Panpatia Col Trek: Between two of the most haloed pilgrimage sites in the Himalayas lies a land that nurtures a legend worthy of difficult discovery and extreme exploration. A tale that has drawn feted explorers of the like of Meade, Shipton and Tilman, Martin Moran, Harish Kapadia, and countless other intrepid souls. They were all drawn by the lore that a priest from Badrinath would trek to Kedarnath in a day. The explorations, which began as early as 1934, have mostly come a cropper, with weather, terrain and nerves beating each party back. The prize of the exploration is the crossing of the Panpatia col, a pass that hides its approach within drifts of moraines, crevasses and massive icefalls. But a route across it exists, and we know that from the many reports submitted by the mountaineers, and the final successful crossing by a duo from West Bengal, in 2007. After extensive research and reading, and fresh from the successful crossing of this legendary route, we at Indus Trips are ready to open a once-hidden expanse of the Himalaya to the inquisitive of mind and sturdy of heart. Join us as we unravel the mythical Panpatia col bit by alluring bit.
Trip Duration: 15 days
Highlights: A stunning high altitude crossing between Badrinath and Kedarnath. Exploratory Trekking at its best. Walk the 7km long Panpatia Plateau. Trek at the foot of Neelkanth, Parvati & Chaukhamba peaks.
Day 00: Board the overnight train to Haridwar
Day 01: Reach Haridwar. Drive to Joshimath (1875m)
Day 02: Drive to Badrinath (3,133m) and drive back to Khirao
Day 03: Trek to Shepherd camp
Day 04: Trek to Snout camp
Day 05: Trek to Moraine Camp (4300m)
Day 06: Rest & acclimatize
Day 07: Trek to the base of Parvati Col.
Day 08: Trek to Panpatia Snowfield – Camp 1
Day 09: Trek to Panpatia Snowfield – Camp 11
Day 10: Across Panpatia Col (5260m), camp at Sujal Sarovar (4750m)
Day 11: Trek to Kachni.
Day 12: Trek to Nanu chatti
Day 13: Trek to Ransi & drive to Chopta
Day 14: Contingency day
Day 15: Drive to Haridwar to board the evening Shatabdi, arrive Delhi by 2245hrs.
Contact us for detailed itinerary.
Cost Per Person (min 4-6 people on a private trip) Quote – On Request
Is this a trip for you? People wishing to undertake this trip should have a high level of physical fitness, and previous experience of trekking to altitudes of at least 3500m. It is not necessary to have previous experience of technical climbing on snow and ice but you should be aware that during the crossing of the col, fixed rope may be used to safeguard the group while ascending or descending steep slopes and you must be comfortable with a certain degree of exposure to harsh weather conditions. Our trekking pace at altitude is dictated to a great extent by the need to acclimatize which imposes height gain limits on any day. With one or two notable exceptions the trekking day will be around four to six hours. Walking speed is further restricted by the sometimes difficult terrain, especially out of consideration for the porters.
What to expect : Low temperatures & high altitudes are going to be our main concerns on this trip and we must be adequately prepared to deal with them
Temperatures: Temperatures on the trek will vary from 15-20 degrees to minimum of -10 degrees Celsius. Night time temperatures would drop below freezing from Day 4-10 and at high camps close to Panpatia Col it could easily go down as low as -10 deg C. The two nights we camp on Panpatia Ice field and the night at Nilkanth base camp could be excessively cold. It is best to be fully prepared for lower temperatures due to wind chill or the weather turning bad. This trek runs before the monsoon season and the weather at this time is most stable and suited to trekking. However mountains do produce their own weather and some bad weather including rain and snowfall cannot be ruled out.
Altitude: Once we get up to heights above 3000m, altitude starts to become a concern and one must deal with it carefully. Our bodies slowly get used to the lower levels of oxygen in the air and the individuals who have acclimatized properly are able to climb to altitudes as high as Everest without the aid of additional oxygen. This process of adaptation or acclimatization does take time and the most important rule is to gain height slowly. The trip itinerary has been very well thought through and gives everyone plenty of time to get acclimatized for the crossing of the col.
Our trip leaders are widely experienced in these matters and will be able to give you good advice to help minimize any temporary discomfort that you might experience. If you have suffered serious problems at altitude before, you should seek the advice of your doctor or a specialist. We are always ready to give advice on this subject.
Baggage allowance: You will need two bags for the trip – a main bag and a day pack. Your main bag on the trek will be carried by porters
and it should not weigh more than 15 kgs. Your personal climbing gear like climbing boots, harness etc would go in a communal bag and would not form part of this baggage limit. You need to be walking with your day pack which should be large enough to carry your rain proof gear, a light fleece, water, packed lunch, cameras etc. Day packs which give you easy access to your water bottles, and some loops to keep your trekking poles etc are far better than simpler day packs. It’s a good idea to have a slightly larger daypack than a smaller one as you might need to stuff in a lot of extra layers in the bag on the day we cross the col. We start that day quite early and cross the col in the afternoon and hence would be dealing with extremes of temperatures.
It is possible to leave a set of clean clothes in the vehicle which drops us at Khirao to be received at the end of the trek
Level of Skills needed : You do not need any technical climbing skills for this trip; good physical & mental fitness is the only pre-requisite. Experience of trekking in the Himalayas or to altitudes of 3500m and above would help.
Pre-trip Conditioning: Good physical conditioning is one of the keys and can make the difference between enjoying an outing and merely enduring it. Being physically ready is more important than years of experience. We suggest that you begin your training program at least two months before the departure. Any form of aerobic training, such as running, cycling, swimming, along with some strength training will help you a lot on the climb. Strength training with a pack is the most valuable thing you can do to prepare yourself. The best method is to go on long hikes or climbs with a heavy pack a couple of times in a week. But since mountains are not easily accessible to most of us, climbing stairs with a heavy backpack is recommended.
Food : We will have fully serviced camps with camp cooks. On the trek, the food is a mixture of local and European, all purchased in Garhwal and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. Menus vary from Indian fare to Chinese, pasta, cold cuts, sandwiches, eggs etc. The emphasis is on a high carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be more easily digestible especially at high altitude. This is a fully inclusive package and all meals are included in the trip price. You might want to carry your favorite snack or power bars with you for the long trekking days. We will provide you safe drinking water throughout the trek – it will be boiled with a dash of iodine. You could bring things which you enjoy eating -chocolates, power bars, dry fruits, candies, other snacks etc. Alcohol is not permitted till we finish the trek at Ransi.
First Aid : A comprehensive first aid kit accompanies each trip. All trip leaders have appropriate wilderness first-aid training and are experienced in dealing with a range of medical problems associated with adventure travel. We recommend that you bring your own personal medications and inform us of any medical condition, if you have.
Equipment List : The checklist above covers all essential items needed for the trek. Each one of us will need climbing boots, climbing harness, crampons & gaiters for this trek which will be hired from IMF Delhi. If you have any personal climbing gear you should bring it along.
Documentation & Photograph : Each member will be required to send us personal details along with the scan of passport / photo ID proof (Indians only) and a scan of passport size photographs for various permits.