Embarking on Sunderdhunga trek is a marvellous plan to go from the beginner to intermediate and the near-expert level of trekking skills. The excursion will take you through the valley of the Sunderdhunga River to the base camp of Maiktoli – an approximately 22320-feet high mountain peak. Maiktoli base camp is itself at an elevation of over 12000 feet above sea level, and hence the chances of altitude sickness here will be high. To avoid any illness, you may start exercising before the hike begins and also before starting each of its subsequent stretches. Make sure you are completely fit and up for the task, for it will make you work your arm and leg muscles hard.
Hiking along gushing rivulets, above valleys, on glaciers and through lush forests will be an experience that will forever remain imprinted in your memory. Begin the jaunt by travelling to Kharkiya via the hill station of Bageshwar and the village of Loharkhet. Upon starting the Sunderdhunga trekking excursion from Kharkiya, travel past scenic rhododendron and oak forests. Cross the Pindar River to enter into the Sunderdhunga Valley, and then negotiate a gradual climb to reach Jatoli.
The next stage of the trek to Sunderdhunga begins with a rapid ascent. Complete yet another climb and then a descent through forests of deodar and spruce. Later, traverse an expansive valley, stroll past a waterfall, cross the tree line and tread on a path lined with shrubs to reach the camping ground of Kathaliya. The following morning, continue walking through shrubs and bushes to reach Baluni Top, and then head back to Kathaliya. After camping here, begin the most difficult and adventurous leg of the excursion.
Keep strolling uphill till you reach a large area, all covered with ice and snow. Tread on this icy field carefully, and then complete a series of uphill and downhill walks to arrive at the Maiktoli base camp. Thereafter, begin the all-downhill phase of the Sunderdhunga trekking tour, and travel to Kathgodam/Haldwani via Kathaliya, Jatoli, Kharkiya and Loharkhet.
Day 01: Kathgodam to Loharkhet (5775 feet) | Loharkhet to Kharkiya
On arrival at Kathgodam railway station, meet our representative and your Sunderdhunga trek group. Post the meet and greet, travel by road to Loharkhet via the town of Bageshwar. On reaching Loharkhet, travel a little further to Kharkiya and on reaching here, enjoy an overnight stay in tents.
Day 02: Kharkiya – Khati – Jatoli (8000 feet)
Upon beginning the Sunderdhunga trekking jaunt, walk through forests of oaks and rhododendrons. After a while, reach the first in the series of the many hissing streams on the way. On reaching Khati, see the trail splitting into two, and take the one turning right and going through the village. Thereafter, start descending through thick forests, and hear the sound of water splashing on rocks.
After a while, reach a ridge and see the Pindar River flowing below. Walk on a bridge across the stream, and from here on, tread along the banks of the Sunderdhunga stream. Keep ascending gradually to reach a narrow valley, and at the end of the climb, see another wooden river crossing. Beyond the bridge, the altitude-gain decreases and the stroll becomes a lot easier. After about 8 km of simple hiking, reach the village of Jatoli for an overnight stay.
Day 03: Jatoli – Dudiadhong (9000 feet) | Dudiadhong to Kathaliya (approx. 10520 feet)
Just as this stage of the trek to Sunderdhunga begins, the path starts to climb sharply. Following an ascent of about half a kilometre, reach a high point and see Jatoli below. From here, continue the walk through lush coniferous forests, accompanied by the hissing sound of a river. Thereafter, make a short ascent and then a descent to reach yet another wooden bridge. From here, the terrain becomes steeper and after about 6 km, it opens up into a valley. Follow the path downhill, and reach a river with hordes of boulders on its banks.
Now, the track climbs once more, taking you through thick forests yet again. Thereafter, reach a waterfall and beyond it, the trail ascends again, and this time, quite rapidly. Keep walking uphill, and as you near the tree line, tall trees will start giving way to short shrubs. As the valley is crossed, a high ridge with a river flowing on its either side is seen. Keep treading on the path for some more time to finally reach Kathaliya for an overnight stay.
Day 04: Kathaliya – Baluni Top – Kathaliya (12513 feet. Approx. 6 hours)
In this leg of the Sunderdhunga trekking tour, begin a treacherous climb from near the hut of a shepherd. The path is not marked properly and it leads through growths of shrubs. As the tree line is crossed, the gradient of the slope lessens and you enter velvety grassland. Further ahead, reach a patch of land, completely devoid of trees, and look at enchanting mountains in the distance. Keep walking for about 3.5 km more to reach Baluni Top and thereafter; trace the same track downhill to arrive in Kathaliya for an overnight stay.
Day 05: Kathaliya – Maiktoli Base Camp – Kathaliya (approx. 8 hours)
What ensues is the most significant stage of the Sunderdhunga trek as it will take you to the highest point of the excursion. Follow the descending path to a river and then cross the water body via a gigantic boulder in its path. Thereafter, begin a gradual ascent along a narrow path, lined with high ridges on both sides. The vegetation along the way consists solely of shrubs as you are above the tree line at the moment. Negotiate a demanding stretch of the track for about half a kilometre by walking uphill along a river.
The incline then lessens in the angle, and thereafter the path nears a glacier. Spot a glacial stream, and move perpendicular to it to make the ascent over moraines. After this section is crossed, a more difficult stretch of the terrain is encountered. The land here is extremely rocky and the soil is loose, so take your time negotiating it. Beyond this patch of land, the terrain is mostly covered with snow and solid ice, and the gradient of the slope here is quite high. Look carefully, and you may see a river gushing beneath the large ice field.
Post treading on ice and through snow for approximately 200 metres; take the path that goes uphill. Following a treacherous ascent through loose mud, the gradient decreases. For the most part of the journey from here, you negotiate a series of alternating climbs and descents. After about 1.5 km, the valley opens up, and you finally reach the Maiktoli base camp. Post resting here for some time and celebrating your success, retrace the path all the way to Kathaliya. On reaching Kathaliya, transfer to your lodging and rest.
Day 06: Kathaliya to Jatoli
Upon beginning this stretch of the Sunderdhunga trekking venture, enjoy the experience of completing an easy descent towards Jatoli for an overnight stay.
Day 07: Jatoli to Kharkiya | Kharkiya to Loharkhet
This is the ultimate downhill stage of the trek to Sunderdhunga, and it will take you back to Loharkhet via Kharkiya to rest at night.
Day 08: Kharkiya – Loharkhet - Kathgodam/Haldwani
On the final day of this Sunderdhunga trekking tour, relish breakfast at your lodging and then move on towards Kathgodam/Haldwani. Passing the hill town of Bageshwar, reach either of the towns to board a train or bus to Delhi.
Maximum Altitude: 12513
Best Time to go: April - June, September, October
A minimum of 06 - 08 passengers required to operate this departure.
It is advisable to book this trek well in advance as a minimum of 10 working days are required to arrange teh permits for this entry into this region.Last minute bookings may lead to discrepancies and are advised to be avoided.
I am little bit late in giving my feedback to you for my busy schedule after returning from long holiday. It was a pleasant experience having the trek with your excellent arrangements.