“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing”…
Barry Finlay(Kilimanjaro and Beyond)
Reaching to the mountain top is what every trekker yearns to achieve and Himachal Pradesh opens to them a catalogue of destinations to choose from. Sar Pass trek is one of its trekking destinations which serves with a gamut of experiences .Sometimes an easy trek over green patches crossing stretches of rhododendrons, while at other places sliding down on massive snow. Situated in Pin Parvati valley of Kullu district, Sar pass trekking expedition unfolds many such experiences to give you goosebumps.
Sar Pass trek begins from Kasol base camp, which not only offers an exquisite beauty of tall pines against the valley, but also has a pleasant climate to enjoy. Best time to do Sar Pass trek is mid May to October. Kasol is well connected by road to Kullu via Bhuntar, a major town, where you would get buses connecting to various towns and cities, big and small. In Kasol, one often finds foreigners moving around in search of charas which is grown in this patch. Studded like a gemstone on a ring, Kasol, nestled in the Shivalik ranges, is indeed mesmerizing and precious with all its beauty and nature’s grace. One gets to watch the lifestyle of the natives at close quarters, and it is stunning to see the ever-cheerful pahadi women trekking up and down the steeps along with their cherubic babies.
The Kasol base camp is where the trekkers are given proper training and guidance to face the challenging twists and turns that one might come across in his way to the summit. Morning exercises and acclimatization walks followed by rappelling and rock-climbing training the trekkers get it all to step up for a thrilling new expedition.
[Nag Tibba – The heart of the Himalayas]
Kasol trek, however, is relatively easy as one walks through the forest stretches with Parvati River accompanying them up to a large extent of the journey. The entire stretch is throbbing with life as one crosses the unbound greenery, and the bright red rhododendron flowers in full bloom add cheer to the air. Life seems blissful as you pass through the green plateaus and are greeted by the graceful shepherds who move uphill with their herd of cows or sheeps.
Trekking up to Zirmi is without hurdles. The Zirmi camp is the last ascent where you would not get much snow. This is the last point where you can escape into the wilderness of the dark green foliage. The campsite is enthralling and the starry night sky viewed from the campsite brings down heavenly calmness and serenity. However, it is a bit unsafe to move outside at night as the place is prone to bear and wolf attack.
Reaching the next campsite at Tila Lotni, one gets to experience thick snow sheathing the ground. This part of the trek brings with it a lot of adventure and it gets scarier with every step you take. The campsite is beautiful, offering a fascinating sight of white-washed snow-clad Shivalik range all around. Here again, precautions need to be taken against snow bears that might turn up any time.
The sunrise in mountainscape, as it slowly clears out the darkness and paints the sky bright, is an absolute delight to the eyes. The trek to Sar Pass is a difficult one and trekkers are often assigned instructors, who are mostly Sherpas from Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, who instruct about the ways to cope with fierce snow storms. It is very important to note that one should have proper shoes for trekking over thick ice covers.
When you reach the summit of Sar Pass, you feel the literal meaning of being on top of the world. Walking on a glacier at 13500 ft. above sea level is indeed a spellbinding experience. The intermingling of pricking ice cold winds, sheets of ice and a soothing, bright sunshine made that piece of earth celestial. The main attraction at Sar Pass, however, are the great slides over snow which never fails to give you one of the best experiences of your life. Sliding down around 3 kms on snow-covered steep descend is worth all the hurdles that the trekkers face to reach here. The Sar Pass summit is the highest point of the expedition and descending downhill you would reach Biskeri Tach, the next campsite. Beautiful Biskeri has often been called as ‘’little Switzerland’’ because of its royal panoramic view combining the green grasslands and pine forests with the snowy mountains ,and the little red and yellow wild flowers here and there add intricate colors to its portrait.
Descending downhill through the pine forests, one would reach Bandhak Tach. The proverb ‘’The grass is greener on the other side’’ find its literal existence here as the green Bandhak Tach exists just on the other side of the white snow-clad Sar Pass .This point marks the end of the Sar Pass expedition. It is now time to descend down crossing a number of villages like Pulga,Tulga and Barshaini and back to Kasol, from where it all began.
The Sar Pass expedition indeed blesses one with splendid experiences and memories that he would treasure lifelong.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to do this trek is mid May to October. The weather is pleasant during this time of the year.