Snow Trek to Tungnath, Climbing Up | Revisiting Uttarakhand

79

The Journey so far-

It was 6 AM and we all were out of the room and all set to go. Umeid (cook) had prepared the lunch for us already and Umeid (guide) had refilled the 6 water bottles. The hired taxi was also present and we quickly ordered a cup of tea each. The morning was cold and tea helped us beat it to some extent. We knew that the road till Baniya Kund, a KM ahead of Duggalbitta had been opened but after that only hope is the MUV and we wanted to preserve as much energy as possible for main part of the trek. This was the reason we had hired the taxi. The road to Duggalbitta or Chopta from Ukhimath is smooth which enabled us make quick progress towards Baniya Kund. The route to Chopta from Ukhimath is extremely scenic topped with lots of flora and fauna. We saw amazing species of birds on the way to Chopta and there was no shortage of them at any curve. I guess early soothing morning was the reason for it. Finally, at 7.20 AM we reached Baniya Kund and after that the taxi could climb 200 meters only overlooking a long snow bed… This led us to an abrupt stop and we knew from here we had to trek ahead till Tungnath, which meant 2 KMs of extra trek one way 🙁 …

Can you feel the snow…View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek

As soon as we were out of the taxi, there was an extreme need of gloves because the cold wind was making the fingers numb. The driver took the U-turn towards Ukhimath and promised to meet at the same point around 4 PM in the evening. Completely packed we marched ahead with Umeid leading the way… Snow could be seen all around and boys were happy to feel it. Our first target was to reach Chopta and if the dhabhas were open, have a cup of tea there but first we had to trek about 2 KMs to reach Chopta :D… We kept walking at a decent pace and kept shooting pictures wherever we liked. The levels of snow and cold was also increasing with ever step we took but we were enjoying it due to warmth in our body… Soon the sweat was flowing all over the woolen cap and inside too.

Drop Point…
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Even taxi cannot cross this…
Dheeraj Sharma's cousin on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Time to feel the snow…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Still a long way…
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Pretty clear what they are doing…
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Its nearing… Snow is in tons
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek

Anyways, slowly and steadily we managed to reach Chopta without much of an exhaustion as the energy level still seemed to be on higher side. Chopta is the base point from where the trek to Tungnath starts which is about 3.5 to 4 KMs in length. The snow had considerably increased over the altitude and Chopta was completely into it. The dhabhas have opened that very day only because the road to Chopta from Gopeshwar side had opened last day (ahh lucky 😀 )… We had a cup of tea, Maggie and Parle-G biscuits to maintain the energy levels for a long time in the day ahead. Meantime, I got some opportunity to click the pictures of snow covered Chopta. The snow was still more than 1.5 feet at some places and we were only imagining what we are expecting ahead about 3.5-4 KMs from Chopta at Tungnath 😯 … Soon it was time to taste the meat of the trip i.e. snow trek to Tungnath…

Local Dhabha…
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Can you feel the snow…
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
The trek starts here…
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Didn’t know that we won’t find any other place to relax the a** :D…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek

People had warned us about the level of snow and to be very cautious. They also warned us to return from the point where we feel uncomfortable but so far we were determined. So, far only one group had reached the Tungnath this season and that too well before the continuous snowfall which lasted couple of previous weeks. So, we have to expect much more snow than what that group tackled… But like I said, we were confident and clear blue sky lifted our spirits to wonderland. I strike the holy bell at the entrance of trek to announce the start, offer prayers and get Lord Shiva’s blessing without which we could not have completed the trek.

Initially the trek seemed fine enough but gradually with increasing level of snow the ascent started becoming steeper and steeper. The path was difficult but thank god we had Umeid with us who was actually cutting the steps in snow in front of us. We were also lucky, as a young foreign couple who met us at Deoria Tal was just trekking ahead of us, making it easier for us to use their steps. They had plans to reach Chandrashilla which looked ominous for us at present. Soon, I started losing the breath and again the heart beat noise level had increased to be audible. Well, Umeid asked us to relax and keep walking slowly and steadily. He had great stamina and as he was carrying all the water bottles, it was a bonus for us. The biggest problem was taking pictures. Firstly, it was time consuming as I have to remove gloves and then click. Secondly, looking through the view finder of my camera was not easy due to the striking glare produced by bright sun battering the snow. Soon, my eyes had irritations in them and I started to take extra caution while taking the pictures. The snow trek also demands a lot of drinking water, which we learnt in this trek only but again thank god we came prepared this time unlike Chandratal. I kept asking Umeid, how much more and he kept replying just 1 KM and mind you that 1 KM was just to make me push 😀 … The feeling was amazing and soon we were into the ice age with snow everywhere around us… This is what we have come here for and we were happy to get such weather to enjoy it.

