Ralam, Martoli, Traill’s pass and down the Pinder Valley
If the route of Traill’s Pass proves to be too much or the conditions are not right then there are two alternative routes to access the Pinder Valley:
via Bugidar and Namik
the other via Changuch pass
Dana Dhura Route
Dana Dhura, 18500ft, which slightly south of Traill’s Pass. The valley is much wider and the ice fall not so serious. It is still a serious mountaineering undertaking. Teams have to stay roped up on all the glaciated sections.
From the village of Martoli you take the Shalang Gad (valley) instead of the Lawan Gad. A sheapard’s track leads to the snout of the glacier. You climb steeply up to a first pass at 18500ft and descend to a plateau, which is the top of Kafani Glacier. The route then turns North-north west around a ridge from Nandabharna (6236m) and climbs a second pass. It then heads down the Changuch Glacier and joins up at the Pindari Glacier Zero Point.
It is important not to head down the Kafni Glacier after climbing the first pass as the icefall is fairly serious.
The route from Martoli to Pindari Zero Point via Dana Dhura will take around 10 days.
Bugidar and Namik
This route follows a local shepard’s path over two passes and then down into the Pinder valley. It’s more than likely that we will end up taking this route.
Here are two route descriptions (in reverse to the direction we intend doing it)
Day 1 – Namik/Thaltok
We take a wonderful ancient stone path all the way to the Sudam Khal Pass. The path climbs gradually through the forests and every clearing offers superb views of the mountains. Just before a small pass at 3150 metres (3-4 hours from leaving camp), we come to a crossroad and follow the left path descending and ascending gradually and then to a ridge beyond which is our camp by a tourist hut at Thaltok ( 3400m). (4- 5 hrs).
Day 2 – Thaltok/Kaguri
A long day. We leave early and climb to a ridge which offers spectacular views of the peaks of Panch chuli , NandaDevi and Nanda Kot. Continue along the ridge till the top of Sudam Khal pass (3950m). From here we can see Kaguri bhel ( 4800m) pass and our campsite, which is a little below the pass at 4050m. Approx 7 – 8 hrs walk, this is our highest camp with possibilities of snow.
Day 3 – Kaguri/Poting
From the Kaguri Bhel Pass to the hilltop takes approx. 3hrs. This journey is very steep and there is no greenery to be seen. We trek for another 4 hrs but now it is a steep downhill to the Poting Camp. Again there are streams to be found in abundance. The magnificent view of the Poting Glacier seen from the camp will revive you.
Day 4 – Poting/Bugdiar
From here on the downhill trek begins. There is no proper footpath in the forest, so in order to reach the campsite at Bugdiar it will take almost 4 hrs. On reaching the spot we camp at the bank of the river Gauri Ganga. Overnight at Bugdiar.
Day 1: A fairly easy day , the trail continues through forests and across huge green alpine slopes inhabited by the gujjars (local shepherds) to camp in grassy slopes. Enroute we cross a small pass on a ridge at 3050m before descending to a lovely camp in a clearing in the forest at Raj Kharak (2600m) 4- 5hrs.
DAY 2: Namik (2100m). We are woken with the early morning sun since the camp faces east. From camp we descend to the Ram Ganga river and continue along the plains with views ahead of Nanda kot ( 6860m) at the head of the valley. We pass the large village of Gogina and descend to the river which we cross by a small wooden bridge. After lunch here, we climb back up steeply to the village of Namik and camp in a another lovely site above the village. 7 hrs.
DAY 3: base of Sudam Khal (3800m) : Leaving camp early we follow a well laid out stone path all the way to the Sudam Khal pass (4000m), which lies in between, the Ram Ganga and Gori Ganga valleys. The path climbs gently through beautiful forests with several clearings which offer great views back towards Nand Kot. Good views of Nanda Devi range opens to the west. Camp at the foot of the pass at 3800m. 5 hrs.
DAY 4: Base of Kaguri Bhel (4050m) : Leaving camp in the early hours we traverse the ridge and climb to the top of a ridge which offers stunning views of Panch Chuli peaks. To the west we can both the peaks of main and east Nanda Devi. The trail continues along the ridge until the top of Sudam Khal pass at 4000m. We can look across to our following day’s pass of Kaguri Bhel. We then descend to our camp a little below the pass at 4050m after traversing the slopes of the ridge. Camp is again by a small stream in a another very nice spot but can get very cold due to the altitude. The walk is through tundra terrain to camp at the foot of Kaguri Bhel (4050m). 6 – 7 hrs.
DAY 5: Poting (3400m)- Climb steeply to Kaguri Bhel pass (4800m) another fantastic view point for the surrounding peaks. Cross some Snowfields and descend to the north in the Gori Ganga valley to camp at Poting in beautiful meadows. 5 – 6 hrs.
DAY 6: Bugdiar (3000m): Follow a well-defined path on the main trade route between Munsyiary and Milam to Bugdiar. An easy walking day of 4 – 5 hrs.
Details for each sector are listed below:
- Sector 1: Darma to Milam Valley via Ralam Pass (5630m)
- Sector 2: Ralam, Martoli, Traill’s pass and down the Pinder Valley
- Sector 3: Khati to Joshimath via Kuwari Pass
- Sector 4: Joshimath to Gangotri via Kalindi Khal
- Sector 5: Gangotri, Harsil to Chitkul via Lamkhaga Pass
- Sector 6: Chitkul to Morang via Charang Pass
- Sector 7: Morang to Kibber
- Sector 8: Kibber – Parang La – Tso Moriri
- Sector 9: Tso Moriri to Rumste
- Sector 10: Rumtse to Leh