Hampta Pass Trek: A Post Lockdown Experience
Hampta Pass trek is perfect for people who seek adventure and love mountains. The highest altitude of the trek is moderately high and is perfect for both beginners and experts. The trek starts in Kullu- Manali and it goes on to Spiti. The trek has beautiful meadows, unilluminated forests, glacial valleys and many views of the Himalyan Peaks which makes the trek mesmerizing and exciting. The other landscape features are vertical rock walls, grasslands, high flowing streams, waterfalls and hanging glaciers. The whole tour consists of 8 nights and 9 days itinerary and it is a comprehensive schedule. These 9 days are divided in a way which involves 4 days travel and 5 days of trekking.
The maximum altitude one can reach is about 14,000 feet and there is no profound requirement of the acclimatization. One can witness immaculate and picturesque alpines like Chandratal. One can experience camping on this trek as well and can capture amazing views of the Pir Panjal Range. One can witness many mountain ranges throughout the trek.
Local Shepherds use this trek as it has a high altitude to take their cattles for grazing in Lahaul Spiti. The grass is known as Neeru which grows on these high altitudes. This grass is known as a good source of nutrients for sheep and goats. As the Pass is located in the village Hampta thus it is known as Hampta Pass Trek and lies in Kullu Valley.
Where is the Hampta Pass?
Hampta pass trek is located in close proximity to Kullu Manali. It is east to Manali and the South East Ridge is witnessed while one is on the trek. It lies at an elevation of 4200 metres. Hampta Pass stands as a bridge which connects Kullu to Lahaul. The highest altitude of the trek is 14,010 feet.
How to reach
The starting point of the trek is Manali and it is easily accessible by air, rail and road. One can fly to Bhuntar Airport which is located about 52 kilometres from Manali and with the help of the regular taxi services one can reach the destination. Due to the pandemic, if you are avoiding public transportations you can take your own vehicle as Manali is well connected by road and one can reach the city from cities such as New Delhi and Chandigarh. It will take about 12-14 hours to reach Manali from New Delhi. The other mode of transportation is by using Volvo buses.
Things to carry
Since the trek is a long trek it requires a lot of essential items to make your trek comfortable. These items include:
- Hiking shoes which are mandatory. These shoes will help you climb the difficult terrain and make it easier for you to walk for long hours.
- Head Torch: this is required as one needs to spend time outside in the night. In order to keep the visibility and for your own safety, one must carry a head torch.
- Rain Cover
- Warm Clothes
- Toilet paper and wipes
- Walking stick
- Back Pack
- Day Pack
- Water Bottle
- Extra pair of Socks
- Fleece jackets and thermals
- Waterproof windcheater
- First aid kit
- Woolen cap, gloves
- Sunscreen and other toiletries
- Personal medication
- Swiss Knife
- Thermal innerwears
- Camping tent
Best time to undertake the Hampta Pass trek
June to October is the best time to undertake the trek. There are slight chances that one may witness snow on higher altitudes in the early days as it melts down completely by August. In the monsoon months, rain is expected in Kullu Manali. In Spiti where the trek is scheduled, it is mostly sunny. The temperatures are about 12 degrees to 20degrees during the day but during the night at the campsite, the temperature may dip to -2 to 6 degrees. In the months of September to mid October there is a possibility of snowfall. The temperatures in these months will be ranging between 12-18 degrees and in the evening the temperatures would drop to -6 degrees to 4 degrees.
The region is surrounded with bridges, streams and beautiful flowers. The campsite is located on a plain sand ground which is known to offer a better camping site and it is mostly located with a flowing river. This trek can lead you to Balu ka Ghera which is rumoured to be housing brown bears during winters as they hibernate.
The other months also facilitate grounds for trekking but it is not recommended as the weather is varying and is unpredictable. In winters the temperatures are below freezing points and have relatively warmer days between June to October which makes the trek easier. It is also inaccessible in the winter months starting late October.
Snow is one of the experiences one must have. The Hampta Pass trek is undertaken by many of the travellers due to the snow experience. The summer months of June and July experience the maximum snow.
During summers one can also witness a lot of shepherds with their sheep grazing in this pass because of high altitude grasslands during summers.
The forests in the area have rich flora and fauna. There are various types of wildflowers, trees and meadows that one can witness on the trek.
The trek is open for about five months and many tourists visit in the monsoon months of the trek to experience snowfall. Starting from June, a winter vibe is given as one crosses snow covered regions. The succeeding months, the snow gets cleared and many trails open up.
This trek is known to be for everyone which includes first timers and seasoned trekkers also known as the beginners and the experts. The trek is very alluring and has very few challenges in comparison to the other treks. Hampta Pass Trek is known to be an easy trek as it is mostly independent and has very few references. The difficulty level can be defined due to the atmospheric pressure changes. The difficulty also depends on the weather conditions and is also very subjective. In winters the trek is considered to be difficult due to the snow. In summers it becomes easier to walk through as the snow melts.
