Trek conducted by 'India Hikes'
Duration: 6 days
Highest Altitude: 12,500 ft
- Day time: 8°C-15°C
- Night time: -5°C-3°C
The best winter trek in the Himalayas
When it comes to trekking in India in winter, the Kedarkantha trek would be your best bet. From December to April, Kedarkantha makes for a terrific trek in virgin snow, with pretty campsites and astonishingly wide clearings in the forests.
Juda Ka Talab with snow covered pine trees. PC: Sudarshan
Top 4 reasons to do the Kedarkantha trek in winter
Snow till April
Not many know that on the Kedarkantha trek, the winter snow sets in by the middle of December and lasts until the third week of April. You are likely to come across snow just as you cross the 10,000 ft mark, lying on the forest floor among the pine trees. When you reach the meadows, a huge blanket of white is likely to surround you in every direction.
Towards Kedarkantha Base. PC: Chandrashekhar R
This trek has the prettiest campsites in the Himalayas. Not all treks can boast of the beauty of their campsites like the Kedarkantha trek. Each campsite is unique in its beauty. The Juda-Ka-Talab campsite sits in a clearing surrounded by giant pine trees, the Kedarkantha Base campsite is on an open meadow with snow peaks all around. It is almost as if each one of them competes with the other for the beautiful setting.
Campsite on the Kedarkantha trek in winter. PC: Sudipto
Best drive in the Himalayas
The drive to Kedarkantha takes you through Mussoorie, Nowgaon, Purola and Mori before finally bringing you to Naitwar. It is a remote route so exquisite that it is one of the most beautiful drives in the Indian Himalayas. Trekkers need to especially watch out for the section after Purola until the base camp.
Drive to Naitwar along the Tons River. PC: Amal Anto
Snow peaks all around
This is a huge perk of trekking to Kedarkantha. Right from the Kedarkantha base camp, you’ll see stunning 360 degree views of famous mountain summits. This is jaw dropping. When you get to the Kedarkantha summit, it is as if you have touched the sky and all the summits are at your eye level!
View from the Kedarkantha Summit. PC: Vivek HJ
What is included in the tour
- Taxes: Includes all costs of the trek from Naitwar to Sankri. GST at 5% is payable on the trek fee.
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 (Naitwar to Sankri). You will be staying in lodges at Naitwar and Sankri and camping on remaining days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Naitwar on Day 1 to breakfast at Sankri on Day 6 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – You will stay in high quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
- Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
- Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.
What is NOT included in the tour
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Dehradun and drop you back from Sankri. This will cost approx. Rs. 5,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to Naitwar and the return drive from Sankri.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 1,000 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Naitwar (Rs.335 per day + 5% GST).
- Stay at Dehradun on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusions
Day 1: Reach Naitwar; 8-9 hours drive from Dehradun. Transport will be organised from Dehradun Railway Station at 6.30 am. Cab costs approximately Rs.5,500 per vehicle.
Day 2: Naitwar (5,600 ft) to Jalouta (8,950 ft); 4 hours
Day 3: Jalouta (8,950 ft) to Pukhrola (10,800 ft); 4 hours
Day 4: Pukhrola (10,800 ft) to Kedarkantha Summit (12,500 ft); descend to Hargaon (8,450 ft) via Juda ka Talaab (9,211 ft); 6-7 hours
Day 5: Hargaon (8,450 ft) to Sankri (6,400 ft); 4 hours
Day 6: Drive to Dehradun; 10-11 hours. The cab costs approximately Rs.5,500 per vehicle. You will reach Dehradun between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.
Please note that you will be staying at a lodge in Sankri and Naitwar. The stay on all other days is 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. Since Sankri will have limited facilities to photo copy, do not leave this till the end.
How to get Basecamp Naitwar
Delhi → Dehradun → Naitwar
The Kedarkantha trek starts from Naitwar, around 182 km from Dehradun.
Indiahikes organises transport from Dehradun to Naitwar. The pick up is at 6.30 am from Dehradun Railway Station on Day 1. The cab fare is Rs.5,500 per vehicle. This is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
The drive to Naitwar is beautiful, beside the River Tons. You pass through Mussoorie, which is a popular hill station. Stop for breakfast at Kempty Waterfalls, which is a popular tourist destination. You can stop at Purola for lunch. The Dhabas here serve delicious Aloo Parathas. You will reach Naitwar around 4.00 pm.
