Name: Pin Parvati Pass Trek
Approx elevation: 17,450 ft
Starting Point: Kasol
About Pin Parvati Pass
The Pin Parvati Pass is an incredible high altitude mountain pass in Himachal Pradesh, that takes you at a height of 17,500 feet. It is the shortest route connecting the lush Parvati valley in Kullu with the Pin valley in Spiti.
The trek is a very popular because once you cross the Pin-Parvati Pass, you will experience a complete change in landscape. The mountain slopes immediately turns barren and rugged and the common culture of the inhabitants also changes from Hinduism on the Kullu side to Buddhism in Spiti.
While attempting this moderately difficult pass, you will be required to cross countless rivulets and streams and walk long stretches on almost all days. This 100 km trans Himalayan trail is full with adventure – from trekking through hidden trails, climbing rock boulders, crossing the Parvati river and long snow patches at the top. The snow and the glacier at the top gives you a real alpine feeling and experience to remember for life time.
The Pin Parvati Pass is one of the most enthralling and challenging trekking trails in India and is only recommended for trekkers with previous experience but it is sure to delight and challenge even the most seasoned trekkers.
Reporting and Acclimatisation Day : Kasol
Reporting day will be your time mainly to acclimatise properly before starting the trek. You will be taken on a short walk to nearby villages near Kasol. Utilise this time to explore and collect any item from the market in case you are missing.
An orientation regarding the whole trek will be given in the evening. Prepare you backpack well with the help of your camp leader. Check again all the necessary items before going to sleep as your next 10 days depends it.
Trek Day 01 : Kasol (6,500 ft) to Barshaini (7,250 ft) to Kheerganga (9,700 ft)
Distance: 5.5 km | 4 – 5 hrs
Barshaini Dam, the starting point of the trek welcomes you with refreshing view of Parvati river surrounded by glorious rocky hills.
It’s a short and easy trek starting through a well-defined trail between thick forest cover and passing by few water falls. Rudranag, the serpenti-shaped waterfall comes along the way.
Kheerganga will be your first campsite which is surrounded by mountains from all the four sides. It is very famous among the pilgrims as it is said that Shiva meditated here for 3000 years. Also the spring water here is said to have healing properties.
After reaching campsite you will get a chance to take a dip in the hot spring at Parvati Kund. You can relax in the natural hot water overlooking 360 degree view of mountains. You will be amazed by how good the natural hot spring feels after a good trek.
Trek Day 02 : Kheerganga (9,700 ft) to Tunda Bhuj (10,900 ft)
Distance: 12 km | 5- 6 hours.
Trek from Kheerganga to Tunda Bhuj is fairly easy as the ascend is gradual and almost 70 percent of trail is through the sub-alpine forest. It is one of the most beautiful trails during the whole trek where you get to see waterfalls and lots of wild flowers, birds and berries.
The campsite comes after crossing a bridge over a big waterfall, leading to a meadow with abundant boulders. Various waterfalls gush through the valley’s towering peaks and marks the meeting point of various tributaries to the River Parvati.
The scenic open meadow of Tunda Bhuj offers the exquisite view of the region with its heavenly sub-alpine forests of Birch and Rhododendrons.
Trek Day 3: Tunda Bhuj (10,900 ft) to Thakur Kuan (11,700 ft):
Distance: 12 km | 5-6 Hours
The route till Tunda Bhuj was an easy walk with mild ascends and descends but today’s trek route to Thakur Kuan is bit adventurous.
You will have to cross a short but tricky rock patch called ‘Patra ghat’. It is not as scary as it looks but you have to be really careful while crossing it.
Don’t rush and take the help of the guide to cross it safely.
Thakur Kuan is a sublime region that brags rocky overlaps all along the way; has abundant flower extensions that will delight any nature enthusiasts’. Beautiful blossoms of poppies, buttercups, iris and various other wildflowers enhance the meadows that holds a flawless beauty.
Trek Day 4: Thakur Kuan (11,700 ft) to Odi Thatch (12,800 ft) :
Distance: 9 km | 4-5 hours
Today’s trek is full of adventure and adrenaline rush. On the way from Thakur Kuan to Odi Thach you will have to cross the Parvati river through two bridges: Pandav pul 1 and Pandav pul 2. Apart from the challenge of crossing the bridges, the trail gradient from Thakur Kuan to Odi Thatch is comparatively easy.
The Pandav bridges which is the most tricky part comes after 1.5 hours of trek. It is recommended that all trekkers stay together in a group while crossing this natural bridge. As per Hindu mythology Pandavas placed these rocks for river crossings hence named after them.
Pandu pul 1 is a small boulder but tricky one as it is slippery from one end with only few grip points. While Pandu pull 2 is a gigantic boulder with a staircase on one end made up of pile of rocks. The Pandu Pul 2 is rather easy compared to Pandu Pul 1. One will need to extremely careful and guides will provide assistance with help of ropes if required.
Odi Thach is again a massive meadow with the majestic Eiger peak overlooking it. Here you are sure to meet few shepherds and get first-hand information on the condition of the trail leading to the pass.
Trek Day 5 : Odi Thatch(12,800 ft) to Mantalai (13,600 ft) :
Distance: 11 km | 5-6 hours
The trail from Odi thach to Mantalai lake is mostly flat and along the left bank of the river Parvati. Small streams flows over the trail making it bit muddy and slippery. Towards the end of the trek the trail becomes steep over moraine which can take some effort.
