Kinnaur and Spiti valley are two of the most fascinating regions of India fringing the Tibetan plateau. The general state of knowledge about these regions, occupying the northeastern quarter of Himachal Pradesh, can at best be described as scanty.
Their geographical inaccessibility has resulted in their attracting the sporadic attention of only the most tenacious of travelers who love to tread on relatively less explored trails like Lamkhaga pass, Mangsu pass, Kinner-Kailash Parikrama and Nalgan pass trek.
Lesser explored treks in Kinnaur-Spiti & Kinnaur-Garhwal region
- Lamkhaga Pass Trek: Chitkul to Harsil in Gangotri.
- Chotakhaga Pass Trek: Chitkul village to Gangotri (a shorter route).
- Nelang/Nelong Pass Trek: Chitkul to Nelong valley in Gangotri.
- Charang-La (Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama Trek): Charang to Chitkul.
- Mangsu Pass Trek: Charang to Chitkul (on a different route).
- Larsa We pass Trek: Asrang village to Kaza in Spiti valley.
- Listigarang-Kashang Pass Trek: Bhaba valley to Pangi village.
- Manirang Pass Trek : Mane in Spiti to Ropa village in Kinnaur.
- Temso Lake Trek: Lippa village to Temso lake.
- Haran Ghati Pass Trek: Barang village to Sangla valley
- Khimloga Pass Trek: Chitkul village to Sankri in Uttarakhand.
Lamkhaga Pass Trek
Lamkhaga pass trek is a fairly remote trek and is now regarded as the classic route from Chitkul to Gangotri, which was first crossed by Marco Pallis in 1933. The trek is also known as Chitkul village to Gangotri trek or Harsil to Chitkul trek. It can be done from either side.
The beautiful route takes you through some of the most remote areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, like the Jalandhari valley that is covered with flowers post-monsoon. The snow in the early season could impede your progress.
Harsil is famous for Wilson’s Cottage built-in 1864. Gangotri is a short drive from Harsil, while Chitkul is the last village in the Baspa valley Though the difficulty is a relative term, the Lamkhaga pass trek is considered the most difficult in Kinnaur-Garhwal Himalayas. Lamkhaga pass trek offers a diverse landscape that includes Ranikanda meadows, boulder-strewn terrain, Baspa glacier zone, Baspa Glacier Snout and Meadows, and small glacial lakes of Kyarkoti in Harsil valley.
3-Pass Trek [Auden’s Col-Mayali-Patangini Dhar]
Auden’s Col is a pass connecting Rudugaira valley and Bhilangna valley, named after John Bicknell Auden, a British Geographical Survey officer, who first discovered it in 1935 and crossed it in 1939.
The pass is at 5490 m altitude and connects the ridge coming from Gangotri III (6580 m) peak on the north-west and the ridge coming from Jogin I (6465 m) on the east, and also binds a glacier coming from Jogin I, on the north side of Rudugaira valley, Auden’s Col & infamous Khatling glacier on the south side of Bhilangna valley.
Spiti Valley Snow Leopard Trek
A century ago, Rudyard Kipling in his novel “Kim” described Spiti as “a world within a world” and a “place where the god lives”. Things have hardly changed since then. In the depths of winter, this primeval & harsh land is often cut off from the rest of the world, and the elusive wild cat descends from the high peaks & ridges into the valleys to hunt for Bharal ( Blue Sheep ), Ibex and livestock of native Spitian.
The snow leopard is generally found in Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary and Pin Valley National park of Spiti valley. The snow leopard has been spotted by locals around Lippa – Asrang Sanctuary. The Kibber Snow leopard Expedition will take you to far faraway and incredibly beautiful regions of Himachal Pradesh, into the very heart of the Western Himalayas.
I have seen few other trek operators canceling the expedition during the same time duration because of trail condition and excessive snow condition, but Sonu’s well-prepared team and his effort made this year’s first (and only) summit of Auden’s col. I would highly recommend him for his excellent service at high altitude, his mountaineering knowledge, and his safety measurements.