Panpatia Col trek:

Upcoming Panpatia Trek starting from 1st June 2024.

Panpatia Col trek route (also referred to as Panpatia Pass) is the shortest possible approach from Badrinath to Kedarnath over high glaciers and passes. Essentially this area (or more specifically the col) is the watershed between Badri and Kedar region i.e. Alaknanda and Mandakini river system.

In curiosity legendary mountaineers Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman ventured back in 1934 to find out the truth. The arduous journey required mountaineering skills and concluded that it is impossible to perform rituals and Puja by the same priest at Kedar and Badri on same day.

In reality, this trail unfurls raw beauty of core Himalayas on the heartland of central Garhwal. It takes you to the very base of Chaukhamba pillars and walk parallel on the Panpatia glacier (a.k.a snow/ice fields).

On Panpatia glacier: Towering Chaukhamba
Upper Panpatia ice field (P.C.: Rajarshi)

Panpatia Col at 5200 m/17056 ft (Location: 30.670735° N, 79.314648° E) is a narrow passage on the south-west corner of the Panpatia glacier that one can get down to Mad(hya)maheswar/Kedarnath valley side, starting from Badrinath side.

At Panpatia Col (~ 5200 m/17056 ft): A narrow passage

We leave main Alaknanda river valley, some 30 Km ahead of Joshimath towards Badrinath and get into the side valley to the left (true right of Alaknanda). Initially we will cross lush green forest and the only village this side called Khirao. From here we will climb a ridge and then traverse a jungle to finally reach the meadows. We camp last time around tree line here at Shepherd’s campsite until Madmaheshwar.

Khirao campsite in the evening
Looking back towards Khirao village (P.C. Rajarshi)
Shepherd’s camp (P.C. Rajarshi)
Mt. Neelkanth peeping out on the way to snout camp

Within couple of hours leaving from Shepherd’s camp you will enter boulder and moraine zone following the main valley towards left. From here long walk and hop on glacial moraine will continue almost till we reach Panpatia glacier. In post monsoon (late Aug to late Sep) this stretch is tiring due to frequent ups and downs. At the head of this valley you can locate a glacier, sometimes referred lower Panpatia ice field. We will cross this glacier to continue on right and climb a very steep ridge along a stream to camp below Parvati Gully/Rock.

Long walk on moraine
Lower Panpatia glacier ice-field before Parvati rock base
Steep climb ahead following the stream

After camping at the Parvati rock base, we climb the rocky Parvati Gully. To negotiate at stretches you may need to scramble, if needed. Due to snow in summer, we may need to fix rope here. Finally traversing the rocky gully we get in to base of Parvati peak. Panpatia glacier or the upper ice field starts from here.

Parvati gully in September
Panpatia glacier ahead

From now on we will walk along the glacier amidst high mountains all around us. Panpatia glacier is  filled with crevasses and depending on summer or post monsoon, we will take a safe route. You have to camp at least a night on glacier before crossing the Panpatia col to descent.

Crossing a crevasse on Panpatia ice field
Camp on Panpatia snowfield

Continuing on the snowfield finally we reach the end of it to locate a narrow passage referred Panpatia Col, a.k.a Panpatia Pass. Descent from col is very steep and requires rappelling on snow in summer. Either we directly rappel or take a longer radius on boulders and loose rocks. The slope becomes relatively easier after 500 m or so. We continue on the glacier this side and climb on to the ridge left of us to reach a rectangular lake, named Sujal Sarovar.

Glacier on the other side. Sujal Sarovar is ahead on the ridge. (P.C. Rajarshi)
Sujal Sarovar: A medium sized rectangular lake for campsite (P.C. Anomit)

Moving forward, we continue to climb the ridge to reach a pass. From here we will go down following boulder strewn meadows to Kachni Khal. Finally you will get a trail to Madmaheshwar, which is some 9 Km down from Kachni. You can clearly locate Buda Madmaheshwar on top of the Madmaheshwar hill. Finally we hit treeline again at Madmaheshwar. Spend a night in the Dharamshala of the temple trustee board. Next, we descent to road head Ransi village, through beautiful Rhododendron and Oak forests. On the way there are villages of Bantoli, Gaundar to name a few.

