How Difficult is Rupin Pass Trek?

And, how I prepared for it…

I was mesmerized by the mystical Himalayas when I had trekked there for the first time. At that time, my knowledge of trekking was limited to just a few blogs that I had read. I had very randomly signed up for the Kedarkantha trek and embarked upon it without any preparation. (Read more about my first trek here).

It was during Kedarkantha trek that I had heard about treks like Rupin, Roopkund, etc. from fellow trekkers who had been to those places. At that time, I had thought that such treks were way beyond my league.

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Upside down or downside up! Kedarkantha Trek
Near P
Marching ahead! Kuari Pass Trek.

As time progressed and I went for two more subsequent treks to the Himalayas, I found my heart yearning to do something more challenging. Being an ardent nature lover, I reasoned – more the difficulty, more rewarding would be views!

It’s been one year since…

Subsequently, I nervously signed up for the Rupin Pass Trek with doubts filling my mind on whether I could do it. A seasoned trekker and a friend with 17 treks under his belt both in the Himalayas and the Alps always raved about the hypnotic charm of Rupin Valley. And, each time he maintained that Rupin Pass was a difficult one for him. Also, Indiahikes (an organization, with whom I have done all my Himalayan Treks so far) rates Rupin as their topmost trek.

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Remnants of an avalanche! Har ki Dun Trek

I had taken the plunge, but the jittery me started scavenging the Internet to gain a good understanding of the difficulty level. All the blogs gave vivid elaborations of the gorgeousness of this trail making me yearn for it even more. However, I could not find much insight into the level of difficulty.

Now that I have done the trek and done it well, I decided to write about the level of difficulty for the benefit of others.

Rupin Pass is graded as ‘moderate-difficult’. My personal experience is that the initial two days are moderate or easy even though you cover 10-11 Km. each day. You walk through winding dusty tracks with a few ascents and if it’s sunny make sure to cover yourself well and don’t miss your sunglasses or else you will end up with sunburns and headaches.

The next 4 days is a little challenging and it’s the terrain that makes it so. Some sections have steep ascents and steep descents which are sometimes through boulders and loose rocks or loose soil. There are precarious sections of walking on snow, some of which may have become hardened or even converted to ice.

And, just like any other Himalayan trek if the weather is good the trek becomes a lot easier and if rains or snows just that much difficult.

Upper Water 5
I could live in a tent forever! Rupin Pass Trek

If I compare it with the other treks I had done till then, namely Kedarkantha, Kuari Pass, and Har-ki-Dun, I will definitely say this one is challenging. Those treks felt like child’s play before the Rupin Pass Trek.

This post is definitely not to dissuade you. You just need some amount of fitness and that is it. So, with the right preparation, it is absolutely doable. If I have done it and enjoyably so, anybody can do it.

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We were in great company! Rupin Pass Trek

Nervous as I was, I made sure I paid extra attention towards preparedness in terms of fitness. And, all of that paid off in the mountains, where I surprised myself by always being at the beginning of the team. Most of the time, I was leading – even during the much talked about ‘gully-climb’. All through the nine days, never for once was I exhausted and thoroughly enjoyed the stunning and divine Himalayan landscape.

A gist of the things I did…
  • Jogging 3-4 Km, five days a week and increasing that to 5 Km. a fortnight before the trek. Jogging is the best way to build cardiovascular endurance and get fit for a high altitude trek.
  • Continuing my usual Yoga routine four times a week but including squats and planks.
  • Doing Pranayama almost every day for 30 minutes, including breath retention as that increases lung capacity.
  • Taking the stairs whenever I could, which is something I anyway do – trek or no trek.
  • Walking as much as I could and whenever possible, again something I anyway do – trek or no trek.
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Stupendous views! Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.

I want to be ‘trek-ready’ always. With that intention, I have continued the above mentioned routine is a slightly customised way till today.

And subsequently, I went ahead and completed the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek too. However, Rupin was special and continues to be my personal favourite.

(Read more about my Rupin experience here)

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

27 thoughts on “How Difficult is Rupin Pass Trek?”

  1. Having done Himalayan treks, I can definitely say that fitness Level matters. At the same time, I found it surprising that a first timer with absolutely no fitness training and appropriate gear – landing up in a running shoes, completed a high altitude trek. That’s definitely an exception but it poses questions about many things. Thanks for sharing your insights, Neel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. High altitude trekking in a running shoe with no fitness is intriguing. In which part of Himalayas did you trek?
      In fact the first time I went I did nothing special for fitness though I did wear trekking shoes. And, when i didn’t have any problems and did it quite well, I had attributed it to my growing up in the hills.
      Thank you for reading, Arvind and leaving behind your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Neel, that was Roopkund. We had a young girl, it was the first trek for her; we were surprised because she was prepared for a holiday rather than a trek. I never jogged or ran as suggested by mots trek operators. I follow a regular fitness regimen. I feel boot camp workout along with stretching or yoga is the best way to prepare oneself. But if one is out of shape, it is impossible.
        People in hills have a stronger lung capacity, they generally have healthy dietary habits. It helps a lot!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So, you were fit or else Roopkund isn’t a walk in the park. Was that girl able to complete the trek? Yes, growing up in the hills I can vouch for that but rather than dietary habits, I think it’s the walks – the up’s and down’s you’re forced to do so.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. For sure, Roopkund is a tough trek. Any high altutude trek is! Yes, she was able to complete the trek, which was surprising.

            The hilly terrain does prepare locals, there’s no doubt about it. The food in hills is wholesome and usually locally procured. For sure, there’s no junk food so no pasta, pizza, burger….swiggy, Uber eats….. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, Ralie. It is of great pleasure a traveler like you taking time to visit my posts and leaving behind your thoughts. I really appreciate it. I have been lagging behind in catching up with your posts though. Next week onward, I should be better.
      As for Nepal and the news about Everest it is really very disturbing. I wonder if they will ever put a curb on the number of people attempting the climb. And the fact that Everest is so polluted with our human activities is even sadder.

      Like

  2. I’ve been reading your posts for a while now and just wanted to say thanks for write ups. Someday I’ll catch up on what’s going on this side of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for visiting my blog. It’s an honour to hear that you have read my write ups. I hope I will get to read what’s happening on your side of the world soon. 🙂

      Like

  3. Neelanjana, as much as I enjoy your trekking expeditions, as much so, with each such article, I keep getting reminded that, though fit, I am past my prime! (Or is it that I have turned lazier?) Well…you keep going and I will just tag along (through the pictures!).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a classic case – who wants to fight laziness? Just bring it on! 😅
    I mean, I want to maintain my fitness – even get fitter – and I know what needs to be done to achieve that. But I don’t “want to” do those things which need to be done… 😜😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Captured beautifully! This will be a helpful resource for people looking for the difficulty level of the trek. From my 1 month back experience, the summit day was a bit challenging since we started around 4:30 AM and ended by 4 PM. It was a tiring yet thrilling walk full of ascents, descents and snow slides 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agree with you Vishal. Last day is the most challenging as the distance is too long and towards the end it drags literally. I had started at 2.30 AM along with my tent mate, who wasn’t doing too well. So you can imagine the long time.
      Waiting to read your experience.

      Liked by 1 person

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