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A Comparison between Pangarchulla Peak & Kuari Pass Trek

About A Comparison between Pangarchulla Peak & Kuari Pass Trek

Kuari Pass and Pangarchulla Trek are the most famous treks near Joshimath Uttarakhand. With unending vistas of India’s highest Mountain- Mt. Nanda Devi; both treks are surrounded by magnificent views of the Garhwal Himalayas. On both these treks, you get to truly experience the unexplored beauty of the Uttarakhand Himalayan Range and its culture. But what makes them different from each other? Keep on reading to find out.

While both treks originate from the famous hill station of Auli Joshimath, the trails diverge as you continue climbing and so do the terrains, sceneries, and challenges of the trek. Though being prepared for the challenges of the trek is one thing, choosing which trek to do is a mammoth task on its own.

And if you are also undecided as to which trek you should do! We bring you a detailed comparison between the Pangarchulla Peak Trek and the Kuari Pass Trek to help you out.

Pangarchulla Peak Trek

View of the Mighty Mt. Nanda Devi

Did you wonder how Pangarchulla got its unusual name? Pangarchulla is a conjunction of two words, “Pangar” meaning Maple in the local Garhwali Language & “Chulla” meaning a Chimney. The base of the mountain is covered with Maple trees and the peak itself looks like a chimney when it’s not covered in snow. So, the locals named the peak, Pangarchulla, a chimney arising from the Maple forest. Now you know why it’s called Pangarchulla Peak, here’s some more about the Pangarchulla Peak Trek.

The Pangarchulla Peak is situated at 15,069 ft in the Garhwal Mountain Range. The Trek to Pangarchulla peak is surrounded by magnificent peaks like Mt. Nanda Devi, Kamet, Neelkanth, and Mana in the remote Nanda Devi National Park or Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Moreover, the trek takes you on the exploration of Chamoli district, in Uttarakhand’s Garhwal division. The trek is full of difficult climbs and downhill strolls, snow, and blossoms. This unique offbeat trek is a trekker’s delight both full of adventure, serene moments, and panoramic Bird-eye views of the Garhwal Himalayas.

Kuari Pass Trek

Kuari Pass, also known as the doorway to heaven, was an undisturbed, unknown path before Lord Curzon discovered it and labelled it as Curzon Trail. As you approach the campsite of Gelghad the trail diverges to Kuari Pass and Pangarchulla Trek. The 6-day Kuari Pass trek is the most tranquil winter trek in India as it is also known as the only trekkable pass in the winter of the Indian Himalayas.

Surrounded by magnificent peaks like Mt. Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, and Neelkanth. Kuari Pass takes you on a journey through places like Dhak, Karachi, and Togashi where you’ll experience the true character of the Garhwal in these remote Himalayan villages. Even after being so remote and amid a harsh life, you’ll find no lack of hospitality all year round.

Best time to visit

The Garhwal Himalayan range sits on the border with Tibet and is home to some of the highest mountains in India. Some peaks and treks are open to trekkers all year long, but the best time to climb Pangarchulla Peak is from late March to early June. The spring season is the time of melting snow and Rhododendron flowering. The 6-day trek offers an amazing experience of serene mountains, vast forests of Oak, Maple, a diverse range of flora and fauna, lush green meadows, and snow-capped peaks.

Kuari Pass is one of the few high-altitude treks open to trek for almost the whole year. Barring the peak monsoon months of July and August, Kuari Pass is open to trekkers for the remaining 10 months. Kuari pass is a tranquil winter trek for those wishing to experience fresh snowfall and stark hues of the Himalayas. The best time to visit the Kuari pass trek is the Spring to Summer season, i.e, September-June.

Difficulty Level

Pangarchulla Peak Trek

Given the length, height, and difficulty of the Pangarchulla trek, it falls under the Moderate to Difficult category. This High altitude trek demands significantly more physical and mental preparedness and prior experience of High altitude Treks.

The winter season is challenging and requires patience, caution, and focus as the melted snow leaves behind a trail of loose rocks. During the week of trekking, you will experience intense snow, steep heights, sharp ascents, and rocky terrain all in one journey.

The most demanding part of the hike is the summit ascent, which may take up to 12 hours and involve knee-deep snow and treacherous slopes. It also requires the use of trekking equipment. If it makes you wonder, who can visit this trek? It is a suggested trek for anyone looking to advance in their trekking game with a certain “Mental and Physical” fitness.

Kuari Pass Trek

The Kuari Pass height is around 12,000 feet or 4250 Metres making the trek range from easy to moderate. Because of the trek’s brief duration, it is an ideal trek for novices looking to build experience of High altitude treks.

The total Kuari pass trek distance on foot is around 35 kilometres, to be covered in 6 days. On the first day of Kuari Pass Trek, you gain 3000 feet in a hike that can last up to 8 hours of trekking. Some sections like the 1 km hike across zig-zag, narrow trails from Tali to Gorson Bugyal range from moderate to difficult.

Although we refer to it as an easy trek, it has its obstacles; on icy, foggy, and misty days, the walks can become challenging and confusing. You will encounter rocky terrain and steep climbs, and can at any moment require trek equipment. Prior fitness and some cardio training will make you well-prepared for this trek and enhance your overall trekking experience.


Pangarchulla Peak Trek

The Pangarchulla Peak hike is a relatively risk-free trek throughout. However, you encounter some difficult sections from the Khullara campground as you join the trail from Tali. Follow the guide’s instructions on the summit push and step carefully as you trek along the ridge, which is windy and narrow.

Furthermore, snow turns icy and hard at the end of April, and you must use an ice axe to hike through it. As you climb nearly 3000 feet from day one, your risk of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) rises as you hike up to reach the peak. On the day of the summit, the trek gets quite chilly, which raises the risk of suffering an injury from the cold. Following the precautions and advice of your Trekking guide is paramount for a safe journey.

Kuari Pass Trek

Trekking the Kuari Pass is an extremely safe trek in the Garhwal region. It offers excellently signposted campsites, routes, and trails. The only challenging part of the journey is between Tali and Gorson Bugyal due to the steep gradual ascent. To safeguard the trekking group, walk in one lane and maintain a good rhythm with each stride.

It’s common to experience AMS after you reach a height of 12,736 feet, but after the first day, each campsite is situated at a normal altitude, and with a steady pace, the climb gets easier. Winter treks present danger of injuries from the cold. So make sure to carry proper clothing and cover your head, toes, and fingers at all times.

The Pangarchulla trip and the Kuari Pass Trek have identical exit points like Khulla, and Chitrakanatha campsites, you can also complete your descent from Dhak, and from Gorson Bugyal, a little far from the dropping point, you can exit from Auli if necessary.


Both treks offer the best Trekking in Uttarakhand. Standing on top of the peak is a pure adrenaline rush and will make you forget about the tiredness and the numb legs. Experience the rise in your serotonin levels, tranquility amid chaos, and feel the boost to your confidence and self-esteem.

Experience the beauty of Kuari Pass and Pangarchulla Trek with Moustache Escapes for a safe trekking experience.

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