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Blog Garhwal Kinnaur Spiti valley Trekking

Crossing the Himalayas: From Leh To Kathmandu

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The 28-year-old French adventurer Eliott Schonfeld, winner of the GEO Adventure contest, crossed the Himalayan chains on foot and on horseback from August to December 2017. After four and a half months of trudging in trans-Himalaya, he gradually got rid of the modern comforts & paraphernalia. The aim was to replace the products of modern civilization with their natural alternatives adopted by the local communities of the Himalayas.

Drinking water from a mountain stream in Ladakhb
A return to nature. Drinking water from a mountain stream in Ladakh

My body is tossed in all directions as Rinpoche, a horse farm owner, maneuvers his 4×4 on the broken stone roads that crisscross the Ladakh range. My heart and head hurt like being caught in a vice. Going from Paris(with an elevation of 35 m) to the 3,500 meters of average altitude of this high desert plateau, it takes time and I think I am not yet acclimatized. But for now, it is not vertigo that worries me than the new world around me. 

August 10: Choosing The Horse in Ladakh 

I spent a few days in Leh, the regional capital of Ladakh Union Territory of India, to find someone to sell me a horse. I witnessed the Trans-Himalayan mountains up close.

Changthang Plains of Ladakh
Changthang Plains of Ladakh
A lady from Changthang plateau of Ladakh
A lady from Changthang plateau of Ladakh
A child playing with his father in Ladakh
A child playing with his father in Ladakh
Tso-Moriri Lake
Tso-Moriri Lake in Changthang plains of Ladakh
Stok village of Ladakh
The village at the end of the road. Stok village of Ladakh.
Ladakh is a magnificent high altitude cold desert… but very sparsely populated. Before clicking this image, I walked for weeks without meeting a single soul. Then, seeing the village of Stok – the green patch at the end of the gentle slope – I felt immensely joyful.

They are no longer on the horizon, but vertically, erected like a tangible wall, and too high, much too high. Why did I decide to tackle such monsters? For me, who had spent all my life at sea level should have started with the lower altitudes. After two hours of driving and deep contemplation, we reached the horse farm. I see a tent in the shape of a teepee, and all around, thirty horses grazing peacefully.

Ladakhi horse standing on meadows
My Ladakhi horse

The introductions were brief & the farm owner offered me a horse. The horse was white & not very big. Rinpoche helped me to saddle the horse, gave me some pieces of advice and the animal’s rope, then left me to my fate. 

In front of me, around 2,000 kilometers of trail awaits me to Nepal. I calculated that it would take me five months to get through it. Before I start, I decide to baptize my steed. He needs a name that is familiar & comforting in the midst of the unknown universe that I am about to explore. It’s decided, his name will be Robert. My Ladakhi horse would be called Robert.

Drinking water straight from a river in Ladakh
Drinking water straight from a river in Ladakh. We walk about 8 hours a day, so we are often thirsty.

September 4: Robert’s fall in Spiti valley

We had been progressing on high altitude trails for a month now. Robert never gave up. As for me, I ended up taking the plunge and felt at ease when we reached Spiti valley, a cold mountain desert in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, the most perilous mountains since the beginning of the expedition. 

Base of Parang-La pass
Climbing towards Parang-La pass. I arrived at the base of the Parang La pass on the afternoon of August 28, 2017. In front of me was 5,600 meters, a high rock giant. I would have preferred to start the ascent after a good night’s sleep. Problem: It was impossible some grass at the base which was essential to allow Robert to sustain himself. So we had to climb, on sheets of ice melting. After skidding and sliding for four hours, we finally arrived safely at the top of the pass.
Climbing Parang-La pass
Climbing Parang-La pass with my horse
My horse reveling in abundant tufts of grass in Spiti valley
Robert reveling in abundant tufts of grass after descending from Parang-La pass. After descending from the top of the Parang La pass, Robert was able to revel in abundant tufts of grass, and I admired the breathtaking view. I was lost on the roof of the world. There was an ideal place to pitch the tent and get a good night’s sleep. The crossing of the Parang La pass also marked the end of Ladakh and entry into the state of Himachal Pradesh.

I crossed the Manirang pass(also spelled as Manerang) on one fine morning, a pass at an elevation of 5,590 meters. The landslides on this route are normal, and you have to remain focussed on each step. Four hours walking continuously… and an obstacle blocked our path — a gigantic rock was in the middle of the descending route. To move ahead, there was no choice except to climb over it.

We ventured on the rock surface and progressed a few meters when suddenly the rope that connects me to the horse yanks me back. Robert had lost his footing, he was sliding down the slope. Panicked, he struggles to get up, but that only accelerated his fall. My heart was racing. At this rate, it would fall permanently into the abyss and crash 20 meters below. I pulled the rope with all my might, but to no avail, I had to let go of the fear of being dragged myself into the void. 

But a miracle happened: Robert landed on a narrow ledge from where he can no longer move or risk falling into a deep gorge. I tried everything possible to get it out of there but with my 60 kilos weight did not make the cut. There was only one thing to do: descend to the last village I encountered, 20 kilometers before, and 1,000 meters of elevation drop. 

I reached there at night, exhausted and in tears. Watching me in distress, the villagers decided to organize a rescue mission. Two men, Tanzin and Karma, offered to accompany me with ropes.

After an exhausting return trip, we left for six hours of night climb. We arrived at the accident site, at 2am, I pointed my flashlight on the ledge, I scanned the light beam down the slope, expecting the worst. Robert was there, unharmed. He quietly turned his head towards me, with an air that seems to say: “But what have you done for the past ten hours?”

Bewildered, released from an immense weight, I exploded with laughter and went to hug my trek partner. I’ll never know how he got out of there alone, getting away with a few scratches. As for me, I had walked 60 kilometers, 20 hours straight, with 3,500 meters of cumulative elevation… for nothing! Whatever. Considering the relief I felt, it was worth it.

September 27: Waking Up From Oblivion In Kinnaur

But what took me? How can I be so stupid? I’m going to cross the roof of the world and I’m not carrying a pair of gloves… As I climb the frozen mountain range(Kinnaur Kailash range) that separates me from the pass of Charang-Chitkul pass or Charang La, I curse myself out loud. I’m paying for being thick-skinned. Because I was using my bare hands to climb, I no longer felt my fingers. Of course, I did not take crampons or ice axes either and I had to kick in the ice to create required traction.

Glued against the wall, I assessed my progress. It took me some hours to climb just 200 meters from a vertically packed ice slope. I told myself that I did well to sell my little Robert to a horse breeder a few days earlier. No matter how well he showed his talent as a tightrope walker, he could never have climbed such a thing. I finally reached my goal, at 5,300 meters above sea level, I was at Charang-La pass. 

Climbing the steep Charang-Chitkul pass
Climbing the steep Charang-La pass

As I caught my breath, I observed the thick layer of snow covering the ground. I was not the only one to have successfully climbed that day. Pugmarks of a snow leopard, all fresh, dotted the ridge before disappearing on the other side. Amazed, I touched the imprints of paws’ of the grey ghost, so beautiful, so pure. Then I scanned the surroundings, hoping to catch a glimpse— not a single soul found in sight. I hoped I didn’t scare him off. The Himalayan grey ghost lurks, I can feel it. Even invisible, he accompanies me. 

Pugmarks of a snow leopard near Charang-Chitkul pass
Pugmarks of a snow leopard near Charang-La pass

October 1, 2017: Going Incognito in Baspa valley

I had been walking very close to the Indo-Tibetan border for three weeks now. I had absolutely no permission to venture in these troubled terrains. Because of the territorial conflicts between India and China, the region is tightly controlled. Tourists and Indians are required to obtain permits to do any activity on the border areas. Traveling alone is prohibited. 

I managed to sneak through the last military posts by walking during the night. It seemed to be playing a cat and mouse game with the Indian army patrols. More than the detours that I was forced to make, the anxiety of getting caught made every step more painful.

According to my maps and the villagers of Chitkul, the route is restricted up to the Lamkhaga pass (5,280 meters).  After crossing Lamkhaga pass, I would be back in the free zone. The weather was perfect, the sky was of a serene azure color. I was walking at a leisurely pace, at a distance, I saw two silhouettes. Two trekkers, bags on their backs, were heading in my direction.

As I was about to greet them, my head spun. They were not trekkers, but soldiers. They were not two, others were behind them. I ran towards a big boulder. A minute later, I heard the sounds of the boots of the first patrolmen, around 20 meters from me, in camouflage dress, weapons on the back. It was the Indian Tibetan Border Police(ITBP), the sentinel of the Himalayas. 

I curled up as much as possible in my hiding place. Getting caught here would be fatal, I was aware of it. I was trekking without due authorization, with a satellite phone and a camera. I could never make them swallow that I was unaware of the restricted area. I would have ended up in prison. I was trying to calm down. The march of the soldiers continued. Twenty or thirty men had already passed.  When will it stop, damn it? It was like the whole army of the subcontinent was hidden in these mountains.

After a while, silence fell. I stood still for another fifteen minutes, then got out of my hole. At a distance, the Indian army men went up the valley and trekked to the exact place where I had planned to pitch my tent. I realized that this situation, which could have turned serious, has become a godsend for me — the army men had mapped a track in the deep snow, which made my ascent infinitely easier. One soldier even dropped food just before the summit: caramels & a packet of noodles. The army mend does it to lighten the load and use it on their return journey. 

Summit of the Lamkhaga pass(5280m)
Summit of the Lamkhaga pass(5280m). The pass forms a drainage divide between the Baspa valley of Kinnaur & the Harsil valley of Uttarakhand.
snowfields below Lamkhaga pass
Immaculate beauty of Lamkhaga snowfields. Jalandhari Gad glacier of Harsil valley. This soft white coat is not only pleasant for the eyes, it marked for my a return into the unrestricted zone. For several weeks, I had been traveling along the Indo-Tibetan border. An area prohibited to tourists unless accompanied by a permit authorized by the Indian government. From now on, our adventurer will no longer need to play hide and seek with the military patrols of the region. Phew!
A nomadic man near Harsil village.
A nomadic man I met near Harsil. I met this Indian nomad as I was walking towards the village of Harsil, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Oddly, there was only this gentleman and his son, I do not know where the rest of his family was.
Himalayan goats near Harsil
Himalayan goats near Harsil. These are the biggest goats I had ever seen! This herd of extraordinary herbivores belonging to the Indian nomad, I decided to help him milk them. A nice way to thank him for his hospitality.

October 20, 2017: Paradise found in Nepal  

On my raft, I assume myself for Tarzan. The langurs &  the white and black monkeys that populate the jungles of the middle Himalayas, jump from tree to tree while I raft on the Mahakali, river marking the border between India and Nepal. 

Rafting in turquoise waters of Mahakali River
Rafting in Mahakali River. After the high peaks, the rapids. I traveled 200 kilometers on the Mahakali River. A trip made on a raft which I built himself using pieces of wood and some tubes.

I started my descent a week ago, letting myself be carried by the currents. I still had 200 kilometers to sail to Banbassa, the Nepalese border post. I finally landed in Nepal on a riverbank.  I started my exploration deep into the forest, where I came across natural pools, large holes in the polished rock filled with turquoise water, and linked together by the pearled necklace of the waterfalls. Paradise, I tell you.

Turquoise waters of Mahakali river
Turquoise waters of Mahakali river
 Sun rises over the Nepalese jungle near the Makhali river
The sun rises over the Nepalese jungle near the Makhali river

I loved to explore, like a tracker, for the traces of wildlife that swarmed around me. Here, a wavy line on the ground indicated the passage of a snake. There, handprints, tiny feet: probably a bunch of macaques. Farther on, between the trunks, the gigantic web of a Nephila Pilipes, a spider with long legs, capable of capturing small bats in its nets. 

Nothing makes me happier than blending in such wilderness. I certainly feel very small, vulnerable amidst nature. But the feeling of this insignificance, instead of frightening me, releases me. It teaches me not to make humans the measure of everything anymore.

Rafting in Mahakali river of Nepal
Rafting in Mahakali river of Nepal
A raft on Mahakali river banks
The Naked Explorer & his raft on Mahakali river banks. It was the simplest device that went down the Mahakali river, stopping regularly on deserted beaches. 
Perfect places to pitch the tent and observe the traces of monkeys … or tigers!
Natural pools in Nepal
Natural pools

What terrifies me would be an entirely “civilized” world, where the city, the road, and the cement would have thrown their grip on everything. And where a man would only meet himself. That’s what I was thinking, lying on a bed of palm leaves, by the fire. A string of green dots lit up in the warm air. The fireflies had started their ballet of stars, while hundreds of little beings, carpeted in the trees, were singing the big night concert. That evening, I slept well.

