Stories of my constant learning & continuous improvement
Hampta Pass Continued

Hampta Pass Continued

Here is the Part 1 of this blog!

Part 2 : Summit to the all the way down!

The descend was a steep 90 degree mountain and we were going to go zig zag path. While descending we paused to have the packed lunch because the path post that was going to get worser. While having lunch started a crazy hurricain. For most of us it was the first time we were seeing snow fall and it got worse by the minute. The descend was so steep that we looked down, it felt bottomless. We had to be mindful of every step we took because the ice could have crevasses and we would slide in even before one can realise. We also had to move fast because the weather was deteriorating fast. At one point, we were told that it was safe to slide down to the base. I, being a person who is scare of slides, I was reluctant to do it but anyways went with it. It was too much fun! It actually took about 5 hours for us to reach the campsite. 

During the pass crossing, we were all crossing over from the Kullu valley to the Lahaul/Spiti valley and within a period of few miutues, a lot changed. The landscape was spectrums apart. From greenery in Kullu valley to desert like view in the Lahaul valley. The stones were different and even our skin felt different. It felt unbelievable. The next campsite Shea Goru (12,220 feet/3,725 meters) and Balu ka Ghera is at the same altitude but Shea Goru was at subzero temperature in the night. My tent was just next to the river and it felt chilled to the bones. It was cold enough for all of us to have to use 2 sleeping bag at the minimum. Post hot lunch and amazing Gulab Jamoon to celebrate the pass crossing, we all played tons of games together while shivering due to cold. We played a games called “Who stole my Monkey” and had to come up with millions of strategies and we won after the 7th attempt. The game was very simple but took us a lot of attempt to win it.

We logged off for the day post a sumptuous dinner. The next day started early too as the descend was going to be a long way. The descend was as challenging as the ascend itself but with a few ice patches, all of us went in our own phase, enjoying each step that we took. The views were photogenic and with the weather being super clear, it felt really good. We found tiny teeny flowers all through the trail and then all of a sudden there would be barren land for as far as we could see.

The landscapes that we saw were breathtaking and surreal. The cold breeze, the mild sunshine and the trail snack made all the pain from walking down the mountain go away in a jiffy!

There was a place where we saw the exact scene that we all drew as kids. We say two huge mountains and just at a visible distance, a house with a chimney and smoke coming out of it, a road that leads exactly to the house, a river flowing in one of the sides of the house, a farming patch just in front of the house where variety of flowers are blooming and a dog running around the house. All of us were stunned and couldn’t help but smile ear to ear. It wasn’t something that the camera could capture but what I saw would remain in my memory forever!

A long walk, a mild rain, bright pleasant sunlight and tons of pictures later, we reached Chhatru (10,785 feet / 3289 meters). On the way we saw a road and a vehicle for the first time in 5 days and it almost felt like we were getting in touch with civilisation after a while and it was a whole different feeling. There was also a river crossing and a dangerous icy patch that had rocks falling from above that we had to dodge and a rugged river on the other end of the patch. We had to navigate through that patch in a smaller group and carefully place our foot in the already made patch so that we have the maximum grip. I did have a fall while walking through this patch but the team had my back and held me tight till I gained back my balance.

Reaching the Chhatru campsite felt like the biggest achievement of my life. It was cold but my heart was filled with warmth and I couldn’t still believe that I had made it through. After a quick hot lunch and we got a cake to celebrate the completion of trek and one fellow trekker’s birthday! We played cricket and obviously goes without saying, my team won both the match. We returned the things that was borrowed or give to us for the trek to Indiahikes and also went on to purchase the “Hampta Pass Done” t-shirts too. That evening was one of the most important memory of my trek. We all sat under a huge rock, and we were debriefing/reflecting back on the entire trek. We were all talking about our most favourite memory, what has been our learning and also if we would recommend a trek to someone, why would that be. Everything that everyone said, all of us couldn’t help but agree to it. It went on for a good 3 hours and Ankit, Shyam Bhaiyya & Rocky Bhaiyya told me how they were really scared for me and were hoping in their hearts that I would go back when I fell sick; they were really proud and glad that I pulled through and made it to the end!

We wrote letter(s) to people from Chhatru as well. I wrote a letter to myself and gratitude and gratitude only filled me up while writing it. The drive to Chandratal Lake (14,036 feet / 4,279 meters) was optional and from when we started where all of the trekkers wanted to go there to the last day, everyone had dropped down and decided to go back to Manali instead. It broke my heart because the whole of 1 year, while Raj was looking at Hampta Pass pictures, I was only looking at Chandratal Lake pictures. At last, Raj and I decided that we would go to Chandratal Lake anyways no matter who came and who not. We all hit bed at last and next morning when we woke up, there were two more trekkers who woke up at 4am too to join us. That was a relief! The drive was as though we were going through a alien planet. We stopped at the monumental Chacha Chachi ka Dhaba for a quick bite and at last reached Chandratal lake!

My heart was pounding on every step that I took and I couldn’t help but be the most excited about this part of the trek. Needless to say, it was one of the most perfect view that I have seen. We spent a good two hours in this place just soaking in the beauty of this place and taking as many pictures through our eyes possible. Needless to say, this was my most favourite part of the entire trip!

Not so whole heartedly, we had to set off towards Manali and back home eventually. Nevertheless, here is a video to see all other clicks of the entire trek.

Closing Thoughts

When I look back at the trek, apart of all the things mentioned, a few things that stand out for me are:

  1. Just having no network and electricity for the days we were on the trek was refreshing and detoxifying. Something that I could never imagine doing, when done, felt amazing.
  2. Though we had the battery backup, due to the cold, the battery would discharge soon. So we had to ration that well to last with us till we boarded the return bus. I deliberately ensured that I didn’t use the phone at all during the entire trek.
  3. For those of you who know me also know that I am a person who would wear a jacket sometimes even in the Bangalore summer :P. So for the trek, I was very scared of the cold and my survival. The fact that I could do it, I think everyone can too!
  4. The skies were the best and we also witnessed the best sunrises that changed the shade of the sky every second.
  5. A big shoutout to the amazing fellow trekkers and organisers that we were blessed with because the are the ones who made the jouney beautiful and worth it all!
  6. Last but not the least, “where there is a will, there is ALWAYS a way!”

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