Memories of beautiful Hampta Pass Trek of July 2014

Prajakt_23

Active Member
Dear All,

I had been to this beautiful Hampta Pass Trek in Himachal Pradhesh beyond Manali, which started on 19th July 2014. Although it had already started raining, this time luck was on our side. We could not only successfully complete this trek without any serious issues, but I could also capture beautiful landscapes and memories of this trek to cherish for...

Here are some teasers to keep everyone excited about it...

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I will soon upload day wise travelogue and photos.

Prajakt
 

noidea

Active Member
Very pretty place, great photographs, please proceed with all the details.

Cheers and regards.
 

Prajakt_23

Active Member
Hampta Pass Trek Travelogue

Day 1 :

It had been long time since my last unsuccessful attempt to Rupin pass of June 13. It was sheer luck that we did not move out from our guides place next to raging river in Dhaula village for those 4 days, when the entire Uttarakhand was experiencing the nature’s fury.

I could hardly wait patiently for next few months and again my heart was leaping towards snow capped Himalayas. With my past experiences I learnt that, if I seriously want execute any trek plan then having minimal dependency on others is the key. On multiple previous occasions, finalized trek plans got cancelled due to unplanned dynamics with members supposed to join me on trek. So this time, I decided to go alone for trek and join any fixed departure trek arranged by any reputed trekking company. Indiahikes was one such option available but people representing them over email were bit lazy for timely responding to queries. Also those folks were more keen on every trekker to carry his / her own sack, which I wanted to avoid. Someone like me who had been travelling places for the sheer joy of exploring nature trails and to capture my experience in photographs, was not very keen in walking with my own sack weighting 10+ kgs and diverting my attention and energy on sack and allied things instead of views around!

So the next option I knew was Trekthehimalayas guys. They had multiple treks ranging from Rupin pass to Everest Base camp. Since I was travelling alone, I decided to search for simplest trek listed on their website which was Hampta Pass in Himachal Pradesh. It was in 2008, I had first been to Himachal for Sar Pass trek and since then, I fell in love with Himachal. Trekthehimalayas gave me upfront option to offload my sack on horse at predefined amount for the entire trek duration. However, the batch size that was initially promised to me (20-22), was bloated up to 28 till the actual begin of the trek. This definitely increased pressure on their guides and support crew of this trek batch. Since I wanted to keep my leaves to minimum, I was looking for any batch which would start on Saturday, giving me an option to start on Friday evening from Pune to reach Delhi. An overnight HRTC Volvo would have been good enough to take me to Manali on Saturday morning by 10 am. With these constraints, I opted for 19th July batch for Hampta Pass.

It was Friday evening and I was on my way to Pune airport when it started drizzling. Although, I am ardent rain lover, I was really worried with these showers just on the beginning day of the travel. My spicejet flight was on time and I was ready on Delhi airport with my sack by 6:30 pm. Since the HRTC Volvo was to start towards Manali at 9:03 pm from Delhi ISBT, I decided to spend some time on Delhi airport itself. Although couple of guys had reminded me about Delhi traffic, somehow I ignored this warning, which actually would have cost me this trek itself!

The prepaid cab guys came on time and we stated towards ISBT by exactly 7:25 pm. He told me that ideally it would take 50 minutes to reach ISBT. With this, I was expecting us to reach ISBT by max 8:45 even considering moderate traffic. After moving swiftly for first couple of minutes, we reached one spot where the traffic stalled and it started raining heavily. None of the vehicles were moving and I was alternatively looking out of window and my wrist watch with the hope that I would still make it to ISBT on time. The clock was ticking... Every passing minute increased my frustration and I was cursing myself for wasting available time on Delhi airport. After spending more than 20-25 minutes in crawling traffic, we started to move at moderate speed. Now my cab driver gave me another shock by asking which ISBT to be taken to. As far as all information that I could recollect, I had not heard of second ISBT. And even if it was present somewhere, I was really not sure if we had enough time to reach there before my bus leaves for Manali without me! I had to make couple of emergency calls to console myself of the fact that there is only one ISBT with perhaps two different entrances. It was almost 8:55 when I saw one of the entry gates. But as expected, busses and other vehicles were only allowed to come out of that gate. The cab driver swiftly took me to next entrance where I jumped out of the car and ran inside the ISBT terminal. Inquiry counter guys guided me to the lower floor where the Manali Volvo was supposed to be waiting for last minute passengers. And there it was! Amidst the crowd of confused folks arguing on right bus to be boarded, I saw one new light green colour Volvo bearing “Delhi to Manali” plate. I rushed towards it and kept my main sack in luggage compartment. I went in and secured my sit exactly by 9 pm. Sardarji with red turban at the steering wheel cranked the starter at around 9:10 and we were out for our dream ride..