November 10, 2017: Meeting the people of Rautes: The Last Nomadic tribe of Nepal 

Before I started this expedition, I had a dream: to meet the Rautes. This nomadic tribe, whose name means “kings of the forest”, lives in the remote jungles of western Nepal. These are hunter-gatherers who track down the monkey and feed on wild fruits and tubers. 

After ten days of research & miles & miles going around in circles, I was on the verge of giving up when luck struck me. From the top of the hill that I had just climbed, there was indeed one of their encampments that I discovered at the bottom of the valley. Shelters, made of branches and foliage. Under one of them, a man was cleaning peppers. A woman came back from the forest with some trunks under her arm, and a  teenager who was cutting something out of a large piece of wood.

Children of Raute tribe bathing & playing by a stream
Children of Raute tribe bathing & playing by a stream

The children, who were playing in the river, finally noticed my presence. Intrigued – I must have appeared to them as an extraterrestrial – they surrounded me. It provoked the adults, who looked suspicious and started talking. They were very small, dressed in a light dress that revealed parts of their body. They finally lead me to the royal tent – because the Routes have kings. A man even more naked than the others came out and stared at me straight in the eyes. I greeted him in a solemn way, then shook his hand, impressed. It is the first time that I shake the hand of a king. It is also the first time that I have seen royal testicles. What a day!

Children of Raute tribe of Nepal
Innocent children of Raute tribe of Nepal
A Raute tribe couple harvesting the wheat crop
A tribe couple harvesting the wheat crop. These two villagers I met near the Rautes camp were harvesting wheat without machines, they use the oxen to crush it, and the wind to separate the grain from the chaff.
Raute tribes' camps
Raute tribes’ camps
An old Route tribe man with a child
An old Route tribe man

December 6, 2017: The Final Offload

I left the wood and stone hut that I built for the night and extinguished the brazier ignited by friction. Handmade bag on the back, goat skin on the shoulders, the bamboo fire starter, on one hand, I feel metamorphosed. I had set myself a challenge: replace all of my Western things with their natural counterparts. Not only did I manage to take it up, but in addition, I absolutely did not have the impression that it is limiting. On the contrary, I felt more free, independent. I learned to settle for the basic & minimum, to build what I needed to survive.

Terraced fields of wheat in Nepal
Terraced fields of wheat in Nepal. Terracing allows the Nepalese to practice agriculture on the steep slopes of the mountains.
A Nepali lady & her wooden pipe.
A Nepali lady & her wooden pipe. In this photo, it is not Captain Haddock, but a Nepali woman. I met her in the Dailekh district, in the western region of the country. The venerable lady was taking a break to smoke tobacco packed in an artisanal pipe.

If I had been told a few years ago that I would be able to manage on my own in nature (and what nature!), I would not have believed it. After three days of a final ascent through the rocky peaks of the Dolpo region, in northern Nepal, I finally reached the Phoksundo

Dolpo Shey Phoksundo lake of Nepal
Dolpo Shey Phoksundo lake of Nepal

Phoksundo is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen: an aquamarine crescent moon set like a relic in the galaxy of the Himalayan mountains. I sat in front of this splendor and allowed myself all the time it takes to soak up this moment. I felt good and would have gladly stayed there for days to meditate … if only I could. But the first snowflakes began to fall. Winter was coming. I was thinking about going back, going back to college, and going on with my life. Once again in Paris

Undulating ranges of the lower Himalayas of Nepal
Undulating ranges of the lower Himalayas of Nepal
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Blog Kinnaur Mountaineering Spiti valley

Exploration Of Peaks in Kinnaur & Spiti Valley of Indian Himalaya

Home » Kinnaur

We went to Kinnaur and Spiti region in the summer of 2014 to explore the untrodden virgin peaks. Our expedition team consists of five members, Akira Taniguchi, Masahiro Fukumoto, Masayasu Murakami, Etsuko Kobayashi, and Kimikazu Sakamoto (Leader).

We are so much interested in the Spiti area, being impressed with the book “Spiti – Adventure in the Trans-Himalaya” written by Mr. Harish Kapadia. There seems to be still many veiled untrodden peaks in Spiti and Kinnaur. It was a big surprise to me that in Kinnaur region, only eight peaks were climbed according to the climbing record by Indian Mountaineering Foundation(IMF), the summitted peaks are:

  • Kinner Kailash of Kinnaur (6050m),
  • Jorkarden (6437m),
  • Phawarang (6349m),
  • Rangrik Rang (6553m),
  • Gangchhua (6228m),
  • Manerang (6593m),
  • Gangchuua (6030m),
  • Leo Pargil (6791).

Perhaps, climbing in Kinnaur has been restricted by Indian Govenment because of there are disputed regions on Indo- Tibet border claimed by both India and China.

We left Japan on June 13th and stayed one night at Karol Bagh of New Delhi. On June 14th, we drove to Shimla on two hired cars via Chandigarh and reached Shimla on June 15th. The main market street in Shimla was so crowded with many tourists as Indian summer vacation already started.

Day 1: Shimla – Sarahan

On June 16th, We drove down the very steep zig-zag road to Saltuji River and went to Sarahan. After checking in Hotel Srikhand at Sarahan, we visited the very unique Hindu Temple “Bimakali” constructed with wood.

Day 2: Sarahan – Sangla valley:

We moved to Sangla valley of Kinnaur from Sarahan and arrived in Sangla village around noon time. After lunch, we left Sangla to see the mountain peaks of Baspa Valley.

The first branch, Saro Garang, should have five big peaks like

  • P5983,
  • P5990,
  • P6240,
  • P6170,
  • P6080(Daboling) on Leomann Maps

But we could not see any peaks, because Saro Garang was high gorge and the mountain tops were covered with clouds. There should be P6080 (Daboling) and P6080 (Saro) on the top of the next branch, Gor Garang. But, unfortunately, we could not see any high peaks because of the prevailing clouds.

Other two branches, Mangna Nala and Sushang Nala were also not visible and did not show any peaks. However, we could see the attractive twin peak P5712 in Sushang Nala, the other side branch of Baspa River. We went back from Mastrang to Sangla village.

Day 3: Sangla village – Kalpa

We checked out of our in Sangla and drove to Chitkul village, where we arrived at around 9.15 am. Again, we could not see any high peaks because of the same weather conditions. The road ended at Chitkul village. But a new road was under construction up to Ranikanda, as ITBP (India Tibet Border Police) camp was recently set up there. The new road was opened up to the halfway to Ranikanda.

We expected to see P6465 and P6447 near the top of the Baspa River, but we could not see them because of the heavy cloud cover. We waited for about one hour on the hill near Ranikanda. The heavy cloud did not disappear, and P6465 and P6447 did not show up. We gave up seeing these mountains and went back to Chitkul village with disappointment.

After finishing lunch at a small restaurant in Chitkul, the cloud cover was clearing up. Finally, we could see P6465 and P6447 from the front of the restaurant. We were so excited to see the whole view of the attractive peak P6465 and the head of P6467 peeping from the left side shoulder of P6465.

Mountain peaks visible from Chitkul village
Peaks visible from Chitkul village

We were very happy to see these expected peaks. We moved to Kalpa by our hired cars and checked in Hotel Grand Shangrila in Kalpa at around 5:15 pm. But, we could not see any peaks from there, as the mountain massif of Kinner Kailash was covered with the heavy clouds.

Day 4: Kalpa(Chini) – Nako village

On June 19th, We got up around 4:30 am to see the high peaks of Kinner Kailash massif from the hotel terrace. But, the mountains were still covered with dark clouds. After waiting for about one hour, finally, the sky cleared up and the mountain range of Kinner Kailash started to appear with the sun peeking out from behind the Kailash massif. We enjoyed the nice view of high peaks.

Panorama of Peaks on Kinner Kailash massif of Kinnaur
Kinner Kaliash mountain range panorama. Photo courtesy: Souvik Maitra

On Kinner Kailash massif, P6240, P5990, and P5983 on the west of Jorkanden are still untrodden according to the IMF site.

After breakfast, we moved to Nako. We stopped for awhile at Kinnaur district administrative HQ, Reckong Peo which is located at a lower elevation(2290m).

After about one hour drive, we reached Akpa where we could have the view of the exciting rocky peaks in the east of Tirung Gad River :

  • P6120 (Bisa Rang),
  • P6248 (Saser Rang),
  • P6120 (Beshrang)
  • and P6209 (Shagchang Rang).
Peaks of Tirung valley of Kinnaur aka Tidong valley

The Circuit or Parikrama of Kinner Kailash trek of Kinnaur starts from Charang village of the Tidong valley.

Raacho Trekkers

IMF confirmed to us that these peaks are still unclimbed according to their climbing record book. But, we wonder why these attractive mountains near the main traffic road have not been climbed yet and why the mountain names were already given to these unclimbed peaks.

From Ka village, we could have a view of

  • P6030 (Gangchuua),
  • P5935 and
  • P5965 in the branch called Tiang Lungpa.

In Pooh village, we met one Japanese trekker. He said that the main traffic road from Kunzum La (4551m) to Chandra River was damaged by landsliding and closed, and so he was obliged to turn back from Kaza. Anyhow, we decided to proceed to Kaza as per our original schedule, expecting the traffic road would be repaired by then and re-opened before we arrive in Kaza town.

We drove up on east side mountain road from Pooh and reached Nako which was the very beautiful hill side village at 3660m by a lovely lake.

We took a walk in the Nako village. From Nako Gompa, we could see P6791 (Leo Pargial) which is the rocky pinnacle standing on the border ridge between India and Tibet. We could not see the untrodden peak P6816 in the south of Leo Pargial from Nako village.

From the garden of Kinner Camps Nako, we could have the panormic views of west mountains range on the other side of Hangrang Valley.

P6000 (Singekang), P6031, P5800 (Talanrang), and P5610 (Harman Chhang) are standing on the top of the Lipak Lungpa branch. These peaks are still untrodden virgin peaks, according to the IMF website.

Peaks in Hangrang valley

Day 5: Nako village – Tabo monastery

On June 20th, We left Nako at 7:40 am and reached Tabo village at 2:00 pm after showing our passport and Inner Line Permit(ILP) at Sumdo Check Post. Just before Tabo, we saw the mountain range with P6000, P5901 (Tongmor), P5761 (Lungma), P5700 (Sibu), and P5843 (Shijabang) in the north of Tabo village.

We visited Tabo monastery Gompa, which was the small temple but had a lot of wonderful Buddist statues and the wall paintings in Kashmiri style like the arts of Alchi Gompa in Ladakh. We were so impressed with the exquisite Buddist arts.

Day 6: Tabo – Pin valley

On June 21st, We left Tabo and visited Dhankar Gompa and Lalung Gompa as a day tour. Dhankar Gompa was a small temple and most of the Buddist wall paintings were unfortunately damaged. After Dhankar, we visited Lalung Gompa, which was also a small temple but had very beautiful Buddhist wall paintings. Near Lalung Gompa, we could see the rocky mountain P5902 in the southwest of Lalung Gompa.

We paid a visit to Kungri Gompa which had a new main building under the support of Dalai Lama 14th. Kungri is Spiti valley‘s second oldest monastery after Tabo. It was built around 1330 AD.

After a short drive from Kungri Gompa, we arrived in Sagnam village at 11:30 am. We could see the attractive snow peaks P5903 and P5870 in Kuoki River, the branch of Pin River, from the entrance of Sagnam village.

Peaks in Pin river valley. Photo taken from Sagnam village.

After lunch at the local private house where we stayed, we had a short excursion to Mud village, the last village of Pin valley.

With its snow laden unexplored higher reaches and slopes, Pin Valley National Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the Snow Leopards and Siberian ibex.

Wiki

We reached Mud after about an hour’s drive and took short hiking on the left branch of Pin River. We turned back to Sagnam after one hour walk, as the rain started suddenly.

Day 7: Sagnam village: Exploring Debsa Nala

On June 23rd, We went to explore the right branch of Pin River. We drove to Kaa and started walking along the Parahio stream, a tributary of the Pin river to explore Debsa Nala. We went down the steep narrow path from the village to Kidul Chu, the branch of the Parahio stream, and crossed this small stream and traversed on the other side, by climbing up and down.

At the head of Debsa Nala lies the Ratiruni Col which leads to the Dibibokri Nala – Spiti: Adventures in the Trans-Himalaya by Harish Kapadia

Finally, we went down to the flat Parahio River, spending more than one hour. Just before Thidim, we could see many challenging peaks in Debsa Nala, P5975, P6126, P6507, P6410, P6130, P6222, P6202, and P6243. Referring to the information from the IMF, we suppose that all these high peaks are still untrodden and virgin peaks. We were overwhelmed with this marvelous mountain view.

