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Sissu to Sissu
Tucked away like a well-kept secret in the fascinating terrain of Lahaul, this 5-day trek is the right balance of a few bits of thrill with heaps of chill - all on the road less traveled (literally). This relatively easy trail, which hasn't been walked by many trekkers, takes you through narrow shepherd trails and holds all the features of a leisurely trek with neuron-activating view. Imagine ice hangs casually in the middle of a neon blue glacial lake in the backdrop of massive meadows littered with all kinds of colours.
Years after having traced the trail frequented by gaddis (shepherds) in the region, we led our first batch to this electrifying high-altitude glacial lake in July of 2021. Galvanic blue water, thick icebergs floating aimlessly around, and a carpet of colourful flora got us and our trekkers swooning And we can’t wait to have more people experience what we did on this beautiful trail. Until sometime ago, reaching Lahaul was more perilous than the trek itself. Now, the Atal Tunnel has opened up a world of possibilities for trekking in the region, making Ghepan Ghat more accessible than ever before.
Originating from the remote village of Sissu which lies a couple of hours drive away from Manali, the lake rests at an altitude of 4,140M. This moderately difficult trek takes you through exposed terrain with high ascents, steep descents through extremely rugged and untouched trails hidden even from most local guides in the region.
The best time to do Ghepan Ghat trek is between May and October. Stay on this page for more information on the trek.
Manali (2,050M) to Sissu (3,130M)
Distance: 40 kms
Time Taken: 2 hour drive
This 40kms drive is fairly smooth and comfortable and goes by in a jiffy. It should take anywhere between 1.5 to 2 hours to cover. Lahaul was previously cut off and secluded which made it hard to access the area. But with the inauguration of the Atal Tunnel, the area remains open to possibilities of exploring new, unexplored trails.
The drive starts along the exuberant Beas River. Within 15 minutes of the drive, we are out of the bustle of the city and onto the Leh-Manali highway which will take us straight to the head of the Atal Tunnel. Going through this 9.02 kms long tunnel, is an experience in itself. The tunnel being at an altitude of 3,048M is the longest highway single-tube tunnel above 10,000 feet. You should reach the head of the tunnel at the mark of an hour and would take close to 10 minutes to cross this all-weather engineering marvel.
Once you exit the tunnel, you will find yourself driving along the murky Chinab River. The roads are characteristic of mountain roads with all its sharp turns on smooth surfaces. Right after we cross the tunnel, we begin to see a stark difference in the landscape. The trees have now shrunk to bushes, the valley is a bit more open and desolate. There are larger expanses of barren mountain-faces and grazing trails with heavily forested mountains now nowhere in sight.
The last half hour of the drive takes us on a kachcha road uphill alongside step-farming lands growing all kinds of vegetation found in the region.
Since it is an easy day with nothing more on the agenda than to reach the trail head of Sissu and set up camp, we leave around the mark of noon so we can reach our destination by lunch.
The first day is reserved for getting acquainted to the altitude, settle into our tents, discuss basic dos and don’t’s and a few mountain ethics. The campsite lies bang opposite the forceful Shitidhar waterfall which seems extremely close but is hours away from the campsite.
Acclimatisation walk for an hour in the evening is mandatory in order to get used to the mountain air and help your body adapt to this new environment.
The night is so eerily silent that you can hear the creaking of your internal body parts as they try to adapt to these new conditions. The night sky from this campsite is nothing short of magical – smoky clouds gently rising up and rolling down mountain tops like they were tucking these high mountains in for the night. The golden glow which stays hanging through the night in the night sky adds a layer of beauty to this love affair. Take some time to admire the night sky and the giant peaks against this night sky as they lie there like ghost mountains in all shades of black and gray, layered one behind the other. If it is a clear night, you might not want to miss heading out of your tent to witness the Milky Way suspended in all its glory held gently by the night sky – all this while the lights from Sissu village below look like descended starlight.
Sissu (3,130M) to Camp 1(3,510M)
Distance: 5 kms trek
Time Taken: 6 hours
The day starts early with a yoga session and some stretches to awaken our senses. We leave after tea and breakfast for this long but fairly comfortable trek today through massive meadows with a few river crossings. There is a small patch of incline on a rocky terrain after we set off from the campsite. Within the first 15 minutes, we hit the meadows as the valley opens up to an assortment of colours in the form of wildflowers spattered across the bed of the meadows. After a small section of loose rocks which needs to be crossed with caution, it takes less than an hour to reach open grazing lands with heaps of sheep gazing at you with a look of genuine curiosity. The meadows here are packed with flowers spray painted with rich colours ranging from purples, to pinks to a dozen shades of yellow. We now trek along the Sissu naala and hit our first water source at the mark of an hour and a half.
By afternoon, we pick a nice, open spot for lunch. An hour into the climb, after lunch, we hit another section of loose rocks with a very narrow and slippery path which leads straight to a rocky river- crossing section.
