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Pindari Glacier: A Trek to the Hidden Frozen Wonderland

Updated: May 21, 2023


Hidden deep in the heart of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, India, lies a frozen marvel of nature – the Pindari Glacier. Nestled at an altitude of approximately 12,300 feet, this magnificent glacier is a trekkers' paradise, offering a thrilling adventure through pristine landscapes and a glimpse into the raw power of nature.


The journey to Pindari Glacier begins from the small town of Loharkhet, where trekkers are greeted with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. As the trek commences, you find yourself traversing through dense forests of oak, rhododendron, and pine, with the melodious chirping of birds as your companion. The trail gradually ascends, revealing glimpses of snow-capped peaks in the distance, heightening the sense of anticipation.


Pindari Glacier
PIndari Glacier

As you trek deeper into the valley, the beauty of the surroundings intensifies. Towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and gushing rivers paint a picturesque landscape that seems straight out of a fairy tale. Every step brings you closer to the icy marvel that awaits.


The highlight of the trek is undoubtedly the awe-inspiring Pindari Glacier. As you reach the glacier, a surreal panorama unfolds before your eyes. The sprawling mass of ice, surrounded by rugged mountains, leaves trekkers spellbound. The sheer size and pristine beauty of the glacier command respect and admiration, as you stand in awe of nature's grandeur.


Walking on the glacier itself is a unique experience. The crunching sound of the ice beneath your feet and the glimmering blue hues of the crevasses create a sensory spectacle. The silence of the surroundings, broken only by the occasional cracking of the ice, adds to the ethereal ambiance. It is a moment to pause, reflect, and appreciate the magnificence of the natural world.


Camping near the Pindari Glacier is an adventure in itself. Setting up tents amidst the wilderness, surrounded by towering peaks, creates a sense of solitude and connection with nature. As darkness falls, the starry night sky comes alive, offering a dazzling display of constellations. The peacefulness of the surroundings and the absence of city lights allow you to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of the cosmos.


The trek to Pindari Glacier also provides an opportunity to connect with the local culture. Along the way, you will encounter charming villages inhabited by warm-hearted locals. Interacting with them offers a glimpse into their way of life, traditions, and hospitality. Sample the local cuisine, listen to their stories, and partake in their customs, creating memories that go beyond the physical beauty of the trek.


The best time to undertake the Pindari Glacier Trek is from May to October when the weather is pleasant and the trails are accessible. The trek is suitable for experienced as well as novice trekkers, with a moderate level of fitness required.

Pindari Glacier
Pindari Glacier | ᗩᖇIG ᑕᕼᗩKᖇᗩᗷOᖇTY

Embark on an Epic Adventure: The Pindari Glacier Trek

The Pindari Glacier Trek is a thrilling expedition that takes you into the heart of the Himalayas, offering a mesmerizing journey through breathtaking landscapes and a chance to witness the awe-inspiring Pindari Glacier.

The trek begins from the charming town of Saung, located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, India. As you set foot on the trail, you are immediately greeted by the picturesque beauty of the region. The path winds through dense forests of rhododendron and oak, with the melodious sounds of nature accompanying your every step.

As you gain altitude, the scenery transforms, revealing panoramic views of snow-clad peaks and lush green valleys. The trek gradually leads you deeper into the pristine wilderness, where you encounter gushing rivers, cascading waterfalls, and the occasional sighting of exotic wildlife. The ever-changing vistas serve as a constant reminder of the grandeur of the Himalayas.

The highlight of the Pindari Glacier Trek is undoubtedly the majestic Pindari Glacier itself. Located at an elevation of approximately 12,300 feet, this sprawling mass of ice stretches over 3.2 kilometers, captivating trekkers with its raw beauty and immense size. As you stand before the glacier, a sense of awe and reverence washes over you, humbled by the forces of nature that shaped this magnificent spectacle.

Walking on the glacier is an experience like no other. The crunching sound of the ice beneath your boots and the glistening blue hues of the ice formations create a surreal ambiance. The sheer magnitude of the glacier fills you with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the fragile beauty of these frozen giants.

