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Manali to Manali
Chandrabhaga range is a group of peaks located in the cold desert region of Himachal Pradesh of which a few have been climbed, a few barely so and some that are still waiting to invite climbers up their mad slopes in this mad terrain. CB13 (6,264M) holds somewhat of a star-status in this range which gets its name from the two main rivers in Lahaul – Chandra and Bhaga. A technical and a challenging climb, CB13 is one of those gems which was made more accessible after the inaugural of Atal Tunnel. The beauty of Lahaul is one of its kind which you notice as soon as you come out on the other side of the tunnel - the difference is so stark, it's unmissable! The landscape and its beauty is the very definition of raw which extends to the peaks in the region. For its peculiar terrain, the climb up the peaks in this region is one of a kind, too, since it comes with its own set of unique challenges. CB13 (6,264M) is a perfect way to experience the region as a whole. Add CB14, which at 6,078M, is the second most sought after peak in the central massif in Lahaul, to the mix and it’s only a cherry on the mountain-top. With its boulder-strewn terrain, CB14 is equally, if not more challenging than it’s almost 200M taller cousin, and calls to all the skills you might have accumulated in your years in the mountains, hitherto. As both these mountains change face every year for the receding glacier exposing more of their crumbling rock underneath, they are only getting harder to climb with each passing year. The long stretches of boulder sections continue all the way to the top of the mountains. For CB13, the last 150M to the summit literally calls for some serious rock climbing skills on the patch of rocks chest-high which run vertical and tall and CB14, with even lesser patches of snow would ultimately appeal more to the rock climber in you. From our experience, we can say that these 6000M peaks which lie across the Dhaka glacier and offer magnificent views of Kunzum Range, Chandratal and the gushing Chandra river from their summits, are quite the firecrackers for their height. With their uneven landscape and impossible slopes, they almost seem unwelcoming at first sight but they aren’t actually so - they only call for a little more patience, a fair bit of attention and a lot of mettle - you got these, and they will call for you! For their level of difficulty and the skill required to make an ascent up these mountains, and also because it is a dual climb which calls for some change in strategy for managing energy reserves on an expedition, these peaks are reserved for experienced and trained climbers only. It is essential to have some past experience in the Himalayas and high-altitude in addition to a know-how of basic mountaineering techniques for the experience to be pleasurable. If you feel strongly about dual climbs, CB13 and CB14 would be our primary recommendation for this expedition challenges all your limits and is a perfect playground to put to use all the skills you believe you possess as a mountaineer. All in all CB13 and CB14 individually are a test of one’s mettle, and together a perfect means of self-assessment of a climber, as a climber! June to October are the best months to attempt CB13 and CB14. Stay on this page for more information regarding this expedition.
Day 1: Make your way to Manali (2,050 M)
The trek starts from Manali, which is a very popular tourist destination as well as a high-altitude backpacking center and hence extremely accessible.
Day one is reserved for everyone to make their way to Manali and get settled into their accommodation. Since climbers will be coming to this altitude from sea level, the body will need time to get comfortable with the mountain air. While the body acclimatizes, we use this time to get acquainted with each other, go over some of the basic mountain rules and discuss the route, terrain, weather and all there is to know about what to expect on CB13 and CB14.
Day 2: Manali (2,050M) to Batal (4,060M)
Distance: 95 kms
Duration: 5-6 hours drive
We leave between 9 and 10 AM, after breakfast when we pick you up from the hotel. While there is no rush today since all that’s on the agenda is a 5-6 hour drive to Batal which is the trailhead for our expedition, we try to leave not-too-late for the roads in the mountains are unpredictable and it’s better to account for delays when we start. Batal is a small settlement situated in the Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh and is also the basecamp for the infamous Chandratal Lake which is close to 14 kms from there.
The drive starts along the exuberant Beas River. Within 15 minutes of the drive, we leave the crowds of the city and the smell of fuel in the air behind and get 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 we exit the tunnel, we are now 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 the heavily forested mountains now nowhere in sight. What we do see in abundance though, are massive waterfalls along the way. The three major checkpoints on the way to Batal are Koksar, Gramphu and Chhatru where small dhabas are aplenty for your mid-journey cravings and snacking needs.
