Here are some great treks to do in Sept, Oct and Nov
Pin Bhaba Pass is hands down the most dramatic pass crossing trek in our country. That is a bold statement to make. Especially when we have so many pass crossing treks in our country.
But what you see when you stand at the pass is a testament to this bold statement we make.
Once at the pass you see Pin valley below you, in various shades of pink, set amidst the stark and deserted mountains of Spiti. While behind you is the lush green Bhaba valley. That is when you realize how remarkable the changes in the landscape are.
But it is not just on the pass crossing day that you witness this drama. It starts right from day one!
Take for instance the forests of Mulling on day one. Here is the thing about the forests of Mulling. Unlike other treks, the forests here are enchanting! They’re right out of a storybook.
A turquoise blue river gushes through the forest on one side, little brooks skip and jump through the trees on the others.
Later, towards noon, you burst out of this enchanting forest into a surprise you’re least expecting — the grasslands of Mulling — a sight that makes you catch your breath.
This is the first day of the trek. For a page turner, it can’t get more dramatic than this.
And the drama continues day after day as you hike to Kashmir-like meadows of Karah. If ever there is a debate about one of the prettiest settings for a camp on our treks, then the grasslands of Karah would be right on top.
And the day after when you camp in the river delta of Phutsirang, it is a once in a lifetime experience. River deltas on a trek are extremely rare and here you are camping right on one.
Such stunning vistas and each day an experience different from the previous day. You can’t help but drop your jaws at the surprise that the trail throws every day. Everyday the scenery changes completely, so much so that it is like doing a new trek every day!
When compared with its riskier cousin, the Pin Parvati Pass trek, where your life is at stake, the Pin Bhaba not only is a great alternative, but a more beautiful one.
Before we begin, here are some quick facts about the Pin Bhabha Pass trek
Pin Bhaba Pass trek is hiked over a period of 5 days (9 days including drive to and from the base camp, buffer day, and acclimatization day) in the Himalayas.
It is one of the most dramatic pass crossings that leads you from the lush green of Bhaba Valley of the Kinnaur to the desolate landscape of Pin Valley in Spiti region.
The trek lies in the state of Himachal Pradesh and can be accessed from Shimla. Kafnu, the base camp,is a 200 odd kilometers drive from Shimla.
The trek ends at the quaint little village of Mudh in Spiti valley.
It is a difficult trek (more on this ahead on this page) that should be attempted only by experienced trekkers.
What I like about Pin Bhaba Pass
1. The Pass Crossing
Take the pass crossing for example. I remember it was early in the morning, the sun had just broken out in the valley below. The valley was awash with the colours of the early morning sun. The colours took me by surprise. The valley was a deep green, in the golden light it was beginning to turn a lighter hue.
The higher hillsides, where some rare wild bushes grew, were a bright orange. The white snow summits above them made for quite a contrast. At 15,000 ft I was still climbing to the pass. From that altitude I didn’t expect to see such richness of colours.
An hour later we were at the pass at 16,100 feet. On the other side were the deserts of Spiti. I had not expected to see a valley that was pink in colour. But there it was, right in front of me, miles and miles of pink. How could earth turn pink?
Even now I cannot imagine how in a span of less than an hour the lushness of green could change to the most unlikely colour of earth — pink.
I have not seen such dramatic colour change on any other trek.
2. The forests on Day 1
Leave that aside. Take the forests on the Bhaba side on Day 1 of the trek. I don’t think I have seen such good forests on a trek before. I remember at that time I was already rating it as the best “day one” that I have done.
It is unique because the forest is in many layers. We climb from one layer to another, each with its distinct forest cover, with brooks running all over. This was interesting because I hadn’t come across many forests with tiny streams running through it at such frequency. The sweet scent of pine lingered always.
I remember, in one beautiful moment, the blue waters of Bhaba curved through the forest in a giant arc. I found myself right next to it, on a grassy patch under the shades of deodar trees. On small stretches, the river spilled on the grass in tiny waves. The grass was damp but not soggy. The trail was wide at that part, as it wound itself around the trunks of the deodars.
Together with the river, the grassy patch, and the deodar trees, I thought this was one of the most beautiful forest scenery I had seen. If you ever do the Pin Bhaba trek, look out for this section.
The forest is with you almost the entire day — easily one of the biggest forest sections I have seen on a trek.
3. The campsites
I don’t know which of the three campsites on this trek is my favourite: Mulling, Khara, or Phutsirang.
Mulling almost took me to our treks in Kashmir, with the Bhaba river running broad, big grassy patches on either side of the Bhaba river. On the other side of the river, past the grassy patch was a dense pine forest where even sunlight didn’t pass through. Our camp right next to the river in the middle of this beautiful grasslands was more than what an eye could take.
Karah is at the junction of three green valleys. Tall grasslands climb high into the mountains on every valley slope. High up on the hillside, right next to our camp, I found hundreds of rare pashmina sheep grazing. Just before the slope merged with the valley floor, pink wildflowers carpeted the entire hillside. At some places I had to skip my way to avoid stomping on the flowers.
The Khara camp in itself was in a large flat grassy ground. A tall rock, almost like the pride rock of Lion King, guarded our tents. Behind the rock a large pond nestled in the grassy landscape, reflected the snow peaks that overlooked Khara.
I have done a lot of treks in my life. Yet, here was a campsite that still managed to mesmerise me with its beauty and setting.
