Sarpass Trek – Himalayan Beauty and adventure

Once a while one must break free from the routine, monotonous day today activities, freak out to an unknown, some where close to nature, lush green, white snow, mighty mountain, crystal clear river and cleanse yourself.

Well, the first quote above is not mine, but I liked. Other statement is mine, and I am sure not everyone will like it. Every person has his or her own understanding of ” Freaking out” and I understand and respect it.

I did freak out few times and really enjoyed.

This was my second Himalayan Trek that I enjoyed most. It was in 2013. Why I am writing it in 2019 ?

I was just going through my archives of beautiful pictures. I then realised that I did not write about my two treks. Why not pen it now. Hence the writeup. Next one will follow.

Preparations :

Thinking, planning , preparing for the trek itself is a joyous activity. I pulled out my backpack and packed my stuff. Check here if you would like to take a look at the checklist that I follow.

I have few friends from my village in Karnataka who are keen to be part of such freak outs. Three of my friends, five friends of these friends proposed to join the trek. We were total 9 to be the part of overall group size of 48 or so.

2nd May would be reporting day. We chose YHAI to be the trekking group. There are plenty of trekking groups also one can choose and book depending upon the budget and schedule. My friends booked their journey from Bangalore to Delhi. I booked bus tickets for all of us from Delhi to Manali over night journey. Return tickets were booked separately since few of them had different plans of return. Two among we 9 had arranged themselves to reach Kasol directly.

YHAI booking, Bus tickets etc were booked on line. Our group people reached Delhi on time and we all went to ISBT Delhi to ride, over night bus to Manali.

Base Camp – Kasol :

Kasol is a small hamlet in Himachal Pradesh, India. On the way from Delhi – Manali , get down at Bhunter (reaches around 0530 or 0600 hrs), have your breakfast, tea and catch a bus or tempo, taxi to Kasol, which takes about 2 hrs. You get a very tasty and wholesome Paratahas,at Bhunter.

Kasaol is situated on the bank of beautiful river Parvati. Base camp is just on the river side. Kasol is swarmed with Israeli tourists. You will find them all over.

Reporting Day :

We reported at the base cap, completed the admission formalities and collected our bags, sleeping bags and got allotted a tent. Normally one tent accommodates 9 to 10 trekkers. We were 9 and one more gentleman from Maharashtra joined us.

Base Camp Kasol

We had ample of time to move around. There is place called Manikaran about 5 km from base camp. It is known for its hot water spring. It is very enjoyable and refreshing to take bath in the hot water spring. Proper bathing pools and change rooms are provided to make it convenient to both male and female tourists. There is a famous Gurudwara and a wooden carving temple. One should not miss the Temple, Gurudwara and hot water bath.

A Bhagavatiji Mandir, Manikarna
A Bhagavatiji Mandir, Manikarna
Lush Green View from Base Camp Kasol
Mountain view from Base Camp Kasol
Parvati River next to Base camp Kasol
Road leading to Base camp Kasol
Road next to Base camp Kasol

2nd Day :

Itinerary in 2013. The camping site could be slightly different from year to year.
The daily routine for first three days at base camp

First day evening was introduction, briefing session and little interaction with other groups. (There was a batch everyday which starts off to higher camps and a batch that returns after completion of the trek)

Second and Third Day:

These two days are for acclimatisation. It is important to get acclimatised to avoid high altitude sickness. So, participate in the activities, do not skip. After the breakfast we set off for a short trek, and rappelling and rock climbing exercises. Experienced tour guides help you with it.

Rock rappelling session
Rock rappelling session training
view from rock climbing spot
During rappelling. Manohar,Arun, Venkatrao,Jagannath, Krishnamurty, Basavarajsir, Anand
Rappelling session Venkatrao
River near rappeling spot
Arun getting positive energy from a pine tree
On the way back from Test climb of about 1000 ft. Krishnamurty, Venkatrao, Sachin, Manohar, Basavarjsir, Anand, Jagannath, Arun

Fourth day :

After the break fast, we started off on our trek. We carried our pack lunch.

Beginning of the trek on the way to Galgi thatch
On the way to Galgi thatch
on the way to Galgi thatch Basavaraj sir with a localite. Basavaraj sir is a retired professor, a highly experienced trekker. He is an inspiration to many like me to develop love for trekking. He was already 70 plus then.
on the way to Galgi thatch
View of a peak on the way to Galgi thatch
Found a honey bee kissing a tiny flower.
Tea point on the way to Galgi Thatch. Local people were really nice and innocent.
Lunch point on the way to Galgi thatch. You will always find a makeshift stall that sells, some snack, tea, coffee and Maggi, on the way.
Lunch point on the way to Galgi thatch
First Camp at Galgi Thatch 2080 mtr. We reached around noon and rested. It was about 4 to 5hrs of trek through the lush green.

I moved around clicking anything I saw interesting.

River along Galgi thatch

Fifth Day :

we set off after the break fast. Today it would be around 5 hrs trek.

View of distant mountain range from Galgi camp

We reached Khora Thatch by around noon trekking through lush green pine forest. It was again 4 – 5 hrs of trek. it is about 9100 ft. I moved around with my camera as usual enjoying the green, after the lunch.

Khora Thatch
At Khora Thatch

It is really an amazing experience (for those who like forest greens and sleeping in the tent using a sleeping bag) No bath for a week. Peeing & pooping under the sky behind a bush like a nomad, and cover the track. YHAI does provide a make shift toilets (one for Gents and another for women) in each camp. Water is available abundant from a nearby rivulet.

I moved around clicking randomly.

