Pin Parvati Pass: The most sought-after trans-Himalayan Pass
The Pin Parvati Pass is a thrilling challenge for any seasoned trekker. It’s a long expedition that gives trekkers a massive dose of adventure, beauty and a sense of achievement. The exhilaration of traversing a 17,457 ft pass is an experience of a lifetime.
Pin Parvati Pass trek provides the most spectacular traverses, right from the forest and verdant meadows of the Parvati Valley to the Buddhist villages in the Trans-Himalayan region of Spiti. The sharp contrast in landscapes, culture, flora and fauna will catch you off-guard. Within hours, you’ll walk from cold dry mountain desert region of Spiti to the rich biodiversity in Parvati Valley. Click here to see photos.
As you climb higher to Pin Parvati Pass, the bird’s-eye view of the Parvati and Pin Valley is fantastic.
Pin Parvati has a host of unique experiences to offer you: from the pulley bridge at Tunda Bhuj to marshlands of Mantalai to alpine meadows of Odi Thach, dense forests near Kheerganga and glacier near the Pass. Pin Parvati trek builds from cold dry deserts of Spiti and its unique settings to the lush, wet greenery of Parvati valley. The greenery, the flowers of Odi Thach hits you harder after days of trekking among wind-carved rock formations and glaciers. Near the end of trek, you also experience the hot water springs at Parvati Kund at Kheerganga. Words cannot describe the experience of a hot water bath here after a hard day of trekking. It is a five star sauna experience on a trek, which you seldom get on any Himalayan Trek.
Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Kaza
Take an overnight bus from Delhi and reach Manali the previous day. Pick up will be arranged from Manali at 6.00 am. The Rohtang and Kunzum passes are known for their notoriously bad traffic jams, making it all the more necessary to leave by 6.00 am. Drive out of Manali, and towards Batal via Rohtang pass on the Manali-Leh Highway. The road is not too good and is bumpy all through. From Gramphu, take a diversion towards the Gramphu – Batal – Kaza road.
From Batal the route winds through the real Spiti Valley. Quaint little villages, tucked away in the mountains and arid mountains dotted with green and yellow patches of peas and barley fields. The route from here is straight out of a picture postcard. You will be camping along the Spiti river in Kaza. The acclimatization process starts today.
- Altitude: 12,467 ft (3,800 m)
- Time taken: 10-12 hours drive
Day 2: Acclimatization day at Kaza
- Altitude: 12,467 ft (3,800 m)
Day 3: Drive from Kaza to Mudh village; trek from Mudh to Tiya
- Altitude: 12,283 ft (3,744 m) to 12,795 ft (3,900 m) (trek from Mudh village to Tiya)
- Time taken: 2 hours drive + 2-3 hours trek
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Very gradual ascent
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water
From Kaza, drive down to Mudh village which is at a lower altitude. The drive will take you about 2 hours and covers a distance of 49km. Once you reach Mudh village start trekking to Tiya. You will reach Tiya in 2-3 hours.
Mudh is a picture-postcard worthy village with whitewashed houses, peas and barley terraced fields. You can find guest houses here to accommodate trekkers trekking in Pin Valley. Pin Valley is known as snow leopard and ibex country. However, chances of spotting these animals on your trek remain elusive. It is important to start for Mudh from Kaza early as streams gets swollen later in the day, making it difficult to cross. Mudh is the last village you will see on this trek until Kheerganga on the second last day. This is also the only day of luxurious trekking – a very gradually ascending walk on scree and shale surrounded by barren yet colourful mountains typical of Spiti. The trails are well-defined with minimal chances of getting lost.
You will be trekking along the Pin River through the day, moving upstream. The trekking trail is at a higher level than the river, so it won’t be possible for you to fill water anywhere. However, to set up camp at Tiya, descend to the river bed. You will have limited level ground that is suitable for putting up tents. Across the river is Mangrungse – which is a campsite on Pin Bhaba trek.
Day 4: Tiya to Shia
- Altitude: 12,795 ft (3,900 m) to 14,763 ft (4,500 m)
- Time taken: 5-6 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Continuously ascending trail, with a few sharp ascents
- Water sources: Streams on the trail
A long day for trekking with beautiful views of Spiti Valley. An early start is important to ford the multiple glacial streams today- which will leave your feet numb. A couple of these tiny streams are also drinkable. Starting on the left bank of the Pin river, the first section is an undulating walk on loose, sedimentary rocks. After this section, you descend to the river, cross it and ascend up the other side. There are a couple of tricky sections – narrow scree-laden ledges over the river that need navigating. After you’ve trekked some distance, the Pin Glacier becomes visible high up, in the distance.
