Why Indiahikes Is Not Running The Pin Parvati Pass trek

In the past week, we have received at least 20 mails and calls asking about the Pin Parvati trek.

However, at Indiahikes we have stopped running the Pin Parvati Pass trek. And it is for a very worrying reason.

Pin Parvati is not just another difficult trek. It’s an extremely high-risk trek. No matter how many safety precautions you take, you just cannot make the trek safe.

I’ll tell you exactly why this trek is so dangerous. Later, I’ll also tell you about the Pin Bhaba Pass trek in the same region that can be a good alternative..

But first, the perils of the Pin Parvati trek:

Tricky sections

This is what our senior trek leader Dushyant Sharma says. “There are 3 very tricky sections on the trek. The trail hangs precariously over the furious Parvati river, which is hardly 50 ft below. The trail is narrow; even two people cannot walk side by side. Sometimes you have to cross vertical rock faces over the river. The footholds on these big rocks are so small that even the palm of your hand won’t fit in. One wrong step and you’re history.” Dushyant is a trained mountaineer and a seasoned trek leader. When he talks, we listen.

A narrow trail with hardly any footholds runs over the Parvati River

Tough terrain

If these narrow sections are not enough there are rock fall and landslide prone areas, some frightening river-crossings (where you can be swept away), and a glacier crossing with deep crevasses.

It’s not rare to find deep crevasses while walking over the glacier on the Pin Parvati Pass trek. Picture by Ian Chung

Impossible Evacuation

Add to it the altitude. The trek climbs to 17,500 ft, no small number. But that’s still ok.

“God forbid if someone gets AMS, evacuation is almost impossible. The trails are too narrow to carry stretchers on them. Besides, the trek is so remote that it takes days to reach any form of civilization. On a 118 km trek, if you’re 50 km into the trek and get AMS, you’re a goner,” says Sandhya UC, our co-founder.

Just last year, one of our old trekkers went on this trek. Unfortunately, she suffered AMS and could not be evacuated. She passed away. She went with another organisation and no one could do anything about it.

It was painful to hear that yet another trekker was no more because of this trek.

The remoteness of the Pin Parvati Pass trek makes it extremely difficult to evacuate someone in times of emergency.

Lack of safety

Challenges enamour many trekkers. But challenges are one thing and being silly is another.

On the Pin Parvati trek, there’s nothing any expert can do to secure your life. No matter how many safety protocols we put in place, how many harnesses we use, we cannot ensure your safety. Nobody can.

One slip is all it takes.

It’s very easy to be swept away by the Parvati river on the trek. One wrong step is all it takes

Our stance

“It’s true that as trekkers, we all love adventure. But there’s a big difference between adventure and plain risk. As an organisation that promises safety, we cannot take the risk and we don’t want to take the risk. No trek is worth a trekker’s life,” says Arjun Majumdar, our founder.

Do the Pin Bhaba Pass trek instead.

This brings me to the Pin Bhaba Pass trek. The trek is in the same region as the Pin Parvati (the name is very similar, isn’t it?). You get the same allure of Spiti that everyone craves for. In fact the trek ends in Mud, where the Pin Parvati ends too.

The Pin Bhaba has terrific adventure — it climbs to 16,100 feet. Good level of challenge, superb stunning scenery, minus the life-threatening sections.

A view of Spiti upon crossing the Pin Bhaba Pass. Picture by Jagadeesh DM

Frankly, people who have done both treks find the Pin Bhaba more beautiful. Our founders say the variety is more on the Pin Bhaba trek.

Click here to find details about the Pin Bhaba Pass trek here. Go through it, see the pictures too.

If you need help planning your trek out, just write in the comments below. I’ll help you.

But don’t risk your life. It’s not worth it. Not for you, your friends or your family.

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy heads the digital content team at Indiahikes. She is also the face behind India's popular trekking video channel, Trek With Swathi. Unknown to many, Swathi also writes a weekly column at Indiahikes which has more than 100,000 followers. A TEDx speaker and a frequent guest at other events, Swathi is a much sought after resource for her expertise in digital content. Before joining Indiahikes, Swathi worked as a reporter and sub-editor at a daily newspaper. She holds a Masters in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates the mind more than anything else. Through trekking, Swathi hopes to bring about a profound impact in a person's mind, body and spirit. Read Swathi's columns. Watch Swathi's videos.