One of the most enthralling part of the trek, is the mystical Mantalai Lake which is the origin point of Parvati river. It’s an amazing feeling to finally witness the origin of the river along which you are traversing from last 4 days.
After a gradual and steep climb, one can witness the Mantalai Glacier with a small Shivling buried on the grounds. The calm and pristine Mantalai lake is adorned with the reflections of surrounded giant mountains.
Spend some time here as the local guides will perform a small ritual and offering at the Shivling.
Next you will have to trek through a maze of small rivulets to reach the campsite.
Trek Day 06 : Mantalai (13,600 ft) to Parvati side Base Camp (16,300 ft):
Distance: 13 km | 6-7 hours
Today’s trek will be challenging as the terrain gets difficult with a high gain in altitude. The adventurous climb from Mantalai to Parvati side Base camp involves crossing of many streams while it offers one of the best views of the trek along the way.
Once you cross all the streams the climb becomes very steep and the trail is not well marked and some sections are broken in parts or completely. The curvy parvati valley that you are leaving behind will fade in the clouds just after reaching the top.
From the top of the climb you get to view many small fresh water lakes of all shades of blue and green at the far left end of the valley.
Towards the last patch of this route you will have to traverse through a moraine section to reach the snow top. At the end of the day you will be at 16,300 ft, at the edge of a glacier.
The campsite will be on a upland and depending on the snow conditions tents will be pitched and higher chances are that you will have to camp over snow. The campsite is surrounded with glacier, snow fields, moraines and large boulders.
If lucky, you might witness snowfall. Camping over snow along the glacier is an experience in itself. Also If the sky is clear at night then you will get best view of milky way.
Trek Day 07: Parvati side Base Camp (16,300 ft): – Pin Parvati Pass (17,500 ft) – Pin side Base Camp (14,500 ft):
Distance: 7 km | 8-10 hours
Today you will have to wake up early morning at 3 am and start you climb at 5 am so you can cross the maximum distance on snow patch before sunrise.
As the sun comes it will make the snow melt which will make the climb harder. Also the snow-covered surfaces have a high albedo, typically reflecting over 90% of sunlight so make sure to keep your sunglasses handy.
Drink as much water you can to balance the oxygen level in your blood and to avoid dehydration. The climb is easy but the thin air and altitude could make it really tiresome.
The surrounding mountains are enigmatic, huge and will make you feel like tiny creatures crawling in a line awestruck by the beauty you’re surrounded with. The walk to the pass will take 3 hours to complete.
The view is spectacular over the pass. From the top, you can see a splendid view of the snowy mountains on one side and the Pin valley of Spiti on the other. Once at the pass, all your exhaustion will slip away and a sense of accomplishment will dawn in.
After crossing the pass you will descend through snow fields and moraine sections. This is a long walk over scree and rocks to reach the Pin river. The beautiful natural habitats of the Pin Valley National Park border the trekking path.
After 2 hrs into the walk, you will come to an icy cold river crossing of Pin Nala. This has to be achieved by forming a human chain and bare feet. After crossing it’s a decent 1 hr walk to the Pin side campsite. Enjoy a hot cup of tea along with fellow trekkers discussing over experience of crossing the pass.
Trek Day 08 : Pin Side Base Camp (14,500 ft) – Mudh – Kaza(13,500 ft)
Distance: 25 km | 7-8 hours + 2 hr drive (Mudh to Kaza)
The trek is long today but very gentle and beautiful with typical Spiti landscape all around. There are multi coloured mountains and vast open grasslands with the beautiful Pin river flowing by.
You are expected to walk for almost 10 km on a rocky terrain and around 15 km on the barren road till Mudh village. You will pass by few shepherd camps and cross many small streams along the way.
Spiti valley owns a completely different landscape of brown and green texture, covered on both the sides by magnificent mountains.
The landscape of this valley is stark and spectacular and challenges one’s idea of beauty at all stages.
Tia marks the end of the muddy trails, from here starts the road which is currently under construction. You will be able to see the trail of Bhaba Pass coming from Kinnaur side running parallel on the other side of river.
After walking for 2 hrs you will get a view of Mudh village far away with its barley fields, at the base of a big and barren mountain. On reaching Mudh spend some time in this pretty village before driving to Kaza.
Kibber Village is 20 km from Kaza (the district headquarter of Spiti). You can visit to Kibber village or check into a home stay at Kaza itself and enjoy a much deserved hot shower. Celebrate the successful completion of the trek with a get together in the evening.
Day 10 : Kaza to Manali
Distance : 200 km | At least 9 hrs by Cab
Finally, on last day, you will be driven from Kaza/Kibber to Manali which takes around 9 hrs. The ride will pass through high altitudes and will give the best views of some enthralling peaks and mountains.
On the way to Manali you will cross the famous Kunzum pass, Chatru and Rohtang Pass.
From the lush green valley at Kheerganga and Tunda Bhuj, to the meadows of Odi Thach, to the splendid Mantalai lake and the magnificent Pin Parvati glacier, to the barren landscape of Spiti valley, this trek is a journey both in the physical as well as the spiritual world. There will be highs and lows, rain and sunshine, snow and breeze, but with each passing day, the trek will become a pilgrimage to you souls.