HAMPTA PASS & CHANDRATAL

The striking highlight of any trek involving crossing over a pass into the Lahaul/Spiti region is the wonderful contrast in landscape that one gets to enjoy and this trek is similar in this regard. We start from absolutely lush green valleys of Kullu & Manali and land up in semi-arid region of the Lahaul valley. This wonderful trail is meant for everyone, right from fit/adventurous first timers to seasoned hikers. The pass itself is very inviting and poses fewer challenges compared to some of its brethren but is in no way a cakewalk. This trek is quite interesting and moderately challenging in stages with the difficulty of the pass being governed by weather conditions. You will be required to cross the reasonably high Hampta pass (4300m), do a few river crossings, camp in complete wilderness and walk long stretches on certain days. The trek to Hampta pass offers unmatched variety & excitement all along the trail to take care of any exhaustion that might set in.

The trek starts from the beautiful Manali valley with a short ride from Manali town getting us to the starting point of the trek. During the first two days of the hike we move through lush green landscape having several meadows inhabited by local gaddis (shepherds). This is a very enjoyable and relaxed stage and one camps at beautiful spots.

We walk along rivers and streams and cross a few waterfalls. There is an interesting mix of spruce, horse chestnut, pine, deodar, oak and birch trees all along this section. Shepherd dogs, sheep, white capped redstarts and whistling thrushes comprise the wildlife you get to encounter. Depending upon the season you will also get to see a good variety of alpine flowers. Next stage we approach the Hampta pass through a relatively challenging terrain which involves walking over scree slopes and boulder ridden trails. The route to the top might be under snow depending upon the conditions and might pose some difficulties. The close views of Deotibba, Indrasan and other unnamed peaks will give you a feel of being completely immersed in the lap of the mighty Himalayas. This is an experience you will surely cherish all your life. We crossover the pass and descend steeply to the grass lands of Shea Gahru. This stage would take about 8 hrs or so.

The last stage of the trek is in the stark and beautiful Lahaul valley and will take us to Chatru from Shea Gahru. This is an easy section with a few tricky situations to keep you on your toes. From Chatru we board a waiting vehicle to be driven up to the beautiful Chandratal lake where we camp for the night. Chandratal is truly a jewel of the mountains being one of the finest high altitude lakes in the country. Next day we hike up from the lake to Kunzum La (4600m) through a very scenic landscape. Here we board the waiting vehicle and drive to Manali.

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