Read the 1st Part here – Pangarchulla Peak Trek – Reaching the base
May 28- Reaching the Summit
We all woke up by 2:30 am, had black tea, and got ready for the summit attempt. Summit day is always the most important and exciting day in treks or in any expedition. While I was pursuing the mountaineering course, the instructor had told our group that “one really needs good luck to climb any peak/summit”.
The weather looked good and clear. We all got our packed lunch along with some refreshments and without any delay, we started moving towards Khullara, which is a big plain land full of grass and boulders and is encircled by pink Rhododendrons, by 3:30 am. It took us about an hour to reach the Khullara meadows and the meadow grass was full of tiny flowers. The best thing about trekking during summer and monsoon is that one gets to see alluring flowers on the trail.
We continued the trek and took the steep zig-zag trail from Khullara. It took us another half an hour and we finished that steep section after which we took our first halt and relaxed on the grass. It was already 5 am and the sun was about to rise. Sunrise and sunset can be the best moments for anyone. The scene was mesmerizing. We patiently saw the sunrise and then continued the trek towards Chitrakantha.
Chitrakantha is a place with a small temple and from there, the trail bifurcates to Kuari Pass and Pangarchulla Peak. The right one goes toward Kuari Pass and the left one goes to the Pangarchulla peak. The further trail through the ridge was steep and challenging and we were asked to walk in a line. We crossed 3 major ridges which were all steep and reached a point from where snow trail was about to start.
It was already 8 am by our watches and still, our destination was too far. The main Pangarchulla summit was around 4-5 hours away and it was fully covered with snow. The heavy snow on the trail made the climb too technical and difficult. No other group was attempting the summit so we also decided to leave that and just go for Mini Pangarchulla instead. Mini Pangarchulla is only 300 m shorter than the main one in terms of elevation. We targeted to climb the summit by 11 am.
We put on our micro-spikes and started the climb. The snow trail was quite steep, with an inclination of around 60-65 degrees, which made the climb difficult as well as enthralling. The guide was making steps with the help of ice-ax so that we could easily climb as the snow was quite hard. We were continuously climbing and chanting “Howz the josh”. After the climb of around an hour, we reached a plain vast ground packed with snow. There, we took rest for around 15 minutes and then resumed our climb for the last leg. Initially, we crossed that snow ground and then again climbed a steep snow patch. After a continuous climb of around 2 hours, we were finally at the summit of Mini Pangarchulla, standing at an altitude of around 4300 m by 11:30 am. We spent around 20 minutes there and then started on the downhill trail.
In my opinion, climbing up is more difficult than trekking down because while climbing up, one needs to control his breath according to his walk and has to pull up the whole-body weight with the help of the legs. Though trekking down requires lesser efforts, it is also not as easy as it seems. One has to maintain his body posture and use techniques so that he doesn’t fall.
Coming back to the trail, we retraced the same route that we took while climbing up and then trekked down successfully. We reached our campsite at around 5 pm and everyone was very exhausted as it was a really long and eventful day. Later, we just relaxed during the evening by sipping some sweet corn soup and slept after eating our dinner.
May 29- Trek from Mini Khullara to Auli via Gorson Bugyal
Though it was the last day of our trek, it wasn’t the last day of our tour. We were all very excited as we were taking a different route for our journey back. Although it was longer, the route was way more scenic as it included the Gorson Bugyal as well as the famous ski destination i.e. Auli. We started our trek at around 8 am and took the trail towards the Khullara meadows and from there, we took a right turn and continued the walk towards Tali. The trail was through a dense forest and was mostly flat or downhill except for a few patches. It took us around 3 hours to reach the Tali campsite.
After taking rest for 15 minutes, we resumed the trek. Now, the trail became more scenic as we approached the Tali lake and Gorson Bugyal. In the next half an hour, we reached the lake and the forest cover came to an end as well. There was a magnificent panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks such as Hathi Godha, Dronagiri, Nilkanth, Bethartoli, and, yes, Nanda Devi (the 2nd highest peak of India) was also visible.
Then, we resumed the trail and took the route towards the bugyal. This was the last uphill stretch of the trek and it was steep and thrilling as we were walking on a quite narrow path. The trail was quite scenic as it was outlined by bushes and Rhododendron flowers and a complete panoramic view of Himalayan peaks was there. It took us around an hour and we finally reached the meadow and the first thing we saw there was a huge flock of sheep and a large number of goats. We also asked the shepherd regarding the number of goats and sheep and he replied that it amounted to around 1200.!!
We then had eaten our packed lunch which included sandwiches, chocolate, and juices. After having lunch, we continued our trek through the Gorson Bugyal. The bugyal was vast, lush green, and full of flowers. Walking through meadows is one of my favorite things on the mountains. It took another hour to cross the bugyal and we reached inside the forest and then Auli. There we had tea and some refreshments and relaxed for a while. Our trek had been completed and it was the time to move towards Joshimath. After an hour’s drive, we reached Joshimath and relaxed in the hotel.
May 30- Speed ascent to Vasudhara Falls and Badrinath temple visit.
This day for reserved for a visit to the Badrinath temple and the Mana village. After reaching there, we instantly planned for the Vasudhara Falls trek. Check out the experience here- Vasudhara Falls Trek
May 31- Drive from Joshimath to Rishikesh
Last day of our trekking tour. We drove back to Rishikesh through the same route and reached there in the evening and bid adieu to all the trek mates.
The overall experience was great and the trek was amazingly beautiful. We had views of more than 15 Himalayan peaks which is quite rare for any Himalayan trek. The weather throughout the trek was perfect which made the experience more beautiful and comfortable. This trek is for the one who has done one or two high altitude passes trek and is looking for a little different and more challenging experience.
Happy Trails 🙂