Pin Bhaba Pass vs Hampta Pass Trek
Himachal, with all its glory and tales, with its adventure and calmness, holds two most exciting and beguiling crossover treks- Pin Bhaba Pass and Hampta Pass. Exotic views, transcending landscapes, lush greeneries, barren lands, you name an element, and these treks will offer it to you. But before you pack your gears, here is a comparison of these treks to decide which grandeur you will conquer next.
Pin Bhaba Pass trek
Pin Bhaba Pass is located in Himachal Pradesh, tucked in the Himalayas, is the most dramatic trek. It is situated on the Kinnaur district, Lahaul, and Spiti region boundary and borders Pin Valley National Park and the Rupi-Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary. Pin Bhaba Pass trek begins in a small remote village at Kafnu, Kinnaur, a 200 km drive from Shimla, and ends at the quaint rustic town of Mudh in Spiti village, which is 205 km away from Manali. Within this 7-day trek, you will experience the stark contrast from luxurious green Bhaba valley to barren, desolated high altitude Pin valley in the cold desert of Spiti.
When you reach the Pin Bhaba Pass at the altitude of 16,125 ft, you testify the crossover of two extremes, with one end thriving in green and the other in brown. The total distance that you cover in the trek is 51 km. The summer temperature of the hike is 13° C to 18°C, and at night-0°C to 7°C and in monsoon, the temperature is 5°C to 12°C in the day and 5°C to -0°C at night.
Hampta Pass trek
Hampta Pass is the crossover trek you didn’t expect. It is located deep within the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, crammed between Lahaul and Kullu Valley. It begins and ends in Manali, and between this, you will experience a gazillion of emotions. From the lavish greens of Kullu to the arid and barren lands and mountains of Lahaul. The overdramatic Hampta Pass trek begins at Jobra, the base camp located at 2 hours’ drive from Manali and a 30-minute walk. Like the swish of a magical wand, landscapes change every time you open your eyes in this trek. From the enthusiastic pine forest, the vast green meadows, the Rhododendron, the Dhauldhar range, the Balu Ka Ghera, and then finally to the Hampta Pass at 14,065 ft.
After trekking moderate elevation, you stand surrounded by towering cliffs, witnessing the changeover of scenes from green and white to the virgin valley of Spiti. The barren landscape of Lahul unfolds in front of you, and then you descend to the steep downhill of Shea Goru, go through Chhatru and wrap with Chandratal lake trek, located at the Pirpanjal range of Himalaya. This crossover trek in Himachal covers 25 km in 5 days. The best month for the trek-June to October has the temperature of 22°C to 26°C at day and 15°C to 5°C at night.
Pin Bhaba Pass vs Hampta Pass Trek
|Trek Details||Pin Bhaba Pass||Hampta Pass|
|Trek Distance||51 km||28km|
|Best Time||May to September||Mid June to Mid October|
|Trek Type||Crossover/ pass trek||Crossover/ pass trek|
|Difficulty Level||Moderate to difficult||Easy to Moderate|
|Trek Cost||18,500 INR||7,699 INR|
|Booking Links||Pin Bhaba Pass||Hampta Pass|
Comparision between Pin Bhaba pass vs Hampta Pass
As you ascend on the Pin Bhaba trek, you will get a glimpse of the mountain ranges of Nimish Khango, Tari Khango, and Pin Bhaba Pass from Phustsirang; it is a sight to remember. You will also witness the stark and isolated mountains of Spiti.
In Hampta Pass, you submerge into Pir Panjal Range, with the exquisite views of Dhauladhar Range, Lahaul, and Spiti. You witness the snow-adorned peaks of Deo Tibba and Mount Indrasen.
In Pin Bhaba trek, you will come across the Bhaba river, its tributary, and fascinatingly, you will discover a subterranean river in which water flows underneath the surface; you will hear the sound of the river but will not see it. As you begin your trek from Karah to Phutsirang, the trek is dominated by mountain stream crossing, and when you descend from Phutsirang, you will cross the Pin River, and its fierce sound is ominous.
