Lamkhaga pass trek is a 90km long trail passing through the remotest valleys of Kinnaur(lower & upper Baspa) & Garhwal. The 5300m high altitude pass is a classic crossover curtailing a 480km road distance between Chitkul village of Kinnaur & Harsil village of Gangotri valley to just around 90kms. It was first crossed by Marco Pallis in 1933. The trek is better known as Chitkul to Gangotri or Harsil to Chitkul trek.
Lamkhaga Pass Trek
There are two entry routes from Chitkul in Baspa valley into the Kyarkoti valley of Harsil. One on the south-western side of Lamkhaga is Chotakhaga pass, which is slightly lower in altitude than Lamkhaga pass.
It is called Chotakhaga — an acronym for a shorter pass. ‘Chota‘ means shorter & ‘Khaga’ translates to pass. It offers a shorter(route cut short by around 10 km) but grueling climb & strenuous descending traverse to Harsil. The route from Chotakhaga meets the Lamkhaga trail at the upper Kyarkoti valley.
Lamkhaga, on the other hand, is a long traverse. Lamkhaga here is an acronym for a long route pass. Lam for long & Khaga for Pass. It’s a 5300m high altitude mountain pass with a corniced ridge & near-vertical slopes on both sides.
The pass is surrounded by Cirques and vast snowfields of Baspa glacier & Jalandhari Gad glacier of Uttarakhand. Jalandhari Gad is a right-side tributary of the Bhagirathi river. Lamkhaga, Nela pass, and Chunsa Khaga pass lie on the same ridge.
Lamkhaga, Chotakhaga(Nela pass) descend into Kyarkoti valley along the Jalandhri Gad river whereas Chunsa Khaga pass descends into Nelang(also pronounced as Nelong) valley along Chor Gad river near the Indo-Tibet border. Due to border proximity, a trekking permit is mandatory for all these passes.
Till the Spring months(April & early May), the valley of upper Baspa of Kinnaur & Kyarkoti of Harsil stays thickly carpeted with snow and traversing the Baspa & Jalandhri Gad snowfields & glaciers get notoriously difficult.
Lamkhaga pass trek is doable from the 3rd or 4th week of May month. Its route takes you through some of the remotest — like the Jalandhari Gad valley that gets carpeted with pink rhododendron flowers in Spring months and post-monsoon autumn period — regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
Which Lamkhaga trek?
The trek leading up to the Harsil in Gangotri Valley is one of the most popular treks starting from Chitkul. It is known by various names, which can be a little confusing.
To be clear, these:
- Chitkul-Gangotri Trek
- Chitkul Trek
- Chitkul-Harsil trek
- Harsil-Chitkul trek
…are all the same trek!
How Difficult Is Lamkhaga Pass Trek?
Though the difficulty level is an indefinite attribute, the following factors qualify Lamkhaga Pass for the most difficult trek in Himachal Pradesh.
- Near vertical incline from Lamkhaga snowfields to the pass summit.
- Long stretches of the glaciated route.
- Boulder-strewn zones
- More than 90km long trail
- Crossing high flowing ice-cold waters of Baspa river.
The rains during monsoon season in Harsil & Kyarkoti valley often cause unwanted delays in reaching the next campsite. Harsil is famous for Wilson’s Cottage that was built in 1864. Gangotri is a short drive from Harsil, while Chitkul is the last village in the Sangla valley. The Lamkhaga pass trek offers a panorama of diverse landscapes that includes:
- Ranikanda meadows.
- Boulder-strewn terrain.
- Baspa glacier and glacial moraine zone.
- Baspa Glacier Snout & Outwash plain.
- Meadows and small glacial lakes of Kyarkoti in Harsil valley.
Our team explored the Lamkhaga route in June 2014. Read the expedition log of:
- Lamkhaga Pass Trek Log of May 2015.
- Lamkhaga Pass Trek Log of May 2016.
- Lamkhaga Pass Trek Log of May 2017.
- Lamkhaga Pass Trek Log of May 2018.
- Lamkhaga Pass Trek Log of May 2019
- Lamkhaga Pass trek log of September 2019.
What does Lamkhaga Pass Trek Cost?
Cost estimation is based on the number of factors like the group size, pick-up place(Delhi/Chandigarh/Shimla), and add-ons needed(like backpack offloading, accommodation before and after the trek & drop off point(Dehradun/Delhi). The price typically ranges from 25K ₹ to 35K ₹. Drop an email to avail group & early bird offers.
Our fixed departures for 2021 is scheduled for May 22nd, September 1st, and September 15th. We can arrange a customized trek if the dates are not suiting your plan.
