Why You Should Trek To Rupin Pass In The Second Season

A long time ago, a massive chunk of glacier slid down the Dhauladhar ranges of Himalayas, cutting rugged mountains in the shape of a half-barrel. That’s Rupin – a spectacular valley that promises two totally different experiences in its two seasons.

A change in seasons

So, if it’s snow that entices you, aim for the May- June season. During these months, Rupin valley sleeps peacefully, covered in a fluffy blanket of snow, adorned by silent waterfalls that are frozen in time. A calm haze engulfs vistas all around.

In the latter half of the year, however, the valley throws off its snow blanket and bursts to life! Haze disappears, paving way for clear blue skies. Spectacular mountains present themselves all around you, as far as you can see. And the sunsets and sunrises are absolute spectacles to watch, with unimaginable colours painted on the sky.

The Rupin valley bursts to life in the second half of the year after monsoon. Picture by Vaibhav Jain

No haze in the sky makes it a photographer’s delight

Saikat Adak is a photographer, who happened to make sudden plans to trek to Rupin Pass in September. “I had it on my list of places to visit,” he says, “and was planning for May-June. But I couldn’t do it at that time.”

Adak had seen numerous images of Rupin valley covered in snow which is why he had opted to trek in May/June. “There were not many photographs of Rupin in the latter season,” he says, “I had always seen Rupin as a monochromatic landscape. But what I saw on the trek in September blew me away.”

He recollects a valley covered in a lush green, with the Dhauladhar ranges rising on either side. His photographs display the burst of colours he witnessed during sunset.

This kind of a clear view is rare to find in summer, when there seems to be a permanent haze in the sky. In autumn, after all the rain clouds have been emptied, the sky is left clear and void of any mist.

Strikingly clear views of the Kinnaur ranges from Rupin Pass. Click on the image to view Saikat’s full album.

A great time for astro-photography

With the haze cleared out of the sky, the nights come alive on the Rupin Pass trek. The grand setting of the Lower Waterfall or Dhanderas Thatch campsite makes it a great location for your starry sky pictures.

The valley is known to have clouds hanging over it post noon. But autumn gives you a clear window to shoot at this campsite, and the added acclimatisation day will surely help!

A starry night at the Dhanderas Thatch campsite. Picture by Vaibhav Jain

Valley filled with waterfalls

The haze that hangs over Rupin valley in April-May is washed out by rains during monsoon. The vistas appear clear and crisp. “There are hundreds of waterfalls flowing into Rupin river from both sides of the valley. And bang in front you have the huge waterfall of Rupin. What a terrific sight that is. And that’s where you camp overnight,” says Arjun Majumdar.

The glacial valley of Rupin is full of waterfalls and small rivulets in the second season. This experience alone makes it a great trek in autumn

The trek becomes a grade easier

Rati Pheri is a crucial campsite. If you camp here, you can split the pass-crossing day into two and have a much more leisurely trek. Unfortunately, humongous amounts of snow make it impossible to camp at Rati Pheri in April-May. That makes the pass-crossing day really long and demanding. But this changes in the second season.

Snow in September-October is scarce, making Rati Pheri a beautifully accommodating campsite. The pass-crossing day is cut short, making the trek a grade easier. “Just a short distance after leaving this campsite, we were greeted by the first view of Rupin Pass,” Adak recollects.

The desolate settings of Rati Pheri. Camping here is possible only in the second half of the year, when there’s lesser or no snow.

So that’s what is different in the second season. Gushing waterfalls, lush greenery, spectacular mountain views and Rati Pheri. This is what lends a magical touch to Rupin Valley in September-October. It is an imagery that remains unexplored by many till date.

P.S. There is a shortage of photographs from the second season of Rupin Pass trek. And the current photographs barely do justice to it. So if you are a photographer who has already trekked to Rupin Pass in the second season – and have some awesome photographs – get in touch with sneha@indiahikes.in

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Latika Payak

Latika Payak

Latika Payak has worked as a journalist with Femina, New Woman, BollywoodLife.com and wrote articles for the weekly editions of Times Of India Crest before growing allergic to full-time jobs. So she broke free from the glass-walled buildings and became the official story-teller of the trekking world.