Pindari Glacier Trek – The soul of Kumaon

 Pindari Glacier Trek-The Soul of Kumaon

Pindari Glacier trek

Pindari Glacier trek  

  • Trek Difficulty: Moderate
  • Highest Elevation: 12,300 ft./ 3,749m  
  • Trek Duration: 07 Days
  • Trek Distance: 60 km
  • Region: Uttarakhand
  • Base Camp: Loharkhet Village, Bageshwar District
  • Nearest Bus Stand: Kathgodam Bus Stop
  • Railway Station/Airport: Kathgodam Railway Station/ Pantnagar Airport, 32 km from Kathgodam
  • Best time to do: April to June, Mid-August to November
  • Approximate Temperature Range: During Day (5°C to 22°C) and the Night (0°C to -5°C)

The Pindari Glacier Trek located in the Kumaon Himalayas at 12,300 ft. is a delightful treat for anyone. The glacier is the source of Pindar River that meets with the Alaknanda River at the convergence of Karnaprayag. This trek is a paradise of lush meadows, waterfalls, gushy streams, appealing bridges made of wood, remote villages and magnificent views of snow-capped peaks that will certainly make you awe-struck. Walking through the rhododendron forests, traversing along the southern region of the Nanda Devi sanctuary and then entering the path to reach the glacier is itself an enthralling walk.

The route to the Pindari Glacier provides you with a complete package. For novice trekkers, you will be walking through serene rhododendron forests that are home to various birds like Finches, Snowcocks, Monal and others and the best place for bird photography. Then for the adventurous souls, they have to traverse different mountain ridges, spider-walls and crossing multiple streams. This trek is easily doable for families and children. You will be walking along the Saryu and Pindar River. Along the trail, you can witness Bear, Blue Sheep, Mountain Deer, and Himalayan Black Bear.  


All the routes are properly defined and along the way, you can witness captivating views of Maiktoli (6,803m) and Panwali Dwar (6,683m). Pindari Glacier located on the edge of India’s highest peak Nanda Devi (7,816m). The local people fondly call it the Soul of Kumaon and one of the easiest accessible trails among all the Himalayan glaciers. On the way to the glacier, you can meet Baba Dharmanand Ji who has been meditating here for more than 20 years. During the trek please visit the towns of Almora and Bageshwar as well as the renowned Bagnath Temple.

As stated in the mythology, Pandavas had performed Pind Dan in this place before entering heaven, so after that, the name of the place is referred to as Pindari. During ancient times, people used the route of Milam and Pindari valley for trading with Tibet. In the 18th century, Kumaon’s 1st Deputy Commissioner, GW Trail had discovered a short route from Pindari Glacier to Martoli in Milam Valley. This path goes through Pindari icefall that crosses a Col referred to as Trail’s Pass (17,700 ft.). In the later years, several explorers and expedition teams have found out new routes.


Pindari GlacierTrek – Short Itinerary:

Day 01: Kathgodam (1,818 ft.) – Loharkhet (5,500 ft.); Begin your journey early morning from Kathgodam railway station by hiring a vehicle and after covering a distance of 180 km for 8 hours, you will reach the first base camp Loharkhet. You can get the BSNL network on the route.

Day 02: Loharkhet (5,500 ft.) –Khati (7,355 ft.) via Kharkiya; Today you will embark on a 3-hour drive from Loharkhet to Kharkiya and then after trekking for 4 km you will arrive at Khati.

Day 03: Khati (7,355 ft.) – Dwali (8,556 ft.); For arriving at the next campsite Dwali you need to cover a distance of 13 km and the time required is maximum 7 hours. This trail is quite tricky as there are several landslide zones and some routes are hidden due to landslide. So to cross this trail hire an experienced guide who can safely take you to Dwali or else you may get lost inside the forest.

Day 04: Dwali (8,556 ft.) – Phurkiya (10,465 ft.); Quite a short trek compared to the previous day, you have to trek for only 5 km and can be easily covered within 3 hours. You will be walking through beautiful oak and rhododendron forest. When the weather is clear, you get a glimpse of Mt. Nanda Devi East and Mt. Nanda Khat. 

Day 05: Phurkiya (10,465 ft.) – Zero Point Pindari Glacier (12,300 ft.) and again back to Phurkiya; a long trail lies ahead as the total distance is 16 km and time taken is 7 hours.

Day 06: Phurkiya (10,465 ft.) – Khati (7,355 ft.) via Dwali; The longest walk of the entire trek. You have to cover a distance of 18 km and time required is 8 hours.