It should take us two hours to reach Gramphu which at 3,000M is close to half way to our destination for today. The roads from here on get tricky as we take the smaller, kachcha road to our left that goes towards Spiti. As smooth as the ride was up until now, it is all rocks, boulders and dust from here – the ultimate off-road experience with crazy nallas along the way which the drivers in the region cross with some superhero-level confidence. This road is said to be one of the riskiest to drive through. We cross hoards of wild horses in the landscape opposite the road and plenty cattle playing in the numerous waterfalls along the way. At the three hour mark, we hit a patch of long hairpin bends with a constant view of the roads mimicking the meandering river ahead, the roads almost like scribble lines on dry mountains, going in no specific direction, following no specific path. At the end of this section, we reach Chhatru which is at 3,200M. From here, Batal is a 2-3 hour drive. Expect to reach by early evening post which we set up the base camp which will be our home for quite a few nights on this expedition. The location is gorgeous to say the least – there is nothing much to do in the dry wilderness of Batal except soak in the scenic beauty of the place, listen to the sound of the winds bump into the mountains and gaze at the doings of the endless groups of horses and cattle by the evening. It’s so beautiful, even the pigeons look good in this setting!
Since we have already gained quite a bit of altitude for one day, do remember to keep yourself covered with appropriate layering for even though the sun here is harsh and it may feel warm, the wind at this altitude can do much damage.
If you are looking to indulge in some exploring, do visit the much famous Chacha Chachi dhaba right across from your campsite to hear some pretty amazing stories from Chacha and Chachi and feast yourself to some delicious food.
Day 3: Acclimatization at Batal (4,060M) (Click to View GPS data)
We wake up with no rush since we spent our first night at high-altitude and do not want to stress the body too much. Today is reserved for acclimatization to the altitude since we gained quite a bit of height (2,000M) the previous day and have also entered a much different terrain. Coming from the humid city air to the pleasant temperature of Manali to entering Lahaul, we have moved through many different climactic zones. The weather here, in Lahaul, is much drier making it harder still for the body to adapt. We will go for an acclimatization walk in the evening where we will gain close to 300-400M in altitude, but remember to stay active and spend as much time outside your tent as possible. Spending as much time exposed to this new altitude air will help the body adapt to it much better, prepping it for what’s to come in the following days.
Day 4: Batal (4,060M) to Base Camp (4,440M) (Click to View GPS data)
Distance: 10 kms
Duration: 7 hours
The actual trek starts today. We slowly move towards the upper reaches of the mountain. We try to leave right after an early breakfast at 7AM because it is likely to be a long day. There is a height gain of 450M and the weight on the back makes it seem much harder than it is.
The terrain is mostly rocks and dust with tufts of the leftover greens you will see for a long time to come. It is good practice for the boulder-strewn terrain we are about to enter in the coming days. Watch your step for it is very easy to twist your ankle on these rocky trails. We start out traversing comfortably on the edge of the mountain face on sketched out trails as we make blind turns to discover the next mountain we are about to cross. For how dusty these regions are, it would be a good idea to cover your mouth and nose in case you have a dust allergy.
To get to the basecamp, we walk alongside the murky Chandra river for the most part. One of the major challenges of getting to the basecamp is crossing the pagal nalla. There are multiple streams we need to cross within the first two hours of the day. The water level in some of the streams is so high that you are required to take off your shoes, wear them around your neck, roll up your pants and wade through the gushing and cold water with a rocky seabed not helping the crossover at all. These water crossings are also one reason that we need to leave early in the morning because the water levels rise significantly after 12 in the afternoon making it much harder to go through them. We get to these streams within the first half hour of the hike. Once out of this section, we are now alongside the river (Chandra) taking as many smooth turns as the river does, on a rocky terrain.
An hour and a half of starting our day, we make it to a vast open section with wild horses curiously watching us go by with mountains in your peripheral vision in all directions. A couple of minutes and the valley gets narrower and closes up again. After 6 kms and a the mark of 3 hours into our day, we reach another vast opening at the altitude of 4000M, this time one which is green and full of yellow flowers. After having spent the last few hours on boulders in bone dry terrain, this is sure a welcome change of landscape and a perfect spot to have our packed lunch for this beauty of a land also has a water source (which you will have to hunt for, mind you!). Rest as much as you can because the next challenge for the day awaits you.
