Connecting two of the holy shrines of Hindu - Badrinath and Kedarnath, a mythological story has it that a sage used to perform rituals in both the temples on the same day using this route known as Kedar Badri. This created enough crest amongst the mountaineers and explorers to find a route connecting the two shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath.
British explorers to the likes of Tillman and Eric Shipton set their foot to find a route through them in 1934. They entered through the Satopanth glacier from Badrinath side, crossed the col, but got trapped in dense bamboo forest of Gondharpongi valley, before returning to Joshimath for his Nanda Devi expedition. Before them, Meade had his share of efforts in 1912. From then on, lots of steps has been take by mountaineers of our country to find a route connecting them, mostly mountaineers from Bengal including Harish Kapadia in 1997, who was stopped by the Ice fall. In 2000, an English mountaineer Martin Moran lead an expedition to Neelkanth, a nearby peak in Badrinath area to find a route and then successfully negotiated the Panpatia ice falls to exit through Kedarnath making it the first successful attempt completing Shipton's route.
Neelkanth and Parvati seen on Panpatia Trek
photo by Debabrata Mukherjee
Some dedicated and continuous efforts was made by mountaineer Anindya Mukherjee with other fellow mountaineer friends on the same crest. He tried 3 years in row from Madhameshwar side with little more success at each attempt and in his 4th attempt, he tried from the other side.
In 2007, A Bengali team in lead by Tapan Pandit and Debabrata Mukherjee successfully crossed the crevasse laiden ice fields of the Panpatia creating a history, making it a first Indian success on the route. The advantages of Google Earth helped the team to plan a safer route through the ice falls.
The beauty of the 2007 expedition was that, though difficult, this route was trekkable, and In recent times, trekkers crossing it successfully has been reported quite a few times, following the same route. It was a gift to the trekking community by the efforts of the 2007 team.
As understandable, this is not a mere trek. It needs to be treated as a semi-expedition which requires climbing gears like mountaineering boots, ice axes, anchoring devices, ropes and thye most important - right mentality
There is a Himalayan High in trekking this historic route !!