The Manali Diaries - Hampta Pass Trek

Hampta Pass trek is one of those experiences where the stunning and sheer expanse of nature combined with challenges test the ability to conquer our limits and set new ones. Known to be one of the most beautiful treks in India, Hampta Pass trek in Manali in Himachal Pradesh will entertain even the most seasoned mountaineers and trekkers.

Stretching across a set of diverse landscapes, it is easily best accessible from Manali. The trek crosses from Kullu valley all the way to Chhatru on the Keylong Spiti road in Chandra valley in Lahaul. Manali is in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, which is as excellent as some other slope station. What's more, Hampta Pass is the entryway starting with one of kind geology then onto the next.

There are two amateur glacier crossings, and the trek starts from Jobri where the Jobri and Hampta stream converges. Situated at around 4370 m, the Hampta pass is an intermediate level trek with two days of easy and one day of tough ascent towards the summit and another day of descent.

hampta pass trek

I was with a group of 24 different trekkers. Like most plans, it all started on a Whatsapp group. We encountered the best of a rainstorm on all days. We crossed incalculable puddles and streams, strolled under a cascade, swam over a savage waterway, and got drenched in overwhelming precipitation.

The Hampta Pass trek is simple to moderate trek. There were unquestionably minutes when the going got extreme. The trek begins at around 10,000 feet from a spot called Jwara. You move around 1500 to 2000 feet consistently. We needed to do the majority of the strolling on slush and rock and must be cautious about each progression.

In an alternate season, the trek may be somewhat simpler. The feature of this trek is the stream intersection.

Day 1 – Chikka Campsite


We saw probably the most lovely normal landscapes on the principal day of our trek. Tall pine trees and transcending Himalayan pinnacles stayed with us for the main portion of the trek. Sooner or later, we began strolling close to a furious stream, which had to expand because of the steady showers.

It took us over 7 hours to arrive at the principal campground. Our tents were spread out on a lavish green glade. There were cascades surrounding us. It resembled being in heaven.

Day 2 – Balu Ka Gera Campsite


The treeline vanished on a subsequent day. The vegetation around us got shorter. Wildflowers in pink and yellow were strewn all around. The landscape, vegetation, and fauna helped me to remember the Valley of Flowers trek which I had done around the same time many years before. The waterway despite everything stayed with us, but yet was for the most part wide and savage.

The course was rougher than the first day. Plainly, we were picking up height. In spite of the fact that we didn't have any swimming to do on a subsequent day, we crossed a lot of cold streams which left us with wet feet. The most troublesome one was simply before our campground. Inferable from the consistent downpour, I didn't take a ton of photographs in Balu Ka Gera.

Day 3 – Shea Goru Campsite


Shea Goru or Shia Goru was our third campground. Our tents here were directly close to one of the tributaries of the Chenab River. Bolstered by dissolving ice sheets and storm showers, this stream was cold and uproarious. What's more, we needed to cross it by foot the following day.

The snow-clad Indrasan top stood impressive and high beside our campground. In any case, I, for the most part, guided my camera toward a couple of obscure tops on the contrary side. The skies were as yet irritable, yet during the short minutes when the mists cleared, we could see the other snow-clad pinnacles which encompassed us.

When we started walking it was clear blue skies but within an hour we were in a whiteout zone and soon found each other and the guide only through footsteps. The weather was indeed turning bad and we had to rush. That was the very first time I experienced slight hallucinations at high altitude.

The white shade of the snow matched with the shade of the fog and in their merging only the patterns in the snow were visible, which now started to wave and move around like a serpentine river – as if the entire snowfield was flowing across and we were wading through it like small dinghies.

For a few seconds, I even felt my entire vision was changing colors – green, blue, red as if my mind had decided to go on a riot. As I paused to take a break on a small snow slope, I could see the fog playing hide and seek with us showing peeks of the massive mountains that surrounded us and huge falls that we might get forever sucked into at any wrong step.

Day 4 – Chatru Campsite


Following 3 days of hard trekking, the fourth day was a delicate down slope stroll to the town of Chatru. We were in the desert of Spiti, so the landscape was for the most part rough, with just little bushes developing in the middle.

From Chatru we made a trip by vehicle to lake Chandratal before visiting Kaza. At 14,000 feet, this emerald-hued lake is a photographers heaven. Chandratal Lake is a high-altitude fresh-water lake in Spiti Valley. After a long drive on the extremely treacherous roads, when we reached Chandratal, the lake seemed unreal - like a hand painting. We cannot do justice describing the beauty of Chandratal.

The weather deteriorated with signs of pouring any minute. This again significantly decreased my endeavors to take photographs.

Day 5 – Nako Campsite


We went to Key, one of the most impressive sites we have ever been to. We can observe the residence of the kings of this small principality who still reside on the banks of the river, as well as its market and temples. After seeing a spectacular sunrise in front of the impressive peaks of the Himalayas, we left for Nako. We visited the Dhankar monastery.

The rest of the day passed without further problems until we arrived in Tabo. Shortly before arriving at Sumdo we had to stop the march because the road was cut due to a detachment. There between the huge scree we stayed almost a couple of hours, seeing what happens and if the mountain was finished falling. The climb is long but the scenery is incredible and we finally reach the small town of Nako.

At dusk we enjoyed a tour of medieval Tibetan village. The most similar to how I imagine it is Upper Mustang, but in miniature, of course. We reach a police barrier where we have to present a permit for entry into the restricted area (border with Tibet) and register our passage.

Day 6 – Chicham Campsite


We came back towards Chicham. The strongest souls face a steep descent northwest into the gorge of the Shilla Creek and an even longer ascent that continues northwestward to the tiny village of six houses in Tashigong.

A motor road crosses the low ridge on the side of Spiti (south) and gentle slopes through this ridge lead west to Gette Village. From Gette, an option for those wishing to shorten the walk and quickly reach the main valley is a zigzag path that leads directly to the precipice Monastery of Ki 500 m lower. The road runs towards Kibber (4,120 m) about 5 km northwest.

The camp can be reached by Kibber or a little further on the edge of the village fields. From Kibber, to the right (north) is the route to Ladakh on the Parang La. Directly opposite is the village of Chicham (4,150 m), on the other side of the gorilla-shaped valley of the tributary of Spiti river.

Here I wanted to do something called deep sky imaging or observing. I picked up this hobby recently and have started exploring our night skies like never before. The cities most of us live in, do not do justice to the beauty of the skies above us. It is only when you move far away from city lights, and pollution, that you start realising how mesmerising the night sky can truly be.

I still hear murmur and gasps from people when they look at the night sky in the mountains. Wow, unbelievable, is this really how our sky looks like? are just some of the expressions.

I am sure each one of you has had the same feeling looking at the night sky from our beloved mountains. Countries like New Zealand have dedicated dark sky reserves where they take steps to ensure light pollution from the towns do not ruin the majesty of the night sky. We can do the same.
Kalyan Panja

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