Half an hour away from the campsite, we hit a massive obstacle. A large portion of slippery glacier which needs to be traversed with care. This seems especially difficult after having spent the last hour on a narrow trail precariously holding its own on a pile of loose rocks.
After crossing meadows, loose trails, rivers, passing makeshift shepherd homes and abandoned stone huts, the grassy trail leads us straight to camp 1 within 6 hours of starting the day. Camp 1 is bang in the middle of the meadows rich with flora. Look out for strawberries on your way to the camp – tiny red local produce you will find growing all along the trail.
Once at the campsite, we set up our tents and rest for the remainder of the day to regain our strength.
Camp 1 (3,510M) to Camp 2 (3,900M)
Distance: 6 kms trek
Time taken: 6 hours
Ghepan Ghat is such a fresh and unknown trail that the campsites do not even have names yet! And today we go from the unnamed Camp 1 to the unnamed Camp 2.
The day starts without a rush. We wake up to the morning sun shining in all its glory, finish tea and breakfast, wrap up the campsite and head on out by 11 AM. The first hour of the climb is perilous – over loose rocks and scree. It is a steep ascend straight up the spine of the mountain. We go off route and descend into the valley to set up Camp 1 due to availability of space and proximity to a water source. This steep descent the previous day is now a steep ascent we must make to connect us back to the original trail. The morning fog makes it almost a dreamlike setting with the clouds waking up the mountain alongside you. The trail today is monopolized by pink with a little of purple and yellow spread out on the floor.
After a small break to eat our packed lunches, we start now on an even trail into the meadows with the entire Pir Panjal range laid out to our left and a milk white water stream flowing alongside. Half an hour into the climb, we hit a precarious section where we cross a gully leading into a brown patch to enter the world of big boulders once again.
Two more hours and we would reach our campsite for the day which is bang in the middle of a grand clearing with welcoming views of mountain ranges all around. Every mountain range has a distinct personality. The peaks laid out in front of you look like disciplinarians – stern and standing confidently without any slump or bend. If they had a face, it would probably be that of an authoritative parent!
There’s a stream of fresh water flowing right by our tents with a spread of pink rising above its edges like it was spilt along the length of the water. The variety of colours on the rocks and boulders in the form of moss is beyond exquisite. Horses by the dozens graze the land around our campsite with a backdrop of black snowy peaks rising up to the skies. The only sound to accompany us on this spectacularly beautiful campsite is the maiming of the cattle that walk comfortably up and down mountain faces.
This campsite is not short of water like the one we left behind – the same gushing water which will make your night a little less silent along with the sound of the howling winds.
Camp 2 (3,900M) to Ghepan Ghat (4,146M) and back to Camp 2 (3,900M)
Distance: 5 kms trek
Time Taken: 3-4 hours
The day starts as the previous two days, without a rush. The morning view from the campsite proves to be an even bigger delight with the craggy ridges of the mountains providing for pockets for the weary clouds to rest in. It is a beautiful illustration of coexistence and harmony.
It is a relatively short day. Not sure of the exact distance between our camps to the lake, we head out of our tents by 10 for this mystical lake which has only been heard of. The trek to the lake turns out to be breezy and a literal walk in the park. We cover the 2 kms to the lake in close to an hour and the view waiting for you in silence is breathtaking multiplied by all possible hyperboles. As we take a small left from the bouldered meadows we spent the last hour crossing, we are welcomed by this expansive view of mesmerizing colours. Chunk of ice blocks hang casually in the middle of the neon blue glacial lake in the backdrop of massive meadows littered with all sorts of colours. The light mist in the air does its share to add to the mystical beauty of this fold in the mighty high mountains. There is so much to explore across the border of the lake. Take your time soaking in the beauty playing itself out in front of you before you head back out to Camp 2.
Camp 2 (3,900M) to Sissu (3,130M)
Time Taken: 7 hours trek
After the breathtaking experience of the brightly-coloured lake and spending two nights on the most beautiful campsite of the trek, today we trace our steps back to Sissu. The trek back down seems like walking on camel humps, with continuous patches of steep ascent and steep descents on narrow trails across the mountain. The trail alternating between vast meadows and massive boulders. The rains tend to make these sections of the mountain, slippery, so it would serve well to exercise caution.
Since it is a long day today, we start early. Our trail back is like a little recap of our climb up to this electric lake. We will pass through meadows, scree sections, boulders and glaciers and water of all colours from electric blue to murky to milk white. The trail for Ghepan Ghat looks like the playing field for the Gods where they created samples of all the beautiful colours they wanted the world to experience. The silver snow, the fluff of the clouds in shades of gray, zinc black mountains providing a surface for the dark cloud shadows to practice their performance. The 3 dozen shades of green, double of those of the browns, a range of flowers with colours from across the colour palette, and the brightly coloured moss sitting merrily on every boulder on the way - this trek is visual poetry in motion.
