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Want to trek from Spiti to Ladakh? Try the Parang La Pass trek

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Imagine 3 things that are absolutely amazing come together, what would this togetherness even mean? And, just how awestruck would we be left after their unison? Such is the case of the breath-taking Parang La trek which serves possibly the world’s most beautiful “triple threat”, due to its location between Ladakh, Spiti and even Tibet. If you’ve ever been to Ladakh or Spiti, or even seen their pictures, you would agree with me that these states offer a landscape that is very unique. Their being cold deserts blessed with rare fossils and then wrapped in a layer of Buddhism’s warmth, makes the whole aura of these states very unlike most Indian peaks. This trek allows one to see stunning snowclad peaks and a glacial high-altitude lake, it even allows you to go visit a monastery and most of all, it offers you a slice of another kind of life. So, are you ready to live it for yourself too? Just for a little while?

How to reach: The trek can either be started from Karzok village in Leh or Chicham/Kibber village in Spiti. In this article we’ll be covering the route followed via Chicham in Spiti. For this you need to first reach Manali, from there Kaza and from there Chicham itself. The closest airport to Manali is Bhuntar but the flights are limited and expensive, so, alternatively you can fly in to Delhi, take a bus till Manali and halt. Then the next day, travel via road to Kaza.

Note: This trek does demand good amount of time in hand.

Best time to trek/visit: July to October (depending on the status of rainfall)

Duration: 12 days roughly

Difficulty: Difficult

Altitude: 5,580 m

Trek route: The route will of course depend on what you decide with your local trekking guide, but possible options include:

Manali – Kaza – Chicham – Thaltak – Borochin – Kharsa Yongma via Parang La – Kapapuche – Kitpodansa – Chumik Shilde – Kiangdom – Karzok – Leh

treks in spiti
Source: https://www.trekmunk.com/treks/parang-la-trek

Day 1: Manali to Kaza

Altitude – 3,800 m

Approximate Distance – 202.4 kms

The key to going for this trek is to remember that it’s going to be a time consuming one. Roads and weather may cause delays. Then thanks to the altitude as well you’re required to take it slow. So, if you’re prepared for that, get ready to enjoy your road journey as the first of the peaks will start to come out to say hello to you. If you reach in time, Kaza has some really nice cafes that you could go check out.

Day 2: Kaza to Chicham

Approximate Distance – 18 kms

A short drive later, you shall arrive at Chicham village which is one of the ideal points from which this trek can be started. Reach the village and give into the slow life so that your body may acclimatize at its pace.

Day 3: Acclimatization at Chicham

Another day is kept for you to acclimatize and the reason that you’ve picked up considerable amount of altitude. This trek requires proper acclimatization to ensure that once your trek commences, you take it on with ease and not with incident. So, lay back, take in Chicham’s charming views and rest well before a long and strenuous trek commences.

Day 4: Chicham to Thaltak  

Altitude – 4,270 m to 4,693 m

Approximate Distance – 8 kms

It’s time to kick start your trek! After having waited patiently, get started on your adventure. With your excitement you shall first make it to the village of Dumla with a steady level walk. But from thereon the climb gets quite steep, so dig deep and climb on. In store for you are the typical Spiti mountains, dry, rustic and otherworldly. By evening as you reach your campsite, you’ll be making your acquaintance with a meadow and also glancing upon the stunning Panamo peak.

Source: https://aquaterra.in/trips/parang-la-trek-himachal-pradesh-india/

Day 5: Thaltak to Borochin  

Altitude – 4,693 m to 5,100 m

Approximate Distance – 12 kms

And, now your trek trail will have you dipping into the depths of a gorge. The terrain is made of loose rocks and gravel and you know by now what it’s like to be in a cold desert. You will meet the luscious local river which is called Rong Nala. From there the trek up till your campsite shall be quite a challenging one, so, dig deep and let the preparation for this trek kick in to take you up. You will witness the classic Spiti landscape as you make your way.

Day 6: Borochin to Kharsa Yongma via Parang La

Altitude – 5,100 m to 4,850 m, Parang La (5,580 m)

Approximate Distance – 14 kms

It’s going to be quite an exciting day as you are headed for the Parang La pass! But it is going to just as demanding, so, make sure to be prepared accordingly. You will be treading through moraine fields as you ascend and will even find the occasional stream or two coming out to play a game of peekaboo. As you reach the pass, the panoramic views will leave you amazed as your gaze falls upon the Parilungi peak, Changthang valley and so many other bits of Spiti. This is a mountaineer’s dream to be enveloped within such peaks. And, it doesn’t end here, as next you shall be making your descent by crossing over the glacier! While that is exciting, it does demand just as much attention as well on account of the irregular crevasses. So, find your footing right and make your way. The view, the challenging nature, the sense of adventure will all make this day an unforgettable one.

Day 7: Kharsa Yongma to Kapapuche  

Altitude – 4,850 m to 4,700 m

Approximate Distance –20 kms

A day of both ascents and descents touching about 300 metres approximately, this day will see you playing quite the game with the valley’s blues! You will first find the Datang Nala, an icy and gorgeous river bed. Thereon your trek runs alongside the river, so, you will have to cross over it multiple time. Sometimes you’ll even have to remove your shoes, so, it’s time to splash!

Day 8: Kapapuche to Kitpodansa

Altitude – 4,700 m to 4,550 m

Approximate Distance –20 kms

With a similar and just as scenic trail in store as the previous day, today, you shall make your way with the Pare river keeping you company. So, the path below your feet, the river besides whispering sweet nothings and the mountains in the back overlooking, could this day get anymore beautiful?

Source: https://www.thewesternmountains.com/parang-la/

Day 9: Kitpodansa to Chumik Shilde

Altitude – 4,550 m to 4,704 m

Approximate Distance – 18 kms

After following Parechu river downstream, you’ll move in the direction of Norbu Sumdo. The current of the river gets quite wild, so, exercise caution as you move ahead. And, then as you reach Norbu Sumdo, say hello to the gateway between Spiti and Ladakh! Your welcome party may most likely comprise of black wolves, wild ass and the adorable little marmots! Who wants to make some friends? ?

Day 10: Chumik Shilde to Kiangdom

Altitude – 4,704 m to 4588 m

Approximate Distance – 14 kms

This day as you almost walking in comparison to the other days. The amount of ascent is lesser and your legs will certainly start to thank you. But don’t worry, your eyes aren’t further as they will be rewarded with an immensely beautiful alpine lake, the ever so blue, Tso Moriri. The lake in its blue hues and surrounding landscapes looks no lesser than something right out of a dream.

Day 11: Kiangdom to Karzok

Altitude – 4,588 m to 4615 m

Approximate Distance – 21.5 kms

Today, is the last day of your trek and while you have a lot of distance to cover, remember that you also have a lot to soak in. Hold on to the quietness that the valley has taken you towards these last few days, it’s distinctive mountain peaks that seem to be of a rare make, the rivers that cheered you on through the trail, the locals and more who lent you a hand. Last days are always quite the rush of emotion. And, rightfully so.

Day 12: Karzok to Leh

Altitude – 4,615 m to 3,500 m

Approximate Distance – 240 kms drive

You can either head back to Leh, or stay for another day to go pay your respects at the monasteries who call Karzok their home. From there you make your way to Leh and if you’ve come all the way, you may as well do some exploring there too, right?

Source: https://www.whitemagicadventure.com/trek-walking-holidays/parang-la-trek

So, there you have it, the chance of walking upon an ancient trade route to discover some treasures from your eyes and heart, for a taste of adrenaline and for some quality time with nature.

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