Hiking is a bit like life:The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other…again and again and again.And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek,you will witness beauty every step of the way,not just at the summit”
Sarpass Trek is a high elevation trek for amateurs to Moderate trekkers which packs across the board: Picturesque magnificence, Dense Forest, Tricky trail, strolling in snow, Glacier and a lofty decrease. At a height of 14,000 Ft. the Pass is accessible only in the month of April to Sep. The peaks are always covered with snow and snow storms are regular all times. Solo travel is not recommended if you are new to this area.
This plan started when Jatin called me and informed about the Sarpass trek. The trek was being organised by Montainbytes. Jatin also told me that it will be a great reunion after a long time as we all got busy in our second carrier after retiring from Indian Navy and hardly get time to spend together.
The group met at Chandigarh. The pickup was arranged by Montainbytes. Reaching Chandigarh I met Vikram Mattu, our trip planner, seasoned trekkers like Dinesh Lohia, Ashok Sharma, my friends Shahnawaj Shaikh, Harish Bharti, Saurabh Srivastava, Dipesh Chanda, Kamal Chandra Shukla, Vinay Thakur, Mohit Chugh, Sachin Bhardwaj and offcourse Jatin who brought me to this memorable trip.
Day 1: 29th April 2018:
We started our journey from Chandigarh to Kasol in a tempo traveller. Pick up was arranged by Mountainbytes and it was quite comfortable. Distance from Chandigarh to Kasol is around 290 Km and we took around 10 hrs to reach Kasol. As we took lot of breaks in between also.
Kasol is a beautiful small town in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh which is base for many treks including Sarpass, Kheerganga etc also.
At Kasol, we stayed in tents at Ropasopa Home Stay. The food was homely, delicious and not too heavy and the host arranged campfire also for us. Best piece of the Roopasopa is that it is with the stream parvathy streaming sideways.
Day 2 (30th Apr 2018): Kasol to Grahan Village
Distance: 8-9 Kilometers
Altitude: 7700 Ft.
Time: 7-8 Hours
Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Our journey for Sarpass started from Kasol on 30th Apr. Fisrt camp was in Grahan Village.. Allmost full route we walked alongside River parvathy. Complete trail is through dense Pine forests and uras (Rhododendrons). The scenic view won’t let you exhausted. We reached Grahan village after around 7 hours of trek.
Grahan Village: Grahan Village is a sacred village at 7,700 Ft. Away from the hustle bustle of cities a very beautiful village with no internet or telephone network. There are few landline available but at certain places only. In the village, drinking is strictly prohibited and one can be fined heavily if caught. Even, carrying liquor while passing village was not allowed as per our guide Jograj Thakur.
After dinner we had campfire at Grahan Camp where we played antakshari and after that we went to sleep at around 10.30 p.m.
Day 3 (01 May 2018): Grahan Village to Ming Thack
Distance: 7-8 Kilometers
Altitude: 11,200 Ft.
Time: 6-7 Hours
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult
Next day on 1st May, we started around 8 AM and started our trek to Ming Thack which is at an altitude of 11,200 Ft.We were given packed lunch. Saurabh and Kamal from our team took the responsibility of collecting packed lunch to ensure we get enough food during our trek. Weather was clear and supported us well while the trek route got steeper and steeper as we approached near to Ming Thack. We completed our trek in around 6-7 hours. It was a breathtaking experience sitting there and watching the snow covered peaks of Dhauladhar which we were going to cover in the coming days. We were quite exited and waited anxiously to get to our next camp.
Day 4 (02nd May 2018). Ming Thack to Nagaru
Distance: 6-7 Kilometers
Altitude: 12,300 Ft.
Time: 5-6 Hours
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult
We started from Ming Thack at around 09.00 in the morning. Walking through this stretch you feel the effect of high altitude and get exhausted easily due to less availability of Oxygen. Initially the trek was easy but with the time it went through steep slopes which go directly to the valley. We listened songs from the speaker of Ashok Sharma and danced at some rest points. In between we had our packed lunch.
Nearing to Nagaru camp, rain started with hailstones and the steep route became even tougher. We followed the guides and walked in single lines. Everyone was cautious because of the slippery rocks and deep valley next to the way.
Nagaru is situated at the height of 12,300 ft. and covered with snow round the year. Reaching there we got mobile networks and everyone was eager to call home back. Here we did even video calling. However, it was not for long as there was a snow storm which restricted us to our tents. We had to remove the fresh snow from our tents to avoid falling down of tents. After 2-3 hrs weather got cleared and everyone got chance to take some beautiful photos and to share with their near and dears. Night temperature went as low as -6 to 8 degree C.
