Situated at an altitude of 4277.86 meters above sea level, the Hampta Pass is an essential part of Manali’s landscape, which is definitely India’s much loved adventure spot, this trek is certainly amongst the easiest of treks and most accessible to beginners. An electrifying experience, trekking around Hampta Pass unlocks the door to a whole new beautiful world.
While the whole of India is enjoying spring with cool pleasant weather all around, Hampta Pass in February is still a cold desert with harsh weather and unpredictable snowstorms. Though the Hampta Pass trek is not that difficult, it is nearly impossible to complete in the month of February.
Hampta Pass in February is closed due to Snow
Hampta Pass in February is covered with a thick blanket of snow and the weather is unpredictable. The narrowing and constriction of the valley increases the amount of the snow that collects there. The temperature gets as low as 5°C even during the day and there is snowfall. In February, the track to the valley is too steep and sharp to trek which can be risky to walk on and is highly unsafe. But if you plan to attempt Hampta Pass, you should be experienced with other treks in the Himalayan region in order to complete the trek. But it is not advisable to attempt Hampta Pass in February.
But if you want to enjoy Hampta Pass, you should do this trek in mid-June. In mid-June, you will find a beautiful green valley with a few patches of snow – they are abundantly present and found all through the trek. In a nutshell, Hampta Pass in February is not a good idea unless you have a lot of experience. Mid-June to mid-October is the best time to trek the Hampta Pass. After the mid-June, trek fever ends in July and the snow melts down and the valley turns intoa green paradise.
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If you’re an adventure seeker and you love mountains and trekking in the Himalayas, then attempting Hampta Pass trek can turn out to be a perfect week for you to experience the beauty of nature from up close. The best thing about Hampta Pass trek is its moderate level of difficulty and not so high altitude that makes it ideal for amateur mountaineers and inexperienced trekkers. As the maximum altitude to be scaled is around 14000 feet, no pre-requisite preparation is compulsory and altitude sickness is not much of a concern. This trek will give you tons of knowledge in treks and will bring you a step closer to attempting harder treks in the Himalayan Region.
Mid-June to Mid-October is the finest time to trek to Hampta Pass. Several trekkers opt to trek Hampta Pass because of heavy snowfall even in the month of June in the Hampta Pass but the same wonderland changes into a dangerous valley that not many people take the risk of trekking in the month of January due to the high risk and danger.
Hampta Pass in January is Closed due to Snow
Hampta Pass in January is not a recommended time to do this trek as Hampta Pass in January will experience deep snow. The valley gets covered in snow making the trail even narrower and making the ascent sharper. This adventurous trek can be a risky business in winter months due to drop in temperature. The temperature during the month of January can vary from 5°C to 22°C with chilly days and even colder nights. Crossing over the Hampta pass gets to be nearly impossible due to slippery snow and harsh unpredictable weather. The roads from across the pass get closed due to heavy snowstorms and cloudy skies. Hampta Pass in January is not a good idea and not possible to even attempt. The best time to do the Hampta Pass trek is definitely mid-June and post-monsoon.
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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.