Hiking Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Kedarkantha Peak

The mighty Himalayan ranges were right in front of us, as we stared at them from the summit. It felt like we can almost touch them. There was snow around us and sun was sparkling through the dense clouds making the distant peaks shine brightly. Kedarkantha is one of those beautiful experiences that stays etched with you forever.

The trek might get challenging at times due to the minus temperature and accumulated snow that makes your pace slow down with every step you keep forward but it is worth it despite all the challenges.

Below, you will find all the details that you will need while going to Kedarkantha and complete the summit

 

How to Reach

To start the trek to Kedarkantha you have to reach first the village Sankri, which is the base of Kedarkantha trekking point. Now, Sankri cannot be reached directly. You might as well have to reach Dehradun/Mussoorie first and from there take a bus or a taxi as per your comfort to reach Sankri.

How to Reach Dehradun first

Bus

To reach Dehradun or Mussoorie you can easily get a government bus from ISBT Kashmiri Gate of Delhi. You can also opt for private buses that leave from Anand Vihar ISBT. It takes about 7 hours to reach Dehradun from Delhi.

Train

You can also reach Dehradun directly by travelling overnight in a train. Of course, to catch the train you need to make the bookings months in advance. If not, try booking the train in tatkal.

Flight

The nearest airport to Dehradun is Jolly Grant Airport which is 20 KMs away from the city.

 

How to Reach Sankri from Dehradun

The bus leaves from Dehradun Railway station at 7 AM for Sankri. Sankri is really far from Dehradun and it can take 11 hours to reach here.

We alternatively took a private taxi from Mussoorie since we were a lot of people. But this option would not make sense if you are travelling alone.

 

While trekking from Sankri
While trekking from Sankri

Where to Stay in Sankri

 

In Sankri, once you cross the check post you can stay at Rawat homestay which lies at the foothill of the trek, giving a closer access to the trek. They have all the amenities to spend away the night. From clean washrooms, to kind sized homely rooms. They also serve you food and is cheap as well despite all the facilities.

 

Itinerary Required for Kedarkantha

Day 1 – Attaining the height of 11,000 feet

This day is challenging. You will have to cross meadows and trek on the steep slopes through the forest. It will take about 4 to 5 hours to reach to the camp site as you will have to cover 7 KMs.

In between, you will also cross Juda ka Talab – one of the most beautiful lakes lying amidst the white mountains at an altitude of 9,100 feet. If you are lucky and there is snowfall around the lake, you will feel like Christmas trees are etched beside the black coloured lake.

You will reach the camp site around noon. This is the time to soak in the view. The valley and the surrounding area is breathtaking and absolutely beautiful. Have a cup of tea and food while seeing the view ahead.

Juda ka Talab
Juda ka Talab

Day 2 – Attaining the height of 12,500 feet

Today, leave early in the morning, possibly by 5 AM. Why I am saying this is because you will get the perfect view. In mountains after 9 AM, the clouds seep in and the sun becomes really harsh, killing the view that you otherwise can get during sunrise.

You would have to trek for 3 KMs that will take about 2 hours since today the pathway is really steep and slippery due to excessive snow. But once you will reach the top, the sense of accomplishment and the view will take your breath away. It is mind boggling in actual terms and nothing can beat its serenity.

Sit at the summit for an hour and enjoy the view and come down by noon to your camp to enjoy lunch and evening snacks later.

Day 3 – Coming down to 11,000 feet

Leave early in the morning for Sankri if you want to make back to Dehradun on the same day. It will take 2 to 3 hours to reach Rawat Homestay. From here, you can either take a bus to Dehradun or stay at Sankri and leave the next day,

 

Camping at 11,000 feet
Camping at 11,000 feet

What to Pack

Clothing

  • Fleece – You need at least two fleece to keep you warm when it snows. Fleece acts as a covering that traps the heat of the body and will keep you warm in harsh weather
  • Trekking shoes – Buy good trekking shoes that are waterproof and can withstand in the snow. This will help in stability and not feel cold as other shoes get wet quickly when there is snow
  • Trekking pole – Trekking pole is not mandatory to take, however, if you are a beginner it is always advisable to take a trekking pole along with you as it helps in extra support
  • 5 to 6 pair of socks – Take an extra pair of socks always. At times you might be wearing two layers of socks to keep your feet warm
  • Gloves, Muffler, Beanie – Take waterproof gloves as it helps to avoid the wetness from snow
  • Windproof/Waterproof Track Pants/Jacket – There are chances of snowfall, in Kedarkantha, so it is better to have a windproof or waterproof jacket to save you from very cold weather
  • Thermals – Have at least 2 to 3 thermals or inners for an extra layer of heat
  • Raincoat/Poncho – Carry a raincoat or a poncho to avoid rain or snowfall

Electronics

  • BSNL/MTNL Sim – Other network connections won’t work here and the signal will come only till Sankri
  • Torch – It is always better to carry a headlamp during expeditions because during the night it gets difficult to do the daily routine work without a torch. Headtorch keeps your hand free providing ease in doing work with both hands
  • Power Banks/Extra Batteries – During long treks, when you do not get any power socket to charge the phone a power bank should be kept handy

Additional

  • Day Pack Bag – If you are planning to go to nearby locations from your camp a daypack helps in carrying a few essential small items
  • UV Sunglasses – While going to higher altitude regions, the rays of the sun become really harsh and a good pair of sunglasses is essential during this time
  • Water Bottle – Drinking water regularly during the trek is extremely essential
  • Moisturizer/Lip Bam – Skin dries up quickly in cold temperature and thus moisturizer should always be kept handy
  • Sunscreen – While attaining altitude you will realise how harsh the rays of the sun are. People usually get skin burn or get severely tanned. Sunscreen will help in protecting your skin in such cases.
  • Toiletries – Do carry items like hand sanitizer or paper soaps, along with toothpaste and tooth Brush. Also, take toilet power along with you

Typical Cost

Bus

Depending on the type of bus you opt the bus price can vary from INR 600 to INR 1500. Further, the bus from Dehradun to Sankri will cost another 300/-.

However, if you opt to reach Sankri via a private taxi, the total cost for the cab will be roughly around INR 6000 to INR 7000.

Homestay

Rawat homestay is not only homely but cheap. You can easily get a room for INR 300/-

Package for the trek

Depending on the organization you want to go with, the price may vary. The total cost for the package from Sankri to Sankri would cost around INR 8,000-INR 10,000.

Trekking to the Summit
Trekking to the Summit

 

Difficulty Level

Kedarkantha is a moderate level trek. If you are trekking during the summer time it is a trek on plan ground. However, the difficulty increases during the colder season and especially if there is snowfall in the pathway.

 

ATM and Mobile connectivity

There are no ATMs in Sankri village. It will be better if you withdraw cash in Dehradun or Mussoorie itself. Further, only BSNL or MTNL sims work in this village. During the trek, post Sankri village, you won’t be able to get BSNL or MTNL network as well.

 

From the Summit
From the Summit

Conclusion

Kedarkantha is a beautiful trek and one of those places which should not be missed. If you want to go for a winter trek this place is perfect for you. Plus, being away from the rest of the world for a few days is a freshness and a welcome change in itself.

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