Right after this grand opening, we are making a steep ascent of 300M straight. This slope eases out a bit and continues on for another 150M. Till 4,400M, it’s a climb up a green, rocky path after which it is all boulders. This continues on until we enter the last kilometer of our hike today which is mostly downhill and through rocks.
Expect to reach the campsite which lies next to the river latest by early evening. The base camp is all rocks with crumbling mountains on all four sides – do not be alarmed if you hear loud thundering sounds – that is only normal here with all the rocks falling from all the sides. Every area around the base camp is rock fall area!
Day 5: Acclimatization at Base Camp (4,440M)
The day starts with a puja. The base camp for CB13 has two small stone structures brightened by the colours of the prayer flags fluttering in the mighty winds, where we offer our prayers to the mountain gods and thank them for allowing us to be there. This sacred ritual where the team members, together, seek blessings for the safety and the success of the team ends with a sip of some brandy and some sweets to fill you with warmth along with the benedictions of the mountain.
A lot is to be achieved during our time at base camp. From the distribution and setting up of all the gear to technical training and practice of some basic techniques to better handle the odd terrain of CB13 and CB14. But before then, we have the entire day to rest our bodies and acclimatize to the terrain, altitude and temperature of the base camp which lies at 4,440M – a height gain of approximately 2,500M from Manali.
Since the conditions on high-altitude are unpredictable, there is a constant readjustment of plans to adapt to the situation at the time. Providing fixed day-wise schedules is hence tricky. But roughly, the schedule includes rotation rounds between camps which is a standard acclimatization process on high-altitude expeditions. An estimation of each day is as indicated below, but this is subject to change as per conditions.
CB13 and CB14 share a common Advance Base Camp at 4,860M. After ABC, there is one more camp, Summit Camp at 5,650M, for CB13 whereas CB14 is attempted from ABC (4,860M) itself.
Base Camp (4,440M) to Advance Base Camp (4,900M): Load ferry and occupy:
Distance and duration for load ferry: 7 kms and 6-7 hours
Distance and duration to occupy ABC: 3.5 kms and 4-5 hours
We make two rounds between Base Camp and Advance Base Camp – the first one to ferry our load and leave it at ABC to come back down to BC for the night. The next day, we go back up to ABC, this time to move camp. Till the BC we have mules to carry the common luggage like ration, butanes, tents, sleeping bags, mattresses and all our equipment. Nature of the terrain and the altitude prevents mules from going beyond BC and hence all the (common + personal) equipment and supplies must be divided between each member of the team to be taken to the next camp. Two rounds also help divide the weight between two days which comes to approximately 15 kgs per person. The boulder-heavy glacial terrain makes for a much harder climb with all that weight on your back but it gets easier the second time around. The entire route is on glacial moraine with no trails or marked routes. It is easy to get confused and lost here, so try to stick close together. Also be wary of black ice which will not always be visible to the eye but is extremely slippery. The last 200M is the most precarious and the most exhausting as it is an extremely steep climb over loose and crumbling rocks which provide for no sure footing at all. The river fall next to this steep climb also makes certain sections of the climb slippery with the water having turned the rocks smooth taking away from their grip. This last 200M takes close to 2 hours to get through. Once on top, the campsite lies just to the left from where we also get our very first glimpse of the two mountains we are going to climb. The first and unobstructed view of both thee peaks standing next to each other is magical.
Advance Base Camp (4,900M) to Summit Camp (5,650M):
Distance: 2.5 kms
Duration: 7-8 hours
We go straight from the camp towards CB13 and start to walk up its face – the slope starts out with snow and quickly shifts to rocks and boulders after 20M. The distance between these camps is not massive but the odd and treacherous terrain makes this a long and exhausting day. At the mark of one and a half kilometers and a height gain of 250M on a bed of rocks, we reach a massive snow field with the scattered remains of the army airplane that crashed on the mountain in 1968. It is quite unnerving to imagine the events from the time of the crash as all its remnants lie right in front of you as scattered pieces of a story in the most telling condition. From here on, things are only going to get harder. Once across this snow field, we rope up and put on our crampons as we start our ascent on the 60 degree slope. What makes this section really hard are the hidden crevasses scattered across the mountain’s face like landmines and the soft snow which does little to hold your weight. Once past this section, we reach yet another slope – this one alternating between rock and snow. This section is much more precarious and needs a fixed rope. It will be traversed using a jumar. Summit Camp lies at the end of the fixed rope section at the altitude of 5,650M.
