Pin Parvati Pass: The most sought-after trans-Himalayan Pass
The Pin Parvati Pass is a thrilling challenge for any seasoned trekker. It’s a long expedition that gives trekkers a massive dose of adventure, beauty and a sense of achievement. The exhilaration of traversing a 17,457 ft pass is an experience of a lifetime.
Pin Parvati Pass trek provides the most spectacular traverses, right from the forest and verdant meadows of the Parvati Valley to the Buddhist villages in the Trans-Himalayan region of Spiti. The sharp contrast in landscapes, culture, flora and fauna will catch you off-guard. Within hours, you’ll walk from cold dry mountain desert region of Spiti to the rich biodiversity in Parvati Valley. Click here to see photos.
As you climb higher to Pin Parvati Pass, the bird’s-eye view of the Parvati and Pin Valley is fantastic.
Pin Parvati has a host of unique experiences to offer you: from the pulley bridge at Tunda Bhuj to marshlands of Mantalai to alpine meadows of Odi Thach, dense forests near Kheerganga and glacier near the Pass. Pin Parvati trek builds from cold dry deserts of Spiti and its unique settings to the lush, wet greenery of Parvati valley. The greenery, the flowers of Odi Thach hits you harder after days of trekking among wind-carved rock formations and glaciers. Near the end of trek, you also experience the hot water springs at Parvati Kund at Kheerganga. Words cannot describe the experience of a hot water bath here after a hard day of trekking. It is a five star sauna experience on a trek, which you seldom get on any Himalayan Trek.
Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Kaza
Take an overnight bus from Delhi and reach Manali the previous day. Pick up will be arranged from Manali at 6.00 am. The Rohtang and Kunzum passes are known for their notoriously bad traffic jams, making it all the more necessary to leave by 6.00 am. Drive out of Manali, and towards Batal via Rohtang pass on the Manali-Leh Highway. The road is not too good and is bumpy all through. From Gramphu, take a diversion towards the Gramphu – Batal – Kaza road.
From Batal the route winds through the real Spiti Valley. Quaint little villages, tucked away in the mountains and arid mountains dotted with green and yellow patches of peas and barley fields. The route from here is straight out of a picture postcard. You will be camping along the Spiti river in Kaza. The acclimatization process starts today.
- Altitude: 12,467 ft
- Time taken: 10-12 hours drive
Day 2: Acclimatization day at Kaza
- Altitude: 12,467 ft
Day 3: Drive from Kaza to Mudh village; trek from Mudh to Tiya
- Altitude: 12,283 ft to 12,795 ft (trek from Mudh village to Tiya)
- Time taken: 2 hours drive + 2-3 hours trek
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Very gradual ascent
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water
From Kaza, drive down to Mudh village which is at a lower altitude. The drive will take you about 2 hours and covers a distance of 49km. Once you reach Mudh village start trekking to Tiya. You will reach Tiya in 2-3 hours.
Mudh is a picture-postcard worthy village with whitewashed houses, peas and barley terraced fields. You can find guest houses here to accommodate trekkers trekking in Pin Valley. Pin Valley is known as snow leopard and ibex country. However, chances of spotting these animals on your trek remain elusive. It is important to start for Mudh from Kaza early as streams gets swollen later in the day, making it difficult to cross. Mudh is the last village you will see on this trek until Kheerganga on the second last day. This is also the only day of luxurious trekking – a very gradually ascending walk on scree and shale surrounded by barren yet colourful mountains typical of Spiti. The trails are well-defined with minimal chances of getting lost.
You will be trekking along the Pin River through the day, moving upstream. The trekking trail is at a higher level than the river, so it won’t be possible for you to fill water anywhere. However, to set up camp at Tiya, descend to the river bed. You will have limited level ground that is suitable for putting up tents. Across the river is Mangrungse – which is a campsite on Pin Bhaba trek.
