Pin Parvati Pass is the most glamorous Trans-Himalayan Trek in India. It is rated as one of the most coveted treks by experienced Trekkers. At the same time, the trek throws back quite a few challenges.
Based on our experience, we have prepared an FAQ on 10 most asked questions about Pin Parvati Pass Trek.
Question #1. Should Pin Parvati Pass be approached from Parvati Valley (Bursheni/Kullu) or Pin Valley (Mudh/Spiti)?
The answer to this question is tricky. Both approaches are worthy. This is one rare trek that should be done from both sides. The perspective gained are so different, even if the route is the same.
One reason for this is due to the stark contrast of both the Valleys. Parvati Valley of Kullu is an enchanted Green Paradise. Everything here is larger than life. The trees, the cascading waterfalls, the meadows, the mountainous topography. After the crossover, the barren Cold Desert of Pin Valley is an outlandish beauty. The twist is brutal, almost poetic. It takes a while to grasp the change. It seems you been doing two different journeys. When one ends and the other began you just don’t get to fathom.
We recommend starting the trek from Parvati Valley. It is more beautiful by entering the green valley than exiting it. You get more time to absorb its beauty this way. As you enter deeper, the grounds of Odi Thach and Mantalai reveals secrets never have seen before. It also helps you to acclimatize better.
Question #2. Is Pin Parvati Pass Trek for Experienced Trekkers only?
Pin Parvati is not a trek for those new to trekking. Prior experience of a high altitude Trek is essential. By that, we mean a trek of at least 7 days of actual trekking at an elevation of over 15,000 feet.
If you want to do Pin Parvati Pass, we recommend doing, at least, one high altitude Pass Crossing Trek.
We tell trekkers who have done treks like Roopkund to not go for this trek. Attempt a High altitude Pass Crossing Trek before doing this. Rupin Pass is a good option.
Question #3. What are the risks associated with this trek?
Pin Parvati is a 110 kilometer of roller coaster ride that comes with its share of risks. The trails are ill-defined and badly washed out during monsoon. Finding the route inside the dense forest can confuse even the most experienced trekker. Crossing the Parvati River and its tributaries can be a harrowing experience. Traversing the un-roped deceptive crevasses of the Pass has its risks.
Apart from that, a 10-day trekking with a 15 kg backpack can break even a fit trekker. With no scope of rescue option available, you are totally on your own.
Question #4. Can Pin Parvati Pass Trek be done in less duration?
Pin Parvati Pass is approximately 110-kilometer trek. It takes 10 days of actual trekking. This does not include any rest days. We have heard local shepherds and foreign hikers do it in 6 to 7 days.
Having said that doing it in such haste is not advisable. The terrain is harsh and the distance is sizable. The altitude gain in itself is from 7,000 feet to 17,500 feet. Even a fit person can get sick. Altitude sickness, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems are common.
We recommend a total of 12 days for Pin Parvati Pass Trek.
Question #5. What is the best time to do Pin Parvati Pass Trek?
Pin Parvati Pass Trek has two best seasons. The first is from the third week of June till Second week Of July. The Second window is from the third week of August till First week of September.
The difference in both windows is to do with the level of snow around the Pin Parvati Pass. Attempting this trek in late September and October has become tricky. The weather in the valley makes pass crossing difficult during these late months.
Question #6. What contingency planning one needs for Pin Parvati Pass Trek?
Due to the remoteness and difficulty of the trek, few important things need working out.
- Rescue/Emergency evacuation plan. Define how a medical rescue is going to happen. Assign the men who will administer CPR/Medical aid. Find out how many porters you need for the rescue. What are the medical and logistical supplies required? A stretcher, Oxygen Cylinder, Antibiotics, Steroids for treating an acute case of altitude sickness.
- Keeping Buffer days in the itinerary. You need to have a few optional days in the itinerary for safe measures. They may be used for acclimatization purpose. Or taking a rest day. Sometimes crossing the pass will get delayed due to bad weather. In such cases having extra days is always useful. We recommend 2 extra buffer days for Pin Parvati Pass Trek.
Question #7. Where to find a reliable Guide and Support Team for Pin Parvati Pass Trek?
