World → Asia → Indian Himalaya → Kuari Pass
One of the best hikes in the world
- sometimes called the Lord Curzon Trail
The route followed by Shipton and Tilman and other early mountaineers en route to the highest peaks in the world. One of the grandest alpine vistas in the Himalayas.
“We breasted the slope and halted, silent on the path. No words would express our delight. The Himalayas were arrayed before us in a stupendous arc“. (1931)
Click over to kuaripass.co.uk to see the entire panorama, the best I’ve seen online. 7000m peaks are lined up like soldiers for your inspection.
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AT A GLANCE
- see elusive & mysterious Nanda Devi, the highest mountain entirely inside India, 23rd highest in the world. It’s steep profile compares with K2.
- 82km over 6 days of hiking
- mid-Sept to mid-Oct is the BEST month
- Oct-Nov normally clear skies, great views
- Kuari Pass 3640m (12,000ft). The Trail climbs a little higher than that.
- Unless you know the Indian Himalaya well, we recommend you hire a guide for this one
- start at Ghat 1330m, finish at Auli Ski resort near Joshimath, host of the 1st South Asian Winter Games in 2011
Why We Like This Hike
- the day before and the two days after the Kuari Pass are FANTASTIC
- mountain people, mountain culture
- langur monkeys in the wild
- we saw a colourful Monal Pheasant
- Himalayan Bearded Vulture (lamergeier)
- good chance to see Gray Langur monkeys in the wild
- we saw something high on a ridge. It may have been bharal (Blue Sheep),
- very near Kuari Pass we saw a Momma Black Bear and 3 cubs (very rare on this trek)
- it’s the best trek in Uttarakhand State (formerly Uttaranchal)
- the State Government agency GMNV has finally opened limited trekking into the formerly closed Nanda Devi National Park (Sanctuary). That’s tempting.
Note: Lonely Planet Trekking in the Indian Himalaya recommends this hike in the opposite direction. LP got that WRONG. There’s not one single reason to start in Joshimath. Especially if you are not acclimatized to altitude.
- landslides and road washouts are frequent in the Himalaya. Be prepared for road delays.
- trail bridges are also sometimes washed out
- on a guided hike, you have plenty of time for reading and writing
- the Himalaya is not wilderness. You’ll see villages and animal herders in nearly every valley
- dogs may follow you, hoping for scraps at Camp
- we had a freak hail storm end of Oct
- mobile phone service is available except for just before and just after Kuari
- State Government run GMNV Trekking and Mountaineering Division in Rishikesh we found useless. They seem to be disinterested in working with foreign hikers. The private companies are far better.
- there are many Hindu pilgrims visiting ‘Char Dham’ temples (Gangotri–Yamunotri–Kedarnath–Badrinath). Joshimath lies en route to Badrinath.
In 2013 we paid about $600 each for 2 hikers, 8 days all inclusive. About $75/day. (Price drops for up to a maximum of 10 hikers.)
- we were very happy with Red Chili Adventure out of Rishikesh
- 3.1% surcharge if you pay with credit card rather than cash
- 1 guide, 1 cook, 2 mule drivers, 4 mules
- excellent vehicle and a safe driver
We recommend the popular 8 day itinerary. There are other options that visit Kuari, some as short as 2 days.
- 8hr drive from Rishikesh to the trailhead campsite at Ghat 1330m
- finish at Auli Ski resort near Joshimath
- 10hr return drive to Rishikesh. Overnight hotel en route.
There must be many good companies. We can vouch for Red Chilli. Compare other companies against what Red Chilli offers.
If we couldn’t get on with Red Chilli next we’d use India Hikes.
Moxtain guides Kauri Pass as well.
Mukesh Verma did a trek to Kuari solo in 2012. Watch his PHOTOS on YouTube.
If you sign on with a Guide, they handle all required Permits and arrangements. No worries. We were never checked for paperwork during the trip, so far as I could tell.
We got no information from anyone local, aside from Red Chilli Adventure. Government tourist information services in Uttarakhand seem to be Gawd awful, even by Indian standards. It’s frustrating trying to trek India independently.