Day 4: Tiya to Shia
- Altitude: 12,795 ft to 14,763 ft
- Time taken: 5-6 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Continuously ascending trail, with a few sharp ascents
- Water sources: Streams on the trail
A long day for trekking with beautiful views of Spiti Valley. An early start is important to ford the multiple glacial streams today- which will leave your feet numb. A couple of these tiny streams are also drinkable. Starting on the left bank of the Pin river, the first section is an undulating walk on loose, sedimentary rocks. After this section, you descend to the river, cross it and ascend up the other side. There are a couple of tricky sections – narrow scree-laden ledges over the river that need navigating. After you’ve trekked some distance, the Pin Glacier becomes visible high up, in the distance.
Shia is a shepherds’ campsite with barely enough space for camping. You have to find space among the rocks and shale to set up camp. This is also a landslide prone area, so you have to be careful.
Day 5: Shia to Pin Base Camp
- Altitude: 14,763 ft 15,780 ft
- Time taken: 5-6 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Steep ascents interspersed with a long glacier walk followed by two tough river crossings
- Water sources: River and streams on the trail
Start your day by crossing the Pin river. You will have to remove your shoes. However, this is not easy to cross barefoot as there are a lot of stones and pebbles on the river bed. If the flow is strong and not manageable, you will have to go 2 km ahead and cross it over the glacier.
The ascent to Pin Base Camp will leave you breathless. It is a steep ascent of 1,700 ft. There is also a tricky section that comes midway in the ascent- a stream crossing. This stream comes from Pin glacier (we will camp close to its glacial line) and the volume of the water is high. With the stream flowing on an incline, special care has to be taken while crossing it. The flow of the water is such that you can be swept down to the valley below. The team will have to be roped up for this section.
Pin Base camp is a bare, rocky moonland below the Pin glacier and 1,000 ft below the Pass. The camp is also quite windy with views of rugged mountains all around – the setting is almost like Bhagwabasa campsite on Roopkund. These are very different mountains from the ones you see in Uttarakhand or the lower Himachal.
Day 6: Pin Base camp to Mantalai via Pin Parvati Pass
- Altitude: 15,780 ft to 17,457 ft and descend to 13,440 ft
- Time taken: 12 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. 3-4 hours steep climb to the pass. 3-3.5 hours tough descent through crevasses to Parvati base. 4 hours steep descent to Manatalai
- Water sources: None for the first 7-8 hours. Carry 2 litres of water from Pin Base camp
Depending on the weather, an early start for the Pass is crucial. The Pass should not be traversed after noon as the weather always deteriorates in the second half of the day. The ascent to the Pass is tough, mainly because of the of the altitude – the glacier section is on a gradual incline. There are no crevasses to worry about on Pin side of the pass. The older and originally considered Pass can be seen to the left of the ridge. The Pass used nowadays is at a higher plane, above the one at the left.
The world changes at Pin Parvati Pass! The bird’s eye view of both Pin valley and Parvati Valley is one of those grand views that stay with you. It is a very pretty panorama of both the valleys with unnamed peaks populating your view. You can see Parvati South Ridge, Snow Peak, Ridge Peak, Pyramid Peak, Kullu Makalu and Bara Shigri. You might even spot Kinner Kailash and Shrikhand Mahadev, if you know what to look for. The prayer flags fluttering- on your left- adds to the atmosphere at the Pass. Enjoy the view of lofty peaks from Kinnaur, Kullu and Spiti. You can also spot the Mantalai camp, far below, from the pass.
The descent to Parvati glacier is brutal – it is sharp and crevasse-ridden. The snow hides these crevasses so you have to be extremely careful. Ensure the team follows the guides’ instructions as he finds the path through the glacier, and descend in a single file. The glacier tapers off and becomes wetter and muddier, transforming into a scree laden plateau. Parvati Base Camp is similar to Pin Base Camp. The weather gets very cold here and the wind chill factor is high. It is a much better option to do a longer trek to Mantalai and have a rest day.
