Why the new shorter version of Rupin Pass is not worth it?



Rupin pass is India’s one of the most popular Trans-Himalayan treks. Starting from Uttarakhand and ending in Himachal, it is our opportunity to experience the thrill of hiking in varied ranges. At 15000 feet it is a dreamland with never-ending satisfaction. Changing terrains, waterfalls, friendly habitats, and lush green to barren brown valleys, huge snow-fields, nothing was missing. Rupin is just so flawless; however, we have been getting queries from numerous trekkers to initiate a shorter version of the trek. We thought let’s explore the idea. 

In our research, we found that other companies have also begun batches of the shorter and alternative variant of the Rupin trek. The hike starts from Jiskun instead of Sankri and the total number of days is 7 instead of 8 with one acclimatization day. While it is a well thought substitute we think this new trek is not worth it. The initial Rupin Pass is a gem and we are not ready to spoil its essence.

Firstly, the new hike will commence from Shimla then direct ride to Jiskun. That means the hike starts and ends in Himachal Pradesh only. The prime factor of Rupin Pass being a Trans-Himalayan trek is lost.

Apart from that other reasons that kill the beauty of the hike are below:

Road Travel

New – Shimla to Dodra (200 km, 10-11 hours) and Shiladesh to Jiskun (80 km, 4 hours) off-road ride

As you can see the first day is a long journey of the vehicle riding only to get to the base village in the modified itinerary. Just 200 km is not enough there is more than 80 km long bumpy ride. Most of the transport vehicles are Tata Sumo or Tempo Traveller which do not have good suspension for a long off-road journey. It will cause immense tiredness. You will feel terrible the next morning to start the actual hike. People with motion sickness will find it hard. 15-16 hours of continuous sitting will make the whole day monotonous and tiring. 

There are chances of roads getting blocked. Imagine getting stuck in an 80 km long route, it will increase the travel time even more. 

Old – Dehradun to Sankri distance 185 km 8 hours only ½ hour off-road (full connected road, connects Yamnotri also all-weather road if roadblocks anytime government has pressure to clear)

While in the early plan you save a lot of time and not get tired by the monotonous rides. With only 30 min of off-road travelling even if the roads get blocked it is possible to manage and find an immediate workaround. 

Another important to consider is that the road to Sankri from Dehradun coincides with the Yamnotri or the Char Dham Yatra path. So, any mishaps on this route will be instantly handled by the government as there is a lot of pressure on them to clear the traffic. The same might not happen for Shimla to Dodra, it follows an internal road.

Base village

Earlier base camp was at Dhaula which has the issue of horseflies. So, in the short design, the new base camp is Jiskun. In reality, it is the same as Dhaula – not much different. That is why we have shifted our base camp to Sankri which is a wonderful place and already famous as Kedarkantha base village. It has a good charging facility, nice guest houses, hot shower, etc. Also, last-minute shopping for any trekking equipment is possible. Additionally, the immediate medical facility is accessible.

Sankri Village (Summer and Winter)

States covered

New – Himachal

Old – Himachal and Uttarakhand 

As we mentioned, making Rupin Pass last only in Himachal Pradesh means taking away its strength as Trans-Himalayan excursion. Hiking through one Himalayan range to the other helps to witness the beauty, cultures and thrill specific to all of them. From Uttarakhand, the trail goes through dense rhododendrons, lush forests and green fields. As you head upwards you can see drastic variations in houses, dressing styles and even the landscapes. Waterfalls, evergreen meadows and wooden architecture highlight the Kinnaur Himachal. 

With the new itinerary, there is no chance to explore such humungous terrains.  

Health

Our first day begins from Dhaula at 5500 feet. As you know this height is good for acclimatization and have fewer chances of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). The newer itinerary starts from Jiskun at 7,700 feet, this is not a preventable start point. If you are aware of AMS you might know that height gain must be as slow as possible. You can relate this to Everest Expedition. When it is possible to fly down to Camp 1 mountaineers never go to the Camp 1 or even Base Camp directly. They prefer weeks of climbing up-down. The main idea is to gradually adjust to the altitude even though it means increasing the number of days. 

From Jiskun, there is faster height gain to 15,000 feet. Although, including additional acclimatization day is a solution to prevent AMS, is it worth it? What is the point of staying at the same camp for two days when it is feasible to start low and enjoy unique campsite every day?

 
What else is missing in the short itinerary?

  1. Confluence of the Rupin and Supin rivers: It is no surprise that convergence of two rivers is mind-blowing – always. These two rivers have a long history and are considered as sisters coming from stunning valleys bringing their part of it. Missing this historic viewpoint is a NO!
  2. Sewa village: It has many ancient architectural houses and temples. It’s a mix of Himachal and Uttarakhand cultures. Not many trekkers are aware but this village is quite ahead of its times. The habitat hosts many inter-state weddings where spouses belong to Uttarakhand or Himachal. In the cities, an inter-caste marriage is still an aloof concept. It is shocking to see such forward minded locals in a remote village of Sewa. How can you miss this revolutionary village?
  3. Jhaka village: Known as Hanging village and it is the most popular attraction of the trek. The new trek will only cross this habitat but not stay here. Why keep yourself away from a stunning and wonderful camping site?
  4. Places to roam around: In the newer version, if one day is extra then the only option is to explore Shimla. While in the older one, you can take trips to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Mussoorie or Shimla.

Cost

We have seen that other organizations are offering the shorter version at the same price as the original one. This is unfair. Trekkers choose a short itinerary to save time and money. If a company is following a short itinerary and does not reduce the cost then it’s unacceptable. 

Removing two whole days means cutting camps, food, porter, local guides and transport expenses. That must reduce the package amount immensely. However, these corporates seem to give profits more priority over trekker’s experience. 

We feel you trekkers are the ones making the wise decision. We hope that poor marketing strategies should not spoil treks like Rupin Pass. All we need is to be aware and follow our hearts.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the wrangling Rupin trek.

Written BY
Nutan Shinde
TTH Offical Content Writer

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