View of Pangarchulla from its base

Pangarchulla Peak Summit (15070 Ft) : My First Himalyan Trek!!

After nearly 3 months, we started (7 of us) our most anticipated adventurous trip from Bangalore to Pangarchulla Peak Summit on April 27th. We took a connecting flight from Bangalore to Dehradun Via Delhi. We stayed at Hotel Queens Pearl Inn in Dehradun. The hotel was good enough for an overnight stay.

Day 0:

Our next day, I call it as Day 0 as this was part of trekking days but we actually travelled in a 4 wheeler. We had a prior booking through Bikat Adventures to reach from Dehradun to Joshimath. Bikat had arranged a vehicle for us which started from Dehradun Bus station for which they charged us around 1200 per head. On the way to Joshimath, we saw DevaPrayag and Rudra Prayag. DevaPrayag is where Bhagirathi meets Alakananda and becomes Ganges. RudraPrayag is where Alakananda meet Mandakini river.

DevaPrayag : The confluence of Bhagirathi and Alakananda

DevaPrayag : The confluence of Bhagirathi and Alakananda

It was 8PM by the time we reached Joshimath. Hotel Snow Crest was booked for us in Joshimath by Bikat. Minutes after we checked in, we met our Trek Leaders Kamal and Lalit who became our friends and Family for the next 4 days.

After a brief introduction, Trek leader Kamal gave us briefing about the entire trekking plan. A surprising thing was Kamal also provided a demo on How to Pack your backpack. It helped many of my friends who had packed their bag just like any other pack. He also gave a demo on how to pick your backpack so that we put less strain on our one part of the body. This was especially helpful for me as I was lifting in a wrong way subjecting myself more probable to the injury. After the briefing we went to our respective rooms and re-arranged our luggage. Hotel provided us some space to keep the extra luggage which was not needed for trekking.

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Climbing the Pangarchulla Peak

5 Mistakes a First Timer Himalyan Trekker does

Trekking in Himalayas was altogether a different experience. While most of the treks we did before this were one day and very few were two days’ trek, trekking in Himalayas was a 4-day trek. As a first timer, we did lot of mistakes which cost us more than we thought. Here are the top 5 mistakes I did and I suggest the reader to take extra care

  • Packing The Bag For the Worst case:

Pangarchulla peak trekking was a 4-day trek. And for this, we took 4 pairs of dresses including inner wears. At the end of the day 4, most of us were in the same attire (yes, including the inner wears) and very few had changed once. We realized that nearly 50% of the luggage we carried were useless to say the least. We repented innumerable times as we had to carry extra load every step. My suggestion is to take one extra pair of dress. This is needed only in case of emergency such as rain. Do not pack your bag for the worst case scenario. Just in the anticipation of the worst case scenario, you would have to carry extra luggage all the way.

  • Carrying DSLR Camera:

In my Pangarchulla trek, one of the biggest mistake I did was carrying the DSLR camera. Adding to it, I carried an extra lens. I was fully enthusiastic to enjoy my first Himalayan trekking and capture every moment. But destiny had different plan altogether. The trekking was so tiresome that reaching the base camp was an achievement. Everything took the last priority including the photography. Camera weight was around one Kg and an additional lens which I took alleviated the problem. My suggestion would be to strictly avoid the DSLR camera unless you aren’t first time trekker. Instead, if you have a phone with good camera quality, you will thank your mobile innumerable number of times. At the end of our trekking, my friends with a good camera phone had more pictures than I had in my DSLR.

  • Less Preparation:

Trekking in Himalayas needs eparation. It is not as easy as a one-day trek you can do near your place. While in any ordinary trek, you don’t carry your luggage, here you will carry at least 6 to 7 Kgs of load. If you commit the mistake I did in the points 1 and 2, be prepared to carry around 10Kgs. Take a 2-day trek, if you have any such places near you. It helps you gain experience carrying your luggage and in turn helps you to reduce your bag pack weight. In case, you do not have the opportunity to trek for a 2-day, make sure you do multiple one-day treks and add some luggage on your shoulder. This might sound stupid but it helps you prepare well. In addition to this, regular exercise in your gym and yoga are must. Only time will tell how much these can help.

  • Forgetting the Sunscreen and Sunglasses:

I had sunscreen cream of SPF 50 in my bag. On the day of peak, our trek leader advised us to apply sunscreen before the sunrise. However, the level of tiredness made us lazy enough to apply the sunscreen. As a result, my entire face was sunburn after my trekking. This happened not just with me but with 8 out of 10 of us. Another common mistake that others did was not getting the sunglasses. On the summit day, the sunlight is sharp and contains high UV rays due to the high altitude. Forgetting the sunscreen or sunglasses or not using them is the last mistake you would want to do on the trek.

  • Not Carrying Warm clothes:

While in my first point I mentioned to carry less clothes, here I might sound contradicting myself. In my first point, I mentioned to carry less regular clothes. This doesn’t mean that you should carry less clothes. Since the temperature in the mountains can vary drastically on both the sides, make sure you have warm clothes. The temperature in the night goes in negative so enough warm clothes is a must for your next day trek. Make sure you carry thermals, jacket, gloves, fleece jacket and Poncho or rain coat. These clothes cover all the climate and make sure you are safe and fit.