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Fantastic treks from Manali: Friendship Peak Trek

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Friendship Peak was in the news recently after Ultarunner Kieren D’Souza scaled the mountain in under 12 hours and created a record. Now it is quite impressive as it takes 6 days to finish this grueling trek. Want to know more about the mountain and the route? Keep on reading.

One of the trekkable summits in the Indian Himalayan region, the Friendship Peak looming at an elevation of 17,200 ft in the Pir Panjal range in Himachal Pradesh is a trekker’s heaven. Situated near the Beas Kund, the trek offers a panoramic view of the snowy peaks of Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal range. The summit faces several other peaks like Hanuman Tibba, Shitidhar, Indra Asan and Deo Tibba and you can get a sweeping and spectacular views of the mountain ranges from there.

The Friendship Peak trek commences from Solang, a valley which is a couple of hours drive from Manali. The trek passes through several alpine meadows, thick forest dotted with varied species of alpine trees, colourful orchards and crisscrossed by numerous small and gushing streams.  The fitness level required for this expedition is quite high. On the route to the top you will find all mountain topographic features like moraines, glacier, crevasses & Ice Patches depending on different seasons. This expedition will take you to heights that will leave you in awe.

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Day 1: Manali -Dhundi– Bakerthach

A short drive from Manali will take you to this pretty village, an alpine plateau in Solang Valley. This is very scenic place to start the trek. The highest mountains of Dhauladhar, Hanuman Tibba (5950 m), Deo Tibba (6001m), and Indra Asan (6100 m) can be seen from here and the backdrop will definitely instill new energy in you. Following the trail you will walk alongside the gurgling Beas River. The trek takes you through green meadows and the forest of Pine, Maple, Walnut, Silver fir and Oak. As you near Bakkarthatch, you would cross 2-3 small streams of tributaries of the main river. Once you reach the campsite, you can explore the surrounding region or just lie down to absorb the beauty around you. It’s after all the first day!

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Day 2: Bakarthatch to ABC at Lady Leg

It is a unique day as we will be crossing lots of moraine patches in the process of reaching lady legs. Lady-leg is named due to its visual physical feature like a leg of a lady. First, the trek goes to Beas Kund which is regarded as a holy lake. It is said that Rishi Vyas had meditated here before writing the famous epic of Mahabharata. The terrain consists of mostly rocky paths. There is a steep ascent all the way to the top of Beas Kund. From here climb gently through boulders and rocks for few minutes to base camp for the wonderful summits around ie. Shitidhar, Ladakhi, Friendship peaks. Lahaul valley region lies to the north of Beas Kund just behind the great wall of these mountains. To the west Kangra and the lower region of Himalaya known as the Dhauladhar range. Continue ascent to base camp at Lady leg.

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Day 3: Loadfairy/Move to Summit Camp

Get familiar with your gears, Try learning some basic techniques of climbing a peak. The day is to ferry the summit loads to Camp 1 that will serve your acclimatization objectives. Spend some time at Camp 1, and return to ABC in the evening.

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Day 4 – Acclimatization and training

It’s very important to let your body acclimatize to the higher altitudes, otherwise there is a risk of AMS. Therefore the day is reserved for acclimatization at the base camp. You will also learn will learn a few critical things like  Ascending & descending on heavy snow, Using Ice Axe for the temporary anchor, Self-arrest using an ice axe, roping up, and using technical mountaineering equipment. These will help you in upcoming days.

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Day 5: Summit to Friendship Peak

Finally, it’s the most-awaited and crucial day of the entire trek and hence it also gives rise to the most difficult day of the whole journey. So, brace yourself for an exhilarating day ahead. Starting the trek, you need to tread through steep inclines and make way across the snow-filled trail. Though the day is quite taxing, it brings great excitement as you ascend the high mountain. Excitement is at its peak once you reach the summit. You have done it. Capture the moment in your eyes and well on the camera too. You are standing on the summit of Friendship Peak. After summit descend to Summit can and trek back to reach base camp for overnight stay.

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Day 8: Base Camp to Dhundi to Manali

Trace your way back to Dhundi crossing the same forests and meadows you climbed few days back. The path might be the same, but you will feel everything changed around you. Treks do that to you! From Dhundi you can drive to Manali. You are going back with a lot of memories and a desire to visit the mountains very soon.

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Best Time to Visit

Friendship Peak Expedition is best attempted during the months of May, June, August, September, and October, as the harshness of winter is left behind, and trials clear up considerably. This expedition avoided in July due to the occurrence of landslides. The temperature ranges from 10 to 15 degrees during the daytime and dips to about -6 to 4 during nights. You can witness a collection of some of the majestic Himalayan peaks covered with pristine snow. Embrace yourself to witness enthralling views if you plan to visit Friendship Peak during these months.

How to Reach

Nearest Airport: Bhuntar Airport is the nearest airport, which is around 50 km from Manali. But due to bad visibility, flights from Bhuntar Airports often get cancelled. In such case, tourist can go to the second closest, Chandigarh International Airport.

Nearest Railway Station: Joginder Nagar Railway Station is the nearest railway station, around 166 km from Manali. Other convenient railway stations are in Chandigarh and Pathankot.

By Road: Manali is well connected with all the major cities. If you are coming from Delhi, you can take an overnight Volvo bus. You can also take a taxi or drive down to Manali.

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