08 Breathtaking High-Altitude Treks you must do before you die
Having trekked for years and across continents, there have been a few treks and trails that are our favourites. Be it the raw beauty, the difficulty or sheer isolation; in no particular order here are our top 08 treks you must do before you die.
1. Everest Base Camp Trek
The highest trek in the world, the Everest Base Camp trek is regarded as one of the best high-altitude treks in Nepal and maybe the world. The 11-day trek through the Khumbu valley of Nepal is perfect for all groups of trekkers. The modern amenities including the tea houses make it perfect for beginners and individuals looking to start their trekking careers with a bang. The combination of pine and fir forests, cultural heritage as well as the majestic peaks make it a must-do for all adventure enthusiasts. We at Adventure-Pulse have taken close to 5000 people to Everest Base Camp with the youngest being 6 and the oldest at 74.
The trek begins from the capital city of Kathmandu, from where you journey to the highest airport in the world: Lukla. From there it’s a 7-day trek (And a 3000-metre altitude gain) to Base Camp.
2. Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
Pictures of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek will never be able to do justice to the sheer beauty of this trek. The Kashmir Great Lakes trek starts from the city of Srinagar and journeys through the heart of ‘Heaven on Earth’; Kashmir. The 7-day trek takes you through some of the most picturesque landscapes on the planet. With endless meadows and turquoise lakes that change colour, you must see it to believe it. It is also one of the treks that can be done on a budget and won’t burn a hole through your wallet.
Over the 7 days of trekking, you cross 12 high altitude lakes, 3 mountain passes and innumerable mountain vistas.
Crossing the three mountain passes of Nichnai, Zaj and Gadsar make it challenging and we recommend the trek for beginners with some trekking experience.
3. The Chadar: Frozen River Trek
One of the most mentally challenging treks, The Chadar Frozen River trek is not for the faint-hearted. With temperatures as low as -30 C, the trek will push you to a new level mentally. The trek begins from Leh, where you acclimatize for 3 days and then journey to Hemis National Park. Daytime temperatures hover at -15 C and at night, you can expect the mercury to fall to -30 C.
Apart from the adrenaline rush, the Chadar also serves an ‘ice-way’ that the people of Zanskar used to travel to Leh. The trek can be done by anyone as the total distance covered is close to 50 km over 5 days and over a flat surface i.e. the frozen river.
4. Pindari Glacier Trek
The Pindari Glacier Trek is definitely one of the easier treks in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and is the ideal trek for beginners and families with young children. The trek takes you through remote and rural Uttarakhand where you will stay with the local families in Khati (the largest village in the area). Over the course of 5 days, you trek to the glacier. The Pindari Glacier feeds the Pindar river and the trek is a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with a glacier.
While on the trail, you can see some of the tallest mountains in India, including Nanda Devi, Maiktoli and Panwalidwar. A paved trail, minimal altitude gain and decent camping amenities come together to make the trek an easy and fulfilling one.
5. Kashmir Winter Trek to Marchoi Valley
The Marchoi Valley in winter is a winter wonderland. Knee deep snow and valleys whitewashed; The Kashmir Winter Trek is a must-do for everyone. It’s a short trek and involves 3 days of trekking to the Marchoi Valley and back. The highest point of the trek is the Shadimarg top, the summit of a nearby peak. Again, the trek is ideal for beginners who want to experience their first winter trek. With good connectivity through the city of Srinagar, this trek can be done throughout winter. We recommend the months of December, January and February for the best experience. We provide dual layered sleeping bags, plenty of hot water to keep you comfortable even in subzero conditions.
6. Annapurna Base Camp Trek
The trek to Annapurna Base Camp is one of the lesser-known treks in Nepal and is a perfect choice if you’re trying to avoid the relatively more popular Everest Base Camp trek. Annapurna Base Camp takes you to the base camp of the 10th highest mountain in the world and follows in the footsteps of great mountaineers such as Maurice Herzog. The 7-day trek is shorter than the 11-day trek to Everest Base Camp yet provides the same level of comfort and world-class services with the tea-house trekking format. On the way back, you also get a chance to relax in a natural hot spring.
7. Binsar Zero Point Trek
The Binsar Zero Point trek is the easiest trek on this list. This 2-day trek takes you through the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarakhand. The trek is ideal for young children as old as 6. The trek begins from the calm town of Kholsir. There are two variations to the trek with one being the tougher uphill journey from Kholsir to Zero Point and the other starting from Binsar Zero Point and hiking down. The downhill journey will take a few hours and works well if you plan to sightsee or birdwatch in the wildlife sanctuary. The Binsar Adventure Camp is where your stay will be arranged. The Adventure Camp is a fixed camp located on the periphery of the sanctuary.
8. Kilimanjaro Expedition
Kilimanjaro by far is one of the most incredible adventure trekking experiences in the world. With unique biodiversity on account of its location and volcanic origin, where else can you experience such a wide range of biodiversity? Ranging from a rain forest on one hand to a snowcapped peak, all in a matter of a few days, this trek completely mesmerizes the intrepid explorer brave enough to undertake this odyssey. Referred to as the ‘Roof of Africa’, the distinct crater at the top of this dormant volcano, perfectly justifies the title. The highest point on the mountain, called Uhuru Peak, also happens to be the highest point on the continent of Africa. Thus your successful summit, will not only be that of the highest point in Tanzania but admission into the exclusive Seven Summit Club.
Your trek to Kilimanjaro begins with the journey to Tanzania, rich in culture and biodiversity. In addition to climbing Kilimanjaro, you have the opportunity of experiencing Africa’s famous wildlife in some of the largest National Parks in the world. Added to this is the cultural heritage of the indigenous tribes of Africa, making this an incredible adventure. International Tourism plays a very significant role in the contribution to the economy of Tanzania. In this way, you will be making a direct impact on the economic as well as the ecological sustainability of one of the most valuable natural wonders of the world.