Just like an assorted box of chocolates filled with delectable surprises at every bite, Hampta Pass is a tantalizing trek in Himachal Pradesh with landscapes set to astonish you at every step and stop. Straddling the verdant greens and lush colors of the Kullu valley on one side and the dry and desolate cold deserts of Lahaul on the other, this pass offers a stunning passageway between the two contrasting worlds of Himachal.
Soothing monsoon showers, action-filled river crossings, vibrant flower meadows, snow-covered trails, and camping near the gorgeous Rani Nallah River are some of the highlights of this trek.
In this article, we will be discussing the difficulty level of the Hampta Pass trek along with the gear and skills you will need to complete the trek safely and enjoyably.
The difficulty level of the trek:
The Hampta Pass trek is a level 4 trek on the Bikat Rating Scale.
About the BRS: The Bikat Rating Scale rates the difficulty level of all treks and expeditions in our portfolio after taking into account their geographical and climatic conditions.
According to this scale, if you are a beginner who is unsure of your fitness level and don’t know what to expect on a trek, a trek-rated one will be a good place to start. If you liked your very first trekking experience and are looking to test your limits next, the treks rated 2 or 3 will do the job for you.
A beginner who is sure of their fitness level on the other hand is welcome to skip the first two levels and directly start with one of the treks rated 3. From 4 onwards, the rules change a little. It is mandatory to have trekking experience of the previous level to participate in the next level.
The trails of Hampta Pass trek:
Being a circuit trek, the trails of Hampta Pass begin from Jobra (2743 meters) and circle back to Chikka (3048 meters). On Day 1, you will be covering a distance of 3 kilometers in 2 hours and the route is considerably easy.
We initially walk through a forest area filled with huge oak and maple trees and then land on a sprawling valley where the serene Rani Nallah River flows on your right-hand side.
On day 2, we trek from Chikka to Balu Ka Gehra (3600 meters). The distance is 5 kilometers and it takes about 7-8 hours to cover. For the first 2 kilometers, the trail gains a mild elevation and is likely to be covered in slush because of the frequent rains. The first challenge of the trek appears halfway, at the 2.5-kilometer mark. It’s a river crossing.
Challenge 1 – River crossing
The trail breaks mid-way because of a wide intersection of the Rani Nallah River. The river might look easy to cross but be prepared for strong currents and cold waters. You will have guidance from our trek leaders while crossing the river.
For some additional tips and techniques, read: How to Cross a river while trekking?
After crossing the river, the trail is an easy one to navigate all the way to Balu Ka Gehra.
Challenge 2 – Heavy Ascents
Day 3 is the longest and the toughest day of the trek. On this day, we will be covering a distance of 9 kilometers in 9 hours. The journey begins from Balu Ka Gehra, climbs up steeply to the Hampta Pass (4200 meters), and ends at Shea Goru (3900 meters).
The path from Balu Ka Gehra is completely covered with boulders and rocks. The first 2 kilometers are paved in a zig-zag manner because of the river stream. For the next 3 kilometres, the elevation runs steeper and the topography changes drastically towards one covered in snow. Marks of greenery and your sources of water end with this stretch. The final ascent to the Pass, which is about a kilometer long, is the steepest and most demanding section of the day. The presence of soft snow on the trails further slows your pace requiring more energy and time. At the end of the 1 km mark lies the most prized aspect of the trek, the Hampta Pass!
Challenge 3 – Steep Descents
The descent from the Pass is no easier than the ascent to it. Hampta Pass is a short 50-meter stretch that acts as a gateway to Spiti, Lahaul region. The trails immediately descend at a 50-degree steep angle from the Pass. The presence of gravel, loose sand, and huge boulders make navigation trickier. It takes proper techniques and gears to cross this part.
This 3 km stretch can turn especially challenging during the monsoon season. The loose sand becomes slushy and slippery. And the force of the wind sometimes causes the huge boulders on the path to roll down the slope. Hence, proper knowledge of the terrain and a proper skillset is required to cross this stretch, especially during the rains. After the 3 km mark, the trail turns flatter, leading you directly to the third campsite, Shea Goru.
