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.
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). 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. You are expected to reach Manali around 4.00 pm.
Please note that you will be staying in tents on all days of the trek (3 per tent).
Please note that 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 can leave extra luggage at the cloakroom in Hotel Keylinga before your trek begins.
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
Day 1: Reach Jobra
The base camp for the Hampta Pass trek is Jobra. The picturesque drive from Manali, along with 42 hairpin turns, has panoramic views of Kullu valley. The Rani Nallah, which you will trek alongside till it disappears under the snow of Hampta Pass, starts accompanying you from here. From the road head at Jobra, the campsite is a 30-minute trek through a mixed forest of pine, bright green maple trees and luminescent silver birch.
- Altitude: 9,379 ft (2,859 m)
- Time taken: 2 hours drive from Manali to Jobra; 30-minute trek to Jobra campsite. Reach Prini (Keylinga Inn) by 11.30 am. Lunch and transport to Jobra will be arranged by Indiahikes.
Cross the road where you get off from the vehicle and take the small path into the forest. The forest is mostly Pine with an occasional Maple tree with its new lush green leaves – a pleasant change in the vegetation. It’s an easy slope and after 20 minutes into the forest, you come to a bend with a huge rock which overlooks a meadow strewn with small rocks.
Camp in the meadows for the night to acclimatise better.
Day 2: Jobra to Jwara
- Altitude: 9,379 ft (2,859 m) to 11,194 ft (3,412 m)
- Time taken: 5 hours, 5 km
- Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Easy walk to Chika for about an hour followed by 2 hours of ascent through a boulder section. Descent for 1-1.5 hours easing off into a level walk.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Jobra. You can refill your water bottles from the river along the trail.
The meadow near Jobra has the Rani Nallah or Rani river flowing in between and on either side, you will see hills with rock faces. Some cows and sheep graze in the meadow which is lined with Maple and Pine trees. Early in the season one may find some snow by the side of the river.
You can traverse on the meadow or climb up the left hill. The climb makes the path slightly shorter. The river flows right in the middle and water is no issue. You can take a break here – Chika.
Jwara is to the right of Chika, and can be identified by a couple of waterfalls in the distance. Head right but stay on the left bank of the river throughout. The initial climb is mainly through stones and boulders. The going is never too difficult. The right bank of the river is laced with dwarf Rhododendrons in the lower and middle region of the mountain and Birch trees grow at the upper end.
Look back and you will see the Dhauladhar range with its snow-clad peaks. It makes a pretty picture. You will find a waterfall on to your left. Relax and replenish your water supplies at this spot.
After the waterfall, you move towards your right, heading towards the river, which has a lot of boulders around it. Take off your shoes if you wish and jump across the rocks on the Rani Nallah. The water is icy cold as one would expect. You are now about halfway through your trek as you enter a walled valley. On one side of the valley are the rock faces and on the other end is the river below. Once you cross the river, you are at Jwara where nature is at her dramatic best.
Day 3: Trek from Jwara to Balu Ka Ghera
- Altitude: 11,194 ft (3,412 m) to 12,411 ft (3,783 m)
- Time taken: 4-5 hours, 4.5 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Short meadow walk followed by boulder section for a couple of hours, leading to a trail on loose rocks all the way. Very gradual incline through the day.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You will find streams along the trail to refill your water bottles.
The river has snow flows melting and feeding it while numerous sheep and mules feed on the green grass. In front are snow-clad mountains beyond which lies the Hampta Pass.
Walk along the Rani river heading into a rectangular valley. On your way, you will find a variety of tiny flowers – purple, yellow, pink etc. The trees are now left behind. You won’t find them anymore for quite some time. It takes about half an hour to cross the valley. After you come out of Jwara, you need to walk further along. The terrain flattens as you reach Chota Balu ka Ghera where you can rest for a bit and have a quick snack. Then continue further along the river, crossing small snow flows and jumping across rocks.
Towards the end, the rocks are quite far apart and jumping across gets tricky. Soon after, you will reach the destination for the day – Balu Ka Ghera or the bed of sand. The ground is formed mainly by the sand and dust brought down by the river.
It is level ground and behind you are the mountains you will traverse the next day to cross the Hampta Pass. Pitch your tent and enjoy a beautiful sunset behind the Hanuman Tibba peak. You are now close to 12,500 ft above sea level.
Day 4: Balu Ka Ghera to Shea Goru via Hampta Pass
- Altitude: 12,411 ft (3,921 m) to 12,864 ft (3,735 m) via 14,065 ft (4,287 m)
- Time taken: 9 hours, 5 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. An hour of gradual ascent after which the trail becomes steep uphill till the pass, interspersed with short descents. 2 hours of steep descent from the pass, easing off into a flat walk.
