Rupin Pass – A Scintillating Trek in the Himalayas
It was the last Day of Rupin Pass trek. We were at around 14,000 feet, wrapped in multiple layers & admiring nature’s magnificence. The clear sky resembled a canvas, waiting to be painted. The white clouds swiftly tagged along with the wind. The endless terrain of snow spread till the horizon. The sun had just appeared above a peak, keeping us warm enough in this cold weather. We were taking a break after 3 hours of steep climb on snow from our yesterday’s campsite. Our eyes were glued to our trek’s steepest climb in front of us. That steepest trail would help us cross Rupin Pass!
With excited cheers and a clap, we started the toughest ascent in our trek. The guides motivated us continuously. After 20 minutes, we had only reached halfway. I looked up. The climb looked endless. Below, a seemingly treacherous valley stared right back at us, waiting for one of us to lose balance. We slipped, shuddered, grabbed our trekking poles firmly and took each step with caution while listening to our guide. Eventually, after 45 minutes, we had crossed Rupin pass! We had achieved the highest altitude of our trek, 15350 feet!
View from Rupin Pass enroute Rupin pass trek
It was a moment of exhilaration! The spectacular terrain of endless snow made all our fatigue disappear! We had achieved what we dreamed of every single night after we were picked from Dehradun by the organizers. As I gazed at the stunning landscape in front of me, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the past 7 days of Rupin pass Trek.
The Rupin pass trek started from Dhaula base camp. I had opted to experience the trek with Indiahikes. On Day 1, I reached the base camp from Dehradun. It’s a 8-10 hour drive. When I reached Dhaula base camp, I knew that Rupin pass trek would be one of my best travel experiences. Nature was so pure here! The majestic Rupin river flowed calmly over the rocks. The clear sky looked pristine with the playful clouds tagging along the playful wind. The lush green forest trees stood mighty tall, letting sun rays gently pass through. The mountains covered most of the blue sky and the birds chirped, forming heart warming melodies. Our tents fluttered gently in the mild wind.
I settled my backpack in a tent and wandered in the jungle. I stared, just stared, at these peaceful surroundings. After a long time, I was not carrying my Phone. I had thrown it in the tent along with my backpack. Oh what a great feeling it was to not be tied down!
Staring at the pristine Rupin river, Rupin Pass Day 1
My Tent at Base Camp, Dhaula (Rupin Pass trek)
After having early dinner, I retired to my tent, crafting imaginary stories about the next day.
On Day 2 & 3, we walked through dense forests amidst nature, gaining moderate altitude. The untouched beauty of Nature was breath-taking! The green envelope surrounded us as the elegant Rupin river played hide and seek with us. Our Day 2 camp was a small and cozy wooden house in the peaceful village of Sewa. The locals were very friendly and I enjoyed some games of volleyball with them. Jiskun, where we stayed on Day 3, was an equally charming village where I made some friends! These friends were cute little kids who loved getting clicked!
Trekking through dense forest – Rupin Pass Trek, Day 2
Playing Volleyball with locals of Sewa Village on Day 2 of Rupin Pass Trek. In the background, is our stay
Making friends at Jiskun, Rupin Pass – Day 3
Day 4 was when Rupin Pass trek started surprising us! We crossed through a dense and damp forest, climbed snow bridges and saw the calm Rupin river turn into a ferocious river. After a considerably tough terrain and many snow bridges, we finally reached one of the prettiest campsite you can imagine. The Udaknal camp was like a masterpiece painting come to life. The orange tents fluttered in the gentle winds, the lush green trees swayed with elegance, the calm horses grazed through grass and the snow clad mountains stood tall with spectacular grace. But, this was just a slight glimpse of what was in store for us the next day!
Udakanal Camp, Rupin Pass Day 4
Rupin pass trek evolves from good to stunning on Day 5. The green pastures gradually disappear and the snow terrains cover most of the path now. We steadily crossed snow bridges which were now looking endless! We gradually approached towards the most beautiful campsite in India, Dhanderas Thatch or Lower Waterfall Camp! Knowing this fact made our pace rapid and we completed trail before estimated time! We didn’t regret the extra pain, inflicted upon us due to rapid walk, when we stared at the view! The Panoramic view of lower & upper waterfall was the most beautiful landscape I have seen in my life! If anybody decides to bring Alice to India, this would be her wonderland!
Lower Waterfall Camp, Rupin Pass Trek – Day 5
View of Lower & Upper Waterfall from the camp, Rupin Pass – Day 5
The majestic snow clad mountains and dark clouds covered every bit of the blue sky. The dark clouds showed their prowess and I experienced the first hailstorm of my life! The tents swayed wildly and bits of snow were scattered in our campsite. Spending an evening, surrounded by nature’s beauty in its purest form possible, was a splendid experience. The whole experience of being so close to nature was that of a lifetime!
