Sankri – Basecamp of Kedarkantha Winter Expedition | Winter Snowy Trek
Kedarkantha Trek – a journey from 1,950 meters to 12,850 feet (wondering why I juxtapose meters to feet) above sea level, from 15 degree Celsius at the base-camp to raging -15 degree Celsius (at the peak) and a journey to administer your bowel and narrow down on the calls.
The arduous voyage to the peak was through the dense forest here in Uttarkashi. Sankri – the base camp had the population of hardly 100 dwarf citizens surviving due to trek tourism and woods in the extreme freezing conditions but the hospitality is beyond grin & grill. The peach laughs, the giggles and the happy souls of the Himalayas. I was offered homemade chai on my last day at this untouched Himalayan hamlet at one of these shops where I purchased extra mojahs (socks).
Sankri (6,450 ft) to Juda Ka Talab (9,100 ft) – a peregrination from mud to snow – my first encounter
On our very first day, we commenced climbing early as the crimson sun hits the ground, on a mountain where the journey was just incredibly beautiful and undisturbed layers of snow. I experienced snow from the very first camp at Juda Ka Talab (Juda Lake). Walking here on the frozen lake, was like inhaling marijuana and the feeling of truly incarnated. While sitting on the lush land gazing at the frozen Juda Lake and experiencing the change of color of snow from crystal white to gray with the setting sun, the beauty of nature and its formations were beyond words and videos.
Watch out the steps or fall on the bums
It’s the snow, winter and the melted snow that turns this beginner trek into one strenuous affair where we had to watch-out each-and-every-step. The locals here often speak that the mountain never forgives a mistake. We were trekking in a dense forest, steep and thriving and life wasn’t that easy. It was my first endeavor at such an affair (prettier and pleasant than Netflix and chill wondering). We reached Juda Ka Talab and entertained the frozen lake with some not-so-amazing snaps. C’mon, it was bloody chilled. I wish Game of Thrones had acclimatized me with Winter is Coming.
Our campsite was ahead of Juda Ka Talab. We arrived in another a-hour and retired for the day.
Juda Lake (9,100 ft) to Luhasu (10,600) – now there is no backing out
Next day, we all geared up as the ascent was tricky comparatively and the sight of the snow was apparent. I had coughed whole day long and it kept exhausting me inside-out. It was steep and all around I could see just SNOW. I didn’t have proper gears (the first attempt) and I kept falling on my bums every now-and-then as the snow melted. Weather conditions were extreme and deadly for a first-timer on such a trek. It was windy and the temperature was a bone-chilling 5-degree during the day.
With every step and unfortunate fall, I was biting the bullet. The day was pretty long to reach the campsite Luhasu. It was a 360-degree encounter with snowy mountains, declining temperature, and life in the middle of nowhere. I broke my own records of falling more than 100 times throughout the trek. An average hike a day is around 5-6 hours to reach the next higher camp through thick forest in pine trees, snowy mountains betwixt towering peaks. I had become a casket of 05 layers at a time as life in the mountains during winters can be a bloody affair if not taken well-care.
Night trail to the summit – Kedarkantha (12,500 ft)
02 AM | Wake up! Wake up! (Uff, I am totally not a morning person)
We got ourselves ready at 3 AM on a wintry night for the final ascent of the trek. It was as dark as pitch. We were informed to kick-start before the break of the day, as the snow remains fresh and scaling becomes easier. The temperature had dropped drastically.
We had settled our backpacks at the campsite and were merely clambering with our Quechua day-pack. The trail was narrow, on thick snow rocks. My cough had gone bonkers. I was completely worn out and climbing at that 80-degree steep trail eventually had become one hell of a task.
But when I looked around at the serene and snowy cliffs wrapped in the numbness of winter, it felt surreal and a Life Mein Ek Baar experience. We breezed in around 7.20 AM and the crimson sun was casting behind the mountains in full glory and charm. I had never seen anything this gripping and inspiring ere.
It was windy and the temperature had dropped to -15 degrees at the peak. Kedarkantha peak marks the abode of Lord Shiva.
Kedarkantha Peak (12,500 ft) to Argeon (8,500 ft)
After running through the serene peak for an hour and acclimatizing with the rotting cold, we finally plunged downhill to Luhasu campsite for a hot & palatable lunch and to further descent to Aargeon, our next campsite.
It’s almost 03 KM slide to the next base camp Luhasu and trusts me, it was so much of fun. Though it was a long, long day as reached Aargeon. Himalayan hamlet is again a stifling snowy area, depending upon the month of your trek. We wolfed down our dinner.
That night I dried my socks and shoes to the bonfire. We spent a few hours soaking in some heat amidst the mountains over chai and fire and eventually drifted into a cozy wintry sleep into our sleeping bags.
Back to Sankri
The next day after breakfasting at the campsite, we bid adieu to our entire journey as we reached our base camp Sankri in the next few hours. The trail was the muddy forest area flooded with deodar trees. The breeze was pleasantly chilled.
07 Days | 12,500 feet | Snow Winter Trek | Temperature 5 to -15 | Acclimatization in Mountains | Sleeping Bags | Early Nights | Kedarkantha | Life In Mountains | LifeMeinEkBaar | Trekking Days
Consider and Information:
- Nearest Airport and Railway Station – Dehradun
- Stay close to the Railway Station
- Early morning 05.00 AM bus to Sankri from Dehradun Railway Station
- 12 Hours of breathtaking journey from Dehradun to Sankri
- 02 Hotels in Sankri and 01 Guest House (inquire in advance)
- Winter wears and trek accessories are available at Sankri but would suggest you should pack like a pro ere you come for the trek
- Try yummy, yummy Momos at restaurant in Sankti
- Lots and lots of chocolates are must to maintain the sugar level
- Carry ORS or try to drink ORS water all these days
- 01 Thermal wear and 05 pairs of socks
- A hell lot of adrenaline rush
- Don’t forget toilet papers… Haha
The mountains are calling. Go, wander off into the unknown.