Shia is a shepherds’ campsite with barely enough space for camping. You have to find space among the rocks and shale to set up camp. This is also a landslide prone area, so you have to be careful.
Day 5: Shia to Pin Base Camp
- Altitude: 14,763 ft (4,500 m) to 15,780 ft (4,810 m)
- Time taken: 5-6 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Steep ascents interspersed with a long glacier walk followed by two tough river crossings
- Water sources: River and streams on the trail
Start your day by crossing the Pin river. You will have to remove your shoes. However, this is not easy to cross barefoot as there are a lot of stones and pebbles on the river bed. If the flow is strong and not manageable, you will have to go 2 km ahead and cross it over the glacier.
The ascent to Pin Base Camp will leave you breathless. It is a steep ascent of 1,700 ft. There is also a tricky section that comes midway in the ascent- a stream crossing. This stream comes from Pin glacier (we will camp close to its glacial line) and the volume of the water is high. With the stream flowing on an incline, special care has to be taken while crossing it. The flow of the water is such that you can be swept down to the valley below. The team will have to be roped up for this section.
Pin Base camp is a bare, rocky moonland below the Pin glacier and 1,000 ft below the Pass. The camp is also quite windy with views of rugged mountains all around – the setting is almost like Bhagwabasa campsite on Roopkund. These are very different mountains from the ones you see in Uttarakhand or the lower Himachal.
Day 6: Pin Base camp to Mantalai via Pin Parvati Pass
- Altitude: 15,780 ft (4,810 m) to 17,457 ft (5,321 m) and descend to 13,440 ft (4,097 m)
- Time taken: 12 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. 3-4 hours steep climb to the pass. 3-3.5 hours tough descent through crevasses to Parvati base. 4 hours steep descent to Manatalai
- Water sources: None for the first 7-8 hours. Carry 2 litres of water from Pin Base camp
Depending on the weather, an early start for the Pass is crucial. The Pass should not be traversed after noon as the weather always deteriorates in the second half of the day. The ascent to the Pass is tough, mainly because of the of the altitude – the glacier section is on a gradual incline. There are no crevasses to worry about on Pin side of the pass. The older and originally considered Pass can be seen to the left of the ridge. The Pass used nowadays is at a higher plane, above the one at the left.
The world changes at Pin Parvati Pass! The bird’s eye view of both Pin valley and Parvati Valley is one of those grand views that stay with you. It is a very pretty panorama of both the valleys with unnamed peaks populating your view. You can see Parvati South Ridge, Snow Peak, Ridge Peak, Pyramid Peak, Kullu Makalu and Bara Shigri. You might even spot Kinner Kailash and Shrikhand Mahadev, if you know what to look for. The prayer flags fluttering- on your left- adds to the atmosphere at the Pass. Enjoy the view of lofty peaks from Kinnaur, Kullu and Spiti. You can also spot the Mantalai camp, far below, from the pass.
The descent to Parvati glacier is brutal – it is sharp and crevasse-ridden. The snow hides these crevasses so you have to be extremely careful. Ensure the team follows the guides’ instructions as he finds the path through the glacier, and descend in a single file. The glacier tapers off and becomes wetter and muddier, transforming into a scree laden plateau. Parvati Base Camp is similar to Pin Base Camp. The weather gets very cold here and the wind chill factor is high. It is a much better option to do a longer trek to Mantalai and have a rest day.
The descent to Mantalai is steep and strewn with boulders which makes it a painful affair. Depending on the season, the trail can have snow. From here, you will see breathtaking views of the Parvati valley. You will also see many endangered species of plants and flowers, especially “Losars” and the “Brahmakamals”. Following the shepherds’ trail, you will cross at least 2-3 mountain slopes before you reach Mantalai. At Mantalai, you will have to cross the ice-cold river barefoot and then proceed ahead along the river. Mantalai, said to be the source of Parvati river is not a conventional lake. The boundary of the lake is ill-defined and the area surrounding it is a marsh. The first signs of vegetation start from here – you might even find shepherds and a Baba living in a rock shelter. You will be able to see Pyramid Peak from its base to top and another unnamed peak on the other side. It is by far, the most beautiful and unique campsite you have come across on this trek.
Day 7: Rest day at Mantalai Lake
Day 8: Mantalai Lake to Odi Thach campsite
- Altitude: 13,440 ft (4,097 m) to 12,517 ft (3,815 m)
- Time taken: 4 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Gradual descent through the valley
- Water sources: River or streams on the trail
This day consists of a scenic 9 km downhill hike all the way to the famous meadows of Odi Thach.
