A moderate grade Himalayan trek in November

a-moderate-trek-in-november
Initially two prospective trekkers enquired about our early November Goecha La fixed departure trek. Their dates were not matching with our group departure date and they had plan to arrive couple of days later. They were keen on a right trek which should throw some challenges on the trail. Moreover they were open for treks in Uttarakhand too. Below is a series of questions and answers before arriving to a decision.

Thanks for getting back to me. We will arrive in Delhi from the UK on the 3rd Nov so I think we need a private trek. Is this possible to arrange with you. We are happy to pay more for this.

Of course, we can arrange a customised private trek for you two. However, it becomes overhead expensive to arrange any trek for a smaller group. We need to send the whole set up with our support staffs even with a smaller group. TREK FEE for a Customised Private Goecha la trek following the previously mentioned itinerary will be ₹ XXXXX+ 5% GST per person from Yuksom to Yuksom. You can offload your main rucksacks to our horses to reach from one campsite to another.

If this looks too expensive you can consider Sandakphu Trek. It’s a scenic tea house trek on Singalila ridge on Darjeeling -Nepal border. Four out of fourteen eight-thousande’s are visible in this trek. We can arrange a Premium Customised trek for you two of you in this trail. We’ll charge ₹ XXXXX + 5% GST per person from Chitrey to Srikhola.

Kindly let us know which one works for you, we’ll revert in accordance.

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. We would be OK spending the amount for the right trek. Could you organise any treks in the Uttarakhand region? If possible we would like to avoid getting another flight from Delhi. Or would you always recommend Sikkim?

Following my email I have been looking on your website. Is Har Ki Dun the trek to do in November? We are keen to do a moderate trek but it looks like that might not be possible in November in Uttarakhand. Sorry for all the questions! just trying to work out the best option. Many thanks

As a matter of fact, arranging treks for foreigners is much easier in Uttarakhand than in Sikkim. Thanks to the easier rules & regulations regarding the hiking permits for foreigners as compared to Sikkim. Anyways since your initial query was for Goecha la, I thought you’re interested to explore the Eastern Himalayas only.

You were correct when you mentioned that moderate level treks in Uttarakhand are not accessible in November since Uttarakhand is situated at a higher latitude (and thus lower snowline) as compared to Sikkim. Har Ki Dun is a beginner’s level trek and doable in November or even in December (though no permits in December at present). Let me suggest two other routes which are not very difficult but definitely you’ll find these more challenging than Har Ki Dun. Regarding the beauty of the trails, they are as good as Har Ki Dun, if not better.

Kuari Pass on Curzon’s trail:

In the year of 1905 the then Viceroy of British India tried to penetrate deep into the hills which is now in Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarakhand. Previous year he had successfully sent a British Expedition team to the forbidden land of Tibet. This charismatic adventurer entered the British parliament in 1886 and from then on he didn’t only build his reputation as a brilliant orator or ruthless administrator, he became a renowned explorer of the exotic orient. In the late nineteenth century, he travelled extensively in the interiors of Russia, Central Asia, Persia and then further East to French Indo-China, Siam (Thailand) and even to Korea. The following itinerary will follow the footsteps of this great adventurer in Garhwal Himalaya. The trail is famously named after him and called “Lord Curzon’s trail”. Later in the year of 1934 mountaineering legend Eric Shipton would spend near about 4 months roaming around this area. Our itinerary goes like :

Day 1: Haridwar to Ramni (via Nandaprayag, Ghat) – 260 Km by car – 12 hours – Camp.
Day 2: Ramni to Jhinji over Chechna Vinayak Pass – 9 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 3: Jhinji to Pana – 10 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 4: Pana to Dakwani – 11 Km – 6/7 hour. Camp
Day 5: Dakwani to Tali Forest camp over Kuari Pass – 8 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 6: Trek to Auli via Gurson Bugyal – 7 Km – 3/4 hours – Drive to Joshimath – 1 hour – Lodge.
Day 7: Drive from Joshimath to Haridwar – 275 Km by car – 10/11 hours

Check out this link for pictures and route details of Kuari pass on Curzon’s trail trek.

