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Gupt Khal Pass Trek

Find out The Best Twin Pass Guptkhal Pass Trek Guide, Trek Route Map and Tips for the Trek.

Gupt Khal Expedition - Footsteps of Frank Smythe

Gupt Khal which translates to the 'hidden pass' has been mentioned in Frank Smythe's book 'Valley of Flowers'. The trek crosses over the twin passes of Bhyundar Khal and Gupt Khal. One has to cross  few moraines and many glaciers such as Gauri glacier, Rataban Glacier, Tipra Glacier, Bankund Glacier, Nilgiri glacier and Nakthani glacier.

If we trek from Malari to Eri Udiyar and dropped Valley of Flowers Part then we passes through Bhyundar Khal and trek route diverges from the Gupt Khal trek while following Mandir Parvat on entire route. This trek is difficult and require experience of high pass treks. At certain places, the rope has to be fixed to cross deep crevasses. The trek offers close and glorious views of Nilkantha, Hathi, Nilgiri, Rataban, Kamet and Mana peaks.

Region : Uttarakhand
Duration : 14 Nights/15 Days
Code : TDH/PH/39
Grade : Difficult
Max Altitude : 5800 Mts
Approx Trekking Km : 92 Kms

ITINERARY FOR TWIN PASS TREK GUPTKHAL

Day 01: Rishikesh to Joshimath
Today, we start early after breakfast to drive to Joshimath (280 Kms/09 Hours) from our office which is Located in the District of Chamoli. There is an 8th century matt called the Adi Guru Sri Shankaracharya and this is one of the most popular places in the town. The drive to Joshimath is beautiful and long and the entire stretch from Rishikesh is followed by the river.
We'll arrive at Joshimath in the evening. Upon arrival and some rest, visit the local market for some last minute woolen purchases. We advice to get some local knitted woolens, not only they are warm but also they are comfortable in long freezing trek. Overnight Stay at Trek De Himalayas selected guest house, dinner and overnight at Joshimath.

Day 02: Joshimath to Govind Ghat to Ghangharia
Post early breakfast, start for a hour’s drive to Govind Ghat to cover 26 Kms, It’s a point from where we start the trek to explore the unexplored, Govind Ghat is situated at an elevation of 1700 Mts. It’s also a starting point of Sikh Pilgrim Shri HemKund Sahib Ji and famous Valley of Flower. Hit the well paved trail winds up sharply and then along the gentle slopes of the Laxman Ganga Valley. On occasional horse would saunter past with jingling bells and upholstered saddle. A short halt at Pulna followed by Bhyundar village overlooking the Hathi Parvat valley for Lunch and after a brief rest, start from Bhyundar, Ahead of Bhyundar village the trail crosses the Bhyundar Ganga for the first time from the true right to the true left over a bridge called the "Khuwan Pul", the route ahead led through numerous twists and turns and moderate climbs and reach Kanjilla Camping Grounds by sundown covering 13 Kms Approx, 500 Mts short of Ghangharia (3100 Mts).
Set up camp at Kanjilla kahrak -Kanjilla camp has an idyllic setting with sprawling meadow is bordered with the winding pilgrim trail. One could see the odd silhouette of a late pilgrim riding a horse, the jingling of the horse bell sweet and faint. There also were the occasional small groups who would break into a motivational cry, as they would see Ghangharia looming closer, well past dusk. Up ahead onto the northwest, the two lofty pinnacles of Bhyundar Gorge became a dark outline as the sun went down. Beyond that imposing gateway was our target for the next day- the Garden of Eden- the Valley of Flowers.
Explore the small local market at Ghangharia in the evening and enjoy the vista around the little hamlet, dinner at camp.

