Bhyundar Khal to Rataban
Way to Rataban glacier from Bhyundar Khal; PC: Ahtushi Deshpande

The Bhyundar Khal was mentioned by Sir Frank Symthe in his book describing his successful attempt on Kamet and also during his exploits in the region later in 1937. This pass is part of the Greater Himalayas or the Himadri Range. It goes across the North-South Zanskar Range and connects the Alakhnanda river valley with the Dhauli Ganga river valley. The approach is relatively easy from both sides of the pass but trekkers prefer the Valley of Flowers side due to the beauty of the valley. Retracing the steps of Sir Frank Smythe on his Mt Kamet expedition, the trek initially reaches the popular Valley of Flowers. One can sample the contrasts of nature during this trek as the Bhyundar Valley is green and colourful while the other side is barren and lacks vegetation due to its proximity to the Tibetan Plateau. The pass offers beautiful vistas towards the west, east and south with the Kamet group and the Nanda Devi Peaks rising like spectacle.

The trek starts from Govindghat village ahead of Joshimath and progresses through the Valley of flowers before setting up the base camp below the snow col of the pass on the 4 th day. The trail climbs up steadily and takes one to the remote valley of the Tipra. We encounter ice, snow, moraines, rivers, streams, meadows and amazing mountain scenery. The camping grounds of Eri Udyar is like a belvedere and known as the Balcony camp. It offers beautiful vistas of the Banke glacier.

One has to negotiate the moraines of the Gauri glacier, Rataban Glacier and Tipra Glacier. Fundamental knowledge of mountaineering is a must for this trek. At certain places rope has to be fixed to cross deep crevasses. The top of the Pass offers close and glorious views of Nilkantha, Hathi, Nilgiri and Rataban peaks. The trek route diverges from the Gupt Khal trek route and goes down straight to exit in the village of Ghamsali.

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  • Dehradun to Govindghat (1,920 m) drive

    Leave early at 6 am and drive to Govindghat via Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag and Joshimath/Auli. Overnight at rest-house in Joshimath/Auli.

  • valley of flowers
    Govindghat to Ghangaria (2,950 m)

    Early morning we drive to Govindghat and start the trek by crossing the river Alaknanda over a bridge at Govindghat and from there walk towards the Bhyundar valley through forest area and a few villages. There are numerous waterfalls and lush green landscape all around. The gradient of the trail is moderate. The 11 kms trek to reach Ghangharia takes about 4-5 hrs, one can also hire a mule to reach Ghangharia. Overnight in rest houses at Ghangharia.

  • Ghangaria to Tipra Kharak Camping grounds (3,700 m) via Valley of flowers

    We start the day’s trek with a short ascent to the valley. Gradient is moderate and the landscape soothing to the eye. It will take about a couple of hours to reach the valley. There are unending meadows laden with varieties of alpine flowers, network of streams and big mountains all around. The prominent species are Brahma Kamal, Anemone, Geranium, Marsh Marigold, Primula, Lilium, Potentilla, Ranunculus, Inula, Corydalis, Pedicularis, Arisaema, Ligularia, Morina, Impatiens, Saxifrages Bistorta, Anaphalis, Sibbaldia. One can spend 3-4 hours exploring different corners & vantage points of the valley. We continue our trek to Tipra Kharak and reach by late afternoon.

  • Day 4: Tipra Kharak (3,700 m) to Bhyundar Icefall Camp (4,300 m)

    The day’s trek involves negotiating moraine and technical surfaces. The ascending path is gradual throughout, but challenging at times.

  • Bhyundar Icefall Camp (4,300 m) to Bhyundar Khal Base (4,600 m)

    The trek on the glacier continues for about 5 km. The walk is technical and requires use of technical gear. After the glacial stretch, the path goes to the moraine continuously descending to the campsite.

  • Bhyundar Khal
    On top of Bhyundar Khal Pass; PC: Ahtushi Deshpande
    Day 6: Bhyundar Base (4,600 m) to Bhyundar Khal (5,100 m) to Rataban Glacier (E) (4,500 m)

    On this day we start before sunrise. The walk again involves technical aspects on the glacier, which continues to the pass. It is a trek of about 8 km to the pass, which takes about 5-6 hours, with a stunning view of the greater Himalayas all around. Dinner and overnight stay in tent.

  • Day 7: Rataban Glacier (E) (4,500 m) to Edi Udiyar (3,900 m)

    After a trek of 6 km along the valley, one reaches Edi Udiyar, with a grassy and comfortable place to set campsite.

