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The Hamta Pass Trek
Season :- May/June & September/October
Highlights of your trek starts from Manali onwards and end up in Manali. Manali is well connected by road and flight from Delhi and further arrangements will be provided as per the request. If you wish to move further to Leh you may opt an overland safari to Leh.
Day 01 : Trek Manali - Chikka (5 - 6 hours)
Follow the road across the Beas from Manali and turn right. After a couple of kilometers turn off the road at the village of Pirini towards the left. The path skirts a hill rising steeply to several thousand feet climbing sharply up the face of a rugged mountain. Ascend slowly for several hours up to a grassy down strewn with wildflowers in spring and summer. Continue up a gentle incline hugging the Hamta torrent, past a clearing where gaddis (goatherds and shepherds) camp, until you reach another clearing.
The campsite of Chikka is another hour's walk.
Day 02 : Trek Chikka - "Bhalu Ka Ghera" Camp (3 hours)
The route goes through a beautiful valley, rising gradually to the foot of the pass. Rocky precipices rise almost perpendicularly to a height of several thousand feet. A number of snow bridges over the Hamta stream are crossed. The treeline is approached at 11,000 ft. and clumps of rhododendrons bearing red, white and mauve blossoms in spring and silver birch trees make way. Rise above the trees to the region of grass and flowers - violets, anemones, forget-me-nots, buttercups, kingcups, strawberries, dandelions and narcissi grow in profusion. Traverse a long snow covered slope and come to the campsite at "Bhalu ka ghera" (the den of bears), a flat grassy plain on the banks of the Hamta. A U-shaped expanse of snow, the snout of the glacier is visible. Overnight camping.
Day 03 : Trek "Bhaku Ka Ghera" to Chhatru (6 - 7 hours)
Make an early morning start to cross the pass. The ascent is interesting and not very difficult, lying entirely over snow covered slopes of gradually increasing gradients - the last few hundred feet being very steep and slippery. The ponies can find this last stretch hard and tricky.
After 3 hours reach the top of the Hamta pass (14,000 ft/4,268 m). On the other side there is not much snow; the path is in fact completely free of it. The descent is gradual at first and then goes down steeply all the way to the campsite at Chhatru, on a small plateau well above the Chandra river in Lahoul. On a clear day the snow peaks of the Mulkila and Chandrabhaga ranges are visible.
Day 04 : Trek Chattru - "Phuti Runi" (7 - 8 hours)
The path goes down to the bed of the Chandra river (the road to Spiti is joined here and crosses the river by a metal bridge, while the trek remains on the left bank) and proceeds for 2 km before fording a small stream. Walk up to another stream which is too deep to ford; you have to go a little way up the hill to cross it by a snow bridge. The path now leaves the river bed and climbs up to a beautiful grassy meadow with small meandering streams, usually occupied by gaddis. After leaving this grassy plateau, the going is rocky and hard, and it takes about 2 hours to the camping ground of 'Phuti Runi' (broken stone). The stone is around 30 feet high and lies in two parts with an open fissure all the way down - the result of weathering.
Day 05 : Trek "Phuti Runi " - Karcha (6 - 7 hours)
Immediately after leaving camp, cross a bridge over the Chhota Shigri stream. Leave the river and climb steeply up the hillside over a difficult trail for around 2 km to the Bara Shigri glacier. At this point the glacier is a mass of solid ice more than a mile wide, and extending over a distance of 6 miles from its tail at the top of the mountain at a height of 20,000 ft, to its mouth at the bottom of the valley. The Shigri torrent gushes out of the ice to join the Chandra river. The passage across the glacier is strenuous but in no way dangerous. The route on the other side lies over stony hillocks and then descends to the bed of the Chandra. From here it is an hour's walk to a grassy patch on the banks of the Karcha river where camp is set.
Day 06 : Trek Karcha - Batal, drive Manali (10 hours)
Cross the Karcha stream early in the morning when the water level is very low. Follow a narrow track on rocky moraine for an hour to join the road near Batal on the Chandra river. From here the road goes on across the Kunzum la to the Spiti valley. Vehicles will be waiting at Batal for the 9-hour drive to Manali. Aalternatively, a 3-day road journey will lead to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, on the famous Manali-Leh Highway. This trek can also be extended by another 6 days via the Chandra Tal to the Baralacha la where the track joins the Manali-Leh Highway.