As you reach Gelghad on Kuari Pass trek, you will come across two paths. While one way goes towards Kuari Pass, the other heads to Pangarchulla Peak.
You take the road to Kuari Pass, the road most taken.
You climb a steep mountain to arrive at a stack of stones adorned with Tibetan flags. Don't mistake it for Kuari Pass for it is the Kuari Top, the highest point you will achieve on this trek (3,800M).
From this point goes a trail downwards as if taking you to a wonderland. The views around are mesmerizing. The yellow mountains are stacked one after the other. The yellow shrubs gleam golden in the sunlight. The up-down trail bends on sharp curves with a captivating view revealed at each turn.
Finally, you reach the Kuari Pass. There is a small temple right in the middle of the Pass. You soak in the beautiful view from the pass, click some photos, and prepare to head back.
Coming back on your way to camp, you think 'What if you had taken the road less travelled, the path that leads to Pangarchulla Peak?’
What had you missed? Actually, a lot.
You feel a curiosity and a regret for missing out something brilliant. If only I had pushed myself some more, I would have had a peak in my kitty, you think.
You do the math and regret not having planned it better.
This could have been me, but it wasn’t. From my experience, here are all the reasons which make Kuari Pass along with Pangarchulla Trek a trek high on ROI:
1. A limit pusher
You reached Kuari Pass. You enjoyed it. But somewhere in the corner of your heart, you still yearn for something more thrilling and difficult, a limit pusher. But what?
The answer is Pangarchulla Peak and it's literally right next to Kuari Pass.
For those who come to the mountains to test their endurance and push their limits, Pangarchulla will give them just that – a worthy challenge.
2. One extra day in the wilderness
Think about this.
It's a 10-hour drive from Haridwar to Joshimath (the base point of the trek). Will you be willing to travel so much again to have an experience?
There is so much to see and so little time. You might as well make the best of it in the one opportunity you got.
Pangarchulla is just in the vicinity of Kuari Pass. Why not cover it too when you are coming all the way to Uttarakhand to go to Kuari Pass?
Plus you will get one extra peaceful day in the wilderness.
3. A peak in your kitty
Quite a lot of people have done Kuari Pass, but only a few have climbed Pangarchulla Peak.
You are investing so much time in the wilderness. Why not achieve something you can brag about once you return back to the pavilion?
4,480M is a pretty impressive number to brag about, ain't it?
4. The tremendous views from the top
This is the view you get en route Pangarchulla. This is the first time you get a 360 degrees view including clearest visuals of Nandaghunti and Trishul. I think the photos speak for themselves.
Being in the presence of such giants is a blessing. Even Kuari Pass alone fails to give you such gigantic views.
Pangarchulla is an opportunity. Grab it!
P.C: Janmenjoy Roy
5. Stepping stone
Kuari Pass is a great winter trek. No two ways about it. But it's actually the climb to Pangarchulla that prepares you for more difficult treks.
Consider it a warm-up for more challenging outdoor adventures. Once you have done this, you will be motivated to climb more peaks.
Trust me! I recently did this trek and I am now pumped to climb other peaks in India.
If I have to sum up everything I wrote, it is simply this:
When it comes to ROI,
Kuari Pass + Pangarchulla Peak > Kuari Pass.
A smart trekker will always keep this in mind. If you don't want to go through a guilt trip, you know what to choose. just like I did ;)
This article was originally written by Dhaarna Kukreja on 21-11-2017.
It was edited and updated by Neeti Singhal on 15-11-2023.