Day 03: Ghangharia (3100M) to Valley of Flowers to Tipra Kharak Camping Grounds
Start after breakfast at 0800 Hrs. The landscape, flora, fauna, forest cover, habitation and cleanliness – virtually everything in the Himalayas seems to be beautiful from here. The path soon reaches the bifurcation of route to HemKund and Valley of Flowers. We regroup before "Forest Check Gate" that defines the entry point to the "Valley of Flowers" to present ourselves at the entry-point as a single unit with all the necessary documents, now proceeds deep into the valley, away from the hustle-bustle of the pilgrim route. 
No cell-phones, no more people! We would have to fend for ourselves and for each other. The flowers, the meadows, the snows and the stars would be our companions for the next coming days. We have to proceed forth aiming at the Bhyundar Gorge visible directly ahead, a silent prayer on the lips for good weather and eager hearts thumping with anxiety.
As the valley opened up one could see the Rataban Peak onto the North East. After a few hundred meters the trail took a sharp bend towards the right, almost at a right angle at the Bamnidhaur bend. From this point one could see the entire 5 Kms length of the valley stretching eastwards all the way till Tipra Kharak, almost touching the feet of the Rataban Peak. However to the west of this point, a sharply rising trail takes one to Khunt Khal- the moderate pass that connects the Valley of Flowers with Hanumanchatti and then onto Badrinath.
We will stop for camp at Tipra Kharak Camping Grounds (3700M) covering 10 Kms, a huge meadow dotted with large bushes of Rhubarb. The barren gray expanse of the Tipra Glacier was not too far ahead. The route ahead for the next ten days was through glaciers and Glacial Debris. Late Lunch followed by dinner and overnight at camps.

Day 04: Tipra Kharak to Bhyundar Icefall Camp
The Tipra Camping Ground resembles a large bowl. The terminal moraine of Tipra Glacier to the East, the Khuliaghata Ridge to the North, The Spatashringi Ranges to the South and the sprawling meadows of the Valley of Flowers to the West. It was easy to lose track of time marveling at the bounty of beauty all around in the lazy morning. The natural colors of the skies and the meadows were amplified several fold by the rays of a glorious sun.
Post Breakfast, we will proceed to Bhyundar Icefall Camp (4300M), a 6 Kms Trek for the day, The route from Tipra Camp follows on the left-lateral moraine of the glacier. The moraine ridge is set pretty high above the glacier floor. Obviously this presents a much friendlier route.
By lunchtime we will reach at the confluence of Rataban and Tipra. After a brief rest, proceed towards Bhyundar Camp site covering another 02 Hours, this campsite is located on the moraine ridge beside a small rivulet of ice melt. The Bhyundar Icefall was directly in front, dinner and overnight at camps.

Day 05: Bhyundar Icefall Camp to Bhyundar Khal Base
Depending on the team mood attempt Bhyundar Khal Base or spend the day acclimatizing and carrying out short trip for the route ahead. Else it an easy day ahead covering only 04 Kms to reach the elevation of 4600 Mts. Post breakfast and pack up, get down to the glacier bed and cross its entire width and then climb up again onto the top of the right lateral moraine of the Bhyundar Icefall. We had decided to gain some distance during the planned slack day if not acclimatizing so as to establish the base camp much closer to the Pass.
Today target was a raised platform near the rock-buttresses that fell from the tall ridge connecting the Rataban and Nilgiri massifs. it would provide us with several advantages, the distance to be traveled on the "Pass-Day" would be shorter by 4 Kms and the vertical height to be gained would be lesser by 400 Meters. Beautiful Camp site The Nilgiri to the north, The Valley of Flowers and Tipra Glacier to the south, the
Khuliaghata ridge to the west and the Bhyundar Icefall to the east, dinner and overnight at camps. The next day was going to be tough. Bhyundar-Khal

Day 06: Bhyundar Base to Bhyundar Khal to Bank-Kund lake camp
Post early breakfast; start in the morning at 0600 Hrs to gain the ridge top, negotiating a near vertical slope that led up in the general direction of Bhyundar-Khal. At about 4900 Meters, the view opened wide as we reached a snow plateau and reach the pass (5100 Mts) by 0900.  Photo session for half an hour capturing the views of both valleys, Rata Pahar, Uki Pahar, Mt Kagbhushand, Mt Nilgiri and the numerous peaks of the Kamet massif and Start descent to reach the glacier bottom by 1200 Hrs and have packet lunch, followed by ours day halt at Bank-Kund lake camp(4500 Mts). Enjoy Dinner after a long day covering almost 12 Kms.
“OR”
IF to make a day short than camp at Rataban(E) Glacier(4500M) covering only 06 Kms from Bhyundar Base to Bhyundar Khal to Rataban(E) Glacier.

