Kuari Pass Trek (Page-1) 

Auli - Gorson Bugyal - Gorson-top - Khullara - Kuari-pass - Danu-Kharak - Dhak  

8th June 2010: SK and I reached Joshimath at 3:00pm after a tiring and long journey in a cramped bus from Rishikesh. We checked into Chandradeep Hotel - located where the Badrinath Gate road branches off from main road going to Joshimath main market. 

 A huge Kalpavriksha shades the Shiva temple near the Sankaracharya Ashram in Joshimath 

Next day, 9th June 2010, Sonu our Guide met us at the hotel and took our details and id-papers to process the permits. We were not required to go with him. Thankfully, we had today as a rest day to recover from the bus journey. Still we found some time to visit the Shankaracharya Ashram and the Narasing Temple. In the evening, Sonu confirmed he had got the permit for Kuari Pass; but for NDOS permit we have to come back to Joshimath; as it is issued only a day in advance. He went off again to buy our rations & stuff and arranging for porters etc.

10th June 2010 - Day-1: We left Joshimath at 8:30AM in a Maxx Jeep named "Dharkan"  that dropped us near Auli Helipad (2585M). From there we started our trek (at 9:30AM) uphill, towards Clifftop Hotel and then further to the last cable-car station; here we for 30mins and had tea, while our Permits were checked.  We left soon and entered a thick forest of Golden Oaks. Around noon we reached a Temple (Padiyar) in a clearing. We rested here for 15 mins and ate the Aloo-Parathas from our pack lunch, bought at Joshimath.  We continued walk beyond the tree-line into green grass of  Gorson Bugyal. A ponyman and friend of Sonu joined us and he suggested a spot 1Km before Gorson-top for us to pitch the tent a sthere was some water stream nearby.  Gorson camp was at 3380M, an altitude gain of 1300M from Joshimath and we had walked 8Kms today.

Even as Sonu and porters were setting up the Kitchen tent it started raining. And soon it turned into a hail storm. We all huddled into the Kitchen tent and had lunch and stayed put there till around 4:00pm when the storm finally subsided. Our tent got pitched only after that. 

Sonu (L) and two porters getting lunch ready at Gorson campsite

11th June 2010 - Day-2: Next morning we set out at 7:30AM after breakfast and the skies were a bit clear, though some clouds were covering parts of the snow peaks. We trekked first about 1-2Kms to reach the Gorson-Top point, where we met a teak of trekkers from Karaghpur (working in Railways) with whom I tried my smattering of Bengali and my vague memories of South Institute and Prem-Bazar etc from IIT-Kgp days (1965-70). We got some OK peak views from here of Neelkanth, Mana, Kamet etc. and deep view of Dhauli Ganga valley.

Ghodi (L) and Haathi (R) peaks standout as we leave Gorson camp

The next 2 kms of trek was steep climb and descends walking along  narrow paths with almost vertical cliff on one side and the steep valley on the other side. We walked this stretch slowly taking support of the cliff side. Pretty soon it was downhill to Talli lake and then to Talli campsite through the dense forest of oak and rhododendron. We had pack lunch here.  

At 10:10AM we reached Talli Lake (alt: 3415M) 

Since both Talli and Chitrakantha had no drinking water sources, Sonu decided on Khullara for camping, as it has good water source. So from Talli, it was a gradual climb through the mixed forest of rhododendron, pine and birch trees and then level walk to Khullara (3395M) and a total walk of 10Kms today.

The peak view from Khullara was better than that of Gorson. Peaks such as Dunagiri, Hathi, Ghodi, Kamet, Mana, Nandaghunti (west face) were clearly visible as sky was clear.

Sunset view of Mt. Dunagiri (7066M) from Khullara

There was lot of debate about this distant peak (with high zoom lens) and finally identified as Rishikot, after consulting some guide books.

This trek details continued in subpage - Kuari Pass -2
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This Trek GPS coords are available for download in Attachment section below as (1) Google Earth KMZ file and  (2) Garmin Database GDB file.  
Narasing Temple at Joshimath (near Badrinath gate-barrier)

Looking back down at the Helipad & Army Training camp from where we started our trek 45mins ago. You can see our Maxx had started.

After a nice walk through golden-oaks forest at noon we reach this Padiyar temple in a clearing.

A faint outline view of Nanda Devi as we start trek from Gorson camp
Dhauli Ganga river - way down below from Gorson bugyal

Mana, Neelkant and Nilgiri peaks from Gorson Top

Cobra Lily (botanical name: Aricima Valichayanam as per Sonu) that we saw along the trail between Talli and Khullara

Dunagiri range from Khullara campsite

Nanda-Ghunti west face (with zoom lens) from Khullara

View all my Kuari-Pass trek pictures here:
Kothanda Srinivasan,
Jul 4, 2010, 3:12 PM
Kothanda Srinivasan,
Jul 4, 2010, 3:11 PM