Pin Bhaba Pass is a moderate-difficult trek that is nestled in one of the most challenging valleys of Himachal Pradesh. It is known to be the sister trek of Pin Parvati Pass in terms of scenic beauty and is considered to be a slightly less challenging than the latter. Though the view opens up to a different landscape every day, it beauty is accompanied by several challenges. Hey- no pain, no gain- right?
Coping With Altitude Gain
Almost all Himalayan treks possess the challenge of altitude gain, but this one deserves a special mention. While trekking from Kafnu to Mulling, you will be gaining the altitude of 2,903 feet on the first day itself. This is not the only day where you will gain so much altitude. On the fourth day of the trek, you will be gaining 2,500 feet to reach the pass. In all the Himalayan treks, it is very important to be acclimatised properly, and in this trek the height gain is not that gradual, hence this trek requires some prior preparation.
Tips: Arrive a day early at Kafnu and go for acclimatization walks. Spend as much time as possible outside the tents in order to let your body acclimatise to the outside environment. Drink at least three to four litres of water every day, water is a saviour in mountains. Keep your head covered, but not your ears.
Stream crossing between Kara and Pasha Meadow
Stream crossing is always a fun activity, but it becomes a bit more challenging when the water is ice cold and you have to cross not just one but six streams, barefoot!! Not Kidding. The land between the Kara and the Pasha Meadow is dissected by multiple streams that you have to cross barefoot first thing in the morning. Don’t worry, you will be okay, but at that moment you might not feel your legs and feet for some time. Talk about morning refreshment. Good luck!
Crossing Moraines, Scree, Slush and Boulders
Usually after all the pass crossings, you have to negotiate moraines and scree, but I found it particularly difficult at Pin Bhaba Pass trek. We had to walk over the thick slush which started to flow downwards, when stepped on. Falling down on such terrain was almost inevitable. Embrace the messy fun that you’ve signed yourself up for and let your inner kid out.
Tricky Crossings of Pin Valley
No doubt that the whole trail until Mudh Village is going to be through loose rocks, but this trail at Pin Bhaba pass poses some notably challenging crossings. At a few points, the hill is made out of just loose rocks and there is not enough space to place your foot. The technique is to lean towards the hill side and try to make the grip using your toes. Though it is doable with someone’s help, one wrong step and you will slip ten feet down the valley. Ask your trek leader to demonstrate how to self-arrest in the case of a fall, and you’ll have the skills you need to cross safely.
I found this one particularly challenging because you will be negotiating a steep climb on pass crossing day. Water helps in acclimatization, but because of the terrain at this high of an altitude, water is in short supply on this particular day. You will be gaining an altitude of 2,500 feet and at this altitude, air becomes thin. After a few steps in such conditions, it’s expected to feel thirsty and tired. Usually there is just one water refill point at the start of the trek on the pass crossing day and another one after crossing the pass. We were lucky to find one more on the way, but that all depends upon the season. Be sure to fill an extra bottle or two as reserves the night before to ensure you’ll be properly hydrated and enjoying your view from the top!
Treks are not meant to be a casual, leisurely walk. We have parks for that. Treks are meant to be challenging. They are meant to infuse a good dose of adrenaline- and what would life be without some challenges. So, if you are up for some teeth-grinding experiences, you know what you have to do.
Happy trekking folks!