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The Rupin Pass Trek is one of the most rewarding and scenic treks that any trekker can undertake. It is a high-altitude trek that begins in Dhaula, Uttarakhand, and ends in Sangla, Himachal Pradesh. Rupin Pass is at an elevation of 4650 metres.
The Baspa valley in Kinnaur is connected to the Garhwal in the south by several passes. Shepherds and traders used to use these passes instead of the convoluted Hindustan-Tibet road that exists today. The route features a diverse range of scenery, altitude, and gradient.
The trail at lower elevations goes through Oak and Fir forests and interior villages in river valleys. It also goes through beautiful meadows, alpine wildflowers, waterfalls, and steep ice fields. The trail at higher elevations also goes through beautiful meadows, alpine wildflowers, waterfalls, and steep ice fields.
The route is known for its wonderful wildflowers, especially during the monsoon season. In the surrounding areas of the pass, the well-known Brahma Kamal flourishes in abundance. The trail above the meadows is covered in heavy snow during the summer.
The Rupin Pass Trek is a challenging adventure that takes you through stunning landscapes. As you cross the Rupin Pass, you’ll have beautiful views of the Kinnaur Kailash range and the Charang Ghati ridge’s other peaks. Kinnaur, on the other side of the pass, is known for its “Golden Delicious” apple orchards.
Distance: 191 km
Time: 8 hours
Altitude: 1,580 m (5,184 ft.)
Pick up from Dehradun in the morning and travel to Dhaula. The distance is approximately 190 kilometres, and it can take 8-10 hours to complete the journey, with a lunch break in between.
The road is one of the most scenic in the Garhwal region. It takes us up to the posh hill station of Mussorie in the beginning, and through the turquoise Yamuna river, conifer forests, and the meandering Tons river in the latter half. Some of the main attractions are Mussorie, Yamuna Pool, Damta, Nawgaon, Purola, Mori, and Netwar.
Mori is the last place where you can get a reliable mobile network. From Netwar onwards, we are in the Govind National Park area and have to check-in at the Forest Check Post. After crossing the Tons River, we enter Rupin Valley.
Dhaula is a small village with only a few houses and homestays. We set up camp in Dhaula for the night.
Distance: 10 km
Time: 6 hours
Altitude: 2,000 m (6,560 ft)
Today, we set out on the trek. We will be following the Rupin River for most of the trail. The river is 500 feet below us in the gorge. The walk is gentle and has a low gradient along the river valley. The Rupin River will be on our right side for the duration of today’s trek.
The Datadhar village is a moderate 30-minute climb from the base, and it takes a couple of hours to encircle the mountains and reach Sewa village. This village has a wooden temple with Kinnaur cultural influences. There is also a tea shop and a small lodge in the village. The trek from Datadhar to Sewa is through a mixed forest of Deodar, oak and rhododendron. The trail is moderate with a few steep climbs.
The last kilometre before the campsite is an easy walk. There are good camping grounds on the banks of the Rupin River with a beautiful view of the valley. The campsite is located on the true right of Rupin in Himachal Pradesh. The distance from Datadhar to the campsite is 10 kilometres and it could take up to 6 hours to complete. A nice camping ground on the bank of Rupin is just another kilometre after the village.
We descend to the riverbed and cross a side stream called Aligad after crossing a short jungle stretch. The bridge connects the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The Aligad campsite is located on the true right of Rupin in Himachal Pradesh.
Distance: 12 km
Time: 7 hours
Altitude: 2,652 m (8,700 ft)
From the campsite, we take the river trail and then a steady, comfortable climb to reach a motor road in Himachal Pradesh that is still under construction. The motorable road on the left leads to Rohru over Chanshal Pass and is part of the Shimla district.
We walk for about an hour along the wide and levelled road on our right along the Rupin to get a diversion from the road. Our road leads to Gosangu on the left. Another 3 kilometres of almost flat walking and a 500-foot climb later, we arrive at the village of Jiskun’s first house.
We skirt the village, crossing the final stretch and descending into the jungle to cross a bridge. From here, a steady climb leads us to a sharp turn where Rupin appears deep within the gorge. The view of the valley from here is surprisingly beautiful, and it is green all year.
We climb for an hour inside the blue pine forest from here to get our first glimpse of Jhaka village. The village portion seen from here is on a steep slope and appears to be dangling from the cliff. We have the option of pitching our tents or staying at the Home-stay. Lower Jhaka may take 6 to 7 hours to reach.
Distance: 7 km
Time: 5 hours
Altitude: 3,398 m (11,150 ft)
We start at the Jhaka campsite and gradually ascend, passing through the village’s upper reaches before entering the lovely conifer forest. As we walk through the forest, we gradually lose altitude, and after an hour, we cross the Rupin River’s snow bridge to reach the trail on the other side.