Camping near the Pindari Glacier is a magical experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Himalayan wilderness. Setting up tents amidst the serene surroundings, surrounded by towering peaks and the sound of silence, creates a sense of connection with nature. The starry night sky above, free from the distractions of city lights, offers a mesmerizing display of constellations, providing a perfect backdrop for moments of contemplation and reflection.

The Pindari Glacier Trek also offers glimpses into the local culture and traditions of the region. Along the way, you will encounter remote villages inhabited by warm-hearted locals. Interacting with them provides insights into their way of life, and their hospitality adds a special charm to the trek. Indulge in local cuisine, listen to their fascinating stories, and witness their age-old customs, creating lasting memories that go beyond the physical beauty of the trek.

The best time to undertake the Pindari Glacier Trek is from May to October when the weather is favorable and the trails are accessible. It is recommended for trekkers with a moderate level of fitness and some prior trekking experience.

In conclusion, the Pindari Glacier Trek is an adventure of a lifetime, where nature's splendor unfolds at every turn. It is a chance to witness the grandeur of the Himalayas, to immerse yourself in the serenity of the wilderness, and create memories that will stay etched in your heart forever. So, gear up, embrace the challenge, and let the Pindari Glacier Trek be your gateway to an unforgettable Himalayan experience.

Pindari Glacier
Pindari Glacier Trek

Access to Milam Valley from Pindari Glacier by Trail Pass


There is a path from Pindari Glacier to the Milam Valley trek, which is accessible only to trained and experienced travelers. GW Trail, the first commissioner of Kumaon and Garhwal, is said to have been one of the earliest climbers to climb the Pindari Glacier in 1830. He reached the village of Martoli in Milam Valley by crossing the pass (now Trail Pass) at an altitude of 17700 feet from Pindari Glacier. This pass was named Trail Pass after his name.


It is said that the trail experienced snow blindness while crossing this pass. This was considered to be the wrath of Mother Nanda Devi and after that, some foreign travelers passing through this pass started their journey only after making special offerings to the Nanda Devi temple of Almora before climbing here. This route was also used as a trade route between India and Tibet. The road is very dangerous.

Pindari Glacier
Pindari Glacier | The Mystic Rider

Mention of Pindari Glacier in the book of Ruskin Bond


Yes, Ruskin Bond has mentioned Pindari Glacier in his book "The Secret Pool". The book is a collection of stories and anecdotes set in the beautiful hills of Mussoorie and the surrounding areas, and Pindari Glacier is mentioned in one of the stories.


In the story titled "The Cherry Tree", Bond writes about his journey to Pindari Glacier with his friend Anil. They trek through the beautiful forests and meadows and encounter a cherry tree laden with ripe cherries. The story revolves around their efforts to reach the cherry tree and enjoy its fruit, and the unexpected turn of events that follows.


Bond's descriptions of the trek to Pindari Glacier are vivid and evocative and capture the beauty and grandeur of the Himalayan mountains. The story is a testament to Bond's love for nature and his ability to weave fascinating tales around the places and people he encounters.


Pindari Glacier is shrinking continuously


Yes, it is true that Pindari Glacier is shrinking continuously. Like many other glaciers around the world, Pindari Glacier has been impacted by global warming and climate change.


According to a study by the Geological Survey of India, Pindari Glacier has retreated by around 1.5 km over the last century. The study also revealed that the rate of retreat has accelerated over the last few decades, with the glacier shrinking by around 36 meters per year between 2004 and 2012.


The shrinking of the Pindari Glacier is a cause for concern, as it can have far-reaching consequences for the people and the environment in the surrounding areas. Glaciers act as natural reservoirs of water, and their retreat can lead to water scarcity in the region. It can also lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of landslides, floods, and other natural disasters.


It is important to take steps to mitigate the impacts of climate change and reduce our carbon footprint to slow down the rate of glacier retreat. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving forests and natural habitats, and promoting sustainable practices in tourism and other sectors.


Pindari Glacier Trek
Pindari Glacier Trek

In conclusion, the Pindari Glacier Trek is a journey that combines adventure, natural beauty, and cultural immersion. It is an opportunity to step into a frozen wonderland, to witness the power of nature, and to appreciate the fragile beauty of glaciers. So lace up your boots, embrace the adventure, and let the Pindari Glacier Trek transport you to a world of enchantment and awe.



