“”The mountains are calling, and I must go…””
While the nature lovers are delighted by the freshness of the spring season, the cold of the winters is what the adventure junkies cannot wait for with patience. The trekkers, especially are frantic for the snow to cover the mountain ranges in their incomparable beauty and create for them the very grounds on which they will spend their season with immense satisfaction. Some mountain ranges individually stand out when it comes to being chosen by an adventurer for trekking and one such utterly beautiful and fascinating mountain range is the magnificent Himalayas. Passing through five different countries India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Pakistan, the majestic Himalayan range has some of the most amazing peaks which include Kanchenjunga, Pin Parvati and of course the very famous Mt.Everest. It also has a tremendous number of trekking trails that never cease to fascinate one and all. This overwhelming variety is one of the most attractive features of the Himalayan range as perceived by the trekkers themselves and it is perhaps for this reason that every winter season, the Himalayas welcomes adventure seekers from across the globe.
If in your heart, resides a trekker who cannot wait to set out on this promising adventure, we come to you with a little heads up on some of the most amazing trek routes that you can take when in the Himalayas.
Let’s get started!
1. Chadar Trek: This trek takes you to a height of 11,123 feet above sea level, and you need at least nine days to complete it. Involving trekking over Zanskar river that lies beautifully frozen during the winters, the Chadar trek is for the daring adventurers who seek challenge. The best time to go to Chadar Trek is in the months of January and February.
2. Roopkund Trek: Covering a height of 16,500 feet and lasting for 7 to 8 days the best time to go to the Roopkund Trek is between the months of May to October. While the ideal season for this trek is not the thick winters but it is something you should not miss out on because of the mystery that is associated with the trek. There are dense forests, amazing campsites, beautiful rivulets and gorgeous meadows. The trek will take you through glaciers, passes that couldn’t get any narrower and snow clad peaks which equal just what you need.
3. Hampta Pass: Resting at the height of 14,100 feet above sea level. With simple gradient and breathtaking views of glaciers, the difficulty level of trekking in the pass ranges from easy to moderate making it a favorite for adventurers that are just looking to have some fun exploring the Himalayas. The Hampta Pass trek is a great option for a beginner. The pass connects the Kullu valley and the beautiful Lahaul.
4. Har Ki Dun Trek: This trek falls into the category of one the least explored yet one of the most mesmerizing treks in the Garhwal Himalayan region. Covered in an out with alpine forests with snow-covered mountain peaks the trek offers a great view of the Chinar forests as well. Located at the height of 11,675 feet the best time for this trek is between the months of September and November.
5. Kuari Pass Trek: Located at an altitude of 12,763 feet the Kuari Pass Trek is one of the most preferred treks by adventurers in the winter season. The best travel months are from December through March. The Kuari Pass trek is an unbeaten embodiment of authentic natural beauty and sights that never cease to amaze. This pass was discovered during the times when the British ruled India.
6. Bara Bhangal Trek: Though the height of 4,800 feet seems nothing in front of the heights of other treks, the Bara Bhangal Trek is as challenging as it gets. It requires a total of 12 days to complete the trek. The Bara Bhangal is popularly known as “”Shepherds Tail Trek”” and it offers you a chance to trail on exhilarating terrains with high passes and scenic beauty of the mesmerizing Spiti Valley.
7. The Everest Base Camp: Located at an altitude of 18,523 feet, the Everest Base Camp needs no introduction. It is no doubt a challenging trek to undertake with the best traveling months being September, November, and February through June. Trekkers from all over the world consider the Everest base camp as one of the most adventurous treks of all time. It begins in Kathmandu, Nepal and takes you on a memorable journey through glaciers, passes and pine and rhododendron forests.
8. Malana-Chanderkhani Pass: The Malana Trek starts from Naggar and is recognized as one of the most challenging treks in the Himalayan region. The trails are located at an altitude of 11,811 feet and are quite narrow. The major highlight of the Malana Trek is the Chanderkhani Pass. The best time to go on this trek is between the months of May and November.