To reach Dehradun
The best way to reach Dehradun is to take an overnight train from Delhi. There are two trains available from Delhi to Dehradun. We recommend that you take this one –
- 12205 Nandadevi Express – 23.50 – 5.40
- 12055 DDN Jan Shatabdi – 15.20 – 21.10 (reach the previous night)
If you cannot find a train, then take a bus. To stay on the safe side, book buses online in advance. Book such that you have some buffer time to make it to Dehradun on time for the pick-up; buses usually get delayed.
Sankri → Dehradun → Delhi
The Kedarkantha trek ends at Sankri. From Sankri, you’ll be retracing your route back to Dehradun. It takes around 8 hours to drive back to Dehradun. Indiahikes organises this transport for a fare of Rs.5,500 per cab. This is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid to the driver directly. You will reach Dehradun by 6.00 pm.
If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your onward travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express (21.20) or Nanda Devi Express (23.30).
If you want to get to the basecamp by yourself
Take a bus headed towards Sankri from Dehradun – Naitwar is on the way. It leaves at 6.00 am from Dehradun Railway station. Be there by 5.40 am to get a seat.
If you are reaching Dehradun late, you can take a bus to Purola/Naugaon and then a connecting bus to Sankri. The last bus leaves from Dehradun Railway Station at 12 noon. If you reach Purola late, you can stay there overnight.
If you are taking a hired taxi, the route is pretty straightforward. First, head to Mussoorie, then move down to Yamuna Bridge, via Kempty falls. Then follow the Yamuna on your left until you reach Damta and further on to Naugaon. Cross the Yamuna at Naugaon and head towards Purola. The route immediately turns scenic, with pine trees overlooking the road.
At Purola break for lunch. From Purola, the route gets more mesmerising with the road climbing up and descending through thick pine forests until you get to Mori along the Tons River. 5 km out of Purola try to locate the south face of the Kedarkantha peak on your left. The highest peak, it is not difficult to spot.
From Mori, follow the Tons to Naitwar, again through some breathtaking mountain scenery.
Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Naitwar
The trek begins at Naitwar, 8-9 hours drive from Dehradun. The journey takes you past Mori and Purola. You see beautiful valleys and forest cover throughout the journey. At the Naitwar Barrier you need to take permission. A government issued ID is essential for this. After the barrier, take a right side turn to go to Gainchwan Gaon. The road that goes straight, takes you to Sankri. After taking the right turn, take another right turn after in 30 minutes. This takes you to the village Gainchwan Gaon surrounded by Shialdi, Paisar, Guradi, Sunchangaon, Dargangaon and Dewara. The guest house where you will be staying is in Shialdi.
Roam around this quiet village and be enchanted by the sound of the Rupin river.
- Altitude: 5,600 ft
- Time taken: 8 – 9 hours drive from Dehradun.
Around the base camp. PC: Vishal Negi
Day 2: Naitwar/Shialdi to Julota
- Altitude: 5,600 ft to 8,950 ft
- Time taken: 4.5-5 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy. Gradual ascent for 2-2.5 hours followed by a steep ascent.
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. There’s one water source half way through the trek.
Forest near Julota. PC: Chandrashekhar R
There’s a motorable road all the way to Altwar which is a work in progress. You will have to stick to the villager’s path that goes through apple orchards and farm lands. The Sunchangaon and Dargangaon villages are unique in their culture, in their architecture and lifestyle. Altwar is at a distance of 3 km from Gainchwan Gaon if you come through these villages and 6 km via the motorable road. Indiahikes trekkers trek on the shorter route since a cab up the motorable route takes more time.
From Altwar, you can see the Rupin valley. The trail goes into a forest and ascends gradually. After some time you see a clearing amidst the pine and oak forests. This is the first water point where you can fill water from a tap. This is also a good spot to rest and click photographs of the beautiful surroundings.
After the clearing, you enter the forest which is denser now. Soon you see a wooden bridge over a dried river bed. The trail from here on is quite steep and more like a staircase made of slabs of rock. After gaining some altitude, the incline becomes more gradual. You see the Rupin river as you traverse through fallen trees on the trail.