Hampta Pass trek contains the crossing of the Rani River; in the meadow near Jobra, you will find it flowing in between with hills surrounding it. At Chikka, Rani Nallah will divide into streams, and as you further go down the trail, you will cross many streams, even small snow flows. Throughout the trek, you will cross many high-current rivers, which will require caution and vigilance. But the highlight of this hike is the Chandratal trek, a glittery crescent-shaped high-altitude glacial lake surrounded by rusty brown mountains.
The overdramatic Pin Bhaba Pass has the most overdramatic landscapes. Journey begins with trailing through a coniferous forest, which is set in layers and streams running through them; you will find yourself in the company of silver birch, pine, and oak trees. From Mullings with the Bhaba river flowing on one side of big grassy patches and the other side holding dense pine forest to the meadows of Kara-in the junction of three valleys to camping at the river delta at Phutsirang in the middle of narrow canyons, you will be thrilled.
But the real change of landscapes happens when you reach the saddle point and slowly leave behind the lush green valleys of Bhaba to enter the deserted mountain valleys of Spiti. There is a riot of colors in the landscape mixed with grassland, mountains, and rivers. In Mudh, you confront purple-hued mountains and the Pin River flowing.
Hampta Pass follows the route that Pandavas took to reach Heaven; it is a staircase to Heaven from Hampta Pass to Chandrataal lake. Starting from Manali, you witness the changing landscape of forests from apple orchards, deodar to oaks, and from Jobra, you accompany the interplay of another forest section with oaks, birch, and maple trees. On reaching Jobra, you see waterfalls, the velvet of Rhododendrons, and in oblivion Dhauladhar range and in front, Indrasen Peak.
The Balu (sand) ka Ghera (heap) is a river delta, where there are rocks and meadows and Hampta Pass overlooking you. Then, at Hampta Pass, after climbing ledges, you have the crossover movement-the heavenly contrast of Kullu with dense trees and tall cliff, while on the other side lies the desert of Lahaul with barren lands. You descend to the green, cold grounds of Shea Goru enclosed in the ranges of Pir Panjal and Spiti. With Chandratal lake, you end at a serene, pristine moon lake under the blanket of stars.
The Pin Bhaba trek ends in the rustic ancient village of Mudh with its white chortens surrounding the settlement. What is transfixing here is that all houses face similar direction, architecture, and color scheme. Everything fits the symmetry and synchrony; no house slops beyond the hamlet’s bounds, farmlands surround villages in exact perimeter, and a clear stream flows in the exact center of the town, claiming itself as the savior.
Hampta Pass trek hides mountain villages nestled in the Himalayas and Sethan located at 8,860 ft in one such. It is a tiny Buddhist town enclosed in the Dhauladhar ranges, and in winters, the village is recast into a white sheet of perfect joy. You learn about Buddhist culture from the villagers, who are migrants of Tibet and Spiti valley. Hampta village is located just below Sethan village is considered a track to Heaven. These villages allow you to relax and breathe and give a sneak peek into the lives of locals residing in the isolated modest towns.
The campsites at Pin Bhaba are so beautiful that it makes it hard to choose one. The camping at Mulling, right next to the Bhaba river in the middle of grasslands, takes you to Kashmir with glaciers bulging out. Next is the Kara campsite, which you will reach walking between the flowers blooming in the grassland. Camping in front of the river in open meadows and animals like sheep grazing around with tall rocks guarding your tents, you sleep peacefully.
Now, you camp beside the river delta at Phutsirang, which itself is a rare experience because there are hardly any camps next to the mountain river deltas. You are in the middle of the medley, with Pin Bhaba stretching on one side and snow-capped mountain peaks extended till the end of the valley until it blends with the mountains. You see the Hansbeshan Peak, Nimish Khango, and Tari Khango peaks.