Later, the next day we camped beside the river delta at Phutsirang. We were almost at 13,000 feet. Even at that altitude, we were at the entrance of a valley that stretched far into the mountains, straight ahead. The river fanned out into multiple magical branches, our tents right next to it, on slightly higher ground.
The setting was magical because I have rarely found camps next to mountain river deltas. This one was even more special. Here I was on a river delta, in the middle of a narrow valley, sitting on a grassy hump.
On my right across a moraine-strewn mountainside, almost touching the sky was somewhere the Pin Bhaba Pass. Right ahead, snow-covered mountain tops stretched all the way on either side of the valley until it merged with the mountains. We were right in the middle of this orchestra!
For me, I would like to do the Pin Bhaba trek just to camp at these three campsites.
4. The colours and villages of Spiti
People talk a lot about Ladakh. Movies are made in Ladakh. When I saw the beauty of Spiti on this trek, I began to think differently.
The first thing that struck me was the riot of colours. I had never imagined I would trek past sections of purple rocks, black earth, pure white, and pink one after the other.
It is a long stretch, the last day. Anyone would expect to get tired but you don’t. The whole day is a change of colours that just keeps surprising one after another. Stone tablets with their inscription for the dead lie everywhere. When we finally walked into Mudh, with its white chortens surrounding the village, I had stepped into an ancient civilisation.
The harmony of villages in Spiti stunned me. All houses faced the same direction, every house was similar in design and colour. No house spilled over the boundaries of the village, farmlands surrounded the village in an exact perimeter, a clear stream always ran through the center of the village, making it a lifeline. If this was not modernity, then what was?
What I don’t like about Pin Bhaba Pass
Ok, I admit it, getting off the pass was fun. But the walk to our camp at Mangrungse killed me. It was one of the longest days of trekking. I was tired. The continuous hopping over boulders jarred me. I had run out of water. I just wanted the day to get over.
If it wasn’t for this one stretch, I would give the Pin Bhaba Pass ten on ten. It is one of the most perfect treks I have ever done. The variety, the colours, the terrific adventure has left a deep impression in me.
Pin Bhaba Is Best Discovered Through Pictures
Day 1: Drive from Shimla to Kafnu
Pick-up will be organised from Shimla Old Bus Stand at 6.30 am.
Drive Distance: 201.2 km | Duration: 6 -7 hours from Shimla.
Cost: Approx. Rs.8,500/- for a Bolero (shared among 5-6 trekkers)
Day 2: Trek from Kafnu to Mulling
Trek Distance: 11.3 km | Duration: 8 hours
Altitude gain: 7,878 ft to 10,637 ft
Trek type: Moderate. Easy walk on motor road for 2.65 km followed by 4.5 km ascent. Level walk for about 1 km then ascend all the way to Mulling.
Day 3: Trek from Mulling to Karah
Trek Distance: 6.03 km | Duration: 5 hours
Altitude gain: 10,637 ft to 11,653 ft
Trek type: Moderate. Gradual ascent for 3.3 km followed by 1.5 km of steep ascent, easing off at last 1.2 km.
Day 4: Trek from Karah to Phutsirang
Trek Distance: 4.9 km | Duration: 4 hours
Altitude Gain: 11,653 ft to 13,474 ft
Trek type: Trek type: Moderate. Steep ascent throughout.
Day 5: Acclimatisation and rest day at Phutsirang
Day 6: Trek from Phutsirang to Mangrungse via Pin Bhaba Pass
Trek Distance: 10.9 km | Duration: 9 hours
Altitude gain: 13,474 ft to 16,105 ft to 13,674 ft
Trek type: Difficult. Steep ascent for close to 3 km to reach the pass followed by a river crossing and gradual descent through moraine and scree all the way to the campsite.
Day 7: Trek from Mangrungse to Mudh
Trek Distance: 16.29 km | Duration: 7 hours
Altitude loss: 13,674 ft to 12,283 ft
Trek type: Moderate-difficult. Initial easy 4 km trail followed by gradual descent and flat walk through moraine.
Day 8: Drive from Mudh to Manali
The transport costs Rs 15,000 for a 6-seater and Rs 16,000 for Tempo Traveller (11 seaters). Expect to reach Manali by 7.00 pm.
Day 9: Buffer day
It is mandatory to have this extra day as any bad weather or rain will delay your pass crossing. If buffer day is utilised, you will need to pay Rs.2,500 + 5% GST. This amount is to be handed over to your trek leader.
Know Your Pin Bhaba Pass Trek
We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a surficial experience.
Use this section to learn about the Pin Bhaba Pass trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Don’t miss the ‘Frequently Asked Questions' section. Trekkers find that extremely useful.
How Does Each Day Look Like
Day 1: Drive from Shimla to Kafnu
- Altitude: 7,465 ft (2,275 m) to 7,878 ft (2,401 m)
- Time taken: 6 – 7 hours drive from Shimla, 205 km.
- GPS Coordinates: 31°37’1.21″N 78° 1’23.13″E
- For Indiahikes Trekkers: Pickup from Shimla Old Bus Stand at 6.30 am
Getting to Kafnu is not as difficult even though it is a really remote village in the deep reaches of southern Himachal.
What makes it accessible is the hydro electric power project that is on the Bhaba river. The river runs past Kafnu village all the way up to Wangtoo. The hydel project is as the river, right at Kafnu. Hundreds of workers, local villagers work in the project. Kafnu is well connected by bus especially from Karcham, Kalpa and Recong Peo. There are buses from Rampur as well.