The descent to Mantalai is steep and strewn with boulders which makes it a painful affair. Depending on the season, the trail can have snow. From here, you will see breathtaking views of the Parvati valley. You will also see many endangered species of plants and flowers, especially “Losars” and the “Brahmakamals”. Following the shepherds’ trail, you will cross at least 2-3 mountain slopes before you reach Mantalai. At Mantalai, you will have to cross the ice-cold river barefoot and then proceed ahead along the river. Mantalai, said to be the source of Parvati river is not a conventional lake. The boundary of the lake is ill-defined and the area surrounding it is a marsh. The first signs of vegetation start from here – you might even find shepherds and a Baba living in a rock shelter. You will be able to see Pyramid Peak from its base to top and another unnamed peak on the other side. It is by far, the most beautiful and unique campsite you have come across on this trek.
Day 7: Rest day at Mantalai Lake
Day 8: Mantalai Lake to Odi Thach campsite
- Altitude: 13,440 ft to 12,517 ft
- Time taken: 4 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Gradual descent through the valley
- Water sources: River or streams on the trail
This day consists of a scenic 9 km downhill hike all the way to the famous meadows of Odi Thach.
Walk ahead, along the right side of the river bank, up to a moraine-filled ridge. Once you reach the top of the ridge, you get a view of the point from where Parvati river is gushing down. You have to climb down a series of huge scattered boulders after which it levels out to a valley walk. This is an easier day compared to others as most of it is in a valley section. Follow the trail on the right side of the valley till you reach a large ridge breached from the right side from where the River Parvati rushes down towards Mantalai. After traversing the first of the series of ridges, you officially exit the Mantalai region.
The route towards Odi Thach swirls towards the left side of the valley and it becomes easily the prettiest day of the trek. The flowers near Odi Thach give you slopes which are completely decked in red, blue and purple colours. It really hits you, coming from the barrenness of Spiti valley. Every 100 metres after these slopes, you will feel like camping. The swamp land – with a very peaceful Parvati river which branches out to streams – culminates into a plateau and then goes through boulders till you reach level meadow – Odi Thach. A little ahead of Odi Thach is Jwari Thach where we camp.
Day 9: Odi Thach to Tunda Bhuj
- Altitude: 12,517 ft to 10,499 ft
- Time taken: 8 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. All descending with a couple of stream and tough river crossings, interspersed with ledge walks
- Water sources: Streams on the trail
A difficult day like this one would surprise you at this stage after the trek to Odi Thach. It starts out gradually over the meadows and goes lower into the valley to the Parvati river through boulder -strewn fields and streams. You will see a series of waterfalls on your right side and Parvati river flows on your left. Notice Mt Kullu Eiger in front of you to your left along with some un-named peaks and glaciers surrounding the valley. Then you descend down to Pandu Pul which is a natural natural bridge over the river formed by large, misshapen boulders.
This rock section can be tricky and slippery so be careful. During rains, one can rope the entire team for safety. You will have to climb down another rock jammed on top of a tributary of Parvati the same way before you head to out to an open valley with waist high shrubs to wade through.
You will have to keep your eyes glued to the terrain as you will be walking on narrow ledges over the river. The pulley that takes you to Thakur Kuan is broken so you will have to stay on the same side of the river. This trail, however, gets tricky as it is overhanging the swollen Parvati river in many places. You cannot afford to make a mistake here. If the weather is not friendly, crossing this section will become dangerous. Once the tricky patch gets over, which is the only mountainous patch for today, you will enter forest a full of rhododendrons and pine trees.
Tunda Bhuj campsite is a bowl on the mountain surrounded by cliff faces, higher up from the river.
There are a series of waterfalls on these beautiful cliff faces and descending into mist. The lush greenery feels luminescent after the moonlands of Spiti. Pin Parvati is an experience that grows better after each campsite – with a layers of greenery adding on and following the various moods of the Parvati river.
