(Base Camp & Milam Glacier Trek)
The people of Johar, as the Milam valley is locally known, were traders whose caravans crossed from India into Tibet by the high passes of Unta Dhura and Kungribhingri La. Once the trading season was over the entire population of Milam and the surrounding areas migrated to Munsiyari or lower places during winter.
Trade stopped with the Indo-China conflict of 1962 and these once prosperous villages are now deserted.
However the trail still exists, linking the villages and beckoning trekkers. Munsiyari is the starting point of Nanda Devi Trekking and Wayfarer offers you a combined itinerary that includes a visit to the Nanda Devi base camp area followed up by a trip to Milam glacier. Initially five days of walking takes you to Pachu (3950 mts, 60 kms) the base camp area for Nanda Devi East.
The location is exquisite and we usually spend a full day over here. We then return from Pachu to camp at Burfu, across th Gori Ganga river. From Burfu we ascend to Milam where we spend a day and then return to Munsiyari. We are sure that trekking to Nanda Devi will be the most cherished moment of your life.
Arrive in Delhi : Check into your choice of hotel, preferably in Central Delhi.
Travel from Delhi to Kathgodam railway station . The best option is to take the New Delhi Kathgodam Shatabdi Express from New Delhi railway station . Train departs at 06.00 hours & reaches Kathgodam station by 11.30 hrs . At Kathgodam station you would be met by Wayfarer & driven by car to Ranikhet for overnight stay in our Snow View hotel (95 kms / 3.5 hrs )
Morning after breakfast drive to Munsiyari (220 kms, 8 hrs) …a journey that would take the full day to complete. This drive is across a range of mountains past small hill towns like Kausani ,Bageshwar, Chaukhori , Thal , Birthi Falls and finally Munsiyari . The final stretch of the road ascends to a height of 2748 meters before descending into the glorious Munsiyari valley.
Check in at our mountain lodge called Wayfarer Himalaya Lodge at Munsiyari for a much deserved rest. This lodge is situated amidst a forested area and offers a completely local experience. It overlooks the magnificent Panch Chulli range.
After breakfast you would be required to make a personal appearance at the office of the local magistrate for the grant of a trekking permit. Subsequently we would be ready to commence the trek from our mountain lodge . Our destination is Lilam Village . Initially there would be a short jeep ride for 6 kms and then a half day trek (7kms) to Lilam Village (1800 meteres) where we would camp for the night.
Today is a strenous walk from Lilam to Bogdiyar (3100 metres/17 kms) along a mountain route that takes you away from the Gori Ganga river along a gorge. The route is steep and involves a day long upward climb up to a hill top called Nain Singh Top and finally eases off before reaching the camp site at Bogdiyar.
You are in high mountain country now and the tree line disappears giving access to vast stretches of Alpine pastures. The day's walk is past Mapang (3254 metres) and Lhaspa (3315 metres), to a remote hamlet called Rilkot (3060 metres / 12 kms ). We camp here for the night.
From Rilkot we shall trek today to Ganghar (3330 mts,8 kms). Throughout the day one gets intermittent views of magnificent Himalayan peaks and just after reaching campsite you will seethe magnificent Nanda Devi East.
It is the big day when you walk from Ganghar to Pachu(3950 mts, 8kms) and the camp site is in an exquisite location. An Alpine meadow laden with rhododendron bushes blooming pink and white, stretches of glacial ice and the massive Nanda Devi looming infront ... it is just another 5 kms away.
How can you walk away from here ? It is a day to rest and simply enjoy yourself in this magnificent location. Options include the hike up to the snow ridges of Nanda Devi East and a visit to the base of Nanda Lampak(5782 mts.). There have been several sightings of bluesheep in the region.
It is time to return and we descend from Pachu to Burfu(3350 mts, 13 kms). The scenary is exciting as the valley opens up. The north faces of the Nanda Devi peaks, several peaks on the Nanda Devi Sancturay wall and Hardeol group are visible. Our camp site is close to the Gori Ganga River amidst a lushgreen meadow.
Burfu to Milam (3452 mts, 8 kms). The day's walk from Burfu offers some spectacular scenery. The north face of Nanda Devi Peaks, several peaks on the Nanda Devi Sanctuary wall and Hardeol group are visible particularly from Bilju village which is about 4 km ahead. The trail leads to Milam (place of meeting) which is a large village, that is quite deserted. We camp on the outskirts of the village.
Visit Milam Glacier - Today we spend most of our time in exploring the Milam glacier. A two hour walk takes us to the tip of Milam glacier - it is the largest glacier in the Kumaon Himalaya.
Milam to Rilkot (3250 mts, 17 kms). The return trip commences in a downhill gradient. We camp at Rilkot for the night.
Rilkot to Bugdyar (2700 mts, 12 kms). This is a steady walk and mostly downhill past the villages of Lhaspa, Mapang and the narrow gorge at Nahar Devi.
Bugdyar to Lilam (1810 mts, 17 kms). We walk downhill all throughout descending from Nain Singh Top and reach camp site at Lilam by late afternoon.
Lilam to Munsiyari (2290 mts, 12 kms). We retrace our steps along the Gori river past Jimi ghat to Dumar(8kms) from where we board a jeep that takes us to Wayfarer Himalaya Lodge at Munsiyari. We arrive here by noon.
Munsiyari to Ranikhet (240 kms). It is time to bid farewell to Munsiyari and its mountains. Today we board a vehicle that drives us to Ranikhet through Vijaypur, Bageshwar and Kausani. We checkin for the night at Snow View Hotel.
Ranikhet to Kathgodam (90 kms). Today is another day when we can chill out and relax. Late morning we board a vehicle that drives us to Kathgodam. There is also the option of leaving Ranikhet after breakfast and driving to the legendary Jim Corbett Park. The train to Delhi departs from Kathgodam at 15:35 hrs and arrives at New Delhi station by 21.10 hours. .
The optimal timing for our trekking trips is between May 1st and June 30th and between September 1st and October 15th. Both seasons have their attractions. During the month of May the spring flowers bloom at the margins of the snowline while the weather is generally settled barring the occasional pre monsoon storm that can blow up at any time. Day time temperatures can rise to the mid 20s even at altitudes while at night they can fall to 0 degrees C. The post monsoon season is a time of settled weather with clear views of the mountains.
Day time temperatures will still be quite warm, upto 20 degrees C during the middle of the day, however at night the temperatures will occasionally drop below 0 degrees C.