Duration: 5 Days
Season: Jun - Oct
Grade: Moderate +
Region: Lahaul & Spiti Valleys (Himachal Pradesh)
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 Hampta Pass Chandratal 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. Hampta Pass Chandratal 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.
Hampta Pass trek starts from the beautiful Manali valley with a short ride from Manali town getting us to the starting point of the trek. It would be advisable to reach Manali a day prior to the trek. We endorse this for proper acclimatisation. Also, you get an opportunity to explore Manali and find some time for Manali trekking. We also have a beautiful orchard guesthouse in Manali.
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. Chandratal is truly a jewel of the mountains being one of the finest high altitude lakes in the country. After this we return back to Chatru where we camp for the night. The next day we board the waiting vehicle and drive to Manali. Alike other treks, even for Chandratal Trek MO assists you with professionally qualified expert guides. Our guides will run a small course on climbing techniques to get you to know more about the sport and get comfortable with it.
Day 01: Manali (2000m) - Jobra (2707m) - Chikha (3000m) (Drive / 45 mins) ( trek / 2 hrs)
Day 02: Chikha (3000m) - Balu - Ka - Gheera (3600m) (Trek / 4 - 5 hrs)
Day 03: Balu - Ka - Gheera (3600m) - Hampta Pass (4270m) - Shea Gahru (3700m) (Trek / 6 - 7 hrs)
Day 04: Shea Gahru (3700m) - Chatru (3300m) - Chandratal (4250m) - Chatru (Trek / 3 - 4 Hrs) (Drive / 5 hours)
Day 05: Chatru (3300m) - Manali (2000m) (Drive / 3 - 4 Hrs)
TREK TO HAMPTA PASS & CHANDRATAL
DAY 01: MANALI (2000M) - JOBRA (2707M) - CHIKHA (3000M) (DRIVE / 45 MINS) ( TREK / 2 HRS)
In the morning, we drive to the dam site at Jobra and from here walk through a very pleasant landscape. The walk initially will take us through a mixed forest having pines, spruce, deodar, chestnut and maple trees. We cross a beautiful meadow having a gaddi shepherd camp there. We will need to cross the river at a vantage point if the gaddis haven’t made a makeshift bridge somewhere along the river. We cross the river and climb to a beautiful meadow called Chikha along a side stream. Today’s hike is a gentle one and will take about 2 hrs. Having rested for some time one will be advised to walk up a short distance to a nearby waterfall which also plays host to a number of white capped redstarts. Overnight in tents.
DAY 02: CHIKHA (3000M) - BALU - KA - GHEERA (3600M) (TREK / 4 - 5 HRS)
It’s an interesting day’s hike today. We cross the stream immediately after the campsite and start gaining height and moving towards a gorge section towards the right side moving along the river. We will walk through boulder sections, meadows filled with wildflowers, cross a waterfall and a side river which might require careful handling to reach our campsite for the day, Balu-ka-Gheera. This hike will take about 3.5 to 4 hrs with a few breaks in between. This campsite is along a network of river channels and has big mountains guarding it on all sides. Our guides might also take the decision to walk for an additional hour and reach an upper campsite also called by the same name. This will make next day’s climb a bit shorter. We rest and relax at the campsite and get charged for the next day’s climb to Hampta pass. Overnight in tents.
DAY 03: BALU - KA - GHEERA (3600M) - HAMPTA PASS (4270M) - SHEA GAHRU (3700M) (TREK / 6 - 7 HRS)
Today weather and trail conditions will decide what time we leave but it’s going to be an early morning departure for sure, between 5-6:00 a.m. The walk is in all probability going to be partially/completely on snow depending upon season and weather conditions. From the camp we start with a steep climb on scree slopes to reach a ridge and from here we continue climbing towards another ridge which leads to the pass. This climb will take about 4-5 hrs and one will be rewarded with absolutely out of the world views all around. Indrasan and Deotibba peaks completely dominate the landscape and the ranges towards Lahaul look quite majestic. We spend some time at the top taking pictures and to have lunch and having regained our energy start climbing down carefully towards our destination for the day, Shea Gahru campsite, which is set beautifully between the mountains. This descent will take about 2-3 hrs. Overnight in tents.
DAY 04: SHEA GAHRU (3700M) - CHATRU (3300M) - CHANDRATAL (4250M) - CHATRU (TREK / 3 - 4 HRS) (DRIVE / 5 HOURS)
On this day an early start is mandatory. We will start our day at 5 am. The hike today is completely downhill and in a completely contrasting landscape typical of Lahaul & Spiti regions. There are a couple of tricky sections in between involving careful traverse and river crossings so we let our guides carefully guide us through these sections. We move through a long scree and boulder section which overlooks the road leading to Spiti. We finish at Chatru and from here board the waiting vehicles to take us to Chandratal. This drive will take about 2 – 2.5 hrs. Chandratal is a complete delight to senses and lazing around the lake can be a surreal experience. Overnight in tents in Chatru..
Please note an early start on this day will give us a better chance of reaching Chandratal as there are lots of side stream crossings. Sometimes there is a possibility that the road to Chandratal is not open. Hence, we will camp at Chatru and get indulged in various adventurous activities such as Bridge slithering, Bouldering and Rappelling.
DAY 05: CHATRU (3300M) - MANALI (2000M) (DRIVE / 3 - 4 HRS)
After breakfast we start one of the beautiful drives in the Himalayas from Chatru to Manali via Rohtang pass. Arrive Manali around 12 noon. TRIP ENDS HERE.