Though we wished to peep into Khamengar Valley, we did not have enough time left.

After lunch, we decided to go back and came back to the parking place at Kaa around 4:00 pm. We were very happy to have a nice view of the 6000m peaks in Debsa Nala. But it was a great regret that we could not see any mountains in Khamengar Valley. It was my mistake that we did not plan to spend two or three days exploring both Debsa Nala and Khamengar Valley with enough food supply and tents.

Day 8: Sagnam – Mud village

On June 24th, We went to the left branch of Pin River again. The left branch of the Pin River is the very wide and open pastures. There are several grazing huts. We could enjoy the wonderful view of the Pin River. P5650 was sitting with the big bottom like a mother on the top of this branch. At the junction with the path coming down from Lalung La, we had lunch and left for Mud at 11:45 am. It was a very pleasant walk.

Day 9: Mud – Kaza

On June 25th, We left Sagnam at 7:40 am and arrived in Kaza at 9:20 am by the chartered cars. The master of the Hotel Spiti Sarai at Rangrik where we stayed told us that the main connecting road is still closed between Kunzum La and Chandra River. As nobody knew when the main road would be opened again, we gave up going back to Shimla via Rohtang Pass and Manali and decided to return to Shimla via the same way via Tabo, Nako, and Kalpa.

After taking lunch at the hotel, we visited Key Gompa on the top of the hill. Then, we went to Langza which is a very beautiful pasture with several local houses. We saw the white snow peak “Chau Chau (6303)”, which was first climbed by a British party in 1993. On the other side of Spiti River, we could see Ratang Tower (6170m) which was first climbed by Indian Party (Leader: Haris Kapadia) in 1993 and the untrodden peak P6060 in the branch Ratang stream. On the left side of the Ratang, we could see P5877 which looked like Mt. Alberta in Canadian Rocky.

Kaza – Shimla – Delhi return journey

After we had one rest day on June 26th, we left Rangrik of Kaza and drove back to Shimla, via Nako, Kalpa, and Rampur, spending three days. On June 30th, we enjoyed sightseeing in Shimla. And on July 1st, we went back to Delhi by train. After two nights stay in Delhi, we came back to Japan on July 4th.

We were very happy to see many attractive unknown mountains in Kinnaur and Spiti. These areas are very vast. I regret that I made a plan to explore these big areas in a very short time. We should try again to have a more detailed exploration of one or two limited places next time.

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Smitten by Sangla village of Kinnaur

Home » Kinnaur

Smitten by Sangla

Visiting Kinnaur and spending some time with the locals was high on my bucket list for a long time. Finally, I got a chance to check out the Chitkul village in Sangla valley before our Lamkhaga Pass trek in May 2017, thanks to the impeccable planning of Gautam Baliga ji. On the 18th of May, Gautam, Aashish and I boarded the only Shimla to Sangla(altitude 2300m) direct bus to reach our destination for the day – the Sangla valley.

Mesmerizing views on the way to Sangla
Mesmerizing views on the way to Sangla

After an 8 to 9-hour journey on the HRTC bus, we reached Sangla at 5 pm. Tucked in the lower Himalayas in the district of Kinnaur, the Sangla valley is one of the most picturesque valleys in Himachal, located around 25 km away from the Indo-Tibet border. Sangla derives its names from a Tibetan word Sangala which means “passage of light”.

Sangla village temple campus
Sangla – A blend of culture and natural beauty

We checked into Baspa guest house in the valley and after a few minutes of break, we headed out to explore the Sangla valley. After 10-15 minutes of walk, we reached the Bairing Nag temple.

Sangla Bairing Nag Temple
Sangla Bairing Nag Temple

After reaching there, we came to know that outsiders are not allowed inside the temple. But it’s still worth a visit for the amazing exteriors of the temple and the peaceful surroundings.

Some mind-blowing wooden work in Bairing Nag temple
Some mind-blowing wooden work in Bairing Nag temple
Amazing exteriors in the monastery in Bairing Nag temple complex
Amazing exteriors in the Buddhist monastery in Bairing Nag temple complex. Architecture of the temples in Kinnaur is a beautiful blend of Tibetan architecture and local Kath-Kuni architecture

A few hours into Sangla, I could feel that the best thing about this place is not just the beauty of it, but also the most friendly and amazing locals in this place. We had a great time in the Bairing Nag temple playing a game of volleyball with the kids and clicking pictures with the locals visiting the temple.

Meet the volleyball gang of Sangla Bairing Nag. Group photo clicked by Gautam Baliga
Meet the volleyball gang of Sangla Bairing Nag. Group photo clicked by Gautam Baliga
Gala time with kids in Sangla
Gala time with kids in Sangla
Local ladies of Sangla valley , Kinnaur
These young ladies in Sangla happily posed to our camera and selfies
The game of volleyball with kids in Sangla
The game of volleyball with kids in Sangla

The next day, we visited the Sangla Buddha temple/monastery. One of the monks in the monastery had done a part of his monk studies in Bylakuppe, and he got immersed into a long chat with us after he came to know that Gautam and Aashish were from Bangalore. With our visit to Sangla happening just after the release of Baahubali-2, it was evident from our conversation with monks that the Sangla valley was no exception to the bahubali fever that had gripped the entire nation that time. The monks in Sangla told me how several locals in Sangla had traveled to Shimla to watch this movie as there were no theaters in Kinnaur.

Sangla Buddhist Monastery gate
Sangla Buddhist Monastery gate
Inside Sangla Buddha Monastery.
Inside Sangla Buddha Monastery. Group photo clicked by Gautam Baliga

If you are one of those traveling to Kinnaur. no matter how much packed your itinerary may be, you must take a day off to explore the beauty of Sangla and Kamru. Sangla is undoubtedly one of the most idyllic spots I have visited in Kinnaur, thanks to the natural beauty and the super amazing locals there.

Places to visit:

Bairing Nag Temple
Sangla Buddhist Monastery
Kamru

Reaching Sangla Valley

Sangla is 360 km from Chandigarh and the travel may take 15 to 16 hours. Delhi to Sangla is approx 580 km. Below is the approach route for Sangla:
Shimla ⇒ Kufri ⇒ Fagu ⇒ Narkanda ⇒ Rampur ⇒ Jeori ⇒ Tapri ⇒ Karcham ⇒ Sangla
Public transport: There is a Chandigarh-Shimla-Sangla daily direct bus that starts from Shimla at 6 am. 2-3 buses also start from Reckong Peo for commuting within Kinnaur that stops at Sangla.

Best time to visit Sangla:

Best months to visit Sangla village is from mid of May to early October.

Blog by Sandhya Sourirajan itravelnet.com – Travel directory.

Categories
Blog Kinnaur Sangla valley

Lamkhaga Pass Trek Blog – May 2018 Expedition

Home » Kinnaur

Chitkul to Harsil/Gangotri trek

Lamkhaga Pass (5282m) (Chitkul to Harsil), May 2018

The trek starts from the last village of Kinnaur, Himachal and ends at Harsil in the Gangotri valley of Uttrakhand. That is why, the Lamkhaga pass trek is also known as Chitkul to Gangotri trek or vice versa. 

This Himalayan high pass divides Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh from Uttarakhand in India.

Trek Route: The itinerary 

We followed the following route:

  • Day #1 : Chitkul to Rani Kanda
  • Day #2: Rani Kanda to Dumti
  • Day #3: Dumti to Gundar
  • Day #4: Gundar to Lamkhaga advance base camp (Kinnaur side) (One may break this climb till base camp 1 and next day to advance base camp…….we skipped)
  • Day #5: Advance base camp to Upper Kyarkoti after crossing Lamkhaga pass (Again, you may camp at Lamkhaga pass base camp of Gangotri side followed by trek till Kyarkoti…….we decided to continue beyond base camp and camp at upper Kyarkoti)
  • Day #7: Upper Kyarkoti to Kyarkoti
  • Day #8: Kyarkoti to Gangnani
  • Day #9: Gangnani to Harsil

This is a remote pass and very few groups have finished this. Thus it could be a good option for all those who love to visit the under-explored!

camping on Ranikanda meadows
First day camping at Ranikanda near Chitkul
Baspa Glacier. Chotakhaga pass is visible in the background.
Baspa Glacier. Chotakhaga pass is visible in the background.[Lamkhaga pass 2018]
Huge icicles near Baspa glacier ice cave
Huge icicles near Baspa glacier ice cave

Baspa glacier ice cave
Baspa glacier ice cave
Baspa glacier ice cave [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Baspa glacier ice cave
Climbing up to the Lamkhaga pass base camp
Climbing up to the Lamkhaga pass base camp
Water pumped out off the glacier beneath the tent
Water pumped out off the glacier beneath the tent……trying to reset the tents
Trying to dig out some water from beneath the glacier at advance base camp[Lamkhaga pass 2018]
Trying to dig out some water from beneath the glacier at advance base camp
View from Lamkhaga pass base camp
View from base camp
Baspa Glacier. Chotakhaga pass is visible in the background
Baspa Glacier. Chotakhaga pass is visible in the background.[Lamkhaga pass 2018]
Lamkhaga pass base camp [Lamkhaga 2018]
Lamkhaga pass base camp
View from the pass base camp [Lamkhaga pass May 2018]
View from the pass base camp
The almost vertical pass.........look at the tiny dots......they are trying to climb up
The almost vertical pass………look at the tiny dots……they are trying to climb up
Lamkhaga pass summit
Lamkhaga pass summit
View of Uttrakhand side glacier
View of Uttrakhand side glacier
Jalandhari Gad glacier
Jalandhari Gad amphitheater
Descending into the Jalandhari Gad
Descending into the Jalandhari Gad valley
Origin of Jalandri gad stream.
Origin of Jalandri gad stream. Jalandri Gad is a right bank tributary of Bhagirathi river

Meadows of Kyarkoti. Harsil valley Uttrakhand[Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Meadows of Kyarkoti. Harsil valley Uttrakhand
Categories
Blog Garhwal Kinnaur Mountaineering Sangla valley

Lamkhaga photostory: The Chitkul-Harsil Trek

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Lamkhaga photoblog

Lamkhaga Pass (5284m) is one of the most beautiful and challenging treks I’ve done so far. This 8-day trek connects the beautiful village of Chitkul in Sangla or Baspa valley of Kinnaur, Himachal to Harshil (Gangotri region, Uttarakhand) through some of the remote regions, usually not accessible for the civilians.

The amount of fresh, deep snow made hiking at higher altitudes extremely difficult. Spending two complete days navigating through knee level snow (& sometimes till the waist) was a gruesome process, but it’s the stunning mountain views that were truly the highlight of the trek!

Autumn in the Himalaya | Lamkhaga pass trek
Witnessing the onset of autumn in the Himalayas! Lovely contrast of fall colors against the snowy summits with clear blue skies, something I didn’t expect before the trek.
Lamkhaga climb | Lamkhaga pass trek
Lamkhaga climb | Lamkhaga pass trek
Day of crossing the pass | Lamkhaga pass trek
Day of crossing the pass: Probably the photo where you will find the least number of colors. You look around and everything is white. The sun rays above us were a sign of good weather but gave us a decent amount of Burns (coupled with the reflection of snow) which made us look like we just stepped out of a chimney!
The vista | Lamkhaga pass trek
When choosing to do at least one high altitude trek in the Himalayas per year, the main deciding factor for me, obviously, is the number of peaks in the trail. Next, wot I look for is different landscapes and terrains. It helps if we have more variety like this one: from lush Meadows, glaciers, large snowfields to high altitude deserts (devoid of vegetation)! This gives more options for landscape photography, even though this particular one is less perfect in terms of visual balance. But then that’s the challenge: you need to capture wot is out there!
Postcard perfect scenery | Chitkul | Lamkhaga pass trek
Postcard perfect scenery of Chitkul, Baspa valley Kinnaur.
The unnamed peak | Lamkhaga pass trek
With due respect to all religions, isn’t it easier to worship these natural wonders instead? Nature is the only thing we’ve got and gives you the reasons how we exist. There’s something God-like about the way these mountains stand out. I get the feeling that sometimes we are missing out on the obvious!
Crossing layers of snow | Lamkhaga pass trek
Crossing layers of snow.
The landscape | Lamkhaga pass trek
My personal favorite from the trek. It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to capture the wide mountain vistas that you would think the best option is to put on a wide angle lens and cover everything. So often, a snippet is enough where the viewer can stitch the rest of the scene with the help of their imagination. Diffused lighting falling on dried grass, thanks to the optimum cloud cover, help bring life to the scenery.
Contours, textures and shadows of a mountain. | Lamkhaga pass trek
Contours, textures, and shadows of a mountain.
The baspa valley | Lamkhaga pass trek
This photo is a fine example of the impact political tension, between countries along international borders in the Himalayas, have on us. Just a few kilometers away from one of the last Indian villages along the border lies this beautiful valley. And it’s off limit to civilians. There’s a major chunk of the Himalayas which we will never be able to explore in our lifetime due to the same reasons. I’m concerned that my wish to see Nanga Parbat and travel Gilgit Baltistan will forever remain a dream.
And as I say this, there’s a small lump of cloud eager to get in the frame on a clear sky!
The mountain vista | Lamkhaga pass trek
Of all the things that give me a high, I would prefer one of the mountains’!
Boulder strewn trail | Lamkhaga pass trek
Moraine, glacier, snow, peaks, clouds and the sun factor: components of every high altitude Himalayan trek which make it otherworldly!
Bhagirathi river | Lamkhaga pass trek
30-second long exposure of River Bhagirathi, one of the main tributaries of Ganga. Even though it’s not my first time in the region of the Ganges, it’s the first time I had the gear to take a long exposure shot of this legendary River. If you want to see this River in it’s greatest and ferocious form, head to the mountains. Head to the point of origin where it flows out from a glacier snout in the surroundings of some giant peaks which would leave you speechless. And observe how nicely all the small streams and rivers flowing from every other mountain connects to this River to form the larger sum.
The snowscape | Lamkhaga pass trek
You can spot the human for a reference scale!
Unnamed peaks | Lamkhaga pass trek
Unnamed peaks
Perfect mountain vista | Lamkhaga pass trek
Perfect mountain vista
Lower Kyarkoti. Harsil Valley | Lamkhaga pass trek
Lower Kyarkoti. Harsil Valley
Unnamed peak on Kinnaur Garhwal range | Lamkhaga pass trek
Unnamed peak on Kinnaur Garhwal range