Day 07: Bank-Kund Lake to Bank-Kund - Base
A tough day ahead to cover 06 Kms, the route after the camp proceeds along a grassy ridge on a fair degree of incline for short. The snow slope was tricky with unpredictable hardness of the ice to deal with. It is exposed to our right at more than sixty degrees. A fall would mean a near vertical short cut to the glacier floor couple of hundred feet below. We have to watch our lead trio carefully cutting steps with the ice axes and thumping them hard with their boots. Cross the main body of the Bankund Glacier to gain the true left bank. Proceed north for few kilometers to reach Bankund Glacier Camping Ground (4900 Mts). The wide bed of the glacier lay ahead like some giant python resting. Couple of Kilometers ahead the glacier bent to our right sharply, just beneath the tall ramparts of the ridge that connects Nilgiri and Mandir massif.
It’s a gateway to the Kingdom of snows. From here on we should be camping above 5000 Meters for several nights. The weather factor would weigh few notches more entering the inner kingdom of snows in the Himalayas.

Day 08: Bankund Base to Garh Camping Grounds
Start at 0900 next morning to catch the medial moraine ridge due west of the camp. The panorama dominated one's senses. Follow the ridge NW few kilometers to reach Garh camping ground. Close to the head of the Bankund Glacier, this is the place from where Gupt Khal (The Secret Pass) becomes visible, Lunch and Camp by 1400 Hrs at Garh Camping Ground (5450 Mts) after a tough day covering almost 06 Kms. The team rests well to get ready for the Pass. Advance team goes out to do reccee of the possible site for Pass Base camp and a suitable approach to the Pass.

Day 09: Garh Camp to Gupt Khal Base (4 KM)
Start early at 0600 Hrs after light breakfast to reach base camp directly opposite the Pass. The route continues on a medial moraine ridge to reach the South Flank of Mana Parvat. Follow the ridge bottom due west to reach the point directly opposite the Gupt Khal. The giant snowfield resembled a frozen ocean surface. An eons of winds had sculptured the surface into various patterns of waves as one sees on sand dunes in the deserts. Pitch camp by 1200 Hrs. Prepare lunch and rest at Gupt Khal Base Camp Site (5600 M). Advance team goes out for reccee and rope fixing (if required) for attempting the pass the next day. Take care to pitch camp at a place where sun hits early, the next morning.

Day 10: Gupt Khal Base to Gupt Khal to Nakthani Snowfields
Start early at 0800 Hrs and gain the top (5800 Mts) by 1000 Hrs. This is the highest point of the expedition. Spend half an hour doing early morning photo shoot of all the major peaks in the Kamet and Mana massif, Saraswati Valley and the expanse of Bankund Glacier. Start descent and pitch our tents on Nakthani (5650 Mts) snowfield North West of the Pass after covering 03 Kms from Gupt Khal Base.

Day 11: Nakthani Snowfields to Nakthani Glacier Snout
Post Breakfast Decent to 4950 Mts to Nakthani Glacier Snout or Upper Nakthani covering approx 09 Kms, By this time everybody wanted to see the civilization after spending 10 Days in snow kingdom.

Day 12: Nakthani Glacier to Badrinath (3100M)(14Kms trek and 3 Kms Drive)
Start early from Upper Nakthani CG at 0800 Hrs. Reach Nakthani CG by 0900 and reach Saraswati River valley by 1000. Cross river and catch the Army trail by 1100 and start off for Badrinath downhill (3100 Mts). Late lunch at Mana Village at 1400 Hrs. See Vyas and Ganesh Gufa Enroute as Porters proceed on for Badrinath. Vehicle to be ready at end of Mana village for ferry on to Badrinath. Evening Darshan at Badrinath and warm bath at Taptkund.

Day 13: (Rest day)

Day 14: (Rest day)

Day 15: Badrinath to Rishikesh
Morning after breakfast drive to Rishikesh lunch on the route.

Trip end up here.

 

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