The road to Kafnu climbs fast over the hydel power project at Wangtoo which can be nerve wracking when the bus swings left to right on the narrow dirt road hanging over precipitous cliffs.
You will stay at Kafnu for the night, at one of the local lodges. It’s important to use the day to rest in preparation for the trek to Mulling tomorrow.
Day 2: Kafnu to Mulling
- Altitude: 7,878 ft (2,401 m) to 10,637 ft (3,242 m)
- Time taken: 8 hours, 11.3 km
- GPS Coordinates: 31°41’53.42″N 77°59’43.74″E
- Altitude Gain: ↑1007 mtr Altitude Loss: ↓173 mtr
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Easy walk on motor road for 2.65 km followed by a 4.5 km ascent. Level walk for about 1 km then ascend all the way to Mulling.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You will find 2 water sources on the trail to refill your water bottles.
The day 1 of the Pin Bhaba trek will always rate as one of the most beautiful days of trekking. So exquisite and beautiful is the trail through a largely coniferous forest – it is rare to come across such a trek.
The trek starts from Kafnu. Brace yourself for a challenging day. It’s important to get a head start considering the trekking distance and the altitude gain, which at 2,759 feet (841 m) is quite a challenge. From the village, walk for about 200 meters and you will spot India’s first underground dam, the ‘Bhaba Hydro Project‘. Note: Photography is prohibited. Continue to walk on the motorable route for 2.65 km.
About 2 km into this trail, you will reach a bridge. Cross the bridge to reach the left bank of the Bhaba river. Shortly after crossing the bridge, you will notice a narrow route going up from the motorable route – take this trail.
Continue to walk along this route for 4.4 km. At this juncture, you will be surrounded by the dense vegetation of a jungle. The landscape is blessed with the graceful presence of silver birch, pine and oak trees. The sweet sound of birds chirping adds more charm to this spot. The confluence of such beautiful trees, all within a single frame will make this one of the most memorable highlights of this trek. A flat 1 km walk from this section will lead you to a beautiful clearing. This terrain is riddled with mud, grass and small stones.
About 6.8 km into the trek, you will reach a beautiful campsite surrounded by trees. This place is called ‘Champoria‘, 9,491 feet. From this spot, you will need to cross the Bhaba river. Cross the river via the log bridge to reach the right bank of the Bhaba river.
After crossing over, continue walking along the river bank and you will spot a tributary of Bhaba river. From this point onwards, you will need to pace yourself slowly for the ascent. 10 km into the trek, you will reach a place called Jhandi top (10,640 feet). This is a good spot to catch your breath. From Jhandi top, the Mulling hut and campsite are visible. From here, it’s a short 1.3 km hike to reach the campsite. If you’re trekking independently, you can choose to stay at the abandoned hut, which has two rooms. Alternatively, you can pitch a tent here.
Day 3: Mulling to Karah
- Altitude: 10,637 ft (3,242 m) to 11,653 ft (3,552 m)
- Time taken: 5 hours, 6.03 km
- GPS Coordinates: 31°44’2.27″N 77°59’42.02″E
- Altitude Gain: ↑426 mtr Altitude Loss: ↓109 mtr
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Gradual ascent for 3.3 km followed by 1.5 km of steep ascent, easing off for the last 1.2 km.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You will find a water source to refill your water bottle around mid way.
Today’s trek starts with a gradual ascent through a rocky terrain. About 1.6 km into the trek, you will arrive at a beautiful meadow and a waterfall towards your right. From this section, it’s a gradual ascent for another 1.7 km to reach an interesting geographical phenomenon. You can hear the sound of a river but you won’t be able to see it. This feature is called a subterranean river, where the water flows beneath the surface of the ground. From this section, it’s a 1.5 km steep ascent to the top to reach an exquisite meadow with flower beds.
After passing the meadow, continue to walk for another 1.2 km to reach the campsite near a water stream. You will find a lake within 200 meters from the campsite. The lake boasts of stunning reflections when it’s sunny. You can setup your campsite at Karah. You will have the entire afternoon to rest and recuperate for challenges that lie ahead.
Day 4: Trek from Karah to Phutsirang
- Altitude: 11,653 ft (3,552 m) to 13,474 ft (4,107 m)
- Time taken: 4 hours, 4.91 km
- GPS Coordinates: 31°45’45.79″N 77°59’8.61″E
- Altitude Gain: ↑614 mtr Altitude Loss: ↓21.8 mtr
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep ascent throughout.
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from Karah. You might find a couple of streams but these are seasonal.
Today is the shortest day of the entire trek since you have to cover only 4.91 km. Brace yourself for a steep ascent. The first order of the day is to cross the tributary of the Bhaba river. The mountain stream approaches from the left side of Phutsirang. Cross the stream and continue to climb the steep slope.
Tread with care since the terrain is a combination of stone and loose mud. The entire route today is dominated by mountain stream crossings and humps, which can be a bit taxing. It’s important that you pace yourself accordingly.
About 4.2 km into the trek, you will arrive at a campsite which has been setup for lower Phutsirang. From this spot, continue the upward climb for another 700 meters and you will reach Phutsirang.
Phustsirang will serve as the perfect vantage point to get a glimpse of three beautiful mountain passes: Nimish Khango (16,185 feet), Tari Khango (17,318 feet) and Pin Bhaba Pass a.k.a Wang Khango (16,105 feet).
