My friend and I decided to trek the Hampta Pass in August. Monsoon in the mountains is a stunning sight. And the Himalayas hold a special appeal for trekkers.
The thrill of the Hampta Pass trek is not just about reaching the top; it is also in the journey. It takes around four days, through the picturesque valleys of Kullu and Manali to the arid landscape of Spiti and Lahual.
On day one, we started from the Rumsu base camp, where we had spent the previous night acclimatizing and loosening our muscles, at around 7 am. We had to reach the Hampta Dam by 8 am. The dam is an hour's drive from the base camp and involves crossing several hairpin bends along the way.
The Hampta Dam trail is pretty easy with a mild gradient. We soon crossed the beautiful River Rani to reach a grass-covered flat terrain - Chikka, about 10,200 feet above sea level. From there, you can get amazing views of Indrasen and DeoTibba, two popular mountains in Himachal Pradesh. Chikka's night sky also offers the perfect opportunity for star gazing.
The next day, after a hot breakfast and few stretches, it was time for us to start the trek from Chikka to Balu ka Ghera. The name Balu ka Ghera means heap of sand. This part of the journey was a bit rough. But it is equally scenic, with rocky mountainous slopes to the left and the wide River Rani to the right. This trail is also adorned with wildflowers in varied colours. Day three was an important day of the trek and for the most part, we meandered through a tranquil valley until we reached the Hampta Pass. A sense of pride engulfed us as we stood at the Hampta Pass summit. Standing there at an altitude of 14,200 feet, soaking in the raw beauty was one unforgettable experience.
Soon, it was time to leave and we started our way back to Siagoru. The descent to Siagoru is pretty steep and takes around seven hours. As you descend, the surroundings change drastically-from lush green meadows to barren landscapes in Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Along the way, you also see shepherds, who visit the valley to nourish their sheep with the special grass that grows around the area. Following the roughly 14 km long trek through the Himalayas, we were exhausted by the time we reached the campsite.
On the last day of the trek, we were exhausted yet excited. After eight kilometres of steep descent, we arrived in a valley carved by the River Chandra. As you make your way down, you will be left spellbound by the massive mountains of the Pir Panjal and Spiti ranges that dominate the entire landscape till the campsite at Chhatru. Chhatru is the confluence point of paths from Rohtang Pass, Hampta Pass, and Spiti Valley. In the morning, we left for Manali.
It was time to part ways with the mountains but with a promise to meet again.