There’s another trek which I can think of. I’ve combined two easy treks and have come up with the following itinerary :

Customised itinerary of Brahmatal with Bedni Bugyal trek:

Day 1: Drive from Kathgodam to Lohajung – 220 Km by car 10 hours
Day 2: Trek to Bekhal Tal – 6 Km – 4/5 hours
Day 3: Trek to Brahma Tal – 6 Km – 4/5 hours
Day 4: Brahma Tal to Tilburi via Khamila Top/Jatropani – 8/9 Km – 7/8 hours
Day 5: Trek to Rann ka Dhar/Upper Wan village – 6/7 Km –4/5 hours
Day 6: Trek to Gahroli Patal – 6/7 Km –4/5 hours
Day 7: Trek to Ali Bugyal forest camp via Bedni Bugyal and kund – 8 Km – 5/6 hours – camp
Day 8: Trek to Didna via Ali Bugyal – 8 Km – 5 hours – homestay
Day 9: Descent to Kuling village – 2/3 hours – drive to Haridwar – 285 Km – 11/112 hours

*The map of the trail is attached with the mail. To get a better idea you can check out both treks explained separately in the following two links :

Please check Brahmatal and Bedni Bugyal trek details for detailed route information and pictures.

Please don’t hesitate to revert to get rid of any doubts. We are happy to help.

Thank you very much for your help so far. The first trek you suggest looks perfect. Could you let me know the total costs of the trip including taxi if we left on 5th November? And how we should get to the start from Delhi? Can we get the train? Many thanks

My we suggest another improvement in the itinerary of Curzon’s trail? I think if you’re looking for something challenging, this will spice things up!

Adding Pangarchula to Curzon’s trail makes sense, specially when you just add an additional day. Pangarchulla peak @ 4550 m/14925 ft offers unobstructed views of the region along with gracious Nanda Devi.

From last year there are restrictions in camping on the north face of Kuari Pass a.k.a Winter Kuari Pass trek. We can only camp inside forest at Tali. So basically you will cross Kuari Pass and reach Tali Forest to camp. Next day early morning (probably latest by 4 am, if not earlier) you can push for the summit with your light daypack. Weather can turn bad on high altitude from noon onward. It would be around 5 hours climb to Pangarchulla main summit (there are two, lower one named as Mini) from Tali camp. Return should not take more than 3 hours. Overall it will a strenuous day of 8 to 10 hours hike and will surely entice your adventure spirit.

Here are some pictures and details of Pangarchulla trek approaching from Joshimath.

Kuari pass on Curzon’s trail with Pangarchulla itinerary:

Day 1: Haridwar to Ramni (via Nandaprayag, Ghat) – 260 Km by car – 12 hours – Camp.
Day 2: Ramni to Jhinji over Chechna Vinayak Pass – 9 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 3: Jhinji to Pana – 10 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 4: Pana to Dakwani – 11 Km – 6/7 hour. Camp
Day 5: Dakwani to Tali Forest camp over Kuari Pass – 8 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp

Day 6: Early morning push for Pangarchulla summit, ~ 16 Km, 8/10 hours hike and return to same camp.
Day 7: Trek to Auli via Gurson Bugyal – 7 Km – 3/4 hours – Drive to Joshimath – 1 hour – Lodge.
Day 8: Drive from Joshimath to Haridwar – 275 Km by car – 10/11 hours

Please note that there is a chance of fresh snowfall on higher altitude during early November (snowline is significantly lower than Sikkim). In fact last year we had two groups in the 2nd week of November who got fresh snowfall up to 8/10 inches in my estimation. Logistically our team is one of the best in the area and managed to cross even with horses. Additionally hiking can be challenging in such scenario while trudging on fresh snow. However physicality wise this would be half decimal less (6.5/10) in my opinion.

Regarding travel to Haridwar from Delhi, train would be the most convenient. There are multiple trains for this 4/5 hours long journey, including overnight trains. If you have not been in this area before, you may wish to stay a night at Haridwar or Rishikesh (25 Km away towards your journey to base camp Ramni). While returning you get the same trains as well as frequent bus services.

We will arrange private transfer to base camp from Haridwar and return from Joshimath to Rishikesh/Haridwar. One way fare is ₹ 6000 for a Tata Sumo/Mahindra Bolero type vehicle. Either we can include it in invoice with 5% GST or you may pay directly to the driver.

Hope this helps in understanding. Please feel free to revert or any input which you may like to share.