Day 5: Acclimatization and rest day at Phutsirang
Day 6: Phutsirang to Mangrungse via Pin Bhaba Pass
- Altitude: 13,474 ft (4,107 m) to 16,105 ft (4,909 m) to 13,674 ft (4,168 m)
- Time taken: 10 hours, 10.9 km
- GPS Coordinates: 31°50’29.19″N 77°59’19.62″E
- Altitude Gain: ↑762 mtr Altitude Loss: ↓838 mtr
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Steep ascent for close to 3 km to reach the pass. Initial 2 km of steep descent from the pass followed by a river crossing and gradual descent through moraine and scree all the way to the campsite.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You will find one water source just before the pass and one right after.
Brace yourself for an exciting day. Today, you will be conquering steep slopes and navigate through the high mountain passes connecting Bhaba and Pin valleys. Trekkers who have ascended a mountain pass will tell you that it’s an experience that is as thrilling as scaling a summit. The sense of adventure and accomplishment you derive is far greater than a summit ascent because of the fact that you go in with lower expectations.
From the saddle point of the pass (highest point between the mountain valley), you will notice the sudden shift in landscape. The geographical contradictions are well pronounced in this spot. You will be leaving behind the lush grasslands of Bhaba valley and move to the brown, desert mountain valleys of Pin. The Pin river can also be seen from this point. The descent is steep and it is tricky, since it’s a combination of moraine, glacier and scree. Negotiate this terrain slowly.
About 2 km into the descent, you will spot the Pin river. Remove your footwear to cross the river to get onto the right side of the river. From here on, it’s a gradual descent yet riddled with moraine and scree. Pace yourself slowly and rest if you must. About 5 kms from the river-crossing, you will be able to see the Mangrungse campsite below the trail. From Mangrungse, the Tiya campsite is located across the river bank. Tiya is one of the campsites for the Pin Parvati Pass Trek.
The mountain stream trickling by near the Mangrungse campsite is safe for drinking.The various colours of the Spiti mountain ranges have a charm of their own. The furious sound of the Pin river is ominous.
Day 7: Trek from Mangrungse to Mudh
- Altitude: 13,674 ft (4,168 m) to 12,283 ft (3,744 m)
- Time taken: 7 hours, 16.29 km (trek)
- GPS Coordinates: 31°57’31.58″N 78° 1’58.27″E
- Altitude Gain: ↑339 mtr Altitude Loss: ↓722 mtr
- Trek gradient: Moderate – difficult. Initial easy 4 km trail followed by a gradual descent and flat walk through moraine.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at a couple of spots from the river and a small stream.
Today is the last day of the trek. Brace yourself for the long 16.29 km stretch to Mudh. Start as early as possible from your campsite. Climb the slope from Mangrungse to reach the trail and continue walking along the same. The distance between Mangrungseand Bara Boulder is 4 km and from the Bara Boulder campsite, it’s a gradual descent through a section filled with moraine. This campsite is a good spot but the water isn’t clean. It’s recommended that your water bottles are stocked up at Mangrungse.The tributary of Pin river is just 300 meters from Bara Boulder. Cross this stream using the log bridge. The trail from Bara boulder is completely flat and is dominated by red soil and small red stones.
A flat walk for 1.5 km from Bara Boulder will take you to the banks of a mountain stream. Cross the stream using the log bridge to reach a dry, flat stretch of land. The Mudh village will be visible even from a distance of 5 km. It’s a picture worthy of a postcard and the beauty of this place is otherworldly.
The sight of the village will motivate you to push yourself for this final stretch. The Pin river is the last river that you’ll need to cross to access the village. This is yet another exciting experience in this trek. The view of the suspension bridge dangling over the Pin river is a sight to behold.
Cross the river via the suspension bridge. After crossing the river, it’s a short climb to reach the village.
Day 8: Drive from Mudh to Manali
Distance: 201 km
We have put together a list of places you must visit if you are going to Spiti. Don’t miss any of the places on this list – Side Excursions from Spiti After Your Trek To Pin Bhaba.
Plan Your Travel
How to get to Kafnu
The base camp of the Pin Bhaba trek is Kafnu, 205 km from Shimla. Kafnu is a quaint village in the Bhaba valley of Kinnaur. Due to its elevation and accessibility to the Sutlej river, it is home to a wide variety of flora. You will be passing through Rampur and the journey boasts of grand views of the Kinnaur mountain range.
Indiahikes arranges transport from Shimla to Kafnu. The pick up is from Shimla Old Bus Stand at 6.30 am on Day 1. The cab fare is Rs.8,500 per vehicle. This cost is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver. It will take around 6 hours to reach Kafnu.
Shimla can be accessed directly by bus from Delhi. This journey takes 10-12 hours. Regular buses are available from New Delhi ISBT. We recommend that you reach Shimla the previous day to make it in time for the Indiahikes transport to Kafnu.
You can also take a train to Chandigarh or Kalka. Buses and cabs are available from both these places to Shimla. Kalka mail is an overnight train than reaches Kalka by 4.30 am - this departs from Old Dehi Railway station at 21.25. Kalka shatabdi leaves from New Delhi Railway station at 7.40 am and reached Kalka by 11.45 am.
The trek ends at Mudh. Indiahikes arranges transport from Mudh to Manali. The cab fare will be Rs.16,000 per vehicle. This cost is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver. You will reach Manali by 7.00 pm.
