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Day 3: Summit Day to Mini Pangarchulla Peak

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Trek date during WINTER TREK to PANGARCHULLA PEAK via KUARI PASS: 30th December 2015 (Wednesday)

Trek distance: Around 14 Kms.

Time taken: Around 9 to 10 hours.

Difficulty level: Moderate to Difficult

Highlights during the trek:

  1. Himalayan trees at initial phase of the trek.
  2. Snowy trails all the way till Mini Pangarchulla Summit.
  3. Snowcapped mountains on both sides of trail.
  4. High altitude mountains on both sides of trail.
  5. 360 degree view of Nanda Devi National Park.
  6. Magnificent views of Mt. Dronagiri, Mt. Neelkanth, Brahma Tal view point, Hathi & Ghori Parbat, Mt. Nanda Ghunti, Mana 1 & 2, other peaks, etc…
  7. Conquering Kuari Pass & Mini Pangarchulla Summit.
  8. Snow sliding at some stretches while returning to Khulara camp-site.
  9. Clouds are making entrance all over the valley, -20 degree wind blowing towards us and sign of heavy snow fall in few hours were can be seen as few of the highlights while returning to Khulara camp-site.
  10. One of the best days of my life.

Challenges: Toughest day of winter trek with snowy fields throughout the hike and steep ascent as you approach Mini Pangarchulla Summit.

Altitude Meter: Please find altitude details for the day below:

  • Khulara meadows comes around 2896 Mtr.
  • Kuari Pass                            Altitude: 3840 Mtr
  • Pangarchulla Peak            Altitude: 4575 Mtr
  • Mini Pangarchulla Peak  Altittude: 4300 Mtr

Day in brief:

Summit day and very important day of the trek with Pangarchulla summit is in everyone’s mind. After previous day discussion with Guide, we were sure to climb atleast Mini Pangarchulla but Pangarchulla was question mark cos of snow covered boulders near Pangarchulla summit.

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Heavenly Khulara in my Nikon D3100
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Everyone looking for camp-fire throughout the trek – Damn cold it is!
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Beautiful morning at Khulara – Pic#1
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Beautiful morning at Khulara – Pic#2

 Conquering Kuari Pass & Mini Pangarchulla Summit

Guide plan was to start days hike around 7:00 AM. As informed by guide, all of us woke-up early in the morning. Freshen-up and had breakfast. After little delay, we all started towards Pangarchulla Peak around 8:00 AM. It was snowy fields at Khulara made our beginning interesting one. Plan was to reach first Kuari Pass than follow the route of Pangarchulla. It was snowy fields till Kuari Pass. Amazing and lovely experience of 2 Kms. trek took us to Kuari summit. -20 degree wind is hitting us at Kuari Pass. After reaching Kuari Pass, all of us relaxed for half an hour and took victory selfies, group pics at summit. It was one of the best feeling on earth with 360 degree views of himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi National Park expect Mt. Nanda Devi. Amazing experience indeed!!!

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Start of Day 3 at Khulara
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Interesting walk during initial phase of the day
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Memorable hike on snowy fields – Pic#1
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Memorable hike on snowy fields – Pic#2
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Memorable hike on snowy fields – Pic#3
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Huge snowy field before reaching Kuari Pass
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Experience of life time it is!
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Kuari Pass – There you go! Another half Kms. of trek
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Jaw dropping view of the valley
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Gulaabi gang was last to reach with local guide Puran Sirji…

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Achintya, Venkatesh & Rahul – Celebrating victory with national flag at Kuari Pass
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Amazing views of Nanda Devi National Park – Pic#1
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Mighty Pangarchulla in the center
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Mt. Dronagiri from Kuari Pass
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Pangarchulla Peak from Kuari Pass
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Myself with Dev Sirji at Kuari Pass
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Group pic with national flag at Kuari Pass
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Selfie time! – Group selfie with team #1
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Himalayan selfie at Kuari Pass
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Himalayan selfie with Mr. Kundu at Kuari Pass
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Selfie time! – Group selfie with team #2

It was much needed break before we start towards Pangarchulla hike. We can see few people returning en-route who attempted Pangarchulla and finished with unsuccessful attempt. Most of them went half-way stage and returned back. It was magical hike on snowy fields of Nanda Devi National Park and continuous steep ascent.

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This quote suits this pic perfectly!

