Why Hampta Pass is a superb trek in mid June

 

Ever since Indiahikes launched the Hampta Pass trek for June 15, we have repeatedly been asked about the choice of mid June as the start of the trek. Arjun Majumdar explains the choice of dates for this fantastic trek. 

Let me clarify something, the Hampta Pass is a grand trek for any season. And the Hampta Pass is open to trekking for more months in the year than our other treks like the Roopkund, Rupin Pass or Goecha La. There is a simple reason for this: Hampta Pass, at 14,500 feet, is at a lower altitude.

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The special thing about the mid June attempt on the Hampta Pass is the snow. The amount of snow that you will see on Hampta Pass will make you believe that you are in the Arctic. I make no bones about it – snow is a big draw for most trekkers. And the way it is laid out on the Hampta Pass brings on a different dimension to the whole trek.

It has also got to do with the terrain. Most treks that we conduct are over very open valleys – like the Rupin Pass or the Roopkund. The Hampta Pass, on the other hand, is a crossing that starts out in a narrow valley and stays that way until the very end, when we descend at Chatru. The narrowness of the valley accentuates the gathering of the snow.

In mid June, you will find the first patches of snow, even on Day 1, lining the sides of the valley walls. On Day 2, as you climb through the Jwara meadows, snow patches start increasing – they are everywhere and almost immediately, you hit the first snow bridges over the Rani Nalla.

That day, when you camp at Balu-Ka-Gera, you are on a wide river bed with snow mounds rising all around you. The temperature drops. Quick acclimatization climbs on the snow patches around the camp make for perfect preparation for your next day’s adventure of the Hampta Pass crossing.

The next morning, just as you step out of the Balu-Ka-Gera campsite, the Rani Nalla disappears under you – under a vast snow bridge. It reappears briefly as it widens to a flat bed of clear water – in fact, your last water source – to go under snow and ice never to be seen again. It is strange to think that a good part of your trek to the Hampta pass is actually over a snow glacier on the Rani Nalla.

The next few hours of trek are entirely in a snow valley that stretches end to end. Climbing the next 2,500 feet over multiple snowy ridges, you reach the Hampta Pass at 14,500 feet, a narrow flat snow plateau. Mt Indersan and Deo Tibba tower over it. The monochrome snowy setting is everywhere.

Getting down from the pass, it is almost a vertical descent through narrow snow ledges and gullies to the open valley of Shiagoru. If the climb to the pass on the snow isn’t thrilling enough, the valley of Shiagoru makes you think that the view cannot be in this world – so surreal is the setting. The entire valley is like the Arctic, totally covered with snow. For the first time, you pitch camp on snow.

On the next day, the descent is again on snow, over mounds of moraine. The trail re-enters an even narrower valley. At times, the sides of the valley are too steep to hike and you have to drop down to the snow at the valley bottom to continue your descent. The trail finally ends at Chatru, crossing glaciers and snow patches. Some of the snow patches stretch forever. We camp at Chatru, right next to tall snow patches, under which clear brooks bring us water for the camp.

In a nutshell, mid June is a great time to do the Hampta Pass if you want to experience snow – and see snow in its various hues. It is special because it is accentuated by the narrow valley of the Hampta Pass. A few days later, in July, the snow comes down and the valley turns green.

 

 

 

 

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Arjun Majumdar

Arjun Majumdar

An entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008. Long years of trekking and facing problems in getting information about trails led Arjun to start Indiahikes. With a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking, he leads Indaihikes, a community that has changed the face of trekking in India.

31 thoughts on “Why Hampta Pass is a superb trek in mid June

  1. This actually sounds like a great experience. But I was wondering, will we get to see the Chandrataal lake as well? If not in June, when does Chandrataal become part of the Itinerary?

  2. Im living in kulllu, as far as i know the highway from Chatru to Kunzum pass will not open till first week of July. Mid June batch will not be able to visit chandertaal lake that i am sure as taxi drivers cant drive as BRO cant clear that road so early. Best time to trek hampta pass is First and second week of July at that time the road to Chandertaal and Kunzum la pass will get cleared.