Q&A on Pindari Glacier


How to reach Pindari Glacier?

To reach Pindari Glacier, you need to follow a trekking route that starts from the village of Kharkiya in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, India. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to reach Kharkiya:


1. By Air: The nearest airport to Kharkiya is the Pantnagar Airport, located around 250 km away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Kharkiya.


2. By Train: The nearest railway station to Kharkiya is Kathgodam, located around 210 km away. From the railway station, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Kharkiya.


3. By Road: Kharkiya is well-connected to other parts of Uttarakhand by road. You can take a bus or hire a taxi from cities like Kathgodam, Nainital, Almora, and Bageshwar to reach Kharkiya.


Once you reach Kharkiya, you can start the trek to Pindari Glacier. The trek is around 40 km long and takes around 5-6 days to complete, depending on your pace and the weather conditions. The trek passes through the beautiful villages of Khati, Dwali, Phurkia, and Zero Point, and offers stunning views of the Pindari Glacier and surrounding peaks. You will need to obtain the necessary permits and permissions from the local authorities before starting the trek.


Pindari Glacier Trek
Pindari Glacier Trek

Where to stay during Pindari Glacier Trek?

There are several options for accommodation during the Pindari Glacier trek. Here are some of the popular choices:


1. Guesthouses and lodges: There are several guesthouses and lodges in the villages of Khati, Dwali, Phurkia, and Zero Point, which offer basic accommodation and meals. These are run by local residents and are a good option for budget travelers.


2. Tents: If you prefer a more adventurous experience, you can bring your own tent and camp along the trekking route. There are several designated campsites along the way, which offer basic facilities like toilets and running water.


3. Forest Rest Houses: There are several Forest Rest Houses located along the trekking route, which offer more comfortable accommodation options. These rest houses are maintained by the Forest Department and need to be booked in advance.


4. Homestays: You can also opt for homestays in the villages along the trekking route, which offer a unique cultural experience and a chance to interact with the local people. These homestays are run by local families and offer basic accommodation and meals.


It is advisable to carry a sleeping bag and warm clothing, as the temperatures can drop significantly at night. It is also a good idea to carry a water purifier or iodine tablets, as the water sources along the trekking route may not be safe to drink without treatment.


What to eat during Pindari Glacier Trek?

During the Pindari Glacier Trek, you will mostly be eating simple and nutritious meals that are prepared by the guesthouses, lodges, and homestays along the way. Here are some of the popular food items that you can expect to find during the trek:


1. Dal, Rice, and Vegetables: This is a staple food item that is commonly served in the villages along the trekking route. It is a simple and nutritious meal that provides the required energy for the trek.


2. Maggi and Soups: Maggi noodles and soups are popular instant food items that are easily available at guesthouses and lodges. They are a quick and easy option for a snack or light meal.


3. Parathas and Chapatis: These are flatbreads that are commonly served with vegetables or curry. They are a filling and tasty option for breakfast or dinner.


4. Eggs: Eggs are commonly served in the morning and can be prepared in different styles like omelets, boiled eggs, and scrambled eggs.


5. Tea and Coffee: Tea and coffee are commonly available at guesthouses and lodges. They are a great way to warm up and refresh yourself during the trek.


It is advisable to carry some snacks like energy bars, chocolates, and dry fruits for the trek, as you may not find many options on the way. It is also important to carry enough water and stay hydrated throughout the trek.


What is the best time to visit Pindari Glacier?

The best time to visit Pindari Glacier Trek is from mid-April to June and from September to November. During these months, the weather is pleasant and the skies are clear, offering excellent views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.


The months of July and August are the monsoon season in the region and are not recommended for trekking as the trails can be slippery and dangerous due to heavy rains and landslides.


In the winter months, from December to February, the trekking route is closed due to heavy snowfall and extremely cold temperatures, making it impossible to undertake the trek.