Time to click something…
Dheeraj Sharma on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
The background and me…
Dheeraj Sharma on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Yes it a long way to go…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Tell him not to worry…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Take some shortcut…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Watch your foot…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
It was difficult… This can give an idea how much snow was present
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek

The Tungnath temple was not far away but there was a hurdle to cross. The point was such that there was a sheer backdrop with no stopping on the back and you need to dodge the railing which was completely covered in snow 😯 … I was glad to take the initiative and lead other to the point 😀 … The advantage was that my pictures would be clicked this time and to feel the real pressure upfront. Umeid also agreed and nodded me to go ahead and it was some amazing feeling when I reached that point. The particular point did require certain amount of caution and when I looked behind my back I could easily say “ OH MAN! THAT’s SERIOUSLY SCARY“ 😀 … After me, one by one everybody crossed it and few 100 odd meters ahead, Tungnath temple was visible now. Our eyes lit up with excitement and to be very frank I was praying that it must be visible by now else I was losing on the stamina :lol:… One glimpse kept me going and just when we reached some wrecked houses about 100 meters before the temple entrance, the stamina has blow out. For that last 3.5 – 4 KMs, we have not rested our asses anywhere as there was no place to sit except snow :shock:… We decided to take lunch at that place only by placing some stones in the snow and sitting on them. It was a big relieve at least for me, to get some energy into the belly and recharge the body once again to reach the temple first and back to Baniya Kund again. We ate rotis and allo jeera prepared by Umeid (cook) for us and also replenished the lost nutrients with the help of ORS diluted in water. Now, the body was feeling some energy to move ahead. Meanwhile, the guide with foreigner couple called us from the temple to ask if we are interested in Chandrashilla. We declined the request as we wanted this journey to be uneventful 😀 only…

Jackpot of snow…
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Enjoying the sun…
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Umeid… Our Hero…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Footmarks only… means I am way behind of others and time to speed up…
View from Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
He is trying to be careful…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
We will reach soon…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
One of the million breathers…
Dheeraj Sharma on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Colors of joy…

The point was very tricky and dangerous but privileged to be the first one…

Dheeraj Sharma on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek
Holding tightly :D…
Dheeraj Sharma and his friends on Chopta - Tungnath Snow Trek

The Journey ahead-

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

79 Comments

  1. Pawan Kumar on

    Hey Dheeraj,

    Thanks for the lovely description of the trek.
    we (me and my 9 Friends) Planned the Chopta Trip on 30th Dec 2016 to 2nd Jan 2016
    All the Things has been booked already.
    As the latest news says that uttrakhand had its season’s first snow fall.
    Should we expect snow fall or snow there on 31st dec. ?
    Please reply ASAP.

    • Pawan, there is very slight chance that you might get snow on new year at these places. Ukhimath has predications of light rainfall which may turnout snowfall at these places though.

      • Pawan Kumar on

        Thanks Dheeraj….

        Sorry for bothering you again.

        I have not visited any place as cold as chopta yet.

        So i have no experience for the packing for the trip.

        Since the temperature forecast says that temperature will be around 3 to -5.

        So can you please suggest me what should i pack and what should not ?

        is there any special things which should i pack ?

        Please Reply ASAP

  2. Jaspreet Kaur on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning to go for this trek in this winter season and I want to go solo this time. My destination will be Chandershila which is 1.5 km ahead of Tungnath. I have already covered Churdhar, Triund and 2 moderate treks and this time I am willing to go for a snow trek. This trek seems fine to me being my first snow trek and that too alone.
    Can you please suggest if I need to get a Guide along? and what the perfect time for this trek in winters? I am confident that I can do this but I needed your advice and any suggestions on this!! 🙂

    TIA

    • Hey Jaspreet, I will highly recommend that you take a guide along with you in case there is too much snow there at Chandrashillay. He will be able to wisely advice in case it is safe or not to go up there. You can get in touch with Bharat, mentioned in the travel guide article. Since, this year is exceptionally very very bad in terms of snow in Himalayas, well, I will say better to be in touch with camps or guides up there to keep a track of snow presence and then make a move. If I were you, I will try for snow trek in early March to have good clear views of Chaukhamba and have tons of snow presence.

