Difficulty ? Moderate
Duration 6 Days
Maximum Altitude 14,065 ft
Pickup point Manali
Base Camp Jobra
Minimum Age 12
Best time to visit June-September
Hampta Pass: One of The Most Dramatic Crossover Treks In Himalayas
Hampta Pass is one of the most dramatic crossover treks you can do. Right from the beginning of this trek, the trail sets the tone for the heightened drama on its terrain.
This begins with your first campsite, Jobra, which is at the edge of the forest. Your next campsite Jwara is a wildflower meadow at the meeting point of a valley! Then there is fjord-like Balu Ka Gera and the desert oasis of Shea Goru. For a relatively short trek (5 days of trekking, perhaps), it is chock full of these rapid changes in scenery.
This dramatic changes in scenery are because the Hampta valley is a narrow one. It is almost funnel-like and it stays that way until the very end of the trek at Chatru. This means that all the precipitation gets trapped in the gorge-like valley, which makes it’s ecosystem rich.
Now, we have the pass crossing, which is a cherry on top of the cake. This trail climbs to the pass out of lush green valleys of Kullu to a perpendicular overhang, high in the mountains. This overhang you stand on is the Hampta Pass. It serves as a balcony view to a different world below: the deserts of Lahaul. From the pass, you see the Lahaul valley and surrounding mountains in one wide panoramic sweep. This is one of the most incredible twists in landscapes you will see!
However, these incredibly dramatic landscapes on this trek have to be earned. The trek is of moderate difficulty and the pass crossing day is long and tiring!
What to watch out for
The Shea Goru campsite
Shea Goru is everyone’s favourite campsite. This is because of the high contrast in it’s setting. It is an oasis- a patch of greenery in desolate settings of the Lahaul valley. A quiet stream curves its way the campsite, greening the desert. You may even find wildflowers growing along the river! With such exquisite settings, it is no wonder that our trekkers and staff are most fond of this camp. Note of caution, this also happens to be one of our coldest campsites. Layer yourself well for the night!
The Pass Crossing
What beats away the exhaustion of the pass climb is the adrenaline of the setting. Intimidating cliff-like peaks surround this narrow valley. Depending on the season, your climb will either be on snow or loose moraine. There are many false ledges that lure you into thinking you have reached the pass! Eventually, you reach the plateau from which you can marvel at the grandeur of the location. In front of you is Indrasen and Deo Tibba. The deserts of Lahaul is a sharp drop below. This is the Hampta Pass. From the pass, you head towards your left and begin descent on a zig-zag trail to your next campsite. Depending on the season, the descent is slippery soil or rocks. It is brutal on your knees! Prepare well for the pass-crossing day.
Chandrataal, if accessible
You might have heard of the famous Pangong lake in Ladakh. We say the Chandrataal lake is equally stunning! It might not be as big as Pangong is. However, it has the vibrant colours of the lake, the desert mountain settings and everything else. This, with an added bonus of a certain sense of seclusion that a commercialised Pangong lake no longer has. The trip to Chandrataal is, however, dependent on whether the roads to the lake are open or not. Very early in the season, it is likely that the roads to Chandrataal are blocked by snow.
The drive to Jobra
The drive from Manali to Jobra is extremely picturesque. The road climbs from behind Manali, and goes up to 9,800 ft from the town’s 6726 ft! As the road winds through 42 hairpin turn to go up the hillside, you see the Manali getting smaller and smaller. A tiny hamlet in the panoramic Kullu valley. The Rani Nallah, which you will trek alongside till it disappears under the snow of Hampta Pass, starts accompanying you from here.
Trekkers often ask us these questions about the Hampta Pass trek
❖ Is Hampta Pass safe?
The trail to Hampta Pass is a popular one and is close to Manali, so it is safe if you are well-equipped and are carrying the necessary trekking gear.
At Indiahikes, we ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. We strongly advocate the statement, “Prevention is better than cure.” So, if you are trekking on your own, prepare well, research about the route and download GPX files so you do not get lost. You may download the Hampta Pass GPX file from here.
❖ How do you get a Hampta Pass?
Hampta Pass trek is accessible through Manali. The best way to reach Manali is by an overnight bus from Chandigarh or Delhi. The travel time from Delhi to Manali is around 12 to 14 hours and the travel time from Chandigarh to Manali is around 8-10 hours. You can book the Himachal Government Volvo buses. They are reliable and usually on schedule.
Ensure you leave at around 6 pm the previous evening, so that you are well on time for the pick up in case of unexpected delays in reaching Manali.
From Manali, drive down to Jobra, the starting point of the trek. You will take two hours by a car to reach Jobra. Start trekking from Jobra and within 30-minutes you reach the first campsite in the meadows. Hampta Pass is 15 kms from here, a distance you can cover in the next three days.
❖ How difficult is the Hampta Pass trek?
Hampta pass trek is considered a moderate trek. You start from Manali which is at an altitude of 6725 feet and reach an altitude of 14,000 feet in a matter of 4 days. The pass crossing day is a long walk of almost 9 hours. This makes the trek a moderate one. It is a good trek for fit first timers.
You will need at least 4 weeks of solid preparation for this trek. You can begin preparation by going for brisk walks and then do brisk jogs to improve your cardio. Your target should be to cover 5 km in 37 minutes comfortably by the start of the trek.
❖ How long is Hampta Pass trek?
Starting from Jobra, the Hampta Pass trek is approximately 20 kms in distance till Chhatru. You cover this distance over 4 days. During these four days, you reach the Hampta Pass at the height of 14,000 feet and cross over to the Spiti side to camp at Shea Goru. The last leg of the trek includes trekking from Shea Goru to Chhatru (6 kms) from where you may drive down to Chandratal (4-5 hours) if it is accessible by road. Here’s a short itinerary to give you a better idea:
Day 1: Arrive early in the morning at Manali. Get to Keylinga Inn, Prini, by 11.30 am. Start for Jobra immediately after lunch (2 hours drive). The cab fare is Rs.2,500 per vehicle. This is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. Trek to Jobra campsite (30 minute trek).
Day 2: Trek from Jobra (9,379 ft) to Jwara (11,194 ft); 4.5 km, 4 hours
Day 3: Jwara (11,194 ft) to Balu ka Ghera (12,411 ft); 5 km, 4 hours
Day 4: Balu Ka Ghera (12,411 ft) to Shea Goru (12,864 ft) via Hampta Pass (14,065 ft); 5 km, 9 hours
Day 5: Shea Goru (12,864 ft) to Chhatru (10,898 ft); 6 km, 4.5 hours; visit Chandrataal and return to Chhatru camp
Day 6: Chhatru to Manali; 4-5 hours drive. The cost of transport from Chhatru to Chandrataal and return and Chhatru to Manali is not included in the trek fee. This will be INR 9000 per vehicle.You are expected to reach Manali around 4.00 pm.
Available: Registration is on.
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