The best Guides for Pin Parvati Pass Trek are from Kullu, Manali or Reckong Peo, Kaza. It is wise to confirm Nepali Porters for this trek. Guides can be spotted at Manali Main Mall and Bus Stand area. One can always request for a Guide reference on an online forum like Indiamike.
Question #8. How is the weather during the trekking season?
The Parvati Valley has a vibrant weather. The Green Valley has an unpredictable weather pattern which brings a lot of spell of rain. Some of them are intense. The rains have immediate implications. The rivers and its tributaries swell up. On many occasions, they wash away makeshift bridges on the route. The weather is intense at the higher altitude. It may cause a spell of heavy snow and blizzard making pass crossing difficult.
During June and July, there is generous snow at an elevation of 4,000 meters and above. The day temperature remains pleasant. At night, the temperature may dip to sub zero.
In the post-monsoon months (late August till early September), expect spells of rainfall. Trekking in Rain here is not ideal. Rain turns the whole trail into a mud trail. Carry a Gaitor to protect your track pants and shoes from mud.
During the rainy season, rock fall ahead of Mantalai to Pin Parvati Pass is common. Carry a headgear (helmet) for protection.
Question #9. What things do I need to carry in the backpack for this Trek?
- Backpack (70-90 liter) for multi days treks.
- Trekking Boots – High ankle support boots.
- Trek Gaiter – To prevent snow/moisture seeping inside the boot.
- Trekking Pole
- Down Jacket – Thick, windproof material, fleece and feather based recommended.
- Trek Pants – (at least 3 Trek Pants), no Jeans. Synthetic, Quick Dry fabric based Trek Pants are ideal.
- Full sleeve woolen/fleece – (at least 2)
- Full sleeve T-Shirts – (at least 4)
- Thermal Inner – (for Lower body recommended/ upper is optional)
- Sunglasses – Is a must for snow trek. UV rated ones.
- Socks – (3 pair of woolen and 4 pairs of cotton socks)
- Waterbottle – (2 water bottle, each 1 liter). Avoid plastic drinking bottles.
- Toiletries (Sunscreen – SPF 60+, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm/chap stick, small soap, toilet paper, wet tissue)
- Headlamp/LED Torch
- Cutlery – Carry a plate, spoon, coffee mug & a lunch box.
- Gunny Bag – (To stash nonbiodegradable waste for disposal in the nearest town/city)
- A multi-utility knife/Swiss Knife.
- Energy bars/dry fruits.
- Repair kit – (needle & thread)
- Medicine Kit
- Helmet (Headgear for protection from rock fall)
- 50 metre Rope and a Carabiner (For river crossing, roping in, making a harness etc.)
Question #10. How to physically train for Pin Parvati Pass Trek?
Pin Parvati Pass Trek requires Expedition like preparedness. This includes the physical training. Trekking for over 10 days, 110 kilometer with a 15 kg Backpack requires stamina and core strength. The maximum elevation is over 17,000 feet. Your body needs proper training to handle such extreme conditions.
You need to train keeping the following in mind.
1. Strengthen your core muscles. Train the weak links of your body.
You need to build on your back, legs, arms, stomach muscles. Add strength training along your routine Cardio coupling for best results.
2. Simulate field conditions in your training regime.
Try doing drills that can simulate the uphill and downhill trekking routine. Climbing staircases are the best way to start training. Start with 15 minutes with a set of 2 rounds. Increase it to 30 minutes, 4 sets with a break of 2 minutes between each in the 3rd week of training.
If you have ascending tracks around your neighborhood, try running or brisk walking. Start your running for 1 hour on a flat surface for a week. Increase the duration to 2 hours in your second week. Keep an hour of workout on an inclined track.
You can simulate the same on an inclined treadmill. A Gym Trainer can guide you here.
Start carrying a backpack with a pre-defined load while doing brisk walking. Start with a 4-kilogram weight load for 30 minutes for a week. You can work on building endurance by walking on a treadmill with 2 to 5 percent incline with a 4 kg backpack load.
3. Eat nutritious Food, take appropriate rest days.
For a detailed 12-week training Regime, refer the following manual. We recommend at least 9 weeks of training for Pin Parvati Pass Trek.