Nanda Devi Outer Sanctuary Trek (Page-1)
Lata - Lata (summer) - Belta Campsite - LataKharak - SainiKharak - Jhendidhar - DharasiPass - LataKharak - KhadiChaund - Tolma - Suraithota
Days 1 to 3: Joshimath > Lata > Lata-Kharak
After Kuari-Pass trek, SK and I came back to Joshimath by noon, on 14th June 2010, so we could apply for Nanda-Devi trek permit. Sonu managed to get the Permit by evening same day and also made the requisite food & provisions purchases by evening. The permit rates had increased recently and ours cost Rs 1670/- in all. We were all set to leave for Lata next morning. Sonu said we can leave comfortably, say by 10AM, since we plan to home-stay the first night at Lata and it would take us only 2-3 hours to reach by jeep and a short trek.
15th June 2010 - Day-1: After breakfast, at 10:00AM we left by a booked Maxx (yes, same Dharkan again) and headed out on Malari road. The weather was a clear and sunny. Sonu said we will have new team of 3 porters, from Lata village, who will meet our Maxx when we reach Lata (winter) on the Malari Road some 25KMs from Joshimath (i.e. 10 KMs beyond Tapovan). We got some fantastic peak views from the road, as we headed up Dhauliganga Valley. Including Nanda-Devi.
We stopped in Tapovan for some 45mins for Sonu to do some local shopping and again stopped briefly to click the roadside hot-spring spewing sulphorous steam and finally reached Lata (road) at Noon.
At Lata (road alt. 2130M) Raghuveer Singh and two others were waiting for us. We were to home-stay tonight with him. Raghuveer was a pleasant and ever-smiling guy, who loved to talk constantly. He had a great knowledge about Nanda Devi areas and knew every peak and all the mountain trails of the Sanctuary. He himself had guided many trek groups in the NDOS areas. He was a sure-footed guy who nimbly scampered over all kinds of boulder trails with heavy load and a helping hand to others! He had us as a "captive audience" for the 2 hour walk up to Lata (summer) 2370M and by the time we reached his home, we had enough background info on the trek trails of ND and more importantly about the Chipko Movement of the 70s that originated in a nearby village (Reni) by the famous local lady Ghora Devi and Sunderlal Bahuguna. Even Lata village was in the center of that epic story. Raghuveer was just a school boy during those days, but he says he remembers well being excited by that historic movement.
We reached Raghuveer's home at around 1:15PM (a climb of 24oM i.e. 780ft) and he gave us his furnished main bedroom to stay. We had a good lunch (prepared by him and his son) and later relaxed in the afternoon. In the evening, Raghuveer and Sonu took us for a round of the village and in particular to the Nanda Devi Temple of the Village, at an upper level above the village.
16th June 2010 - Day-2: After breakfast, we set out for trek to Belta a campsite. It was decided not to climb to Lata-Kharak in one go, as it was nearly 1415M climb, even though the distance is only 9KM. Sonu and Raghuveer discussed and decided to camp at Belta (4KM) where there was a water stream (same as used by Lata village). We started at 8:15AM and the trail was very nice through some thick forest of Pine and Deodhar trees.
We saw plenty of wildflowers along teh trail. Weather was cloudy and we enjoyed todays walk and ended up at 11:00AM at Belta site (2840M - a climb of 470M). The campsite was just a small stony clearing by the side of the trail, near a huge rock that had a cave opening just below it, which was the kitchen. No views from here though.
We reach Belta campsite at 11-15am near a cave, just beside the stony trail. Cave will be used as kitchen. Our tent is being pitched.
In the afternoon it rained heavily and temperature fell. Anyway there was no where to go or see any views. We were tent bound.
17th June 2010 - Day-3: Today morning skies were clear and there was even sun out. Today we have the remaining 5KMs to do but a very steep climb of 1000M to do. We started trek at 7;15AM initially through thick forest cover on stony zig-zag climbing trail. Our camp had been in a ravine of the stream and as we walked we climbed intermediate ridge and so could see Lata village again behind us.
Finally after plodding up and up on innumerable zig-zags we reach the Latha Kharak's Forest dept. Log-huts.
2-3 Indian Army guys were also there as support team from Gurkha Regiment of Army climbing Trishul.
At 11-55AM we reach Latha-Kharak log-huts, where we take a room
Lata Kharak is at altitude of 3785M. The log-huts sit on a small table-top ledge of a ridge overlooking Lata Village to the West. Dhauli Ganga flows way below, in a deep ravine flowing East to West. To the South we could see the Snow-peaks of Nanda-Devi sanctuary western rim, now partly covered in clouds. And to North-West the towering sight of Dunagiri peak. We took one room that was not oocupied by the army guys. Sonu and porters occupied the annexe hut that was to serve as the kitchen too. We rested awhile while lunch was getting ready.
Just as we finished lunch at 1:30PM and as if by clockwork it started raining heavily. Soon turning to a windy hail storm. Anyway we were happy to lay out the sleeping bags and take rest and a nap, till it stopped raining at 4:00PM. The rain cooled the place and temp was 8-9*C in evening. And at night nearly 4*C. After dinner we went to bed early and slept well after todays tiring climb.
Continued in subpage Nanda Devi -2
This Lata kid has already learnt to say Namaste!
SK & Me at Lata's Nanda Devi temple; Raghuveer inside temple
The trail from Lata to Belta, is through some nice shaded pine forests
Wildflower on way to Belta -
Sonu, an amateur botanist, with a sharp eye! ... Often he took my camera to capture wildflower pics from low and difficult angles
From the Log-Hut ledge looking back toward Lata Village - and the road along the Dhauli Ganga - way down & 10kms away! Bhavishya Badri, could be seen from Lata-Kharak, in the meadows in upper left part of picture.