Roopkund Trek Vs. Baraadsar Lake Trek
For the past decade, Roopkund Trek has been the godfather of all treks. Ever since its rise to fame, every single trekker has Roopkund in his/her bucket list. And for good reasons too. No other trek comes close to the impact Roopkund has on a nature aficionado’s experience in trekking. From Asia’s largest bugyals (meadows) to the mythological significance of the Roopkund Lake with human skeletal remains, it was impossible to overturn the awesomeness of this trek. Until now.
Lying amidst high ridges in the North-Western part of Uttarakhand between the imposing Rupin and Supin Valleys, the Baraadsar Lake is no less than extraordinary. The Baraadsar Lake is where the two gifted states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh meet, as the lake has half of its area in each state. Being a completely untouched and pristine trail with almost zero foot traffic, the Baraadsar Lake Trek is the trek of the year 2019. With mesmerizing cascades of meadows painted like a picture, endless ridge walk with towering mountains of Govind Pashu National Park of the Sankri Range to the East and the luxuriant Rupin valley and the distant Kinnaur mountain ranges to the West, the Baraadsar Lake trek requires you to summit a peak conveniently known as Baraadsar Peak to reach the mystical Baraadsar Lake, a journey certainly packed with adrenaline rush and jaw-dropping vistas.
For long, the Roopkund Trek has been at the top of all Himalayan Treks, but now there is Baraadsar Lake, a new player in town to give Roopkund a stiff competition.
We play the Roopkund and Baraadsar Lake Trek off against each other to see the best of both.
There is something fascinating about high altitude alpine meadows of the Himalayas. The massive spread of glades of grass with visually soothing sights of horses grazing always add to the charm of the treks which have such meadows in them, otherwise known as bugyals.
Ali and Bedni Bugyal of Roopkund Trek
The Roopkund is famous for the twin meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal which are two of the country’s largest high altitude meadows and they are undeniably beautiful. Imagine walking into such meadows out of dense forests of coniferous and pine trees. The unimaginable spread of these green pastures above the treeline at an impressive height of 3000M is one of the highlights of the Roopkund trek. Added to this eye-catching buygals are the stunning views of the surrounding mountains which bolster the magnanimity of the trek.
Barthatra Meadows of Baraadsar Lake Trek
The Baraadsar Lake Trek, on the other hand, has an unparalleled cascade of meadows flowing like a river downhill. The colossal Barthatch and Dauldhar bugyals of the trek give you incomprehensible views of the distant peaks of the Sankri Range and the meandering Supin River. The Barthatch bugyal manifolds itself in diverse layers allowing you to camp at different heights making it a unique experience. While the Dhaldhar bugyal is located on top of a ridge making it exclusive to this trek unlike any other treks in the Himalayas. The pleasing panoramic views of the far-off snow-capped peaks, passes and Supin range along with the Rupin and Kinnaur ranges from the Dhaldhar meadows is all a trekker craves to satiate his/her trekking hunger.
Picturesque meadows of Baraadsar Lake Trek with panoramic views
Campsites being an integral part of the trek have to be rewarding. After all, you will retire for the day after a worthy hike and would want to lose yourself to the mesmerizing beauty of the surroundings.
The Roopkund trek has to offer two of the most stunning campsites, the likes of Bedni Bugyal and Bhagwabasa. Spread widely over acres, the Bedni Bugyal is often considered to be the most fascinating part of the Roopkund trek. With staggering views of Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nanda Ghunti as seen from the campsite, the influence of the visually scintillating campsite of Bedni etches a smile on your face.
Campsites of Roopkund
While, Bhagwabasa, at an altitude of 4200M, is situated at the edge of a mountain with towering Himalayan peaks surrounding the campsite and clouds hovering in the vast valley, is heavenly. Camping on the scattered stones in Bhagwabasa can be a bit uncomfortable but the staggering altitude and the views make up for it.
Barthatra Thatch Campsite of Baraadsar Lake Trek
Unlike the Roopkund Trek, each campsite of the Baraadsar Lake trek is better than the one before. The variations in campsite locations with mindblowing views make this trek better than Roopkund. The campsite of Barthatch is an impressive clearing which seems to be endless when viewing it at different angles. With the promising views of Swargarohini massif, distant passes and winding Supin River, this campsite does not fail to impress.
Dhaldhar Campsite of Baraadsar Lake Trek perched at the edge of a ridge
The next day one has the unique pleasure of camping at the edge of a ridge, namely the Dhaldhar campsite. This campsite marks the beginning of what is going to be a long and exciting ridge walk to Baraadsar Lake. The Dhaldhar campsite is also the one which reveals the full glory of the surrounding vistas. With immaculate views of the Swargarohini, Kalanag (Black Peak), Bandarponch, Hata Peak, Kedarkantha, Dhumdhar Kandi Pass, Lamkhaga Pass, and several other astonishing peaks, the campsite is marvelous, to say the least.
Devbasa, the absolutely stunning campsite of Baraadsar Lake Trek with the view of the Baraadsar Summit
The highlight of the Baraadsar Lake Trek is the epic campsite of Devbasa. This yellow wildflower-studded campsite at the edge of a ridge gives you the perfect setting one can ever imagine. With the towering Baraadsar Summit in front of you and crisp views of several mountains around you with patches of snow is absolutely breathtaking. The campsite is gifted with marvelous ridges arising and joining high peaks, a sight, unlike anything you have ever seen before.
