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Trekking at Hampta & Chandratal, Manali By Ravers Expeditions
Region :- Himanchal (Manali)
Max Altitude :- 14,100 Ft.
Approx Trekking Km :- 26 kms.
The trek starts from the beautiful Manali valley with a short ride from Manali town getting us to the starting point of the trek. During the first two days of the hike we move through lush green landscape having several meadows inhabited by local gaddis (shepherds). This is a very enjoyable and relaxed stage and one camps at beautiful spots. We walk along rivers and streams and cross a few waterfalls. There is an interesting mix of spruce, horse chestnut, pine, deodar, oak and birch trees all along this section. Shepherd dogs, sheep, white capped redstarts and whistling thrushes comprise the wildlife you get to encounter. Depending upon the season you will also get to see a good variety of alpine flowers. Next stage we approach the Hampta pass through a relatively challenging terrain which involves walking over scree slopes and boulder ridden trails. The route to the top might be under snow depending upon the conditions and might pose some difficulties. The close views of Deotibba, Indrasan and other unnamed peaks will give you a feel of being completely immersed in the lap of the mighty Himalayas. This is an experience you will surely cherish all your life. We crossover the pass and descend steeply to the grass lands of Shea Gahru. This stage would take about 8 hrs or so.
The last stage of the trek is in the stark and beautiful Lahaul valley and will take us to Chatru from Shea Gahru. This is an easy section with a few tricky situations to keep you on your toes. From Chatru we board a waiting vehicle to be driven up to the beautiful Chandratal lake where we camp for the night. Chandratal is truly a jewel of the mountains being one of the finest high altitude lakes in the country. Next day we hike up from the lake to Kunzum La (4600m) through a very scenic landscape. Here we board the waiting vehicle and drive to Manali.
MANALI (2000M) – JOBRA (2707M) – CHIKHA (3000M) DRIVE/45 MINS & TREK/2 HRS In the morning, we drive to the dam site at Jobra and from here walk through a very pleasant landscape. The walk initially will take us through a mixed forest having pines, spruce, deodar, chestnut and maple trees. We cross a beautiful meadow having a gaddi shepherd camp there. We will need to cross the river at a vantage point if the gaddis haven't made a makeshift bridge somewhere along the river. We cross the river and climb to a beautiful meadow called Chikha along a side stream. Today's hike is a gentle one and will take about 2 hrs. Having rested for some time one will be advised to walk up a short distance to a nearby waterfall which also plays host to a number of white capped redstarts. Overnight in tents.
CHIKHA (3000M) – BALU-KA-GHEERA (3600M) TREK/4-5 HRS It's an interesting day's hike today. We cross the stream immediately after the campsite and start gaining height and moving towards a gorge section towards the right side moving along the river. We will walk through boulder sections, meadows filled with wildflowers, cross a waterfall and a side river which might require careful handling to reach our campsite for the day, Balu-ka-Gheera. This hike will take about 3.5 to 4 hrs with a few breaks in between. This campsite is along a network of river channels and has big mountains guarding it on all sides. Our guides might also take the decision to walk for an additional hour and reach an upper campsite also called by the same name. This will make next day's climb a bit shorter. We rest and relax at the campsite and get charged for the next day's climb to Hampta pass. Overnight in tents.
BALU-KA-GHEERA (3600M) – HAMPTA PASS (4300M) – SHEA GAHRU (3700M) TREK/6-7 HRS Today weather and trail conditions will decide what time we leave but it's going to be an early morning departure for sure, between 5-6:00 a.m. The walk is in all probability going to be partially/completely on snow depending upon season and weather conditions. From the camp we start with a steep climb on scree slopes to reach a ridge and from here we continue climbing towards another ridge which leads to the pass. This climb will take about 4-5 hrs and one will be rewarded with absolutely out of the world views all around. Indrasan and Deotibba peaks completely dominate the landscape and the ranges towards Lahaul look quite majestic. which is set beautifully between the mountains. This descent will take about 2-3 hrs. Overnight in tents.
SHEA GAHRU (3700M) – CHATRU (3300M) – CHANDRATAL (4300M) TREK/3-4 HRS & DRIVE/2-2.5 HRS The hike today is completely downhill and in a completely contrasting landscape typical of Lahaul & Spiti regions. There are a couple of tricky sections in between involving careful traverse and river crossings so we let our guides carefully guide us through these sections. We move through a long scree and boulder section which overlooks the road leading to Spiti. We finish at Chatru and from here board the waiting vehicles to take us to Chandratal. This ride will take about 2 – 2.5 hrs. Chandratal is a complete delight to senses and lazing around the lake can be a surreal experience. Overnight in tents.
CHANDRATAL – KUNZUM PASS (4600M) – MANALI (2000M) TREK/3-4 HRS & DRIVE/5-6 HRS After breakfast we start on our hike from the lake to the top of the Kunzum pass at 4600m. This is an easy hike and one moves along the landscape getting a very good feel of this semi-arid terrain. We finish at Kunzum pass where we board the waiting vehicle and from here drive to Manali via the Rohtang pass. TRIP ENDS HERE.