After a really good sleep last night, I was in no mood to get out of the sleeping bag. I ignored the first couple of Kama’s whistles but then finally dragged my lazy self outside. It was the toughest day of the trek and missing the morning exercise would have definitely meant trouble in the steep ascent ahead. Not that anyone of us was ‘allowed’ to skip the morning exercise anyway!
After some jumping, twisting and stretching the team started feeling much more active and after steaming hot cups followed by breakfast, people in the team started getting for the exciting day ahead.
If all goes well, today we will be crossing the Hampta Pass!
In the meantime, I hiked up to a nearby rock and away from our camping area which because of being surrounded by high mountains on three sides, was not expected to see any sunshine before it was well past day-break.
Hampta Pass Trek In July – Walking On Snow And Through Waterfalls
Not so surprisingly, the views were brilliant. By the time I got back, everyone was ready to leave so without further ado, we too joined them. Soon after the glacier up to which I and Ruchi had walked yesterday came the first snow-bridge of the day. To be honest, I was not very happy seeing the way it looked. I love snow but not ice that too one that seemed months old. Even though I did skid a couple of times, thankfully I did not fall. Neither did the others.
We were ascending our way through rocks, snow and beautiful waterfalls when out of nowhere we found ourselves in sort of a traffic jam. One which reminded me of a similar one I was stuck in while on my way to Kargil from Srinagar.
I had loved being in between what had seemed to be hundreds of sheep on their way home from pastures high up back then and it was no different this time either. Led by guard dogs and swept by a bakkarwaal (herdsmen) himself, this big pack came rushing down with no concern of slipping hundreds of feet below with one wrong jump and it took us a while before we could get back on our trail which we had to abruptly get away from in order to let them pass.
Toughest Day of the Hampta Pass Trek
Today’s walk was tougher than what it had been the last two days. For a better part of first half of the day, we were negotiating rocks and boulders. The water consumption too seemed to be much higher today. I realized this after I found myself at a water-stream filling the water-bottle third time in less than an hour. As we moved on, my eyes fell on the mules carrying our luggage. Those guys were on the other side of the river to our right on a trail which seemed much relaxed than the one were taking. I was confused about why were we taking this tougher and boulder-strewn route when the horses carrying out luggage were taking what seemed to be a pretty flat route.
The doubt cleared as I proceeded little ahead and found most of that route to be marshy. Now for the horses, it was fine to walk on a marshy surface but I am not sure whether I would have liked to walk the rest of the day and the next with wet shoes. Probably not. I was happy negotiating the boulders.
By the time we reached what I was told the final ascent before we start climbing the Hampta Pass, I was dead tired and equally hungry. Even though I have been munching chocolates all this while up to here, it seemed that was not of much help. Relaxing on the side of a rock I finished my packed lunch and decided to relax a bit until the guys behind us showed up.
Crossing The Hampta Pass In July Under Snowfall
Soon we were moving again and towards the mighty Hampta Pass. From here on, each step seemed to be tougher than the previous one. I was halfway on the final snow-covered incline and it started raining. I knew this had to happen. I had rain when I was almost at the Chang-la, I had rain when I was almost at Khardung-la and I had rain when I was almost nearing the Tanglang-la top so why should Hampta stay behind.
When the rain stopped, fog settled in bringing down the visibility to what seemed to me, not more than 100 meters. I finally made it to a very foggy Hampta Pass top and looked back to from where we have walked up.
Wherever I looked there were huge glaciers and snow-covered pics. Because of the drizzle, I could not take my camera out so the photos here hardly do any justice to the grandeur of the place.
On the other side of the Hampta Pass – Spiti Valley
The decent to Sia Goru coupled with a sudden hail-storm when we were mid-way on a rocky mountain was scary, to say the least. It was scary but then that’s the way the mountains treat you. That’s the way they welcome you and if it smiles on you, your time in her lap is made. In our case, the mountains definitely smiled albeit after a harmless nudge 😉 .
After a two hour descent, a slide over a bumpy snow-bridge and a screwed up knee each, me and Ruchi along with others were finally in the Sia Goru. Reaching the camp, however, took one more hour.
I was left with no energy whatsoever and crashed soon after reaching the camp. The dinner was fabulous as usual but the Dharshini’s birthday celebration post that was the highlight of the night 🙂 .
PS: I was hosted on the trek by Renok Adventures
What would you like to do if you are under a clear sky glittering with billions of stars above you? Sleep under the stars maybe? Or something else?
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