Thank you for this new itinerary. The Pangarchulla peak does sound amazing but I am a bit worried about getting altitude sickness. If I did suffer from it, would it be possible to revert to the previous route? Are the other parts of the trek at a lower altitude?

Can you please provide us your prior hiking experience(s) including high altitude? Did you face any acclimatisation issues or any signs of AMS before?

The good thing about Curzon’s trail is that it provides ample opportunity to acclimatise. Camping grounds till Pana (i.e. first 3 nights) are well inside treeline, and the highest one Dakwani on the fringe of the treeline-meadows. The camp on the north side of the pass, i.e. Tali is also inside forest.

Now for the Pangarchulla summit day, you start from Tali camp and return to the same camp again. It is true that the main summit is almost at 15000 ft, but essentially you walk high, but sleep low inside forest cover. Also there is always an option to return to Tali camp from an intermediate point, in case you find any altitude problem. This is kind of an optional day in the itinerary, if everything goes well, you push for this challenging summit on this day.

On a different note, highest point of Goecha La trek is higher than Pangarchulla. There are instances that trekkers have suffered due to altitude problem at Dzongri and ahead.

Please get back to us with more questions 🙂

I have done a lot of skiing, but sometimes feel a bit unwell over ~3,500 metres. Hopefully I will be OK and I have very good fitness level. So this sounds fine. Could you send over the costs? Many thanks

Your camping grounds will be within 3500 m. I would suggest to carry medicine(s) which your doctor may suggest. Also our support team will carry portable oxygen cylinder for any urgent situation (though in rarest occasions trekkers have used this on treks).

So we plan to follow the below itinerary :

Day 0 (4th Nov): Transfer to Haridwar from Delhi
Day 1 (5th Nov): Haridwar to Ramni (via Nandaprayag, Ghat) – 260 Km by car – 12 hours – Camp.
Day 2: Ramni to Jhinji over Chechna Vinayak Pass – 9 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 3: Jhinji to Pana – 10 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 4: Pana to Dakwani – 11 Km – 6/7 hour. Camp
Day 5: Dakwani to Tali Forest camp over Kuari Pass – 8 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 6: Early morning push for Pangarchulla summit, ~ 16 Km, 8/10 hours hike and return to same camp.
Day 7: Trek to Auli via Gurson Bugyal – 7 Km – 3/4 hours – Drive to Joshimath – 1 hour – Lodge.
Day 8 (12th Nov): Drive from Joshimath to Haridwar – 275 Km by car – 10/11 hours

There are frequent trains available from Delhi to Haridwar. It’s better to pre-book your ticket and get a reservation.

After you reach Haridwar, We’ll arrange your transit to our trek base Ramni. The cab (the ones like Tata Sumo/Mahindra Bolero will cost you ₹ 6,000. Accordingly, we’ll arrange your return cab to Haridwar from Joshimath, fare will be the same. So both way it will cost you ₹ 12,000 for transportation.

TREK FEE from Ramni to Joshimath will be ₹ XXXXX + 5% GST per person.

Note: Consider this as a Standard Package in contrast to our Economic/Budget package for group departures. Base overhead is high for both packages anyways, so it would be nice to add few extra things without much cost difference. Also it is a 8 days trek regarding logistics cost (As this involves crossing a pass, sending and returning logistics to a base). We will provide camping stools and table with upgraded meals.

Please feel free to revert for any queries or package related information.

Thank you for this. The costs sound fine. We are going to check flights from the UK and get back to you next week if that’s OK? I just have one more question. What will the temperature be at night? Will it be very cold?

Post monsoon is usually colder than pre-monsoon. In November at late night / before dawn the temperature at the coldest campsite may plummet to -5° C. With the windchill effect it might feel like -10° C.

However, inside the tent, the temperature will be around 10°C warmer than outside.

And if you carry all the three upper layers mentioned in this link: https://himalayatrekker.com/list-of-things-to-carry/ , that should suffice for this trek. If you still feel cold you can always increase the number of base layers (T-Shirts). If you feel cold inside the sleeping bag, put another layer on and get into the bag. You can also fill your water bottle with boiling water after dinner and keep it inside the sleeping bag at night. Don’t forget to make sure that the bottle doesn’t leak.

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