We were informed that the next day trek will start at morning 4.30 and were asked to finish our dinner early. We followed the instructions of Camp leader and slept early.
Day 5 (03nd May 2018). Nagaru to Sar Pass to Biskeri
Distance: 13-14 Kilometers
Max. Altitude: 13,800 Ft. to 11,000 Ft
Time: 6-8 Hours
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult
Today we had to cover Sarpass at the height of 13,800 Ft, highest point of the trek and we started with high Morales. Weather was cool with Chilly winds and most of us got snow burn on our noses on the way. We started walking on the freshly fell snow behind our trek guides Meghna and Jograj. Walking was difficult as our shoes were getting under the snow up to knees. Sunglasses are very important here to avoid snow blindness and the chilly winds. After around 3-4 hours of walking on the snow we reached Sar Pass. The surface was flat and the view was breathtaking. We had some very good pictures here and spent good time.
A long slide was waiting for us here at Sar Pass top. The route near to the slide was very tough and the chilly winds made it more difficult to stand. Here we had to wait for long as each person was taking his own time for sliding. Slide was a fun and most of us rolled down on the way. After slide we came across the lake which was covered with 2-3 ft of snow. When we reached down it again started snowing and made it hard for us to walk in that cold.
We further started our journey after the slide to the ups and downs of the snow clad mountains and next peak called Biskeri Top was the target for the day. For walking around 1 hour after the slide we found grass lands and going through dense rhododendron bushes, we reached to Biskeri camp where we were served with hot tea and Pakodas.
After scaling the peak, we all were in celebration mood and sung lot of songs during the camp fire. Also, we tried to dry our shoes which were wet due to the ice went inside the shoes. Here, our friends from Himanchal Jatin, Harish, Dinesh, Ashok, Vinay and Vikram sung some very soothing himanchali songs and explained the meanings also. After camp fire we went to our tents. Temperature was moderate and comfortable after spending one night in -8 degree C temperature.
Day 6 (04nd May 2018). Biskeri to Kasol via Pulga and Manikaran Sahib
Distance: 15-16 Kilometers
Max. Altitude: 11,000 Ft
Time: 5-6 Hours
From Biskeri Camp to Pulga village it is a steep descent. During the route, we went through many water streams some of which we crossed through bridges made by tree trunks with our fingers crossed. On the route we found many Tosh and Kayal tress in the forest. The trek was very steep which may cause knee pain also. After around 4 hours of trek we reached the lowest point of the route, where we came down by rappelling between the rocks using a rope. After rappelling we came across a big nallah (Water Stream) which we crossed by a bridge made of wooden logs. The after climbing up we stopped for a tea
break on a temporary stall put by loca villager. The Lady at the shop was very kind and I was amazed when she told me “If you don’t have money no problem, but take the tea.”
After tea break we walked around 1 hours on easy routes and reached to our lunch point. Here again, there was a small shop set up by the guide who was selling Maggie, tea and water bottles. At this point we did lot of Masti and got some good clicks. From our Lunch point within one hour we reached Pulga village.
Pulga Village is a peaceful village nestled in the lush green valley of Himalaya good for solo travel. The villagers are friendly and they worship Narayana Bhagwan whose temple at the centre of the village. You will find many foreigners here. The village has plenty of homestays.
After walking through the village for around 45 minutes we crossed a developing hydro-Power project and reached Barseni Bus Stand, from where we took the bus to Manikaran. This place should be a must visit place in your list if you are planning to visit Manali or going to Kasol.
Manikaran is having religious significance for Hindus and Sikhs and well known for its Hot springs. We were taken to Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara by Dipesh and Mohit. At Gurdwara, we cleaned up in the heated water spring. We spent around 30 minutes in the spring and it was excessively reviving and unwinding. We spent around 30 minutes inside the water. After shower, we had prashad at langer. After food we went to adjacent Shiva Temple where there is wellspring of boiling water. Water is so hot there that rice is cooked in the water.
From Manikaran we took another bus and reached back to our stay at Ropasopa, kasol. After a long time we got the cozy beds and blankets in the tents. Our host again arranged a campfire which we enjoyed upto 1 o’clock in night where Jatin and Harish sung some beautiful Gazals. We also witnessed some fine steps of Dinesh and Jatin hear on some musical numbers.
Next day we started our journey back to Chandigarh early as Saurabh and Kamal were having train in evening from Chandigarh. At Chandigarh we said Good Bye to everyone and started our journey back to home with a hope that we will again make such a beautiful trek with the same group.
By: Abhinav Srivastav Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
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