As you walk further, you enter a clearing with a hut. This place is Raj Odari, from where you take a route which deviates from the main trail. After some distance, you see a stream cutting through the trail. After crossing the stream, you trek up a trail that is on a gradual incline in a grassland. Less than a kilometer later, you arrive at Gainkaka. From here there is a gradual ascent till a stream at a place called Julota. This place is surrounded by pine trees. This is your campsite for the day.
Day 3: Julota to Kedarkantha Base (Pukhrola)
- Altitude: 8,950 ft to 10,800 ft
- Time taken: 4 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy. ½ km ascent to a meadow followed by ½ km of level walk. Gradual ascent which becomes steep for the last 300 metres to Pukhrola.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You will find streams along the trail to refill your water bottles.
Trekkers marching in snow. PC: Indrajit Hazra
Today’s trek is quite short but there’s close to 2,000 ft of altitude gain. So remember to keep yourself hydrated well. The trail is steeper and the terrain is undulated and mixed. You see multiple clearings and meadows as you trek from Jalouta. The second such clearing is called the Siunn ka Thatch and it is at an altitude of 9,293 ft.
The trail again goes through a jungle and opens into another clearing called Mowru ka Thatch. Take a short break here to enjoy the serenity of the place. After Mowru ka Thatch, you trek through a tree covered area on steep terrain. The tree cover slowly loses density and you see Rhododendron trees. Now you’re just an hour away from Pukhrola, our new Kedarkantha Base.
After crossing a couple of streams, you enter a huge meadow and you see the Kedarkantha summit sitting right in front of you. This is Pukhrola – your campsite for the night. Take good rest and enjoy the picturesque sunset here.
[Note: The cold in the open is intense and it often gets windy. Carry enough woollen wear to protect you from the elements.]
Day 4: Pukhrola to Kedarkantha peak; descend to Hargaon via Juda ka Talab
- Altitude: 10,800 ft to 12,500 ft to 8,450 ft via 9,211 ft
- Time taken: 6 – 7 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy to moderate. 2 hour steep ascent to reach the summit. Steep decent to Hargaon
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. First water source at Talkhetra, around 2 hours into the descent.
Trekkers heading towards Kedarkantha summit. PC: Vishal Negi
Today you make the final push towards the summit. Start from Pukhrola at 5:00 AM. Those of you carrying your rucksacks will need to pack up the previous night and take all your belongings with you. Kedarkantha summit is around 2 km from Pukhrola. You can drop off your rucksacks around ½ km before the summit and proceed with just a day pack. You can collect your rucksacks again during the descent. If you are offloading your bag, carry a day back – your rucksacks will be taken directly to Hargaon.
The route goes on the western ridge of the mountain and it gets very steep at multiple points. It takes two hours to reach the summit by this route. On the summit you are surrounded by mountain ranges and valleys. You see Dhauladhar range, Chansil Pass, Rupin valley, Har ki Dun valley. Swargarohini also comes into view along with Bandarpoonch and Kalanag. Some of the other peaks you see include Jaonti, Gangotri, Draupadi ka Danda and Jorkanden.
While descending, you first come down to the point where you can collect your bags. From here, trek down the shoulder ridge of the east face. You trek down a gradual slope to reach a meadow. After walking ahead for a few minutes, you enter a forest where the path divides into two. One goes over a log-bridge but you take the other path which goes to the left.
In 1.5-2 hours, you reach Talkhetra which is at an altitude of 10,025 ft. Stop here for lunch. You can also refill your water bottles here.
From Talkhetra, you have 2 options. If you’re feeling up to it, visit Juda ka Talab else head straight to Hargaon. Juda-ka-talab is a beautiful lake in a clearing in the forest. It will take you about an hour to get here. The trail is mostly descending, with a 10-15 minute ascent.
Descending straight to Hargaon from Talkhetra will take you about 40 minutes.
Day 5: Hargaon to Sankri
- Altitude: 8,450 ft to 6,400 ft
- Time taken: 3.5 hours
- Trek gradient: Easy. Gradual descent all the way.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. There is one water source, around 1.5 hours into the trek.
Hargaon. PC: Ruchira Khanna
Although this is the last day of the trek, it gives good competition to the other days. You trek mostly through forest cover, with clearings surrounded by maple trees along the way. You get some really beautiful views of Har-ki-Dun and Swargarohini from these clearings. Start early so that you can spend some time taking in these views.