Blog by: Shyamal Bhat

Categories
Blog Chitkul village Kinnaur Sangla valley Trekking

Kinnaur Kailash Trek Blog

Home » Kinnaur

Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama Trek

Otherwise called Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama, this trek is circumambulation(parikrama) around holy Kinnaur Kailash Range.
Kinnaur Kailash is one of the 5 Kailash a Shiv Bhakt must-visit (others being Shrikhand Mahadev, Manimahesh Kailash, Adi Kailash, and Kailash Mansarovar).

Kinnaur Kailash itself has two important routes from the pilgrimage perspective.
1) Kinnaur Kailash Shivling – Which is around 4500M ASL, approachable
in a 10 day period only in August. This is a state-sponsored Yatra.

2) Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama aka Charang-La pass which is around 5200 Meters, which this album is all about. This is a very difficult pass crossing in June snow and scree conditions.

It is said the spirits of the dead walk amidst Rangrik peak in the vicinity of Kinnaur Kailash peak. Kinnaur Kailash itself is winter abode to Lord Shiva who conducts darbar for a class of mythological people called Kinnaurs (one who is proficient in music in Hindu Mythology

And apart from the importance of Hinduism, this trek also provides an opportunity to visit the Charang Monastery one of the oldest Buddhist Monasteries in the Himalayas. Unlike the Male Lamas of Ladakh, this particular monastery is inhabited by Buddha Bikshinis (Female Buddha monks)

Kailash Circuit: Charang-La pass trek (Altitude 5270m)

June 2014 expedition blog


Charang La is probably tougher than any other treks and yatra‘s including Kailash itself. The reason being the remoteness of this trek, steepness of Charang-La pass and streams (Nala) to cross are at least 3. In the early season (June/July), snow will ease out boulder hopping, but pass itself will be under thick snow. I would easily reckon the day of CharangLa pass traverse (in June) is difficult than the day of Lamkagha pass traverse.

Since this expedition comes very close to the international border with Tibet, a written permit from SDM Reckong poo is a must and will be verified by Shurting and Charang ITBP. So plan this without fail.
This is a unique trek that starts from a rocky desert-like environment and ends up in the absolute beauty of greenery at Chitkul. So in 5 days’ time, we can experience the change every day. And tents/provisions are a must for at least 3 days after Charang.

To do this trek, one has to take a Jeep Safari (I am not sure about the availability of Bus) from Reckong Peo to Thangi/Lumbar which will cost anywhere from Rs.2500 to 3000 and henceforth trek the next 5 days. This Jeep safari is along Reckong Poo-Pooh-Nako-Kaza (Spiti) highway which is in full grandeur on an ancient mountain system to the Himalayas. Geologists claim this to be the confluence of Himalayas, Dhauladar, and Zanskar mountain systems. Very rugged mountains and the moon-like landscape
(read cold dry rocky dusty).

The trek itself was done as below:

Kinnaur Kailash Circuit Trek Itinerary

  • Day #1 June 16th: Reckong Poo to Thangi by Jeep (along Spiti Highway) and
    further trek to Shurthing (ITBP camp)
  • Day #2 June 17th: Shurthing to Charang Buddhist Monastery and back
    (Views of Rangrik Rang AKA Raacho peak)
  • Day #3 June 18th: Shurthing to Lalanti (Dilapidated ITBP shed is there)
    June 19th: Lalanti to Charang La Base Camp (4800M)
  • Day #4 June 20th: Charang Base Camp to the last village of Kinnaur, Chitkul via incredible and nearly vertical, Snow Clad CharangLa pass @ 5200 Meters ASL.

Trek Guide and Organizer: www.raachotrekkers.com
(Proprietor and Guide: Sohan Negi from Charang Village/Chitkul)

Wild White Roses - Reckong Peo | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Wild White Roses – Reckong Peo
Apple Orchids - Reckong Peo
Apple Orchids – Reckong Peo
Apple Orchids - Reckong Peo
Apple Orchids – Reckong Pe
Kinnaur Kailash Range - Burning in the morning sun | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Kinnaur Kailash Range – Burning in the morning sun
Rocky Extensions - A common occurance on Kinnaur highways . The unique geological formations
Rocky Extensions – A common occurrence on Kinnaur highways. The unique geological formations
LandSlips (Enroute Thangi). Had to wait for 2.5 hours to clear. Effects of Hydro Power projects on fragile environment. A daily occurance in Kinnaur. | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
LandSlips (Enroute Thangi). I had to wait for 2.5 hours to clear. Effects of Hydro Power projects on a fragile environment. A daily occurrence in Kinnaur.
Enroute Thangi (Waterfalls like these are commonplace)
Enroute Thangi (Waterfalls like these are commonplace)
Tricky bends. Enroute Thangi
Tricky bends. Enroute Thangi
Enroute Lumbar..me enjoying the rough ride. Guide Sohan Negi in the front. You know i am an adventurer, i cant take the front seat!!!
Enroute Lumbar..me enjoying the rough ride. Guide Sohan Negi in the front. You know i am an adventurer, I cant take the front seat!!!
Enroute Shurting, Fantastic bridge over river Tidong
Enroute Shurting, Fantastic bridge over river Tidong. Tidong is a tributary of the river Satluj.
Enroute Shurthing. About to start the Parikrama and enter the narrow channel over river Tidong
Enroute Shurthing. About to start the Parikrama and enter the narrow channel over river Tidong
Shurting to Charang - Scenaries enroute (River Tidong flowing down) | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Shurting to Charang – Scenaries en route (River Tidong flowing down)
Shurting to Charang - Vistas enroute (River Tidong flowing down)
Shurting to Charang – Vistas enroute (River Tidong flowing down)
Shurting to Charang - Vistas enroute | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Shurting to Charang – Vistas enroute
Tidong valley - Charang landscape
Tidong valley – Charang landscape
Looking back toward Shurting
Looking back toward Shurting
Standing before Rangrik Rang Peak and Charang Village is at the background
Standing before Rangrik Rang Peak and Charang Village is at the background
Green landscape of Charang village | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Green landscape of Charang village
Rangrik Tungma monastery gate , Charang | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Rangrik Tungma monastery gate , Charang
Rangrik Tungma monastery Charang. The monastery is believed to be one of the earliest monastery established in Kinnaur.
Rangrik Tungma monastery Charang. The monastery is believed to be one of the earliest monasteries established in Kinnaur.
Rangrik Tungma monastery | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Rangrik Tungma monastery
Inside Rangrik Tungma monastery
Inside Rangrik Tungma monastery
Bronze sculpture of a Buddist deity inside Rangrik Tungma monastery
Bronze sculpture of a Buddist deity inside Rangrik Tungma monastery
Inside a local house in Charang Village
Inside a local house in Charang Village
Wooden roof of the house in Charang
Wooden roof of the house in Charang
Wild Flowers out of rocks - Where there is a will there is a way
Wild Flowers out of rocks – Where there is a will there is a way
Wild Flowers out of rocks - Where there is a will there is a way
Wild Flowers out of rocks – Where there is a will there is a way
Unwinding on the boulder bed..
Unwinding on the boulder bed..
Scenary enroute Lalanti meadows
Scenary enroute Lalanti meadows.
Scenary enroute Shurting to Lalanti
Scenary enroute Shurting to Lalanti
Scenary enroute Shurting to Lalanti
Scenary enroute Shurting to Lalanti
Scenary on Shurting to Lalanti route
Scenery on Shurting to Lalanti route
Before reaching LalanTi
Before reaching LalanTi
Approaching LalanTi meadows | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Approaching LalanTi meadows
River crossing enroute LalanTi
River crossing enroute LalanTi
Just below Lalanti meadows campsite
Just below Lalanti meadows campsite
Relaxing on the Lalanti meadows
Relaxing on the Lalanti meadows
Lalanti medows Campsite | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Lalanti medows Campsite
Porters raising campfire @ Lalanti (Tashi and Omkar)
Porters raising campfire @ Lalanti (Tashi and Omkar)
At Lalanti meadows campsite | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
At Lalanti meadows campsite
Pitstop before Charang la pass basecamp | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Pitstop before Charang la pass basecamp
Scenary @ Lalanti to CharangLa Base Camp route
Scenery @ Lalanti to CharangLa Base Camp route
Charang - La base camp
Charang – La base camp
Views from Charang - La base camp | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Views from Charang – La base camp
Imposing sight of Charang-La from the base camp | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
The imposing sight of Charang-La from the base camp
Looking backwards at Glacial Lake while climbing the Charang- La pass | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Looking backward at Glacial Lake while climbing the Charang- La pass
Charang-La climb
Charang-La climb
Can you spot the climber near the base?
Can you spot the climber near the base?
Looking backwards at Glacial Lake - enroute Charang-La
Looking backwards at Glacial Lake – enroute Charang-La
Taking a breather - CharangLa ascent
Taking a breather – CharangLa ascent
Looking backwards at Glacial Lake - en route CharangLa | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Looking backwards at Glacial Lake – en route CharangLa
The slope - Charang-La pass | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
The slope – Charang-La pass
The snowscape - vista of the mountain range | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
The snowscape – vista of the mountain range
Cook Prakash Rathi. He helped me a lot to ascend CharangLa. He is the real hero. | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Cook Prakash Rathi. He helped me a lot to ascend CharangLa. He is the real hero.
Charang La - Scenary from the top (notice the scree) | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Charang La – Scenary from the top (notice the scree)
Steep scree slope.. the descent was slippery and taxing | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
Steep scree slope.. the descent was slippery and taxing
finally Chitkul is in sight... Chitkul is last village on Indo - Tibet border located in the Baspa/Sangla valley
finally Chitkul is in sight... Chitkul is last village on Indo – Tibet border located in the Baspa/Sangla valley
The Sangla valley , Chitkul | Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek blog
The Sangla valley, Kinnaur.  Chitkul village can be seen at the base of the Baspa river valley.
Chitkul village - The gem of Sangla valley
Chitkul village – The gem of Sangla valley

Blog by Shyam Sundar Ramachandran

Categories
Blog Chitkul village Kinnaur Trekking

Lamkhaga Pass Trek Expedition blog

Home » Kinnaur

Lamkhaga Pass Trek log | In The Footsteps Of Marco Pallis

Chitkul-Gangotri Trek

[Chitkul: The last village of Kinnaur, Himachal to Harsil via Lamkhaga Pass (5284mtr)] [MAY – June 2015 ]

TREK ITINERARY :

28th May: Reach Base Camp Chitkul by road from Shimla

Trek Starts:

  • Day #1 29th May: Chitkul (3435 meters) to Nagasthi – Rani Kanda (3700 meters) 10 km 5 hr trek.
  • Day #2 30th May: Rani Kanda to Dumti (4050 meters) – 9 km/5 hr trek.
  • Day #3 31st May: Dumti to Gundar (4450 meter) – 15km/7 hr trek
  • Day #4 1st June: Gundar (4400 mtrs) to Lamkhaga Pass Base Camp (4400 meters)
  • Day #5 2nd June: Lamkhaga Pass BC to Base Camp 2 (Kinnaur)
  • Day #6 3rd June: Lamkhaga Pass BC(Kinnaur) to Lamkhaga Pass BC (Gangotri Side) via Lamkhaga Pass (5282 mts/17320 ft) / 14432 ft) 11 km/6 – 7 hr trek
  • Day #7 4th June: Lamkhaga Pass Base Camp to Kyarkoti (3820 meter) – 16 km/7 – 8 hr trek
  • Day #8 5th June: Kyarkoti to Harsil (2400 meter) – 14 km/6-7 hr trek

DAY1:

CHANDIGARH- SHIMLA:
Pahadi Hospitality at its best: All restaurants were closed by the time we reached Shimla. After searching for food nearby passport office without any vehicle(our driver had left after dropping us at the hotel) we failed to get one. It was 12 am, the hotel manager and his assistant had to specially prepare rice and dal for us from their own personal kitchen.