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water from Balu ka Ghera. Late season streams likely once the snow melts.
Today’s trek can be broken into two stages – the climb to Hampta Pass which is moderately steep followed by a steep descent to Shea Goru. You will want to take a small break at the top of the pass to make it your target to reach the pass by lunchtime, have lunch there and then start the descent.
You begin your day by heading towards the mountains from Balu Ka Ghera. You may get a pleasant surprise with lots of tiny pink and yellow flowers growing by the side of the river. Move along the river for an hour after which you will be above it. At some points, the trail may fade out so be careful not to get lost. Stay with your team. After an hour of a gentle gradient in a rock fall prone area, the climb picks up. This is the first serious incline you will encounter. Half an hour into the climb, you will reach the first plateau. Here you get to see the Deo Tibba peak right in front of you. If you are here during early summer, there is a good chance that this entire section is filled with snow. At other times, you may get only some patches of snow.
Take a breath, wait for your team to catch up and begin the next ascent. This is another inclined part which has two stages to it and finally ends at the ridge. The climb will take you 20-30 minutes. From the top of the ridge, you will see another parallel one, which is your next destination. Hampta Pass is a bend away from the top of the second ridge.
Before descending down to the side of the second ridge, continue walking on the first ridge for a small distance to get a 360-degree view of the intriguing mountain peaks like Peak 5260 surrounding you. This is a good spot for a panoramic shot. After descending down and 15 minutes of going by the side, you begin the vertical climb which gets over in 20 minutes. You may be panting at the end of it but you are almost there at 14,000 ft, atop the Hampta Pass.
The descent is slightly trickier than the ascent. It can vary slightly depending on the snow condition too. Sliding down may be an option if there is snow. From the pass, take a turn towards the right. You can see the Lahaul side of the pass below. Go down in a zig-zag route and then stick to the right flank of the mountain. You will have to walk over slippery soil and stones too. In half an hour the first downhill run is done.
A u-turn brings you right below the pass. From here it is a straight down hill trek on snow; you could also follow the zig-zag path down until you hit the valley below. In an hour and a half, you will be at the base of the valley. Tall snow-clad mountains surround you from three sides and the open side leads you to Shea Goru.
Shea Goru is an almost level walk from here. It should be an easy walk though some may find it tiring after the long day traversing the pass. You will find the river again, flowing to your right. Choose a nice camp site close to the river and retire happily for the day after crossing the Hampta Pass.
Day 5: Shea Goru to Chhatru; drive to Chandratal* and back to Chhatru
- Altitude: 12,864 ft (3,735 m) to 10,898 ft (3,322 m) to 14,100 ft (4,298 m)
- Time taken: 4 – 4.5 hours; 6 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. 2-2.5 hours of walking on moraine and loose rocks on gentle inclines, followed by a descent to Chhatru across a couple of glacial flows.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Shea Goru. You will find a few sources on the way to refill your water bottles.
* depending on the condition of the roads and weather
As you move closer to the road, the descent gets a little tricky. You will need to traverse by the edges of rocks and sometimes it might just be easier to get down into the river/glacier bed below to skip the rocky section and get back up.
There are also a couple of places with slippery soil. So you need to be nimble and hop down them to prevent yourself from sliding.
This section would take 2½ – 3 hours when you are out of the mountains. You are still at a height but you have the road right across and the Chandra river separating you from the road.
Two to three huge glacial flows come down from the mountains on the side to the Chandra river.
You will need to cross these streams to reach a camping spot which has water.
Choose a camping spot close to one of the numerous streams that join the river. Chhatru is a lovely camping site. You get lovely views of the different mountain ranges. The Chandra river flows in speed right below.
If the roads are clear and devoid of snow, a visit to Chandratal, the moon lake is a must when you are in Spiti. Chhatru is about 70 km away from Chandratal. You will take a vehicle to Chandratal from Chhatru. The journey takes about 3 hours and the road is quite bumpy, so it is advised that you start well before 3:00 PM. Those who have motion sickness, don’t forget to take Avomine tablets.
Please note that the road to Chandratal is extremely dusty and can lead to a problem if you are asthmatic.
If you have some energy to spare, walk up the hill next to Chandratal. From the top, apart from being able to identify the moon shape of the lake, you’ll be able to see a second lake out in the distance surrounded with scenic peaks like the CB-13.
Since Chandratal is at an altitude of 14,100 feet there are good chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness if you’re not well hydrated. Head to the Safety section to find out more.