Challenge 4 – Second river crossing
On day 4, we will be trekking from Shea Goru to Chhatru (3350 meters), the final campsite. We will be covering 5km in 4 hours. While the trails are easy to navigate, the challenge today lies in the form of a second river crossing.
You will find that the currents are faster and the water is colder than the previous one. We generally use a human chain technique to cross this stream. On days when the currents are strong, we might use a rope as well. Proper knowledge or an expert's guidance is recommended to perform this activity.
Once we cross the river, the trail runs in an easy descent all the way to the final campsite, which is strategically placed near a highway. You can find many cabs near the campsite that will take you to the high altitude lake, Chandra Taal. If you are trekking with Bikat Adventures, we will be providing you with the necessary mode of transport for the same.
Gear Required for Hampta Pass trek –
While we will be providing most of the equipment needed for trekking (tents, sleeping bags, crampons, snow boots etc), there is some basic gear you will need from your end to get through your hike comfortably.
These are a sturdy, lightweight backpack and comfortable trekking shoes. In case, you plan on purchasing them, please refer to the articles below for some helpful tips on how to go about choosing the right gear for your trek.
A branded backpack can be a hefty spend when it comes to trekking. But this needn’t be the case if you know what to look for when purchasing one.
One of our founders, Pankaj, purchased a non-branded pack for INR 1100 in 2010 and the pack continues to work just fine for him. In the article linked above, he shares some helpful tips on what to look for when choosing a trekking backpack.
Conventional sports shoes don’t suit trekking trails. We recommend wearing high ankle shoes with sturdy soles. These not only provide better support but also reduce the possibility of injuries while hiking. Please refer to the guide linked above for some useful tips on choosing trekking shoes.
Skills required for Hampta Pass Trek –
Bikat Adventures is primarily an adventure learning organization. This means our key objective is not just to help trekkers complete their treks but also to ensure they pick up some valuable lessons and skills in trekking along the way.
To achieve this, we have created learning modules and paired them to different levels on the Bikat Rating Scale.
These modules are taught in real-time on the trails by our trek leaders.
The following are some skills that are likely to come in handy on a trail like the Hampta Pass.
While you will have all the assistance you need on the trek from our capable trek leaders and guides, we suggest browsing through the articles below to get an idea of what is involved.
The heavy ascents and steep descents of the Hampta Pass trek can be tough on your legs. Maintaining the right rhythm and body posture can help avoid injuries and stress on your ankles and knees. The guide linked above shares some useful tips on how to ascend and descend down trails.
Hampta Pass receives frequent rains. This means we will need to pack backpacks in such a way that our rain gear is accessible during the trek. The article linked above shares some useful guidelines you can follow to pack your backpacks efficiently while on the trail.
Our trek leaders will be guiding you on how to pitch a tent during the trek. Nevertheless, we are linking the article above for anyone who might be interested in reading about it.
Hampta Pass is a prominent monsoon trek of Himachal Pradesh. The temperature for the first two days is bearable and requires a simple 2 layer, quick-dry attire with a poncho or rainwear and a down jacket. However, from Shea Guru and onwards, the temperatures drop to 5 degrees and the strong winds turn the nights chillier. Layering appropriately to protect yourself from the cold is essential. The article linked above will give you a fair idea of the layers you will need and guide you on how to layer up at campsites and while hiking.
The river crossings are the most adventurous part of the Hampta Pass trek. But, because of the strong current of the waters and the cold temperature, it can be dangerous. It takes special knowledge and skillset to cross it. Refer to the above link to get an idea of the precautions to take when you cross a rapid river.
Trekking poles can come in handy while trekking, especially during descents. Please refer to the article above to find out the right way to use a trekking pole while hiking.
We hope this article answers all the questions you may have about the Hampta Pass Trek. In case you need further assistance/information with something, please feel free to reach out to us. We are only a phone call away.