Khatling Glacier - Sahastra Tal Trek

Route : Ghuttu - Gangi - Kharsauli - Khatling Glacier - Chauki - Masar Tal - Tadi Udiyar - Sahastra Tal - Kukhadi Dhar - Budha Kedar
Time : June 2001
Submitted By : Pramod Kala
Sahastra tal is one of the toughest trek of garhwal. Ghuttu in Tehri garhwal is base for this trek. Other team members were Dr. Ajay Shekhar bahuguna & Sh. Thapliyal Ji. We did all the preparation for trek in bahugunajiís house at srinagar . We packed everything ration, medicine, fuel and other necessary things for trek and booked a nepali porter. We did preparation till late night because we wanted to check everything which was required in such treks. This was the learning time for me because both the partners are good experienced trekker and I was exited to do my first trek with them. We went to bed very late and got up early.
We reached Ghuttu by bus. Ghuttu is a small market where one can get the necessary things for day to day life. One route goes to panwali kantha from here. Local guys can arrange porter, guide and accommodation facility. After having breakfast we started trekking at 11:00 am. Sacks were heavy but I started with passion. Khatling glacier is source of river Bhilangana which joined bhagirathi at tehri. After some up & down we reached in Reeh village. Itís a small village, people are simple and industrious. After having tea we caught the gangi trail. Gangi is last village in this route and 20 km. from ghuttu. After this tedious journey we did night stay in tent.

Next morning we hire a local porter cum guide Gajendra from here and purchased potatoes and rice from village shop. Now we were five Dr. Bahuguna, Thapliyal ji, nepali porter, gajendra & me. Kalyani is five km. from gangi and till this place gangi people come for agriculture. We were walking very fast but mountain was stopping us. We found a camping place before evening, which was kharsoli (2896 mts.).
Kharsoli is plane area where river was divided in two streams. We searched a safe camping place and pitched our tent. We all prepared food at night and shared our whole day experience & problems. After dinner we boiled potato for breakfast. Next morning after breakfast we did packing and took photographs and moved. The trail was beautiful and canít be explained by words. From here route is easy but long. We met a shepherd in the route whose sheep were grazing in the forest, he was ill. We gave him medicine. Bhelbagi is 27 km. from Gangi where one rock is hanging in mountain slope, gajendra told that this is called khatling because it looks like a Ling. Most of the trekkers return from here, we did a photography session and moved. Here we had to cross the Bhilangana River by bridge which was made by two logs, rivers was flowing rapidly and river noise was horrible.
After crossing it we reached in an open valley, we gathered some wooden sticks for fire and reached in a cave after crossing a small river. Water was too cold in that river and I was feeling very cold, which I couldnít forgot till now. This place was chouki. 8-10 people can stay comfortably in cave. One person started soup preparation and one started to clean the cave and manage the baggage. It was sun set time and sun rays had made this valley as heaven. After sun set dinner preparation started. I learned a lot with this group and one most thing that this type of trek can be done in light and enjoyfull environment. We sang songs while dinner preparation and analyzed whole day activity before sleep.

Next morning we moved to khatling zero point with minimum baggage. The trail was tedious and it was tough to hold our breath. Enroute we found a big lake which was introduces by gajendra as Lama lake. Reflection of nearby peaks was looking marvelous. Khatling is near to this place and we had to cross a glacier to reach there.
When at one place we stood for group photographs it started sliding and everybody ran to save himself. A nice Himalayan chain is visible from this point. Which includes Jogin group, Meru, Thaliya sagar etc. This place is famous as hanging glacier which I saw first time. After staying there for some time we returned back to chouki. At one point I felt breathing problem. We again stayed in cave and did next day planning. It was impossible to reach kedarnath via mayali pass without equipment due to snow.
Next morning we moved to Masar Tal. Our program was to return by evening. Sky was clear but in this altitude weather can get changed any time. After crossing green area of Chouki we entered in high altitude flower zone which was covered by Brahma Kamal & Fen Kamal. After a little plane area, steep climb started and a snow portion had to be crossed. We kept tentís nails and porters rope which could be used in emergency and we crossed this area using these equipment. I learned a lot but itís sure if nature will allow you only then you can move ahead. One wrong decision can put you & your group in trouble. After a 7-8 km. tough trail we reached at Masar Tal, I could never imagine like this the whole lake was looking like a snow ground.

