Hampta Pass TrekJun 18, 2019
Hampta Pass is a beautiful crossover trek in the Himalayas where you cross over from the rich lush green meadows on the Kullu/Manali side to dry stark high altitude desert of Spiti Valley. I went through this trek in late July of 2018. The trek itself was organized by IndiaHikes. Since I am writing this after almost a year from the time of actual events, I have forgotten many of the details. But I will try to jott down all the useful info that I remember and there will be some pics as well!
The basecamp for this trek was Manali. To get to Manali you could directly fly into Kullu airport but its not a big airport and had only flights from Delhi. So another option is to fly into either Delhi or Chandigarh and drive to Manali. This is the option we ended up with. We reached Manali late at night stayed in the same hotel as trekking group was to meet.
Camp 1 - Jobra
Next day by after noon the whole group was assembled, had our lunch and were ready to go. The first stretch of the journey was by vehicle and was some distance away. From there we had a short walk to the first camp at Jobra.
This was the view at the camp and the yellow tents were ours for the night. By far a most breath taking view for so little effort. Like an image of a mountain that as a kid you drew up so many times come alive.
Sleeping in congested tents is not the most natural for urbanites who are used to wide mattresses and lack of lighting is another pain. Thankfully we had water in the restroom tents and it wasn’t too cold yet. Small luxuries do matter.
Camp 2 - Jwara
Next day we set off leaving the view and camp behind but towards the mountain that we had been watching until then. We walk around it. The day is hot and bright, sky is blue and we are following the river. There are many minor waterfalls along the way and we finally cross the river to our next camp.
Jwara camp is surrounded by mountains on all sides specifically one of the sides has a steep cliff. You see a lot of Himalayan birds and on those cliffs. We are slowly but surly passing the tree line as well.
Camp 3 - Balu ka Ghera
Next day is somewhat easier and shorter trek. This would be the last stretch of Kullu region before the day of the pass. The day starts sunny and hot but soon there are signs of rain and slight drizzles. Few hundred feet short of the camp it starts raining heavily, so we run into the tents. In a while rain clears but the sky remains cloudy.
The cloudy sky late in the evening looked magnificent, trying to hide the sun but not quiet succeeding. The meadow is carpeted with flowers, but there are no more trees in sight.
At this altitude there is constant threat of AMS and there is Oxymeter reading in the morning and evening. No one was affected too seriously.
Camp 4 - Shea Goru
The day of the Pass. We had our packed lunch and lot of water. It was a long walk to the pass and the highest point of the whole trek. Climbing down from the pass to the other side is really steep and treacherous. But you have this beautiful view to nudge you on. This is probably the best view of the whole trek followed by the view at first camp. The camp here is also located at a very nice spot near yet another river. Lot of near by spots to hike around and once again meadows carpeted with flowers. This is where I caught all the horses grassing in perfect coordination.
Camp 5 - Chhatru
Next day morning it had once again started raining and everything was wet and moist and horrible and beautiful all at the same time. First task of our day was to cross the river on barefoot to start on the last stretch of the hike. The river was at least 15ft wide and 2-3 feet deep and freezing cold. We crossed the river holding hands and making a human chain. As soon as we crossed over we were desperately drying our feet and pulling on fresh socks, but since it was still drizzling and meadow as still wet, we didn’t get far in our attempt to get dry. We jumped a bit, ran a bit in our attempt to warm up. Then we started walking, long walk down to the next camp in wet clothes freezing and uncomfortable. By around noon we were at the final camp and the rain had let up. We had a road trip to Chandratal lake to close of the day as the last part of the trek.
The empty rocky landscape of Spiti was beautiful against the backdrop of clouds and rain. It was a long drive along a rough and rocky road.
Last night in tent, and we had a whole day of driving to get back to Manali. We stayed at the same hotel as the first day in Manali. We had an extra day to explore the area. We checked out the narrow back alley and bright shops of Manali Bazaar and did a long zip-line. It was nice to take a bath and sleep in a bead again. We got a late night bus back to Chandigarh.
The trek was long and tedious on the last stretch due to the weather, but overall very much a worth while experience.