Landslide At Pin Bhaba Pass Leaves Trail Blocked – Here’s The Future Course Of Action

We have an update from the Pin Bhaba Pass trail. On Friday, August 9th, there was a landslide just above the Phutsirang campsite, blocking the trail towards the pass. It also gave rise to continuous rockfall, which we’re still seeing on the trail.

In this post we have the latest updates from the trail and also the future course of action for trekkers headed here.

Our recce team, which went to check if the pass was accessible, returned yesterday with rather grim news.

Here is what senior Trek Leader Devang Thapliyal reports from the recce:

The impact of the landslide is greater than anticipated

– The terrain is in flux and minor rockfalls are still ongoing.
– The landslide has created a nalla that is risky to cross
– Phutsirang is a river delta. The lower delta area before the trail has widened a lot and the entire area is sludgy. If you step in it, your feet will sink into the ground.
– The steep trail to the pass has loose rocks and the wet weather is not helping the situation.

These factors have made the trek to the pass riskier and beyond the control of safety protocols.

Our recce team estimates that it will take at least 15 days for the land to stabilise.

Note: The teams leaving on August 17 and 19 will not be able to cross the Pin Bhaba pass.

Here’a video report Devang sent from above the Phutsirang campsite

What is the best solution?

Current batches will go up to Phutsirang, return to Khara and explore the Tiya Valley. They will be returning to Kafnu after exploration. The number of days of trek will remain as is. The only difference is that trekkers will have to change the return to Shimla instead of Manali.

The good part of this solution is that you get to trek in the extremely picturesque Kinnaur Valley. It is a loss that you cannot see the Spiti side, but even then, the first half of the trek is worth it. If it was up to us, it’s what we’d do. No alternate trek really matches up to this beauty.

You will also be exploring the Tiya Valley, which our recce team reports is extremely pretty! We would strongly recommend sticking to your trek plan and doing how much ever possible of Pin Bhaba Pass.

Here are some pictures from the first half of the trek. They were taken over the past few weeks by our trekkers.

What are your other options?

– Opt to go for another trek. Hampta Pass is the closest alternative geographically. We can shift you individually to 17, 18 or 20th Aug batches.
– Opt for any other trek with Indiahikes.
– Cancel and get a 100% trek fee voucher which is redeemable on any trek with us within a one-year period.

A Report On The Landslide Occurrence At Phutsirang

On Friday night, there was a roaring landslide on the Pin Bhaba Pass trail, right above the Phutsirang campsite. A glacier on the mountain above the campsite had split and was tumbling down in a barrage of big boulders, rocks and sludgy water. All of these were flowing directly into the campsite.

Our campsite on the morning after the landslide. The ground is sludgy, like quick sand. Picture by Trek Leader Nitesh Kumar taken on Saturday, August 10

Our trekking teams were inside their tents when they heard a clapping thunder from above them. They were immediately evacuated from the campsite to higher, safer grounds.

No trekker was hurt during the incident, despite the incident occurring in the darkness of the night.

Listen to this report of what happened. Our colleague, Prathima was at the campsite along with two teams of trekkers. She tells us how the events unfolded.

Trekkers were evacuated to safety within minutes

After the landslide, our teams shifted the dining tent and all other tents quickly to higher, safer ground, across the delta, on the other side.

All trekkers spent the night in the dining tent, cramped, but warm and safe.

They couldn’t cross the pass the next day. They returned to Kafnu, trekking 21 km, the same way they’d gone up.

An unexpected stay for trekkers in the dining tent that night. Picture by Trek Leader Nitesh Kumar

A note from Mukta Joshi, our Trek Leader who played a crucial role in the safety of our trekkers at Phutsirang

It took less than 15 minutes for the entire staff to shift 10 hillman tents, 1 kitchen tent (with ration) and a dining tent. On top of that, none of the trekkers lost even one piece of their belonging.

Nitesh’s [Another Trek Leader] presence made things easier as we divided the roles of taking care of trekkers and keeping an eye on the situation outside between ourselves.

The most of important thing was trekkers’ cooperation in this situation. To see their trust in our safety was overwhelming.

The entire team descended 21 km from Phutsirang to Kafnu the next day without cribbing complaining. Hats off to them as well. We had two kids of the age 11 and 13. After returning, their parents said, “the kids felt extremely safe that night and they could sleep, which made it easier for them to walk the next day”. They showed extreme bravery in such a terrifying situation.

Overall, in the debriefing, it came to notice that everybody is carrying memories of adventure and beauty with them.” 

Our next update will be out next week, on August 21st

We hope for the trail to clear up in the next 10 days. We will have a report about it on the website latest by 21st August.

If you have signed up with us, your Trek Coordinator will be in touch with you directly on Whatsapp.

If you have any questions, drop in a comment. We’ll get right back to you!

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy is the Chief Editor at Indiahikes. She also runs a video series, Trek With Swathi. Before joining Indiahikes, she worked as a reporter and sub-editor at Deccan Chronicle. She holds a Masters in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications such as Deccan Herald. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates that mind like nothing else can.Read Swathi's other articles. Watch Swathi's video series here.

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