The ease or difficulty of the climb between ABC and Summit Camp solely depends on the condition of the snow at the time and the weather which is known to turn from sunny to cloudy to it leading to snowfall and hail storms within seconds.
Summit Camp of CB13 (5,650M) to Summit of CB13 (6,264M):
We leave for the summit push anywhere between 12 and 1 AM. The approximately 650M of ascent is a constant shift between rock and snow and will be traversed using a fixed rope all the way through. It is a continuous and steep ascent and takes anywhere between 8-10 hours, one way, depending on the condition of the snow at the time. The last 150M to the summit is the most daunting and calls for actual rock climbing skills. The vertical patch of high rocks takes close to 2 hours to climb – one climber at the time must ascent on this section since it is an accident prone area with loose rocks getting knocked down with each step up, the dislodged rocks likely to hit the climber behind. With the terrain being dry and rocky, the entire route to the summit is prone to rock fall from all directions – it serves well to be highly cautious at all times.
Return to ABC (4,900M):
The climb down from Summit to Summit Camp should take anywhere between 6-8 hours. Depending on the condition of the team, it can be decided if the descent to ABC is to be made on the same day or after a night of rest at Summit Camp. CB13 and CB14 share the same Advance Base Camp. After a day of rest, this is where we make our summit push for CB14 from.
ABC (4,900M) to CB14 (6,078M):
The difficulty and duration of this climb will solely depend on the snow and weather conditions at the time.
Day 12 & Day 13: Reserve Days
In case of bad weather or other difficulties, Day 12 and 13 are reserved for a second summit attempt – one reserve day for each peak. These will only get used if unexpected and unforeseeable conditions present themselves at the last minute preventing the first summit push on either of the peaks in the expedition.
Day 14: Advance Base Camp (4,900M) To Base Camp (4,440M)
Distance: 3.5 to 4 kms
Duration: 2.5 to 3.5 hours
We trace our steps back to Base Camp after both the expeditions are over – the same route as we climbed up.
Day 15: Base Camp (4,440M) to Batal (4,060M) (Click to View GPS data)
We trace our steps back to Batal through the same route we took to get here. Try to leave early so as to cross the pagal nallah in time before it gets flooded. Given the distance between BC and Batal, we camp out at Batal before pushing off for Manali the next day.
Day 16: Batal (4,060M) to Manali (2,050M)
Distance: 95 kms
Duration: 5-6 hours drive
Expect to reach Manali by evening. It is recommended that you plan your journey forward the next day in case of any unforeseeable delays en route.
In accordance with the rules and regulation set forth by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) for mountaineering expeditions, out of 12 seats per batch:
- 6 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Advanced Mountaineering Course (AMC)
- 4 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC)
- The remaining 2 seats are reserved for aspirants with previous trekking experience of expeditions above 5500 - 6000 meters
Foreign Nationals - Due to a specific set of guidelines for Foreign Nationals it is recommended to call our support team to gain information on the list of documents and procedure involved in booking a mountaineering expedition with us.
CB 13 and CB 14 peaks are made only for experienced trekkers who want to test their limits. The challenges faced in the trek should not be underestimated. You should attempt this trek only If you have already done treks that climb to 4700-5500 metres. It is recommended not to opt this trek if you cannot get acclimatized in high altitudes. Besides you need to have a strong physical endurance to complete this trek. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale
A basic mountaineering course is recommended though not mandatory in case of highly experienced & skilled trekkers. At least 2-3 challenging treks along with 20 – 25 total trekking days in the Himalayas. Medical fitness certificate from CMO of a recognized hospital.
Jog/Run for 5 Kms in 25-30 mins Or Walk continuously for 10 kms (with 3-4 small breaks) on plain terrain (slight incline is better) and
Hold your breath for 40 seconds and
3 sets of Climbing 30 – 40 steps in one stretch and
Push Ups – 10 and
Lunges & Squats – 15 X 2 sets
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
How to use an Ice Axe
How to use Climbing boots & Crampons
How to rope up & follow queued climbing/descending
How to self-arrest using an ice axe
Knowledge of Basic First aid
June to October are the best months to undertake the CB 13 and CB 14 Expedition.
