Chitrakantha/Tali (11,031 ft) to Auli (8,625 ft); 4-5 hours. Drive to Joshimath; 45 minutes
Day 6: Drive from Joshimath to Haridwar. The transport costs Rs 5500 per Tata Sumo (5-6 seater) and Rs 9000 per Tempo Traveller (12-13 seater). You will reach Haridwar between 6.00 pm – 7.00 pm

Please note that you will be staying in a lodge at Joshimath. The stay on all other days will be in tents (3 per tent).

It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

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The Kuari Pass trail map

How to get to the basecamp – Lata

Delhi → Haridwar → Lata

The base camp for the Kuari Pass trek is Joshimath, 291 km from Haridwar.

Indiahikes organises transport from Haridwar to Lata. The pick up is at 5.30 am from Haridwar Railway Station on Day 1. The cab fare will be Rs 6300 per vehicle for a Bolero and Rs 10000 for  a Tempo Traveler. This cost is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver. You will reach Lata by 6.00 pm.

Reaching Haridwar 

Haridwar is well connected to Delhi. You can either take an overnight train from New Delhi to reach Haridwar the following morning –

  • 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 3.55

In case there are no train tickets available, you can travel by bus from Delhi to Haridwar. You’ll have to book this transport online. You can try the ISBT(Inter state bus terminus) services or www.redbus.in.

Nearest Airport

Dehradun is the nearest airport to Haridwar. It is connected by direct flights from Delhi and connecting flights from all other big cities. Dehradun is around 2.5 hours away from Haridwar and 1.5 hours from Rishikesh. If you decide to fly to Dehradun, make sure you reach at least one day before your pick up.

Pick up from Rishikesh

Since the route to Lata from Haridwar is via Rishikesh, it is possible to pick up trekkers on the way from Rishikesh. The pick up point will be Tapovan – Lakshman Jhula.

Getting back

Joshimath → Haridwar → Delhi

The trek ends at Joshimath. The drive back to Haridwar from Joshimath takes around 7 hours. Indiahikes arranges transport from Joshimath to Haridwar. The cost of this transport is not included in the trek fee. The cab fare will be Rs. 5,500 (Bolero) or Rs 9,000 (Tempo Traveler). This will have to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver. You will reach Haridwar at 7.00 pm. You can take a train back to Delhi – Mussoorie Express (23.15) or Nanda Devi Express (00.55) the same night. 

If you’re travelling out of Delhi the next day, make sure you keep enough buffer time for booking your onward journey, to factor in train delays.

 How to get fit for the Kuari Pass trek

The Kuari Pass trek is classified as an easy-moderate trek. You start the trek at 8,800 ft and reach a highest point of 12,516 ft, gaining an altitude of 3,759 feet in three days. In addition to this substantial altitude gain, you will cover a total trekking distance of 20 km. This requires decent fitness levels. 

Cardiovascular endurance

This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –

–>Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.

–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in 40 mins.

–>If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5km in less than 45 minutes.

If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 18 km in 60 minutes.

How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?

Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.

Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.

Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.

Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek

For < 45 years age : One screenshot of 5 km in 45 minutes and the second 5 km in 40 minutes.

For > 45 years age : Two screenshots of 5 km in 45 minutes.

If you love cycling, cover a distance of 18 km in one hour and upload the same.

Fitness proof to be uploaded with GPS on and along with your picture.

Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek.

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One month trek fitness routine for easy treks

Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

What to take on the Kuari Pass trek

Bare Necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: For this ten-day long trek you need trekking shoes with good grip that won’t wear out. You can watch this video to help choose the right trekking shoes.
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for the backpack is essential.

Clothes

On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.

  1. Five warm layers (three in spring/autumn): You will need at least five warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and a woollen layer and one padded jacket) for this trek. Your fifth layer is the thermals as written below.
  2. Two trek pants: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case the first one gets wet. Wear one pair and carry one pair. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
  3. Tights: To wear inside your pants while trekking (for those who are more prone to cold)
  4. Two collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek. 
  5. Thermals: Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.

Accessories

  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. These are more important in the winter months. There will be snow at the upper campsites. So carry a pair of sunglasses.
  2. SuncapThe sun is intense at higher altitudes and a sun cap is absolutely essential to keep your face and neck safe from sun burns.
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof gloves.
  4. Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
  5. Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
  6. Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
  7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
  8. Ponchos: At high altitudes, snowfall and rain are quite common and hence it’s mandatory to carry a poncho so that you don’t get wet.

Indiahikes offers rentals on this trek. You can now rent trekking shoes, trekking pole, padded jacket and poncho instead of buying them. You can collect these directly at the base camp and return them there after the trek. Get the details here.

Others

  1. Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
  2. Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
  3. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
  4. One water bottle: 1 litre
  5. One thermos flask: 1 litre, especially if you’re trekking in winter. Else carry 2 water bottles, one litre each.
  6. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit 

Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine are life-saving medicines. You MUST carry them with you.

  1. Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Dexamethasone – one strip
  3. Nifedipine – 5 tablets
  4. Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
  5. Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  6. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  7. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  8. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  9. Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
  10. Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  11. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  12. Gauze – 1 small roll
  13. Band aid – 10 strips
  14. Cotton – 1 small roll
  15. ORS – 10 packets
  16. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  17. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
  18. Knee cap, if you are prone to knee injury
  19. Anti fungal powder

Mandatory Documents

Please carry the below documents. Document two and three need to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp.
  • Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
  • Medical Certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF
  • Disclaimer form (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF

If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.

Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek – 

Here’s a quick info-graphic to give you an overview of everything you need in your backpack.

What are the risks on the Kuari Pass Trek?

The Kuari Pass trek is a moderate, high altitude trek. With every high altitude trek comes the risk of altitude sickness. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it.

What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety:

Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.

But we strongly advocate the statement, “Prevention is better than cure.” Right from the time you decide to register for a trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below.

1. Fitness criteria before registration

A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually. Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Kuari Pass trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Kuari Pass trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof.

2. Breaking the ascent at Gorson Bugyal

The general rule to follow for acclimatisation is not to have your camps have more than 1,000 ft of altitude gain each day. This becomes a difficult rule to follow in Indian Himalayas when the mountains climb so quickly.

In Kuari Pass, the trek starts with a daunting 2,500 ft ascent from Auli’s ski lift (around 8,800 ft) to the fringe of Gorson Bugyal (10,500 ft). We break the ascent at the beginning of Gorson Bugyal to allow natural acclimatisation instead of going all the way up to Talli or further to Chitrakantha. It is imperative you don’t climb further than Gorson Bugyal.

3.Monitoring health on a trek

On the Kuari Pass trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.

  • Oxygen Level
  • Pulse Rate

Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.

This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required. Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.

Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health. It contains details of what symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.

4. High Altitude Medical Kit

Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek.

5. High Altitude Trek Equipment

Kuari Pass will have a lot of snow in December.  People often slip and fall on snowy or icy terrain. Individuals who travel to altitude may have noticed that even the smallest cut or wound takes longer to heal the higher the altitude. Reasons for this are increasing stress hormones and lower overall oxygen delivery to the tissues. Wounds tend to get infected more easily as well. Keeping your wounds clean and covered will prevent infection.

ams-symptoms-indiahikes

Often applying a triple antibiotic ointment regularly will keep the wound from overly drying and aid in healing. Wound healing becomes an issue only at very high altitudes, over 14,000 ft or so.

To avoid falling/slipping on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes.

All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.

6. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek

You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.

We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.

With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.

Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.

What you need to know if you’re going on the Kuari Pass trek

If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitude.

First thing you should know is that Kuari Pass is a High Altitude trek. It climbs up to an altitude of 12,500 ft. So it comes with its fair share of risks – altitude sickness,cold, and and daunting ascents.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

AMS is one of the biggest dangers on a high altitude trek . AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Since Kuari Pass is largely an open meadow trek, it can get very cold and windy. If your body is not able to tackle the cold, it could accelerate any symptom of AMS you were already having. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.

Where on the Kuari Pass trek is AMS likely to affect you

Over a year of conducting Kuari Pass trek, we have noticed there are two camps on Kuari Pass trek where AMS is most likely to affect you. One is the Chitrakantha camp on Day 3. Although we have broken the first day’s ascent at Gorson Bugyal to allow your body to acclimatise naturally, Chitrakantha is still a camp where you have to watch for signs of altitude sickness. It is important you recognise your symptoms early.

We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then will he be able to take steps at the right time.

The next is Khullara – the camp after the Kuari Pass assault. This happens when your body has not acclimatised to the altitude of Kuari Pass. Most trekkers take this camp lightly, believing the highest altitude they could have reached is behind them. So don’t let your guard down, keep an eye out for any symptoms.  

What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS

If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.

Watch the video below to understand how to treat and prevent AMS. The information in this video is rare to find. With this knowledge, you can probably save your own life or another’s trekkers life.

As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour. If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage.

The increased dosage of Diamox usually takes care of the Acute Mountain Sickness. If you’re not at your 100% at the end of Day, then again, report to your Trek Leader. He will make you descend to Dhak or Auli – depending on which side of the pass you are on. Descent is the most effective cure for AMS.

Do NOT attribute your symptoms to anything other than AMS. If you have a bad stomach, suspect AMS. At high altitude, AMS is the first thing that should be suspected and treated.

If Diamox alone doesn’t work, he might administer Dex or Nifedipine, or perhaps oxygen, depending on the circumstances.

While AMS can be treated with medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.

Exit points on Kuari Pass trek

Kuari Pass has easy exit points. Every exit point on this trek is a rapid descent so you lose all the altitude you gained. From Chitrakantha, you can descend all the way down to Auli. From Khullara, you can descend to Dhak village. Joshimath, the nearest town,  is a 45 minute drive from Dhak.  

Closest hospital

Joshimath has the closest hospital. Joshimath is a 45 minute drive from Dhak and an hour’s drive from Auli.

Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks

If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life-saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.

Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker.

There are three life-saving medicines that you should always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.

If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.

The video below will help you understand what medicines to administer when and how much. Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about HAPE and HACE. Here, you can learn about the advanced symptoms are and how to tackle them.

It is a myth that fit and experienced people are not affected by Acute Mountain Sickness

If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.

For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.

ams-manual-indiahikes-2-pages
Click on the AMS Manual to open and download

 

Soul searching in the mountains – Kuari Pass Trek

"I do not remember jumping out of my bed with so much to look forward to at 05:30 am in the recent past. And there we were, all of us, not carrying our mountains any more but climbing them", Nishant Jadhav writes about his experience on the Kuari Pass Trek.

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