Hampta Pass Trek

23rd Sep 2022
Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

Back in the days, Hampta Valley was a passage for horse-herders and shepherds to travel between Kullu Valley and Spiti Valley. But of late, it has become one of the popular trekking destinations. The name Hampta pass trek has come from the Hampta village, a beautiful village near the Hampta river, Separating the Lahaul’s Chandra Valley and the Kullu valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Hampta pass is at height of at an altitude of 14,100 ft (4,298 m) on the Pir Panjal range in the Himalayas. Offering its climbers with glaciers, fast-flowing rivers, challenging terrain, and way more than any ordinary trek

These days people club Hampta pass trek with Chandratal lake visit. Last day of the trek is kept for Chandratal, aka the moon shaped lake at an altitude of 4300 mt. it popularly known as the trekker's paradise, Chandratal Lake is reckoned as the most charismatic lake situated in the laps of Himalayas. This enticing lake is perched on the Samudra Tapu plateau which lies near Chandra River.

Why Hampta pass is different than other?

This trek covers two districts in one single hike, Lahaul Chandra Valley and the Kullu valley, no other hike in India will give you such experience.

I have been to so many hikes in India, but this one is the most dramatic trek of all because in one moment it will be sunny in next it will be cloudy and then snow fall, which means you must prepare for monsoon, winter, snowfall, and sunny all weather.

I was planning for this trek since last 3 years but somehow could not make it because I was not certain about the time I should go. Hampta Pass remains open from June to October. In the month of June, you will find snow. In winters it receives heavy snow, however the pass is always covered in snow irrespective of any month you plan. It is one of the best monsoon treks in India, those who wants to experience rainy trek generally goes in the month of July or august, however these days weather is uncertain hence it is very difficult to predict the season, for example last year in 2021 there was heave rain in the month of July wherein in 2022 there wasn’t any rain. That was the main reason why it took me so long to plan the trek.

Tip – I would recommend September because the probability of rain is less in September and there is high chance of snowfall in peak.

This trek often gets cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. Heavy rain, snow fall, landslide etc., thus completing this hike needs luck. You would often hear unsuccessful stories of Hampta. I know many people who have attempted this trek 2-3 times, but they couldn’t make it to the top. No one can guarantee that they are going to take you to the top.

My itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Jobra and Trek to Chika

Altitude: 10,100 ft

Trek: 4 km (2 hours)

Day 2: Chika to Bhalu ka Ghera

Altitude: 12,400 ft

Trek: 5 km (4 – 5 hours)

Day 3: Shea Goru via Hampta Pass

Altitude: 14,065 ft (Hampta Pass)

Trek: 5 km (7 – 8 hours)

Day 4: Shea Goru to Chatru, drive to Chandratal

Altitude: 14,100 ft (Chandratal Lake)

Trek: 6 km (5 – 6 hours)

Day 5: Chatru to Manali drive

Drive: 65 km (5 -6 hours)

My Story of Hampta Pass and Chandra Taal

Day-1 Jobra to Chika

you can check out my Hampta pass vlog on my channel too

After planning for 3 years, finally on 23rd September 2022 I decided to go for this trek. I travel solo thus there was no issues for me to spend time on planning and plotting. I planned the dates took off and I was done all set for the hike. Somewhere deep down there I was nervous because it was raining heavily and there were multiple cancellations, no batch could complete the hike in September. I was trying to be optimistic.

Trek starts from Manali, from Delhi its one-night travel to Manali, I booked Volvo ticket for 22nd September, bus left from Delhi Majnu ka Tilla on 22nd at 7.00 Pm and I reached Manali next morning at 8.30 am. While I was on Bus, I received news that the last batch had to return to base camp in secondary due to heavy rain and storm. Now I was not nervous anymore because I was done being nervous, I was ok if the trek gets cancelled, I started making alternative plans.

After reaching Manali, I went to base camp and met with fellow pals, there were people from round India, but I was interested in knowing if anyone from Delhi. There was total 35 people in our group and 3 guide. Finally, I found my Delhi wale mates. In a group of 35 people it was not difficult to find who were from Delhi, Delhiites have their own charm, two guys from Delhi.

The guide Kiran, briefed about the Do’s and Don’ts. It did not take us long to form a smaller group people. This happens in every trek, in the initial one-hour people get connected with likeminded people and form small groups and stick together throughout the trek. We were 6 people 3 from Delhi one from Hyderabad and 2 from Meerut. And we named our group Delhi Blingers.

The Blingers

Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

23rd morning was partially clear, with heart full of hope we started. It was 1-2 hrs. drive from Old Manali to Sethan village Jobra. Jobra is the point from where we started hiking, the drive to Jobra is bliss. We crossed apple orchards, tiny houses, trees and what not, it was like a drive to heaven.

