Himachal Pradesh - Trekking
Hampta Pass, Lahaul & Spiti Valley
It was Mid August and It started raining and most of the treks in Himachal or Uttrakhand as roads closed due to landslides which are pretty common. Mountains are as unpredictable as wives; we hoped there are less chances of landslides in this part of the himachal. Trek takes us over the majestic foothills of the Himalaya.
The beauty of this trek is everyday the landscape changes. Very few treks can offer almost everything in single trek, the trek will take you through Incredible views of glacial valleys, rock mountains, vast grassland, snowy patches, crossings raging river, thick lush evergreen deodars-spruces-firs forests, amazing meadows, pumping waterways, adventurous crossing high altitude pass, glimpses of barren lands. Discovering the unique landscape is like a dream to reality experience.
Most beautiful and popular route for the local shepherds use this high altitude pass to take their castles, where special grass grows considered a very good source of nutrients for sheep and goats to reach Spiti from Kullu. Best thing in this trek is moderately high altitude and less altitude gain that good for inexperienced trekkers too. Hike will become challenging due to the rapid gains in height to reach hampta pass. It is an eastern pass on PirPanjal range, which divides the valleys into two part to Kullu and lahul Spiti. From Hampta 2000ft steep descent but it is a panoramic lovely surreal twists walk of about an hour to the valley and above all Chandratal Lake connect to main highway.
“If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options. You can climb it and cross to the other side. You can go around it. You can dig under it. You can fly over it. You can blow it up. You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there. You can turn around and go back the way you came. Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.” – Vera N.
Day 1: MANALI, JOBRA THAN TREK TO CHIKA
We met at Manali Mall Road and then we drive from Manali (6000 ft) to Jobra (9,800 ft) by Jeep. You will find other variety of trees like maple, deodar, toss and oak. The sight is refreshing. It is a good place to acclimatize your body before beginning the trek. We start trek to Chika (10100 ft) to our first camp. Trek's one side is Rani river flowing in the middle and a big rocky hill on the other side. Few sheep and cows grazing in the field. The trek passes through some of the most spectacular landscape meadow. On the first day climbing the hill and cover up 2-3 hours easy peasy trek through crossing small bridge and thick forest and reached a height of 10,400 ft of trek. Overnight camp at Chika.
Day 2: CHIKA TO BALU-KA-GERA
Chikka better known for Bear's den OR Bear's circle. Last night bear attacked on sheep’s bunch. Balu-ka-Gera Lake (12,300 ft) is our next destinationa, which is not visible from the Chika. We got packed lunch. While trekking we will be able to see the spectacular Dhauladhar range in the background and Indrasan peak in front. Follow the river and the best part of today’s trek that we have to cross two rivers one at near to Chikka Campsite and other at JwaraNala, which is frrezing cold and will definitely pinch your feet. Path is an easyly.
Once you cross silver birch trees, you just wait for a moment and look at the picturesque beauty of the entire range of Dhauladhar peaks. Best place to fill the bottels, once you reach to the clear stream waterfall. Jwara is a beautiful sheltered valley has huge rocks at one side and river on the other side. The river leads you to another valley, which is end part of Jwara. Start Balu-ka-Gera is covered with mound of sand. most of the trekker pitch campsite in flat ground but because of easy trek we strech the trek and pitch our tent after 2 km at the lake of Balu-ka-Gera. So that the next day have to reach early to cross pass. Balu-ka-Gera lake is at an elevation of 12,300 ft.
Day 3: BALU-KA-GERA, HAMPTA PASS TO SHEAGORU
The most spectacular part of the trek as we cross highest altitude Hampta Pass. Today's trek is 9 hours can split in two parts. 1st ascent on moderate steep slope to Hampta Pass (14,100 ft) and 2nd descent to SiaGoru (12,900 ft). Trek start to trail and take time is along the river side. Another hour walk to reach the first plateau is infront of Deo Tibet Peak. From the next plateau it will take 1 hour walk on one ridge to another ridge. You would be tired by steep climb to reach to the pass. From Hampta Pass you can see the Indrasan Peak and its gigantic glacier. The ascent on this part of the Hampta Pass trek will be moderate. Spend time at Pass than you will see the stunning view of SiaGoru beauty and also spot Spiti Valley from this point. Get ready, in 2 hour you will reach next descent to the base. The valley is secured, trek to Sheagoru is on flat land. SheaGoru camp site is also by the river side.
Day 4: SIAGORU, CHATRU TO CHANDRATAL
Next destination is Chatru (11000 ft). SiaGoru (12,900 ft) is situated at the massive mountains of the PirPanjal and Spiti ranges dominate the entire landscape. Trail again is by the side of the river valley between mountain ranges. Chatru in 5 hours by foot a gentle trek downhill from Sheagoru. and it will take approx 5 hours of easy downhill trek. This trail will take you to the edges of mountains and ridges. The Trek is easy but slippery too. Getting down the mountains will consume another two hours of your time. You noticed the Chandra River flowing below and a road that goes to Chandratal.
Reach Chatru in afternoon from SiaGoru and ready for ride to our next destination is Chandratal Lake, which is one of the most beautiful and virgin lakes in the country. It is the main highway connecting Manali, Rohtang Pass, Chatru and Kaza. Board a vehicle and drive down to Chandratal. The sheer blue color of the lake has an amazing reflection to the surroundings. Impossibly blue water among the reddish brown mountains of Spiti, makes a fantastical view. Chandratal Lake is 70 kms from Chatru. Spend hour at Chandratal and back to chatru.
Day 5: CHATRU, ROHTANG PASS TO MANALI
Chatru is a magnificent camping site, connect to three passes, Hampta, Rohtang and Spiti. A day when your Hampta pass trekking adventure comes to an end. Pack our Bags and leave Chatru early mornig at 9 am, after hours we cross Rohtang Pass and drive to manali. Arrive at Manali and journey with a bag full of memories.
HOW TO REACH
BY AIR : Bhuntar is the nearest airport, which is 52 km away from Manali. Transports available from Bhuntar, its well connected to Delhi by air. The airliners that take you to this Airport from Delhi and Chandigarh to Kullu.
BY ROAD : Delhi - Manali is well connected, take an overnight bus journey in 12 - 14 hours. Tickets available online.
MORE INFO : From Delhi (ISBT, Majnu ka Tilla) most Volvo private buses leave between 5 pm - 6 pm. AND From Manali most Volvo private buses leave between 4 pm - 5 pm. Plan your onward journeys accordingly.
WHAT ARE THE RISK INVOLVED ?
Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS): Shortness breath, Mild headache & Tiredness are some common in high altitude trek. Risk of being hit by AMS is considerably low but you are advised to be on a course of Diamox. In case of any medical emergencies, there are easy exit points on this trek, means evacuation will generally not take more than 24 hours.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR TREK
Prepration: Fight again sub-zero temperatures, carry multi layers throughout winter trek and practice carrying packed backpack to comfortable with it. Carrying dry fruits will help on trek since they provide instant energy. The ascent-descent during the trek demands level of fitness. Begin your fitness preparation, jogging 5 Km in 30 minute before One month or two before start the trek, stretching exercises for flexibility are important so you don’t get cramps in trek.