 Day 07:  Khati (7,355 ft.) – Kharkiya (7,395 ft.) and then Kharkiya to Kathgodam by vehicle; Last day for the trek where you need to walk for 1 hour covering a distance of 4 km. Then from Kharkiya, it is a long drive of about 180 km to Kathgodam railway station.

Pindari Glacier Trek – Detailed Itinerary:

Day 01: Kathgodam (1,818 ft.) – Loharkhet (5,500 ft.)

  • Driving Distance- 180 km
  • Travel time – 3 hours
  • Pickup Point – Kathgodam Railway Station at 6:00 A.M.

· The journey will start from Kathgodam rail station in the early morning. The drive is 180 km and it will take a maximum of 8 hours to reach your first base camp. On the way have your breakfast and lunch. The route is quite scenic and you will be passing through Bheem Tal, Almora, Bagehwar, Kapkot and reach the final destination Loharkhet. At Kapkot, you will get an ATM so please withdraw money as Loharkhet does not have any ATM. Stay in the night at tea houses or guest houses.


Day 02: Loharkhet (5,500 ft.) –Khati (7,355 ft.) via Kharkiya

  • Driving Distance- 66 km
  • Travel time – 3 hours
  • Trek Distance – 3-4 km
  • Trek Duration: 1hour
  • Water Point: Dhabas at Kharkiya and Jakoni Villages

· There is a motorable road that goes all the way to Kharkiya from Loharkhet, so you need not have to walk. The route comprises several sharp bends and the journey is quite slow due to the poor conditions of the road. Kharkiya is the last village where the road ends and here are some dhabas as well as a small store where you can buy basic items. You have to cross the first bend of the motorable road and move towards your right. From here follow the trail that descends to Khati village. The route is surrounded with oak trees and rhododendrons; continue walking to reach a bridge situated over a stream. After walking for more than five minutes, you will reach the second bridge.

· The area is covered with dense forest and the trail consists of some steep sections. After trekking for 20 minutes, you will come out of the forest. Turn back and you can see the Kharkiya village and in front, there is a proper trail towards Khati. Please take a short break and have some water and snacks. Walk along the trail that descends down the ridge. After walking for half an hour, you will arrive at Tourist View Hut. From here you need to ascend a steep trail to reach Jakoni village (7,470ft.). The village welcomes with majestic views of Pindar valley that is on the right and Sunderdhunga Valley on your left. Here also there are some dhabas, so there is plenty of local food to try. You can refill your water bottle here.

· After taking some rest, walk on the flat path that goes towards Pindar Valley and on the way you will come across the third bridge. After crossing the bridge, climb to a forest ridge and from here Khati Village can be visible. This village is quite large compared to other villages and backpackers take rest here in various guest houses. It is the last colonized village en route to Pindari Glacier. The village is surrounded by glorious peaks like Laspadhura (5,913m), Nanda Kot (6,861m) and Nandabaner (6,236m).

· You can stay in PWD (Public Works Department) and KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam) guesthouses, as well, there are lots of privately owned guesthouses. Electricity is solely run on solar energy.


Day 03: Khati (7,355 ft.) – Dwali (8,556 ft.)

  • Trek Distance – 13 km
  • Trek Duration: 6-7 hours
  • Water Point: A stream 15 mins away from Khati Village, The second water source is at the back of the PWD guest house located on the starting point of Phurkiya route.

 Quite a long walk today, so ensure you eat well in the morning and do not have to feel hungry after some time. The trail used to be a well-laid path but after natural calamity devastated the area in 2013, many sections of the trails are blocked due to landslides. The alternate path is to descend and trek along the moraines of the Pindari river and gain climb to reach the broken path. The weather in the valley is unpredictable and so if you do not want to drenched in rain, start our trek early. However, on sunny days also there is some heavy rainfall at noon. So, it is best to carry a rain jacket or a poncho.

You need to ascend and descend a lot in this trail so it is vital to walk with caution as some sections are quite slippery. While walking you can see the entire Khati village and when entering the old Dwali route you can see the last section is broken due to a landslide. Please descend mindfully as the soil is quite loose here. Dwali is located on the other portion of the river and from here the Pindari Valley and Kafni Valley can be seen. Both Kafni and Pindari rivers meet at a junction where there is a village. Pitch your tent at the ground for the night stay.


Day 04: Dwali (8,556 ft.) – Phurkiya (10,465 ft.)