At 01:00 Pm we reached Jobra, it was drizzling, the road was full of mud, and it was slippery due to rain. we took our rain gear out and started our journey. Within minutes I was lost in the nature and the beauty. Our first camp site was Chika. We started at 1.00 pm and reached campsite at 4.00 pm. It was 2 hrs hike, but we were lost in the nature and its beauty, we stopped multiple times to click picture, admire the gigantic mountains and speak with each other’s. on the way we witnessed magic of nature which I can’t explain in words.

Here are glimpse of our hike from Jobra to Chika campsite

Enroute to Chika

Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath


Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

Beautiful Isn't it ?

Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

Camp site was very beautiful, everything looks pretty after rain. I was speechless, just felt grateful and overwhelmed. It was heavily raining by the time we reach camp. We settled ourselves in our tent, changed cloths and then comes the fun part. We were cold as hell and all we needed was a cup of tea and Maggie. We rushed to the tea point for Maggie and treated ourselves with the greatness of Mountain Maggie

Greatness in a bowl

Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

Day-2 Chika to Balu ka Ghera

I woke-up at 5.30 am to witness sunrise, but due to extreme clouds it did not happen. It was cloudy and drizzling, we all were tensed about the climate. Unfortunately our guide was not motivating us, rather he was continuously saying that we if it rains, we might not even reach next campsite. It was disappointing to hear this from Kiran, but we blingers were very optimistic. At 08:00 am we Dressed up for the adventure and started the hike.

Hike was slippery and longer today than yesterday. We were climbing high, our target was to complete the hike in at least 6 hours. On our way we crossed beautiful waterfalls, bed of flowers, small streams etc. The route was totally different than of yesterday, with every step I was continuously falling in love. The adrenaline rush of seeing what comes next was too high. Due to rain, it was difficult to walk, we did not expect rain though, that too in late September, however it was raining. Dramatic weather, one moment it was rainy and in another there was sun, the trail was full of Himalayan flowers and birds, flowers which cannot be seen in plain land.

We reached our Second campsite at completely wet at 03:30 PM, it took us almost 7 hrs. Had to stop in between for approx. 30 mins due to storm. After reaching the camp, I was like wow! Beautiful, campsite without mud and full of beautiful Himalayan flowers, surrounded by mountains and the mountain top was covered by cloud (it was like set of Game of Thrones), and above all the Hampta river was flowing proudly grabbing attention by making noise, it was hard to not fall in love with. Hampta pass was visible from our camp, I never felt more alive in my life before. I stood there for few second and witnessed the creation of nature.

Rain changed into storm. Some of our tents broke, it was bad. There was only one thing which we all were thinking was about the Summit! .Looking at the condition it was nearly impossible to even try for summit.

Rest of the evening we have spent in the dinning camp, talking to each other playing games. Night was too harsh due to cold and rain.

The river we crossed

Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath
Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath
Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

Day-3 Balu ka Ghera

It was raining continuously; we woke up disappointed and cold. My jaw dropped after coming out of the camp, the mountain top which was covered in cloud yesterday was covered in snow today. We could see the Great Hampta Pass covered in snow.

During breakfast Kiran confirmed, we won’t be going for Hampta pass today, we will stay in the camp and wait for weather to clear and if the weather is clear and good, we will go for summit tomorrow. Kiran gave us one condition, he told us if we want to go to Chandratal, then we must directly go to Chatru (The last camp) after summit, we can’t stop at Shea Goru camp (which mean 22 km trek). Those who would not like to go to Chatru can stay at Shea Goru, but they will miss the Chandratal.

I had the entire day to myself to spent with in this beautiful camp. I was happy because we were not descending, rather, we were waiting for the weather to clear. Rest of the day I spent clicking pictures, and exploring the camp and enjoying myself in nature.

After dinner we came outside to wash our plates, I noticed a tiny star twinkling in sky, and within minute there were multiples, I looked up at the sky and was so happy to see the Galaxy dust. The night sky was clear as crystal, we could see the start constellations, mesmerized! after hours of star gazing, I went to my tent happily because there was no cloud and from 0 percent chance of completing the summit it was 50 percent now.

Day-4 Summit Day

Amongst all day, today was going to be the toughest, because we were going to summit, and post summit we would directly go to Chatru camp site (Spiti ) which is 22 km trek, which means from 12400 ft we will directly go to 14000 ft and descend to 11000. It was going to be tough hiking in high altitude. I was mentally and physically ready.

I woke up early in the morning before sunrise, to my surprise, I saw most of the people were awake. It was a beautiful morning, sky was clear, and sun was about to come, we saw sun after 3 days and there was no limit to our joy.

