I started running distance in 2014. And it was only in 2015 that I participated in my first ultramarathon event – Garhwal Runs – A 76 Km long qualifier for the prestigious LaUltra. It is only after participating in the 111km category at LaUltra I realised that the ‘organised’ format of running doesn’t excite me much. Hence, the idea of Pindari Ultra Trail came about.

Ultra Trail Running Project in Kumaon Himalayas | 4Play

Pindari Glacier Trek is a renowned trail in Kumaon Himalayas. The 80km long trail (to and fro), weaves through alpine villages, forests, landslides and river beds to climb upto the zero-point of Pindari Glacier (at approximately 13,000 feet). Thorough trekkers take about 5 days to complete the trek. The idea was to run it in under a day’s time.

I left the base at Loharkhet at 5.30 am. A steep ascent to Dhakuri provided a thorough warm up and an idea of what lay ahead. Later in the run, sections of the trail were completely washed up by the landslides; and I had to jump across river banks using such makeshift bridges.

Ultra Trail Running Project in Kumaon Himalayas | 4Play

I made it to the Zero Point by 4.00pm on the same day. The way back entailed a gradual descent. However, it started drizzling as soon as I started. By the time I reached the forest rest house in Dwali the drizzle turned to a heavy downpour. Rain, dark and fear of bears made me take refuge in the cozy, fire warmed hut. I could only start on my way back the following morning at 7.30 am. Way off the ‘under a day’ target. But, such are your experiences on the trail. Every instance may be a new learning experience.

Ultra Trail Running Project in Kumaon Himalayas | 4Play

I made back to the finishing line before noon. Taking a little over 30 hours to complete the project (including 14 hours of bivouac in Dwali). Although I didn’t make it in time, the project wasn’t a complete failure. Instead it has started me on my way to scout for new self-organised challenges. Skyruns, up the hills and peaks in my backyard in Manali are driving me these days.

Ultra Trail Running Project in Kumaon Himalayas | 4Play

Want to start trail running? This guide to Ultra Trail Running 101 is for beginners who want to get off-road and on the trails.

Sukrit Gupta

Author: Sukrit Gupta

An avid climber, ultrarunner and day dreamer, Sukrit is a fan of everything that is self-managed and solo. A flag bearer for self sufficiency and pushing beyond limits, he loves to spend his time slithering over rock faces and devising cruel trail running courses in his mountainous backyard in Manali.

Executing a Self-Supported Ultra Trail Running Project in Kumaon Himalayas

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