Pangarchulla Trek-One Dream Lived (Alternate Itinerary)

Pangarchulla Trek – Alternate Itinerary

Pangarchulla Peak

Pangarchulla peak visible from Gulling campsite

Pangarchulla trek has an alternate route as well that could be accessed by the trekkers. This route is quite a tough one which makes it a little less accessible for all the trekkers. It is a much more treacherous version of the trek because the summit day is on the second day itself and you gain significant altitude on every day. The altitude gain on the first day is 2000 feet and on the second day is 5000 feet which is quite crazy for just the start. Generally, it is not advised to have an altitude gain of more than 2000 feet per day to avoid the risk of getting AMS.

For the thrill seekers, who would like to take this path, here is the whole detail of this  alternate route to Pangarchulla trek which starts from Dhak. 

Pangarchulla trek Itinerary-Start your trek from Dhak finish it in Auli.

Short Itinerary:

Day 01: Joshimath – Dhak – Akhrotgetta; Cab from Joshimath to Dhak, 12km drive. Trek from Dhak to Akhrotgetta for 3-4 hours. Sleep early since you will have to wake up around 3 am to start the summit trek.

Day 02: Akrotgetta – Pangarchulla peak – Akhrotgetta; Summit Day! It’s going to be an exhausting day with 13 hours of the trek with a ridge walk & an exhilarating summit view. To be honest, it’s not nice. 

Day 03: Akhrotgetta – Gulling; Relaxing day with just 3-4 hours of effortless walk and a gorgeous sunset

Day 04: Gulling – Auli; The most chilled out day with a mesmerizing photogenic Tali lake to conclude your trek at.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Dhak-Akhrotgetta

Akhrotgetta Campsite

Akhrotgetta Campsite

As said, the starting point of the trek is Dhak which is a small pretty village at about 12 km from Joshimath on the Malari road. If you are lucky, you will find a local dog who will stay with you through the entire trek. You will find many kids smiling and waiting for you to take a pic and then ask for chocolates or toffee, so if you want a nice pic with smiling kids, do carry some extra chocolates with you. Akhrotgetta is the first campsite that the trekkers would reach after 2-3 hours of the trek. A single tree which stands in the middle of the campsite makes this campsite a special one. You can hear the sound of the stream nearby, it’s an open campsite and you get the first glimpse of the majestic Dunagiri peak which will stay with you in the entire trek. Trust us when we say you will find peace here after a long trek. Rhododendron, which is in full bloom in spring makes this campsite more picturesque. Due to the ban on camping in the meadows of Uttarakhand by the high court, Akhrotgetta is the last campsite to reach Pangarchulla Peak.

Day 02: Akhrotgetta – Pangarchulla peak – Akhrotgetta

Pangarchulla base

Pangarchulla Base and the ridge leading to Pangarchulla Peak

On the summit day, you have to wake up early at wee hours so that you climb the summit, see the sunrise from there and return to the Akhrotgetta camp before dark. It’s a long day of ascents and descents with 13 hours of trekking, so be prepared! Thus, a certain level of endurance is required to do this version of Pangarchulla Trek. You get an experience of trekking in the dark, wearing headlamps, walking through the dense Oak and Rhododendron forest and walking over thick snow as well.

After a 1-hour trek from Akhrotgetta the next campsite to reach is Khullara. A beautiful stream flows here where you can refill water bottles. Khullara meadows used to be one of the biggest open campsites in hills but because of the meadows camping ban, now you can’t camp in Khullara. The snow starts after Khullara & it’s time to gear up and wear your crampons and gaiters (the trek leads at Togedr will be providing these as and when required).

After an hour trek from Khullara, reach Gailgad to see one of the most gorgeous sunrises ever. Get ready to treat your eyes with some magical sights. The first rays of sun falling on the Chaukhamba peak & many other peaks nearby will excite you to take off gloves in the cold & pop out the camera to click some beautiful pics. Gailgad is the place where the route diverts for Kuari Pass. Walking on the snow and gaining the altitude is tiring but the grand views that open up after every step are worth the effort.

The real climb starts from the base of the Pangarchulla which you reach after a 4-5 hours trek, which is about to get harder. The climb is steep till the shoulder of the peak, walking on the three humps before the summit is exciting and treacherous. The thrill of ridge walk will pump you up but it’s exhausting at the same time. Be careful at the ridge section in winters as you don’t want to slip from the slope and fall in the deep valley. The open 360° views from the summit are worth all the effort, you get some beautiful views of the gigantic Himalayan peaks.

Walking on the Summit ridge will give you confidence and a lesson too, if you have the will and put all your efforts, you can and you will achieve anything. Gotcha? 

A Walk To Remember

A Walk To Remember

Day 03: Akrotgetta – Gulling

Gulling Campsite

Gulling Campsite

Gulling is the next campsite. The trail from Akhrotgetta is beautiful & goes through Oak, Rhododendron and Birch trees. It’s a short trek where you will be crossing many small streams before reaching the Gulling campsite by lunchtime. After Lunch, you will have plenty of time to rest, explore the campsite, read a novel, write something, play a cricket match with the locals or even go to a nearby stream & dip your legs to relax for a while. This is a rejuvenation time to also chill with other trekkers. The last rays of the sun disappearing from the Dunagiri peak is something to look out for from this campsite. If you have an interest in bird photography, you will fall in love with this place where you can sight some rare Himalayan bird species.

Last rays of sun on Dunagiri peak

Last rays of sun on Dunagiri peak from Gulling Campsite

Day 04: Gulling Campsite – Auli

Pangarchulla peak from Tali Lake

Pangarchulla peak visible from Tali Lake

The next morning you will trek to the Tali lake. Its a small lake with some spectacular views. You can take some rest here and absorb the beauty of the nature. Now, continue towards the Gorson Bugyal. Gorson Bugyal is a 1-2 km trek from Auli, the famous Ski destination of India. You have to cross the entire Gorson Bugyal to reach the Padiyar temple which is a small temple between Gorson Bugyal and Auli. 

You will reach Auli around 3-4 PM and then either stay in Auli or take a shared cab to Joshimath, from where buses and shared cabs ply in the morning for Rishikesh & Haridwar.

This is how the beautiful but extremely tough trek ends.

Gorson Bugyal

Gorson Bugyal

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