We gathered at dinning place quickly ,finished breakfast and packed our bag, Kiran came and explained us about the trails and the risks. As it was high altitude, it was going to be the toughest and longest. After the briefing we started our journey, slowly I started walking towards my dream, all blingers together, my aim was to walk slowly and to not stop because it was high altitude, I did not want to exert myself, thus I walked slow focusing on my breath. I gave my bag to porter so that I could walk freely and enjoy the journey.

In last 3 days we saw, mountains covered in beautiful green grass, waterfall, river, traffic of sheap, clouds, storm, but today was exactly opposite, we were walking towards Spiti Valley and with every meter I was observing change.

The green grassy mountain became dry and colorful, if one mountain is grey then the other is blue, orange and what not. It was visual treat to eyes. Good part about todays trek is that it was not slippery and there was no rain, I enjoyed walking under sun, cleaned air..

Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

AMS started to hit people differently, breathlessness, dry mouth, nausea etc. I was feeling shortness of breath, which made a bit slower, but it did not stop me from going forward or not enjoying the view. I walked alone, walked slow, and enjoyed the trail, and thanked god for everything.

Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

I reached the Great Hampta pass at 01:15 Pm. It was quite, calm, peaceful, all I could see was gigantic mountains standing there proudly and welcoming me. The feeling of achievement, the feeling doing something in life, you feel good about everything you've accomplished and throughout your life, no matter how mundane it seems to others, all the struggle you have been thru to reach there. I was overwhelmed. I believe we all were overwhelmed at that time. It was worth the struggle.

Here you can check out the Summit day vlog on my channel.

We set there for quite a long time, clicked picture and started to descent, because we were supposed to go to Chatru not Shea Goru. And then comes the great walk of my life, entering to Spiti Valley, dream walk from Kullu district to Lahaul. It was magical. The walk was long and we had little time, our target was to reach the campsite before sundown, I was walking last taking my own sweet time and enjoying the view. Today was my last day of hike and I did not want it to finish it soon.

By the time we reached Chatru camp site it was past 6:30 PM and dark. It was dark, we were exhausted, its not easy to walk 22 km. We reached campsite grabbed a rock and set there for few minutes relaxed.

Hampta pass was over, now it was time for Chandratal. The mixed feeling of reaching last campsite is weird, you are happy because you completed the summit but there’s sadness that the adventure is over

We finished dinner by 08:30 Pm. Post dinner Kiran came to us with another sad news, he told us that due to some logistics issue the vehicle which was supposed to take us to Chandratal has not arrived yet at Chatru, and if it doesn’t arrive tomorrow before 06:00 am then our Chandratal will be cancelled. As always, I was optimistic about Chandratal as well.

Day-5 Chandratal

I woke up late, came out of the tent and saw I was the only one who was awake. I saw Kiran and asked him about the vehicle, he said it did not arrive, which means Chandratal got cancelled. There was nothing we could do than of accepting the situation. I was lucky that I could complete the Hampta Pass. Kiran told us that we will leave for Manali by 11:00 am today. We had 4 hrs. to explore the Chatru camp.

It was a beautiful sunny day, we packed our bags, get dressed, and came out of tent, we seat in the tea stall, had Maggie and listened to good music, we blingers were happy.

At around 11:00 Pm Kiran called everyone and asked who all wants to go to Chandratal, we were like what??? I immediately said yes. It was an extra brownie point for us that Chandratal was going to happen. Out of 35 people there were 16 people we were ready to go for Chandratal. Withing 5 minutes we were ready and left for Chandratal.

The route to Chandratal was amazing, it was my first time in Spiti, and I was amazed to see the grey mountains it was so beautiful and different. The journey was equally beautiful like destination. We reached Chandratal at 04:00 Pm, from the parking it was 1 km walk but it was tough because it was at the height of 4,250 m (13,940 ft).

I was having constant difficulties in breathing but still I managed to reach the famous moon shaped lake, Chandratal

Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

According to Hindu mythology, Chandratal is the place where Indra, the King of Gods, came down on his chariot to transport Yudhishthira. It was overwhelmed to visit the lake. After spending 30 minutes in Chandratal we left for the vehicle and started for Manali. I cant thank god enough for the grace. I am lucky that I could complete the Hampta pass trek along with Chandratal. This trek was one of the best treks I have been to.

We reached Manali midnight with ton full of memories which I will cherish all my life, I met people whom I will admire all my life. Being a solo traveler, I generally have no string attached friendship but this time it was different. This time I made friends.

Photo of Hampta Pass Trek by Reshmi Nath

You can watch the complete chandratal vlog here

I hope you enjoyed reading my experience, I tried to cut it as short as possible. Long story short if you are reading this and for a second also thought of going for the trek came to your mind, then my friend please don’t delay and go for it. Take care.