The Pin Bhaba Pass trek is hands down the grandest pass-crossing trek in our country. Standing at the pass at an altitude of 16,105 ft, you realise how dramatic the change in scenery is. On one side, you see the lush greenery of the Bhaba Valley. On the other side is the deserted Pin Valley, adorned with various shades of pink.
Our trek leader, Diptarka Gupta, just came back after successfully leading the first group of 2023. In his words, “I couldn't believe my eyes as I trekked from one day to the next. It was my 64th group as a Trek Leader. I have done multiple Himalayan treks, ranging from Kashmir to Himachal to Uttarakhand to Sikkim. But Pin Bhaba Pass is the grandest crossover trek I have done to date. There are very few treks that offer such variety in terms of change in landscapes, thrilling adventures, pretty campsites, and contrasting vistas.”
“The trek gives you the essence of both Kashmir and Ladakh without actually going to either of them,” adds Diptarka.
We were mind blown by the photos he shared with us. It’s not an overstatement if I say his photos virtually transported us to Pin Bhaba. We wanted to share them with you too. Here, I have put together a photo story. Without further delay, let’s start with it.
All photos in this photo story were shot by Diptarka Gupta, who is an excellent photographer himself.
You start your trek from Kafnu, a quaint village located in the deep reaches of Southern Himachal. A couple of 100 m into the trail, the trek surprises you with a huge snow bridge. It’s a rare sight at 8,500 ft.
Soon, you enter a dense forest filled with pine, silver birch, and oak trees. It’s a magical section to trek in.
Watching the sunrise from the Mulling campsite, with alpenglow on the surrounding mountains, is an experience you must not miss.
As the sun goes up, you get to witness the rich colours of Mulling.
From Mulling to Karah, you cross a natural rock bridge over the subterranean Bhaba river, again a rare experience.
The meadows of Karah resemble the classic Kashmir landscape. The Himalayan Bistort popping out of these meadows elevates the beauty of the whole landscape.
If there are treks worth doing just for the campsite experiences, Pin Bhaba definitely tops the list. Captured here is the stunning Karah campsite.
By now, you may think you have seen the best of the meadows, but the scenery only gets better as you start ascending towards Phutsirang.
Stream crossings are one of the most challenging sections of the trek. There are close to 10 stream crossings. For many, you have to hop on the boulders to cross. Diptarka has captured one such adventurous stream crossing on the way to Phutsirang.
“Phutsirang is my favourite campsite on the Kinnaur side. It’s one of those rarest of the rare campsites where you get to camp on a river delta,” shares Diptarka Gupta.
The Milky Way as seen from the Phutsirang Campsite. August is the perfect time to witness the Perseids Meteor Shower too.
As you gear up and head towards the pass, do not forget to turn around and take a view of the Phutsirang campsite. You can clearly see the patterns of the river delta.
One of the most exciting yet challenging days of the trek is the pass crossing day. As you ascend to 16,105 ft, the air starts to get thinner. You enter an alpine zone with a mix of snow patches and moraine.
The descent on the other side of the pass is equally thrilling. This is also when the dramatic change in the landscape starts to sink in. Notice how within the last three photos, the landscape has shifted dramatically!
The hues of the deserty mountain valleys of Pin are a striking contrast to the lush greenery of the Bhaba Valley. The gurgling Pin River is an added bonus.
You can even walk on the river bed as you get closer to Mangrungse. Even on this side, the landscape changes every now and then, making the trek all the more exciting.
The striking view of the Pin river coming from the Pin Parvati side.
Near Bwaldar campsite, you start observing these rock strata. These are the layers of sedimentary rocks formed due to weathering, erosion, and deposition over repeated cycles of climate.
Rock strata towering upto 5,200 ft above the village of Mudh. This region is a paradise for geologists.
The trail continues to follow the Pin river as you trek towards Mudh. But there is a slight shift in the colours of the landscape.
Take one last view of the Pin Valley from Mudh village - the exit point of the trek.
Read more about the Pin Bhaba Pass trek
“Needless to say, the trekkers were also smashed by the beauty of the trek. Even on the last day of the trek, their spirits were high. They were beaming with a high sense of accomplishment and were grateful to have completed the trek successfully,“ shares Diptarka Gupta.
“I am equally grateful to have gotten this opportunity to lead one of the grandest pass crossing treks in our country. That too, leading the first group of this year to cross over the Pin Bhaba Pass,” Diptarka expresses his gratitude.
This brings us to the end of this photo story. I hope you got a glimpse of what we mean when we say the grandest crossover trek in our country.