  • Trek Distance – 5 km
  • Trek Duration: 3 hours

You will walk less today for only 5 km as compared to the last day. Trek through rhododendron forests and below you can see the Pindari River. On a clear day, you can enjoy the views of Mt. Nanda Devi and Nandakhat in front of you. This trail is quite picturesque as you will find meadows covered with a blanket of rhododendron forests, glacier formation and some Himalayan Ibex grazing in the grassland. Please capture this scenic beauty in your camera. You will be crossing two streams that are fully covered with hard snow. During April and May, you need crampons, microspikes and an ice axe to cross the streams. We will be camping at Phurkiya mainly for acclimatization.


Day 05: Phurkiya (10,465 ft.) – Zero Point Pindari Glacier (12,300 ft.) and again back to Phurkiya

  • Trek Distance – 16 km
  • Trek Duration: 7 hours
  • Water Point: Several small streams are there along the way that are fit for drinking

 You will be going to the summit that is Zero Point Pindari Glacier. The weather at the Pindari Glacier changes frequently, so it is advised to start early in the morning to avoid bad weather. The walk to the summit is quite thrilling and after a maximum of 3 to 4 hours trek you will arrive at the Glacier and the same time is required to again return back to Phurkiya.

You can get clear views of Mt. Nandakhat (6,545 m). This region is quite sensitive as it prone to rockfall from above. Please check your steps while walking as the trail gets slippery due to the hard snow. It is best to put your crampons which will aid in getting some grip and you will not fall. Just across the Pindar River, you can spot a snow-laden peak which is Mt. Bauljuri (5,922m). There is a tricky path that proceeds to the valley, so please walk with caution.

· After climbing the ridge, you get the first glimpse of Pindari Glacier at your left as well as Mt. Changuch (6,322m) in the right. Below the peaks, the Pindari ice-field is fully covered with snow. From here you need to walk for 60 minutes to reach a hut that is home of Dharmanand Ji famously known as Pindari Baba who has been meditating here for more than 20 years. To reach Zero Point you need to trek another 30 minutes. After crossing the hut of Pindari Baba follow the trail until you arrive at a moraine ridge at your left. Cross the ridge and climb to arrive in front of a board that states “Zero Point”.

· You will find the Pindari Glacier at your left which is 3 km long. The view is magnificent here as the area is surrounded by big snow-laden mountains from three sides. When you look towards the right of Mt. Changuch you can see Mt. Nandakot (6,861m). From here you need to return to Phurkiya by following the same trail. You can easily reach within 2 hours.


Day 06: Phurkiya (10,465 ft.) – Khati (7,355 ft.) via Dwali

  • Trek Distance – 18 kms
  • Trek Duration: 7-8 hours
  • Today’s trek is the longest of all days where you will be walking for 18 kms. After breakfast, begin your trek and you will descend from Phurkiya to Dwali within 2 hours. From Dwali it is a long stretch for 5 hours to Khati. You will reach in the afternoon.


Day 07: Khati (7,355 ft.) – Kharkiya (7,395 ft.) and then Kharkiya to Kathgodam by vehicle

  • Trek Distance – 4 km
  • Trek Duration: 1hours
  • Driving Distance- 180 kms
  • Travel time – 6-7 hours
  •  If you are having an overnight flight or train and want to reach Kathgodam by evening, then leave the campsite as early as possible. An hour trek from Khati will take you to Kharkiya and arrive at the motorable road section. If you want to go straight to Kathgodam railway station or Pantnagar airport, you need to request for a direct drop to your respective destination. Be ready to shell out extra money. An alternate way is to sit in a local jeep and get down at Bageshwar. From here you can take another jeep to Kathgodam.


Pindari Glacier Height

Pindari Glacier is situated at a height of 3,800 m in Bageshwar district and spreads over an area of 3.2 km and its width is 250m.


Pindari Glacier Temperature & Weather

You will get a lot of snow in April and May. Snow lovers must do the trek during this season. The temperature during the day remains at 5°C to 22°C and during night 0°C to -5°C. If you want to get clear views of the magnificent peaks for the most of the trek, then do the trek post-monsoon from mid-August till November.

ATM & Mobile Connectivity

On the way to Loharkhet (1st base camp), there is a place called Kapkot where you can take out cash.

BSNL and Airtel connectivity is available till Khati (2nd base camp). After that there will be no connectivity, so finish off all your important calls till Khati. 

One of the best treks you can enjoy with your family and friends. Explore this beautiful trek with us and rejuvenate yourself its time for you to head back to hills. Hills are ready when you are! Stay Safe, Travel Safer!

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