Walk ahead, along the right side of the river bank, up to a moraine-filled ridge. Once you reach the top of the ridge, you get a view of the point from where Parvati river is gushing down. You have to climb down a series of huge scattered boulders after which it levels out to a valley walk. This is an easier day compared to others as most of it is in a valley section. Follow the trail on the right side of the valley till you reach a large ridge breached from the right side from where the River Parvati rushes down towards Mantalai. After traversing the first of the series of ridges, you officially exit the Mantalai region.
The route towards Odi Thach swirls towards the left side of the valley and it becomes easily the prettiest day of the trek. The flowers near Odi Thach give you slopes which are completely decked in red, blue and purple colours. It really hits you, coming from the barrenness of Spiti valley. Every 100 metres after these slopes, you will feel like camping. The swamp land – with a very peaceful Parvati river which branches out to streams – culminates into a plateau and then goes through boulders till you reach level meadow – Odi Thach. A little ahead of Odi Thach is Jwari Thach where we camp.
Day 9: Odi Thach to Tunda Bhuj
- Altitude: 12,517 ft (3,815 m) to 10,499 ft (3,200 m)
- Time taken: 8 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. All descending with a couple of stream and tough river crossings, interspersed with ledge walks
- Water sources: Streams on the trail
A difficult day like this one would surprise you at this stage after the trek to Odi Thach. It starts out gradually over the meadows and goes lower into the valley to the Parvati river through boulder -strewn fields and streams. You will see a series of waterfalls on your right side and Parvati river flows on your left. Notice Mt Kullu Eiger in front of you to your left along with some un-named peaks and glaciers surrounding the valley. Then you descend down to Pandu Pul which is a natural natural bridge over the river formed by large, misshapen boulders.
This rock section can be tricky and slippery so be careful. During rains, one can rope the entire team for safety. You will have to climb down another rock jammed on top of a tributary of Parvati the same way before you head to out to an open valley with waist high shrubs to wade through.
You will have to keep your eyes glued to the terrain as you will be walking on narrow ledges over the river. The pulley that takes you to Thakur Kuan is broken so you will have to stay on the same side of the river. This trail, however, gets tricky as it is overhanging the swollen Parvati river in many places. You cannot afford to make a mistake here. If the weather is not friendly, crossing this section will become dangerous. Once the tricky patch gets over, which is the only mountainous patch for today, you will enter forest a full of rhododendrons and pine trees.
Tunda Bhuj campsite is a bowl on the mountain surrounded by cliff faces, higher up from the river.
There are a series of waterfalls on these beautiful cliff faces and descending into mist. The lush greenery feels luminescent after the moonlands of Spiti. Pin Parvati is an experience that grows better after each campsite – with a layers of greenery adding on and following the various moods of the Parvati river.
Day 10: Tunda Bhuj to Kheerganga
- Altitude: 10,499 ft (3,200 m) to 9,120 ft (2,780 m)
- Time taken: 4 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep descent which can get slushy at times
- Water sources: River and dhabas that appear as you approach Kheerganga
Today’s trek to Kheerganga is a steady descent to the gorge below where Parvati River is coming down at your right side. The trail will take you through many pasture lands, inside silver birch trees. You will also notice a series of lovely waterfalls on the huge mountain walls at the right side of the trail. These waterfalls, as they cascade down jagged mountain faces dissipate as mist. It is quite a sight.
Start your day by crossing the bridge over a tributary of Parvati river. An abandoned hut can be located on the left side of the trail. The trail will swirl downhill, out of the expanses of Parvati Valley to an open pasture land. The first forest section – reminiscent of pine forests on Roopkund trail will be steep. Watch your step as it can get slippery with all the mud. After 30 minutes, you enter pastures again – full of knee high bushes and boulders. On your right, you will see local shepherds living in their tents. You can buy fresh buffalo milk from there at a reasonable rate.
Ahead of you is a makeshift bridge that you have to cross – the second bridge for the day. After about 25 minutes of hike from here, the trail curves towards the left. You will find a small tent with locals selling refreshments – this is the first sign of civilisation after trekking through an entirely remote region. This is the first of many dhabas you will find near Kheerganga.
From the pasture land, there is a meandering descent down to forest for 30 minutes that exits into another small open pasture land. From here, you descend down to the stream and crossover the last tributary for the day over a makeshift bridge. The trail ascends from the stream for about 45-50 minutes followed by a series of gradual incline and decline towards Kheerganga.
You will reach Kheerganga by 1 pm and this is, frankly, one of the shorter days of the trek.
Kheerganga is your last campsite and it feels like the end of the trek. There are many cafes in Kheerganga and you are not the only one pitching a tent there. With the music playing in cafes, civilisation has creeped into this beautifully remote trek.