You will need to stay in Manali for a night since buses to Delhi depart between 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm. Take a bus to Delhi the following day.
Reaching Kafnu on your own
If you plan to get to Kafnu on your own, take a bus from Shimla that's headed to Karcham/Recong Peo from the new bus stand. Take an early morning bus, preferably before 6.30 am. The bus takes about 6 hours or so to get to the Kafnu diversion on the way to Wangtoo. Wait at the iron bridge for a bus thats headed to Kafnu. It may take a while. The wait can easily be an hour or two.
Traveling to Kaza on your own
From Mudh, vehicles can be hired for the journey to Kaza for Rs.2,100 for a jeep/Sumo Alternatively, a bus is available at 6.30 am.
Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL network available only till the basecamp.
How Difficult Is Pin Bhaba Pass Trek
One thing to understand, Pin Bhaba Pass trek is a difficult trek. It is imperative that you clear the fitness criteria that we have set to be able to do this trek. Additionally, having a Himalayan trek experience under your belt helps a great deal.
But before we get into preparing for a trek, let me tell you why Pin Bhaba Pass is a difficult trek.
At Indiahikes, while rating a trek difficulty we consider a number of factors. These include altitude gained every day, length of trek everyday, highest altitude, nature of the terrain, weather etc. Based on this, we rate a trek as easy or difficult or somewhere in between.
When it comes to Pin Bhaba Pass, the first thing that makes it difficult is the altitude. With it’s summit at 16,105 ft, it is one of the highest pass crossing treks that we, at Indiahikes, do.
Moreover, the pass crossing day itself is one of the hardest days of the trek. On that day, the 10 km long stretch to the next camp is just one factor making it difficult.
When you begin from Phutsirang, you ascend roughly 2,500 ft of steep terrain over a 3 km distance to reach the summit. This is then followed by a steep descent over 2 km, then a river crossing and then a gradual descent through scree and moraine all the way to the campsite.
And it doesn’t end there. Usually, after a pass crossing the hike till the end is relatively easy. But not on the Pin Bhaba trek.
Brace yourself for a 17 km long hike through moraine and boulders. The terrain coupled with the long distance on the final day on the trek is dismaying.
All these things make Pin Bhaba trek a difficult one. It is not a trek that can be done by first timers.
You will need at least 4-6 weeks of solid preparation for this trek. You can begin the preparation by going for brisk walks and then do brisk jogs to improve your cardio. Your target should be to cover 5 km in 30 minutes comfortably by the start of the trek. Here's how you can get fit for the Pin Bhaba Pass trek.
Is Pin Bhaba Trek Safe?
Yes, Pin Bhaba Pass is a safe trek to do. But not without an experienced and technically competent team.
It is not a trek to do alone for first timers or if you have limited experience in the Himalayan trekking. The terrain, the weather and the altitude do post challenges to your health and safety.
To tell you about a recent incident that demonstrates the need for a strong team, in the August of 2019, there was a major landslide at Pin Bhaba Pass. It was the expertise of the Indiahikes team that made sure the entire evacuation was taken care of without an injury or loss of belongings.
The above example was just one of the multiple factors that impact the safety on Pin Bhaba trek. We, at Indiahikes, have listed those factors and described them in great detail.
Safety on Pin Bhaba Pass trek -- Terrain wise
The terrain of Pin Bhaba Pass poses a challenge in terms of safety. Here are some of the sections on the trail where you need to take precautions:
1. Travelling traverses over a river near Mulling:
A tributary of the Bhaba river flows between Kafnu and Mulling. The stream has a strong current and a wooden log is placed across it. However, the log sometimes gets washed off by exceptionally strong flow. In such cases, the Indiahikes technical team will set up a travelling traverse across the river.
| Safety Advice: Do not try to cross the stream on your own. The flow can be deceptively strong. Avoid any form of distractions, especially talking to other trekkers. Do not try to record the traverse using mobile phones or cameras in this section.
At Indiahikes, we set up a pulley system to ensure safety of the trek. Trekkers are provided a harness hooked to a pulley system and clear instructions are provided on how to traverse this section.
2. Snow section near the Pass:
The Pin Bhaba Pass, at over 16,000 ft, often witnesses heavy snowfall. This, coupled with an approach through steep, unstable terrain makes the pass crossing the most difficult section on the trek. The pass itself is very narrow, barely wide enough to accommodate a few trekkers at a time. The descent to Pin valley, while rewarding, is steep and especially taxing after a long climb to the pass.
| Safety Advice: On hard snow you are extremely prone to slips and falls. Ensure your microspikes are worn before you step on snow. Look out for deep footholds made by earlier trekkers. Do not try to make new paths of your own. Always put your foot on footholds.
At Indiahikes, our technical team and Trek Leaders dig these footholds before trekkers venture onward.
This section does not require ropes. However, if the snow is feeble, the technical team will use ropes to take the team forward. The technical team will also be assisted by the Indiahikes Trek Leader.
3. Snow slides after the pass:
Depending on the compactness of the snow, you will have to slide down to a section where the snow levels off. This may require 1-2 slides depending on the snow accumulation. Snow slides are done by sitting down on your back and just sliding down. They are fun!
| Safety Advice: Do not slide at a high speed. You may spin out of control and injure yourself. Avoid any boulders or large stones on your path. Do not slide two in a row (doubles). Do not slide on your poncho or rain jacket. This may increase your speed to uncontrollable levels.