Day 6: Drive to Dehradun from Sankri
- Distance: 220 km
- Time taken: 10 – 11 hours
Start from Sankri early in the morning, preferably before 7:00 AM since the journey takes at least 10 hours. If you have time to spare at Dehradun, go to Mussoorie or Yamunotri.
GET YOURSELF FIT
The Kedarkantha trek is marked as an easy-moderate trek. It starts at an altitude of 6,000 ft at Sankri and climbs to 12,500 ft at Kedarkantha peak. This means there is an altitude gain of 6,500 ft over the first three days of the trek. Consequently, all the three days leading to the Kedarkantha summit involve constant ascent.
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.
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin
- Gradually increase the distance to 7 km. Target completing this in 63 minutes
- Before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes
In terms of speed, make sure you’re able to jog 5 km in 35 minutes before the start of the trek. If you are 45 years old and above, your target should be completing at least 3 km within 29 minutes before you go on the trek.
Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with 20 in each
Along with endurance, you need to build your core body strength. You will be carrying your backpack all through the trek and this trek has a lot of climbs. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
If you’re trekking to Kedarkantha in winter, note that the temperature drops to around -10 degree Celcius at night. During the day, the temperature will be at around 8-12 degrees. This extreme temperature could make breathing slightly difficult. Doing breathing exercises before the trek will help. Expand your lungs and learn to breathe deep. This will help you inhale more oxygen and help you breathe comfortably.
Here’s a guide to help you prepare for the trek.
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.
THINGS TO TAKE
If you’re trekking to Kedarkantha in winter, the temperature during the day will be at around 8-12 degrees and at night, the temperature will drop to -5 to -7 degrees. You will need to carry a minimum of five warm layers. Apart from this, ensure you carry your warm accessories such as synthetic (water resistant) gloves, woollen socks, balaclava and thermals. These are imperative on a winter trek.
Apart from this, there might be snowfall in winter. Ensure you carry a poncho to have a comfortable trek.
- Trekking shoes: Carry trekking shoes and not sports shoes. The trail will be slippery at several places and will require shoes with good grip and ankle support. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
- Five layers of warm clothes: If you’re trekking in winter, carry two sweaters, two fleece jackets and a padded jacket. If you’re trekking in summer (March/April), three warm layers will suffice.
- Three trek pants: Carry light cotton trek pants. One of your pants can be tights that you can wear as an inner layer while trekking, especially on the day of the summit climb.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. If you’re too cold, you can wear two tshirts together for more insulation. 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 fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals: Carry thermals (top and bottom) to keep yourself warm at night. Keep your thermals fresh and don’t wear them while trekking.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are mandatory. There will be a lot of snow in winter and can cause snow blindness.
- Suncap: At high altitude, the sun is extra harsh, as the UV rays don’t get filtered. So carry a suncap to protect yourself.
- Synthetic hand gloves: Avoid woollen gloves as they will get wet if you touch snow. You can add a fleece glove as an inner layer, and wear two gloves on each hand if you’re more susceptible to cold.
- Balaclava: You’ll need this to cover your head, as most of the heat escapes from your head.
- Socks (2 pairs) and a pair of woollen socks: Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Daypack (20 litres): You will need this to carry water bottles, light snacks and medical kit in case you decide to offload your backpack.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. If you plan to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you do not leave the used wipes/tissues back in the mountains since these are not biodegradable. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used 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.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each. For winter treks make sure, one of the water bottles is a thermos flask. We recommend the Lifestraw Go. Indiahikes trekkers can get it at a discount here.
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
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.) – It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek. Since Sankri will have limited facilities to photo copy, do not leave this till the end.
- 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
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek
ATM Points and Mobile Connectivity
Purola has the last ATM point before your trek begins, if you need to withdraw money.
Purola is the last place before the trek where you’re likely to get a stable mobile signal. This is about an hour and a half before Naitwar, the base camp. Finish all your important phone calls here and inform anxious family members about limited phone connectivity.
What are the risks on the Kedarkantha Trek?
Kedarkantha is an easy to moderate trek in terms of difficulty but it goes up to an altitude of 12,500 ft. Which means it’s still a high altitude trek. As with every high altitude trek, the Kedarkantha trek comes with certain risks.
At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure your life is safe, we also expect you as a trekker 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.
From the time you register for a trek, we will keep you informed of safety procedures on high altitude treks. We have listed a few of them below.
