Winter Kuari Pass trek is among the most scenic excursions that you will ever take through the Himalayan Mountains. The mountain pass is located in the Garhwal region of the state of Uttarakhand. It lies to the south of the Tibetan Plateau, and is within the enchanting Nanda Devi National Park. The path to the pass is also known as Curzon's Trail in honour of Lord Curzon who first travelled on it. Kuari Pass is world-renowned for offering clear views of some highly prominent mountains, such as Nanda Devi, Kamet, Trishul and Dunagiri. The winter season is the ideal time to undertake the excursion as the snow makes the region look amazing.
Your expedition begins in the revered town of Haridwar, from where you drive through the mountains to Joshimath, which is another holy place. The important Hindu saint named Adi Shankaracharya established a monastery here in the 8th century to strengthen the religion. After spending one night in Joshimath, you drive to the small village of Dhak, from where this winter Kuari Pass trek commences.
Beyond the village of Tugasi, the trail will descend till you reach the picturesque meadow of Chitrakhana. Here you will camp beside a hissing stream, which will double up as a drinking water source. The phase of Kuari Pass trekking that will get you from Chitrakhana to Tali Top will be long and challenging. The sight of lush grass and bright red rhododendron flowers will greatly compensate for the tough hike. The next section of the excursion brings more gruelling hiking, involving a lot of climbing.
An easily-conquered phase will get you to Khullar, beyond where the track will again ascend. Complete a long trek from Khullar Top, and arrive at Kuari Pass, your highest destination of the Kuari Pass trek. During the entire tour, you will meander through picturesque valleys of the Kali Ganga, Pindar, Dhauliganga, Nandakini and Birahi Ganga Rivers.
Day 01: Haridwar to Joshimath
On arrival in Haridwar, board a vehicle and drive to Joshimath. The distance between the two towns is roughly 275 km, and it can be covered in about 7-8 hours. Rudraprayag, Srinagar, Karnaprayag and Devprayag are some of the places that you will pass by on the way to Joshimath. After you arrive here, transfer to your lodging for overnight stay.
Day 02: Joshimath to Dhak (4 hours) | Dhak to Chitrakhana
Relish a scrumptious breakfast at your lodgings and then drive to the village of Dhak. Begin your Kuari Pass trek after you arrive in Dhak village, which is approximately 12 km from Joshimath. You first encounter a steep climb through forests of oak, rhododendron and hemlock. After a while, the trail enters a picturesque valley.
Enjoy lunch on the way, and later make for Tugasi village, which is about 6 km from Dhak. You walk on terrain with gentle slope, and beyond Tugasi, the track starts descending. After walking for sometime, you will reach the meadow of Chitrakhana. The meadow gives panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, and you will also see huts of shepherds here. There is even a mountain spring here, which will serve as a source of clean drinking water for you. On arrival at Chitrakhana, have a nice dinner and then stay overnight in camps.
Day 03: Chitrakhana to Tali Top
This is a rather gruelling section of the Winter Kuari Pass trek as it involves a lot of ascending. Throughout the approximately 6 km journey, your eyes will treat themselves to the sight of lush green grass and red rhododendron bushes. It will take around 2 hours 30 minutes to meander through the forests of rhododendrons, silver birches, and morinda spruces. Once the forest is crossed, walk for another hour to reach the top of the ridge, which is about 3500 metres above sea level.
Another short walk of about half an hour takes you to the gently sloping meadow of Tali Top, where you will stay overnight. All along the journey, the peaks of Nanda Devi and Dunagiri will be clearly visible to you.
Day 04: Tali Top to Kuari Pass | Kuari Pass to Tali Top
The following is the longest phase of Kuari Pass trekking because it takes you to the pass, and then back to Tali Top. In all, you will hike for about 15 km, and the total time taken will be around eight hours. An easy hike of about an hour will get you to Khullar, from where the track again becomes steep. From Khullar Top, it is a long journey to the crest of Kuari Pass. The pass is encircled by towering mountains, with Nanda Devi being the highest and most prominent among them. Due to its altitude, it is extremely windy and cold up here. Post looking at the scenery and taking pictures, follow the path to Tali Top. On arrival in Tali Top, set-up your tents and stay overnight.
Day 05: Tali Top to Joshimath via Auli
Relish hiking down the mountains on this last day of your wonderful Himalayan excursion.
This phase of the journey is almost 8 km long and takes approximately four hours to complete. You will trek through the lovely meadow of Gurson, where you will see huge boulders scattered here and there. Here you may also get to see long-haired sheep and goats, grazing on lush grass. Hiking down from here, you reach the famous ski resort of Auli, where you board a vehicle and drive down to Joshimath. On arrival in the holy town of Joshimath, travel to your lodging for overnight stay.
Day 06: Joshimath to Haridwar
Early in the morning, leave Joshimath and drive back to Haridwar.
1. What is the best time to go for this tour?
The winter months of December and January are perfect for this trip as the snow makes the trail and the entire region look heavenly.
2. How difficult is the trek?
The difficulty level of the trek is moderate to tough owing to the thick covering of snow along the way. All said and done, it is certainly better to go on this trip in winters than summers.
3. How cold can it get on the trip?
On the first two days of the trip, the weather is pleasant, but it does get considerably cold at higher elevations. Here, the temperature can drop to around -5 degree Celsius, and the winds are pretty strong too. Hence, it is advised that you carry sufficiently wind-proof and warm clothing.