Day 10: Tunda Bhuj to Kheerganga
- Altitude: 10,499 ft to 9,120 ft
- Time taken: 4 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep descent which can get slushy at times
- Water sources: River and dhabas that appear as you approach Kheerganga
Today’s trek to Kheerganga is a steady descent to the gorge below where Parvati River is coming down at your right side. The trail will take you through many pasture lands, inside silver birch trees. You will also notice a series of lovely waterfalls on the huge mountain walls at the right side of the trail. These waterfalls, as they cascade down jagged mountain faces dissipate as mist. It is quite a sight.
Start your day by crossing the bridge over a tributary of Parvati river. An abandoned hut can be located on the left side of the trail. The trail will swirl downhill, out of the expanses of Parvati Valley to an open pasture land. The first forest section – reminiscent of pine forests on Roopkund trail will be steep. Watch your step as it can get slippery with all the mud. After 30 minutes, you enter pastures again – full of knee high bushes and boulders. On your right, you will see local shepherds living in their tents. You can buy fresh buffalo milk from there at a reasonable rate.
Ahead of you is a makeshift bridge that you have to cross – the second bridge for the day. After about 25 minutes of hike from here, the trail curves towards the left. You will find a small tent with locals selling refreshments – this is the first sign of civilisation after trekking through an entirely remote region. This is the first of many dhabas you will find near Kheerganga.
From the pasture land, there is a meandering descent down to forest for 30 minutes that exits into another small open pasture land. From here, you descend down to the stream and crossover the last tributary for the day over a makeshift bridge. The trail ascends from the stream for about 45-50 minutes followed by a series of gradual incline and decline towards Kheerganga.
You will reach Kheerganga by 1 pm and this is, frankly, one of the shorter days of the trek.
Kheerganga is your last campsite and it feels like the end of the trek. There are many cafes in Kheerganga and you are not the only one pitching a tent there. With the music playing in cafes, civilisation has creeped into this beautifully remote trek.
You can also take a bath in the hot springs of Kheerganga, which is a five star sauna experience at the end of long, tough trek. It is quite a luxury after an arduous trek like Pin Parvati!
Day 11: Kheerganga to Barshaini; depart from Barshaini
- Altitude: 9,120 ft to 7,251 ft
- Time taken: 3 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep descent for 40 minutes followed an undulating trail for about an hour. Ends with a steep descent.
- Water sources: Streams and dhabas along the trail.
Trek for 7 km from Kheerganga to Barshaini. You will reach Barshaini around 11am. The trek ends at Barshaini. Indiahikes will arrange for transportation from Barshaini to Kullu. The cost of which will be additional and is to be paid to the drivers directly. It takes roughly 3 hours to reach Kullu. You can take the afternoon bus from Kullu to Delhi the same day.
The trail enters a thick forest cover as you start the trek for Kheerganga. This region experiences lot of rainfall so expect the trail to be filled with excess mud on a rainy day. Since this is going to be a steep descent, remain alert as the trail can get slippery at times. It becomes a level walk after 40 minutes. Since Kheerganga is a popular trail, you will find dhabas on your way down. There will be a couple of streams running down the mountain on your right. They can be used for filling up your water bottles if needed. You will cross a makeshift bridge over River Parvati one last time today – and Parvati is a gushing, angry force now from the serenity it exuded from its source, Mantalai. Parvati River is quite the moody companion from Mantalai.
Just 5 minutes ahead of the makeshift bridge is Rudranag. It is a small piece of land considered sacred, and has a temple dedicated Lord Shiva right next to it. There is a small waterfall next to it. The trail from here has its share of uphill and downhill walks and is manageable. About 30-45 minutes into the hike with Parvati river gushing below on your left side, you enter Nakthan Village. From Nakthan, the descent is steep – however, the trail is well laid, going through villages and lovely apple orchards down to an open meadow called Swagani Maidan.
With a motor-able road all the way to Barshaini, very few travelers trek the old 12 km, 6 hour hike from Manikaran to Pulga which is said to be a scenic trail going beside the right bank of Parvati river, passing some small villages like Uchich village. Pulga has a Forest rest house build of pure teak wood where one can find accommodation to stay. You will reach Barshaini by 1 pm.