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over the years, we have come to notice that safety issues are widespread among unfit, unaware and ill-prepared trekkers. Therefore we have brought in an eligibility criteria for the Kedarkantha trek.
Before registration, you need to meet the fitness requirements. The primary measure for fitness is BMI or Body Mass Index. An ideal BMI is a minimum requirement to register for this trek. You can take a look here.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
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 symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies as well. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.
On the Kedarkantha trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring your Oxygen levels and Pulse rate twice a day. Your blood pressure is measured once every day. Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and immediate action will be taken.
3. 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. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
Kedarkantha is popular for its snowy terrain. If you go on this trek in the months from December to mid-April, you will be trekking on snow. To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes.
These are attached to your shoes and will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can wear over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you. They lead the way on difficult terrain, where there might be too much snow.
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. Our sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degree Celcius.
5. 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 of uneasiness to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you need to know if you’re going on the Kedarkantha 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.
Like in every winter trek, a common risk factor on the Kedarkantha trek is slippery snow. You will be provided with micro spikes to help you walk better. But if you fall, no need to panic.
Even the smallest wound takes longer to heal at higher altitude. Reasons for this are increasing stress hormones and lower overall oxygen delivery to the tissues. Keeping your wounds clean and covered will prevent infection. To prevent the bruise from festering, apply a triple antibiotic ointment regularly.
Where on the Kedarkantha trek is Acute Mountain Sickness likely to affect you:
Any campsite above 11,000 ft poses a risk of AMS. On the Kedarkantha trek, the Kedarkantha Base camp is at 11,250 ft. It is the only campsite on this trek where you could be affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. From here and while going up to the summit is when you should watch out for symptoms.
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. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.
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.
What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS at Kedarkantha Base Camp
Very few cases of AMS have been recorded on the Kedarkantha trek. Nevertheless, don’t let your guard down. If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, 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. Evacuation will be done if no improvement is shown. You will be taken down to Sankri as descent is the sure cure for AMS.
Exit points on the Kedarkantha trek:
There is just one exit point on the Kedarkantha trek – the base camp, Sankri. It takes around 5 hours top descend to Sankri from the highest campsite of the trek. Sankri is at an altitude of around 6,500 ft. So any symptoms of AMS will stop showing there.
For advanced treatments, the closest hospital from Sankri is in Purola which is around 54 km away. Please note that these are mountain roads and usually takes around 2-3 hours to cover this distance. It takes longer after nightfall.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If you cannot find your fellow trekkers or anyone else 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, you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Here, 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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
1. What is the style of accommodation in this trek?
Stay in Naitwar and Sankri on Days 1 and 5 of the trek will be in guest houses, where you will share a room with fellow trekkers. Stay on all other days will be in tents. Each tent accommodates 3 people.
2. Will you provide us with tents and sleeping bags?
Yes, Indiahikes trekkers will be provided with tents and high altitude sleeping bags that can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC.
3. What will the temperatures be like during this trek?
Day time temperatures will range from 13-18ºC and night time temperature will range from 0-6ºC in summer. In winter, temperatures will range from 8-15ºC during the day and can drop down to -7ºC at night.
4. Will there be snow on this trek?
Yes, there will be snow on this trek from December to April.
5. What will we do if it rains?
If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. When it rains at the campsite, we usually get together in the dining tent and play games. The tents that you will be staying in, the dining tent, kitchen and toilet tents are all water proof, so you will stay dry inside.
6. How do we reach Naitwar?
Indiahikes will arrange pick – up vehicles/shared cabs from Dehradun railway station and to Naitwar, the base camp. This transport cost is to be borne by the trekkers and will amount to approximately Rs.5,500 per vehicle. You will have to pay the driver directly. The drive to Naitwar will take 8-9 hours. Pick up from Dehradun will be at 6.30 am.
7. How do we get back after the trek?
Indiahikes will arrange for shared cabs from Sankri to Dehradun railway station. This cost is to be borne by the trekkers and is not included in the trek fee.
8. Which are the best seasons for the Kedarkantha trek?
Kedarkantha is a great trek to do in winter because of the crystal clear views and snow filled campsites. Each camp site turns into a fairyland in the snow. Spring is also a good time, because the forests come alive in this season, and the snow stays in parts all the way till April.
