8 Days of Roopkund Trek
Deep, old forests, Himalayan flora & fauna, varied water bodies, Asia’s biggest high altitude twin meadows, ice, snow, civilization & local culture, and above all the mystery of skeletons & belongings, this multi-laps Roopkund trek in Uttarakhand is a revelation of a sort. Reaching the highest altitude of 16,000 ft in the trek, categorizes this expedition in over moderate plus difficulty level. Therefore, only fairly experienced trekkers should take the Roopkund trek. May, June, September and October are the best months for Roopkund trek. You should begin fitness, diet, and sleep cycle preparations around 1.5 – 2 months ahead of the trek. Here is how you spend your 8 days on Roopkund trek considering Lohajung round trip.
Lohajung (7700 ft) – First Night Halt: The groups gather at Lohajung, around 210 Kms from Kathgodam (1669 ft) and takes 10-11 hours to reach by road. Lohajung is a small but important village in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Located at the edge of hills overseeing the Neel Ganga River valley with Nanda Ghunti Peak in full view, this scenic village sets the mood for the trek hereon. If you want, you can visit a day in advance to take a day trek to Ajan Top, a meadow, with the full view of Maiktoli Glacier (22,322 ft). Come back to Lohajung. Serving as a base camp for several hikes, ample guest houses, restaurants, hotels, etc. are available in Lohajung. Spend the night here to start your memorable trek early next morning.
Tolpani (8300 ft) – Second Night Halt: Targeting 11kms, from Lohajung, you trek along the Neel Ganga River. Soon the slight climb starts to Ali Bugyal. En route, you will see the nature flow free, uninterrupted in the forest. After sufficient climb, you reach Didina, which is a km away from your first night camp at Tolpani.
Bedni Bugyal Meadow (11,700 ft) – Third Night Halt: Aiming 6 Kms, you start the second day of trek early morning, taking steep climb through Oak forest to reach stunning Ali Bugyal Meadow (11,500 ft). You may find horses, sheep, foals grazing. Keep moving to the Bedni Bugyal Meadow 5 Kms away. As you hike, you see Nanda Ghunti (20,699 ft) & Trishul (23,360 ft) Peaks to the east. Crossing the small stone Bedni Temple, you reach the super magnificent grasslands of Bedni Bugyal by afternoon. Take a walk to Bedni Top. En route, you see the crystal clear and very beautiful Bedni Kund. Reach for the Bedni top to get a long & full view of the campsite from there. You also see Maiktoli Glacier, Mt Neelkanth, Chaukhambha and Mrigathuni. Come back to the camp and rest.
Patar Nachauni (12,700 ft) – Fourth Night Halt: The third day is a short trek of 6 Kms to acclimatize the body. So, you take it easy and start the trek at around 8 am taking a steep ascent leading to Ghora Lotani, the last point for horses. Here, the meadows merge on to mountains and it makes for a great campsite. However, camping should ideally be done near a water source and end of Bedni Bugyal or Patar Nauchani are therefore better suited. Thereon, its mild climbs and simple walks until Patar Nachauni, based at the foothill of the peak (14,550 ft) holding the Kalu Vinayak temple.
Bhagwabasa (14,200 ft) – Fifth Night Halt: On the fourth day, distance is just 4 Kms, but you have to climb the straight mountain you were at the foot of! Use this climbing stretch to acclimatize your body. Go slow. Take breaks. Let your body adjust with the dipping oxygen levels at heights. You reach the Kalu Vinayak temple negotiating the steepest ascent of this trek in India. Standing on that peak, you see Kedarnath (11,755 ft), Chaukhamba (23,419 ft), Nilkantha (11,398 ft), Trishul (23,360 ft) & Nanda Ghunti (20,699 ft). Kalu Vinayak is the Black Ganesha idol in a small stone temple. From Kalua Vinayak, you descend to reach Bhgwabasa by early afternoon. This is the highest & coldest campsite of this trek. You will spot several stone huts here. Even you fix your tents on rocks. Snow storms too are not uncommon here. So, it’s a night you ‘brave.’
Bedni Bugyal – Sixth Night Halt via Roopkund Lake: Starting at around 4 am helps as the snow is firm and facilitates the hike. With the day, the snow starts melting and the terrain becomes slippery. Long climb with occasional steep patches mark this hike. After the 6 Kms ascent, you climb down 250 ft to reach the Mystery Lake. You will see skeletons strewn around and floating in the lake as well. The skeletons are visible when the snow melts. Roopkund also is a pilgrimage site for Nanda Devi Jat Yatra, happening once every 12 years here. If the weather and time of the day allows, you climb the sharp ridges up 250 ft to Junargali (16000 ft). You see Mt Trishul and Nanda Ghunti right in front. Get down to Roopkund latest by 9:45 am, else the melting snow can make things difficult. So, the Roopkund Lake to Junargali and back circuit needs to be done quickly. From here, you trek back 10 Kms to Bedni Bugyal for camping.
Lohajung Guest House – Seventh Night Halt: The sixth & the last day of trek you cover 11Kms. Passing through the Ghairoli Patal forests, you see Mt Trishul. From Ghairoli Patal, you descend fully to the base of the valley at the River Neel Ganga. From Neel Ganga, you climb to Wan. From Wan you descend to Kasar Bagad to take a vehicle back to Lohajung. Spend the night here. The Roopkund trek expedition ends.