Remember, the excursion to Chandrataal and back (if accessible) is completely optional. But we do recommend to visit the lake if the weather & road condition permit.
In late summers, the road opens up to Chhatru and beyond. If you are early or late in the season, Chandratal may be ruled out and you may have to walk on the road to a place where the road has been cleared off its snow flows.
Please note that as a part of the Hampta Pass trek, you’ll not be camping at Chandrataal. After a late afternoon-early evening visit to Chandratal, you’ll come back to Chattru and camp there for the night before heading to Manali the next day
Day 6: Drive from Chhatru to Manali
After an early morning debriefing, bid the Spiti valley goodbye and head back to Manali. The journey from Chhatru to Manali passes through Rohtang Pass and can take up to 4 hours. The scenery all through the route is a treat in itself. Don’t forget to ask our trek leaders to teach you some group games like Hand Uno and Lateral Situations, to play on the way back!
Banner image by Chirag Sadhnani
How to get to Manali/Prini
Delhi → Manali
Being a major road head on the route to Lahaul and Spiti, and further on to Ladakh, Manali is a hub for travellers and tourists alike. You will be able to buy some of your trek gear here.
The best way to get to Manali is to take an overnight bus from Delhi or Chandigarh. The travel time from Delhi is 12-14 hours and from Chandigarh is 8-10 hours. Hence, Chandigarh is a better option.
Ensure you book your bus early the previous evening, so even in case of unexpected weather/road related delays, you are still on time for the pick up.
The other option of reaching Manali is to take a flight to the nearest airport, the Bhuntar airport. This is around 50 km from Manali and takes one and a half hour in a cab.
However, this is not a recommended option as the flights are infrequent, expensive, and get cancelled on short notice if adverse weather condition prevails.
If reaching Manali on same day as trek date, ensure you take bus with ETA before 8.30am
Similarly, schedule return travel only after 8.30pm.
Roads to Manali easily get jammed due to rains, road conditions and traffic volume
The meeting point is at Hotel Keylinga Inn, in Prini. Prini is around 3 km from Manali and autos are easily available from the Manali Bus stand. Reach Keylinga Inn in Prini by 11.30 am sharp. Indiahikes will arrange for lunch and transport to Jobra from Prini. This cost is included in the trek fee.
Getting back after the trek ends-
The trek ends at Chhatru on Day 5. You will pay a visit to Chandratal on Day 5, if the weather and road conditions are favourable.
Indiahikes will arrange transport from Chhatru to Chandratal and back on Day 5, and also arrange transport to Manali on Day 6. The cost of this transport is not included in your trek fee. This will be an additional INR 9000 per vehicle. The vehicles will be 5-6 seater vehicles, and the cost of one cab will be shared by co-trekkers in the same vehicle.
It will take about 4-5 hours to reach Manali from Chhatru on day 6. If you leave before 9 am, you’ll reach Manali at around 4 pm, depending on road conditions.
Stay for the night at Manali and book your return tickets for the next day. This is strongly advised to all trekkers, as there may be unexpected delays in reaching Manali on the last day depending on road and weather conditions.
Buses from Manali to Delhi leave between 4.00 pm and 6.00 p.m. You will reach Delhi the next morning. Tickets can be booked online on www.redbus.in or www.hrtc.gov.in. HRTC or HPTDC buses are usually on schedule.
There is no network connectivity on this trek.On your return, you will get network near Rohtang Pass and Manali only.
How to get fit for the Hampta Pass trek
The Hampta Pass trek is classified as a moderate trek . You trek up to an altitude of over 14, 380 ft. You start from an altitude of 9,800 feet at Jobra and reach the highest point of 14,035 feet at Hampta Pass. Your first day of trekking- Jobra to Jwara sees a lot of altitude gain (9,800 ft to 11,000 ft). You have to make sure your lungs are strong for this.
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
Here’s a fitness routine that works:
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
What to take on the Hampta Pass Trek
Hampta Pass is conducted during the monsoon months, so it highly likely you’ll encounter rain/snowfall on your trek. Ensure you carry a windcheater/raincoat and rain pants or a poncho to have a comfortable trek.
- Trekking shoes: Carry trekking shoes and not sports shoes. The trail will be slippery at several places and will require shoes with good grip and ankle support. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
- Daypack (20 litres): As this is a crossover trek, you would only need a daypack if you are offloading your backpack.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- Three layers of warm clothes: Carry a sweater or a fleece jacket, and a padded jacket. If you are more susceptible to feeling cold, add another layer.
