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Milam Glacier Trek

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Maximum Altitude: 13600 ft

Duration:  11 days

Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult

Cradled in the Kumaon Himalaya of Uttarakhand, Milam Glacier is situated about 15km from Nanda Devi. The glacier sprawls over 37 kilometre square and is 28 kilometres long. Originating from Kohli and Trishuli Peaks, the Milam Glacier is found on the slope facing south of the Himalayan Range. The stunning natural wonder is said to feed river Gori Ganga in the summer months, and is a delight to the trekkers because the trail offers a captivating view of numerous other glaciers originating from the surrounding peaks. The route also traverses some of the remotest corners of the Himalayas including scenic hamlets and breathtaking landscapes.

Milam Glacier
Source: IG handle @aniketbhandari_

Read about the Rathong Glacier Trek here!

The trek involves moderate walks through rugged terrains, quaint villages and picturesque streams. Panch Chuli Range captivates the scenic trek on ascending to the Lilam ridge. As the trail meanders past Milam glacier, you get several vantage points to view panoramic vistas of mountain, a profusion of unique flora and fauna and unspoiled landscape. The base camp boasts a mesmerizing sight of East face of Nanda Devi.  If walking on the glaciers, passing through the forest, gazing up at a clear blue sky and enjoying the best of nature is what interest you the most then a trek to Milam Glacier can be the best idea for your adventure vacation. Trail, from the base camp, Munsyari, till the glacier, is bestowed with a unique blend of splendor and thrill. It will be little tiresome as the trail might show challenges on some turns but the breathtaking views of the Mt. Trishuli (7070m) and Hardeol (7151m), is worth all the effort.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Munsiyari to Lilam village – 7 km

From Munsyari, a 10 km drive will take you to Selapani from where you begin your trail up the hill. The route gradually descends alongside the gushing Gori Ganga River. You will pass through a beautiful forest and open fields before reaching Lilam. The hike is easy and you will be bustling with energy to explore this tiny village.

Best Treks in Uttarakhand
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Day 2: Lilam to Bugdiar – 14 km

From Lilam the trail enters a spectacular 25 km long gorge. Etched into the cliff face above the Gori Ganga, the hillsides above are covered in dense bamboo thickets and mixed rain forest. Flocks of sheep and goats are a common sight at the meadows of Bugdiar, which will be your campsite for the night stay. Here, there is a memorial which laments the loss of life of villagers and army personals in the avalanche of 1989- Today only a few houses remain on the edge of a waste land-Perhaps a very horrid reminder of what nature’s fury can do to civilizations.

Best Treks in India
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Day 3: Bugdiar to Railkot – 16 km

The valley opens up after climbing quite steeply to a huge overhanging cliff, which shelters a local deity. The route then enters progressively drier terrain, but there are two waterfalls of about 100 m, one of them opposite a tea shop at Mapang, where you can rest your weary limbs and take in the limited available refreshments. Further trek uphill brings you to Railkot. It is a beautiful place for camping guarded by huge cliffs on both sides.

Milam Glacier Trek
Source: IG handle @dhami0o3

Day 4 : Railkot to Ganghar – 13 km

The land is now almost arid and the villages in passing are nearly deserted till you get to Burphu village which is backed by the Burphu peak. The eastern side of Nanda Devi east comes in to view here while you reach up to Ghanghar village where only three of the farmers of 60 families remain and the carefully walled fields below are also deserted. In spite of the eeriness of this town it is interesting to note the beautifully carved wooden doors and windows.

Trekking groups in India
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Day 5: Ghanghar to the Base Camp – 7 km

A steep narrow trek leads into the Pachhu valley, dominated by the north face of Nanda Devi East above the Pachhu glacier. Dwarf rhododendron and birch, with anemones and the Primulas below line the first section of the trek before it emerges into alpine meadows below the debris of the glacier itself. Tom Longstaff came through this valley in his unsuccessful attempt to climb Nanda Devi East in 1905 before trying the parallel valley to south of Pachhu via what is now known as Longstaff’s Col. There is a camp site 3 km from the base of Nanda Devi with both the Col and the summit clearly visible; Provided the weather is clear.

Uttarakhand Treks
Source: IG handle @dhami0o3

Day 6: Base Camp to Milam village – 17 km

Returning via Ghanghar at Burphu, the trek crosses the Gori Ganga on a wooden bridge then climbs to the former staging post of Milam village. Now, this village which is an overnight camp was the home of a number of renowned Pundit explorers and is also the last major settlement before Tibet. However, in spite of the vicinity to Tibet most villagers here trace their ancestors to the Rajput clans of the desert state of Rajasthan.

Milam Glacier Trek
Source: IG handle @dhami0o3

Day 7: Trek to Milam Glacier Point

Wake up early to see the enchanting views of Trisuli and other snow laden Himalayan peaks. Today you’ll trek towards the gigantic Milam glacier. The path can be slippery due to clear ice uncovered by debris from earlier treks and one needs to be careful while crossing the left bank of this glacier. The views from the glacier can turn anyone speechless. You can enjoy the panoramic view of magnificent peaks like Rishi Parvat, Hardeol and Tirsuli (7074 M). Later trek back to Milam.

Glacier Treks in India
Source: IG handle @rohanshahi

Day 8: Milam to Railkot

Start retracing your steps to Railkot with the summit memories still fresh in your mind.

Day 9: Railkot to Bugdiar

Return back to Bugdigar today making your way once more through the deserted village of barely 3 farmer families.

Day 10: Bugdiar to Lilam

Pass once more through the bamboo thickets and dense rain forests, which you did while climbing up to Bugdigar.

Day 11: Lilam to Munsiyari

You finally return back to civilization to Munsiyari. Before you leave this enchanting town, I suggest you stay for a couple of days and explore it.

Read about the Pindari Glacier trek here!

Best Time To Visit

March –June and September- October are the best months to trek here.

How To Reach

The nearest airport from Milam Glacier is at Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, about 267km from Joshimath. The nearest railhead is at Nainital, about 297km from Joshimath and 273km from Munsiyari. Neighbouring towns like Nainital, Ranikhet, Kausani, and Haldwani are well-connected with state-owned buses and taxis.

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