"Sunderdunga" means the valley of beauitiful stones. The valley is situated to the west of Pindari valley and has two glaciers: Maktoli and Sukhram.

The area covered with wild flowers, streams, waterfalls and splendid 360 view of mountains such as Banoti, Durgakot, Anamik, Tent Peak, Tharkot, Maiktoli Range, Panwali Dwar, Nanda Kot, Baljuri & Panjil Range from Balooni Top.

I had orignally planned a circular trek route but could not go about doing that due to excessive snow. The ideal time for the route would be in Sept/Oct only 

 Day                 Description              Distance   Over/Night     
 1 Mumbai -> Delhi - Flight        Train 
  Delhi -> Kathgodam - Raniketh Express DEL 10pm depart        Train     
 2     Kathgodam -> Bageshwar  -> Khati Village                                                      (Route - kathgodam-bhimtal-bhowali-kainchi-almora-Bageshwar - Song- Loharkhet-Karkiya-Wachham)  200km Drv + 5 KM trek   Khati
 3 Khati ->  Jaitoli      7 Km Trek          Jaitoli                                          
 4     Jaitoli -> Kathalia         15 Km Trek  Kathaliya 
 5 Kathalia -> Balooni Top -> Devi Kund  10 Km Trek     Devi Kund
Nag Kund -> Patanki Pass - Pathar Kuni      Patharkuni
 7 Pathar Kuni - Jaitoli   15 Km Trek  Jaitoli 
 8 Jaitoli - Khati   7 Km Trek  Khati
 9 Khati -Bageshwar - > Haldwani             
  Haldwani -> Delhi -> Mumbai     

As I learned that doing Nag Kund / Patanki Pass would not be possible I reworked a more relaxed trek so as to enjoy the route completely within the booked time span. 


21th May 2011 - Got off Ranikhet Express at Kathgodam Stn. at 12pm a full 6 hours late. (What a start !) had prebooked a taxi which took me to Bageshwar, one should try the fresh fruits at the Bhowali Market esp the plums / apricots !
Reached Bageshwar by 6pm where I meet up with Debu the porter cum guide and reworked the trek route as the circular route planned intially would not be possible now. 

22nd May 2011 - Left early in the morning via Jeep to Karigaon a village just 5Km before Khati. Doing this road trip helps save the climb to Dhakuri Top vi
a Loharketh. The route is Bageshwar - Song - Loharketh - Pato - Kimgar - Karmi - Dhoor - Karigaon. Karigaon is the base after the decent from Dhakuri where one then walks towards Khati. The roads is still under construction and it was a hair raising drive. Due to fresh rains there was lots of slush and wet mud which made the jeep both skid and also get stuck thrice. We had to get off and push the jeep out of the mud ditch. I think the road should be okay in a years time if not earlier. We reached Karigaon (2200m) after a stop for breakfast at Pato by 11am. 

From Karigaon we trek 4km towards Khati and then just before entering Khati village we took a left down to the confluence of Sunderdunga and Pindar rivers. Crossed two wooden bridges. We then headed up the Sundardunga valley. It was another 7Km walk to Jaitoli (2375m). The walk was through the jungle. We reach Jaitoli by 4pm and checked into a pvt GH. We were totally drenched due to the continuous drizzle since we left Karigaon.

     


Jaitoli was crowded there was a group of 4 bengali trekkers, 2 foreigners & a group of 45 trekker from Maharashtra. Talking to them i realized that they all were headed for Kathalia the next day. I was not to keen on having them as company throughout the trek. Spoke to Debu and decided that we would trek halfway to a small campsite by the river the following day and double up the following day to Balooni Top.




       
View from GH at Jaitoli                                                Kids en-route Jaitoli Village


23rd May 2011 - As decided the previous day planned a late start after all the
crowd left and 
 walked to Dudiadong (half way to Kathalia).The route was full of detours due to landslides, waterfalls, bridge crossings and steep pathways. We reach the campsite by the river known as Kalukudi Campsite - a Km from Dudiadhong. (2600m) by  1pm. This campsite was just perfect, its a small patch of jungle sandwiched between rocks and a stream flowing on one side and the mountain on the other. We cleared the space and pitched up the tent to spend the night. Debu later went to get some fire food and cooked food and a bonfire for the night. I throughly enjoyed this campsite. The sound of the water flowing was just perfect. The evening was spent soaking the feet in the river. Solitude at its best !

24th May 2011 - This was a strenous day as a distance had to
be covered including the stiff 5km climb up. We started after breakfast at 7am and walked through fallen rocks and jungle and two ice crossing to reach Kathalia at 11am. A good 6KM walk. had a early lunch at Kathalia (3200m) and meet the people we left behind at Jaitoli who had returned from a day trip to Balooni Top. Left Kathilya at 2pm and reach Balooni Top (3750m) by 4pm. The 5km climb was strenuous and breathtaking. The intial 1km is more or less 60 inclination and later lowers down to 30 odd but it is a continuous climb up. It was getting cold up there and windy. Pitched our tents and had a early dinner and slept off. We were lucky we did not have any bad weather / rain the next two days after leaving Jaitoli else the views would have got ruined. 

  
Kathalia                                       One of the few ice crossings  

25th May 2011
- Woke up to a clear sky and beautiful 360 views ! The previous days hike up was more than worth it. Spent a good hour or so clicking the various ranges. Standing at Balooni  facing the valley one can see Banoti, Durga Kot, Anamik, Tent Peak, Tharkot, Maiktoli Range, Panwali Duar, Nanda Khat, Baljuri & Panjil Range starting from the left towards the right. After breakfast we headed towards Devi Kund. We had to cross numerous ice crossings, though the sun was out for more than an hour the ice was preety hard. We walked up the ridge and around the mountain till the base of Devi Kund (3950) after which to reach the lake one need to climb up 2 km or so. The ice was hard and slipperly. We decided to abort and return back to Balloni. On the was back we stopped and could get good views (3850m) of Sukram Caves and a rough view of the location of Devi Kund. We reached back Balooni by 11am and after a quick bite left down to Kathalia and reached by 1pm. We were lucky and after a hour or so it started raining heavily followed by hail and got very foggy for the rest of the day. 

Various mountain ranges seen from Balooni Top starting from the right of Balooni Top and going around.

          
      Banoti, Durga Kot, Anamik,Ten Peak,Tharkot                                               Maiktoli Range  

     
            Panwali Duar, Nanda Kot (right side small)                                    Baljuri & Pnajil Range

    
                        Sukram Caves                                              Devi Kund is located in the depression on the left

                
        Sukram Caves Valley             Numerous Ice crossings along the path           Sheep grazing in Kathalia

26th May 2011
- Seeing the intensity of the rain the previous day we started to doubt the return jeep journey possibilities from Karigaon to Bageshwar. We needed to cover more ground today so that i could reach Delhi by 29th to catch up return flight. So we left Kathalia by 7am and reach jaitloi by 1pm and then left after lunch to reach Khati (2200m) by 5pm. The weather again got bad and it started raining heavily all night. 



27th May 2011
- The rain had stopped, we left Khati by 7am and reached Karigaon by 9am to be informed that due the a land slide we need to walk down the road another 3 KM, we caught the jeep and drove down a never racking trip to Bageshwar. The driver was sure this was his last trip on these roads until and unless the PWD gets it done up. There were huge cracks on the roads and quite a few landslides. At a particular place the road had just fallen off. Reached Bageshwar in the evening. 





Sundardunga Valley Trek

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