  • Day 8: Edi Udiyar (3,900 m) to Ghamsali (3,000 m); drive to Joshimath

    Today we will descend to the village of Ghamsali. The frontier villages have mostly been abandoned as villagers have been migrating to towns and cities in the foothills and the plains after the 1962 war with China brought their centuries-old border trade to a halt. These villages come up with great culture and old oral tradition. We further drive to Joshimath. Overnight in a guest house.

  • Day 9: Joshimath to Dehradun

    We leave from Joshimath and reach Dehradun by early evening.


  • Langur
  • Wild Fox
  • Indian Crested Porcupine
  • Wild boar
  • Black bear
  • Leopard


  • Mistle Trush
  • Blue-capped Redstart
  • Blue-fronted Redstart
  • Himalayan Griffon
  • Plain Mountain Finch
  • Chaffinch
  • Grey Bushchat
  • Rock Bunting
  • Rufous-bellied Woodpecker
  • Common Kestrel
  • Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
  • White-throated Fantail
  • Rufous-bellied Niltava
  • Greenish Warbler
  • Hathi peak (6,727 m) and Ghodi peak(6,708 m) are visible clearly and very close from the pass.
  • Nilkantha (6,596 m), Rataban (6,166 m) and Nilgiri (6,474 m) are also visible from the pass.
  • Ganga during first and last day's drive Devprayag.
  • Alaknanda during the drive from Devprayag.
  • Madnakini is visible from Rudryaprayag
  • Pindari river is visible from Karanpryang
  • Nandakini is visible from Nandaprayag
  • Dhauli Ganga meets Alaknanda at Vishnupryag
  • Pushpawati at Govindghat
  • Lakshman Ganga at Ghangaria

Transport support from and to Dehradun: starting from pickup on day 1 to drop on day 9.

Guide and cook fees.

Rent for camping equipment.

Forest entry charges.

Porter and mule support to carry camping equipment. Please note that personal luggage can be carried by mules and/or porters on chargeable basis.

All veg meals starting from day 1 dinner to day 9 breakfast.

Tented accommodation throughout the trek. Possible guest house accommodation on Day 1 and Day 8.

Transport to reach Dehradun from hometown.

Personal expenses like tips, personal medicines, phone calls etc.

Any transport support during the trek apart from what is included above.

Rent for trekking shoes is Rs 200 per trekking day. The charges are applicable irrespective of whether the shoes are worn or not during the trek. Availability of shoes need to be confirmed with us.

Rent for walking stick is Rs 50 per trekking day. The charges are applicable irrespective of whether the stick is used or not.

Accommodation in Dehradun.

Personal luggage with mass not exceeding 12 kg per bag per person can be carried by porters/mules @ Rs 300 per day per bag.

  • Trekking Boots: Waterproof, high ankle with good grip.
  • One Raincoat/Poncho
  • Windproof Jacket
  • Wind & waterproof pant
  • 2-3 t-shirts/shirts – preferably quick dry
  • 2 trousers (avoid shorts, fitting denims, capris)
  • Warm Fleece, Alternative: a woolen sweater
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Thermal inner wears
  • One pair of woolen socks
  • Waterproof thick gloves
  • Waterproof Rucksack or Rucksack with rain-cover
  • Water Bottle
  • Slippers/Sandals/Floaters: Non-slippery
  • Hat or sun protection cap
  • Woolen cap/scarf
  • Head Torch (hand torch would be an alternative)
  • Sunglasses (it should be UV protected.) or use Photo chromatic glasses.
  • Identitiy cards
  • Personal Toiletries (toothbrush,toothpaste etc)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wet and dry tissues
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Towel
  • Personal medical kit
  • Sunscreen cream, moisturizer, lip balm
  • Diamox - to prevent AMS
  • Crocin - fever
  • Avomine - (motion sickness)
  • Avil 25mg - (allergies)
  • Combiflam - (Pain killer)
  • Disprin - (headache)
  • Digene - (acidity)
  • Norflox TZ & Lomofen - (diarrhea)
  • ORS
  • Omez/ Rantadine - (antacids)
  • Crepe bandage - 3 to 5 meters
  • Gauze - 1 small roll
  • Band aids - different sizes
  • Cotton - 1 small roll
  • Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  • Moov/Volini spray (aches, & sprains)
  • Knee caps
  • Hot water bag in winter if needed

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