Hampta Pass – Escapade at a Bargain

Summer, 2018 I wanted to do something which pushes me to move out of my comfort zone so I signed up for my first high altitude trek.

 Hampta pass trek is a beginner’s delight. It is an easy to moderate trek at an altitude of 14,100 ft. It is a crossover between Kullu and Lahual valley (best of both worlds).

Day 1 Manali→ Jobra→ Chika

I started my journey from ISBT at 7.30 PM by HPTC Volvo bus. I reached Manali in the morning around 10.30 am. We (Trek group) were supposed to report our trek leader at 9 am but my bus got delayed. So, no time to freshen up and had to directly board the taxi to Jobra, the starting point for the trek which was about 2 hours away from Manali. We took a break at a small shop/tapri and I got a chance to freshen up and had tea and egg pizza (tasted heavenly).

Our trek leader briefed us about the dos and don’ts and introduced us to Trek guide and assistant and this was followed by ice breaking session with fellow trekkers. Finally, we started walking. This day the trail was easy and short and totally mesmerizing. We reached our campsite within 2 hours. It was situated between Jobra and Chika at an altitude of 9800 ft. The view was glorious with pine and maple trees and a stream flowing by the campsite. By evening temperature had dipped, we enjoyed our evening in lush green surroundings with a cup of chai and took a walk around the campsite. We had an early dinner that day as everyone was tired. Food was very tasty and to top it they served us piping hot kheer which was a pleasant surprise for everyone.

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Day 2 Chika→ Balu ka Ghera

Next morning we got up early as the distance to be covered on this day was around 5 km and the trail was easy to moderate. The walk was quite scenic with Rani Ka Nallah flowing on side throughout and sheep grazing in the meadows amidst maple and pine trees. After Chika, there was a river crossing to enter Jwara which added to the excitement and the water was ice cold. We took a maggi-chai break at Jwara and the view was splendid as there was Dhauladar range with its snow covered peaks. On this day, we experienced number of waterfalls on the way where we relaxed, clicked pictures and refilled our water bottles. The difficult part was an ascent though boulders which is about 2 hours. As you head further, you enter a valley where you will find sheep and mules feeding on the grass and lot of flowers. We reached our campsite Balu Ka Ghera in the evening reaching an altitude of 12,500 ft approx above the sea level. Due to high altitude, few people in the group were feeling uneasy. At high altitude, it is not advisable to rest inside the tent just after reaching the campsite so we did few exercises and went for nature walk to get our self acclimatized.

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Day 3 Balu ka Ghera -→ Shea Goru via Hampta Pass (The D Day)

This was the most special day of the trek as this was the Summit Day.

This day the hike was moderate with around 8-9 hours of walking. There was a gradual ascent which gets steep till the pass and then you descent for about 2 hours to reach Shea Goru. This day seemed moderate as we started walking, but it started raining followed by hail storm which increased the difficult of trek, also there was snow near the pass. Due to rain the snow became soft so it was really difficult to walk. To reach the top of the ridge there was another climb for 20-30 minutes and then finally we reached the Hampta Pass which is a crossover from Kullu to Lahaul-Spiti Valley which is almost 14,100 ft. Finally, the feeling of reaching on top .The Descent is tricky as was already indicated by our trek leader in the brief and it got worse because of rain. After walking for an hour then it is straight down hill trek on snow. In an hour and half we reached the Shea Goru Campsite. This was the most magnificent view with tall snow clad mountains, horses grazing on side and a river flowing by and that particular day because of rain it was all lush green. This was by far the best campsite view wise.

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Day 4 Shea Goru → Chhatru→ Chandratal

This day was 4.5 hours of moderate descent from an altitude of approx 12,250 ft to 10, 898 ft. we started our day with river crossing which was right next to campsite. While walking we came across edges of rocks and 2-3 glaciers which merge into Chanda River. After reaching Chhatru , we left our bags with the porters and straightway away headed to Chandratal lake by cab. Chandratal is a moon lake which is at an altitude of 14,100 ft and is the highlight of the trip. The roads were quite bumpy but the view at the lake is so breathtaking that it makes you forget everything. By evening we came back to our campsite chhatru. This was the last night of the trek. Everyone shared their experience and as a group we bonded really well.

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The next morning we left for Manali and the view on the way back was majestic as weather gods showed their presence.

Finally, we reached Manali with lots of memories which we will cherish for life.

Things to Remember:

  • Always weigh your backpack before going for a high altitude trek.
  • Invest in good/sturdy waterproof shoes.
  • Carry rain poncho (June – Aug trek).
  • Keep yourself well hydrated during the trek .
  • Always keep a margin of 2-3 hours, if travelling from Delhi by bus.

PS: Learning/Reflections of trek in another post 🙂


This Post was originally published by Bikat Adventures

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