As per our guide, it was very tough attempt we did to conquer Mini Pangarchulla. Crossing 5 peaks en-route Pangarchulla is goosebump experience indeed! From Kuari Pass, Pangarchulla peak seems to be closest one but when you start to ascend and continue your hike totally different picture will be in store. Trails are lengthier one than expected and as you continue trail looks more challenging & lengthier one. Snow, snow everywhere and captain of our team Dev Singh leading from the front. He was expertise in making routes and paths. His skills helped us to find trails. From personal point of view, I never expected this was in offering and little scary about attempting Pangarchulla from the day I started journey from Bengaluru. Confidence, Will and Mental preparations were most essentials things while attempting a himalayan trek. I have seen people talk about AMS, headache and many other things which will make your attempt unsuccessful one. I always give mental preparation first priority later fitness cos if you mentally not prepared fitness is a waste!

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Beginning stage of magical hike to Mini Pangarchulla from Kuari Pass
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Mani seems like professional trekker
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Once again Rockstar Mani – I am following him :P
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Dev Sirji & Tarun resting halfway stage
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Steep ascent all the way till Mini Pangarchulla
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Photo shot – Venkatesh with Pangarchulla
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Photo shot – Rockstar Mani with Pangarchulla
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Heavenly views – Pic#1
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Heavenly views – Pic#2
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Beautiful himalaya it is!
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Wow!!! what a hike…
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Mighty himalayan range with Mt. Dronagiri in centre
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Mt. Nanda Ghunti with Bethartoli Peak can be seen on left side of the pic
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Magical hike continues…
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After-all life it is!
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Tarun da in posing mode
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A day to remember in our lives
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Mani & Venkatesh enjoying hike at Nanda Devi National Park
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Hike Hike Hike – Don’t give up! U r here to conquer the peak
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Tiring still interesting hike…
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Pangarchulla in the left
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Still long way to go
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Venkatesh Sir is my inspiration from this trek – Checkout this stretch, Goosebumps!
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Keep going – We will do it
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Wow…Love this pic :)

Finally, we reached Mini Pangarchulla Peak after crossing 4 peaks around 1:00 PM. Pangarchulla was untouchable in the winter according to the guide so finished our hike around 1:00 PM. There is tiredness, satisfaction and happiness of reaching the Mini Pangarchulla Peak can be seen at faces of people who are all successfully conquered summit. I was over the moon cos never expected I will make it to the last stage. Some of the stretches are really narrow and lot of patience required to hike. Few people were unsuccessful in reaching Mini Pangarchulla summit but they were able to cross 2nd or 3rd Peak. That itself an achievement for them :) :) :)

Took group pics and enjoyed beauty of nature from the peak. Guide shown us Brahma Tal view point and many other peaks which are broadly visible from the peak. Wow!!! No words enough to describe the beauty of Nanda Devi National Park. Totally breathtaking indeed.

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There you go, it’s Mini Pangarchulla summit
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Nature at its Best! A classic shot of Himalayas – Pic#1
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Nature at its Best! A classic shot of Himalayas – Pic#2
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Nature at its Best! A classic shot of Himalayas – Pic#3

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Group pic at Mini Pangarchulla summit
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Myself with Dev Sirji at Mini Pangarchulla Summit – Best day of my life!!!
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Myself at Mini Pangarchulla (4300 Mtr) summit
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Broader view of Pangarchulla
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Close-up view of Pangarchulla
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At Mini Pangarchulla
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Selfie time! – At Mini Pangarchulla
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Selfie time! – At Mini Pangarchulla

Started to descend around 2:00 PM. Mahipal Singh kept packed lunch for us on the way back. While returning we had pit stop for lunch. I had Aloo Paratha & Egg for lunch. Relaxed for half an hour and continued descending.

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Snow sliding experience while descending – Afzalul enjoying the slide
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Jhankar da enjoying the descent – Pic#1
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Jhankar da enjoying the descent – Pic#2
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Beautiful stretch – Pic#1
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Beautiful stretch – Pic#2
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Snowy slopes near Kuari Pass
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Approaching lunch point

While approaching Khulara camp-site; clouds are making entrance all over the valley, -20 degree wind blowing towards us and sign of heavy snow fall in few hours were can be seen as one of the highlights from the day. Snow flakes are falling and weather was awesome indeed for enjoying beauty of himalayas. As the time goes, chances of snow fall deteriorated and sun came out. Guide informed us to collect woods for camp-fire while approaching Khulara camp-site. All of us collected 4 to 5 woods and took them to Khulara camp-site.

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-20 degree wind blowing towards us at this stretch
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Clouds & it is getting dark – A sign of snowfall
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Lovely descent it is
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Approaching Khulara camp-site
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Finally, reached Khulara with unforgettable experience

Reached Khulara camp-site around 5:30 PM. Had camp-fire to escape from the cold and welcome drink served to us. After an hour, soup was served followed by lunch. Few of them spent time at camp-fire singing & hearing songs while I told Bye-Bye for the day around 9:00 PM with formalities of completing the trek is the only task pending for next 2 days.

Camp-site is Khulara.

Temperature: -20 degree Celsius at night.

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