The next morning, on Day 6, we started our trek towards the Upper Waterfall Camp. We climbed along the lower & upper waterfall which ferociously splashed on the rocks below, creating a sweet melody. We climbed carefully on the snow as a minor mistake can throw us in these ice cold waterfalls, disappearing under the thick blanket of snow.
Lower Waterfal – Rupin Pass Trek – Day 6
Upper Waterfall – Rupin Pass Trek – Day 6
With the help of micro-spikes, we got a good grip on the snow while trekking. We gained altitude with each step now. The air was thinner, leading to much more physical stress than before. We were advised not to make much noise as that might cause an avalanche! At one point, some snow melted in one of the surrounding mountains and a big thunder echoed in the mighty Himalayas. Luckily, nothing catastrophic happened. We decided to take rest and capture nature’s beauty on celluloid.
Enroute Upper Waterfall Camp, Rupin Pass Trek – Day 6
View while trekking to Upper Waterfall Camp from Lower Waterfall Camp. Can you spot the lower waterfall camp? – Rupin Pass Trek, Day 6.
Staring at the stunning beauty of mighty Himalayas
Finally we reached the Upper waterfall camp, the 2nd last camp of Rupin pass trek.
The Upper waterfall camp was nestled amidst mighty snow clad mountains, next to where the glaciers melted to form Rupin river. The landscape surrounding this camp resembled a vanilla ice-cream, topped with choco-chips. The snow resembled vanilla and some rocks played the role of choco-chips! The vibrant tents and our clothes were the only colors in this giant vanilla scoop!
Upper Waterfall Campsite, Rupin Pass Trek – Day 6
In the evening, we decided to climb a nearby mountain and slide our way back to the camp. The experience of sliding rapidly was terrifying as well as exciting. I rolled in all possible directions while coming down! But, this prepared me mentally for longer slides the next day where we would lose 400 feet of altitude in few minutes!
See the tents down there? I was supposed to slide down till there! Rupin Pass Trek (Day 6)
Later that evening, the sun was shining brilliantly and I ventured out to catch a glimpse of spectacular snow landscapes, shining due to the bright evening sun.
The evening view from a peaceful spot near Upper Waterfall Camp
“How tiny we are in front of Nature” (Photo Credits: Shubham Pathak)
I returned back to the tent once the sun had set behind one of those humongous mountains. After an early dinner, we retired to our tents, preparing for the longest and toughest day ahead. The next day, we were going to walk 16 KMs!
Next day arrived quickly, because we got up at 3 AM in the morning and allowed our bodies to get habituated to the cold. Post breakfast, we started the toughest day of Rupin pass trek, with mighty hope in our heart. After walking for 3 hours, we took some rest before embarking upon the steep ascent for Rupin pass.
Ready to climb Rupin Pass (Day 7)
Climbing Rupin Pass. Can you guess where is Rupin Pass in this image? (Day 7)
While climbing, we also saw foot-steps of a snow leopard! As we trekked towards Rupin Pass, we knew that a snow leopard was carefully observing us, ready to pounce if an easy target is spotted. Lucky for us, snow leopards are shy animals! After continuous and cautious efforts, we had finally crossed the Rupin pass. It took us 45 minutes to climb the toughest ascent and reach the highest point in our trek, 15350 feet!
View from Rupin Pass
Admiring the pure & pristine nature from Rupin Pass
With my Trek mates at Rupin Pass (Day 7)
Innumerable snow terrains branched out of Rupin pass and turned into a spectacular landscape! We were followed by a herd of sheep along with 4 fierce looking dogs. We rested for 30 minutes and congratulated each other for successfully completing the toughest ascent of our Rupin pass trek. We were overjoyed and nature’s beauty which we witnessed was beyond any beauty I might have seen in my entire life!
After admiring the pristine Himalayan beauty, we started our descent towards our last campsite at Ronti Gad. This campsite was yet another example of miraculous beauty Himalayas can offer.
Ronti Gad Camp, Rupin Pass Trek (Day 7)
View from one of the tents in Ronti Gad, Rupin Pass Trek (Day 7) (Photo Credit : Shubham Pathak)
The low layer of clouds covered our tents and as I sipped piping hot tea from warm cup, I couldn’t help but repaint the view from Rupin pass in front of me. Oh what a great decision it was to opt for Rupin pass trek, I wondered.
On Day 8, we started our descent towards Sangla, a beautiful little village in the scenic district of Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. The 12 KM descent was very arduous for shins and toes. The fact that Rupin Pass trek had ended made this last day even tougher.
Entering the beautiful Sangla Village – Rupin Pass Trek (Day 8) (Photo Credit : Shubham Pathak)
Finally, we were back to human civilization. We booked a cab for Chandigarh and I left the beautiful valleys of Himalayas with a heavy heart. As our 12 hour journey started, I began to replay the whole Rupin pass trek in my mind. The driver started playing old Hindi songs.
The air was filled with beautiful lyrics of a Kishore Kumar song:
“Musafir hoon yaaro
Na ghar hai na thikana
Mujhe chalte jaana hai
Bas chalte jaana…”