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Bali Pass Trek
The challenging and thrilling Bali Pass trek connects Yamunotri and Har Ki Dun Valley at an altitude of 5100 metres. Due to its difficult terrain and steep ascents and descents, this excursion is only recommended for experienced hikers. Beginning in Uttarakhand’s Sankri village and concluding at Janki Chatti, the Bali Pass trek provides breathtaking vistas of Bandarpoonch, Kalanag, and Swargarohini peaks. The trek also includes a visit to the alpine meadows of Dev Thach in the heart of the Ruinsara forest, as well as the mythological lake of Ruinsara. The Bali Pass trek is one of the least travelled trails in the Indian Himalayas, making it ideal for adventurers seeking a unique trekking experience. May through June and September through October are the optimal months for this trip.
- Duration: 9-10 hour drive from Dehradun
- Altitude: 6,520 ft
This trek's base camp, Kotgaon, is a tiny but picturesque village with 250 dwellings. A handful of dhabas and stores comprise Kotgaon's commercial landscape. As the base camp for numerous excursions — Kedarkantha, Har Ki Dun, Bali Pass, and Borasu Pass — it is typically bustling with trekking activity during high season. The village provides a lovely view of the sun setting behind the greater Himalayas. Swargarohini's summits shimmer in the evening sun, towering over the ridges beyond Kotgaon.
The drive to Kotgaon will take you through Nainbagh, Naugaon, Purola, Jarmola, Mori Naitwar (a left turn from Mori Naitwar will transport you to Dhaula, the base camp for Rupin Pass and Bharadsar lake trek), and then Kotgaon.
- Drive Duration: 1-hour drive | Drive Distance: 12km
- Trek Duration: 7-8 hours trek | Trek Distance: 11 km trek
- Altitude gain: 6,520 ft to 8,160 ft
- GPS Coordinates of Chilurgad: N 31°06.720, E 078 °19.965
There is a road linking Kotgaon and Taluka. This 12 kilometre-long voyage may be covered by hiring a local jeep (subject to the condition of the road as this is a landslide-prone route, often closed during monsoon). The trail is nearly flat and passes through 10 to 11 mountain bends.
On the way, three main streams are rushing down the road, threatening to submerge portions of it. The trail passes by a variety of wild roses, irises, bamboo, chestnut, and deodar trees. Approximately 2 kilometres before Taluka, there is a campsite by a stream. If there is not enough time to trek to Seema, camp here.
- Trek Duration: 4-5 hours | Trek Distance: 6 km
- Altitude gain: 8,160 ft to 9,795 feet
- GPS Coordinates: N 31°07.442, E 078 °23.042
- Moderate-difficult. Steep ascent all the way. The terrain is rocky in many parts.
Early in the morning, leave the campsite and follow the trail leading ahead. Pass a cemented bridge and follow the trail going ahead. Observe the Osla wooden bridge, which crosses the Supin River and leads to the Osla village, to your right. The trail is well-defined and relatively flat, with few gentle ascents.
Following a 20-minute trek, you will reach Seema. Seema is dotted with dhabas, GMVN, and forest guesthouses. A 200-metre-long vigorous walk will bring you to a second bridge that crosses the River Supin. Do not transgress the line.
Take the trail leading downhill, keeping the Supin River on your left as you travel under the bridge. Ensure that you do not ascend the trail from here. Note that the trail progressively ascends from this point forward as you approach the entrance to Ruinsara Valley. Pass by a series of streams and areas prone to landslides.
As you enter Ruinsara Forest 30 minutes into the walk, you will cross a succession of enormous boulders. The trail ascends steeply over the boulders from this point. As you approach the point where the trail turns to the right, leave the river below you and ascend quickly. As you enter the Ruinsara Valley, you will be able to see Osla village behind you for the final time from this point.
After another 30 minutes of level walking, you will reach the Devsu Thach Meadows.
- Trek Duration: 4-5 hours | Trek Distance: 10 km
- Altitude gain: 9,795 ft to 11,450 ft
- GPS Coordinates: N 31° 04.831, E 78° 27.499
From Devsu Thatch, search for a forest path that descends steeply to the Ruinsara river. The descent is precipitous and rapid. After approximately 15 minutes and 100 metres of cautious descent, you reach a wooden bridge spanning River Ruinsara. Observe the Ruinsara Valley to the right of you. Take the trail inside the valley, with the river on your right, after crossing the bridge.
The next 45 minutes of the trail consist of a series of gradual, level ascents over boulders and sections of riverside pasture. Observe the cement house in front of you. This location is ideal for camping and meal breaks.
As you travel deeper into the valley, the condition of the trail swiftly deteriorates from this point forward. After traversing three mountain bends, you will encounter a succession of landslip zones. In these sections, the trails have been entirely or partially broken. Use extreme caution when traversing these sections.
Depending on the circumstances, traversing the broken bends may require the use of ropes. Continue along this path for another hour and a half until you reach a waterfall on your left. Descend the trail and continue past the waterfall. As you exit the last bend and enter a series of meadows covered with glacial snow and scree, the trail climbs steeply again. Traverse this ridge with caution.
In a few minutes, you'll come across an enormous meadow with birch forests forming a background. The Untigad campsite is an additional thirty minutes away on foot. Here, a modest river bridge crosses a tributary of Ruinsara. The crossing is relatively easy. Once the river has been traversed, proceed straight and rejoin the trail adjacent to River Ruinsara. Look for a temporary bridge across the river. Untigad is the land to the left of this bridge.
- Trek Duration: 3 hours | Trek Distance: 3 km
- Altitude: Approximately 12,000 ft
- GPS Coordinates of Ruinsara Tal: N 31° 04.831, E 78° 27.499
Beginning the day with a 10-minute descent to the riverbed. Once at the river, form a human chain to cross it. The water would be extremely frigid.