- Three trek pants: Carry light cotton trek pants. One of your pants can be tights that you can wear as an inner layer while trekking, especially on the Pass day. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, preferably quick-dry, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. If you’re too cold, you can wear two t-shirts together for more insulation. Let one of the three t-shirts you carry be a dry-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their shirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals: Carry thermals (top and bottom) to keep yourself warm at night. Keep your thermals fresh and don’t wear them while trekking.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are mandatory. In June, there will be abundant snow on Hampta Pass, and you would need it to protect yourself from snow blindness.
- Suncap: At high altitude, the sun is extra harsh, as the UV rays don’t get filtered. So carry a suncap to protect yourself.
- Synthetic hand gloves: Avoid woollen gloves as they will get wet if you touch snow. You can add a fleece glove as an inner layer, and wear two gloves on each hand if you’re more susceptible to cold.
- Balaclava/Neckwarmer: You’ll need this to cover your head, as most of the heat escapes from your head.
- Socks (4-5 pairs) and a pair of woollen socks: Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. We do not like biodegradable wet wipes because they take a long time to decompose in the mountains. Use toilet paper instead.
- Sanitary waste: Make sure you bring your used sanitary napkins back to the city with you. Carry a zip lock bag to put used napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery:Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons. We do not allow biodegradable or disposable cutlery on our treks.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry a few extra plastic bags for keeping your clothes dry.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 1 Strip
- Crocin- 10 tablets
- Avomine (optional, in case of motion sickness)- 1 Strip
- Combiflam- Half Strip
- Muscle relaxant – Half Strip
- Digene- Half Strip
- Avil- 1 strip
- ORS- 6 packs
- Knee Band (If you are prone to a knee injury)
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
What are the risks on the Hampta Pass trek?
Since the Hampta Pass is a pass crossing trek, in case of emergencies there are no easy exits. In winter, the trail will have snow at higher sections. Micro spikes will be provided to walk over slippery snow patches. On the first day’s drive from Manali to Jobra you gain 3,075 feet. With significant altitude gain there are chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness. To prevent this we recommend that you stay well hydrated and go on a course of Diamox starting from Delhi.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety:
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
But we strongly advocate the statement,”Prevention is better than cure.” Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below.
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Hampta Pass trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Hampta Pass trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.
On the Hampta Pass trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek.The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein he will be entering details about his health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.
4. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.
5. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain, where there might be too much scree or moraine.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
6. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Hampta Pass trek
If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitude.
First thing you should know is that Hampta Pass is a High Altitude trek. It climbs up to an altitude of 14,035 ft. So it comes with its fair share of risks – altitude sickness, lack of easy exit points, unfriendly terrain and extreme altitude gain.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
AMS is one of the biggest dangers on a high altitude trek such as Hmapta Pass. AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.
Where on the Hampta Pass trek is AMS likely to affect you:
We camp at Jobra (9,800 ft) on Day 1 to help your body to get acclimatised to high altitude since you climb over 2,000 ft the next day. It is is especially critical that you start drinking enough water and dress up warmly at Jobra to get used to the temperature drop from Delhi to Manali to Jobra. Given that you will be continuously ascending till the pass crossing day, you need to be cautious at all times.
Drive to Chandratal:
After the trek gets over at Chhatru people tend to forget that they still have to stay hydrated. Even though you’re driving to Chandratal, the lake is at an altitude of 14,100 ft which is higher than Hampta pass itself. Since you’re gaining more than 3,500 ft in less than 3 hours, there are high chances of getting hit by AMS. So it is strictly advised that you stay well hydrated throughout Day 5 and Day 6.
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the video below to understand how to treat and prevent AMS. The information in this video is rare to find. With this knowledge, you can probably save your own life or another’s trekkers life.
As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour. If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage.
It is very important to be on a preventive course of Diamox on the Hampta Pass trek. Diamox helps prevent AMS by around 80%. Click here to know how it works.
Exit points on the Hampta Passtrek:
The safest point on a trek where a trekker can descend to and rest is considered an Exit Point. On the Hampta Pass trek, if an emergency occurs before crossing the pass, you will need to descend to Jobra. If you have already crossed the pass, then the Chhatru would be the closest exit.
Manali is where you’ll find a hospital in case of a medical emergency. Descending to the closest exit and getting to Manali could take up to a day or more depending on where you start from.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life-saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker.
If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
The video below will help you understand what medicines to administer when and how much. Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about HAPE and HACE. Here, you can learn about the advanced symptoms are and how to tackle them.
It is a myth that fit and experienced people are not affected by Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
Trek cancellation policy
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
The cancellation charges are as under:
Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
In the unlikely case of a trek being called off by us at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
Your trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 (Jobra to Chhatru). You will be camping on all days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Transport – We will arrange for transport in shared cabs from Manali to Jobra on Day 1.