  3. Chatru to Chandertaal lake and Kunzum pass highway will open in first and second week of July. So if you made a plan to visit in mid of june you will not be able to visit chandertaal and you have to head back from chatru after crossing the hampta pass.

  4. I will be trekking Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia in April and I want to spend my 60th birthday in July at a special place like Hampton pass. Please give me some idea on the duration of the trek and also if possible how best to reach Manali from Delhi for I will be landing in Delhi.

    1. Hi Mohanan

      Hampta Pass would be a great place to celebrate your birthday. The trek is for 6 days. This includes your travel from Manali to the base camp and back to Manali.

      We do have an eligibility criteria for all of our treks. It is a good idea to give our support team a call before you register for the trek.

      If you are landing in Delhi, I suggest you take the a bus to Manali. The HRTC or HPTDC busses are very good. They are government busses and are always on time. They are in good condition too. The private operators tend to get delayed.

      Regards

  5. I am planning to trek Hampta Pass in 2nd week of May. I contacted few guides and they refused due to heavy snow. Will Hampta Pass not be accesible?

    1. Hi Sanaaya, the first half of July is an excellent time as well! There’s lesser snow, but there’s a sure shot of being able to visit Chandratal at the end of the trek – this is something you shouldn’t miss. Go for it. 🙂

  6. I am planning to do this trek in the first week of August. Is it a good time to do this trek? Is Chandratal lake also accessible at that time? Will it be safe to trek at that time during the rainy season?

    1. Hi Arpit, August is a good time to trek there. It rains quite a bit in August, but not so much as to hamper your trek. The trek will be green and full of flowers. 🙂

    1. Hi Bhumika, in mid-June it is not likely to be open. So far it has opened only towards the end of June. So if you want a sure-shot visit to Chandratal, try and time your trek in July.

  7. Hi Swati,

    We are thinking of doing the trek end of August or early September. Will we get to experience snow if we do the Hampta Pass trek. How about Chandratal lake? What’s the best trek to do around this time of late August to early September?

    Alex

    1. Hi Alexander, August and September are not really months to see snow. It is monsoon and there won’t be snow on any of our treks, except perhaps Kanamo Peak (which goes up to almost 20,000 ft). Hampta Pass on the other hand is a very beautiful trek in August and September. It turns into a valley of flowers in these months! Also, you will surely get to visit Chandratal. I think this would be one of the best treks in August.

      In September, you have several options such as Buran Ghati, Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Pin Bhaba. If you’re looking for something around the same difficulty level as Hampta Pass, then go for Buran Ghati or Roopkund in September. Pin Bhaba and Rupin Pass are quite difficult treks.

  8. My trek is from 23rd June to 29th June 2017. What is the possibility of catching a glimpse of Chandratal Lake.

    1. There’s a 60-40 chance of you visiting Chandratal. Over the past years, it has been opened in the last week of June. Hopefully, it will be open this year as well.

    1. Hi Tanuj! Yes there will be snow in mid July but there will only be patches on snow. You will also experience the monsoon showers during this time. July is the best time to do this trek. Read more about it here.

    1. In mid-October, you would be taking a risk because it might just start snowing. This is winter snow and it is likely to block the pass. Without snow, by October, the landscape starts browning a bit, as it is autumn. It is a good time to see lovely autumn colours, but at the same time, you risk winter snow. September would be a better time when the grass is greener and snow is unlikely.

    1. Hi Arsh, mid-September is a good time too! The valley begins to turn from green to a golden brown. The rainfall reduces and it becomes a pleasure to trek here in September. 🙂

    1. Hi! It does rain in July and August on most treks. But that doesn’t mean it rains everyday. There might be a few days of rain and a few clear days. That’s what makes the Hampta Pass trek a contrasting one! The first half of the trek is very green and the other side of the pass is barren and desert-like. So monsoon is actually the best time to trek here.

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