  3. Mayank Sharma on

    Hellow I have Plan 16 dec 2016 to Visit Deoria tal 18 dec 2016 Tungnath, Chandrashila Plz Tell What is The weather Condition Ky Waha Snow Fall Ya Ice MIlegi

    • Mayank, snowfall has started in the upper reaches of Himalayas but not much around Deoriatal and Tungnath or even Chandrashilla as of now. If weather changes in next few days then you may be lucky else it is almost dry up there in Himalayas unusually this year.

  4. Surjeet Singh Rawat on

    Hi Dhiraj

    we are planing for visit to. Harsil will we get snowfall there jan last in please suggest asap

  5. Dear Dheeraj;

    Please respond as soon as possible.

    It`s great to see your post, almost answered most of my queries, however, my question is different;

    I have a baby of almost 1 year and we are 4-5 people wanting to trek to tunganath on 14 december 2016,
    I need to know all the precautions we must take and the route we must take, we will be coming from Dehradun. Also suggest if we should stay in ukhimath or chopta and where we must start the trek in order to face minimum difficulty reaching tungnath temple.

    * It won`t hurt if you straightaway deny doing the trek coz of the child, but what are the possibilities? we also took her to Rajasthan road trip in July when she was 3 months old , she coped up well though i know snow is a different ball game.

    • Hi Tyagi,

      Chopta might be closed due to snow in case snowfall has already happened. So, stay at Duggalbitta or Ukimath. Regarding the trek, I will not advice it with 1 year kid because it will be cold conditions and things get slippery too. Carrying a child on the trek will always pose a risk of making sure you are carrying him/her safely. Hence, if I were you, I wont attempt the trek at least with the kid. May be you can go there enjoy the views and then come back

      • Ok great, thanks a ton for your advice, i was in two minds anyway, you made it clear.
        Please guide me where can we enjoy snow closer to Dehradun (5-6 hrs away) during mid December without trekking? i`m a mature driver however, low on experience to drive on slippery roads. we have 2 days time at our disposal. Thanks in advance. 🙂

        • please note that we have tried (unsuccessfully) Dhanolti last year for snow and had a not so exciting time except for the drive. So a place where you can be sure of snow will be greatly appreciated.

        • In Uttarakhand, I will suggest sticking to Chopta – Tunganath – Deoriatal region for snow. You can also call up few guides mentioned in teh article to check the status of snow as well.

        • You don’t need to trek to enjoy snow at Chopta. Once the road ends, you will find snow. But, do check with guides about snowfall updates. If chamoli road is open from Chopta, that means snow will only be available on the trek to Tungnath.

        • Thanks a lot for your reply dheeraj;i think after giving a lot of thought, i think i have finally made up my mind for spending a night @ Uttarkashi and the next in Harsil (will need to check for GMVN). I think it is better to go to a place where we have something more to do than just snow and views, which i`m sure we get in Uttarkashi. We shall go till we find snow on the way to gangotri and come back before fall of the night. how does it sound? BTW this blog helped- myworldsomewhere.com/winter-expedition-2014-uttarkashi-harshil-dharali-gangotri/#comment-11438
          , pardon me if external threads not allowed here.

  6. Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning to be here on this route, Ukhimath – Chamoli around last week of March 2017. Any idea if this road will be operational by then. I am kind of hoping to take this scenic short cut to Joshimath rather than go all the way down to Rudraprayag and climb back up. Your advise will help me plan my dates.

    cheers
    Om

    • It all depends on the amount of snowfall we will get this year. When we went in March mid, the road from Ukimath – Chamoli was closed in case the road to Chopta wa also closed, we had to trek from Baniya kund to Chopta. You will have to go down Rudraprayag in case the road is closed. Else plan early April.

  7. Hi Dheeraj,
    Im planning to do snow Trek this December. Your blog helped a lot, I need some more info.
    The winter gear, is there any contact to rent snow boots,t trekking sticks etc ..from?

    • Uttam, some of the guides/locals do rent sleeping bags. However, regarding snow boots, trekking poles, you can either get them on rent from Rishikesh or in Delhi. However, in case you are frequent traveller, then buying them for you will be cheaper in future than taking them on rent for few days. There are 3-4 Decathlon around Delhi/NCR which offer wide range of such products.

  8. Hi Dheeraj,

    I wana visit this place on Oct, is it ok, can we get snow in this time??
    Which month is good between Oct or Nov ?? And also please let me know that is 10years child can trek ??

    • Yes, you can surely visit it in October November. October is better than November because of less cold, snow in any case will not be there in both months. Trek is not that treacherous but yes will take about 3-4 Hrs.