To get to Buras Kandi, we continue our trek along the boulder-strewn stretch. Shepherds frequently use this trail for grazing during the summer and monsoon seasons. Our today’s camp, Suruwas Thach (3400m, 11150ft), is reached after a steep ascent and a walk along the riverbed. The distance is 7 kilometres, and it could take up to 5 hours to complete. For the night, set up camp.
Distance: 6 km
Time: 4 hours
Altitude: 3,550 m (11,650 ft)
Today we walk on nearly level ground through the meadows, passing by numerous cascading waterfalls that feed Rupin. The trail leads us to our campsite at Dhanderas Thach/Lower waterfall camp, which is surrounded by lush green pastures. It’s pure bliss to wake up at the campsite near Jhaka Village.
The trail is well-marked, passes through Jhaka village’s field, and enters a forest with tall fir trees, evoking centuries of pristine civilization. The trail changes to snow patches after passing through the forest and landscapes. Follow the snow bridge over Rupin, cross the bridge, and continue walking along a narrow trail until you reach another wooden bridge. Soon after, you’ll enter another forest with different-coloured Rhododendron trees.
As you ascend through the forests, you will come to the edge of a U-shaped valley. The enchanting views from the valley’s rim, with thousands of waterfalls cascading down below you, are all designed to hypnotise you into moving. To get to the valley, travel downward through green and yellow meadows, and after crossing a series of snow-bridges, you’ll arrive at Dhanderas Thatch, which is in the middle of a valley.
Distance: 5 km
Time: 4 hours
Altitude: 3,993 m (13,100 ft)
Before crossing the pass, we’ll take a short day hike to get some much-needed rest at a high altitude. The nature of the trail varies depending on when you go. The trail is covered in ice fields and semi-hard frosty snow in the early summer, but there is little snow in the second half of the season after the monsoon. The ascent from the base of the waterfall is steep until we reach Rati Pheri/Upper waterfall camp at the top.
You’ll learn how to use an ice axe, a trekking pole, and how to slide on snow on the way to the top of the waterfall from its base. When you need to cut your way across a large snow bridge, these snow trekking techniques will come in handy. It would be a spellbinding experience to stand in the middle of the snow bridge and watch Rupin disappear beneath your feet after falling down through the waterfall above you. When you reach the top of the waterfall, you’ll come across a large meadow that will serve as your day’s campsite. Various streams flowing down the alpine mountains converging to form the river Rupin could be seen here.
Distance: 12 km
Time: 9 hours
Altitude: 4,650 m (15,256 ft)
To cross the pass, get up early in the morning. The ascent from Ratapheri is steep and difficult. We arrive at the vast stretch of snowfield after about an hour and locate the pass above the ridgeline. As the oxygen level drops, we gradually increase our ascent.
Rupin Pass (4650m, 15200ft) is where the exhilarating climb ends, and the view is breathtaking. The snowy Kinnaur Kailash range on the northern side and the Rupin valley on the southern side of this eternally snowbound pass. After about half an hour, we begin the steep descent to the Sangla side. The amount of snowfall will vary depending on the season.
After crossing the snowline, the descent becomes steeper until we reach Ronti Gad (4100m, 13450ft), which marks the beginning of the green meadows. The distance is 12 kilometres, and it may take 10 to 11 hours to complete. We’ll pitch our tent for the night.
Distance: 4 km
Time: 2 hours
Altitude: 2,713 m (8,900 ft)
Today is the last day of our trek, and we will begin descending to the Baspa River Valley in the morning. Until we reach Sangla Kanda, the height loss is rapid. There is a small lake in this meadow. During the summer and monsoon seasons, the villagers live in small settlements.
There are several trails that cut through the meadow but eventually lead to the main trail. We descend further to re-enter the tree line and eventually reach the village of Sangla. At Sangla (2700m, 8850ft), there is a bridge that crosses the Baspa river and leads to the motorable road.
This is the point at which the journey comes to a close. The distance is 12 kilometres, and it could take up to 6 hours to complete.
The best time and season to do the Rupin Pass Trek is in pre-monsoon or post-monsoon seasons. You can either attempt in the May-June season or the September-October season.
All participants are expected to be confident that they are physically and mentally fit and able to complete the itinerary of their chosen event as defined in the itinerary.
Any minors between 10 and 17 years of age must accompany their parent or guardian who assumes full responsibility for them to participate in the adventure activity or event. Unaccompanied, underage minors will not be allowed to participate in the adventure activity.
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