Reading Time: 2 mins
Winter is finally here and it brings with itself all the guts and glory of the snowy in Himachal Pradesh. Pretty much all your travellers and our friends are back to work and really slogging it. I think we all deserve a nice, juicy break over the winter. Now, our ‘bosses’ will probably not give us few weeks off to sip coffee in the comfort of our blankets, but we can make a getaway happen, can’t we? Just need to plan well for it.
Ok.. What do we do then?
Now, most people will suggest you book some room in a hotel with a pool and laze around it all day with watermelon juice in hand. Granted, even while typing it – it sounds appealing. But nah. I am not one to suggest these hoity-toity vacations. I like adventures. I like thrill. I like feeling re-energized, active and inspired on my vacations. I like feeling productive. And that is exactly what I want for you too!
I suggest you take a daring trek and make this break all the more purposeful. The rush of trekking up the mountains, the views that accompany this journey and the great memories you make on this amazing trek will be more than satisfactory to make your break a successful one.
But which trek?
The answer is pretty simple. Keeping the climate, the roads and the travelling season in mind – The Hampta Pass Trek is your best bet! This trek is one of the most stunning crossover treks of the higher Himalayan region and is bound to make you awe at every twist and turn. And the best part is, you can always go further and take the Chandratal trek along with it too.
What is so special about the Hampta Pass Trek?
Thrillophiliacs and seasoned trekkers consider Hampta Pass to be one of India’s most colourful, vivid and dramatic treks. Why?
- The change of scenery during this trek is unparalleled. You will climb from the maple forests in the foothills, reach some mountainous grasslands, go through lush green meadows and be at the intersection of some gigantic peaks.
- The crossover from the Kullu Valley to the Spiti Valley after crossing the pass is one of the most attractive things about the trek. The drastic change from lush green fields to the desert oasis of Spiti is breathtaking.
- Several campsites along the way ensure that you get to see the most fabulous views right next to your eyes. Huge mountains, cascading streams, innumerable horses milling about and colourful flowers in the grasslands make it totally unforgettable.
- The addition of the Chandratal trek segment makes the trek even more exciting. The Moon Lake is best experienced in real life.
What is the best time to take the Hampta Pass Trek?
Also Read: 5 Ways to travel sustainably in 2020
June to mid-October is the best season to take on this trek. The weather in the upper Himalayas is warm during the day and gets progressively cooler. This is the ideal temperature to gain altitude fast.
After October, it becomes very bitterly cold and temperatures fall to several degrees below zero, making this trek almost unapproachable. Mid June to Mid July is in fact the sweet spot for it. There is no snow in the lower areas and quite a lot of it as you reach Siaguru and the Hampta Pass. By August all of that melts away.
But, it is winter and how can we just suggest a summer trek and leave you hanging right? Nope. Don’t despair. It is possible to see Hampta during the winters. There is something called the Hampta Valley Circuit trek. This trek climbs from the same way the original trek does, but instead of crossing over to the Lahual side, it returns trekkers back to base camp. So, the route would be Manali – Jobri – Chikka – Balu Ka Ghera – Hampta Pass – back. This part is possible even in the winter months, well into December. Unless the snowfall reaches some kind of impenetrable extreme. Its Mother Nature, after all, can’t really predict her moods.
How to approach the Hampta Pass Trek?
The Hampta Pass Trek is approachable from the town of Manali. Here is a quick general itinerary to help you understand what this 5-day expedition looks like.
Day 1: Reach Manali
After checking in spend an evening in Manali.
Day 2: Trek to Chikka
4-hour drive from Manali to reach the base camp of Chikka.
Day 3: Reach Balu ka Ghera
4-5 hours trek from Chikka to Balu ka Ghera through the wild meadows.
Day 4: Reach Hampta Pass
Trek 14000 ft high to reach Hampta pass. Upon reaching you can see the clear view of gigantic glaciers and Pir Panjal Range.
Day 5: Back to Manali
Get back to Manali while seeing the glimpses of Rohtang, Hampta, and Spiti.
