For your average treks and road trips, I am sharing my packing checklist. Follow the list and be assured to have a good time! No more panicking with last-minute preparation or preoccupation with the what-to-pack thoughts. Adjust the quantity of the listed items according to your needs.
Don’t pack it all: Use your judgement call because for some purposes and some weathers, the checklist may be an overkill. Pack different: Do your due diligence and don’t just rely on my checklist, especially if you have unique needs.
Either way, do comment below and let me know what makes it to your backpack.
The post lists the typical, frequently asked questions asked about any hiking trail to organize it, prepare for it, and understand it better.
Commute to base town, hire help, and find accommodation
Reach the base village, say from Delhi
Multiple trails to the summit.
Cost of via personal car/bike and the cost via public transport
Typical timings of public transport
Book the bus/train tickets
Teahouse trek or not
Availability of gear on rent
Distances between shelters or accommodations enroute
Book accommodation, especially govt rest houses
Cost of suggested accommodation
Contacts of guides and porters
Other local contacts like those of shopkeepers, rest house or guest house staff, bus inquiry, forest office, local police, local hotel in base village, etc.
Trekking and trail conditions
A typical itinerary or two
Child or elderly friendly
Best approach if more than one approach
Hike breakup and trek profile
What to expect on the trail in each month like snow, lack of water, water crossings, whiteouts, wildlife, etc.
Best time to be on a trail
Typical night temperature in each season
Packing depending on weather
Sections that may need specific gear like crampons, shoes with ankle support, ropes, ice axe, etc.
Distance and altitude difference between camping grounds and other waypoints
Tricky portions and what’s required to negotiate
Need a guide or not
Rating of trails on SAC scale
Time and milestone cutoffs on handy cards
Local police contact
Permanent, on-trail landmarks
Water points on the trail
Previously reported wildlife issues and season
Interesting facts and stories about the trek
Geographic region and mountain range of the trail and summit
Peaks and valleys visible from the summit and the trail
USP and takeaway of the trek
Any facts of historic, cultural, or political importance about the base village, the region or the summit
Any mythological importance of the summit or the trail
Accommodation at the base village
Public transport to return and where to book
Timings of transport from nearest town and connecting conveyances
Sync time to reach Delhi with office and metro timings
Approximate breakdown of all involved costs
Leave your contact in comments if you want to based your frequently asked questions (FAQs) on this template. If you are a trekkers who finds it difficult to write a travelogue of your adventures, follow this structure.
A few of us trekkers have compiled contacts of local folks and services like porters, trek guides, cabs and taxis, and of accommodation, bus depot, etc. Please do your due diligence before agreeing to use the services. We do not recommend these folks in any way.
See the spreadsheet at bit.ly/travelcontacts. Locate the required info by using filters for type of service or trek.
If you wish to share the local contacts you have, please leave a comment or write to me at blackfog at Gmail. I shall list the contributors below for credits.
Thanks to the following folks for contributing to this list:
Mandi district is a hotbed for a host of activities. Karsog area near Mandi is a beautiful retreat for nature and culture lovers. The temples, the trails, the age-old architecture, the festivals, and the valleys makes me go here again and again. I am compiling a list of a few treks in this region.
The most popular treks in this region are to Kamrunag temple and Shikari Devi temple. A few lesser known hikes are also listed below and offer hiking through areas untouched by the crowds, at times good views of the snow-clad Himalayan ranges, and beautiful meadows.
Kamrunag temple or Kumarwah lake trek starts from Chail Chowk or Rohanda
Shikari Devi trek starts from Janjehli or Kataru
Budha Kedar trek starts from Bulah or Kataru. I wonder if it can start from Raigad for those who want to hike longer.
Mahunag temple is at a road head but there are trails to this temple that locals use
Dhamoon Tibba starts from Sainj Bagr
Jyuni Valley hike starts from Dhangyara, 20 km ahead of Chail Chowk
Janjehli to Karsog
Magru Gala hike near Chhatri
Shikari Devi temple is a very long one-day hike or is better done with overnight stay/camping. However, others are easy day hikes with immense cultural exposure.
A few other hills in the region are less popular and are not accounted for in popular posts on the Internet. There is a good scope of local exploration. The typical starting points of the popular treks are Sundernagar, Janjehli, Rohanda, Karsog, and Chail Chowk. These places are within a few hours of road distance from each other and are well connected by local buses. From Delhi, you can board a Mandi-bound bus and then use some local transport.
A very good account of winter trek to Shikari Devi is available at Inditramp website. The GPS trails of Shikari Devi are here and of Kamrunag is here.
Doing Kamrunag and Shikari Devi treks in one go
The two most popular treks in this region — Shikari Devi and Kamrunag — can be combined into a weekend. Given the shortness and ease of these hikes, it may be more fulfilling to combine these. It’ll also save time and money.
On day 1, reach Rohanda, do Kamrunag, reach Karsog, and spend the night.
On day 2, start early on Shikari Devi trail; finish by evening; reach Mandi by night and board a Delhi-bound bus at night.
Notice the important transport timings from planning perspective.
0700 – first bus from Sundernagar to Rohanda.
1400 – 1800 A few buses ply from Rohanda to Karsog. However, better reach Chail Chowk and take a bus to Janjehli.
1500 – 1800 Can get a local bus to Sundernagar or Mandi.
Another possibility is to reach Shikari Devi directly from Kamrunag instead of coming down and taking buses to either Karsog or Janjehli. This requires a ridge walk of a few km to reach Shikari Devi from Kamrunag lake itself. It is a well-trodden trail and has water for most months. Accommodation options are available at both the destinations.
Please share your experiences, queries, photos, basic information, local contacts, GPS logs, blog links, etc. in the comments section below.
“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
People who are not exposed to hiking and outdoors may have healthy wonderment, unjustified fears, malformed opinions, and outright crazy misconceptions about the sport.
To us hikers these comments seem ridiculous or have nuisance value, but the need of the hour is to educate people around us and to spread the awareness that the following are just misplaced and malformed.
Sections with Bicchu booti (need full length trek gear for protection of lower legs)
Spots where wildlife is commonly spotted
Sections with tricky crossings (like slippery, mossy boulders during rainy season; may need guided help)
Secluded ponds on a stream where one can bath(!)
Flash flood prone areas adjacent to streams (need to be watchful during rains and to be passed quickly)
Very steep sections (need footwear with good grip and watch out during rains)
Sections with debris and moraine (need ankle support)
Consider sharing your trails for everyone’s benefit on wikiloc and OSM. Yours truly can be found at www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/user.do?id=1691516. If you share trekking trails on a public platform, leave a link in the comments section.