Perfect campsites of Baraadsar Lake Trek with stunning settings
3. HIGH ALTITUDE LAKE
The Roopkund Lake situated at an altitude of 4780M is frozen most of the year except for a couple of months in the Summer. The mysterious lake with hundreds of Skeletons scattered around it attracts hordes of trekkers for this very reason. Apart from the mystery associated with the lake, the Roopkund Lake is relatively small and looks engaging only when frozen.
The mysterious Roopkund Lake
The Baraadsar Lake, on the other hand, is spread equally in the two states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, which gives you an idea as to how vast this lake actually it. The lake is shaped like a cauldron with ridges converging from all sides. When frozen the lake has a special aura associated with it, however in the post-monsoon season, the charm of the lake is altogether different when everything around it comes to life. Certainly surpasses the charm of every other Himalayan Lake you can imagine.
The frozen Baraadsar Lake seen from afar shares the border between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh
4. THE SUMMIT
Often, summits proceed over lakes in Himalayan treks. Same applies to the Roopkund Trek which eventually ends at a summit point known as Junargali Pass. The Junargali Pass rises as a knife-edge ridge from Roopkund thus adding a certain thrill and adventure to your trek. At an altitude of 5030M, the Junargali Top gives you lovely views of the surrounding peaks and is the final point of the Roopkund Trek. However, the pass remains inaccessible when under heavy snow cover except for a few months.
Roopkund's summit - Junargali
However, in case of Baraadsar Lake Trek, it defeats the norm as in this instance the lake proceeds over the summit. To reach the lake one must traverse a ridge followed by conquering a section which resembles a little bit of a Col and a Shoulder, along with substantial glacier crossings to reach the summit known as the Baraadsar summit or the pass which eventually gives way to ridges that meet the bowl-shaped Baraadsar Lake. This is what makes the Baraadsar Lake Trek a preeminent Himalayan Trek. And the reason why this trek is supreme and overshadows Roopkund.
Approaching the Baraadsar Summit before reaching the Baraadsar Lake
5. CHALLENGES AND REWARDS
Both Roopkund Trek and Baraadsar Lake Trek have their fair share of challenges. From steep ascents to summit climbs, these two behemoths confront the trekkers with their rawness.
Trekkers en route to Roopkund Lake
The Roopkund trek has a significant height gain from one campsite to the other along with a series of steep ascents starting from the very beginning of the trek. The final push to the summit, the Junargali Pass, proceeding the lake in any other month except for June, September, and October is not possible without proper technical procedures. So the downside of this trek is the ultimate reward of the unusual skeletal lake of Roopkund which certainly is fantastic but not worth the effort it takes to reach it.
Traversing the Glacier en route to the Baraadsar Summit is packed with adventure
The Baraadsar Lake trek has a gradual ascend along with a walk along an endless ridge which is less exhaustive and also helps one in acclimatization. The unending views from the ridge make your experience the best you ever had. The push over the Baraadsar Summit to reach the Baraadsar Lake especially in the pre-monsoon months of May and June needs significantly technical and rock climbing procedures which will be the finest adventure and thrill you ever had. All worth the effort to reach the lake which you have come for.
Now that you know the similarities and differences between the two lovely treks of Roopkund and Baraadsar Lake, there are three particular points supporting Baraadsar Lake trek which shows why this is the most incredible trek this year to topple the Roopkund Trek from its position and rule the Himalayan Treks.
1. RIDGE WALK
The major part of the Baraadsar Lake Trek takes trekkers over a ridge, unlike any other trek. The specialty of this trek is the sensation of walking along a ridge with unimaginable vistas on either side as you make your way towards the Baraadsar summit over this never-ending yet stunningly appreciative ridge walk. This experience is hands down better than what Roopkund has to offer.
Endless Ridge Walk with epic views, the best part of the Baraadsar Lake Trek
2. A WORLD IN ITSELF
Unlike the Roopkund trek which depends on Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nanda Ghunti in its background to elevate the beauty of the trek, the Baraadsar Lake trek does not need to depend on any prominent peak or mountain to showcase its glory. It has a unique charm and essence that keeps you wanting for more and leaves you gobsmacked.
The Baraadsar Lake Trek hits all the right notes. Gosh! such a Utopia.
3. ZERO FOOT TRAFFIC
The Baraadsar Lake trek is an extremely untouched and pristine trail that has kept itself hidden for a long time now. Due to the bugyal ban that has affected Roopkund Trek, it is time to do something offbeat and paradisiacal.
Look at this...
Now, look at this...
So, far exceeding the standards set by Roopkund, the Baraadsar Lake Trek must be in your bucket list this year. Since the ban on the Roopkund trek people have been eagerly waiting for its perfect alternative. Finally, the wait is over as this trek ticks all the right boxes and gives you so much more than you ask for.
But the Baraadsar Lake trek also gives you time to process the timeless beauty that comes in your way and waits for you to enjoy every bit of it at your own pace. That’s how a trek must be. Makes you become one with nature.
A trek that is a part of you. By the time you complete the alluring Baraadsar Lake Trek, you would have gained a new emotion in your life, one that you had no idea existed just like this trek.