Pin Parbati Pass is a highly challenging Trek for any individual who is an amateur trekker. This expedition-level trek pumps in a heavy dose of adventure, thrill, and a sense of achievement. The importance of accomplishment in crossing a snow-covered pass at 5300 mts above sea level is excitement on another story in itself. This post I speak about Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek.
Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek
The Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek reinforced my love for nature, her rawness, and elegance in the form of vast snowfields, rugged rock faces, and gigantic forests with gurgling rivers flowing through them. The Extraordinary Pin Parbati Trek connects the lush Parbati valley to the cold arid Pin valley. I got to see lush greenery as well as dry cold mountainous desert both on this trek. The sharp contrast in landscapes, culture, flora and fauna is very stark and is in a face kind of feeling. Make no mistake, Pin Parbati Pass Trek is one dangerous and lethal trek where things can go wrong very quickly, but more on that later.
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Walking the trail on the Pin Parbati Pass Trek
I trekked close to 130 km over nine days in the solitary company of my trek team and the occasional mountain shepherd over some stretches. The Pin Parbati Trek, as usual, allowed my mind to detach from my physical body and go wandering off into the Himalayas. It is this one single reason among the few reasons that make me trek into offbeat destinations. The mind and soul walked beside my body, conversing with me on many topics that have always troubled me but which one cannot come to grips with while going about their everyday life.
The Pin Parbati Pass trek, as per me, is one of the significant treks in my life. It is one of those treks where I found diverse landscapes and experiences I will cherish for many decades to come in my trekking journey. The Parbati valley is all pine trees in high valleys, and then as one comes towards the pin valley, there is range after range of mountains on all sides dwarfing me but enhancing my perspective. I am a visitor here, the mountains on tin,he horizon are of vast wilderness, but I travel with guides and a team who call these places their home and have traversed these mountain trails over decades.
Names come alive, which were read by me while I prepared for the Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek. I am surrounded by these in flesh and blood – Tunda Bhuj with the perilous goat trail hugging the sides of the mountain with the raging Parbati river below. Mantalai Lake with its historical significance and vast marshlands. The Alpine meadows of Odi Thach with giant towering mountain faces; dense forests of Kheer Ganga. The immense snowfields of the permanently glaciated Pin Parbati Pass and the glacier walk in the Pin valley side with blue sky overhead and a barren landscape reminding me of the vastness and the stature of where I am. Words are tough to describe this transition that comes in front of me each day.
What is my blog all about ?
My blog focuses quite a bit on the ancient history, the art of India, among other places of travel that I keep doing. The history posts come up because there is in ancient Indian History, so many monumental architectures created. Read through the posts on the Mundgod the mini Tibet of India, or temple town of Kalna, in Bengal. Then we have the influence of Fatehpur Sikri on every traveller who comes visiting this capital of Mughal Empire.
In the same breath I would also like to mention about the various splendid treks that can be done in India. Some of the unique ones include the icy Chadar Trek , then we have the highest point in West Bengal to see the Kanchenjunga known as Sandakphu. Uttarakhand boasts of so many trek destinations with truly offbeat being Nandikund Trek.
The Trek Diary
There were butterflies in my stomach when I started the Pin Parbati Pass Trek and, in fact, each day when a new obstacle of nature presented itself. I begin my upward walk from the village of Mudh in Pin valley, towards the ice field, still two days away. If each footstep is not wisely placed in the following days ahead, this trek will chew me up.
I started the Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek from Pin valley and planned to complete it in Parbati valley, ending at the village of Barsheini. This is generally opposite to what most trekkers do. But I wanted to acclimatize myself well in the higher reaches of the Pin valley before I tackle the ice fields and hence this option. In fact, it is easier as well with a gradual tackling of the ever-increasing gradient.
Crossing numerous mountain glacial streams that threatened to numb my feet each time and the lower body with the chill factor and slippery rocks. There was no other way to cross these other than team spirit and a prayer on the lips. Numerous close calls in between, with each riskier than the previous. I was looking forward to tackling these rivers in the best possible way each time I came across one.
The Pin Parbati PassTrek was a long walk, over narrow trails on gentle slopes which gradually give way to even narrower trials on glaciers, long-forgotten yet Alive in the upper reaches. The Pin river flowing fast and strong a few metres ways, ready to receive if one slipped on the snow and slid down.
It is exhilarating, self-contained crossing an ocean of mountains, a fantastic feeling to realise that we are the only people out here for miles around. Pick any direction and just walk; nature will open her arms to embrace you and might not even return you if she gets cross with you. Such is the concept of trekking on the Pin Parbati pass.
Trek & Me
Treks take me to a different zone; this zone only comes out while I am trekking, deep amid nature, not the random treks that are touted and sold by the dozen rather truly offbeat treks. Pin Parbati pass Trek is one such offbeat trek. When I am out here, my culture, people are all not there. It is a different way to relate to the earth. It does not matter what my name is; there is no relevance. It is just made up and given to me. Out here, I am trying to assimilate myself with the core of nature and earth using my soul, all layers removed and discarded.
