The first day of the itinerary is kept for rest and Acclimatisation. To reach base camp on time, one should board a bus for Manali from Delhi by 6 PM. Get down 20 kms before Manali at a junction called "Patli-kuhal". Transport options are readily available from Patlikuhal for Rumsu village [11 kms] . [Sumo - 700 INR while small car - 500 INR]. Once at Rumsu village follow the trail for Kailashrath Treks base camp. At Base camp, members will undergo a registration process and then head for Acclimatisation walk. After the walk participants will be distributed Trekking bags, Microspikes( for better grip on slippery snow), Gaiters(to prevent snow entering your shoes) and Trekking Sticks.
After morning breakfast we will start the day’s trek with a beautiful drive to Hamta dam from Rumsu at 8 am. The trek to Chikka starts from Hamta Dam and is easy. It takes around 2-3 hours to complete it. There is a small forest patch followed by two wooden bridges before you reach the campsite. Chikka has big rock boulders and a beautiful waterfall and offers an amazing experience of riverside camping.
Overnight in tents at Chikka.
After morning breakfast we will start the trek for Balu Ka Ghera. Trek duration is around 5 to 6 hours from Chikka to Balu ka Ghera, scaling to an altitude of 11,900 feet. The initial part of the trek goes through the right bank of Hamta river crossing few rock boulders. There is a water stream that needs to be crossed on the way followed by a 3 hours trek to Balu Ka Gera. Balu ka Ghera is a large plain ground on the bank of the river and camping at this spot is a dream in reality. One can spot Indrasan, the highest peak of Manali valley from here.
Overnight camping at Balu Ka Ghera.
Today’s trek starts early as we will try covering the maximum snow patch before sunrise. The trek route from Balu Gehra towards Shia Ghoru is a moderate climb, scaling more than 14,000 feet. The trek duration is relatively long and starts by 5 am in the morning from Balu ka Gera. It takes around 4 to 5 hours to reach the top of the Hamta Pass. The aerial views of Spiti valley from Hamta Pass is quite breathtaking. We will then descend from Hamta top towards Shia Ghoru. The descent is steep and at times when snow is abundant one can slide down to reach Shia Ghoru.
Overnight stay at Shia Goru.
After morning breakfast we will start the trek to Chatru which takes around 3 hours. From Chatru we will drive in vehicles to the majestic Chandrataal lake. The ride takes you to one of the most famous high altitude roads of India connecting Manali to Kaza. Chandrataal, with it's clear water presents one of the most sublime views of a beautiful lake amidst the arid mountains of Spiti valley. Participants will get their deposited luggage at Chatru while they will return all the issued gear.
Overnight stay at Chatru.
After morning breakfast we will start the jeep ride to Manali via Atal Tunnel. We will be reaching by 1pm to Manali. While booking return bus tickets, book a volvo after 7 PM from Manali to keep some buffer time as there are chances of traffic while driving down towards Manali.
There are several reasons why you should embark on the Hampta Pass Trek. Apart from the continuous interplay of the oak, birch, and maple trees after the forests of deodar and apple orchards, you witness the stark contrast of the Kullu and the Lahaul valleys. While the former is lush green with dense forests, trees, and grasslands, the latter has a chocolaty barren texture. It is one of the high points of this crossover trek with a stark difference in scenery. Besides, dramatic pass crossings and mountain ledges the trail goes through out-of-the-world settings like gorges, snow caves, waterfalls, snow-white glaciers, deep brown walls, and ice columns on both sides.
One of the most significant upsides with the Hampta Pass Trek is that it can be done for a considerable part of the year. This high-altitude crossover trek that takes you to a maximum altitude of 14,100 feet or roughly 4270 meters covers a distance of 35 kilometers and spans for 5 to 6 days. The Hampta Pass Trek best time falls ideally between June to September. The trekking season might extend till October. However, every month between June to September/October presents you with a different scenic splendor and great experience. Some expert mountaineers and hikers consider trekking the Hampta Pass during the middle/end of May, but the snow level is too high for a comfortable pass crossing.
If you are trekking the Hampta Pass in June, you can expect a massive depth of snow, starting from Balu ka Ghera to the pass itself. The snow begins to melt from July to August, and the valleys get the first showers of monsoon. It turns the valleys into vibrant, lush greenery with wildflowers growing all around. During September and the first strike of autumn, the skies become clear, and the entire region is at its colorful best. October trekking is also adventurous and fun, but the air gets a little nippy, and the high-altitude campsites are almost unbearably cold at night.
If you are traveling with a registered or licensed tour operator/travel agency, your Hampta Pass Trek cost will include accommodation and meals. However, it is good to do some personal research and plan a Hampta Pass Trek budget on your own.
Your basic trek gear should contain a 50-60 liter backpack (with comfortable shoulder straps and rain cover), a 20-30 liter daypack (with rain cover), an immensely sturdy and well-made walking stick, along with quality, waterproof hiking shoes with robust ankles and grips. You can also carry a headlamp with spare batteries, water bottles, or hydration packs. When it comes to clothing, pack comprehensively. Carry upper and lower thermal inners along with full-sleeve t-shirts, fleece jackets, woollen sweaters, a down feather jacket, and windcheaters along with waterproof jackets. Like your full-sleeved t-shirts, you should carry hiking pants that are quick-dry and waterproof. To be on the safer side, take a poncho. Apart from these, your headgear should comprise a suncap, sunglasses, woollen cap, balaclava, and neck gaiters. Always carry excess pairs of synthetic and woollen gloves, innerwear, socks, etc.
Next on the list comes your health and hygiene essentials. Carry your personal medications and a first-aid kit for any emergency. Apart from these, you should carry all essential toiletries like excess toilet paper and wet wipes, biodegradable soap, quick-dry towel, hand sanitizers, antibacterial powder, toothpaste, and toothbrush. Your list should also contain moisturizers, sunscreen, lip balm, etc.
The Hampta Pass Trek is an easy to moderate trek. Though you will trek across majestic landscapes, the terrain is not much hazardous. The elevation of nearly 4270 meters might cause you acclimatization problems. So, it is always good to get yourself acclimatized at high altitudes to prevent AMS. Before the trek, you should also do a good amount of cardiovascular and endurance training along with your regular fitness regime. You can also customize it to the trek’s requirements.