Therefore, you must rest in order to warm up your body. Additionally, brace yourself for the next forty to fifty minutes of steep ascent. After reaching the summit, take another break.
Take a drink while admiring the rhododendron-covered mountains to your right. While the river you traversed earlier is gushing. Also, keep an eye out for additional images of Swargarohini 2 and 3.
The campsite is another hour's hike from here. You will reach the campsite by 11:30 after that you will have the whole day to relax your muscles and psyche so that you can be ready for the next two most difficult days of this trek.
From here, Ruinsara Tal can be reached via a 45-minute trek. The path to the lake traverses the birch forest to the river's extreme left bank. Ensure that you do not veer to the right. After leaving the forest, traverse a boulder field until you see a hut on your right. Approach the shack. Observe Ruinsara Lake to your left, below you. The lake is surrounded by camping-friendly meadows. The Swargarohini ranges are hidden behind the mountain ridge adjacent to the lake and cannot be seen from this location.
- Trek Duration: 5-6 hours | Trek Distance: 5 km
- Altitude gain: 13,080 ft to 15,100 ft
- GPS Coordinates of Bali Pass A.B.C: N 31°02.482, E 078 °26.837
Today is a light day with a promise of excellent views of the entire Ruinsara and Kyarkoti Valley. Cross the bridge from your campsite and take the trail on the left that is prone to landslides. As you ascend through a labyrinth of debris, the mountain ridge is entirely fragmented. It will take you 20 minutes to traverse this until you reach level ground and can see a tributary of the Ruinsara River on your left.
Determine a suitable location for the river crossing. It is recommended to begin early so that the water profundity is not too great. There is no makeshift bridge, so crossing this tributary may require boulder hopping. A rope can be useful, though it is not required. Once across, continue directly towards the snow moraine in front of you, keeping Ruinsara River on your left.
The magnificent Swargarohini ranges are now fully visible for the first time. In the upcoming meadows, the first snowflakes will be visible. Cross these meadows and proceed to the right side of the valley as you begin to ascend significantly. As you approach the snow line, the ascent becomes progressively steeper. In this section, where the snow is slick, micro spikes or crampons come in useful.
The path leading to Odari veers to the right. You have now entered a funnel-shaped valley. In one or two hours (depending on the rate of ascent), you will reach the summit of the initial ridge. One can see a modest snow ridge from here. Behind this ridge are the Odari ice fields.
Outstanding views of Kyarkoti to the left and Swargarohini massif behind you. From here to the B.C. is an additional 20 to 30 minutes of gradual ascent over slick snow. Observe a flat ice field interspersed with a few semifrozen glacial ponds. This is Base Camp in Bali. Look for level terrain for tent pitching. On frozen snow in June and July, tents will be erected.
If you wish to continue trekking, you can proceed to the Advanced Base Camp of Bali, which is another two to three hours distant along a snow ridge.
- Trek Duration: 9-10 hours | Trek Distance: 14 km
- Altitude loss: 15,147 ft to 10,080 feet via 16,207 feet (Bali pass)
- GPS Coordinates of Bali Pass: N 31°01.909, E 078 °26.392
- GPS Coordinates of Lower Damini: N 30°59.919, E 078 °27.218
The ascent to Bali Pass is precipitous, and you may need an experienced guide to locate the route. Here there are no crevasses, but there is a great deal of snow. For secure footing, an ice axe is beneficial here. It is not recommended to ascend in a direct line. Making trails with scissor bends is more practicable.
The ascent can take between 45 minutes and one and a half hours. As you reach the summit of the mountain pass, you will have your first glimpse of the Yamunotri side of the valley.
The summit of Bali Pass is 10 minutes of additional ascent along the connecting ridge to your left. The final ascent is again steep but manageable. The summit of the Bali pass has sufficient space for 30 to 40 individuals to congregate.
Once you reach the summit of Bali Pass, you will have a 360-degree view of the Ruinsara and Yamunotri sidess. One can view Bandarpoonch (White Peak) and Kalanag (Black Peak), as well as the route to Saptarishikund.
Examine the Yamunotri side of the mountain for a connecting snow ridge that descends. This will be your point of descent. In the initial 60-70 metres, fixed ropes must be installed. When descending, care must be given. On the Yamunotri side, the second segment of descent can be accomplished by gliding down towards the A.B.C. site.
- Trek Duration: 1 hour
- Trek distance: 6 km
- Driving time: 8 hours
- Drive Distance: 169 km
- Altitude loss: 10,080 ft to 8,270 ft
Today is a simple day. Follow the trail leading down into the lower Damini forest. You will reach the old Yamunotri trail after 30 minutes of precipitous descent on a well-defined trail. To reach the Yamunotri temple, you must make a diversion at this point. If not, turn right and continue along the trail that descends to the new Yamunotri to Janakichatti pilgrim trail.
From here, the trail is paved, and one can reach Janakchatti in a couple of hours. Take a bus or shared jeep from Janakchatti to Dehradun or Barkot.
Inclusion & Exclusion
Things to Carry
The best time to visit or book Bali Pass Trek package is Mid May to June End and early September to October Mid
Bali Pass Trek is suitable for both beginners and experienced trekkers. Any age group above 18 is good to apply for a first-time trekking experience. Adults and seniors should carry doctors' notes for their fitness requirements for the journey. They should be fit enough to cover a 4 km distance in 30 minutes and should be able to carry at least a 10 kg backpack.
The temperature of Bali Pass ranges between 5°C and 10°C during the day, and between -1°C and -5°C at night, which is not too terrible.