Buda Madmaheshwar on top of Madmaheshwar hill (P.C. Rajarshi)
Madmaheshwar: One of the 5 Panch Kedar (P.C. Anomit)
Lush green forest on the way from Madmaheshwar to Ransi (P.C. Rajarshi)

Prerequisites for Panpatia Col trek:

  • A trekker must have completed at least 4 high altitude treks going above ~ 4500 m/15000 ft.
  • A minimum of 2 Difficult grade treks reaching beyond 5000 m/16500 ft e.g. Pin Parvati Pass, Ronti Saddle, Parang La, Stok Kangri etc.
  • A trekker must be in excellent physical condition along with NO prior acclimatisation issues on high altitude. Remember that offloading of rucksack is not permitted for your own safety.

Brief Itinerary: 

Day 01: Drive from Haridwar to Joshimath – 280 km – 11/12 hours. Lodge.
Day 02: Stay at Joshimath. Acclimatisation and height gain to Auli and back – 4/5 hours. Lodge
Day 03: Drive to Benkuli – 30 Km – 1 hour – trek to Khiraon village – 5 Km – 3/4 hours. Camp
Day 04: Trek from Shepherd’s camp – 10 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 05: Trek to snout camp – 4 Km – 3 hours. Camp
Day 06: Trek to upper moraine area – 5 Km – 4/5 hours. Camp
Day 07: Trek to rock below Parvati Gully – 4 Km – 4 hours. Camp
Day 08: Trek to Panpatia glacier snowfield camp via Parvati Gully – 6 Km – 5/6 hours. Camp
Day 09: Trek to Sujal Sarovar via Panpatia Col – 10 Km – 8/10 hours. Camp
Day 10: Trek to Kachni Khal and descent to Madmaheshwar – 20 Km – 9/10 hours. Lodge/camp
Day 11: Trek to Ransi village – 16 Km –  5/6 hours. Drive to Haridwar – 235 Km – 9/10 hours.
Day 12: Mandatory buffer/reserve day (will be utilised, if required during the trek).

  • You need to reach Haridwar on Day 1 latest by 6 am. Arrange your return train/bus tickets from Haridwar on Day 12 night after 10 pm.
  • Campsites are indicative and will be decided depending on weather and team condition.
  • Approximate trekking distance 80 Km.

Seasons for Panpatia Col trek:

Like most high altitude treks going above 5000 m, Panpatia Col trek has a narrow window to complete. A month before monsoon and another just after the monsoon are suitable for this tricky and remote trail.

  • Summer: Mid May to Mid June
  • Post Monsoon/Fall: September

Now both the season has its pros and cons. You need to decide carefully which suits you better.

Depending upon last season’s snow you may get snow starting from snout or moraine camp in summer. Normally crevasses will be packed in snow this time. Expect walking on snow for 3 to 5 days.

In post monsoon snow will be minimum with the crevasses wide open. Moraine/boulder walk will be extensive for 4/5 days. Weather remains clearer in this season.

Access to trek base (Joshimath, 280 Km from Haridwar):

Depending upon the number of trekkers we may arrange a car pickup from Haridwar to Joshimath and return Ransi to Haridwar. You pay directly to the driver sharing equally. At present a Tata Sumo/Maxx type vehicles charge ₹ 6000 for drop from Haridwar to Joshimath. This can accommodate 5-7 persons. Similarly Ransi to Haridwar is ₹ 5000-6000. Approximately this is ₹ 2000 to ₹ 2500 per person (includes pick up and drop) when you share with fellow trekkers.

Alternatively if you wish to reach Joshimath on your own by public transportation then:

  • There are direct busses from Haridwar (Roadways bus stand, opposite to railway station, or GMOU private busses) to Joshimath starting at 4 am. These depends on season and road conditions. Almost 280 Km tiring journey can take 12/13 hours.

Download the list of things to carry in Panpatia Col trek or check here

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Why treks with HT?

Highest Point5200 m/17050 ft
Trail Length80 Km
Expertise:10 years on ground experience
Support staff:Experienced and technical support plus office staff
Group size:Small groups up to 10
Insurance:Travel and Medical insurance policy (covers illness, AMS, evacuation, accidents)
Easy Bookings:25% Booking Deposit

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