Imagine walking in a Himalayan field with the breeze carrying the intoxicating smell of a mixture of rare alpine flowers one can fathom. Bagini Glacier trek traces a rare and refreshing highland walk winding through some of the most intriguing garhwali villages and glade-like upper lawn of Bagini & Changbang camping grounds which are in full bloom with majestic yellow and purple wildflowers. It is not just the raw beauty of nature that draws travelers here but the proximity to some lovely snow capped Himalayan peaks like Kalanka, Changbang and Dronagiri which dominates the landscape. The route which takes you to the Advance camp taken for mountaineering expeditions to High ranging peaks like Changbang and Kalanka gives you a feel of being in Everest Base Camp without it’s hustle and bustle of overcrowding and commercialization. Recently with the increase number of trekkers opting to explore the campsites of Bagini and Changbang than the more popular Dharansi Pass Trek from Nanda Devi Outer Sanctuary (NDOS) realm, it is a fair assumption that Bagini Glacier trek is viable option for adventurous travelers and backpackers who want to explore and know more about the mountains of the region
History about Bagini Glacier & Changabang B.C route
The twin peaks of Nanda devi and Nanda devi east(7,434 m) exude an aura unsurpassed by any mountain in the Indian Himalayas. Lying entirely within Indian borders Nanda Devi is just short of being an 8 thousander, but that has not been an impediment to its grandeur nor it has been a stumbling block in its reverence. Climbed first in 1937 by legendary climber and explorer Major Harold William Bill Tillman better known as H.W Tilman and famed Noel Odell, (Noel was the last first person to see Mallory and Irvine supposedly climbing the Second step on Mount Everest on 8th June 1924) its tryst with exploration goes back to 1930s when a number to expeditions repeatedly failed to reach even its base. The reason for this lying in the fact that the main summit is surrounded by an impenetrable barrier of peaks. The average height of this barrier being 20000 ft, the tag impenetrable is just right.
The Nanda Devi National Park is a national park situated around the peak of Nanda Devi. The park encompasses the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, a glacial basin surrounded by a ring of peaks between 6,000 metres (19,700 ft) and 7,500 m (24,600 ft) high, and drained by the Rishi Ganga, through the Rishi Ganga Gorge, a steep, almost impassable defile. The entire park lies at an elevation of more than 3,500 m (11,500 ft) above mean sea level.Some of the peaks in this sanctuary are Dunagiri, Kalanka, Changabang, Rishi pahar, Nanda khat, Nanda Ghunti, Panwali Dwar, Trishul etc. After many failed expeditions and ardeous explorations in 1934, British explorers Eric Shipton and Tillman found a route inside the sanctuary through the Rishi Gorge. Nanda devi main (7786m) is surrounded by a thick wall of peaks, there is an inner wall as well as an outer wall. Bagini glacier lies to the North of this outer wall. Bagini glacier trek is a short trek, it can be done within 5-6days. The trek starts from Jumma a small village on the Joshimath Malari highway which is around 40 km. From jumma its a 2-3 hour easy hike to Ruing. From Ruing it is a gradual steep hike to a place called Chaza which is devoid of any vegetation, after which there is a steep hike over landslide zone to the Alpine village of Dunagiri. From Dunagiri it is a two day hike to Bagini glacier and Changabang base camp.
How to do the Trek
The trek starts from a non descript village called Jumma which is an hour ride from Joshimath.Trek Ration and kerosene can be picked up from Joshimath, as further up things get dearer by the metre. The ride from from Joshimath to Jumma is part bumpy and part smooth. Tapovan, Reni, Lata, Suraithota, Phagti are many villages which fall on the way. In between Suraithota and Jumma the road is in par with the Dhauliganga river, which makes it a good watch in autumn, but will surely play havoc during the merciless monsoon months. If you want to stack kerosene Suraithota is a good option.