You can also take a bath in the hot springs of Kheerganga, which is a five star sauna experience at the end of long, tough trek. It is quite a luxury after an arduous trek like Pin Parvati!
Day 11: Kheerganga to Barshaini; depart from Barshaini
- Altitude: 9,120 ft (2,780 m) to 7,251 ft (2,210 m)
- Time taken: 3 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Steep descent for 40 minutes followed an undulating trail for about an hour. Ends with a steep descent.
- Water sources: Streams and dhabas along the trail.
Trek for 7 km from Kheerganga to Barshaini. You will reach Barshaini around 11am. The trek ends at Barshaini. Indiahikes will arrange for transportation from Barshaini to Kullu. The cost of which will be additional and is to be paid to the drivers directly. It takes roughly 3 hours to reach Kullu. You can take the afternoon bus from Kullu to Delhi the same day.
The trail enters a thick forest cover as you start the trek for Kheerganga. This region experiences lot of rainfall so expect the trail to be filled with excess mud on a rainy day. Since this is going to be a steep descent, remain alert as the trail can get slippery at times. It becomes a level walk after 40 minutes. Since Kheerganga is a popular trail, you will find dhabas on your way down. There will be a couple of streams running down the mountain on your right. They can be used for filling up your water bottles if needed. You will cross a makeshift bridge over River Parvati one last time today – and Parvati is a gushing, angry force now from the serenity it exuded from its source, Mantalai. Parvati River is quite the moody companion from Mantalai.
Just 5 minutes ahead of the makeshift bridge is Rudranag. It is a small piece of land considered sacred, and has a temple dedicated Lord Shiva right next to it. There is a small waterfall next to it. The trail from here has its share of uphill and downhill walks and is manageable. About 30-45 minutes into the hike with Parvati river gushing below on your left side, you enter Nakthan Village. From Nakthan, the descent is steep – however, the trail is well laid, going through villages and lovely apple orchards down to an open meadow called Swagani Maidan.
With a motor-able road all the way to Barshaini, very few travelers trek the old 12 km, 6 hour hike from Manikaran to Pulga which is said to be a scenic trail going beside the right bank of Parvati river, passing some small villages like Uchich village. Pulga has a Forest rest house build of pure teak wood where one can find accommodation to stay. You will reach Barshaini by 1 pm.
Day 12: Buffer Day
Buffer day may/may not be used. It is recommended to book tickets keeping this in mind. In case the buffer day is used, charges for one additional day will have to be paid on the trek.
This documentation is based on the experience of Amitava Chakraborty‘s trek to Pin Parvati Pass.
Day 1: Getting to base camp – Kaza (12,467 ft); 10 -12 hours drive
Day 2: Acclimatization day at Kaza (12,467 ft)
Day 3: Drive to Mudh. Trek from Mudh (12,283 ft) to Tiya (12,795 ft); 2 hours drive + 2-3 hours trek
Day 4: Tiya (12,795 ft) to Shia (14,763 ft); 5-6 hours
Day 5: Shia (14,763 ft) to Pin base camp (15,780 ft); 5-6 hours
Day 6: Pin Base camp (15,780 ft) to Mantalai (13,440 ft) via Pin Parvati Pass (17,457 ft); 12 hours
Day 7: Rest day at Mantalai (13,440 ft)
Day 8: Mantalai (13,440 ft) to Odi Thatch (12,517 ft); 4 hours
Day 9: Odi Thach (12,517 ft) to Tunda Bhuj (10,499 ft); 8 hours
Day 10: Tunda Bhuj (10,499 ft) to Kheerganga (9,120 ft); 4 hours
Day 11: Kheerganga (9,120 ft) to Barshaini (7,251 ft); 3 hours
Day 12: Buffer day. It is mandatory to have this extra day as any bad weather or rain will delay your pass crossing. In case we use the buffer day, you will have to pay us Rs.3,000 + 5% GST per day. This amount will be collected by the Trek leader if we use the buffer day.
Please note that you will be staying in tents on all days of the trek (3 per tent).
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
How to get to the basecamp: Kaza
Delhi/Chandigarh → Manali → Kaza
The Pin Parvati trek starts at Kaza, a beautiful town along the Spiti River river. Snow capped ranges and clear streams surround the town.
To get to Kaza, take an overnight bus from Delhi or Chandigarh to Manali. You will reach Manali early the next morning (travel time from Delhi is 12-14 hours). Tickets can be booked online on www.redbus.in or www.hrtc.gov.in. HRTC or HPTDC buses are usually on schedule. For a long trek like this one, it is highly important you reach Manali in the morning. You need to leave for Kaza as early as possible for your acclimatisation time. Therefore, take a bus out of Delhi for Manali no later than 7:00 pm. Do not take a private bus, you will be delayed.
