A mystery to most, the sacred lake known by locals to hold superpowers, Baraadsar Lake is a cauldron of awe which lies at the altitude of 4,600M at the convergence of the many ridges that bring you here. It holds the cleanest and the bluest waters you ever saw. It is so hidden that you don’t see it until you cross miles of land, climb hundreds of meters and reach a point just 200M from the lake where you get the first view, so close to its foot.
Not only does it lie on the absolute border of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, tucked neatly between the Rupin and Supin valleys, the trail also offers magnificent views of some biggies in the Garhwal range of Himalayas, such as Swargarohini, Bandarpoonch, and Black Peak. As one of the lesser explored trails in the region, Baraadsar Lake is one off-beat trek that sure leaves us gasping for air.
This article discusses the difficulty level of Baradsaar Lake, the gear and skills you require to make a successful ascent up its slopes and some of the challenges you are likely to encounter when you embark on this journey from where there is no looking back.
Difficulty Level of the Trek:
About the BRS: The Bikat Rating Scale rates the difficulty level of all treks and expeditions in our portfolio after taking into account their geographical and climatic conditions.
According to this scale, if you are a beginner who is unsure of your fitness level and don’t know what to expect on a trek, a trek rated one will be a good place to start.
If you liked your very first trekking experience and are looking to test your limits next, the treks rated 2 or 3 will do the job for you.
A beginner who is sure of their fitness level on the other hand is welcome to skip the first two levels and directly start with one of the treks rated 3.
From 4 onwards, the rules change a little. It is mandatory to have trekking experience of the previous level to participate in the next level.
The Trails of Baraadsar Lake:
The trail to Baradsaar Lake takes you through picturesque meadows, brown oak and pine forests, massive clearings with breathtaking mountain views, and finally over a ridge that separates the Rupin and Supin valleys with excellent panoramic views and some very strong winds which are characteristic of any exposed ridge walk.
Long distances and sections of steep ascent make this a moderate level trek which demands some prior experience of trekking in the Himalayas to adapt to its rising altitudes.
As a learning-based organization, we will be providing you with all the necessary equipment and training throughout the trek, so there is absolutely no need to worry. Nonetheless, it helps to know the challenges you are likely to encounter if you decide to undertake this journey. Let us help acquaint you to some exciting difficulties which make the trek challenging as well as fun!
1) Getting to the Trail Head
If you live away from the North of India, travelling to the Himalayas comes with an enormous cost in terms of time and money. Access to Baraadsar Lake is an investment in terms of time required to get to its base. The trailhead, Sankri, is not directly accessible by train or air travel. This means it takes an entire day to reach Sankri from the closest city (Dehradun or Rishikesh).
If you are starting your journey from Dehradun, be prepared to gain quite a bit of altitude (640M to 1,920M) on the first day. Since we are moving upwards fairly quickly, acclimatization is crucial to completion of the trek and a safe return.
On other days as well, the gain in elevation is fairly high demanding a lot from the body physically to adapt to the constantly changing environment and thinning air.
Day-wise elevation gain on ascent:
Be sure to follow all the acclimatization rules as instructed by the trek leader to eliminate all possibility of altitude-related health hazards so as to facilitate your body to get to newer heights with relative ease. Some of the things to remember are:
1) Proper hydration: Keep drinking water, in small doses, all throughout the day
2) Layering up: Always have proper clothing best suited for the environment
3) Nutrition: The cold and altitude have a way of killing your appetite. Nonetheless, DO NOT skip any meals!
4) Pace Yourself: This is extremely important and something that you need to measure for yourself. Your body will cooperate best when you go at the pace best suited for you instead of trying to match the pace of others in the team – whether slower or faster.
3) Physical Fitness
Given the length of the days and the altitude the trek takes you to, getting through the trek demands a certain level of physical fitness for it to be a pleasant experience. Previous experience of high-altitude treks would also greatly help just so you know how to read the signs from your body at these heights and how well it can adapt. It is a physically demanding endeavor and hence can only be best enjoyed with a certain level of strength and experience.
If you are on this page, we are sure you have read the description of the trek and know a little about it already. As mentioned in various places, this trek involves a ridge walk between two valleys. This means that we would be walking on a narrow ledge on a high point in the valley with a straight drop on both sides. Because the ridge is exposed, the winds are a fair challenge to be dealt with too. If you have a fear of heights, the three days of ridge walk on this trek could prove to be fairly challenging.
GEAR REQUIRED FOR BARAADSAR TREK
While we will be providing most of the technical equipment needed for the trek (tents, sleeping bags, etc), there is some basic gear you will need from your end to get through your trek comfortably.
Some of the things you will need are:
1) A sturdy, lightweight backpack: A good backpack which sits comfortably on your back without putting too much pressure on it can be the deciding factor between making it to the summit or not. Good, however, is not a synonym for expensive.
One of our founders, Pankaj, purchased a non-branded pack for INR 1100 in 2010 and the pack continues to work just fine for him even today. In the article linked below, he shares some helpful tips on what to look for when choosing a trekking backpack.
2) Comfortable trekking shoes: Happy feet equal a happy trek. Conventional sports shoes don’t suit trekking trails. We recommend wearing high ankle shoes with sturdy soles. These not only provide better support but also reduce the possibility of injuries while trekking through different kinds of terrain. In case, you need help with a list of deciding factors that make for good trekking shoes, please refer to the article below.
3) Right Clothing: Any high-altitude trek requires specific kinds of clothing. It should be warm but light weight. It should also be such that it is easily packaged. On high-altitude treks like Baraadsar Lake, we usually employ the layering method where you put on multiple layers of clothing instead of one very heavy, thick jacket. This is for two reasons:
1) The weather in Himalayan regions is unpredictable and changes very quickly. Layering gives you the freedom to adapt to that accordingly where you are not left feeling too hot or too cold.
2) These are easy to carry and are packing-friendly.
4) Right Sunglasses: When you know you are going to be in and around snow or in any high-altitude location where the sun is harsh, you might want to carry a good pair of sunglasses. A lack of these could prove to be fatal. The article below can help you pick out just the right pair.
SKILLS REQUIRED FOR BARAADSAR LAKE
Bikat Adventures is primarily an adventure learning organization. This means our key objective is not just to help trekkers complete their treks but also to ensure they pick up some valuable lessons and skills in trekking along the way.
To achieve this, we have created learning modules and paired them to different levels on the Bikat Rating Scale.
These modules are taught real-time on the trails by our trek leaders.
The following are some skills that are likely to come in handy on a trek like Baraadsar Lake.
While you will have all the assistance you need on the trek from our capable trek leaders and guides, we suggest browsing through the articles below to get an idea of what is involved.
1) Ascending Descending on Trails
Baraadsar Lake is full of steep ascents and equally steep descents. A set of simple techniques can help you navigate rocky as well as icy landscapes with considerable ease while also reducing chances of injuries and stress to specific body parts. The guide linked below shares some useful tips on how to ascend and descend on trails.
Here is an additional article for some more in-depth information specific to an icy terrain which you might find on the trail of this trek in its pre-monsoon season.
Ice-craft Basics: Glacier Travel
2) Packing Your Rucksack
Given how unpredictable the weather gets on Baraadsar Lake, you are likely to keep changing your layering frequently along the way. Also, due to the vast difference in day temperature and that at night, you most probably will spend a lot of time packing and re-packing your sack.
Accessing your stuff can get a bit messy and confusing during this process.
A sack packed right can facilitate your trekking while incorrect packing can make even an easy trail seem difficult. Worry not, we are here to help. The article linked below shares some useful guidelines you can follow to pack efficiently.
3) How to Pitch a Tent
Our trek leaders will be guiding you on how to pitch a tent during the trek. Nevertheless, we are linking the article below for anyone who might be interested in reading about it.
4) Layering Basics
Layering appropriately to protect you from the cold is essential. The article linked below will give you a fair idea of the winter layers you will need and guide you on how to layer up at campsites and while hiking.
5) Understanding Equipment
Baraadsar Lake is not a technical trek so you would not need a lot of equipment. However, because it is rife with sharp ascents and equally sharp descents in an assortment of landscapes, trekking poles might ease the crossing of these sections a fair bit. The article below will help you understand how to use them as well as how they can facilitate your climb.
We hope this article answers all the questions you may have about Baraadsar Lake. In case you need further assistance/information with something, please feel free to reach out to us. We are only a phone call away.