At Indiahikes, your trek leader will show you techniques on how to slide, slow down and arrest your slide. Follow them strictly. Once out of the slides, practice ‘plunge stepping’. This is a step where you dig your heels first, so that your body weight is slightly behind you. Do not lock your knees.
Safety on Pin Bhaba Pass trek -- Weather wise
On a high altitude trek like Pin Bhaba Pass, weather does play a role in you continuing a trek or not.
On the lower part of the trail the weather is more or less stable and does not impact with your moving ahead. But at higher altitudes, the weather is a tad unpredictable.
At altitudes above 15,000 ft, snowfall can happen anytime. A spell of rain on the lower slopes, almost usually leads to a light or heavy snow on the upper regions.
It can rain or snow abruptly at any time at such high altitudes.
A rainfall or snowfall that lasts more than four hours can change your trek plans.
Rain can flood the trails or make them too slushy to walk safely on. Some normal sections can become very slippery.
On the Pin Bhaba Pass trek, snowfall is a distinct possibility near the pass.
Snowfall can obstruct previously made paths. Which means fresh tracks have to be cut on the snow.
It is keeping this in mind that we have a buffer day scheduled as a part of the trek itinerary. The buffer day allows the team the flexibility to wait and let the bad weather pass by before making another attempt to move ahead on the trek.
The Indiahikes technical team along with the Trek Leader takes a call on when to proceed with the trek and when to take the buffer day. A team may have to turn around from the highest camp if the weather turns worse.
Safety on Pin Bhaba Pass trek -- Altitude wise
Starting at 7,800 ft, the Pin Bhaba Pass trek takes you to 16,105 ft at its highest point. And for almost the entire trek you are at heights above 11,000 ft . This makes you highly susceptible to AMS.
Keeping that in mind we, at Indiahikes, have planned the route in a way that helps mitigate the risk of AMS.
- The trek from Mulling to Karah is rather short -- 5 hours/6 km -- and there is hardly any altitude difference between the campsites.
- The hike from Karah to Phutsirang is even shorter -- 4 hours/4 kms.
- And then there is an acclimatization day at Phutsirang.
Overall, while choosing our campsite, we have kept the distance between campsites short and the altitude gain within a normal range. This gives you plenty of time to rest and acclimatize. Moreover, there is an additional acclimatization day at Phutsirang.
With a steady pace, the chances of getting AMS decrease.
However, there are still chances of getting hit by AMS.
Over the last 5 years that we’ve been running this trek, we’ve noticed that trekkers usually start displaying symptoms of AMS at Mulling or Karah. Some might even start showing symptoms at Phutsirang.
Trekkers usually complain of a headache or tiredness mixed with perhaps lack of appetite or sleep.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, at any point in the trek, especially around Mulling or Karah, inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you feel any symptom of AMS. All Indiahikes Trek Leaders are trained to take care of your health and safety during medical emergencies of any sort.
In the case of AMS, early detection and treatment can ensure your successful trek completion.
The earlier you treat these symptoms, the higher the chances of recovering and completing the trek.
If the symptoms don’t alleviate after treatment and the rest day at Phutsirang, it is best to head back to Kafnu immediately. Do not continue the trek if any of the symptoms persist.
You might also notice its symptoms while descending from the pass on the other side if your body hasn’t adjusted to the altitude. In such a case, descend to Mudh immediately.
Here’s a complete guide to know about Altitude Sickness:
Exit points on Pin Bhaba Pass
Being a crossover trek, Pin Bhaba trek has limited exit points from the trail. In case of any emergency, if you haven’t crossed the pass, then head back to Kafnu before getting back to Shimla.
On the other hand, if you have crossed the pass, getting down to Mudh and heading to Manali is your only option.
Closest Hospitals to Pin Bhaba Pass
For mild medical issues, the closest hospitals are located in Rampur Bushahr and Kumarsain. This includes sprains and fracture.
Here is a list of hospitals where medical assistance can be sought.
1. Rampur Bushahr
Rajpur, Rampur Bushahr, Himachal Pradesh - 172001
Dr B K Arora Hospital
Chuha Bag, Shimla NH-22, Jori Road, Rampur,
Rampur Bushahr, Himachal Pradesh - 172022
Ph: +91 9816233900
National Highway 22, Kumarsain, Himachal Pradesh - 172029
Ph: +91 1782240063
If you’ve crossed the pass, then head to:
Ph: +91 1900222218
Best Time to do the Pin Bhaba Pass Trek
The best time to do the trek is from the months late May to late September.
Contrary to regular high altitude treks that open in Summer and then in Autumn, this trek opens at the end of summer and ends mid autumn. In Fact, monsoon months are the best time to do the trek.
Most of the trek lies in the rain shadow area of the Himalayas, like the Pin valley of the Spiti region. This after passing the cross.
And though one cannot call the region before the pass as lying in the rain shadow area, it is definitely drier than the Rohru side of Himachal Pradesh which is closer to Rupin Pass.
We’ve noticed that during June there is a high amount of snow near the pass making it a risky affair.
Having said that it's not impossible to do the trek in June. But July onward the trail gets slightly more comfortable.
Pin Bhaba Pass Trek in June, July and August
When the season begins in June, the entire trail is green. With all the snow having melted, the valley turns a shade or two greener in July and August.
