Autumn landscape of the Baspa 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


10 responses to “Lamkhaga Photostory: The Chitkul-Harsil Trek”

  1. Lamkhaga pass trek detail as trekking days , amount etc.

    1. Hello Rajan I have mailed you the details.

  2. Can you tell me the itenary. Is this doable in mid October.

    1. Hello Ram. I have mailed you the details.

  3. Excellent read well complimented by some vibrant pics!

    1. Kousik Maji Avatar
      Kousik Maji

      1.when is best time?for lamkhaga pass. much cost par member.
      3.any permission needed?
      4. Do you provide only guide & poters. If yes how much rate?
      5. What do you provide for member? (for total package.)

      1. Hello Kousik. The details have been mailed to you.

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