From Manali to Kaza, Indiahikes can arrange transport upon request. It takes about 10-12 hours to reach Kaza. The transport charges are not included in the trek fee. For a Tempo Traveller (12+1 seater) it costs Rs.13,000 one way. A Sumo vehicle costs Rs.9,000 one way. Trekkers are advised to travel together and share this cost. The amount is to be paid directly to the driver.
Barshaini → Kullu → Delhi
The trek ends at Barshaini – the roadhead for short hike to Kheerganga – at around 11 am. Indiahikes organises transport from Barshaini to Kullu. This cost is not included in the trek fee. It will have to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the transporter. It will take about 3 hours to reach Kullu. Buses are available from Kullu to Delhi.
How to prepare for the Pin Parvati trek
Pin Parvati is a difficult trek. No two ways about it. If you want to do this trek comfortably and enjoy all the surprises it offers, you will need to prepare well.
Cardiovascular endurance – Target 10 km in 60 minutes before the start of the trek
On Pin Parvati Pass trek, you are trekking an average of 10 km each day on very difficult terrain. At the start of the trek itself, you are close to 12,000 ft. On the pass crossing day, you trek on ice fields for a few hours. That’s a long distance to cover, with steep ascents at very high altitude. This requires a good amount of endurance and stamina. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.
In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets. In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 5 km in 35 minutes when you begin
- Gradually bring up your speed to do 5 km in 30 minutes
- Start increasing the distance you jog to get to 10 km in 70 minutes
Before the start of the trek, get to 10 km in 60 minutes. Your aim should be to cover 10 km in 60 minutes once a week and 7 km in 40-45 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks.
Prepare for ascents
To prepare yourself for the steep climbs, you can add stair-climbing to your routine as well. Start simply by climbing upstairs for two minutes non-stop. Overtime, increase this to five-minute bursts of climbing, and take it to ten minutes with a short break in between.
Work on your core body strength and also your thighs, to take pressure off your knees. You can do some squats. Do three sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Apart from this, you can include planks and crunches in your routine. This will help increase your core body strength.
When you’re working your muscles a lot, you need to keep them loose and flexible. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here is a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Things to take on the Pin Parvati trek
- Trekking shoes: The Pin Parvati trail with it’s loose mud, moraines, scree and glaciers requires you to have a shoe with good sole grip and high ankle support for steep climbs. You can watch this video to help you choose the right trekking shoe.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. A rain cover for backpack is essential. Parvati Valley, especially, is prone to rain showers.
Carry a poncho as well since you might face rain while trekking through Parvati Valley.
On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.
- Three warm layers: Here’s a video on how you can layer yourself.
- Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry one pair. This should be enough. But your pants could get wet while sliding, so carry an extra pair. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals: Carry thermals to keep warm at night. Keep them fresh. Don’t wear them while trekking.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. They are mandatory on this trek since you will be traversing ice fields at the pass.
- Suncap: The sun is more harsh on your skin at high altitude and will zap your energy quickly. Wearing a suncap will help.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of water proof/resistant gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Daypack (20 litres): This is required ONLY if you are offloading your backpack.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
- Knee cap, if you are prone to knee injury
- Anti fungal powder
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card – driving license, voters ID, etc
- Medical Certificate – Download PDF
- Disclaimer – Download PDF
If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
How safe is Pin Parvati Pass trek?
The Pin Parvati Pass trek is a difficult one. One of the reasons it is a difficult trek is that the you are covering about 100 km and touching very high altitude (over 17, 000 ft). There are a lot of tricky sections on this trek. Pushing your body in that high an altitude without being acclimatised may be dangerous. Also, there are no easy exits on this trek.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Pin Parvati Pass trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Pin Parvati Pass trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Pin Parvati Pass trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Pin Parvati Pass trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At altitudes above 10,000 ft, the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out.
All the campsites starting from Kaza are a at considerably high altitudes. Each day on this trek is gruelling. Trekkers can develop symptoms of altitude sickness at any of the intervening campsites.
At any campsite, inform your trek leader about your condition immediately if you identify any symptom of AMS. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to a lower campsite.
This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox
We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.
What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
Exit points on the Pin Parvati Pass trek:
There are none. The only way out is to descend all the way to Kaza or Barshaini. So you have to be very fit and prepared before you start the trek.
Kaza has the closest hospital in case of any emergency.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.
Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
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