9. Markha Valley Trek: If lofty heights are what you seek then the Markha Valley Trek is where you need to be. This beautiful valley is located at an altitude of 17,060 feet and requires a minimum of days to complete the trek. If you are a nature lover, the Markha Valley is just the place where you can marvel at the real natural beauty.
10. Neel Kantha Base Camp: With a height of 11,398 feet and the minimum time duration required to trek to the Neel Kantha base camp being 35 days, this is by far the most strenuous treks of the Himalayas. The legend has it that the Indian God, Lord Shiva, the destroyer was the creator of this celestial peak. As a trekker, you will find this place to be one of the most enthralling places to which you can go on a trek.
Now that you have a list of the places you can go for a trek to, here are some preparation tips that will help you get ready for the adventure.
1. Planning your trip: Planning is the foundation of anything you do. It helps in creating a blueprint for what you will do when out in the midst of your adventure. You don’t want to be left without a backup in case of any adversity, and the only way to make sure of that is to plan and prepare effectively and efficiently. Take sufficient amount of time out to choose the particular location you want to trek in. Then, based on that chalk out the itinerary.
2. Designing your itinerary: Mountains is a broad term. From valleys, meadows and glaciers to passes and mountain lakes, there are a lot of geographical features that define the kind of place that attracts your attention or that you would want to go to. For example, Little Tibet and Ladakh will take you to the ancient monasteries while Sikkim will present to you its thick forests interspersed with fascinating mountain views. So choose wisely. Also remember not to be a little too ambitious with your itinerary because that only leads to an unwanted mess. You need to keep enough days for yourself to get comfortable with the cold climate, plan your day according to the weather predictions or maybe if you get a little homesick. You have to plan a flexible schedule so that even if a day gets wasted because of harsh weather such as continuous rains or snowfall, you have enough days to complete your trek. The Himalayas are a too complicated for you to understand them in one single go. Give yourself time, breathe, this trip is just the beginning.
3. Chalk out your budget: If you are not going with a preplanned trip offered by some tour operator then you need to calculate the cost of every aspect of your trip to know your overall expenditure. From travel, food, accommodation to porters, guides and transport there are a lot of things to consider. Keep a little extra something for unforeseen expenditures which you just cannot avoid no matter how tight a budget you have set for yourself.
4. Food planning: You cannot expect ample eating places up in the mountains. Like any responsible Trekker, you will have to take your food with you. Plan to go with MRE or meals ready to eat that are designed specifically for outdoor purposes. Why? Here’s why:
– The MRE are manufactured in a hermetically sealed environment that packs in the nutritional content of the food inside. The food you eat, no matter when is as healthy as when it was packed.
– The MREs are impact resistant and independent of their storage environment. Too hot or too cold an environment has no impact on the food inside.
– MRE packets come with a self-activated heating feature that heats the food as soon as you open the pack. Isn’t hot and tasty food all you need in the cold of the Himalayan snow?
– Each pack has as many as 3000 calories that are sufficient for a person for one day. With a long and tiring trek that stretches throughout the day, you will not feel like you did more than you had the energy to do.
– Each MRE pack comes with utensils that include plates, spoon or fork. In the menu, you have full meals including beverages, snacks, and dessert.
– MRE meals also come with water packages, so you don’t need to carry separate water bottles with you.
– Most importantly, MREs have a long shelf life. They can last for three days up to 5 long years, so you don’t have to worry about the food inside going stale or losing its nutritional value over time.
Known as survival foods, MREs are quite popular in the military. You can grab one from a military store.
5. Be positive and keep yourself motivated: Keeping a positive outlook is significantly important in such trips that challenge your physical abilities. You have to keep yourself motivated to keep going ahead no matter what happens. You cannot anyways stop halfway because you have to go back home. However, giving up will do one thing, it will dampen your spirit to move ahead and prevent you from creating the memories you set out to create. If you have decided to do something, make your mind up for it in every possible way to get the best out of it. Mountains are a great place to be, especially in the winter season when their beauty is all the more heightened. Just stick to the trekking mantra of short steps and deep breaths. This mantra especially helps you when you are climbing steep slopes or completing long uphill stretch.
And like we always say, there is nothing that you cannot achieve with the right preparation and a positive mindset.