summit of Lamkhaga pass

How Lamkhaga Pass Trek Made Chitkul Worth Visiting?

The Lamkhaga pass trekking is an amazing but exhausting experience. We trekked through beautiful villages, farm terraces, river streams, forests, and suspension bridges. Jaw-dropping views compensated for the boulder-strewn terrain & strenuous climb. 8 to 12 hours of trekking on average every day.

jalandhari gad valley landscape
Celebrating after reaching lower basecamp of Lamkhaga pass

The route to the Lamkhaga Pass is exceptionally scenic with the bhojpatra forest, small glacial lakes and a mosaic of flowers(particularly pink rhododendron) adorning the lower Kyarkoti valley. The loose scree before the pass posed a challenge but at last, we were atop Lamkhaga pass that divides Garhwal from Kinnaur district of Himachal.

After a gap of 1 year, It is the mountain that has been calling me, and it’s time to answer said my heart this September. We, a team of 8 people decided to climb the Lamkhaga pass (Approx. 18000 ft.) one of the toughest, roughest and challenging terrain in Baspa Valley on Indo-Tibetan border that connects Chitkul village of Himachal Pradesh with Harsil in Uttarakhand. A journey of around 100Kms in 9 days at an altitude of above 12,000ft.

Chitkul mata temple
Chitkul mata temple

The Baspa Valley is one of the most delightful & picturesque valleys in Himachal Pradesh. Captain Conway once called Baspa “the most lovely of all the Himalayan valleys”. We couldn’t agree more.

Standing by the Baspa river below Chitkul village
Standing by the Baspa river below Chitkul village

The lower part is full of apple orchards, pine, fir trees and babbling brooks-higher up are excellent grazing grounds- everywhere there are rocks, boulders and snowy peaks within easy reach.

The valley is connected to Garhwal region of Uttarakhand by some prominent passes(apart from Lamkhaga pass) like: 

  • Buran Pass: Sangla to Janglikh village in Pabbar valley, Rohru. 
  • Rupin Pass: Sangla to Dhaula in Uttarakhand
  • Khimloga pass: Chitkul village to Har-Ki-Dun valley, Uttarakhand
  • Borasu pass: Chitkul to Har-Ki-Dun valley

Climbing the mountains to embrace the challenge, to enjoy the air and behold the view has been my passion; it’s just not about the view which comes after the toughest climb that makes the Body, Mind & Soul fulfilled, but the happiness and growth that occurs while you are climbing it with your team.

Negotiating the boulder stretch
Negotiating the boulder stretch before reaching the pass base camp.

I have been an avid traveller/ trekker in the Himalayas and the last time I climbed was Pin Parvati ranges in 2017 and my lust for the Himalayas only grew year after year since my visit to Kailash in 2004. I call this a Lust because this seeking never gets fulfilled.

Living in a city is having a completely entangled life, not necessarily engaging or involving. The luxury of spending time with self is a challenge & we are always connected with the outside world but hardly get time to be with our own company in this mad race.

Flower of the lesser Himalaya
Flower of the lesser Himalaya

The mountain scenery is breathtaking, quaint villages are beautiful, living is stress-free & so it’s easy to see intense life and spunk in people’s eyes. Learning to embrace the moment is truly a humbling experience. As the Chinese proverb goes, be calm and take things as they come, The Journey clears the mind from the constant chatter; you are at peace with self and you get to see priorities, Goals & people in your life with whom u would like to spend time. It improves relationships & quality of life. It is said “A man with clarity reaches his goal sooner than the man with confidence”

Traversing the Dumti meadows
Traversing the Dumti meadows

Trekking or mountaineering is the only option where there are no chances of saying sorry. If you commit a mistake that too at 5K plus altitude, life would be the one saying sorry to you, anything can happen on the mountains, yet you keep the faith on mother nature and pursue your journey and enjoy every minute of it.

We pace our walk to catch our breath. However, if we walk too slow or stop too long in between, We might reach the tent after dark that too in biting cold weather.

This is equally real in our working life. Many years, we work hard to climb the corporate ladder. There are always a few resources, yet many things to accomplish in the organization. Those who stay positive, agile, and focus on the goals always succeed to the top. For them, the goal is purposeful Therefore, a purposeful goal inspires everyone to be agile and stay focused. Above all, to support one another in reaching the destination on time.

Tricolor at summit of Lamkhaga pass
Tricolor at summit of Lamkhaga pass

The journey also opens up conversations on various subjects from the world economy to how much pepper to be added in dal to make it ideal, it was physically exhausting and muscle numbing but the spirit to reach the top boosted the soul. Trekking means a travelling experience with thrilling excitement.

On reaching the top of the mountain, I could feel that both my heart and lungs were pushing their best, the panoramic view of the majestic Kinnaur & Garhwal Himalayas, mesmerized and sunk me. I was excited with tears in my eyes but equally calm, as a kid, I always looked up the blue sky and wished for wings to fly up to the mountains. I Believe I can fly… I live in that moment every time I climb the Himalayas. Nothing like being on top of the world.

Change is an unpredictable journey, experiencing the predictable and expecting little unpredictable ones always spice’s up the journey. It’s not only on the climb to the Himalayas but also for life.
Travel teaches as much as or sometimes more than a teacher, Travelling shouldn’t be just a tour, it should be a tale. When I reflect upon the journey I realize, be comfortable with the discomfort to reach new heights. Embrace the present & sometimes, it is perfectly okay to get bruised.

Blog by: Senthil Kumar Rajendran

 

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