Hampta Pass each campsite is unique in itself, for every camp location offers a dynamic landscape. Jobra being the first one, there is the saga of tall cliffs, and vast meadows and tents tucked in near the Rani Nalla, behind which is the perfect alignment of trees. Jwara, the next stop is a valley of flowers of Himachal Pradesh, and you sleep between diverse blooming colors. Look ahead, and it is Hampta, look behind, and it is Dhauladhar touching the sky. Balu ka Ghera is an accessible mountain river delta camp, and the river here breaks into glorious channels flowing gently and meeting into a larger stream forming Rani Nallah.
The last camp of Kullu valley has patches of flowers and greenery. With Shea Gora, you are introduced to Lahaul, an oasis in the desert, for its lush green floor among the barren mountains. You camp next to Shea Nallah and experience a dip in temperature. Chhatru is the most contrasting campsite as there is no vegetation and serrated mountains surround it. The milky way in the night steals the deal for this camp.
Pin Bhaba is not devoid of risks and challenges and can be called safe only with the right experience and technically skilled group. The terrains of the Pin Bhaba Pass have sections filled with challenges like the crossing of Bhaba river as it has strong currents, sliding of the snow after the Pass and the segment of snow near the Pass here, the trail is steep, unstable and the descent to Pin valley is also very sharp.
With higher altitudes, the unpredictability of weather becomes another challenge; there can be snow or rain anytime. Rain can make the path slippery, and snow can block paths. Most of the trek follows above the 11,000 ft height, making trekkers vulnerable to AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). In case of emergencies, there are limited exit points.
Hampta Pass is a safe trek, given that you are adequately informed, equipped, and carrying the necessary trekking apparatus. It is one of the least dangerous treks; there are no steeps or sharp turns when considering the terrains. The stagnant ascend does not make it extraordinarily exhausting or tiring. But on the last day, while going back to Chandratal lake, there is a landslide risk.
The few sections where the trekkers should be careful are crossing the stream en route Jwara, descending the Pass as the trail gets steep, and there is snow in June as well. And in the monsoon, the flow of the river increases and therefore should be crossed under the guidance of expert trek leaders.
Pin Bhaba is a difficult trek. The altitude is the most significant factor; at 16, 125 ft, it is one of the highest treks. The crossing of the Pass is another factor; it is a 10 km stretch to the other side of the camp. As you begin your trek from Phutsirang, you transcend a 3km stretch of 2,500 ft steep terrain to reach the summit and then descend for another 2km deep fall, cross the river and walk through scree and moraine till the campsite.
Here, the trek after the Pass is also tricky. You have to brace yourself for steep inclines, for descending on rocky, stony tracks, and for boulders. This trek requires prior preparation and experience, at least hikes up to 3700 meters. You should be familiar with the fundamentals of the high-altitude acclimatization procedure. Also, since it is a pass crossing trek, there are no easy exits in the case of emergencies. In winter, there will be snow trails, and there are possible chances of getting AMS.
Keeping in mind the altitude attained every day, the distance of the trek, temperament of terrain, Hampta pass is an easy to moderate hike. Most trek through the valley is easy, it gets moderate when you reach the landscape before the Pass, and the Hampta Pass crossing is almost a 9- hour trek. And, it is a little strenuous in the last lap of the Pass. There are rarely any elaborate stretches of difficult trekking. It is one trek that is apt for all age groups, and for a beginner, it is a perfect trek. With the correct information, guide, and equipment, the 4-day tour of Hampta Pass becomes a tad bit easier.
Pin Bhaba and Hampta Pass trek both offers a unique set of experience. Yes, Pin Bhaba is much grander because of its altitudes and grasslands, forests, and rivers, but Hampta Pass gives you terrific sceneries in a series of swift flashes. Beginners can start with Hampta Pass, while the experienced can already put Pin Bhaba on their bucket list. One thing is sure in both of the treks; you will have one in a lifetime experience.