Trans Himachal 2018
Himachal Pradesh Himalaya
Peter Van Geit gives a fascinating photo-illustrative account of his explorations in the remote regions of Himachal Pradesh. He and a team-mate trekked across 40 high altitude Passes.
A 75 days/1500 kms alpine-style journey across 40 high altitude passes in Spiti, Pangi, Chamba, Kinnaur, Shimla and Kangra districts of Himachal and Zanskar during summer 2018. Minimalist, selfsupported, partly running and mostly solo exploration of many lesser known passes, many only used by shepherds including Chobia, Chaini, Kugti, Pratap Jot, Thamsar, Kaliheni, Lar La, Padang La and Buran to name a few. Jumping districts and valleys across the Pir Panjal, Dauladhar and Baspa ranges traversing 1500km through picturesque valleys.Several weeks went into planning the route, analyzing maps including OSM (Open Street Maps), SOI (Survey of India), Google Earth, Olizane and various reference blogs. Credit goes to Sathya Narayanan who inspired me through his solo trekking explorations and wonderful blog before he went missing last August and my close friend Maniraj who identified many trails. Navigation (and photography) was done with my OnePlus 6 mobile and offline OpenTopoMaps. A total elevation gain of 2+ lakh meters was achieved, with 7 passes above 5000 meters and 21 passes above 4000 meters. Being an ultra runner and minimalist (carried only 6 kg luggage), most of the pass crossings were done in just 1-2 days after initial acclimatization, covering 30-40 kms every day, traveling on HPRTC buses in between sections. The journey took us through colourful alpine meadows, high altitude desert, vast glaciers, wild stream crossings, huge moraines, steep landslide-prone valley slopes, a few technical climbs and wilderness navigation near a few unused trails.
We camped overnight in tents but many times stayed in shelters with shepherds and mountain tribes, and in many welcoming homes at remote, hospitable villages. Food was kept basic / minimal with no cooking to reduce weight. No technical gears were carried except for a pair of hiking poles. The journey was one of stunning natural beauty, hospitality beyond words and overwhelming vastness of remote out-of-this-world landscapes. We indulged in lip smacking local cuisine, encountered hikers and wildlife in the remotest corners of the Himalayas, listened to beautiful music on local instruments. More details on the passes, route, preparation, photos and videos of my journey can be found at ultrajourneys.org