Himalayan trekking looks fascinating but not that easy as we think. The Himalayas boasts some great challenging trails & paths which demands a lot of preparation. Trekking in the winter season comes with so much preparation. In the winter season, you will experience the beauty of nature in its best form, scenic landscapes, pristine white snow, lush green meadows, and alluring valleys.
Trekking in extremely low temperatures will give you thrill and freezing moments. Walking in snow is a great adventure. Enjoy and explore the beauty of Himalayas in the winter season.
Few points to remember while trekking in the Himalayas:
1. Choose the trek wisely
The most important point is to choose a good winter trek. If you want to take some challenges then choose the tough treks which have tricky trails, rocky paths, high altitudes, and temperature in negatives. But if you want to do some peaceful and amazing adventure then choose easy treks which have scenic sites, beautiful trail, average altitudes, and pleasant weather. If you are a beginner then please do not push your limits by choosing a tough trek directly. There are a lot of beginners trek, choose them first and take some experience before embarking on any challenging trek. Experienced trekkers already know what’s best for them.
The key important factor of trekking in the Himalayas is the fitness level of an individual or a trekker. Fitness is very important before undertaking any challenge. Fitness comes in both mental and physical forms.
Physical fitness: Start doing exercise prior to the trek. Give a few weeks to exercise and improve your stamina, strength, and endurance level. Some of the other strength training exercises you can do are Cardio, jogging, cycling, swimming, squats, lunges, stair climbing, etc. All these will help you to make your legs strong. You can also do yoga and make your lungs strong. Usually, at higher altitudes oxygen level start decreasing. Trekkers might get face a breathing problem.
Mental Fitness: You should be mentally prepared to survive in cold climatic conditions with sub-zero temperatures. Be mentally prepared before doing any adventure. Stay motivated and confident.
3. Popular winter treks
Here I will suggest you some good winter treks:
1. Kedarkantha Trek
A classic winter trek in the Himalayas all covered with pristine white snow. Kedarkantha Peak is a high mountain peak in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand. The trek offers majestic views of 13 mighty peaks of the Himalayas like Bandarpooch, Swargarohini, and Black Peak. Kedarkantha is perched at an elevation of 12,500ft. The trek starts from Sankri village near Dehradun and takes you through lush meadows, beautiful campsites, dense pine forests along snow-covered peaks. The breathtaking vistas of all the summits from the top will leave you speechless by their beauty.
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2. Brahmatal Trek
Another snow adventure that will blow your mind by its beauty. Brahmatal is a high altitude sacred lake which is perched at an altitude of 12,250ft. The additional highlight to this trek is the lake gets frozen in winters and offers spectacular views of Mt. Trishul and Nanda Ghunti peaks. The trail passes by the dense forests of oaks, rhododendrons, cedar, & fir, lush meadows, amazing campsites, and scenic vistas of nature in the Garhwal Himalayas. This adventure is a perfect snow adventure. Brahmatal trek is a moderate to difficult trek suitable for fit beginners and experienced trekkers.
3. Chadar Trek
The wildest of all treks, Chadar trek is a glamourous yet thrilling adventure in the Leh & Ladakh region. A walk on the frozen river and surviving in the temperature of -20 will give you a thrilling experience which you’ll never forget. Chadar Trek only happens once in a year and can be done in the months of January and February. With frozen waterfalls & lakes, rocky formations, tricky and narrow path, and snow-covered peaks all made this trek a unique one. It also offers a great opportunity to explore the tiny hamlets of Leh & Ladakh. Take a sneak peek into the Zanskari culture. Chadar is one of the most challenging treks in India.
4. Har ki Doon
Often known as the “valley of Gods”, Har ki Doon is a cradled-shaped hanging valley in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand. The valley is perched at an elevation of 11,768ft and nestled in the Govind Ballabh National Park. Har ki Doon trek is a perfect pick for bird watchers and nature lovers. You can see the captivating views of Swargarohini Parvat and other peaks. The villages which come during the trek are quaint and untouched by civilization. With lush meadows, a unique variety of flora and fauna, tranquil rivers, snow-capped mountains, dense woods, and alluring landscapes, Har ki Doon is a great adventure to do!!
A mysterious lake nestled in the Garhwal ranges of the Himalayas. Roopkund is a high altitude alpine lake that is perched at an elevation of 5,029m and surrounded by snow-covered mountains & rock-strewn glaciers. The trek is of moderate to difficult grade and recommended to experienced trekkers. Roopkund trek will take you through the sprawling lush meadows of Ali and Bedni, tricky trails, dense forests of rhododendrons, oaks, and pines. You can enjoy the breathtaking views of beautiful Himalayan peaks like Nanda Ghunti, Chaukambha, Trishul & Rudragaira. The trek starts from Lohajung which serves as basecamp many other treks. The trek starts from Lohajung which serves as basecamp many other treks. You have to reach Dehradun which is connected by all major cities of India. The best time to visit Roopkund is from Mid-April to June and September to October.
Things to Carry for Himalayan Trekking:
- Woolen clothes
- Thermal wear (for top & bottom)
- Woolen cap and gloves
- Mufflers and Scarfs
- First aid kit
- Sun cap
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Fleece jacket
- Raincoat or poncho
- Raincover for bag
- Gumboots or Trekking shoes
- Extra pair of socks
- Essential toiletries
- Trekking pole
- Hand sanitizer
- Water purification tablets
- Eatables like chocolates or granola bars, etc
- Water bottle (2-5 liters)
- Torch and flashlights
- Swiss knife
- Minimum cash
5. Safety measures to Keep in mind
● Stay hydrated: Take adequate breaks and stay hydrated. Drink water regularly.
● Eat regularly: Eat chocolates, granola bars or some handy snacks to keep yourself charged for the adventure.
● Do not wander alone: Always trek with the group. Do not walk alone here and there. You might get confused with the trail and lost your path.
● Wear layers: Stay covered with layers of clothes and always carry some extra to beat the chilly winters.
● Listen to your trek leader: Always follow the instructions and listen to your trek leader. Do not misbehave or take decisions on your own.
● Respect the cultural norms: Read carefully the norms of any place you visit. Respect people and their beliefs. Do not do anything inappropriate.
● Inform: There will be no network up in the hills. It is important to inform your family or concerned person before the trek. Whenever your mobile gets signal up in the mountains then inform your family.
● Carry Cash: Always carry minimum cash because you will not find any ATM in some hilly areas. People mostly deal there in cash. It is very important to carry cash for buying small things like water bottles, chips, etc.
● Permissions & Permits: Some places in the Himalayas requires permits and licenses to trek or travel in a particular area. It is important to carry all the permits with you or with the trek leader to travel hassle-free and smooth.
This is how you prepare for the winter Himalayan trek. Keep all the things in mind and plan a safe and hassle-free trip.
Live. Travel. Explore!!