|Duration||9 trek days|
|Difficulty level||Moderate to Challenging|
|Max. Altitude||5300 m (Lamkhaga Pass)|
|Best time||Between May to September|
|Distance||About 90 km|
|Highlights||Chitkul (the last village, Ranikanda meadows, Baspa glacier snout, Lamkhaga pass, and pink rhododendrons of Kyarkoti valley of Harsil.|
Brief Itinerary of Lamkhaga Pass
- Day 1 Shimla – Chitkul village (alt. 3400m drivetime ~8hrs)
- Day 2 Chitkul–Nagasti–Rani Kanda (alt. 3700m ~10km trek)
- Day 3 Acclimatization day
- Day 4 Rani Kanda – Dumti (alt 4050m ~10km trek)
- Day 5 Dumti – Gundar (alt 4450m ~ 15km trek)
- Day 6 Gundar – Lamkhaga BC 1 (alt 4600m ~9km trek)
- Day 7 Lamkhaga Pass BC 1 – BC 2 (alt 5000 ~6km trek)
- Day 8 BC 2 – Lamkhaga Pass(5300m) – BC 3 (Harsil side)
- Day 9 Basecamp 3 – Kyarkoti (alt. 3820m ~16 km trek)
- Day 10 Kyarkoti – Harsil ( alt. 2700m ~14 km trek)
Itemised Itinerary Of Lamkhaga Pass Trek
This 10-day Lamkhaga trek itinerary commences from the beautiful village of Chitkul in Sangla or Baspa valley of Kinnaur, Himachal & ends at Harsil (Gangotri region, Uttarakhand) through some of the remote regions, usually not accessible for the civilians.
Day 01: Shimla – Chitkul
Reception at Shimla, have breakfast and drive to Chitkul via Kufri and Narkanda. Reach Sangla village by late afternoon. Explore the Baspa valley and have dinner at Chitkul. Overnight stay in Chitkul in guest house/ village homestay.
Day 02: Chitkul – Nagasthi – Rani Kanda
Chitkul is the last village in Baspa valley and is located on the true right bank of the river. The valley of Sangla is 26 km from Chitkul and is very beautiful and one of the best in Kinnaur. We start the trek from Chitkul and trek up to Rani Kanda. Dinner and overnight stay in tents in Rani Kanda.
Day 03: Acclimatization day
Today we take rest in Rani Kanda and acclimatize ourselves. We can relax and explore the surroundings.
Day 04: Rani Kanda – Dumti
Today we trek through and cascading waterfalls and flowery meadows to reach Dumti. Dinner and overnight stay in tents in Dumti.
Day 05: Dumti – Gundar
Start the day from Dumti and trek up to Gundar. We follow the Baspa River all along and cross several small streams along the way to reach Gundar.
Day 06: Gundar – Lamkhaga Pass Base Camp
It could be a tough day depending upon the snow conditions and so an early start is recommended. The climb is steep and may require some technical gear. Dinner and overnight stay in tents at the base camp.
Day 07: Lamkhaga Pass Base Camp – Base camp II (Kinnaur)
Today we trek from the base camp to the base camp II on the Kinnaur side. The climb is steep and on snow. We start early because at times it might take longer than expected.
Day 08: Base camp II (Kinnaur) – Lamkhaga Pass – Base camp III (Gangotri)
Today we start our final ascent to the Lamkhaga Pass and we cross the mountain pass and get over to the base camp on the Gangotri side. The climb is steep and might require technical gear.
Day 09: Base camp III (Gangotri) – Kyorkati
Today we descend from the base camp to Kyorkati at the mouth of the glacier which is a meadow. We pitch our tents here and camp for the night.
Day 10: Kyorkati – Harsil
The final leg of the trek is through very beautiful and through thick forests, numerous waterfalls, and unnamed streams. We finally reach Harsil and rest for the night in the village homestays or tents. The next morning we depart for Uttarkashi.
Lamkhaga Pass Intermediate Camp-site (4650 Mtr) – Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh)
Lamkhaga Pass Intermediate camp-site is a very high altitude camp-site with views of 3 passes of Jalandhari Gad Valley – Chhotkhaga Pass, Dudhiyan Pass & Lamkhaga Pass.
- All arrangements for overnight stays during the trip.
- Camping & Climbing gear.
- All food expenses.
- Food will usually consist of morning breakfast, lunch, evening high tea, and dinner.
- All food will be vegetarian.
- Trained & certified guides who have long experience in handling emergencies.
- Local guides and support staff with an in-depth understanding of the region.
- Porters will carry your backpack.
- Inner line permits and arrangements en route will be arranged by the operator.
- All stays and lodging on a twin sharing basis shall be provided.
Criterion For Lamkhaga Pass Trek.
You must have done at least one high altitude trek before. Those who do not have requisite trek experience of high altitude passes should not apply.
You must be physically fit to do a 9-day Himalayan trek. The Lamkhaga pass trek leads you up to 17,390 feet high pass of Lamkhaga and through a long expanse of snowfields of Jalandhari gad and Baspa glacier. At this altitude the air is thin and the rigors of the mountain can grind you down. You must give yourself enough time to prepare yourself for the trek.
NOTE: Trekkers are required to bring a medical certificate deeming them fit for high-altitude trekking at the start of the trek.
Backpack carrying: A porter will carry your backpack, please do not bring extra items but only the essentials needed for high altitude trek. Besides detailed planning, taking care of all the logistics, food, and good equipment, packing a backpack efficiently and carrying essential things play a key role in the success of an expedition.
Lamkhaga Pass Trek Bare Essentials
- A pair of good quality waterproof trekking boots.
- Three pairs of socks.
- Two pairs of waterproof hiking pants.
- One pair of shorts
- Two pairs of fleece jumpers.
- Two pairs of thermal tops and bottoms
- One down jacket.
- Headgear (1 beanie/skull cap, 1 buff, and 1 trekking cap).
- A pair of thick gloves
- Personal hygiene essentials(alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer, soap, towels, toilet papers, baby wipes, etc.)
- UV-block sunglasses.
- First aid kit.
- A water purifier and filtration bottle.