DAY2:

SHIMLA-KALPA
Enchanting Kinnaur, Irritating hydro-projects, awesome curvy drive, and the humble driver:
First of all, thank you Vikas for arranging the car. Will make sure to recommend him to my friends if needed at all in the future.
Today’s journey began with Aloo paranthas and a glass of bournvita just on the outskirts of Shimla. While eating parathas, we never thought that we will be hating paranthas so much at the end of our journey and we still do while I type this, however you will come to know as the Tlog progresses. Weather was pleasant and eating fresh Narkanda cherries was surely a ‘cherry on top’ to add in this journey.
The tea and the mischievous kids playing at Wangtoo tea house was fun. One layer of cloth comes out of the bag at this place.Brrrrr! Though we were driving on NER, the vistas were getting more beautiful. We reached Rakpa regency at Kalpa @10pm passing through muddy Karcham-Powari stretch to the beautiful dark town of Reckong Peo, through clouds and rains which got vanished later when we entered our room. The moonlit Kinner Kailash range was the most beautiful vista ever and the long tiring journey was totally worth it for this.

Near Chaura Check post [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Near Chaura Check post
Boundary gate of Kinnaur district [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Boundary gate of Kinnaur district
View across Satluj valley [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
View across Satluj valley
Tranda Dhank kinnaur [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
The construction of the Hindustan Tibet road in Himachal Pradesh began in 1850. The 637 Km road from Firozpur, Punjab to Shipki-La is also known as National Highway No. 5. It passes through the foothills of Shivalik Ranges, Shimla, Kingal and then runs along the river Satluj and thereafter passes through Rampur, Powari, and Pooh. From Khab to Sumdo, the road runs along the river Spiti. From Kalka to Wangtu, the 335 Km stretch is under the control of the Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department. While from Wangtu to Korik, it is under the Border Roads Organisation. This road has been featured on the National Geographic Channel as ‘The World’s Deadliest Roads’.
Tranda Dhank, Hindustan Tibet road Kinnaur.
National Highway 5 [Chaura - Bhabanagar stretch , Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
National Highway 5 [Chaura – Bhabanagar stretch]
Satluj river choked by numerous Hydro electric project built on the river [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Satluj river choked by numerous Hydroelectric project built on the river
Places in Kinnaur and their altitude [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Places in Kinnaur and their altitude

DAY3

KALPA – Hike to CHAKKA KANDA (~4000mtr)- KALPA and drive to CHITKUL

Chakka is a small peak which lies behind and above Kalpa town. Though a small hike for a little bit more than 1000mtr, it is a very good place for acclimatization for all the trekkers/travelers in that region. Just below the peak, lies Chakka Kanda, a lake that is culturally important for Kinnauris. It takes 2 -3 hours to reach.
We hired a car to Chitkul at 4 pm from Kalpa after descending down from Chakka Kanda.

Hotel in Kalpa: Rakpa Regency & Hotel in Chitkul: Shenshah/Shahenshah/Shen Sha or whatever you call it. Both the properties are run by Mr. Sandeep Karar.
All the rooms were charged 1500 INR/room after immense bargaining in advance as we did not had any options left. The stay at Kalpa has to be the best for its hospitality and views.

Hotel to Chakka Kanda
Time taken: 2 1/2 hours
Height gained: 800 meters. Just before lake, we stopped due to time restrictions.

Night Landscape , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Night Landscape, Kalpa
Night Landscape view of Kinner Kailash range , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Night Landscape view of Kinner Kailash range, Kalpa
That Morning , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
That Morning, Kalpa
Chaka meadows can be seen from our hotel, Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Chaka meadows can be seen from our hotel, Kalpa
Chaka stream , en route Chaka meadows , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Chaka stream, en route Chaka meadows, Kalpa
Walking along Chaka stream , en route Chaka meadows , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Walking along Chaka stream, en route Chaka meadows, Kalpa
Chaka stream , en route Chaka meadows , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Chaka stream, en route Chaka meadows, Kalpa
Walking along Chaka stream , en route Chaka meadows , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Walking along Chaka stream, en route Chaka meadows, Kalpa
Pebbled path , en route Chaka meadows trek [Lamkhaga pass trek 2015]
Pebbled path, en route Chaka meadows trek
Chaka stream , en route Chaka meadows , Kalpa [Lamkhaga passChaka stream , en route Chaka meadows , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015] trek expedition 2015]
Chaka stream, en route Chaka meadows, Kalpa
Chaka meadows , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Chaka meadows, Kalpa
Somewhere above ~500 metres is the last house enroute , Chaka meadows trek [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015 ]
Somewhere above ~500 meters is the last house enroute, Chaka meadows trek
View from the hotel room , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
View from the hotel room, Kalpa
View from the hotel room , Kalpa [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
View from the hotel room, Kalpa
The hotel where we stayed at Kalpa , [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
The hotel where we stayed at Kalpa
The weather that night in Chitkul was luckily clear , Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
The weather that night in Chitkul was luckily clear, Chitkul

DAY 4

CHITKUL Village.

Starting our day with super hot chai with amazing clouds in the sky. Parathas and Omelette were the only options for breakfast. It was an acclimatization day for all and we decided to start it by 11 am. Our guide and the support team reached at Chitkul at 5 pm. There were 8 porters and 1 cook along. They camped on the banks of river Baspa.
Meanwhile, we unpacked and packed our rucksacks again just to make sure the weight is balanced accordingly that day.

Time taken: 2 hours
Height Gained: 130mtr, towards Nagasthi ITBP and a small hill on the left.

Camping by the Baspa river , Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Camping by the Baspa river, Chitkul
That morning at Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
That morning at Chitkul
Dhaula peak locally called aka P6465m. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Dhaula peak locally called aka P6465m.
A home in the Himalaya [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
A home in the Himalaya
[Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
The route to Kinnaur Kailash Circuit trek goes through these house all the way up to the glaciers visible in background.
Indigenous livestock , Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Indigenous livestock, Chitkul
Chitkul Landscapes , Baspa valley [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Chitkul Landscapes, Baspa valley
Kitchen in the woods , Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Kitchen in the woods, Chitkul
Kinnauri Sheepdog, Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Kinnauri Sheepdog(Hapsu) at Chitkul
Hiking around Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Hiking around Chitkul
Hiking around Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Hiking around Chitkul
An evening in Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Sunny day at Chitkul
An evening in Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
One of many mountain stream flowing through the Chitkul Village
An evening in Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Another serene evening in Chitkul
That night in Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
That night in Chitkul

Who was Marco Pallis and why Lamkhaga?

  • A Greek-British author and mountaineer who was famous for his writings on Tibetan Buddhism. He made the first ascent of Leo Pargial(6790m), one of the highest in Kinnaur Himal(not be confused with Reo Purgyal) starting from Harsil all the way via unexplored/climbed LAMKHAGA PASS and then into Sutlej-Spiti valley to climb the peak in 1933. Well, we are doing the right opposite to him what he did.

Can this trek done from both the sides?

  • Yes. It takes ~7 to 10 days from both sides depending on the weather.

What is the route?
From Chitkul :
Chitkul-Nagasthi-Ranikanda-Dumti-Nithal Thatch- Base camp(Baspa Glacier)-Advance base camp- Lamkhaga pass- Base camp(Harsil side)-Kyarkoti-Harsil

From Harsil :
Harsil-Banswari nalla- Gangnani -Kyarkoti-Base camp(Sukha thal)-Advance base camp(aka Pass ke neeche)- Lamkhaga pass-Base camp(Chitkul side)-Dumti-Ranikanda or Chitkul.

Personally, I feel the ascent from Harsil is more daunting. Continuous ascent! unlike gradual incline at many places from the Chitkul side. But both are equal in difficulty.

Do we need an Inner line Permit for this trek and from where to get it?

  • DC office in Reckong Peo for people starting from the Chitkul side.
  • DC office in Uttarkashi for people starting from the Harsil side.

Porters are easily available from Uttarkashi or Gangotri(UK) and Reckong Peo(HP) and NOT HARSIL OR CHITKUL.

Must Equipment:
Ropes, Ice Axe, Gaiters, Alpine tents(neither t3, nor t2 please) and yes Microspikes will be helpful in the month of May-June.

Altitude:

I am still confused with its altitude. According to our altimeter(G-shock) which was well calibrated, showed up 5300metres on the pass. Old maps say 5284metres and some source says 5326metres.

Best Time:

There is no best time to visit higher regions, the weather takes a toll on any day/anytime. Still it is doable from Mid-May till Mid October.

Grade:

Difficult

TREK DAY 1.

Chitkul -Nagasthi(ITBP Checkpost) -Ranikanda.

A simple walk for 4 hours takes us to the beautiful Ranikanda camp site at 3700m which is situated just few metres away from Baspa river. Where we faced rain, a little headache, cold and dramatic sky.
Had the most delicious Khichdi and the soup for the lunch and Roti- Sabji-Salad for the dinner.

Bye bye Chitkul [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Bye bye Chitkul
Camping at Ranikanda , Trekking Day 1 [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Camping at Ranikanda, Trekking Day 1
View of upper Baspa Valley [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
View of upper Baspa Valley
Reaching Ranikanda , View of upper Baspa Valley [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Reaching Ranikanda, View of upper Baspa Valley
Reaching Ranikanda , View of upper Baspa Valley [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Reaching Ranikanda , View of upper Baspa Valley
Camping at Ranikanda meadows , View of upper Baspa Valley [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Camping at Ranikanda meadows, View of upper Baspa Valley
Camping at Ranikanda meadows [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Camping at Ranikanda meadows
Teatime , Camping at Ranikanda [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Teatime , Camping at Ranikanda
Camping at Ranikanda [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Camping at Ranikanda
Mangsu sub-range in Great Himalayan range. Charang village is situated behind this, Camping at Ranikanda [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Mangsu sub-range in the Great Himalayan range. Charang village is situated behind this, Camping at Ranikanda
Cook serving warm water , Camping at Ranikanda [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Cook serving warm water , Camping at Ranikanda

TREK DAY 2.

Ranikanda – Lal Dhang – Dumti

8am:- AP’s struggle with rucksack weight and severe AMS.

It was a long hike that day going up to 4050m. Though the weather was clear, we had no trust in it either. Soon AP informed us he was having a mild headache but was okay to continue. But from the previous evening, it did not get any better, even after acclimatization walk up to 500ft nearby. He was walking slowly along with few members and porters. He gave up just before Lal Dhang at 10:30 am. His headache remained the same. VB who was walking along with him and me took his heavy rucksack, which he was carrying and in return gave his small camera bag to AP. Meanwhile, our guide Negi saw us from the edge, which was far away on Lal Dhank. He knew something was wrong and waited for us to cross the tricky part. Things were getting serious at that moment.

Negi’s views on AP:- Returning back to Chitkul did not make any sense as it is already at 3450m. It would take 5 -6 hours to reach from where we stood and descending further till Sangla (2800m) after that was completely out of the question. Continuing all the way till Dumti, which is at 4050m is again a threatening act to do. But Dumti had an ITBP camp. It had medical facilities. It had oxygen tanks but nothing in Chitkul. The only struggle was that tough scary walk from Lal Dhang till Dumti for 4 hours in the worst weather with poor visibility, wind, snow, and drizzle along. On one side it was Baspa river which was invisible and ferociously flowing down below and on the other side falling tiny rocks and slippery slopes to negotiate. All team members were separated and were just following the broken trail.
Negi was taking care of AP and was slowly walking far behind holding his hands.

We reached Dumti at 2:30 pm and along with Negi reached at 3:30 pm. But soon, he started hallucinating!