4. How much do we walk per day?
Every day, we walk for almost 5 to 7 hours, and complete a distance of 7 to 9 km.
5. Is taking anti-altitude sickness medicines like Diamox advisable?
As the maximum altitude that you will touch on the excursion is roughly 13500 feet, Diamox will not be needed. However, if you have had problems adapting to such elevations, you are advised to consult a doctor beforehand.
6. Will our group have a trek leader or guide?
Yes, you will be guided and led by an experienced mountaineer, who has certificates in first aid.
7. How big are the groups?
Usually we take 18-20 people in one group, and sometimes there can be as less as 6-7 people trekking together. In addition to hikers, the groups also consists of porters, cooks and helpers.
8. Is the trip safe for women?
The safety of women is highly important to us, and our staff and trek operators are polite and helpful towards them. Mountain dwellers are quite honest and respectful of women, so females have nothing to worry about.
9. What do we carry on the tour?
Before the start of the trip, you will be given a proper list of all necessary things, which you will be required to carry with you.
10. Will someone carry my luggage if I am not able to?
Absolutely. Just tell us 15 days before the commencement of the excursion, and we will arrange a porter for you.
11. What kind of shoes should I carry?
It is essential to have shoes that make hiking easier. Make sure that your trekking shoes are warm, and made of a waterproof material. In addition, check that their soles are strong, and at the same time, your footwear should be comfortable. Before coming on the trip, walk for 3-4 kilometres every day for a week so that you settle into them, and they become more comfortable.
12. How many travellers will stay in one tent?
Usually, each tent will have no more than three persons.
13. How fit should the participants be?
As with all treks, this one too requires that you are fully fit to undertake it. To get into shape, you can exercise for 30 minutes, and jog or walk 3-4 km each day for about a month, prior to beginning the expedition.
14. What kind of food do we get during the tour?
Only Indian vegetarian food and eggs are served on the trip.
15. Where can clean drinking water be procured along the way?
It is best that you ask your trek leader about sources of safe drinking water. For added bonus, you are advised to use Chlorine tablets to purify the water further.
16. What type of vehicles are used for ground transportation?
For ground transportation, we use 4-wheel drive SUVs like Bolero, Max or any car, equivalent of them.
17. Will a doctor travel with us?
No, but our trekking leaders and guides are well-versed in Wilderness First Aid, and have certificates for the same. They are aware of the problems that group members may face at high altitudes, and as a precaution, they carry all necessary medicines with them. It is however advised that you get checked by a physician to see if you are fit for the excursion.
18. Should I bring my own medicines?
Absolutely. You should definitely carry whatever medicines you are using for the purpose of added safety.
19. Can the itinerary be changed?
Not usually because the itineraries are well-planned. However, you can consult your guide and other members of the group to see if they agree on small changes.
20. Can a trip be customised?
Customising the trip is possible, depending on the number of participants. The cost however may vary as per requirement.
Nov 2016 : 6th,7th,12th,13th,19th,20th,26th,27th
Dec 2016 : 2nd,3rd,4th,9th,10th,11th,16th,17th,18th,19th,20th,21st,22nd,23rd, 24th,25th,26th,27th,28th,29th,30th, 31st
Jan 2016 : 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,5th,6th,7th,8th,9th, 13th,14th,15th,20th, 21st,22nd,27th,28th,29th
Feb 2016 : 4th,5th,11th,12th,18th,19th,25th,26th
Mar 2016 : 4th,5th,11th,12th,18th,19th,25th,26th
Duration: 06 Days
Max Altitude: 13990 ft.
Approx Trekking Km:41 kms
Best Time to go: December to March
1. Accommodation. (Guest house, Home stay, Camping)
2. Meals while on trek (Veg.)
3. Trek equipment.
5. First aid medical kits and oxygen cylinder.
6. Qualified & experienced trek Leader, Guide and Support staff
7. Transport from haridwar to Haridwar
1). GST @ 5.0%
2). Air/Train fare
3). Anything not mentioned under the head inclusions.
4). Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary / stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, road blocks and / or any factors beyond control.
5). The tariff does not include barbeque, personal expenses like telephone, laundry etc.
So, I'd gone in the 28th December, 2015 to 2nd Jan, 2016 batch of Kuari Pass trek, Uttarakhand. Ammaaazzzziiinnnggg Experience. We reached the base camp (Joshimath) on 28th December ..The trek started on 29th, the scenic beauty was awesome. Reaching the peak on 31st December. It was full of snow and we were surrounded by snow on the 3rd and 4th day, also got to see snowfall.... Also, got to mention, superb kitchen staff. Where we thought we had to live on Maggi, we were served with biryanis, paratha, gulab jamun, bournvita and stuff. Then, the trek leaders, such superb people and supported us every time we needed them. The new friends, the snow, the tough climb, the view....UNFORGETTABLE. So to conclude, a little tiresome, No doubt.. But TOTALLY WORTH IT!
The trek was good. Guide was awesome and managed the team perfectly!
The overall experience was nice and I absolutely loved it. Everything from food, accommodation and guides were superb. But one thing that stood apart from everything was agent's excellent service. He has helped me plan everything even when the slots looked full. He has been extremely reliable and helpful!! 10 on 10 for Adventure Nation agent.
Winter Kuari Pass was an awesome experience and will be planning another trek soon in June!