Since it was going to take me 12 to 14 hours to reach Manali, I had psychologically prepared myself for the boring night journey. It was almost 11:45 in the night when papaji parked at one restaurant on the highway. Since it was raining out and it was pretty late in the night, many passengers decided to skip the dinner. I came out of the bus just out of curiosity and gathered that we had reached Karnal. As usual, since it’s a free dinner for bus drivers in such hotels, after spending good 30-45 minutes, our bus moved out of this restaurant.

I was soon dozing and faintly remember bus passing Chandigadh and other places early morning. I woke up in the morning when our driver parked next to another dhabha type hotel for tea and snacks. It was around 6:30 or 7 in the mornings and I got to know that it would still take another 3-4 hours to reach Manali. While reading emails, I gathered that we were required to report Manali by 10-10:30 in morning which seemed next to impossible at this rate. I called up Sanjeev, who was supposed to be our trek leader from Manali and explained him the situation. I was surprised to know that there were another 3-4 folks on the same bus who were to join the same trek on the same day.

By now, we were on hilly roads and bus was taking turns on curvy roads towards Manali. The valley below was giving the glimpse of Beas river. It was around 9:30 or so when we reached Kullu bus stand. Our driver refuelled the bus and we were again out towards Manali. Although it had stopped raining, it was evident that it had rained all night long in that region. It was only by 11:30, I got down at private bust stand in front of Hotel Rudra palace. The place in front of hotel was full of mud and water logging. After a quick conversation with Sanjeev on phone, I decided to walk another 10 minutes uphill to reach TTH guesthouse where I had expected some decent arrangement for freshening up after this tiresome journey. To my surprise, the guesthouse turned out to be a very small room where most of the trek luggage was lying shabbily. I met my fellow trekker, Ashish, who eventually became my buddy for rest of the trek. Sanjeev soon moved to Rudra Palace to check on other trekkers who were waiting there for him. I could barely spend some time in that room since it was very damp and there was no ventilation to that room. Soon I changed my clothes and distributed my luggage so that the unwanted things can be left there itself to be collected when the trek gets over. Soon I was out in Manali market where I ate some snacks and waited for Sanjeev as well as others to come there. It was continuously drizzling in Manali while I was waiting for jeeps to reach the guest house. Soon one jeep reached the guest house and I could load my sack on to its carrier. We moved out of the guest house and met other jeeps waiting for us somewhere on the road.

Now our journey towards Jobri started. It was almost 2 pm by now. We were told that we need to pass through one government dam project and it requires specific permission to be taken to pass through that project. Incidentally, the officials responsible for completing the formality at the entrance of the project were not around and it gave us opportunity to get down of the jeeps to meet all fellow trekkers. I remember meeting Rakesh, Rohit and Mansi before we started our journey in mountains further.

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Our jeep was the first one to start from there and our driver maintained this lead throughout the journey. We were gaining height rapidly and my altimeter was showing reading 9000 feet. With each turn, the view of the valley below was changing and the weather was becoming pleasant. Soon we had reached 10000 feet mark and after driving for 45minutes of so, we passed huge water reservoirs of the dam. Soon our jeep stopped next to one of the entrances of the dam project and I gathered that we had reached “Jobri”. We offloaded our sacks from our jeep and started towards the trail next to the compound wall. Sanjeev advised us to keep our sacks next to the trail since the support team as well as horses were not seen around. On the left side, we could see one small makeshift tea stall. Five of us decided to take our first tea break of the trek there.

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Soon, we could hear the sound of other jeeps and within next couple of minutes, all 28 members along with Rajeev and few of his crew members reached the spot.

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While we were sipping tea, others were offloading their sacks from jeeps and few of them were piling them next to my sack. My heart sank with the idea of keeping my sack there getting wet till the time horsemen would pick it up. I was hoping that my past experience of sack packing will come to use and will protect my stuff packed inside.