I was amazed to see the frozen lake in June. This lake is situated in 4000 mts. and surrounded by hills from most sides. I couldnít guess the lake size due to snow but it should be 2 km. in circle. We did photography session and had biscuits & wet grams. We stayed here for a short time suddenly snowfall started. We decided to leave the height and climbed down. A trek goes to kedarnath from here via Mayali Pass , Painya Tal, Vasuki Tal but can not be completed without equipment. I thought to complete this trek in future. Dr. Bahuguna never forgot do puja in these places.
While climbing down we saw the cave at chouki & became happy to see that nepali porter had unfolded the wet clothes and tent in sunlight. After reaching there we prepared food while food preparation an altercation started among Dr. Bahuguna & Nepali porter, Thapliyal ji also made dispute while resolving the issue. After having lunch we moved back, it was 2:00 pm. We had to climb down so we decided to walk till dark. We started searching camp site before dark. We stayed in a cave near bhelbagi and took biscuits & soup in dinner. We were not talking to one another because of afternoon altercation. We face this type of problem some times in high altitude area which are due to AMS.
Next morning we moved to Gangi. We had left glacier, bugyal but still snowy peaks were visible from here. In some places we crossed birch forest areas. Enroute a shephardís dog barked at nepali porter and he showed stick to him suddenly some dogs encircled the nepali porter and after lot of efforts we could set him free. We climbed down very fast and reached gangi by evening and did night stay in verandah of primary school. we forgot all disputes and started new planning for Sahastra Tal trek. We prepared local vegetable (Ogalís leaf) and rice and ate with papad, pickle, gheeÖ delicious food.
Next morning we took Sahastra tal trek information from gajendra, he explained very well. He had good knowledge about trek but I was feeling backache so we told him to call one more person and he called Bhim. Trail to Sahastra tal was very tough. It was steep climb up in forest, sometimes I was thinking that they are misguiding us and when we reached at the end of forest gajendra told us that there are two ways to reach tadi udiyar (cave). One way will take one more day hike from here and from another way we will reach there today but in second route we will have to cross 100 mts. slippery rock area which is most dangerous & difficult. We sat for few minutes for discussion and we discussed that If we will not follow this risky trail we will always think that we didnít follow that trail due to fear and we decided to follow same route.

We crossed that patch very slowly & safely otherwise we could go in a deep ditch, after crossing this we were walking in a ridge. We were bristling while crossing this zone. Then bugyal started and we have again got the height and walking on grass land. In this route we got route sign using a heap of stones so that unknown/ new people can find the right direction. At last we reached at tadi udiyar which was base of a tilt rock and the open area was covered by a big stone. This place was sufficient for 7-8 person. Our nepali porter was fell ill in evening. We were worried about him and gave him medicine, but next morning he was quite well. We hadnít big pot to prepare food, so that night we prepared food in two shifts. In first shift we gave to all porter & guide.
Next morning we moved to Sahastra Tal and followed those stone signs. We visited 12-15 lakes in this area but every lake was frozen like maser tal here we saw a shed made by stones, gajendra told us that a group of some person comes in area with priest and priest does the Bhagwad Geeta path and other listened.
Several lake are situated in this area due to it's geographical condition. It was not easy to stay there for long time due to high altitude so we decided to move ahead. From here. Now we had to send back to Gajendra and Bhim Singh. We thanked them and after remuneration we gave them some magi packets for route because they had to stay in Tadi udiyar this night. Sahashtru peak was looking very beautiful from here. We were walking on snow and wanted to come out from this zone. We couldnít walk so long till evening and pitched our tent in a slope of kukhadi dhar (Top)(4600 mts.). when we were pitching our tent suddenly I suffered from headache & vomiting. I didnít take medicine but licked lemon and became normal after some time. We had to melt snow to dink & for dinner preparation. We filled our bottle and kept with us inside sleeping bag so that it could remain in water form by body heat and we can drink water when needed.

We took dinner in time and went in sleeping bag Next morning I came to know about night storm, all team members hold the tent whole night, they tried a lot to awake me but helpless. Next morning we climbed down to next slope, we were hiking very slowly because the land was filled by snow. At one point I went deep inside snow and other team members pulled me up. But we got the right way and we came out from snow zone and saw a shepherdís tent at lower slope. In whole route were carrying two bottles with us one was of water and second was filled by gram & water. From this place one shepherd joined us he was going to his village for some necessary things, fortunately we also had to follow the same route so we got a friend who was known to that area. After climbing down we saw some huts of shepherds, we met them, it gave us nice feel because we were seeing only one another for last few days. We prepared dinner in these huts and slept. It was raining whole night.
Next morning our local friend proposed us to visit a lake which was not in main trail, we couldnít deny and went there. That was a unknown lake but one of the beautiful small lake in that area. We came in main trail and thanked to him, he showed us the right way and followed his route. It is very difficult to measure our trek in km. but now our body had become habitual to hike with the backpacks. Now we reached in another beautiful lake Masur tal.
A temple was located in a corner of lake with a room as dharamshala, Itís doors were opened. It was raining heavily so we stayed here and prepared food. After some times the weather became clear, then we searched nearby area. After staying here for few hours we started walking and walked till late evening and reached in a village.

That was a big village, we planned for night stay in verandah of primary school. That was our 9th night after leaving road head and we had hiked appx. 175 km. We took dinner early and went inside sleeping bags because we had decided to wakeup early. We woke up early and moved for Budha Kedar that place was 6 km. from here. we walked very fast and reached Budha Kedar a small bus terminal. We became emotional to see all this because we were coming from such area where nothing exist.
We took there bath and shaved after a long time & changed our clothes. We went to Budha Kedar temple which was under renovation at that time. After temple visit we took breakfast & got the bus for srinager, my firneds went to their home and I got the bus for pauri my hometown, but unable to understand whether I was dreaming or it was real story.

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