A bunch of us friends have been wanting to start trekking again and based on insights and options by Tapas from myhimalayan adventure we decided to do a moderately difficult trek on the Pind Bhabha pass. Tapas from My Himalayan Adventure arranged for a experienced cook and helper who doubled up as guides as well and they met us at the beginning of our journey in Chandigarh.
Of course this was a great research trip for India Someday and we can definitely recommend and help plan this trek for any adventure seekers out there.
Having flown Into Chandigarh we met up with the cook and helper here and then drove up in the Himalayas towards a small village Kafnu. We had hired a Toyota Innova (read more about car hire in India) but would recommend a Tata Sumo or Tempo Traveler as the camping equipment take a up a lot of space. we stopped for lunch at the famous Giani Dhaba in Dharampur and then made our way to the planned stop for the night, a small town called Rampur. But as evening set in so did the mist not allowing us to drive any further and we set ourselves up Aya guesthouse in Narkanda. The guest house was 700 INR a night for a simple room with hot water and a TV.
Travel time: 12.30 pm to 7pm
Chandigarh to Narkanda
Starting not too early at around 8.40 we made our way to Kafnu. The base village for the trek. We had to stop for our daily rations and food, in a small village of Jhakri where we got almost all the essentials other than cheese. That was quite a disappointment -:). Though it was only 120 odd km it took us nearly nine hours together.
The guesthouse in Kafnu was not too clean but guess we were too tired to complain. At Kafnu we met the local guide and his brother who also helped us arrange for horses to carry the tents and bags etc. We had a early dinner and got ready for our four day trek across the Kinnaur region of Himachal to the barren Spiti region.
A early morning we had a nice hot water shower, our last for a few days. The horses and guide came to pick us at the guest house. We parceled some fantastic Aloo Paratha for a incredible deal for just 15 INR and we were off. It was a little overcast and a slight drizzle, we had expected this and had all out bags wrapped in rain protective gear. The first km was till the end of the village and we then crossed over a small bridge and entered a dirt path with the forest on one side and the river flowing on the other. It was a nice gradual incline walk and not very strenuous. As we continued on this path there were two large ice blocks through which the river was flowing. They were really neat to look at and we stopped nearby to grab our breakfast and a well deserved break. As we continued on we had a steep climb in the forests and the constant rain was being blocked by the trees. The forests then gave way to a meadow with different colored flowers on either side. There was then another couple of km long walk through the forests with a fun bamboo river crossing. And after a very very steep ascend we finally came into a very game of thrones and lords of the rings like locale. Big green meadow, lots of cows grazing, high mountains bearing down on us from both sides and the ever faithful river cutting the land in two. We found a forest lodge there which was empty and we set up our sleeping bags right in it. This worked out well as the rain and cold would have not gone down too well with our city addicted bodies. We climbed 6 hours in and went from 7900 ft to 10400 ft.
Travel time – 8.30 pm to 2 pm
Kafnu to Mulling
Altitude – 7800 ft to 10700 ft
Distance 15 km
We had a nice early start as today we had decided to cover two days of the trek in one. To acclimatize a little better we should have broken our stay and stopped at a place called Kara but we decided to push for it and combine the two 6 km walks into one day and end the trip at Phustirang. So we started early morning to ensure we reach on time and the beginning of the walk was pleasant through big boulders. Forests and then we hit the meadows. We spent a little too much time at one part as we had a little incident with the drone here ( yes we should have not tried stunts up in the mountains) as there was too much wind we crash and burned. The meadows were laced with some river crossings which were a little tricky and freezing. We were glad that there was enough sun to warm us up rather quickly.. From the meadows we had another steep climb till a glacier which we had to cross. I was a little scared while doing this to be but the walking sticks helped ease some of those fears. We then walked on for another hour up a gradual incline along the valley with views of a sheer drop into the river. We then came to a open space which was our pit stop for the night. A lovely camp site, which when we arrived was filled with a lot of sheep grazing, a tiny stream running through it, and surrounded by the high mountains.
We all felt a little strain due to the altitude and our heads did hurt, though some nice food and eating half a garlic along with some Electral helped us quite a bit.
Sleep was a stranger as well, and were all taking turns at walking about like zombies at night. Guess we anxious for our climb to the peak and pass the next day.
Travel time – 6.30 pm to 3.30 pm
Mulling to Phustirang
Altitude – 10700 ft to 13500 Ft
Distance 14 km
Another early morning start, and a day i don’t think any of us were prepared for climb to the pass. From the beginning till we reached the pass it was really steep and we struggled initially with the thin air and altitude. We did get into a rhythm and slow sure steps helped reduce the distance. The sun stayed away and so did the cold, the temperature was ideal. The views as we climbed did include a lot more snow and the peak on the other side of the pass we were climbing We got to the peak by 11 am, it took us nearly 5 hours for that climb. After spending a few minutes at the top and taking in the view we started our descent into the Kaza valley. The Descent was quite tricky, because of the ice and man it was slippery. we tried sliding down using our rain coats, not too successfully as we could not stop our free fall. and when we tried walking down we fell down quite often as well, at least i did. This was a difficult part but also entertaining. Being clumsy on ice can be comical, but falling down on it painful.
Once we completed the descent and reached the plains in the Kaza valley. The views were spectacular, Blue skies, sun shining and the snow peaked pass in the background. But from the plains to the camping site at Chochoden was a long walk. It was simple and straight with not too much inclines and declines. The walk was along the river again, but this had brackish water. As the water mixed with the greyish sand. unfortunately we forgot to fill water and had to struggle to the campsite with parched mouths. This last part was a simple walk compared to the steep climb and struggling descent but it was long and seemed never ending. The views though were beautiful. The snow desert and its endless valleys just are really enchanting.
we camped at Chochoden, a little before actually and the wind really picked up and hammered away at the tents. It was cold, but i guess we were just happy to have stopped walking
After a nice light dinner and some hot soup, we were a lot happier and enjoyed the unbelievable sky. The stars are something us city boys never got to see, and the sheer number of stars was amazing, barring the cold i really had the urge to sleep outside the tent.
Travel time – 6 am to 5 pm
Phustirang to Chochoden
Altitude – 13500 ft to 16000 ft down to 13500 ft
Distance 15 km
Another early morning start, some jam sandwiches for breakfast to get the sugar going, and we were ready and eager to get back to civilization and have a hot water bath. That and internet being our motivation we walked at a brisk pace as we headed to Mud. The walk was really scenic but repetitive, with the valley, river and desert mountains forming a endless chain. The sun burnt us this day, it was really hot and well we were tired grimy and dirty. I decided that i am going to push through and reach as fast as possible. The walk was really easy with most of the walk being flat. there were a few inclines which were tricky because of loose stones and gravels but in general a really easy walk. It was y nearly 10 km of this terrain until we reached the last parts of the walk nering Mud town, we saw Yaks, green meadows and the tiny hamlet perched up on a hillock. To get into the main town we had to cross a river, which was a little difficult for the mules and fun for us. A suspension bridge strung with prayer flags, and then a short steep uphill climb to civilization, telephones, and a Mirror :).
Travel time – 7 am to 3 pm
Chochoden to Mud
Altitude – 13500 ft to 10000 ft
Distance 12 km
This was a fantastic trek which took us through so many different facets of the mountain, from its forests, meadows, snow, heat, rubble, and all of this in 4 days. For any person that is looking for an adventure and loves nature this trek is perfect. And we had a great experience with My Himalayan Adventure.