- Duration : 05 days
- Season : July to August
- Region : Manali - Kullu - Spiti valley
Detailed itinerary :
Day 1. Jobra to Chika (2 hours easy ascent 9800 ft to 10,400 ft)
The vehicle from Manali after passing the Prini village takes you up through 40 hairpin bends and drops you off at Jobra . You have already gained quite an altitude from Manali and you start your trek at 9800ft. Cross the road and take the small path into the forest.
The forest is mostly Pine with an occasional Maple tree with its new lush green leaves -a pleasant change in the vegetation.Its an easy slope and after 20 minutes into the forest, you come to a bend with a huge rock which overlooks a meadow strewn with small rocks. Take a photo/water break at the rock and head into the meadow.
The meadow has the Rani Nala or Rani river flowing in between and on either sides we have the hills with rock faces. Some cows and sheep graze in the meadow which is lined with Maple and Pine trees. Early in the season one may mind some old snow by the side of the river.
You can traverse on the meadow or climb up the left hill. The climb makes the path slightly shorter. Chika the camping ground for the day is at the end of this meadow. The river flows right in the middle and water is no issue. Choose a nice ground and pitch your tent for the day. The temperature at night would be around 8-10 degrees.
Day 2. Chika to Balu Ka Gera (4 hours easy ascent)
Start from Chika after breakfast. The destination for the day Balu-Ka-Gera is not seen but is towards the right of your camp site.
Set out head right but you are all along on the left bank of the river. The initial climb is mainly through stones and boulders. The going is never too difficult.The right bank of the river is laced with dwarf Rhododendrons in the lower and middle region of the mountain and Birch trees grow at the upper end.
Look back and you see the Dhauladhar range with its snow clad peaks. It makes a pretty picture. You encounter a water fall on to your left. Fill your water bottles and take a break if you wish to.
After the waterfall, you move towards your right heading towards the river. Lots of boulders around and you need to cross the river. Take off your shoes if you wish and jump accross the rocks on the Rani Nala. The water is icey cold as one would expect. You would about half way through your trek now and you enter a sheltered/walled valley. One one side of are the rock faces and on the other end is the river below. Its as though you have entered a huge natural stage.
You are now at Jwara.
Day 3. Balu-Ka-Gera to Shea Goru crossing Hampta Pass (8-9 hours Easy to moderately steep ascents followed by a sharp descent )
Today's trek can be broken into two stages. The climb to Hampta pass which is moderately steep and then the steep descent from Hampta Pass to Sheagoru.
You will want to take a small break on top of the pass so make it your target to reach the pass by lunch time, have lunch there and then start the descent.
You head out towards the mountains from Balu-Ka-Gera. You may get a pleasant surprise with lots of tiny pink and yellow flowers growing by the side of the river. You move along the river for an hour after which you may be over it. After an hour of gentle gradient, the climb picks up. This is the first serious inclination you encounter. Half an hour of climb and you come to the first plateau. If you are here early summer, there is a good chance that this entire section is snow bound. At other times, you will get patches of snow.
Here you get to see the Deo Tibba peak right in front of you.
Take a breather, wait for your team to catch up and begin the next ascent. This is another inclined part which has two stages to it and finally ends at the ridge.The climb will take you another 20-30 minutes. From the top of the ridge you see its next parallel one which is your next destination.
Hampta Pass is a bend away from the top of the second ridge.
Day 4. Sheagoru to Chatru (4 - 4½ hours of downhill trek. Easy with some tricky sections)
Its a gentle down hill walk in the beginning from Sheagoru. You still move along side the river in the valley between the mountain ranges. After an hour you get to see the road at Chatru at a distance. The mountains opposite are barren. The typical Spiti look.
As you move closer to the road, the descent gets a little tricky. You will need to traverse by the edges of rocks and sometimes it may just be easier to get down into the river/glacier bed below to skip the rocky section and get back up.
There are also a couple of places with slippery soil. So you need to be nimble and hop down them to prevent yourself from sliding.
This section would take 2½ - 3 hours when you are out of the mountains. You are still at a height but you have the road right across and the Chandra river separating you from the road.
Two three huge glacial flows flow down from the mountains on the side to the Chandra river. You will need to cross these glaciers to reach a camping spot which has water. Cutting steps may be a good idea on them to give confidence to those who are new to snow.
Choose a camping spot close to one of the numerous streams that join the river. Chatru is a lovely camping site. You get lovely views of the different mountain rages. The Chandra river flows in speed right below.
Day 5. Chatru to Chandratal or Chatru to Manali (depending on the Road condition)
If the roads are clear and devoid of snow, a visit to Chandratal the moon lake is a must when you are in Spiti. Chatru is about 70kms away from Chandratal and a vehicle will have to be ordered from Manali to take you to Chandratal from Chatru. You reach Chandratal by late afternoon and pitch your tents for the night by the lake. Drive back to Manali the next day and reach Manali by 3 - 4 pm.
Chandratal in Spiti
Late summers the road opens up to Chatru and beyond and you can take the vehicle to Manali from the bridge at Chatru. If you are early or late in the season, Chandratal may be ruled out and you may have to walk on the road upto a place where the road has be cleared off its snow flows. The journey from Chatru to Manali passes through Rohtang Pass and can take up to 4 hours. The scenery all through the route is a treat in itself.