Patalsu Peak- The soaring peak of Kullu Valley

It was quite some time I did a trek due to my pre occupied engagements at work. Indeed a break was needed and what better it could be back to trekking in summer season. While looking out for treks online I found Patalsu Summit in Manali quite enchanting. I talked to Joban (my trek partner) if he is also interested for an adventure in Kullu Valley. After he gave his consent I booked this trek with Broza Adventures. I have visited Manali numerous times for leisure and fun activities but this time I was going especially for this trek.

Meanwhile I was planning for the trek my sister confronted me on not taking her along on my trips. After a hammering from her I chalked out a plan for her for also to visit Manali. She and her friend finalized their itinerary for a leisure trip. Now since 4 of us were travelling I had to take a cab (Innova). We booked a cab from Chandigarh to Manali and started our journey in the night at around 11:30 PM and reached at 8:30 AM on 15th April 2022 in the morning at Manali. The Innova costed us Rs. 9500 from Chandigarh to Manali. Meanwhile my sister and her friend left for their Zostel while we guys took another cab for Rs. 1000 to reach Solang valley for our trek. The Patalsu trek traverses a circuitous route, commencing and ending at Solang Valley, a beautiful valley cradled in the laps of Manali.

Patalsu peak is located in the close proximity of the picturesque Kullu Valley. This soaring peak makes for a great hiking destination and is likewise one of the most favorite hiking destinations within the vicinity. Though reasonably challenging, the Patalsu Peak trek is ideal for extremely suited beginners. The trek pushes you via some steep inclines, narrow ridges and moraines, but the backdrop of the engulfing snowy peaks make each minute of exertion well worth it. Its moderate degree gradients entice herds of trekkers into its snowy folds. The summit offers 360 degree perspectives of spectacular mountain ranges. In addition it offers you the push of a summit climb at 4220 meters.

Beas River

This beautiful trek starts from Rumsu, passing through Solang valley and finally to Patalsu peak. It is likewise no longer unusual to spot avian species like Khaleej and monals throughout the trek. The direction to Patalsu Peak is lined with evergreen forests and sooner or later morphs into rugged, uneven terrain. Though slightly taxing, the summit is a window to the expansive Himalayan grandeur, with giants like Friendship Peak, Hanuman Tibba, Seven Sisters Peak, Shitidhar and other Manali peaks standing up right before you. One traverses into a magical trance, and your soul feel proper at peace amidst the wonderland of the Patalsu Peak trek.

Peaks of the Valley

Best Time to visit

A perfect time to explore the Patalsu Trek is from April to May and then from September to October. During this period, the weather remains pleasant. Summers are perfect, with a maximum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 10 degrees. It is advisable to avoid at the time of August and the initial days of September because of the heavy breakdown of monsoon during this time. For beginners, the best time to complete the trek is before the winter sets in i.e at the time of mid-September to the ending of October, considered to be the decent time to explore the place.

Day 1: Solang to Shagadugh (Patalsu Summit base camp)

  • Altitude:  8000 ft. to 10,700 ft.
  • Trek Distance: 2 to 3 hours travel 5 km trek
  • Trail Type: well marked with white arrow followed by Solang village
  • Water resources: This trekking patch has a tap and many water points from which you can fill your bottles.
  • Trekking difficulty: Easy to moderate (For beginners)  

We reached solang valley and had some good Aaloo Paranthas with tea. After we satisfied our appetite we called our trek organizer and he sent our trek guide Laxmi. We gathered some last minute supplies and started our journey from trailhead village for Patalsu Peak by crossing Beas river on a make shift wooden bridge. We used the bridge, almost 200 m in length, to cross it. Presently, a concrete bridge is under construction. It might get completed some time. This river originates 7-8 kms ahead of Solang. The beautiful Beas Kund trek goes till the source of this ancient river. On the other side of Beas, away from the chaotic tourist hub, lies a quaint village.