Day 12: Buffer Day
Buffer day may/may not be used. It is recommended to book tickets keeping this in mind. In case the buffer day is used, charges for one additional day will have to be paid on the trek.
This documentation is based on the experience of Amitava Chakraborty‘s trek to Pin Parvati Pass.
How to prepare for the Pin Parvati trek
Pin Parvati is a difficult trek. No two ways about it. If you want to do this trek comfortably and enjoy all the surprises it offers, you will need to prepare well.
Cardiovascular endurance – Target 10 km in 60 minutes before the start of the trek
On Pin Parvati Pass trek, you are trekking an average of 10 km each day on very difficult terrain. At the start of the trek itself, you are close to 12,000 ft. On the pass crossing day, you trek on ice fields for a few hours. That’s a long distance to cover, with steep ascents at very high altitude. This requires a good amount of endurance and stamina. 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. In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 5 km in 35 minutes when you begin
- Gradually bring up your speed to do 5 km in 30 minutes
- Start increasing the distance you jog to get to 10 km in 70 minutes
Before the start of the trek, get to 10 km in 60 minutes. Your aim should be to cover 10 km in 60 minutes once a week and 7 km in 40-45 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks.
Prepare for ascents
To prepare yourself for the steep climbs, you can add stair-climbing to your routine as well. Start simply by climbing upstairs for two minutes non-stop. Overtime, increase this to five-minute bursts of climbing, and take it to ten minutes with a short break in between.
Work on your core body strength and also your thighs, to take pressure off your knees. You can do some squats. Do three sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Apart from this, you can include planks and crunches in your routine. This will help increase your core body strength.
When you’re working your muscles a lot, you need to keep them loose and flexible. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. 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.
Things to take on the Pin Parvati trek
- Trekking shoes: The Pin Parvati trail with it’s loose mud, moraines, scree and glaciers requires you to have a shoe with good sole grip and high ankle support for steep climbs. You can watch this video to help you choose the right trekking shoe.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. A rain cover for backpack is essential. Parvati Valley, especially, is prone to rain showers.
Carry a poncho as well since you might face rain while trekking through Parvati Valley.
- Three warm layers: Here’s a video on how you can layer yourself.
- Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry one pair. This should be enough. But your pants could get wet while sliding, so carry an extra pair.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals: Carry thermals to keep warm at night. Keep them fresh. Don’t wear them while trekking.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. They are mandatory on this trek since you will be traversing ice fields at the pass.
- Suncap: The sun is more harsh on your skin at high altitude and will zap your energy quickly. Wearing a suncap will help.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of water proof/resistant gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): 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.
- Daypack (20 litres): This is required ONLY if you are offloading your backpack.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. If you plan to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you do not leave the used wipes/tissues back in the mountains since these are not biodegradable. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card – driving license, voters ID, etc
- Medical Certificate – Download PDF
- Disclaimer – Download PDF
If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
Trek fee: Rs. 24,650/-*
*GST at 5% is payable on the trek fee
- Accommodation during the trek (camping)
- All meals – vegetarian
- Trekking permits and forest camping charges
- Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
- Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
- Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
- Services of an expert trek team (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)
- Transport to and from the base camp (Manali to Kaza and return from Barshaini to Kullu)
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs 3,500 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs 400 per day plus GST of 5%. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags with wheels will be allowed.
- Stay at Kullu on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from the inclusions
- Buffer day: In case we use the buffer day, you will have to pay us Rs.3,000 + 5% GST per day. This amount will be collected by the Trek leader if we use the buffer day.
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off 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.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please e-mail us at email@example.com. Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.
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% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
2. The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start at Kaza to the end of the trek at Barshaini.
3. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from Manali bus stand at 10:00 am. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to Kaza in shared cabs.
4. Transport: Transport from Manali to Kaza and return from Barshaini to Kullu can be arranged by us at an extra cost. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No service tax is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
5. Backpack offloading: 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 3,500 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs 400 per day plus GST of 5%.Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
6.Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
7. Fitness: 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. You need to be able to jog a distance of 10 km in 60 mins before start of the trek. Unable to do so can make your trek difficult. 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. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
8. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
9. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.
10. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
How safe is Pin Parvati Pass trek?
The Pin Parvati Pass trek is a difficult one. One of the reasons it is a difficult trek is that the you are covering about 100 km and touching very high altitude (over 17, 000 ft). There are a lot of tricky sections on this trek. Pushing your body in that high an altitude without being acclimatised may be dangerous. Also, there are no easy exits on this trek.
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.
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 Pin Parvati Pass trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Pin Parvati 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
On the Pin Parvati 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 they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will 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 altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. 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.
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.
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.
5. 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.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Pin Parvati Pass trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At altitudes above 10,000 ft, the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out.
All the campsites starting from Kaza are a at considerably high altitudes. Each day on this trek is gruelling. Trekkers can develop symptoms of altitude sickness at any of the intervening campsites.
At any campsite, inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you identify any symptom of AMS. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to a lower campsite.
This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox
We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.
What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?
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 below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
Exit points on the Pin Parvati Pass trek:
There are none. The only way out is to descend all the way to Kaza or Barshaini. So you have to be very fit and prepared before you start the trek.
Kaza has the closest hospital in case of any emergency.
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. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.
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.
1. What is the style of accommodation in this trek?
Accommodation on all days of the trek will be in tents. Each tent accommodates 3 people and is to be shared accordingly among trekkers.
2. Will you provide us with tents and sleeping bags?
Yes, Indiahikes trekkers will be provided with tents and high altitude sleeping bags that can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC.
3. What will the temperature be like during the trek?
Day temperatures will be around 16-20°C. Night temperatures will fall to around 0-4°C, especially at the higher campsites.
4. Which are the best seasons for the Pin Parvati Pass trek?
July – August is the best season to go on this trek.
5. When will there be snow on this trek?
You are most likely to find snow, if at all, while descending to Mantalai from the Pin Parvati Pass on Day 6.
6. What will we do if it rains?
If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. Your trek leader might take a call for the group to stay back at a place in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, in which case, you will use your buffer days.
7. At what time should we reach Manali?
Kaza, the base camp, is a 10-12 hours drive from Manali. The route is notorious for traffic build ups at Rohtang Pass. So it is advisable that you reach Manali the previous day so that you can start for Kaza by 6.00 am. Indiahikes will arrange for a cab, the cost of which will have to be shared among the trekkers. It costs around Rs.13,000 for a tempo traveler.
8. How will we get back to Kullu?
The trek ends at Barshaini. The drive to Kullu from here will take about 3 hours. Indiahikes will arrange for a cab, the cost of which is to be shared among trekkers.
9. Will backpacks, raincoats and other equipment be available for rent?
No. There are several websites that rent out trekking equipment. Indiahikes does not rent any equipment. You may purchase trekking poles and other equipment from the Indiahikes store.
10. Is this a good trek for a first timer?
The Pin Parvati Pass trek is definitely not for a beginner. It is an extremely difficult trek, with expedition like features. All days on the trek are long and some of the ledge and glacier walks and river crossings could also get dangerous. All of this at very high altitudes. You definietly need prior high altitude trekking experience to take this on. Also, the trek requires high levels of preparedness irrespective of how experienced a trekker you are.
11. Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.3,500 + 5% GST. You will need to inform us in advance if you wish to offload your backpack. In case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Kaza, the cost will be Rs.400 per day + 5% GST. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision.
12. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
Pin Parvati Pass is a difficult trek and requires high levels of fitness. Minimum age for eligibility is 15 years, and prior experience of high altitude trekking is a must. However, we would not recommend this trek for children.
13. What is a good alternative to the Pin Parvati Pass trek?
You can consider the Pin Bhaba Pass trek, Goechala or the EBC-Gokyo Ri treks.