Overall, the best time to visit Pindari Glacier Trek is during the spring and autumn months, when the weather is pleasant, the views are clear, and the trekking conditions are ideal.


What are the things to carry for Pindari Glacier Trek?

Here are some essential items that you should carry for the Pindari Glacier Trek:


1. Trekking boots: A good quality pair of trekking boots with ankle support is essential for the rocky and uneven terrain of the trek.


2. Backpack: A comfortable and sturdy backpack with padded shoulder straps and a waist belt to distribute the weight evenly.


3. Clothing: You should carry comfortable and breathable trekking clothes such as quick-dry t-shirts, pants, shorts, thermal wear, and warm jackets. Also, carry a raincoat and a windcheater to protect yourself from rain and wind.


4. Sleeping bag: You will need a good quality sleeping bag that can withstand sub-zero temperatures as the temperature can drop significantly at night.


5. Tent: If you plan to camp along the way, you should carry a good quality and lightweight tent that can withstand windy and rainy conditions.


6. Trekking poles: Trekking poles provide additional support and stability on the trek and reduce the impact on your knees and joints.


7. First aid kit: You should carry a basic first aid kit that includes items like bandages, antiseptic creams, pain relievers, and altitude sickness medication.


8. Water bottle and purification tablets: You should carry a reusable water bottle and water purification tablets to ensure that you have access to clean drinking water on the trek.


9. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hat: You should carry sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun, sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays, and a hat to protect your head and face from the sun.


10. Snacks and energy bars: Carry some lightweight and high-energy snacks like energy bars, chocolates, and dry fruits to keep yourself energized on the trek.


Make sure to pack your backpack light, as you will be carrying it for most of the trek.


What is the difficulty level of the Pindari Glacier Trek?

The Pindari Glacier Trek is considered to be a moderate trek, suitable for people with some trekking experience. The trek involves hiking on uneven and rocky terrain, crossing streams and rivers, and ascending and descending steep trails. The altitude gain is gradual, and the highest point on the trek is Zero Point at an altitude of 12,300 feet.


It is advisable to have a good level of fitness and stamina to complete the trek comfortably. Regular exercise and cardio workouts in the weeks leading up to the trek can help prepare the body for the physical demands of the trek. Additionally, acclimatization is important to avoid altitude sickness, which can occur at higher altitudes.


Overall, the Pindari Glacier Trek is a challenging but rewarding experience, and with the right preparation and mindset, most people with a basic trekking experience can complete it.


How long is the Pindari Glacier Trek?

The Pindari Glacier Trek is a 9-day trek, including arrival and departure from the base camp at Kharkiya. The trek covers a total distance of approximately 70 kilometers (44 miles), with an average walking time of 5-6 hours per day. The actual walking distance and time can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions, group pace, and individual fitness levels.


The itinerary typically includes stops at Kharkiya, Khati, Dwali, Phurkia, and Zero Point before returning to Dwali, Khati, and finally Kharkiya. The trek offers stunning views of snow-capped peaks, lush forests, and crystal-clear rivers and streams, making it a popular choice for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike.


What is the altitude of the Pindari Glacier?

The altitude of Pindari Glacier varies along the trek route. The starting point of the trek is at Kharkiya, which is located at an altitude of approximately 6,500 feet (1,981 meters) above sea level. The highest point on the trek is Zero Point, which is located at an altitude of approximately 12,300 feet (3,749 meters) above sea level.


Other important stops along the trek, such as Khati, Dwali, and Phurkia, are located at altitudes ranging from 6,600 feet (2,012 meters) to 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) above sea level.


It is important to note that the altitude gain on the trek is gradual, allowing for proper acclimatization. However, it is still important to take necessary precautions to prevent altitude sickness, such as staying hydrated, taking rest breaks, and ascending gradually.


What are the accommodation options available during the Pindari Glacier Trek?

During the Pindari Glacier Trek, accommodation options include guesthouses, homestays, and campsites.


In Kharkiya and Khati, there are a few guesthouses and homestays available, offering basic amenities such as clean rooms, bedding, and shared washrooms. These options are simple but comfortable and provide a chance to interact with the local residents.