You’ll be left astounded by the lush green meadows with wildflowers blooming in abandon. Especially at Khara which our trekkers rave about after coming back. They know why we speak so highly of the campsites on the Pin Bhaba trek.
You’ll notice the meadows thinning just before Phutsirang though.
Phutsirang is not an alpine zone but you are at the transition point. It has its own charm. Notice the colors and texture of the land and vegetation changing. You don't get grass but they look like colorful moss on soil or rocks.
Post Phutsirang the steep climb does take you to the alpine zone and the vegetation is sparse.
Here is where you start noticing the stark contrast between what you left behind and what lies ahead.
Nowhere is the drama of this contrast more apparent than when you’re standing at the pass.
The Spiti region looks desolate as compared to Kinnaur region from where you started.
Behind you lie the greens of Kinnaur region, while down below in front of you are the pinks of Spiti.
Pin Bhaba Pass Trek in September
By September most of the intermittent showers that hit the Kinnaur side of the pass have passed. The skies therefore, are much more clearer.
The trail starts changing color.The lower campsites are still primarily green. And it’s only mid-September and onward that they participate in this riot of colours that the season brings.
But Phutsirang campsite is especially magnificent in it’s shades of oranges, yellows and reds.
While on the other side of the pass, the landscape looks more or less the same.
In the month of September, somewhere around the middle of the month is a fantastic time to do the trek. You can take in all the clear skies, the colors and the drama of the trek before the pass shuts down.
Towards the end of September the pass receives the first snowfall of the season blocking access to the Spiti region.
Weather And Temperature On The Pin Bhaba Pass Trek
As mentioned earlier, the Pin Bhaba Pass lies partly in the drier region and partly in the rain shadow region of the Himalayas. This is what makes doing the Pin Bhaba Pass possible through most of the monsoon region.
Pin Bhaba Pass Trek in July-August
Having said that, do expect rains on parts of the trail before the pass. Especially in the months of July and August.
What we’ve noticed is that it rains usually in the afternoon. It is not a heavy downpour but a bit more than a drizzle. It is not the rain that will spoil your trek experience.
In fact, it is these intermittent showers that give the valley before the pass it’s lush green color.
When it rains, expect a 5-10 °C drop in temperature.
Otherwise days are a pleasant 16-18 °C on the trail. It may be a few degrees higher if it is a bright sunny day.
During nights at campsites the mercury hovers a degree or two above or below zero.
Pin Bhaba Pass Trek in September
However as we move to September, the clouds disappear giving way to clear blue skies. The days are slightly warmer, but nights can be cooler.
Post the pass however, there is hardly any precipitation. Weather more or less remains the same throughout the season. This is because the Spiti region lies completely in the rain shadow area.
However, it is much colder in September on the Spiti side as compared to pre-September months.
Overall the days are nice and sunny while nights are at 14-16 °C. A light fleece jacket should be enough.
But nights can get extremely cold, going as low as 3-5 °C below zero. So start layering up as soon as you get to the campsite.
Click on the chart to see average temperatures on the Pin Bhaba Pass trek
What To Take
Pin Bhaba is a very high altitude trek. The temperatures drop to negative temperatures. You'll need enough warm layers and accessories to keep you warm and help you trek comfortably. So pay careful attention to this entire section.
- A list of everything you need for the trek (Skip to section)
- A list of medicines for your trek (Skip to section)
- A list of mandatory documents (Skip to section)
First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.
1. Trekking Shoes
Pin Bhaba requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean. Rent here.
For a trek like Pin Bhaba, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.
| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.
| Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack. Rent here.
Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take take off or put on layers as required.
Base layer: 3 T-shirts
Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.
Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.
| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is a blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)
| Buying tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.
| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them.
3 insulation layers
The highest altitude you reach on this trek is 16,105 ft. At these altitudes it can get freezing cold even in the middle of summer. You will need at least 3 insulation layers for this trek.
You will need 2 light fleece layers, 1 full sleeve light sweater. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
For your outer later, a padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
| Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter. Rent here.
A minimum of one pair and maximum of two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry one just in case it rains/snows. Trek pants with zippered cut offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon even in the cold climate.
| Buying tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.
| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trek pants -- so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Pin Bhaba without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a trek like Pin Bhaba, you might need to walk on long stretches of snow. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.
| Wearing tip: Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.
| Buying Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.
| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.
| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens. Read this article for more guidance on managing contact lenses on treks.
A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woolen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.
| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide-brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.
3. Synthetic hand gloves
On a trek like Pin Bhaba you are going to be handling snow quite a bit. You’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself in snow. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
4. Woollen cap or Balaclava
Ensure these cover your head. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. Which is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.
Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is absolutely essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woolen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. If you get woollen cap that only covers your head, you will need a neck warmer or a woolen scarf.
5. Socks (4 pairs)
Apart from three to four pairs of sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry.
As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.
Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Pin Bhaba trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.
| Rental: Headlamps are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
7. Trekking pole (a pair)
Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Pin Bhaba trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and (partially) your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.
| Pro tip: Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.
| Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
9. Rain cover for your backpack
Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built in rain-covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.
| Pro tip: It's good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.
10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional)
Some trekkers opt to offload their bags to a mule on the Pin Bhaba trek. While we do not encourage this practice, in case you opt for offloading, then carrying a daypack is mandatory. In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.
A daypack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not daypacks. Do not get them.