Our guide, Anil, was great at high altitude.
Best Trekking Guidebooks
Best Travel Guidebooks
- Lonely Planet India – consider electronic version available by chapter
- Footpring India Handbook, 18th (2012)
Other Recommended Books
- Aitken, Bill. (reprinted 1994). The Nanda Devi Affair, Penguin Books India. ISBN 0-14-024045-4.
- Kohli, M.S. & Conboy, K. (2003). Spies in the Himalayas: Secret Missions and Perilous Climbs, University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1223-8.
- Jose, Vinod (2010). River Deep, Mountain High, The Caravan Magazine.
- Roskelley, John. (2000). Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition, The Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-89886-738-8.
- Sanan, Deepak. (1995) Nandadevi – Restoring Glory – New Age International (Wiley Eastern Ltd), New Delhi. ISBN 81-224-0752-8.
- Shipton, E., Tilman, H.W. & Houston,C. (Reprinted 2000).Nanda Devi:Exploration and Ascent, The Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-89886-721-5.
- Takeda, Peter. (2006) An Eye at the Top of the World: The Terrifying Legacy of the Cold War’s Most Daring C.I.A. Operation, Thunder’s Mouth Press. ISBN 1-56025-845-4.
- Thomson, Hugh (2004) Nanda Devi: A Journey to the Last Sanctuary, Weidenfeld & Nicolson ISBN 0-297-60753-7
- TILMAN, H. W., The Ascent of Nanda Devi, Cambridge University Press. 1937.
- Malhotra, Ashok (2011) Nude Besides the Lake, Createspace ISBN 978-1463529390
No maps are needed if you have a Guide.
Best Web Pages
Best Trip Reports
- our 2013 trip report
- Henry Wismayer – Telegraph – Garhwal Himalayas: trekking the Curzon Trail (2010)
Click PLAY or watch the India Hikes promo on YouTube.
Click PLAY or watch a flyover on YouTube.
Click PLAY or watch a short trek out of Auli on YouTube.
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8 Replies to “Kuari Pass”
There are lots of trekks in uttrakhand. But I like har ki dun trek I had with Spin Wild Adventures, Resource – http://www.spinwildadventures.com
I have been to Kuari Pass recently (22nd JAN 2017). Its been wonderful experience.
3 days full of snow you will get if you plan in winter (JAN – MAR).
If you want good experience go with the private Guides, they will arrange all for the resonable cost.
We had contacted DINESH Bisht. I went with my 3 friends and snow trek experience was amazing.
Guide name : Dinesh Bisht (Very very good guy and has got very good field experience, Friendly and good person)
Tell him referred by ujwal (Bangalore)
Mobile No : 08958084282
Please visit the place.
If you need more information please mail me.
Name: Ujwal datt
Mail ID : email@example.com
Awesome post about Kuari Pass. I had plans to visit but never made it til now..Yuour post will help me plan it in the future
Kuari pass is a great hike. The trek is doable without a guide as the trail is well-marked.
Thanks for writing an informative post.
How would you compare this kuari pass trek, say to a week in langtang valley in nepal? Specifically in terms of big alpine views. Would plan on doing Pangerchuli summit. Cost/fitness not an issue and would be privately guided in both cases.
Looking to plan first trip to Himalayas, don’t have time for longer trips in everest region but want to be blown away
Love the site, have done several others in your top 10, and would appreciate outsiders view on this as most info on Indian Himalayas is from locals.
Hey Tim. I did Langtang just months before the earthquake. IMHO Langtang is bigger and better in terms of scenery. It’s a long private car or bus ride to get to the trailheads of both. Langtang is super easy to do by yourself. I signed on with a group for Kauri Pass — and had some doubt it might be cancelled if the other client hadn’t come. … SO I’d recommend Langtang.
I think you should also visit kedarnath temple in uttarakhand. There are a lot of benefits of visiting kedarnath
There are lot of treks in the Uttarakhand. Next time please plan for kedarnath trek.
For full information about the kedarnath trek click on below link