Triund Snow Trekking
Since during November and December 2018, the weather of Triund Hill had become a lot colder and there was fresh mild snowfall in November. With another batch of mild snowfall in December, the Trek to Triund was closed for coming three months.
There are three points to slip through or by-pass the check post set up near Gallu Devi Temple. This is known even to the administration, yet there is no provision to control unchecked flow of tourists from these points.
During the second week of January 2019, our snow trek to Triundhill was to check our capacity and also to see how much control the tourism department has on slip through shortcuts like one from Bhagsunag waterfall a head Shiva Café, and two from Dharamkot and Bhagus respectively.
Even though during mild or heavy snowfall and extreme cold conditions, the local administration restricts winter treks to Triund. But there are few who defy these restrictions and guide tourists in treks that are packed with snow. It is not much problem that they guide tourists, but it is very risky, especially when the guide is not properly equipped and the tourists are wearing regular street boots for a trek that is packed with snow and are not prepared properly.
We took shortcut climb from Dharamkot and touched the main trail to Triund Hill. Even as we exited from Dharamkot and took on the shortcut climb, mild snow was already on treks.
The weather was not clear with thick snow clouds already hovering high up and rain clouds slowly climbing towards high Dhauladhar Mountains.
We had planned either to reach Triund and come back or go as far as possible, such as up to Best View Cafe a head Magic View Cafe.
As we were climbing the shortcut, we saw footsteps of some tourists who most probably had already gone up and returned. As soon as we touched main trail from the shortcut, we witnessed mild snow on trek.
We were climbing up through snow packed trail and we experienced small flakes of snow falling like cotton or feather of some freaked out bird.
We kept on walking and after some turns met three Indian tourists, who had gone up to Best View Cafe and most probably had attempted to go farther.
The thing to notice was that, they had no guide and were wearing regular street shoes. The trek to Triund is easy to moderate only when there is no snowfall then anyone can go without guide.
But when the trek is packed with mild snow or heavy snow, one either should not go or hire a fully equipped trek leader.
As they crossed us, they told us, “The trek is very steep with snow all around!” Well we were not over-confident and thanked them for the information.
The consistency of snowfall started to increase and with that we reached Best View Cafe.
The cafes were closed, so we moved inside the shaded part of the cafe. As we moved in a pair of Streaked Laughing Thrush got surprised and flew out.
We sat there and tried to make fire with soaked twigs. With thick snow clouds, the weather in Triund appeared overwhelmingly cold. As seen from Best View Cafe
After some time there was a snow storm and with that the conditions down there became extremely colder. It was fun to experience snow storm and in the same time we saw mild sunshine over Dharamsala.
With the on-going snow storm, we noticed two more figures moving on snow packed trail to Triund Hill. They took a considerable time to reach Best View Cafe. The two figures turned out to be the Monks from Bhagsu.
In snow conditions, it is alright to come up without guide, only if you want to go up to Magic View Cafe and even then one needs to be very careful. Without guide or experienced person, you should not go ahead half way point or Best View Cafe.
After photo session the two monks retreated to Bhagsunag. We were still waiting for the weather to clear up. As the weather became something sober, we saw two more tourists, who had come up to Magic View Cafe.
The weather cleared up a little and with that, we moved towards Triund. A head Best View Café, the trail to Triund Hill was heavily packed with thick snow.
It was getting difficult to move through. The fresh snow was just like tiny balls of Styrofoam. It was kind of weird but fun. You cannot believe that you are seeing fresh snow that looks like Styrofoam and even this kind of snow won’t soak up your cloths.
At some points, this heap of Styromfam type of snow worked like quicksand and we slipped and sank up to knee heights but managed to navigate through.
The friend Amit Katoch, who was leading, is a trained mountaineer from a certified mountaineering institute. As we have already mentioned the trek to Triund is of easy to moderate grade, but it becomes very difficult in fresh snow and extremely difficult and risky with frozen and hardened snow and ice. With more of struggle, we navigated through fresh snow but upon final steps it was really difficult to make the trek on fresh and somewhat 3-4 feet of snow.
But we made it and reached Triund the first campsite of Triund Hill. The temperature of Triund was minus 10 degree.
We did some quick photography and started our climb down for Mcleodganj and enjoyed a good warm meal in our home.