That morning! Ranikanda meadows [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
That morning! Ranikanda meadows
Kitchen tent can be seen far away in middle. Mangsu Charang range behind. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Kitchen tent can be seen far away in the middle. Mangsu – Charang range behind.
Baspa river, near Ranikanda ITBP post. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Baspa river, near Ranikanda ITBP post.
2 team members can be seen here. A wide horizontal angle image could have worked here to show the actual steepness of terrain. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
2 team members can be seen here. A wide horizontal angle image could have worked here to show the actual steepness of the terrain.
Well, I hope I did good with 18-55mm here ?[Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Well, I hope I did well with 18-55mm here?
Our porter Gopal at work. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Our porter Gopal at work.
Our guide Negi waiting for us. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Our guide Negi waiting for us.
VB & Gopal helping AP. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
VB & Gopal helping AP.
Taking a breath [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Taking a breath
Views of upper Baspa valley [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Views of upper Baspa valley

3:30pm: AP Hallucinations at Dumti

Our cook, Rathiji prepared “sheera“(they call it halwa) after a small darshan at Karu temple. We served a tiny portion to AP in the tent. It took him 20 minutes to gulp 2 serves. He did not know what he was eating, neither he was responding to anyone. His oxygen levels started deteriorating. We immediately took him to the ITBP camp which had medical facilities as I have mentioned above. We made him sit in one of the bunkers for the warmth, but soon he started dozing off. Meanwhile, we literally requested the medical personnel to give him supplementary oxygen as soon as possible. He was made to lay down by holding his hands on the medical bed. We played music in the background so that he won’t sleep which would turn out to be fatal in such conditions. It took 15 minutes for him to get back to normal, which stayed temporary.

Well, when we asked him how was he feeling? He did not remember how and what had happened. He did not remember anything, neither the “sheera” nor the supplementary oxygen. Every half an hour, he was given supplementary oxygen till 6:00 pm for 5 minutes and some medicines(NOT DIAMOX).
Meanwhile, few members from our team had won the cricket game against the ITBP team.

AP was my tent mate. I kept on checking his oxygen levels throughout that cold night. Luckily he was OK the next morning but had to send back with one of the porters.

Playing cricket at 4050 meter altitude [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Playing cricket at 4050-meter altitude
Always maintain distance, so that snoring sounds wont clash [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Always maintain distance, so that snoring sounds won’t clash
Cricket field of Dumti ITBP camps [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Cricket field of Dumti ITBP camps
We remember them everyday for the courage and for their hospitality [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
We remember them every day for the courage and for their hospitality
A peak arise just towards the back of ITBP camp. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
A peak arises just towards the back of the ITBP camp.
Night was the only time, when sky used to open up [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
The night was the only time when sky used to open up.
Our strength [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Sturdy porters..Our strength

TREK DAY 3

Dumti-Nithal Thatch- Gundar

The day began with Parathas and Bhindi subzi for breakfast following with the small pooja at Karu temple. A walk by banks of River Baspa all the way till Gundar Camp at 4450m. It was an easy but long walk over rocks and slight height gain. We reached around 2:00 pm. SC fell in the water while crossing it just before the camp and while rescuing her, Nishchay fell too. Quite a tough moment for both of them.

By 3:30 pm, we hiked up 1000ft for acclimatization. Due to the weather, things got worse again.
And it was again Parathas for lunch.

Dumti expanse [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Dumti expanse
Dumti - Nithal Thach expanse [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Dumti – Nithal Thach expanse
Nithal Thach meadows [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Nithal Thach meadows
Thola peak as seen from Dumti.... From the ITBP loo to be precise [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Thola peak as seen from Dumti…. From the ITBP loo to be precise
Boulder stretch en route Gundar [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Boulder stretch en route Gundar
Balancing act! [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Balancing act!
Hiking nearby while the camp was being set up [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Hiking nearby while the camp was being set up
Waiting for the sunshine [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Waiting for the sunshine.
Hiking nearby while the camp was being set up [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Hiking nearby while the camp was being set up.
Baspa Glacier in the background. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Baspa Glacier in the background.
Towards Tibet [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Towards Tibet
Nithal Thatch grounds and ITBP post is just to the right. The time when we started enjoying the vistas around, snowfall began..[Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Nithal Thatch grounds and ITBP post is just to the right.
The time when we started enjoying the vistas around, the snowfall began.
Utro Utro Niche!!!!!.....The actual trek begins from here. The poor visibility and weather follows us all the way till Kyarktoti for next 3 days. [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Utro Utro Niche! (Come…Come down fast!)The actual trek begins from here. The poor visibility and weather follow us all the way till Kyarktoti for the next 3 days.
Snowfall at Nithal Thach , [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Snowfall at Nithal Thach.
Nischay doing some Jugaad with his wet boots... tough times ahead [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Nishchay doing some Jugaad with his wet boots… tough times ahead.

TREK DAY 4

Gundar to Immediate Camp( 2 hours before Baspa Glacier/Lamkhaga Base camp).

Probably the most beautiful morning we witnessed here. The night was just out of the world with millions of stars and the bright moon and the lit on high peaks, but it was freezing at the same time. It was difficult for me to remove the camera from the bag and tripod at that time. However, I would like to say that, those irregular nature calls in the middle of the night have given us a lot of positive opportunities to see the actual beauty through naked eyes. Words are less to describe, so does the camera.

We woke up at 4 am and had Chapatis for breakfast with Achar and papaya porridge. It had snowed a lot. The first step of the day was snow. There were pug marks of some kind of animals parallel to us. First, we presumed it to be snow leopards……LOL. But it may have been wild fox’s, we partially confirmed after immense discussion with each other. A few days after looking at the photographs, we thought that it would be some bird’s footsteps. Maybe!!!

We had to cross the Baspa stream that day. There was an icy and slippery layer on the stones. So balancing on top of stones and crossing would make us fall in the bone freezing water. It took us half an hour to cross it. But Karan fell in the water while helping out RS and she was all fine. It was a funny but frustrating situation. Snowfall increased as we move further when Negiji finally had to stop. Because going further in that bad weather and pitching tents on glacier camp would be dangerous. It took 2 hours for the porters who were behind us. Finally, at 1:00 pm, we pitched our tents with all the wet boots and wet bags.

To the East of Nithal Thach camp [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
To the East of Nithal Thach camp.
To the North of Nithal Thach Camp [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
To the North of Nithal Thach Camp.
To the South of Nithal thach camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
To the South of Nithal thach campsite.
And us in the center of Nithal Thach Camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
And us in the center of Nithal Thach Campsite.
And us in the center of Nithal Thach Camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
And us in the center of Nithal Thach Campsite.
Our guide mending the way [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Our guide mending the way.
Rashmi had brought Kasim's old shoes on her trek. She managed to cross the pass successfully with it.[Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Rashmi had brought Kasim’s old shoes on her trek. She managed to cross the pass successfully with it.
Looks more like trekking poles marks... lol, BUT IT'S NOT.[Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Looks more like trekking poles marks… lol, BUT IT’S NOT.
Gundar camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Gundar camp site.
Gundar camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Gundar campsite.
Looking back towards Gundar.[Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Looking back towards Gundar.
The views around Gundar .[Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
The views around Gundar.
Gundar camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Gundar campsite.
In the evening, things used to get normal.[Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
In the evening, things used to get normal.
This was the situation, where we decided not to move further.[Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
This was the situation, where we decided not to move further.
Waiting for the storm to subside , Gundar [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Waiting for the storm to subside, Gundar
In the evening, things used to get normal. Gundar camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
In the evening, things used to get normal. Gundar campsite
In the evening, things used to get normal. Gundar camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
In the evening, things used to get normal. Gundar campsite.
In the evening, things used to get normal. Gundar camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
In the evening, things used to get normal. Gundar campsite.
In the evening, things used to get normal. Gundar camp site [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
In the evening, things used to get normal. Gundar campsite.

TREK DAY 5

Immediate Camp – Baspa Glacier -Lamkhaga Base camp – Lamkhaga Advance Base Camp( aka Pass ke neeche)-5100m

We were already running behind the schedule( say 5 hours time). We started to climb at 4am. It was freezing and the weather was deteriorating again. Rathiji our cook, lead the team members, whereas our guide led the team of porters. In no meantime, all porters overtook us and waited on the snowy slopes.

Rangrik Rang assumed -6553m after checking out Leomann maps. [Lamhaga pass expedition]
Rangrik Rang assumed -6553m after checking out Leomann maps.
Near Baspa glacier snout [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Near Baspa glacier snout
Near Baspa glacier snout [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Near Baspa glacier snout
Close up of Rangrik Rang -6553m [Lamkhaga pass expedition]
Close up of Rangrik Rang -6553m
Lamkhaga gully [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Lamkhaga gully
Inside Baspa Glacier snout. Looks so small, but it was too scary and large to even stand here and click. [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Inside Baspa Glacier snout. Looks so small, but it was too scary and large to even stand here and click.
Baspa glacier snout [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Baspa glacier snout
Baspa glacier snout [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Baspa glacier snout
Baspa glacier [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Baspa glacier. The origin of Baspa river.
Baspa glacier snout [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Baspa glacier snout
Climbing the Lamkhaga gradient [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Climbing the Lamkhaga gradient
Start of the climb [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Start of the climb
Climbing the Lamkhaga gradient [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Climbing the Lamkhaga gradient.
Climbing up to the advance base camp [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Climbing up to the advance base camp

We reached Lamkhaga Base Camp at 7 am for a short hungry break of dry fruits and water, as it was not easy to digest Parathas early in the morning. We took some rest and started climbing on a 50-degree incline with deep snow.
Plan of the day was to reach the Advance Base camp, just below the pass which was 7 hours far from where we were standing on that snowy conditions. We managed to cover it without much headache. Few people were too fast on snow, while others were the opposite of that. Finally, microspikes came into use. There were many steep patches which itself was a task to negotiate, but we managed somehow.
We reached at 2 pm. It was a task to beat the soft snow of 2ft, so that our tent could easily be pitched on hard snow. That day, one porter suffered from Hypothermia and he went mute. He was shifted to the kitchen tent as soon as the tent was ready and was made to rest near the cooking stove for the warmth. We gave him the warmee self-heating pouch. He felt okay later after gulping hot soup and hot water. So white-out conditions, freezing wind, Porter’s health, Highest Camp at 5100m, wet sleeping bags, frozen tents, snow melted “yuckk” water, etc. made it totally worth.

You climb up and again you go down several times. That was really hectic to be frank. [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
You climb up and again you go down several times. That was really hectic to be frank.
going down.. [Lamkhaga pass expedition]
going down…..
Climbing up.. Sonu mending Rashmi's shoe[Lamkhaga pass expedition]
Climbing up.. Sonu mending Rashmi’s shoe
Lamkhaga traverse [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Lamkhaga traverse
Chotkhaga Pass (left) - Unnamed pass(middle)- Lamkhaga Ridge Pass(Right) Lamkhaga cannot be seen untill you reach its base, its so remote. [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Chotkhaga Pass (left) – Unnamed pass(middle)- Lamkhaga Ridge Pass(Right)
Lamkhaga cannot be seen untill you reach its base, its so remote.
Near the advance base camp [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Near the advance base camp

TREK DAY – 6 (LAMKHAGA PASS)

Plan: Advance Base camp to Lamkhaga Pass to Lamkhaga base camp( Harsil side)
What did we do? : Advance Base camp to Lamkhaga Pass to Lamkhaga base camp(Harsil side) to Kyarkoti

When we woke up at 6 in the morning, it was all white-out outside. Soon, we started discussing on to pass the cross or not. After a lot of arguments, we planned to go ahead. Waiting back did not make any sense. Descending to Chitkul was against our wishes. It was just a matter of 3 hours of the climb to the pass and it descended all the way down to Kyarkoti – Gangnani – Harsil. If anything worse happens within these 3 hours, nobody had an idea to escape it, except our guide Negi. He was confident about it and he leads us in a Pro way. We stood at the top at 9:00 am on 3rd June.

Looking towards HP unnamed peaks as seen from Abc at 5120m at 530am. [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]Looking towards HP unnamed peaks as seen from Abc at 5120m at 530am.

