This is a report by Lay Naik, who went on a recce of the Pin Bhaba Pass trek before the season began. The recce team conducted the recce between July 1st and July 2nd, trekking 50 km over a span of two days. Please note that the recce team is highly acclimatized and trained to cover the trek this quickly. The otherwise recommended itinerary can be found on this page.
Yesterday, I returned from the recce of the Pin Bhaba Pass trek. I was blown away by the mesmerising beauty of the entire trek. I can totally agree that this is The Grand Cross Over Trek
Short Itinerary of the recce:
Day 1 ( 22 km ) - Kafnu (8275 ft ) to Phutsirang (13520 ft) (via Mulling and Karah Campsite)
Day 2 ( 28 km ) - Phutsirang (13520ft) to Mudh(12420 ft) (via Pin Bhabha summit and Mangrungse)
Objectives of the Recce:
1. To get an idea about the entire geography of the trek
2. Record a GPX file
3 Document tricky sections on the trek where safety plays a crucial role. This year we got late snow and the Pin Bhaba Pass trek goes to 16,000 ft. This is why we are expecting snow on the trail.
4. Chalk out campsites
5. Spot water sources at the campsite (whether they are available and potable) and on the trail
6. List possible challenges, and come up with solutions to mitigate those challenges
7. Build a relationship with the locals of Mudh
We started our Trek from Kafnu on 1st July at 8.40 am. Our target was to reach Phutsirang by 6.30 pm. The weather forecast was cloudy on Day 1 and on Day 2 we only had a window of 4 hours of clear sky.
We started the trek by entering a forest section. What an amazing forest! It was an incredible experience of walking silently in that forest with the sound of birds chirping and the river flowing. I hadn't been to such a beautiful forest section so far. I was speechless.
The dense forest on the Pin Bhaba Pass trek
You hear the birds chirping, and the Bhaba river flowing nearby
Immediately after the forest section, we ended up in meadows. And soon we reached Mulling.
The best part of trekking in Himachal Pradesh is that you can camp in the meadows. What a setting!
Just before Karah, I got a view of the whole valley. It reminded me of Kashmir meadows. It feels like you can just keep walking anywhere. It's lush green all around.
A stunning view of the valley just before Karah. It reminds you of Kashmir meadows.
After crossing the stream which had decent flow, we had lunch. Then we started ascending to Phutsirang.
The blooming has started all tiny flowers Gereniums, fleabae, potentila, forget-me-nots, and their natural hybrid versions.
Flowers blooming on the meadows of Pin Bhaba Pass trek.
We reached Phutsirang around 6.45 pm, pitched our tent, took a breath and said thank you to the mountain God for being kind to us.
A rare sight of snow at the Phutsirang campsite.
we started our day at 4.45 am. From 14,600 ft till the pass we found snow. But earlier to the snow section, for almost 300 m we loose rocks and scree. I found this to be the most difficult part of climbing to the pass.
Once the snow fields started, the climb got much easier due to the microspikes.
Trekking on snow to reach the pass is easier with microspikes.
A charming sight of sheep in search of greener pastures
We reached the Pass at 8 am. Spent an hour there soaking in the sun. With our DIY kits, we even made chai and kheer. Trust me, it was amazing!
Thanking the mountain Gods for good weather and blue skies.
Having chai at the Pin Bhaba Pass.
The snow made it much easier to climb the pass. I am saying this in comparison to rupin gully, where there were only rocks during pass crossing, which added tp the difficulty.
But it is manageable.
I climbed a little higher on the pass to take in the view of Pin Valley. And the colours totally caught my attention. Red, yellow, different shades of brown, and far away there was also a tinge of green. I had never imagined Pin Valley to be so colorful. I was expecting it to be a barren desert.
Descending into the Pin Valley covered in snow.
We started descending from the pass at 9 am.
For the first 3 km, we slid down on the snow. Then we reached the mouth of a stream. From here the trail was a path of stones. And each stone was tinged in a different colour. I was in awe!
Colourful rocks of the Pin Valley
I was so curious about these stones. They didn't look like sedimentary rocks because they were in trans-Himalayas. At the same time, I wondered, how are there so many different colors?
"Most likely these are Quartz Arenites(sandstone). Pin Valley is a very rich geological place.
This entire region of Spiti is the remains of the Tethys Sea. You can easily see the rock strata from different geological eras. A lot of marine fossils have been found at Langza.
In fact the village of Mudh holds an important place for geologists as Moravian(present-day Czechia) geologist Ferdinand Stoliczka studied the rock layers at Mudh in the 1860s and currently, it is known as the Mudh Series or Mudh Formation," shares Trek Leader Diptarka Gupta.
This experience made me feel like I was in a whole different world.
The stunning colours of Pin Valley
I enjoyed descending on the stones, rocks and pebbles.
We reached Mangrungse around 11 am. From there, we continued our trek to dwalder. There we took break to eat and started again.
The nearer I was getting to Mudh, the brighter the colours of the rocks became.
All the four campsites of this trek -- Mulling, Karah, Phutsirang and Mangrungse -- stole my heart. I am unable to pick a favourite.
Mudh, surrounded by fields of green peas
We reached Mudh by 4.45 pm. The last 4 km were tiring. But the moment we entered Mudh, green fields of green peas refreshed our eyes.
Note: Trek Leader Lay Naik completed this recce with Guide Sahil. All photos are shared by Lay Naik.