Pin Parbati Pass Trek is a legendary trek which I realized as I completed the same. A trek that took me through various aspects of nature and earth from the Pin valley of Spiti to the Parabati valley of Kullu. A trek that saw me traversing the mighty valleys of Pin, its glacial streams, and snowed out trails, reaching the intimidating Pin Parbati glacier and glaciated Pass at 5300 mts. Downwards through vast snowfields, I went towards the high altitude Mantalai lake, expansive meadows, numerous waterfalls, streams and the lush green forests that welcome the trekker to Kheerganga and beyond to Kasol.
With over 10 days of trekking, Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek has indeed been a challenge once I had the opportunity to reminisce of all I came across, the level of mental fitness needed to place each step correctly in the face of impending disaster. A trek that saw me transition from the land of Buddhism to the culture of Hinduism. The Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek is simply outstanding in more ways than one.
Tricky parts of the Pin Parbati Pass Trek
As we are all aware, Satellite phones are prohibited; lack of dedicated rescue services, poor air ambulances, and wilderness is a matter of concern throughout this trek.
Acclimatising in Pin Valley: I commenced the trek from Mudh village in Pin valley situated at the height of 3810 mts. Acclimatizing is a mandatory prerequisite. I spent two days in Kaza/Pin valley before commencing the trek, thereby giving my body the requisite acclimatization.
Bishhkeung Tach to Pin Valley Base Camp: Pin Parbati Pass Trek is long, narrow is the trail over broken boulders and clinging to the mountain slope. I am cautious as to where I place my feet in the brittle rocky, broken trail.
Pin Parbati Pass: The climb to the Pass is steep, and one needs to pace the climb from the Base Camp right up to the Pass. It is one continuous climb. Word of advice, start real early to reach the Pass, at least post-lunch.
Parbati side Base camp to Mantalai Lake: One particular descent down the mountain’s rock face is very tricky. It is narrow, sloping downwards at an angle with no footholds. Other than this descent, the rest is manageable though long.
Stretch from Thakur Kuan till KheerGanga . This stretch hugs the steep mountain slope involving climbs up and down. The earlier bridge across the rover Parbati has been washed away. So once a trekker crosses over the Pandu Pull on the way to Kheerganga, the path is very tricky in places, especially in Potaraghat, which is around 3 km long. The danger to loss of life and limb is grave owing to the non-availability of any support while transversing the trail across the steep mountain slope involving crossing bare rocks( 15 mts in length and with an incline close to 45-60 deg ) slippery in nature.
Sights that I was seeing on the Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek
Pines Forests of Parbati Valley: The trek stretch from Kheer Ganga till Thakur Kuan is filled with heavily forested slopes comprising local varieties of pines, Maple, Bhojpatra, Rakhal, Raitosh. I found myself in a fantasy land with mist floating in and across, rains trickling down the heavy branches above while the trail path Is covered with huge dried leaves, roots and old branches. This stretch is indeed lovely, and one should photograph this as much as possible.
Mantalai Lake and its marshlands: The mystical religious Mantalai lake is very significant in the entire Pārbati Valley and is the centerpiece of visit by the local villagers from far and wide. The River Pārbati falling down from the glacier ahead, collects herself out in this massive lake before pushing ahead towards Kheerganga and beyond. The open temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parbati is of significant importance.
Snowfields and Pin Parbati Pass: The massive snowfields leading to the Pin Parbati Pass at an altitude of 5300 mts is indeed worth every step of the experience. I found myself in a magical snow land totally cut off from the everyday life that I had led till now. It was like another parallel world existing.
Pin Valley: The superimposing Pin valley where one walks next to the Pin River through century-old paths cutting through the mountains left me with an immense sense of awe and wonder. The sense of desolateness out here is fantastic, and I began to reaffirm my faith in the zeal to trek and visit places such as these.
Pandu Pul: Two unique rock crossings across the Parbati river. These rock crossings serve as the only means to cross the raging Parbati river. These are massive rocks, and transversing them is a perilous journey in itself.
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Thoughts on the Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek
- The trek is for someone passionate about trekking, is used to long hours on the trail and understands the very meaning of SAFETY and can differentiate between confidence and foolhardiness
- Physical fitness in addition to mental wellness is essential.
- Selecting an experienced guide is of paramount importance.
- Pack the backpack very carefully as it is a long trek and weight matters.
- Good shoes, having a good grip over bare rock is highly critical.
- Use crampons in the snowfields. I did, and it does help.
- Do not descent sideways in the snowfields. Descend face first for soft snow makes the leg go deep inside.
- Carry a good camera, there will be lots of memories to make.
- The night sky is stunning, with constellations and stars making their presence felt.
- Spend time in Mudh village and soak in its raw beauty.
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Extraordinary Pin Parbati Pass Trek imparts an immense sense of satisfaction to the trekker post-completion. It still remains one of the most challenging treks, especially mentally, among all the treks in India and definitely is the most challenging one in Himachal Pradesh. I wish every passionate trekker to trek this once, with a pre-knowledge of all factors and considerations involved.