Exploring Parvati Glacier/Valley

Summary :We initially set off for Pin-Parbati Pass. The initial route is from Barsheni (roadhead which is 2.5 hours from Bhuntar)upto Kheer ganga via Rudra Nag, which has a waterfall of such intensity that one shudders to imagine what would happen to anyone falling in it, is through nice pine forests. One would find several tourists making their way upto Khir ganga. The route continues along the Parbati rive, crossing Tunda Bhuj, where one would find several "gujjars" with their cows/buffaloes. The route is through alpine meadows and undulating landscape. The one comes across an interesting spot called "Thakur Kuan" which one has to cross in a trolley (tougher than it seems & imagine crossing it when the pulling string on one end is broken -:). After, Thakur Kuan then next big and unmistakable landmark is "Pandav bridge" which is essentially two huge boulders wedged across the river. Believe me when it rains crossing this slippery "Pandav Bridge" can be a challenge for some. After this one walks to Mantalai, a holy place, where few of the more adventurous tourists come to. Mantalai is well marked by the presence of a shiva temple. The route upto Mantalai is well marked (though by no means easy esp when one is carrying a 25-30kg backpack). Beyond Mantalai is the glacier zone and the route disappears. Here one needs a good guide else it is almost impossible to tell the route. WE crossed Mantalai and into the snout of the Parbati glacier, and it was here that we made a huge mistake in route navigation (we realized later when we started using the GPS). Instead of veering to the left from the snout of the glacier we actually covered (cut across) the whole Parbati Glacier, which most people would not have done so. Upon traversing to the head of the parvati glacier we could see the origins of the Parvati river. After crossing the parvati glacier (which looking back now seems hazardous) one crosses a huge snowfield, flanked on both sides by various peaks (5000 - 6000 m range). The frontal view is blocked by a massive glacial wall of ice. Once across the snowfield as one turns south east there is another gentle slope, which is heavily crevassed (though they had not opened up), which rises up another 200M. At the end of this is a pass with a steep descent to a valley on the other side. One can't cross on the left side of this pass as it is heavily covered with ice & broken at several places. Towards the right of the pass is a steep descent across snow and boulder field. Since the descent was steep, and with heavy backpacks some of the group were not confident of getting down. Also, pitons and 50-70MM rope would have been handy (we had about 25 M of rope) in crossing this pass. The views from this pass are simply breathtaking. There is a plethora of snow clad peaks to be seen and on the descent of this pass one can see waterfalls which feeds the stream/river originating on the other side. The stream flows westward on the other side through the valley, which seemed to have greenery, in contrast to the snow clad slopes on this side of the pass. I have to explore this path a bit more on the maps but I think this heads into the Bhaba valley (via Nestal and Sawak). Since we were not 100% sure about where this route would head, weighing the risks, and keeping in mind the saying that "Discretion is the better part of valour" we decide to, by majority vote (I was outvoted -:) )to retrace our path. By this time we had our GPS working and we knew our navigation error and while retracing our paths we knew how to go across to the Parbati pass. However, due to circumstances we decided to head back the way we came. (Am trying to keep the summary short -:) ). Overall it was a satisfying 10-day exploratory trek.

A more interesting and erudite description by my trekmate can be found here :-

Itinerary of the Trek

  1. 27th June : Bhuntar to Barsheni (road). Barsheni to Niara Th (via Kheer Ganga)
  2. 28th June : Niar Th to Pandav Bridge (via Tunda Bhuj and Thakur Kuan)
  3. 29th June : Pandav Bridge to 1 hour before Mantalai
  4. 30th June : 1 hr before Mantalai to Snout of parbati Glacier
  5. 1st July : Snout of Parbati Glacier to head of Parbati Glacier (& exploring the pass to bhaba valley)
  6. 2nd July : Exploring the pass leading to Bhaba Valley and back to snout of parbati glacier
  7. 3rd July : Snout of Parbati Glacier to 1 hour after Mantalai
  8. 4th July : 1 hour from Mantalai to Thakur Kuan (via Pandav Bridge)
  9. 5th July : Thakur Kuan to Rudra Nag (via Tunda Bhuj & Kheer Ganga)
  10. 6th July : Rudra Nag to Barsheni and Barsheni to Bhuntar (by Road)

Summiters in Khabar Magazine

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