  9. Rajkumar Gala on

    Hey buddy,
    After reading & watching the beautiful images of your journey thru the trek.
    I have come across few of the questions which I would like to ask you…

    I am bases in Mumbai,
    And in planning for the trek with few of my friends to Tungnath Temple,
    so would like to know:

    1. What is the ideal time/period to travel?
    2. What should be our minimum budget if we travelling using the local and state transports?
    3. How many days did it take for you and your team to be there?
    4. What are the precautions that we need to take?

  10. Subhankar on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    your pic is mind blowing. Me with my brother wish to do this snow trek to Deoria tall-Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrasilla. Will we get snow in April 7th-9th 2015?
    Regards
    Subhankar Chakraborty

    • Subhankar, this was done in mid of March types and we got this much of snow. However, towards April, the snow starts to melt fast. However, there will be snow most likely up there on Tunganath and towards Chandrashilla, though not this much as shown in the pictures above.

  11. Subhankar on

    Hi Debraj,
    your pic is mind blowing. Me with my brother wish to do this snow trek to Deoria tall-Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrasilla. Will we get snow in April 2nd week 2015?
    Regards
    Subhankar Chakraborty

    • Subhankar, this was done in mid of March types and we got this much of snow. However, towards April, the snow starts to melt fast. However, there will be snow most likely up there on Tunganath and towards Chandrashilla, though not this much as shown in the pictures above.

  12. sunny bhatia on

    hi !! totally superb pics…. need your suggestion if we can trek to this place between 21st to 27th december…. also if you can suggest any good trekking co…. i am planning a snow trek with my wife in 4th week of december…

    • Sunny, yes AFAIK, you can trek but be ready for some really really cold climate as well as there could be snow storm based upon the weather conditions that day. So, if you are OK with the difficulties, you can trek as I know people who have spent new year at Chandrashilla 😀 … Now, reading the last line that you are planning with wife, will seriously suggest to consider only after reaching the place. Keep in mind that you need to reach up there and have to come down. If the road to Chopta from Duggalbitta is also snowed out then it will mean more trekking distance. You also need to make sure you come back to Duggalbitta where only you will find options to stay open.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

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  14. Mind blowing….heart throbbing….. We r planing to go Chopta & Tunganath in December,12. Pls suggest to visit tunganath in December is possible ?

    • Hello Subhadeb,

      It totally depends upon the luck and weather condtions but the part of December you are traveling. If it has not snowed out then possibily yes, you can do that upto Chopta and may be to the point where snow is not present there at Tunganath otherwise Tunganath might be difficult to climb as road gets closed after Duggalbitta.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

    • Thanks a lot Ashwini, whenever you get a chance do visit the heavenly Chopta Valley 🙂 … It is a treat to walk in such snow stocked region.

      Regards
      Dheeraj

  15. hey dheeraj, u are an ideal traveler for me. i feel unlucky to myself, when i see pics of ur travels…

    u r such a great guy..

    u should be awarded for ur work…

    • Thank you so much, Garry, for such warm words of appreciation. It is just I am following my passion but you will surely find many more full time and ideal travelers than me, I am just a guy another door who likes to travel. But, yes the vision of the blog is to share as much valuable travel information and experiences as possible with other fellow travelers or tourists and help them travel with a difference, too… 🙂 … The comments like such helps me realize I am living upto the vision to certain extent. Thanks a lot for the same and your feedback is extremely valuable.

      Cheers!!
      Dheeraj Sharma

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  17. HIMADRI PAUL [KOLKAT on

    heart throbbing!i can feel your pulse for the each moments as i have already visited that place twice before on the month of october 2005 and 2009 respectively.Photography is excellent aswell your narrrations. Hope lots more from you all to gather my tour experience. HATS OFF TO ALL OF YOU!

    • Hi Himadri,

      Again thanks here as well. It is great to know that you have also visited this heavenly region. The views are just mind boggling and I know you will agree. Thanks for liking the pictures and narration too. I will try my best to keep pouring all my trip details which can help my fellow travelers to Travel especially Himalayas if not India :D… I log each and every trip and plus lot more which you can find on the blog ranging from Travel Guides, Hotel Reviews, Latest Travel News and trying to add more and more. Let me know if you have any queries/doubts in planning any of your trips to Norther India. I will try to suggest best possible in my knowledge which could be helpful as a good start. Also, I would be glad to to read about your past travel experiences if you have documented them somewhere 🙂

      Thanks again!!

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

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