About Black Peak Expedition – Mt. Kalanag
Kalanag or Black Peak (6387m) is the highest peak in the Saraswati (Bandarpunch) mountain range. The word ‘Kalanag’ literally means Black Cobra due to its top part resembling a black snake’s hood. It is visible from the Kedarkantha peak as well as Dayara Bugyal, with a much clearer view during winters. The peak provides a very smooth and gradual southern approach but towards the Northern slope it features a very steep, almost vertical slope. Black peak expedition is a moderate one and usually doable only during 4 months in the entire year.
Location: Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarakhand, India
Ideal Season: May, June, September, October
Rope Required : 2000 metres
Itinerary for Black Peak Expedition
Day 1: Dehradun to Sankri (1920m) 6/7 hours
Sankri serves as the base for many treks in Uttarakhand. Dehradun to Sankri is around 180kms and the route passes through Mussoorie, Naugaon, Purola, Mori, Netwar and then Sankri in Govind Pashu National park. It takes around 7 hours to reach Sankri from Dehradun by road. Sankri is situated at a height of 1920m above sea level. The places to stay for the night before the trek are the GMVN guest house or the Hotel Swargrohini Palace. The view from the village is splendid, you can see snow capped mountains in the distance.
Day 2: Sankri to Osla (2560m) 6/7 hours
The day starts with the gentle trail towards Osla. It is a long trek through beautiful forests of Chestnut, Walnut and Willows and takes around 6-7 hours to reach Osla. A gradual ascent brings us to the Osla village along the swift rivulet. On arrival set the camp for overnight stay and enjoy being in the lap of nature.
Day 3: Osla to Ruinsara Tal (3350m) 5/6 hours
The trek to the Holy Ruinsara Tal or Lake is through a brilliant alpine trail. The views of the Swargrohini Range are particularly impressive from here. The lake is located at the side of the Ton Glacier. Osla to Ruinsara Tal is a long 14km trek with little to no gradient therefore, at the most, it will take you around 5-6 hours to reach here.
Day 4: Ruinsara Tal to Kyarkoti (Base Camp) 3500m (3/4 hours)
Kyarkoti is situated at the base of Saraswati mountain Range and is mainly a grassy patch of land with boulders surrounding the place. It serves as the base camp for black peak expedition. It is surrounded by snow clad mountains on the three sides. The nearby spring makes it an ideal site for camp bases. Porters are the only means of transporting goods here. Black Peak can be seen clearly from the base camp. The trail to kyarkoti is quite steep and therefore takes around 4 hours of difficult climbing.
Day 5: Base Camp to Camp 1 (4600m) 4 hours
Load your ferry to establish camp 1. It takes around 4 hours of trekking from the base camp to camp 1. This would help you to acclimatize easily. After crossing a high land just next to our base camp, trek on grassy land with gentle slope till you reach a spring dotted with boulders. After steep climbing, reach the path which cosses through a landslide prone region. Then descend one more grassy path which is followed by two patches of moraines. In the last part of the trek, you’ll have to do some easy bouldering to reach camp 1. Camp 1 will be on uneven grassy land gently sloping towards west. On the north, it is flanked by a mountain. A glacier flowing east to west flanks it on the other side.
Day 6: Base Camp to Camp 1 (4600m) 4 hours
Finally establish your Camp 1 by two consecutive days of load ferry. This exercise would be very helpful for acclimatization and I would suggest, never skip this step.
Day 7: Camp 1 to Camp 2 (5100m) 3 hours
Establish Camp 2 on a snow field after a trek of 3 hours from camp 1. Black peak will be clearly visible from the Camp towards the soth-east. However, on this day, you’ll ferry load from camp 1 to camp 2 and then return back to camp 1. This is again a very important step for acllimatization and easy summit climb.
Day 8: Camp 1 to Camp 2 (5100m) 3 hours
Establish camp 2 and stay there and prepare for next day load ferry.
Day 9: Camp 2 to Camp 3 (5500m) 6 hours
Establish camp 3 on a large hump of snow with Black peak visible in the southeast direction. Camp will be at a height of approximately 18000ft. and had to be reached circumventing a number of crevasses. Towards the north you’ll be able to see Swargarohini and towards the south stood the beautiful peaks of Bandarpunch. Stay in Camp 3 and prepare for summit attempt next day.
Day 10: Camp 3 – Summit attempt (6387m)
On the summit attempt day, start as early as 2:00am in the morning. Fix up a rope to negotiate a number of crevasses. The climb of 100 ft before the summit is difficult and dangerous. The snow will be hard and slope is very steep. The summit is on a ridgeline, but it is flat on top. A maximum of 8-10 people can climb the summit at one go.
Route Summary for Black Peak expedition:
Day 1: Dehradun->Sankri(1906m)
Day 2: Sankri->Osla (2560m)
Day 3: Osla->Ruinsara Tal (3350m)
Day 4: Ruinsara Tal->Kyarkoti (Base Camp) 3500m
Day 5: Base Camp->Camp 1 (4600m) Load Ferry
Day 6: Base Camp->Camp 1 (Establish Camp 1)
Day 7: Camp 1->Camp 2 (5100m) Load Ferry
Day 8: Camp 1->Camp 2 (establish camp 2)
Day 9: Camp 2->Camp 3 (5500m)
Day 10: Camp 3->Summit attempt (6387m)
Day 11: Extra day reserved for Summit attempt
Day 12: Move to Base camp
Day 13: Base camp->Osla
Day 14: Osla->Taluka->Sankri