14. What kind of food is served on the trek? Should we carry any food?
Indiahikes uses a well planned menu suitable for high altitude treks. Breakfast varies from bread and butter, semia, poha to sandwiches and cornflakes. Lunch mainly comprises of roti or puri with sabzi. Dinner is complete with Dal, rice, roti and dessert. Dry ration of biscuits and chikki will be provided as well. You may carry nuts and dry fruits if necessary.
15. Who will be there with us on the trek from Indiahikes?
An Indiahikes team consisting of a qualified Trek leader, trek guides, technical guide and porters will be with you throughout the trek.
16. What are the washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
Toilet tents are set up along each campsite. There will be 2 or 4 of these toilet tents depending on the size of the group. A toilet tent will have a deep pit, where one can answer nature’s call. There will be a mound of soil and a shovel to cover it up. These are dry toilets, where you’ll have to use toilet paper. There will be a room freshener as well. It’s the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and refrain from using wet wipes since there are not bio-degradable.
17. Will there be water sources on the way? Will two litres of water be enough?
You will have access to drinking water at the tea houses where you stay. For your day’s trek, two litres of water should be enough. There are no water sources on Day 3 – the trek from Mudh to Tiya. The water sources on Day 6 appear only after Parvati base, which is around 8 hours from the time you start. There will be streams and rivers on the trail on other days where you can refill your water bottles.
18. Is there mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
Kaza is the last place where you will have mobile network on this trek. Make sure you finish all your important telephone calls here and inform anxious family members about poor connectivity during the trek.
19. Do I need special snow shoes on this trek?
You don’t need special snow shoes. A good trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. We recommend a pair of shoes that is water resistant. When there is snow, we provide micro spikes and gaiters.
20. Why is the trekking pole necessary?
We suggest you watch this video to for a better understanding of why a trekking pole is necessary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=LXezaCVjEao
21. When it gets really cold can I consume alcohol?
Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially on altitudes as high as 12,000 ft. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead it opens your pores making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Indiahikes treks. Anyone found with alcohol is quickly removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Indiahikes treks.
22. How long do we trek every day? What is the distance covered?
Day 1 – Reach Kaza from Manali. The drive will take you 10-12 hours.
Day 2 – Acclimatisation day at Kaza
Day 3 – 2 hour drive from Kaza to Mudh. 2-3 hours trek from Mudh to Tiya
Day 4 – 5-6 hours trek from Tiya to Shia
Day 5 – 5-6 hours trek from Shia to Pin Base camp
Day 6 – 12 hours of trekking to reach Mantalai via Pin Parvati Pass
Day 7 – Rest day at Mantalai
Day 8 – 4 hour trek from Mantali to Odi Thach
Day 9 – 8 hour trek from Odi Thach to Tunda Bhuj
Day 10 – 4 hour trek from Tunda Bhuj to Kheerganga
Day 11 – 3 hour trek from Kheerganga to Barshaini
23. How do I manage the low temperatures on the trek? Do I need special jackets?
At high altitudes, temperatures are sure to dip into negative at nights.. For these extreme cold temperatures, you need to keep the rule of 3 in mind. The rule of 3 usually takes care of cold that dip to -10°C. It is a simple formula of wearing 3 layers of woolen, inners and lower wear.
Follow this guide:
Wear one thermal and two T-shirts, three layers of woolens (two sweaters and a jacket). For your lowers wear a thermal inner with two layers of track suit. If you are prone to more cold, just add a layer.
The temperatures dip only late in the evening and early mornings. During the day if the sun is out, then you may even be trekking in your T-shirts. Make sure you use your thermal wear only at night and not while trekking.
A woolen cap/balaclava and gloves are a must.
24. What all do I need to carry on the trek?
Click here to get the list of all the things you need to carry on the trek.
25. Why does the itinerary have so many buffer and rest days? Can I plan my onward travel from Kullu by excluding all of these?
Mudh, where the trek begins, is at 12,283 ft. Your body needs to acclimatise to high altitude before taking on this strenuous trek. Hence, the acclimatisation day at Kaza, which is at 12,467 ft.