Sarpass – a grand view from Khora Thatch
Sarpass – a closer grand view from Khora Thatch

We all got excited to see the “Destination” from a distance. This was the peak which we would pass by.

Wild beauty at Khora Thatch

Sixth day : To Zirmi Thatch

Early morning soon after breakfast, our journey continued. We packed our lunch too. Today would be around 5 hrs of trekking to our next camp.

On the way to Zirmi Thatch
On the way to Zirmi Thatch
Zirmi Thatch 10500 ft, nestled in a lush green forest. We had lot of time to move around and enjoy beauty of nature.
Some fresh new born leaves at Zirmi Thatch
Some unknown beautiful Orchids
Just born, yet to bloom……………..
Very very pleasing to witness such small wonder in its pure form.
Some unknown pulchritude

Seventh day : to Tila Lotni Camp.

Todays trek was going to be tough and longer. We were to hit the snow. Started very early to cover the snow packed route before sun becomes harsh.

On the way to Tila lotni
Way to Tila Lotni Thatch
Tila lotni 12500 ft
Tila lotni Camp.

It was snowing at Tila Lotni when we reached. This part of the trek was quite tough.

Wondrous view from Tila lotni
Tila lotni Camp. 12500 ft

Eighth Day : Surpassing the Sarpass.

We started very early morning to avoid sun. We had to trek across long route of snow filled area. packed our lunch and set off. It would be 7 to 8 hrs , 9 km hard trek.

Before we set off the group leader addressed us and clearly instructed all of us once again about the trek route, conditions, and difficulty level. From here there is no go back. It means if some one is not feeling well, not mentally ready to trek further should opt out and trek back to previous camp. None opted though. But there have been some stray cases of incidents and accidents during this part of trek, hence the caution. We had seen two other trekkers from other group, walking rather limping back to previous camp on our way to Tila Lotni.

Passing through Sarpass:

This was hilarious – no words to explain the beauty and our excitement.

From Tila Lotni to Biskeri via Sarpass.
From Tila Lotni to Biskeri via Sarpass.
Me at Sarpass. Tiny dots at the back are fellow trekkers.

It was biting cold, we had to literally cover our faces too. This was at 13800 ft

Arun at Sarpass
The Peak at Sarpass, which we had seen from Khora thatch.
The Sarpass finally.
Sarpass the ridge
Krishnamurty enjoying the Sarpass.
Sarpass another view

After passing the Sarpass, we had to climb up to a ridge at about 70 ‘ slope, of course with help of rope. From the ridge we had to slide down about 300 mtr ( I guess)

This was ultimate. Sliding down the mountain ??!! We thoroughly enjoyed the slide. It was little frightening too. One must be really careful while sliding. If you do not understand and follow a small trick of balancing yourself while on the slide, you will tumble down and injure yourself.

First slide down after srapass
Tea point After the first slide down
After the first slide down, tea point and the tea pots !
well in the snow!
The route next….
The friendly dog that accompanied us till Biskeri top.
Ready to move on after tea.
We were in a bowl of snow.
Slide after slide ………………….long slide

Finally we reached our Beskeri Thatch. We had surpassed “Sarpass”. Overwhelming joy of accomplishment.

Biskeri Thatch 11000 ft
View from Biskeri Thatch
Biskeri thatch another view.

We reached Biskeri thatch and just rested. We were tired too. We just enjoyed the hot food that was served.

Ninth day : Towards Bhandak thatch.

We got up in the morning & freshen up ourselves. Had break fast and started towards Bhandak. It would be a long 10 km snow bound route, expected to take 6 to 7 hrs.

On the way back to Bhandak thatch
Tea point On the way back to Bhandak thatch
Bhandak thatch, 8000 ft

Bhandak thatch is a beautiful meadow. naturally mowed vast lawn.

Bhandak thatch
Bhandak thatch
Bhandak thatch – Every one was quite relaxed here, having accomplished the dream called Sarpass.
Relaxing at Bhandak thatch
View of Sarpass peak from Bhandak thatch
Bhandak Thatch from atop a hillock.

I had lot of time and moved around to find tiny wonders of nature, around. Here are some.

Meadow is full of such small wonders. This above bud is just less than a 5mm in size.

We met many strangers, locals who just smiled at us and spread the warmth. One of the boy on the way.

A local boy Rupinder
Rupinder a local boy with Arun on the way back from Bhandak.

Last words :

Sarpass the Snow bowl. We throughly enjoyed. When you are with like minded friends and like minded strangers even, it becomes even more enjoyable.

The experiences of Basavaraj sir, Jokes of Manohar, interspersed with Arun’s witty remarks and stories of Venkatrao kept us cheerful all the time and made the whole experience memorable.

Information about YHAI

The Youth Hostels Association of India is a charitable organisation, providing youth hostel accommodation in India. It is a member of the Hostelling International federation. It conducts trekking, hiking tours in India. You may visit YHAI website for further.

When you book a trekking program with YHAI, they will take care of you once you reported at the base camp as scheduled. You will get a tent accommodation on shared basis. You will get sleeping bag and rugs at each camping location. On food, you will get simple Indian breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea / coffee and snacks. Some time it is pack lunch depending on the schedule. It is a simple vegetarian food.

YHAI will also give you a backpack if you do not have one, which you need to return after the trekking. You need to carry your backpack. You may hire a porter but at an extra cost.

I also would like to thank YHAI officials, Tour guides, Porters who worked behind the scene to make it a good, safe trek.

Published by wander through lens

An avid trekker, traveller, who finally freed himself from a corporate cobweb. Loves lush green, snowy mountains, blue sky and crystal water.

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