What if I crave some more adventure?
Well, lucky for you the Hampta Pass Trek is a gift that keeps on giving. If these 5 days of expeditions were not enough for you, then you can even continue onward for the amazing Chandratal trek.
Chandratal Lake or Moon Lake is one of Spiti Valley’s biggest lakes and makes for a fantastic camping site. The gorgeous orange toned mountains, the sparkling water and the big wide sky makes it look like a scene out of the movies.
After departing from Siaguru, you can choose to drive to Chandratal from the road that leads back to Rohtang Pass. The drive is approximately 3-4 hours long. Camp the night here to view the gorgeous night sky of Spiti.
How should I prepare for the Hampta Pass Trek?
Now you know all about the where and whats of the trek. Time to get into some hows. The Hampta Pass Trek is not an extremely difficult trek but a basic level of fitness is most definitely necessary to complete it successfully. Make sure that you do some running, jogging and endurance exercises at home for a week or so before leaving for the trek.
Some basic exercises you can do are:
- Stair laps with weight.
- Vertical leg crunches.
- Extended planks.
- Body weight squats
Remember to pack light. You do not need 5 different pairs of shoes or 10 different t-shirts for this trek. The lighter and more efficiently you pack, the more comfortable you will be with the climb. That being said, here is a list of things that you most definitely need to make room for.
- Clothes – quick dry pants, t-shirts, one sweater, one padded jacket.
- Protective gear – sunglasses, gloves, suncap, balaclava, thermals.
- First aid kit – band-aid; motion sickness, headache, fever, AMS medicine, blister ointment etc.
- Cutlery – one cup, one plate, one spoon.
- Light backpack of no more than 60 litres.
- Survival kit – torch, headlamp, batteries.
- Trekking equipment – shoes, trekking pole, shoe spikes (if needed).
- Plastic covers and zip lock bags.
- Toiletries – sunscreen, moisturizer, deo, hand sanitizer, light soap.
- Original photo ID.
Also Read: 10 Places to plan your vacation in 2020
It might be easy to think one day ‘let’s do this’ but a lot of trekkers face difficulty later on because they are ill-informed about the route, not physically prepared or simply unable to keep up with the rest of the team. Here are some things you should keep in mind before taking this trek.
- If this is one of your first time taking a longer trek, then be prepared to feel exhausted. It is not easy to lug up a mountain carrying several kilos on your back while crossing streams and boulders. Be prepared to feel drained. All you have to do is be determined to keep moving ahead.
- You will not be able to bathe every day. In fact, you may not be able to bathe during the entire Hampta Pass Trek at all. The most you can do is freshen up from time to time. Stick deodorants will be your best friend.
- Please be very very careful about littering. The plastic bags in your backpack should store everything from soiled clothes, socks, sanitary napkins, used tissues etc. The higher Himalayas have an intense problem with plastic waste and there is no way you should contribute to it.
- Be aware of AMS. AMS or Acute Mountain Sickness can happen when we gain altitude rapidly. The symptoms are stomach ache, difficulty breathing, fatigue, loss of appetite etc. This can be cured with a course of Diamox. But if you feel too sick to carry on during the Hampta Pass Trek, do not over exert yourself. Health always comes first.
What are the costs?
Since the Hampta Pass Trek is almost a week-long affair, any travel package for it will definitely cost you somewhat close to INR 10,000. Especially when you couple the additional Chandratal trek along with it.
The route does involve some treacherous paths and it is definitely not recommended to go there without a guide. Especially for a first timer. It is very important to be with someone who knows what they are doing up there.
For best prices, click here.
Are you ready?
Wow. That was a lot of information to take in, I know! But when you are thinking of planning something great for your break it is best to stay informed about everything. I would still recommend that you have an extensive discussion with your travel provider and learn everything there is to about this place.
It is definitely going to be one of the greatest experiences of your entire lifetime. If you have been to quite a few Himalayan treks, then the dramatic crossover Hampta Pass Trek will definitely give you the goosebumps of feeling something new altogether.
Get Up Go!