Day 6, the day of the Pass crossing is very long – almost 12 hours. You have a steep ascent on the Pin side and a tricky and difficult descent on the Parvati side. A combination of the terrain and altitude make this very taxing on the body and you will need to recover before you proceed. Hence, the rest day at Mantali on Day 7.
The weather in the mountains is unpredictable. It is likely that we might have to defer cross passing due to bad weather, in which case the buffer day will be used. Hence, do not exclude this from your travel plan.
26. Is it safe to trek with Indiahikes?
All high altitude treks come with their share of risks. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. Before you go on the trek, make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with the safety procedures followed on a trek.
27. What are the places of interest that I can visit before or after the trek?
If you arrive early at Kaza, here’s what you can do. If you want to utilize the buffer day at Kullu, here are some options. Please note, these are suggestions and Indiahikes does not organise these excrusions.
How to get to the basecamp: Kaza
Delhi/Chandigarh → Manali → Kaza
The Pin Parvati trek starts at Kaza, a beautiful town along the Spiti River river. Snow capped ranges and clear streams surround the town.
To get to Kaza, take an overnight bus from Delhi or Chandigarh to Manali. You will reach Manali early the next morning (travel time from Delhi is 12-14 hours). Tickets can be booked online on www.redbus.in or www.hrtc.gov.in. HRTC or HPTDC buses are usually on schedule. For a long trek like this one, it is highly important you reach Manali in the morning. You need to leave for Kaza as early as possible for your acclimatisation time. Therefore, take a bus out of Delhi for Manali no later than 7:00 pm. Do not take a private bus, you will be delayed.
From Manali to Kaza, Indiahikes can arrange transport upon request. It takes about 10-12 hours to reach Kaza. The transport charges are not included in the trek fee. For a Tempo Traveller (12+1 seater) it costs Rs.13,000 one way. A Sumo vehicle costs Rs.9,000 one way. Trekkers are advised to travel together and share this cost. The amount is to be paid directly to the driver.
Barshaini → Kullu → Delhi
The trek ends at Barshaini – the roadhead for short hike to Kheerganga – at around 11 am. Indiahikes organises transport from Barshaini to Kullu. This cost is not included in the trek fee. It will have to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the transporter. It will take about 3 hours to reach Kullu. Buses are available from Kullu to Delhi.
Here is what our trekkers have to say about the trek!
“Trek was great. Well organized. The kitchen staff, the tech lead Raju, and the trek lead Ravi were good and made it a fun and safe experience. I must also say that the only case of AMS on the trek was handled well. It was good that a IH trek lead went back with the suffering trekker. I would also like to add that on the break day the staff did a terrific job of cleaning the Mantalay camp. While we trekkers did pitch in initially, the staff went on an overdrive towards the end. I would recommend Indiahikes because IH handles the logistics very well. It is something for which I don’t have the time. But more importantly because at least in my two experiences an effort was made to leaves things clean.”-Sanjit Kaul, batch of July 2016
“In hindsight, I really enjoyed the trek. I say “in hindsight” because this trek really challenged me and I had moments during the trek where I wondered why I left the comfort of home to go there. But overcoming those moments of weakness are what makes you a stronger person. And that’s one of the biggest take aways for me from this particular trek. Having completed it with some difficulty makes me want to get a whole lot fitter and go for it a second time! 🙂 As for Indiahikes’ role in the trek, you delivered as promised 🙂 I have trekked with Indiahikes earlier (Goechala) and they really take care of you in the mountains. They ensure that the maximum comfort that can be provided in such extreme conditions is given to you “-Mridula Vasudevan, batch of July 2016
“I loved the trek!!! It was beautiful, difficult, adventurous. I also loved the drastic change in flora & fauna from dry deserts of Spiti to dense forests of Parvati valley. There are many reasons I would recommend Indiahikes: Professionalism of IH, IH is really sensitive to environment, awesome food served by IH and many more…”-Dev, batch of July 2016