Interested in enjoying the splendor of snow-capped mountains touched by deep marks of spirituality? Then venturing on the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek would be a great idea! Dotted with divine shrines connected with ancient Hindu epics, this trail takes you on a breathtaking spiritual journey. Besides being a rejuvenating pilgrimage, the natural wonders of the trek are also bound to give you a healing experience. The trail takes you through golden-brown oak forests, an emerald-green lake, rhododendron blooms, and snow-covered patches. It ultimately lands you in the mesmerizing presence of the Garhwal and Kumaon mountain peaks that make for a fulfilling climax to the trek. This trek can definitely be a perfect introduction to the jaw-dropping beauty of high-altitude Himalayan treks.
The Deoriatal Chandrashila trek is beginner-friendly and easy to tackle. But it poses its own set of challenges in the form of its high altitude, the nature of its terrain, and the long distances to be covered each day. Being prepared for these can help you navigate the trek better.
Continue reading to learn about the difficulty level of the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek, some challenges you may face, and the gear and skills you would require to navigate the trail.
Difficulty Level of the Trek:
Deoriatal-Chandrashila is a level 2 trek on the Bikat Rating Scale.
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 doesn’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 at the previous level to participate in the next level.
The Trails of Deoriatal-Chandrashila
The Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek is renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and wide-ranging landscapes. From oak forests and patches of rhododendrons to slippery snow slopes, you walk mostly on a paved pathway from start to finish. The well-laid-out trail adds to it being a beginner-friendly trek. The path does get a bit strenuous between Tunganath and Chandrashila Top as you try to navigate the steep snow slopes in the region. The alternating snow and ice patches can get slippery and demand great caution. Winters further add to the difficulty.
Challenge 1: The Effects of Altitude
Although Deoriatal-Chandrashila has comfortable gradients throughout, it is still a high-altitude trail that takes you to significant heights. Day 4 is especially challenging as we gain close to 1,100M in elevation in one single day. Although the climb from Baniya Kund (2,600M) to Chandrashila Top (3,700M) is gradual overall, the stretch between Tunganath and Chandrashila is fairly steep. The sudden gain in elevation can pose health risks related to high altitude. You may experience difficulty in breathing, mild headaches, or a loss of appetite. These are signs that your body is finding it hard to adapt to the changing environment and the thinning air. Some simple things to do to help your body adjust are, staying well hydrated, taking adequate rest along the way, never skipping any meals, and always remembering to walk at your own pace.
Challenge 2: Hop, Skip, and a Long Walk to the End
The Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek is overall a comfortable walk in terms of gradient and terrain. However, the distances on certain days can figuratively and quite literally be an uphill battle. They seem especially daunting on day 3 when we cover a distance of a whopping 18 km in one single day. Day 4 is hard too, with a distance of 8 km to be covered on an inclined slope. These distances can be demanding especially if you are not used to walking so much. Add the altitude and the thinning air to this mix and things get a lot more interesting!
It would help to begin working out at least a few weeks, if not a month, before coming here. The beauty of this trek is best enjoyed when you are not left tending to your aching joints and sore muscles.
Challenge 3: The Top is a Bit of a Slippery Slope!
While most days on the trek are comfortable, there is one particular patch that is a tad bit tricky. The stretch between Baniya Kund and Chandrashila is steep and also laden with snow. Some patches on this section freeze over and turn to hard ice, especially in winter. Hard ice can be slippery to walk on and the steep gradient does little to help you along the way. Exercising caution can go a long way to get you across this patch safely. Also, remember to walk on the steps carved out by your trek leader and the trekkers who pass before you. Coming down these patches is even trickier - focus is the key to this puzzle!
Challenge 4: Unpredictable Weather
If you are planning to make this your first high-altitude trek, we’ve some very important information to share. The weather at these heights is barely reliable. Expect clouds to magically appear and come pouring down on a bright sunny day when you least expect it. Snow and winds are unexpected guests on these slopes, too – they come and go as they please! You can never be prepared enough for what the weather has in store for you each day on the trail but you can remember to pack your best set of rainwear and the most efficient winter clothing you own.
Gear Required for Deoriatal-Chandrashila
While we will be providing most of the technical equipment needed for the trek (tents, sleeping bags, snow boots, crampons/ microspikes), there is some basic gear you will need from your end to get through your hike comfortably.
Some of the things you will need are:
1) A sturdy, lightweight backpack: A good backpack that 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 waterproof trekking shoes with sturdy soles for the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek. These not only provide better support but also reduce the possibility of injuries while hiking. 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 lightweight. It should also be such that it is easily packaged. On high-altitude treks like Deoriatal-Chandrashila, 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:
- The weather in the Himalayan regions is unpredictable and changes very quickly. Layering gives you the freedom to adapt to that accordingly so that you are not left feeling too hot or too cold.
- These are easy to carry and are packing-friendly.
4) Right Sunglasses: Although the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trail is shaded by forests initially on the trail, you soon trek through open meadows and snowfields where sunglasses are essential for the bright sunlight. 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 Deoriatal-Chandrashila
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 in 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 Deoriatal-Chandrashila.
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
Although the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trail consists mostly of level land with gradually rising gradients, the last stretch of snow and ice to Chandrashila Top can be tricky. A set of simple techniques can help you navigate ice and snow landscapes with considerable ease while also reducing the 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.
2) Packing Your Rucksack
Although the weather is not very dynamic on the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trail, it is still important to change your layering, especially due to the vast difference in day temperature and that at night. So 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 yourself 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
The Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek has an easy gradient, but it is still challenging to scale the snow slopes to Chandrashila. This, along with heavy snowfall in winter require you to use some basic mountaineering equipment. The articles below will acquaint you with a few of these and 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 the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek. In case you need further assistance/information with something, please feel free to reach out to us. We are only a phone call away.