P5810m [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
P5810m
Pitching the tent in raging snow storm [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
Pitching the tent in raging snow storm
After 7am, shot from Digicam. [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
After 7am, shot from Digicam.
Chotkhaga Hidden behind. [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Chotkhaga Hidden behind.
Walking towards the pass [Lamkhaga trek expedition 2015]
Walking towards the pass
Lamkhaga glacier [Lamkhaga pass expedition 2015]
Lamkhaga glacier
The traverse [Lamkhaga pass trek expedition 2015]
The Lamkhaga traverse
The glacier [Lamhaga pass trek]
The glacier
View of Kinnaur - Garhwal range [Lamkhaga pass trek 2015]
View of Kinnaur – Garhwal range
Unnamed peak on Kinnaur - Garhwal range [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Unnamed peak on Kinnaur – Garhwal range
If you see exactly in the middle, there is a cornice. That is gateway to Harsil [Lamkhaga pass trek 2015]
If you see exactly in the middle, there is a cornice. That is the gateway to Harsil

Negi ji had made a zigzag route to the top, due to soft snow and the light was bright. In a meanwhile, a huge layer of ice like a mini avalanche came on our way and took Aditya down a few meters on the slope. Luckily he arrested himself on the gentle slopes and began climbing much faster. It was a horrifying scene when it happened. Somehow we all reached at 9 am on the top.

The pass is located at one of the greatest water source region which divides two great rivers, where one flows into the Arabian sea and other in Bay of Bengal.
All we could see is tears of joy in each and every member. It started snowing heavily from the Garhwal side and it was bright in the Kinnaur side. Realising, who was the culprit behind bad weather, we started our deadly descend soon.

Unnamed Kinnaur peaks, some slightly above 6000m. You can see our kitchen tent(peach color) to the left hand side down. [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Unnamed Kinnaur peaks, some slightly above 6000m. You can see our kitchen tent(peach color) to the left-hand side down.
Sonu negi opening the route [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Sonu negi opening the route
Looking up to the pass [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Looking up to the pass
Small avalanche [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Small avalanche
This is how the border looks at 5285m, A thin wall between Kinnaur-Garhwal - LAMKHAGA PASS
This is how the border looks at 5285m, A thin wall between Kinnaur-Garhwal – LAMKHAGA PASS
Waiting for rest of the team [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Waiting for the rest of the team
Tiding the prayer flags on Lamkhaga pass [Lamkhaga pass trek 2015]
Trek leader Sonu Negi tiding the prayer flags on Lamkhaga pass
“We don't live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means, and that is what life is for.” ―George Mallory [Lamkhaga pass trek]
“We don’t live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means, and that is what life is for.”
―George Mallory
Welcome to the land of gods- Devbhoomi and huge snowfield looking towards Garhwal side. [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Welcome to the land of gods- Devbhoomi and huge snowfield looking towards Garhwal side.

The glissading was fun and risky too. Few members had many rolls, with the bags falling on one side and trekking poles to the others. The weather deteriorated and it was white out. This time, it did not stop for the next 8 hours of daunting descent. There was a huge gap of distance among members, a few of us were climbing down slowly with INFINITE no. of falls and breaking trekking sticks. The plan was to descend until the snowline. We reached Upper Kyarkoti, passing through Sukha Tal at 5:30 pm and threw our bags aside our tents.

Descending down the pass [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Descending down the pass
Glissading the slope [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Glissading the slope
Glissading the slope [Lamkhaga pass trek]
I hope the readers here can make out, what we faced.
Lamkhaga pass trek
Waiting for the storm to subside
Upper Kyarkoti(Jalandhari Gad valley ~~~4000mtr) [ Lamkhaga pass trek ]
The end of snow line at Upper Kyarkoti(Jalandhari Gad valley ~~~4000mtr)
Glissading the slope [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Glisadding down the slope
Glissading the slope [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Camping at Kyarkoti [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Camping at Kyarkoti

That evening, our porters went hunting some of the juniper bushes/woods for a bonfire. They excelled in getting a large bunch of wet junipers and some wet trunk of the unknown tree which was lying down on high slopes. There was an excitement within the team on the accomplishment of the trek. We sipped many teas that evening, as most of the things were wet and ferocious bonfire by the side.
I was the last one to sleep after taking a few night shots of heaven, Kyarkoti. In fact, all the nights at every camp have been beautiful for us, but this place beats all. As soon as I entered my sleeping and locked the chains of the tent, there was a scratching sound outside the tent. As if, someone/thing is scratching with hands on the outer layer of the tent. Initially, I thought someone was doing mischief among us, but everyone had slept by that time. I woke up and I switched on my tent light, no sounds! Again, I did not bother to wake up my tent mates as they all were snoring too loud. The sound of scratching continued for 2-3 hours that night and that was my last sleepless night of the entire journey.

This has to be best alpine tents (though bit heavy) on high altitudes. [Lamkhaga pass trek]
This has to be best alpine tents (though bit heavy) on high altitudes.
Definition of Relaxation is this! [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Definition of Relaxation is this!
Burning juniper shrubs [Lamkhaga pass trek]
Burning juniper shrubs
This is a shortcut to Chotkhaga Pass but very technical. NO! you actually cant see the Chotkhaga Ridge from here but this is the route.[Lamkhaga pass trek]
This is a shortcut to Chotkhaga Pass but very technical. NO! you actually cant see the Chotkhaga Ridge from here but this is the route.
It was full moon, my 18-55mm lens could only do this much. [Lamkhaga pass trek]
It was a full moon, my 18-55mm lens could only do this much.

A blog by Rohit Bhat

Categories
Blog Homestay Kalpa Winter in Kinnaur

Kalpa & Charang Snow Hikes | Winter in Kinnaur

Home » Kinnaur

After a long delay, finally posting pics of our winter trip to Kalpa, Charang Village & the Charang Rangrik Monastery. Charang village is the last village on the Indo-China Border. The last ITBP post is located in this village.

Winter in Kinnaur 

For the city folks, the village offers a complete escape from the busy city life. No network coverage — bosses can’t call you. For a comfort trip seeker, I will recommend Charang only during summers. In winters, with the temperature plunging to about -15 ºC & heavy snowfall blocking all the roadways for weeks — the place is either for the brave hearts or for ignorants like us. 

Hikes around Chini village of Kalpa valley

We reached Reckong Peo early in the morning and headed for a beautiful Chini village in Kalpa. We strolled there for an hour or two and visited Kalpa Buddhist monastery and newly built Narayanas temple. We spent the rest of the day at a friend’s place in Reckong Peo and took rest after 12 hrs enduring journey in the Chandigarh-Reckong Peo HRTC bus.

View of Snow covered Pangi village from Kalpa village of Kinnaur
View of Snow covered Pangi village from Kalpa
Unnamed peak on Kinner - Kailash mountain range[Winter in Kinnaur]
Unnamed peak on Kinner – Kailash mountain range
Newly renovated Kalpa Narayanas temple
Newly renovated Kalpa Narayanas temple
View of the valley , Kalpa , Kinnaur
View of the Kalpa valley Kinnaur
Roof of the Kalpa temple & Kinnaur Kailash peak (6050 m) in background
Roof of the Kalpa temple & Kinner Kailash peak (6050 m) in background
Snow covered Chini village of Kalpa in Kinnaur
Chini village of Kalpa, Kinnaur
Chini temple of Kalpa in Kinnaur
Chini temple Of Kalpa, Kinnaur
Unnamed peak on Kinner Kailash mountain range
Unnamed peak on Kinner Kailash mountain range
Snowy mountain tops above Barang village in Kinnaur
Snowy mountain tops above Barang village of Kinnaur
Jorkanden peak & adjoining peaks on Kinner Kailash Mountain range
Jorkanden peak and adjoining peaks on Kinner Kailash Mountain range
Hiking in deep snow near Kalpa football ground in Kinnaur
Hiking to Kalpa football ground, Kinnaur
Snowball fighting on Kalpa football ground in Kinnaur
Snowball fighting in Kalpa football ground of Kinnaur
Winter landscape of Chini village of Kalpa in Kinnaur
Magnificent Chini village of Kalpa, Kinnaur
Raldang peak overlooking Chini village of Kalpa.
Chini village Kalpa , Raldang peak (5425 m) visible in background
Snow covered fields of locals from Chini village of Kalpa
Snow covered fields of locals from Chini village of Kalpa
Hiking on snow near Kalpa football ground in Kinnaur
Snow hikes near Kalpa football ground of Kinnaur
Snowy Raldang peak of Kinner - Kailash mountain range in Kinnaur
Raldang peak (5425 m ) of Kinner – Kailash mountain range, Kinnaur
Icy road en route Kalpa village of  Kinnaur
Road to Kalpa valley of Kinnaur
Strolling in snow in Kalpa football ground
Strolling around Kalpa
Snowballing in Kalpa football ground of Kinnaur
Snowballing and Killing time in Kalpa valley of Kinnaur

Reckong Peo to Akpa Check post bus ride & Long walks along the NH-05

Now coming to our next day’s experience I consider this as an achievement. Trekking on steep slopes for 20 km on snow for 8 hrs continuously. With no one to your rescue walking endlessly with those baby steps on snow…having no idea that we will be alive in the next 1 hr or not. We missed the early morning Reckong Peo – Thangi bus and had to take another bus which dropped us near Akpa check post around noon. We started walking along the highway, reached Moorang around 1 PM and took a taxi to Lambar ( the last motorable stop) in winters.  

National Higway 5 en route Moorang village of Kinnaur
World’s most treacherous road, National Higway 05, en route Moorang, Kinnaur
Walking on NH 5 near Moorang village of Kinnaur
Walking the Himalayas , near Moorang bridge , Kinnaur
Moorang village of Kinnaur
Village with a buddhist monastery & many chorten – Moorang
Slippery road near Moorang village of Kinnaur on NH 05
Slippery road near Moorang on National Highaway 05
A bridge on Satluj river connecting
Moorang bridge , Tidong valley , Kinnaur

Moorang bridge, Tidong valley, Kinnaur

Moorang to Thangi village taxi ride & the long hike to Charang village

We started the trek from Lambar at around 3 PM and reached Charang at about 11 pm. In the 20 km stretch, there were only three of us walking continuously. Because in that extreme weather a comma means full stop. If you stop you will freeze within minutes. At about 5 pm there was complete darkness…and even a slight sound nearby will flash images of a snow leopard or wild bears in your mind. Trekking in the night without a torch..the only thing to our rescue was the moonlight and the marks of the steps of the ITBP jawans on the snow…which kept us hopeful that we are heading in the right direction. Each one of us was having plenty of dry fruits but none of us was having the energy to stop & take those out of the bag. We were three friends Pawan Ranta, Amandeep Dhiman & myself. There is one ITBP post on the way to Charang which served as a base camp to the post at Charang. Thereafter traveling for about 14 km we got some warm water to drink. That warm water was like ‘amrit‘ and we thought that “ab hum bach jayyenge“. We stayed there for 15 to 20 minutes & then about 8 pm we started our trek to Charang with new hope & determination…but then again after traveling for about 1 km, we were regretting that why we didn’t stop there & request those ITBP jawans to allow us to stay there till morning. Now again, we were at the mercy of the mountains. We were not able to even speak….we were just moving & moving. During the complete trek, I was reciting God’s name and was hurling abuses & curses at Pawan who gave the idea of that trek. After traveling for another 6 km, there in the dark near the entrance of the Charang Village, were Sonu bhai, our savior standing there in the dark waiting for us. Sonu bhai took our backpacks and gave us new hope. And again we said ” Ab to lagata hai bach gaye“. Sonu bhai offered us shelter in their house offered food & saved our lives.  Raante credit goes to you also. We sat near the bukhara and ate food thanking God for keeping us alive. I started chanting my daily mantras thanking God.

The trails to Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]
The trails to Charang, Kinnaur [Winter 2015]
In Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

In Charang, Kinnaur [Winter 2015]View of last ITBP check post and Rangrik Tungma monastery , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

View of last ITBP check post and Rangrik Tungma monastery , Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Halting place , en route Rangrik Tungma monastery , Charang Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Halting place, en route Rangrik Tungma monastery, Charang Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Waiting for the sunshine , Charang Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Waiting for the sunshine, Charang Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Trail to Rangrik Tungma monastery , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

The trail to Rangrik Tungma monastery, Charang, Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Charang village , Tidong valley , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Charang village , Tidong valley , KinnaurHiking to Rangrik Tungma Monastery , Charang [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Hiking to Rangrik Tungma Monastery , Charang [Winter 2015]Dogs in Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Dogs in Charang , KinnaurPrayer flags in Rangrik Tungma monastery , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Prayer flags in Rangrik Tungma monastery , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Chorten , a Buddhist stupa , Charang Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Chorten , a Buddhist stupa , Charang Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Charang snowscape , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Charang snowscape , Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Prayer flags , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Prayer flags , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Searching for network in Charang , Kinnaur[Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Searching for network in Charang , Kinnaur

The next dawn gave us a new hope & we visited the Rangrik Monastery and offered prayers and visited the last ITBP post on the Indo China border.