- Meals – All meals from lunch at Prini on day 1 to breakfast at Chhatru on Day 6 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – You will stay in high-quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, roped, microspikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
- Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses.
- Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well-trained guides, cooks, helpers, and porters.
Your trek fee does not include:
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the drive to Jobra or return from Chhatru.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 1,000 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/trolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Jobra/Manali (Rs. 350 per day inclusive of tax).
- Transport – The cab from Chathru to Chandrataal and back, and Chhatru to Manali on day 6 is not included in the trek fee. It will be Rs. 8500 per vehicle (5-6 seater vehicle).
- Stay at Manali on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusions
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel.
Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.
The cancellation charges are as under.
Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. The trek has gradual climbs and steep descents on the summit day. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 37 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5 km in 45 minutes. This is a minimum requirement.
If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.
In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.
Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1,000 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 375 per day inclusive of tax. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.
Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.
Indiahikes will arrange transport from Chhatru to Chandratal and back on Day 5, and also transport to Manali on Day 6. The cost of this transport is not included in your trek fee. This will be an additional INR 8,500 per vehicle. The vehicles will be 5-6 seater vehicles, and the cost of one cab will be shared by co-trekkers in the same vehicle. Per person, the cost for the return journey will be around Rs 1800 per person.
Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter.
Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
Repeat Trekker Policy
At Indiahikes, we believe that the mountains hold all the aces. The weather could play spoilsport, the altitude could mess with a trekker, the unpredictability of nature itself could turn against him. Whatever the reason might be, it is never nice to turn away from a trek midway.
In the event that a trekker has to come down without completing your trek, they can always head back to the mountain and do the same trek again. If this happens, trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee. They have to just make the optional payment for the insurance amount.
On another note, it could also happen that you love a trek so much that you want to go back time and again. Trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee for repeating a trek.
Note – The Repeat Trekker Policy holds good only for Indian Treks.
It is not valid for treks we run in Nepal.
Discount for a group of 10 and above
If there is a group size of 10 trekkers and above, then we will waive off the trek fee charges for one person.
Note - There is no discount available if the group size is 9 or less than that.
You can register the entire group and send us an email. If the group is registering individually, then the primary participant needs to send an email to the Trek Coordinator with the list of trekkers from the same group.
If you want to make the payment individually, then individual registrations have to be done.
This will be the case for a group of 10 trekkers. So if you have a group of 20 trekkers, then we will waive off the charges for 2 trekkers.
I am a first timer. Is Hampta pass an easy trek, a good trek for me?
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 the trek.
What is the pick up location for the trek? How do I get there?
The meeting point for the trek is at Hotel Keylinga Inn, Prini at 11:30 am on the first day of the trek. Prini is around 3 km from Manali. You get autos and cabs from Manali to Prini.
How can I reach 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.
Flying to kullu airport is not recommended, as the flights commonly get delayed and cancelled in case of unexpected changes in weather.
What is the extra cost payable mentioned at the end of the trek? How much is it?
The trek ends at Chhatru on Day 5 of the trek. You will visit Chandratal lake on Day 5, if the weather and road conditions are favourable.
Indiahikes will arrange transport from Chhatru to Chandratal and back on Day 5, and also transport to Manali on Day 6. The cost of this transport is not included in your trek fee. This will be an additional INR 8,500 per vehicle. The vehicles will be 5-6 seater vehicles, and the cost of one cab will be shared by co-trekkers in the same vehicle. Per person, the cost for the return journey will be around Rs 1400 to Rs 1700 per person.
At the end of the trek, what time will I reach back to Manali? Can I travel back on the same day?
You are expected to reach Manali by around 5 pm on the last day of the trek. However, the journey is on rough mountain roads and unexpected delays are highly likely It is strongly advised to stay back at Manali on the last day and book your onward journey the next day.
If you are keen on leaving the same day, book your transport anytime after 7 pm, to factor in unexpected delays in reaching Manali.
Can i bring luggage i do not require on the trek and leave them somewhere before the trek begins?
Yes we have an option of leaving behind extra luggage you do not need on the trek, at Keylinga Inn. Ensure you leave no valuables (laptops, cash, electronics) in this luggage. There is no extra charge to leaving this luggage at the base camp, and you do not have to pre book it anywhere.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Hampta Pass Trek
"Just as the campsite was getting visible, we started to understand why it is called the prettiest." Read on to see some of the most beautiful campsites in the Himalayas.Read full blog
Video by Shaily Singh
Video by Pratap J
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