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Although I did not see Sanjeev around at that moment, Naresh, another crew member from technical support team led us on the trail. It was around 3:15 pm by now when we started the walk.

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Within a minute or so, we were on the small metal bridge which was leading to wet trail further. The water levels below appeared to be increased due to continuous rain for last couple of hours.

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Soon the trail led us to a beautiful plateau where we stopped for a minute or so to look back at few members who were trying to get Maggie cooked in practically 2 minutes from the tea stall. I took this opportunity for our first group photo at the backdrop of lush green mountains and low hanging clouds.

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Amit, Nikhil and others went up the hill on right side assuming the trail leading there.

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Naresh was sitting on a rock face staring below at lagging team members.

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Rakesh also wanted a photo on the same location..

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Soon everyone was on right track and we moved ahead on trail.

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The trail was now entering jungle where one big dried hollow tree trunk had fallen. Since its diameter was sizeably big, team took different methods to cross across it.

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We went ahead on muddy trail through boulders and thick jungle for next few minutes.

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After walking at a regular pace for next half an hour or so, trail came out of the jungle. There was a steep rock on left side of the trail and the valley below was full of clouds.

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The view in front of us was amazing. At a distance, I could see trail leading down the mountain and passing by one stream. Next to this stream, I could see few colourful tents amidst clouds.

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When we reached closer, I could see couple for foreigners camping there. Their horses were grazing around in the vicinity giving the scene a very lively feeling.

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By now clouds had started moving swiftly up the valley and that was an indication for us to move fast to reach the campsite.

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Soon we reached a place at some height on right side of Hampta river from where we could faintly see few blue tents.

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This location was very beautiful but since Naresh warned us about the changing weather, we moved ahead after a quick photo or two. After walking for next couple of minutes, we could locate our kitchen tent which we had seen from far.

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The campsite was located on right bank of Hampta river few good feet above the water level. I could feel the freshness in the air. It had started raining by now. Fortunately support team had pitched a big bright red dinning tent which could easily accommodate 20 odd members in it. We moved to its shelter waiting for our horsemen to reach the scene.

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Since all the other tents as well as our sacks were being carried by horses, we had to wait for another hour or so before they reached the campsite. I was really worried for my sacks condition since I did not have a dedicated rain cover for my sack. When I was searching for my sack in dumped load, I got this horrifying feeling after seeing my sack in muddy brown colour. After checking with couple of horsemen, I came to know that the horse carrying my sack slipped somewhere on the trail and my sack went into mud slush. The only thing I could do at that point was to try washing my sack while it was pouring heavily. I was praying within and hoping that none of this had affected my neatly packed cloths in multiple polythenes.

While searching for a neatly packed tent bag, I again met Ashish and we decided to be tent mates. Since both of us had past trekking experience, we knew the importance of selection of good tent, good sleeping bag and equally important flat space where we would pitch our tent. Since I had a good partner now, finding the next 3 things was just a matter of few minutes. Since the sleeping bags were also carried on horses, there was a possibility of getting wet sleeping bags which we wanted to avoid for sound sleep. Soon we were in the warm Quechua tent pitched next to Hampta river at around 10600 feet. Within next few minutes, as Naresh had warned us, the entire landscape got filled with thick white clouds reducing the visibility to few feet. I had witnessed “blackout” on past occasions but witnessing “whiteout” was equally a fun! We were given some Maggie and corn soup on arrival but unfortunately both were not prepared to my taste. Having said this, eating something hot in chilled weather was not an opportunity that I was going to miss..

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We were called for dinner by 7:15 or so. The food prepared was hot and tasty. We all gathered in dining tent and enjoyed a full course meal while getting acquainted with each other. Soon Sanjeev arrived in the tent and post lunch he introduced us to our two additional trek leaders and member of technical support team, Naresh and Chinni ji. Sanjeev explained about the symptoms of AMS and advise extreme caution due to the recent death of a trekker on Roopkund Trek in Indiahike’s batch due to AMS.
It continued to downpour entire night. We tried to get good sleep but I remember listening to the sound of raindrops on our tent throughout. And that was the end of day one of our trek.
 

Push21

Well-Known Member
awesome Buddy.... beautiful vistas....nice pics..... on time for the Bus.... lots of incidences to remember.... carry on...njoy !!!!!
 
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