The Hampta Pass trek is ideal for first-time trekkers as it packs in everything from dark pine forests, open meadows to glacial valleys and stunning views all of which combine to give you an adventure of a lifetime.
So off we went, into the wild. Our journey commenced from Manali to Prini by road. Then onwards, by foot to a place called Chikha. Chika is the starting point for the trek to Hampta pass.
As anticipated, the conditions, even for a fit person, were hard. Sleeping in tents, crossing ice cold rivers and navigating the dense forests were just the beginnings of the adventure that lay ahead.
Day 1: The trek started from Jobra as we slowly disappeared into a forest of Deodar, Toss, Oak and Maple trees. The beauty was breathtaking. Soon, we crossed a makeshift wooden bridge over the Rani Nalla.The dense forest made it hard for light to reach us. We were surrounded by tall Deodars that rose over 100 feet. On the way, we crossed numerous small streams that weren’t obstacles on the trek. Then the Rani Nalla spreads out into a wide valley as we climb a grassy ridge and found ourselves in Chikha. After all the trekking, we set up camp and had tea followed by a scrumptious dinner.
Day 2: The only way to enjoy the mountains is to get up early in the morning. After tea and an early breakfast we moved from Chikha to Balu-ka-Gera. We crossed a stream and started an upward climb towards the closed end of the Kullu Valley. The scenery changed rapidly. Below us, snow patches on the valley increased in frequency. Ahead, the snow-covered slopes of the Hampta Pass revealed themselves. Everything was a dazzling white. The snow looked magnificent. On the way, a stream welcomed us. We took our shoes off to cross this stream and on the other side was Balu Ka Gera.
Day 3: On the third day there was no sun, only a light drizzle. We moved to Siagoru via Hampta Pass. The serious climb started now. It was clear that no one had ever been here before. There were no footprints. The virgin snow was soft. The pass is a wide plateau. On its eastern flanks are the towering cliffs of the mountain. On the west, it curves to the left and drops down to Spiti Valley. As we walked down we soon found ourselves in the Spiti Valley. We halted and camped in Siagoru.
Day 4: The fourth day was a Himalayan blessing. There was no drizzle and the sky was clear. This part of the trek comes in a rain shadow area. We moved towards Chatru and then drove to Chandratal Lake. It was again a steep climb up to the main trail. The scenery is different. You expect it to be barren, but surprisingly the slopes are green—but they are boulder strewn. Another surprise is Chatru itself, which only has around 40 houses !
Our plans for Chandrataal flopped, thanks to a sudden landslide on the way to the lake. Instead, we decide to go ahead to the Kunzum Pass. It is one of the highest motorable passes across the Kunzum range at an altitude of 4,551 m. It serves as an entrance pass to the Spiti Valley from Lahaul. It is said that Goddess Kunjum (Durga/Parvati) resides in a temple on the Kunzum top and keeps guard over the pass warding off evil spirits. Visitors normally do a round of the temple to seek her blessings. We then came down to Batal and set up our camps. Batal is a village that lies at the foot of the Kunzum Pass and serves as the resting point for tourists. Moreover, the Bara Shigri Glacier and the triangular peaks in the south can be seen from Batal.
1)One month prior to a high altitude trek, you should build up stamina, muscle strength and flexibility. Running, skipping, pushups and other forms of exercise help.
3)Carry high energy foods like dry fruits, and energy bars etc. for the trek to Hampta Pass
4)Essentials like a torch, extra batteries, first-aid kit will come in handy.