Click here for packing list.
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.
When you arrive in Manali, your stay will be made at a hotel.The rooms will be provided on twin or triple sharing basis. You will receive the details of your accommodation through email few days prior the trek. On trekking days you will be accommodated in tents on a twin sharing basis.
We provide 4 seasons tents by Gipfel for higher altitudes which can easily withstand heavy snowfall and storms. They are spacious enough to accommodate 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. If you carry your own sleeping bag, you will get a cashback reward provided that you inform us as soon as you have booked your trek.
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.
Since this is a technical climb at extremely high altitudes on snow and ice, all required technical equipment such as Ropes, Helmet, Ice Axe, Crampons, Mountaineering Boots, Jumar, Descender, Harness will be provided. You can refer to the inclusions section for more details.
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 menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner which has been designed in order to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the participants. There will be milk, poha, eggs, muesli/corn flakes, bread, and butter served for breakfast. Rice or simple roti sabzi will be packed for lunch. In dinner, you will have dal, egg curry or any other vegetarian dish along with rice, roti, and a dessert item. Packed lunch will be provided to you on the days you are trekking. You are requested to carry your own tiffin box and a mug to consume food. The meals consumed on the journey and arrival day are not included in our cost.
You can rent the following items from us- Trekking Pole, Trekking Shoes, Fleece Jacket, Rucksack.
You can expect temperatures to drop to as low as -10°C to -20°C at higher camps on the climb. The more altitude we gain the colder it gets. However, the weather is always unpredictable so be prepared with all the essential layers required to keep yourself warm and dry.
Since this is a technical climb at 6200 M, you can expect snow and ice on the expedition.
If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to make a request for offloading a few days prior to 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 participants will be led by an IMF certified mountaineering 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 a 1:8 ratio of trek leader and participants. All our trek leaders and staff have certified training in first-aid and rescue operation.
Yes, the 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.
Yes, there are stores/shops in Manali from where you can buy necessary stuff. Though it is recommended that you come prepared with all the stuff. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.
Yes, there are stores/shops in Manali from where you can buy necessary stuff. Though it is recommended that you come prepared with all the stuff. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.
Yes, it is absolutely safe for a solo woman to travel in fix departures. Women on the trek will be sharing a tent with each other. In case you are the only 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.
You will have to arrive in Manali on your own. Our vehicles will take you to the base camp Batal and drop you back in Manali after the expedition, the cost of which is included in the price of the expedition.
Expect to reach Manali by evening. Plan your further travels and accommodation accordingly.
ID Proof (Soft Copy to be sent to us in Advance & original to be carried), Medical Certificate (Soft Copy to be sent to us & original to be carried) and Photocopy of ID Proof and passport size photos are the mandatory documents required for the trek.
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. This famous tourist hill station has so many places to visit in Manali. 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 start point of Mt. CB 13 and CB 14 expedition is Batal which lies on the way to Spiti from Manali. The ideal way to reach Batal is by hiring a shared jeep, local bus or a private taxi from Manali. Manali is well connected to Delhi through road and air. There are no direct trains from Delhi though.
By Road: The road distance from Delhi to Manali is 536 km. There are overnight HPRTC Volvo buses from ISBT Kashmere Gate, Delhi for Manali. There are also private Volvo buses which can be booked online. However, their services are highly unreliable, especially on Long Weekends. It is a 14-hour journey by bus. You can book your bus tickets online through hrtchp.com or any other bus services available. You can also hire a private taxi or an outstation cab from Delhi.
By Rail: To reach by train, take a direct train from Delhi to Pathankot. Some of the trains that run on this route are Delhi-Pathankot Express, Jammu Tawi Express, Delhi-Dhauladhar Express. You can then take a bus from Pathankot to Manali. Or you can take a connecting train from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar which is the nearest station to Manali. There are buses running frequently between Joginder Nagar and Manali.
By Air: The nearest airport is Bhuntar airport which is located 50 km from Manali. There are taxis available at the airport which will take you to Manali. You can also take local buses that keep running from Bhuntar to Manali at very regular frequency. Buses are decent and very cheap compared to taxi that can cost you around INR 2000 to 2500 depending upon season.
One can expect cellular connectivity till Gulaba and few kilometers ahead of Manali. There might be no signals available by the time you reach Batal.
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