In Dwali and Phurkia, there are basic forest guesthouses run by the Forest Department. These guesthouses have basic facilities such as beds and blankets, but visitors need to bring their own sleeping bags. In addition, there are a few private campsites available for overnight stays.


It is also possible to camp outdoors during the trek. However, trekkers need to carry their own camping equipment, including tents, sleeping bags, and other essential items.


Overall, the accommodation options on the Pindari Glacier Trek are basic but adequate, providing a comfortable and safe place to rest after a day of trekking.


What is the cost of the Pindari Glacier Trek?

The cost of the Pindari Glacier Trek varies depending on the tour operator, the duration of the trek, the mode of transportation, and the type of accommodation selected.


On average, a 7-9 day Pindari Glacier Trek can cost anywhere from INR 15,000 to INR 30,000 per person, depending on the factors mentioned above. This cost typically includes accommodation, meals, permits, guide and porter fees, and transportation from the nearest town to the trek starting point.


It is important to note that trekking with a registered and reputable tour operator is highly recommended, as they can provide experienced guides, porters, and equipment necessary for the trek. They can also arrange for permits and transportation, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.


Additionally, it is important to factor in personal expenses such as equipment rental, additional meals, and any other incidental costs that may arise.


What are the documents required for the Pindari Glacier Trek?

To undertake the Pindari Glacier Trek, trekkers need to carry a few documents with them. These include:


1. Photo ID proof: Any valid government-issued photo ID proof such as a passport, driving license, or Aadhar card needs to be carried for the trek.


2. Trekking permits: Trekkers need to obtain trekking permits from the Forest Department for the Pindari Glacier Trek. These permits can be obtained from the forest office in Loharkhet or in the village of Song, depending on the trek starting point.


3. Medical certificate: Some trekking agencies or Forest Departments may require trekkers to provide a medical certificate stating that they are physically fit to undertake the trek.


It is important to note that the required documents may vary depending on the tour operator and the regulations of the Forest Department. It is always recommended to check with the tour operator or Forest Department beforehand to ensure all necessary documents are in order before embarking on the trek.


Is it safe to do the Pindari Glacier Trek?

Yes, the Pindari Glacier Trek is considered safe for trekkers who follow basic safety guidelines and precautions. However, like any other trek, it comes with its own set of risks and challenges.


Some of the common risks involved in the Pindari Glacier Trek are altitude sickness, slippery trails, and adverse weather conditions. Therefore, it is recommended that trekkers prepare themselves physically and mentally before embarking on the trek. It is also advisable to undertake the trek with a registered and reputable tour operator who can provide experienced guides, porters, and necessary equipment for the trek.


In addition, trekkers should carry appropriate gear, sufficient food and water, and be aware of the potential hazards on the trail. They should also acclimatize themselves properly to the altitude and be prepared to handle any medical emergencies that may arise during the trek.


Overall, with proper preparation and caution, the Pindari Glacier Trek can be a safe and memorable experience for trekkers.


What are some other popular treks near Pindari Glacier?

There are several other popular treks near Pindari Glacier that offer stunning views of the Himalayan range and are worth exploring. Some of the popular treks include:


1. Kafni Glacier Trek: Located in the same region as Pindari Glacier, the Kafni Glacier Trek is a 7-day trek that takes trekkers through scenic landscapes and offers views of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and lush forests.


2. Sunderdhunga Trek: The Sunderdhunga Trek is a 9-day trek that takes trekkers through the Sunderdhunga Valley, which is known for its stunning views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks and glaciers.


3. Roopkund Trek: The Roopkund Trek is a 8-day trek that takes trekkers to Roopkund Lake, which is known for its mysterious human skeletons and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and glaciers.


4. Valley of Flowers Trek: The Valley of Flowers Trek is a 6-day trek that takes trekkers through a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its stunning meadows of wildflowers and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks.


5. Har Ki Dun Trek: The Har Ki Dun Trek is a 7-day trek that takes trekkers to the Har Ki Dun Valley, which is known for its stunning views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks and glaciers.


All these treks offer unique experiences and challenges and are popular among trekkers who want to explore the beauty of the Himalayas.


 



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