Walking with the wind , returning from Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]
Walking with the wind, returning from Charang, Kinnaur [Winter 2015]
Singing stream , Tidong [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Singing stream, Tidong [Winter Kinnaur 2015]Walking along Tidong stream while returning back from Charang , Kinnaur [winter 2015]

Walking along Tidong stream while returning from Charang, Kinnaur [winter 2015]

Oh! I have written such a long story…I know many of you won’t read but I know that many more will read. The story is to keep my memories on records.

Blog by: Saurabh Tiwari

Categories
Blog Chitkul village Kinnaur Sangla valley Trekking

Baspa Valley Kinnaur: Valley Of Brimming Beauty

Home » Kinnaur

In the western Himalayas, bordering along with Tibet and Garhwal, the Baspa valleyalso called Sangla valley—of Kinnaur has been open to visitors since the early 90s. The valley got its name from the Baspa river which originates from Chung Sakhago pass and meanders for around 30 km before meeting Satluj on its left bank near Karcham.

Baspa valley, Kinnaur:

Unlike the Spiti valley and Hangrang region of Kinnaur, the Baspa valley is green paradise in largely barren mountains. Baspa valley or Sangla valley is known for fruit-laden orchards, cedar covered slopes and flower crusted meadows. Bhojpatra tree is abundantly found in the Chitkul region.

A land of blue skies, buzzing Baspa river, soaring peaks, deep valleys, apple orchards, and syncretic culture — Baspa valley a place for people who are seeking genuine peace and soul-calming solitude far, far from the madding crowd.

The fort of Kamru is another landmark in Baspa valley. As Gandhi once remarked that ‘the soul of India lies in its villages’— villages like Chitkul, Rackcham, Sangla, Kamru and Chansu are the soul of Baspa valley.

Rackcham village , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Rendezvous with Rackcham
Monsoon in Baspa valley Kinnaur
Rain clouds brewing — Monsoon in Baspa valley
Baspa valley Kinnaur — Monsoon in Kinnaur
Wandering clouds descending over the valley
Snowy mountain tops of Baspa valley Kinnaur
Early spring in Baspa valley…Snowy mountain tops
Snowy mountain tops of Baspa valley Kinnaur
Snowy mountain tops of Baspa valley Kinnaur, clicked in early spring season
Rackcham , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Rendezvous with Rackcham
Rackcham region - Baspa valley Kinnaur
Rakcham region – Baspa valley Kinnaur. Early spring in Baspa valley
Shallow waters of Baspa river and Snowscapes of Chitkul. Clicked in later March.
Chitkul Snow landscapes , Spring 2017 [Winter - Early spring season ]
Snowscapes of Chitkul. Clicked in later March ( Upper Baspa Valley)
Spring in Kinnaur , Baspa valley , Sangla
Snowscapes of Sangla. Clicked in late March [ Spring in Kinnaur ]
Dried apple chips , Sangla , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Apple chips. Apples are cut into pieces and spread over the slate roof or any sunny place. They get crispy after some time and eaten during wintertime. They are as nutritious as a fresh apple.
Folk music percussion instrument Baspa valley, Kinnaur. They are called a variety of names depending upon their sizes like Dhol, Dholku, Dolki, and Nagara. The skin of goat or sheep is used to make these instruments.
Kamru fort , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Kamru fort, Baspa valley
Slate roof house built in Kath khuni architecture , Kamru , Baspa valley, Kinnaur
Slate roof house built in Kath khuni architecture, Kamru, Baspa valley.
Carvings on wooden window , en route Kamru , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Carvings on a wooden window, en route Kamru
Beautiful Carvings on a metal door , Kamru fort compound , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Beautiful Carvings on a metal door, Kamru fort compound
Brass door handle of Kamru fort entrance , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Brass door handle of Kamru fort entrance
Inside Kamru fort complex , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Inside Kamru fort complex
Intricate design on wooden door , Kamru fort complex , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Intricate design on a wooden door, Kamru fort complex
Brass sculpture , Kamru fort complex , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Brass sculpture, Kamru fort complex
Old house , en route Kamru fort , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Old house, en route Kamru fort
getting up early was worth it , Sunrise from Thola peak Chitkul , Baspa Valley
Getting up early was worth it. Sunrise from Thola peak at Chitkul, Baspa Valley
Livestock feed ( dried grass ) hanged on tree to dry and later stored for use during winter season. Chitkul , Baspa valley
Livestock feed ( dried grass ) hanged on a tree to dry and later stored for use during the winter season.
Azure waters of Baspa river , Chitkul , Kinnaur
Azure waters of Baspa river, Chitkul [Autumn season: Clicked in October
Nagasti ITBP camp , Chitkul , Baspa valley
Nagasti ITBP camp, Chitkul[Autumn season: Clicked in October
Ruminating by the river , Chitkul , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Ruminating by the river, Chitkul[Autumn season: Clicked in October.
Strolling around Chitkul , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Strolling around Chitkul in Autumn season

The lush green valley, snow-capped mountains of Kinnaur-Garhwal region and melodically flowing Baspa river are the hallmark of Baspa valley. There are many trekking routes that lead to or end up in the Baspa Valley. Some of the prominent ones are the following.

Treks in Baspa valley

1. Lamkhaga pass trek.

It is a fairly remote trek and is now regarded as the classic route from Gangotri to Kinnaur, which was first crossed by Marco Pallis in 1933. The trek is also known as  Chitkul to Gangotri trek or Harsil to Chitkul trek. It trek 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

2. Borasu pass trek

Borasu Pass at a height of 5450 meters (17880 feet) above sea level is a high mountain pass connecting the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and is located at the border of the two states. This trek goes through the famous Har-ki-Dun valley and we witness the beautiful glacial lakes of Morinda Taal and Zhupkia Glacier. The trail for this trek passes through a glacier, narrow ridges, vertical show slopes, meadows, and boulders. Overall a very adventurous experience not to mention the unforgettable views of the mountains.

3. Buran Ghati trek

It is an old Sheppard route that connects Brua village of Baspa valley to Janglikh village of Pabbar valley, Rohru.

4. Kinner Kailash Parikrama ( Charang – La )

Mount Kinner Kailash is located in Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. The trail provides a panoramic view of the whole range of Kinner Kailash mountain peaks. This region is located on the Indo-Tibet border and gives a wonderful introduction to the confluence of Hinduism and Buddhism. The landscape of the area varies from the lush green scenic valley of Sangla Valley to the snow-clad mountains of the Kinner ranges. This trek is packed not only with some of the best views of the mountains but also provides an insight into the rich history of trade, religion, and diverse ethnic groups, the experience of which leaves one enchanted.

5. Khimloga pass trek

It is a trade route mostly frequented by Sheppard from either side of Baspa of Supin valley of Uttrakhand.

6. Rupin pass trek

Rupin Pass is a high altitude pass across the Himalaya mountain range in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies on a traditional shepherd and hiking route which starts from Dhaula in Uttarakhand and ends in Sangla in Himachal Pradesh. The path itself is located across mostly uninhabited areas in the Himalayan ranges at an elevation of 15,250 ft (4,650M) above sea level

7. Yamrang la pass (5570 m) & Gugairang La

These two passes connect Baspa valley to Tibet.

Easy to moderate trails in Baspa valley:

1. Karcham to Barua

Karcham is a small town on National Highway 5 at the confluence of the Satluj and Baspa river. The trail passes through Sapni village (Visit to snake god temple is recommended) and ends up a Brua Village.

2.Brua to Chansu trail

After a gradual descend one needs to negotiate Brua Nallah and then Climb up to Chansu village.

3. Sangla to Kamru fort trail

Kamru village was the capital of the erstwhile principality of Bushahr. The Kamru Fort, a 15-minute walk from the Sangla town, houses quintessential wood-and-stone buildings with curved, peaked roofs. On the way up is the Badrinath Temple, a classic example of Kinnauri religious syncretism with both Hindu and Buddhist shrines. There are several folklores associated with it and according to one legend, there are crores of devi- devta residing inside the fort.  Entry inside the fort is restricted – only into the courtyard in front of it – but the views of the surrounding mountains are good, anyway.

Sangla Village

Sangla serves as a base to hike to nearby villages like  Kamru, Batseri, Rackham, and Chitkul.  It offers an uninhibited rendezvous with nature — walks, treks and strolling in narrow alleys of Himalayan hamlets, lively bonfires by the river. If you’re an angling enthusiast, the swirling current of the Baspa is home to both the Rainbow and Brown Trout.

Blog by Pawan Ranta

Categories
Blog Kalpa Winter in Kinnaur

Chaka Meadows Hike – The Kalpa Trek

Home » Kinnaur

Chaka meadows are mountain meadows high above Kalpa village of Kinnaur. It is a hike recommended for the ones in tireless twenties who have just started their trekking journey or for the people ones in late forties a time when knees begin to protest against the gradient and you start appreciating the least challenging of the mountain trails.

Wild himalayan flowers. Enroute Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Hidden deep beneath the winter snow, mountain flowers begin to grow. Who will wake when lilies bloom? Who will appear when spring is finally here? Wild Himalayan flowers. Enroute Chaka meadows

Kalpa To Chaka Trek

The Chaka(also spelled as Chakka) is the quintessential Himalayan mountain meadow — some people call it Chaka peak but there is no peak as such — located at an altitude of around 3800m above sea level.

The route

The trails start from a point on Kalpa Roghi road near charming Kalpa (Chini village) which is around 10 km from district headquarter, Reckong Peo.  One doesn’t need any prior trekking experience but a sound pair of lungs. I would say it’s a modest trek with great returns. The hike is steep though. We started hiking from a trail near the hotel Rakpa Regency which leads to Chaka Meadows. Early morning start is advised because it gets quite arduous when the sun starts hitting on the face and suddenly you start feeling the backpack load.

Wild flower enroute Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Wildflower en route Chaka meadows

A good trek is not measured just by the physical coordinates of cool heights attained and scenic ridges traversed. Perhaps more crucial is the inner satisfaction that derives from walking with companions who stay agreeable under testing conditions and whose sympathies remain as a warm afterglow. The marvelous sunrise from the Kinner Kailash mountain, breathtaking views of the mountain range and beautiful views of Kalpa village are major highlights of the hike.

Sitting by the stream , en route Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Sitting by the stream, en route Chaka meadows
Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Chaka meadows, Kalpa
Wild flower enroute Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur,
Wild flower enroute Chaka meadows
Traditional house , enroute Chaka meadows , Kalpa , kinnaur
The vintage home. It is a storehouse used in summers only during the sowing season. In winter people descend to their homes in Chini village.

Distance from Kalpa

The trail is around 3 kilometers long and it runs along a stream. It passes through fields of Chini villagers and Cedar forest below the meadows.  It’s a day hike and one can comfortably descend back to the Kalpa – Roghi road in the evening.

Small foot bridge , En route Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
A small footbridge , En route Chaka meadows

Chaka-Kalpa Trek During Winter

Winter offers some of the prettiest, most serene trail adventures you can ever hope to have. Cleary sky, little or no crowd and snow-laden peaks are some of the perks that come with a winter hike.  Unlike in summers when you need to start early in the morning, one can start to hike in late morning in winters.  Hiking in winters has its inherent dangers. So one is advised to carry good gear and dress in layers.

Views from Chaka meadwos , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Views from Chaka meadows
Raldang peak framed! Enroute Chaka meadows trek , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Framing Raldang peak
Hiking along the stream, Chaka meadows trek, Kalpa , Kinnaur
Hiking along the stream
Frozen stream , en route Chaka meadows trek
Frozen in time and space
Chaka meadows Kalpa | Kinnaur in winters
Snow covered fields of Chaka meadows. These fields remain under the snow for 4-5 months. In summers people of Chini and surrounding villages of Kalpa climb up to their fields in Chaka Kanda and live here for 2-3 months. Imagine working in these fields in such beautiful surroundings.
Ice covered stream | Chaka meadows Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Ice-covered stream
Walking besides the singing stream | Chaka meadows Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Walking beside the singing stream
Winter snowscape , en route Chaka medows Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Winter snowscape, en route Chaka meadows Kalpa
Chaka meadows trail , Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
There is no other trail that has such amazing views of the Kinnaur Kailash mountain range.
Chaka meadows trail, Kalpa
Chaka meadows hike, Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Lost in thought and lost in time
While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime
I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life
Her majesty , Mt Raldang (5499m) | Chaka meadows hike Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Her majesty , Mt Raldang (5499m)
Singing stream. Chaka meadows hike Kalpa. | Winter in Kinnaur
“Sometimes you have to turn back and follow your own footprints to find the right path!”

Blog by Pawan Ranta