By-Prashant Bharadwaj (LMB)
This is the story of my journey to the Kedarkanth summit, which I completed last year.
The planning of this challenging yet beautiful journey started somewhere around mid-October when one of my friends suggested this place. Google search images were convincing enough for us to go for this trek without any second thoughts.
The starting point of this trek is a small village of Uttarakhand named Sankri, which is around 450 km away from Delhi. To make this trip even more memorable a friend of mine suggested to drive to Sankri and everybody unanimously agreed.
Day 1- December 29th, 2018- Delhi to Dehradun- 250 km
We started our travel at around 3 pm although we planned to reach Dehradun in 6 hours, because of the huge traffic on Delhi-Meerut highway in 6 hours we could reach only up to Muzaffarnagar, which is around 130 km away from Delhi. Way behind our schedule, we decided to have dinner at a Namaste Midway, a food plaza just outside the Muzaffarnagar.
The rest of our ride was hassle-free and we managed to reach Dehradun by an hour past midnight. After this tiring ride, we booked the first hotel that we could find and took a night break.
Day 2- Dehradun to Sankri- 200 km
We learned from our experience and started early from Dehradun to avoid any unprecedented delays.
The second day was filled with the mesmerizing views and soothing sound of the river Yamuna.
We rode most of that day alongside the river Yamuna than from village Sauli we turned toward the Sankri, this part of the road is mostly forest area with a lot of pine trees on both sides.
We reached Sankri by evening and stayed in a welcoming and comfortable homestay.
Day 3- Sankri to Juda ka Talab- 4 km
After a tour briefing by our guide, we started our trek to Juda ka Talab base, 4 km away from the Sankri village.
With very slow speed and multiple breaks, we climbed 2700 feet and somehow managed to reach Juda ka Talab camp, where we were rewarded with a hot cup of tea and Maggie.
After settling down, the first question in our mind was “where is this Juda ka Talab?”. Our guide pointed toward Hill and said “ on the top of that”, which was nothing as compared to what we had already covered so we decided to go for it.
It was actually a small lake, small enough to take our excitement away, except it was a small frozen lake. For the next hour till sunset, we played around on the frozen lake.
Day 4 -Juda ka Talab to Kedarkanth base camp- 4 km
Most of the trek was covered in snow. Although the path was slippery it was manageable. There were no steep climb or difficult path. We ascended 2100 feet and reached base camp. At 11,200 feet thin air caused Shortness of breath and dizziness. To get accustomed to low pressure at a high altitude our guide advised us to take rest and do lighter activities, we had the rest of the half-day to ourselves which we spent playing cards and sipping tea.
Day 5 – Summiting the Kedarkanth Peak – 4 km
The next part of our trek begins at 3 am, we had to reach the peak before sunrise. With torches on our heads, we all started walking on the snow in the dark and chilling night.
We walked for 4 hours with just a 15 min break in between. Around 7 we summited the peak at 12,500 feet, although because of overcast we could not witness the sunrise the view from the summit was mesmerizing.
We stayed for 15-20 mins in subzero temperature(around -12° Celsius) than we stared our descend to the base camp.
Our descend was the most memorable part of our journey within ten minutes of our descend it started to snow, for the next 3 hours we walked in the snow and rushed toward the base camp.
The complete area was snow-covered. On the same day, we descended to Hargaon camp at 8,900 feet, our next halt.
Day 6 – Hargaon to Dehradun
After overnight stays at Hargaon, we came back to Sankri and started our drive to Dehradun, where we stayed the night.
Day 6 -Dehradun to Delhi
The next day we were back to place from where we started and this adventurous journey became a wonderful memory.