We reach back to our trail head by close to 2 PM. Two more hours of drive from here to get to Manali. Expect to reach Manali by early evening.
is a moderate level trek i.e. it requires more strength and endurance than easy level treks. It is recommended that you first gain an experience of trekking to altitudes higher than 3000 metres, and then move one level up with this trek. However, if you are a beginner but committed to prepare, then you need at least 2-3 months to prepare physically & mentally for this trek. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale.
You must have done a small trek of 2-3 days before and hiked to an altitude of more than 3000 meters.
mid-May through June and August to October
Click here for text packing list.
Fairly isolated over Rohtang Pass, Ghepan Ghat's nearest hub of civilization is the quaint village of Sissu, which doubles as the trailhead for this trek. Enjoy the Buddhist gompas (particularly the beautiful Labrang Monastery) and the peace that comes with this oasis. Keylong, another cultural hub, is 30km further down the highway. In the other direction lies a fun day trip to Rohtang Pass, the Beas Temple and Manali over the other side. Manali is the gateway to Solang Valley where you can participate in adventure activities like paragliding, and zorbing in the summer months when the snow melts. Visit the ancient Hadimba Devi Temple which has an interesting mythological tale associated with it. Walk through the charming lanes of Old manali. Visit the bazaar to buy some souvenirs. Jogini Fall and Vashisht Temple are other famous attractions in Manali. You can also visit Rohtang pass while you are in Manali.
The minimum age limit is 13 years. However, minors aged between 13 to 17 should be accompanied with their parents or guardians. If you are above the age of 60, kindly carry a medical certificate from your doctor that deem you fit for adventure activities like trekking.
Homestays will be provided where necessary. On trekking days, all the trekkers will be accommodated in twin or triple sharing tents/Huts as per the itinerary. Along with this, there will be also be a toilet tent and a dining tent installed at every campsite as we roll.
We provide 4 seasons tents by Gipfel for higher altitudes which can easily withstand heavy snowfall and storms. They are spacious enough to accomodate 3 people at once with a vestibule to place the backpacks.
Our sleeping bags are made up of Heatseeker Pro synthetic insulation that can provide you comfort in -10 degrees celsius. We also use additional fleece liners to have thermal efficiency even in the extreme temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius.
Toilet tents will be provided to you on the trek.These are portable toilets tents where a deep pit will be dug. A shovel will be provided inside the tent to cover the waste after you have made your business. You can take a toilet roll inside. Make sure you dig used toilet paper along with the waste. Though water is recommended in place of toilet paper. Please refrain from using wet wipes as they are non-biodegradable.
There will be no facility for bathing on the trek. Go through our blog section for tips on how to maintain personal hygiene on treks.
You will be provided with good quality gaiters and microspikes from us depending upon the situation of the snow. Our trek leaders will also be carrying ropes and ice axe.
Vegetarian food will be served throughout the trek. The only non-vegetarian item served on our treks are eggs. Our kitchen staff follows a proper and menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner which has been designed in order to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the participants.
You can rent following items from us- Trekking Pole, Trekking Shoes, Fleece Jacket, Rucksack
If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to make a request for offloading a few days prior the trek through an email so that arrangement can be made in advance. You will be charged per day for offloading your rucksack.
In case you decide to offload on the spot, you may have to pay a higher price than usual. However offloading your rucksack is not recommended since it is not a safe practice.
A team of participant will be led by a course certified trek leader and a local guide. All participants are requested to abide by what their leader says. There will also be a team of kitchen staff and porters on the trek. We maintain 1:8 ratio of trek leader and participants. All our trek leaders and staff have a certified training in first-aid and rescue operation.
Yes, trekking pole is necessary. If you don’t want to buy one, you can rent it from us on minimal daily basis charges. You can request the renting link from us.
Manali has a reasonable size market. However, we will have to head to Khanol and there will be no time for shopping. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.
Yes, it is absolutely safe for solo woman to travel in fix departures. Women on the trek will be sharing tent with each other. In case you are a single woman on the trek, you will be given a separate tent.
Yes, e-certificates will be given at the end of each trek provided that you completed it. It will bear your name, the trek, and the maximum altitude you achieved on the trek.
There is Cellular network available till the base village, Sissu.
Report in Manali by 12 PM for transportation to the village trailhead of Ghepan Ghat in Sissu. The transportation back will be from Sissu to Manali at the end of the trek.
The temperatures stay between 5 - 10 degree celsius.
We will drop you at Manali at the end of the trek.
We will pick you from Manali at the start of the trek and drop you at Manali at the end.
Our community is an integral part of us and we take pride in our trekkers and climbers. When you complete at least three days on any trek or expedition with us, you become eligible for our membership and referral programs.
For us, a successful summit is not about reaching the highest point of a mountain but about making it safely back to base.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure
Less than 15 days of departure
No Cash Refund
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations less than 5 days prior to departure