Even though the trek might be classified as easy to moderate , the highest one can climb is 4400 metres and cross a few rivers and set camps in the wilderness. One also is required to walk lengthy trails.
About the locals
People living in Manali are modest and naive in their way of living. This culture is seen throughout Himachal Pradesh. The people of Manali are predominantly farmers and artisans. The socio-cultural lifestyle of the people is shown in their traditional heritage and primordial tradition. The people have huge respect for nature and creation. There is an inspiration of tribal conventions seen in their customs and philosophies. The local crafts include various handloom work and art forms which are to be found here. These artworks are highly admired by the travellers. Tourism contributes to the major income of the inhabitants.
One should always carry a basic first aid kit with them. It is also advised for the tour guides to carry the first aid kits. The individual first aid kit one carries should be well equipped with medicines, antiseptics, mosquito repellents, prescriptions etc. One should be cautious of their health and should be aware of basic healthcare. Basic Healthcare knowledge like CPR and acute altitude sickness should be known. The sickness is associated with trekking and the symptoms will range between headache, insomnia, lung problems etc. one should also consult a doctor before the trip in order to cater to the possible solutions of such diseases.
In addition to all these diseases, it is advisable to keep the social distance in practice. In all public places, it is also advisable to wear a mask. Since trekking is a physical activity, the mask can be removed to avoid situations like breathlessness.
Attractions near Hampta Pass
- Manali: Manali is a town which is not just famous for trekking. The beautiful town is a famous tourist destination and was inhabited by Nomad hunters in the ancient times and then followed by shepherds and farmers. The town is famous for Apple Orchids and the river Beas flows through the outskirts of the town
- Siaguru: Trekking beyond the Hampta Pass, Siaguru is a popular camping site and is located on the boulevard to the Chandratal Lake. It is located at an elevation of 4,000 metres in between the scenic mountains, landscapes, striking streams and rippling rivers.
Reasons to undertake the Hampta Pass Trek
The Hampta Pass Trek is a phenomenal trek as it has a lot of beautiful landscapes. There are many reasons why one should undertake the Hampta Pass Trek.
- The Hampta Pass trek is classified as an easy to moderate level trek. It is an ideal getaway for trekkers. The trek can be undertaken in small stretches and is treated as a crisp trek which is opposite to many of the other treks in the Himalayan Range. There are few challenges like steep ascends and descends. These are comparatively less in comparison to the other treks.
- As Manali is the starting point of the trek it is connected to all major cities of India via road, train or flight.
- It is a trek where one can touch an altitude of 14,000 feet in a span of 5 days. The distance covered is about 28 kilometres and can be covered in 4 days. Additional 1 day is added to visit the divine beauty of the Chandra Taal.
- The trek is perfect for both experts and beginners. There is no profound requirement for undertaking this trek and poses fewer challenges as compared to other Himalyan Treks. The difficulty is governed by the weather conditions and not by its hiking terrain.
- One can witness a diverse ecosystem while on a Hampta Pass Trek. The trek has waterfalls, fast flowing rivers, hanging glaciers and interesting terrains. There are dense forests, lush green valleys, and different landscapes which makes the trek one of the crossover treks.
- There are small settlements in Kullu district. The trek passes through a few of these settlements like Hampta and Sethan Villages which provides a glimpse of the culture and lifestyles of the locals. The locals of these villages are a community which originated in Spiti and Kinnaur region. There are tiny Buddhist locations where one can visit.
- The trek has interesting terrain as it is a mix of bends, gradual ascends, steep hikes, challenging descends. All these pass through the Himalyan landscape.
- There is a wide variety of exotic mountain flowers and wildflowers throughout the trek. Myriad hues of wildflowers can be seen in red, white, blue, yellow, pink, orange and many other different colours. These flowers are embellished in the landscape. There are mighty rocks which also constitute the landscape of the trek. One can also encounter shepherd dogs, sheep, and Himalyan Birds. The dense forest consists of pinewood, deodar trees, maple trees, silver birch, oak trees, meadows and grasslands.
- One can also witness Pir Panjal range, mountains of Dhauladhar Range etc.
- There are distinct campsites throughout the trek. Jobra is the first campsite that is located on the edge of the forest and is a mix of pine, maple and birch trees.the 2nd campsite is Jwara and consists of colourful wildflowers. This campsite has Dhauladhar Range on one side and rocky mountains on the other. The next campsite is Balu ka Gera which gives the first view of Hampta Pass. The trail which leads to Balu ka Gera is covered in sand deposits as it is believed that the place is formed by sand and dust deposited by rivers.
- The trek also offers stream crossing. One can cross mountain streams with the help of wooden bridges, stones, boulders etc. one can also cross by jumping over the rocks. It is one of the most thrilling experiences of Hampta Pass Trek and can be slightly tricky. Rocks require careful manoeuvring.