Other mandatory requirements
1. A toilet kit
Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics -- toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.
| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.
| Pro tip: Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Pin Bhaba.
| For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose your sanitary waste.
Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest.
| Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack: Pin Bhaba has many hours of trekking everyday (approximately 6 hours). You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.
| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
3. Plastic covers
Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.
Personal medical kit
Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader.
- Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend down to Yamunotri. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Pin Bhaba trek.
- Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
- Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.
- Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
- ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking. Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
- Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.
Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.
| Pro tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.
Mandatory Documents to carry
These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.
- Disclaimer certificate. This is a legal requirement. Download the PDF, read carefully and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during registration at the base camp - Download PDF
- Medical certificate. There are two sections in this. The first part must be filled by a practising doctor. The second part must be filled by you. Without the medical certificate the forest department will not issue permissions for your trek. It is also a requirement by Indiahikes - Download PDF
| Pro tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.
How to Get Fit for the Pin Bhaba Pass Trek
The Pin Bhaba Pass trek is classified as a difficult trek . You trek up to an altitude of over 16,105 feet. You start from an altitude of 7878 feet at Kafnu and reach the highest point of 16,105 feet at Pin Bhaba Pass on Day 5. Since you will be gaining an altitude of more than 8,000 ft in four days, you have to make sure your lungs are strong for this.
ATTENTION: There will be a fitness screening after you reach the basecamp. If your fitness is not up to the mark, your Trek Leader can take the call to not take you forward on the trek.
Cardiovascular endurance – Target 5 km in less than 30 minutes before the start of the trek
On the Pin Bhaba Pass trek, you have to cover an average of 10 km each day. This requires a good amount of endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.
In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
Here’s a fitness routine that works:
In case you're just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner -
If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 25 km in 60 minutes.
How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?
Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.
Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.
Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.
Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek -- one of you covering 5km in less than 30 mins along with your picture and the other with splits of your run.
Strength - Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each
This is another area you should work on. There is a lot of trekking distance that you will cover in high altitude carrying your backpacks. You have to walk on uneven terrain during the trek. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises - stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here is a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Consider HIIT training regime for a trek like this one.
Inclusions and Exclusions
Here is what the trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 7 (Kafnu to Mudh). You will be staying in a guest house at Kafnu and camping on remaining days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Kafnu on Day 1 to breakfast at Mudh on Day 8 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, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
Here is what the trek fee excludes:
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers from Shimla to Kafnu and from Mudh to Manali. This will cost approx. Rs. 8,500 for a 8-seaterTempo Traveler and Rs.7,000 for 6-seater Bolero to go from Shimla to Kafnu. On the return, it will cost Rs.16,000 for a Tempo Traveler from Mudh to Manali. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to Kafnu and the return drive from Mudh.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 2,100 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. Suitcases/strolleys/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 Kafnu (Rs.400 per day inclusive of tax).
- Stay at Shimla/Manali on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusions
- Buffer day – It is mandatory to have this extra day as any bad weather or rain will delay your pass crossing. If buffer day is utilised, you will need to pay Rs.2,500 + 5% GST. This amount is to be handed over to your trek leader.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pin Bhaba Pass Trek
The Pin Bhaba Pass is roughly a 50 km trek starting at Kafnu in the Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh. The trek ends at the village of Mudh in the Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh.
Be prepared to walk long distances on the first and the last couple of days of the trek. It can be jarring.
Especially, on the final day of the trek, when you’re already exhausted you’re staring at a 16-18 km long day.
Kafnu is the last point that is electrically connected. However, the electricity is extremely intermittent and can be absent for the most part of the day.
So, we strongly encourage you to bring additional batteries for your cameras and a power bank with more than 10,000 mAh to last you the entire trek.
[protipProtip[/protip] Beware that the power from your batteries will drain faster in the cold temperatures of this region. So, put the batteries in a small pouch and keep it inside your sleeping bag to keep them warm during the night.
At Indiahikes, we understand the time, energy and efforts that you put into preparing for a trek.
And it is awful to have to leave the trek incomplete and come back because of any weather related issues. Especially a trek as beautiful as Pin Bhaba.
Therefore we account for a buffer day to take care of any delays caused by weather or terrain related challenges that cause a delay in proceeding with the trek.
The Pin Bhaba Pass lies at a height of 16,105 ft.
Starting at Kafnu (7,878 ft) you climb to Pin Bhaba Pass (16,105 ft) over the next 4 days of trekking. The trail climbs until Mulling followed by a steady climb until Phutsirang where the trail climbs again. The descent that follows too is not an easy one.
This trek does require a great amount of cardiovascular endurance as well as strong legs. Prepare well.
Rampur Bushahr is the last place en route Kafnu to make withdrawals to keep some cash handy. All major private and public sector banks have their ATMs and even branches in Rampur.
Once you cross the pass, Kaza has an SBI ATM, but there have been regular reports of it being out of order or out of cash.
Therefore, Rampur Bushahr is your best option if you want to withdraw cash. Although there is no opportunity to spend money while on the trek (except in case of a buffer day being used).
You will find mobile phone networks — Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL all the way to the base camp. But after that, there’ll only be Airtel 4G network at Kafnu.
On the other side of the pass, Kaza has a mobile phone network and internet connection but don’t count on them to be reliable.
We will open up dates shortly. Click here to see other similar treks that might have dates.
- What the colours mean
Available:Registration is on.
Waitlist:The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
Last 'x' slots:Indicates the number of slots available in a group.
Full:Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely.