Hampta Pass- A Five Day Adventurous Trek from Manali
The Hampta pass in Himachal Pradesh is at a height of about 4,270 metres in the lesser Himalayan region. It acts as a small corridor between Lahaul’s Chandra valley and the Kullu valley. It derives its name from the Hamta village, a village located below the Sethan village, which is a part of the trek route.
Shepherds of the lower Himalayan region often use this pass in search of grasslands in the high altitudes. Known for its constantly changing scenery from the lush green valleys of Kullu to the cold deserted lands in Lahaul and Spiti, the Hampta pass trek is ideal for both amateur and experienced trekkers. It remains open from May to October for trekkers, as it is difficult to walk on the snow laden mountains during the rest of the year.
Pick up point: Manali.
Duration: 5 days.
Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.
The Hampta pass trek begins from the basecamp at Jobra, which is a 2 hour picturesque drive from Manali along 42 hairpin turns. The forests slowly change from apple orchards to deodar forests to oaks. The temperature changes drastically as one leaves Manali. The trek route covers Balu ka Ghera, Shea Goru, the Hampta pass, Chhatru etc. Chhatru is a confluence of three paths- The Hampta pass, Spiti, and the Rohtang pass.
One can also drive to the Chandrataal Lake, which is a moon-shaped alpine lake at a height of about 4,250 metres. Throughout the trek, one proceeds through the vertical rock walls, pinewoods, forests of oak and open meadows to reach the relatively challenging terrains which lead to the Hampta pass. The initial trek is a relatively gradual ascent, and the latter part is a steeper descent from the mountains. During the monsoons, trekking becomes difficult as there are chances of frequent landslides.
Reasons to do
What makes the Hampta pass trek special is the different landscapes one gets to catch a sight of every day. The pleasant views of the forests and streams along with the snow-covered mountains in the backdrop add to the appeal. One also gets to catch glimpses of the rich and diverse flora and fauna of the mountains.
The forests are mostly of oak, spruce, pines, deodar and maple trees. Simply, the Hampta pass can be easily regarded to be Himachal’s Valley of Flowers. With the spectacular views along the way, one can barely even realise the climb. Along the trek, one can get a magnificent view of the Dhauladhar range, commonly known as the White Range, with its meadows and flower-filled valleys. Mountain peaks of the Pir Panjal ranges, commonly known as the lesser Himalayas, are also visible as one gradually moves along the trail.
The weather conditions may vary constantly at such high altitudes, so it is judicious for amateur trekkers to take time to get acclimated to the weather. One might want to get help from professional guides, who are well aware about the whereabouts of the trek, and can ensure high safety of the trekkers.
Points to remember
· Carry enough warm clothes and the right shoes for the trek.
· Carry dry snacks/food from home.
· Try to keep the luggage minimum.
· Make a list of the essential items to carry, and cross-check in order to ensure the availability of all items.
The Hampta pass trek is indeed quite a popular destination among trekkers and mountaineers for a reason. Standing on top of the pass, it seems like there are two different worlds on both sides of the pass. On one side lie the luscious green valleys of Kullu and Manali, and on the other side are the barren semi-arid regions of Lahaul and Spiti. Even the climb to the Hampta pass is quite an adventurous ride.
Overall, the Hampta pass trek is easily a lifetime experience. The serenity and scenic beauty of the mountains along with the thirst for adventure is what drives nature lovers to go to such extents. But, with the growing tourism industry, there comes an inevitable threat to the natural environment of the fragile mountains and the species there. So, it’s all of our duty and responsibility to try to preserve the natural environment, while we continue relishing the beauty of the mountains that nature has to offer.