9. Are trek poles, jackets and other equipment available for rent from Indiahikes?
Yes, we offer shoes, jackets and trek poles on rent. We also have some equipment on sale. You can order both rentals and purchase online. Check out our store here.
10. Is this a good trek for a first timer?
Kedarkantha is suitable for beginners and experienced trekkers alike. This is an easy trek. However, you still need to be physically fit to do this.
11. If not the Kedarkantha trek, what is a good alternative trek to do?
Deoriatal Chandrashila and Kuari Pass are other treks that you could explore. These are both easy treks, have beautiful forest trails and have mind blowing mountain view. You can find snow on both these treks till March.
12. Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.1,000 + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Naitwar, the amount will be Rs.335 per day + 5% GST. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision.
13. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
Kedarkantha is suitable for anyone above the age of 7 years. However, you need to ensure that your child is physically fit for the trek.
14. Who will be with us on the trek from Indiahikes?
An Indiahikes team consisting of a qualified Trek leader, trek guides, porters and cooks will be with you throughout the trek.
15. What are washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
The guest houses at Naitwar and Sankri will have concrete toilets. On the other days, toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. There will be 2 or 4 of these toilet tents depending on the size of the group. A toilet tent will have a deep pit, where one can answer nature’s call. There will be a mound of soil and a shovel to cover it up. These are dry toilets, where you’ll have to use toilet paper. There will be a room freshener as well. It’s the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and refrain from using wet wipes since these are not bio-degradable.
16. What kind of food is served on the trek? Should we carry any food?
Indiahikes uses a well planned menu suitable for high altitude treks. Breakfast varies from bread and butter, semia, poha to sandwiches and cornflakes. Lunch mainly comprises of roti or puri with sabzi. Dinner is complete with Dal, rice, roti and dessert. Dry ration of biscuits and chikki will be provided as well. You may carry nuts and dry fruits if necessary.
17. Will there be water sources on the way? Will two litres of water be enough?
Our campsites are pitched near water sources. For your day’s trek, two litres of water should be enough. You will find 1 or 2 water sources on the trail on all days of the trek.
18. Is there mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
Purola, on the way to Naitwar, is the last place that you will receive mobile network. Make sure you finish all your important phone calls before reaching Naitwar and also inform anxious family members about poor connectivity on the trek. You will receive signal again after reaching Sankri. Electricity charging points will be present at the guest houses.
19. Do I need special snow shoes on this trek?
You don’t need special snow shoes. A good trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. We recommend a pair of water resistant shoes. When there is snow, we provide micro spikes and gaiters.
20. Why is the trekking pole necessary?
We suggest you watch this video to for a better understanding of why a trekking pole is necessary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=LXezaCVjEao
21. When it gets really cold can I consume alcohol?
Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially on high altitudes. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead it opens your pores making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Indiahikes treks. Anyone found with alcohol is quickly removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Indiahikes treks.
22. How long do we trek every day? What is the distance covered?
Day 1 – You will be picked up from Dehradun for the 8-9 hours drive to Naitwar
Day 2 – The trek from Naitwar to Jalouta will take you about 4 hours
Day 3 – Jalouta to Pukhrola is also a 4 hours trek
Day 4 – This is longest day of the trek. Going from Pukhrola to KK summit and descending to Hargaon will take you 6-7 hours
Day 5 – This is a 4 hour trek from Hargaon to Sankri
23. How do I manage the negative temperatures on the trek? Do I need special jackets?
At high altitudes, temperatures are sure to dip into negative at nights.. For these extreme cold temperatures, you need to keep the rule of 3 in mind. The rule of 3 usually takes care of cold that dip to -10°C. It is a simple formula of wearing 3 layers of woolen, inners and lower wear.
Follow this guide:
Wear one thermal and two T-shirts, three layers of woolens (two sweaters and a jacket). For your lowers wear a thermal inner with two layers of track suit. If you are prone to more cold, just add a layer.
The temperatures dip only late in the evening and early mornings. During the day if the sun is out, then you may even be trekking in your T-shirts. Make sure you use your thermal wear only at night and not while trekking.
A woolen cap/balaclava and gloves are a must.
24. Is it safe to trek with Indiahikes?
All high altitude treks come with their share of risks. 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. Before you go on the trek, make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with the safety procedures followed on a trek.