After the river crossing, we climbed up to reach the Solang village. The steep trail to the village is accompanied by apple orchards. Even though this trek covers short distances, the steep trails test your endurance, especially in snow. We took some short breaks and enjoyed bananas and juice on the way to maintain our stamina. After climbing for around 500 meters we entered the alpine forests comprising of brown oaks, chestnut and spruce trees. This forest trail is punctuated with a few clearings. The Solang valley was behind us with the backdrop of Bara Bangal mountain ranges. 

Getting energised

Soon we left the civilization behind and through the lower slopes of the trek comprising of oak and pine forests, virtually endless meadows, bright blue skies and snow capped peaks hiding beyond the horizon we reached our base camp Shagadugh at around 1:00 PM. Our camp was already set up by the time we reached. The basecamp was a pleasant sight in itself. From one side, whole Solang valley was visible and from the other, views of friendship peak and then the trail going up to Patalsu peak. The best part was that our camp was just at the front of an unnamed mountain which was loaded with snow. Although this campsite was remote, but the arrangements were amazing. After resting for an hour, we had an amazing lunch prepared by our hosts amidst the snowcapped mountains. We still had 3-4 hours of daylight left, so we decided to hike around the campsite to get into the rhythm for the next day (summit day).

Shagadugh campsite

April is a special month for this trek as during this time you can also trek on the snow above Basecamp Shagadugh and in this month the you can see the grass starts turning green, the flower buds start blooming. We took a small nap and had a yummy lunch. We also took a small hike to higher reaches at the base camp. The views of mountain ranges of Kullu Valley were enthralling.

Seven Sisters, Friendship Peak

We returned back to campsite a little before dark and was welcomed with tea, pakoras and snacks which was shortly followed by dinner. Post dinner we just roamed around the campsite admiring the beauty, silence and tranquility of the place. The sky was full of stars and it was really hard to find an empty patch of sky. It just seemed like an artist’s canvas. These are the kind of sights which you don’t see until you get away from the maddening cities. We wanted to stay out a little longer but it was extremely cold and the temperature at night was dropping. So, we hopped in our camp and slipped in sleeping bag to retire for the night.

Our camp

It was around 1:00 PM at night when we heard the dogs barking around. Some animals were sniffing our tent. We thought ourselves that it might be the dogs that have come around in search of water and food. In the morning when we talked to our hosts about it and they told that some wolves had come yesterday night. We were literally shocked to hear that. Though it was common for them but we got really worried but took a sigh of relief.

Day 2: Shagadugh to Patalsu Peak and back to Shagadugh base camp

  • Altitude: 10,700 ft. to 13,990 ft. 
  • Trek Distance: 9 to 10 hours, 12 km trek
  • Trail Type: Marked by arrows, followed by Dhungri village
  • Water resources: There is no water stream during the trek
  • Trekking difficulty: Challenging

This was to the most thrilling day on this trek. Right after completing an early morning breakfast at Shagadugh base camp, we started our climb at 7:30 AM to the Patalsu peak. The trek had a steep ascent for the peak. The first 3 km hike is on an alpine meadow. Although it was just 3 km, the incline combined with low oxygen concentration in the atmosphere was tiring us out in no time. One should carry at least two liters of water as there is no water source on the trail. Most of the climb is rigorous and there are just a couple of resting spaces enroute.

Towards Summit

At the beginning of the trek, the Patalsu peak is visible right in front of you. But there are other mountains in the same ridge. We kept our eye on the ridge and kept walking towards the depression. This depression on the ridge is called a saddle. If you deviate, you may end up approaching Patalsu peak from a steeper section. It is much more difficult to summit from that side. Our guide was very active and guided me well as I was walking slowly than Joban. From the saddle, panoramic views of Kullu, Rohtang, Beas and Solang valley can be witnessed. It is a blissful sight, totally worth the effort you put in.

Different mountain ranges

If you turn right towards south west from the saddle you will come across some elevated points on the ridge that might look like the summit. But, they’re not. The third elevated point is covered with loose boulders. This is the summit. From here you see the mighty Hanuman Tibba. The grandeur is humbling. After climbing on a steep ridge of Mountain we finally reached the summit. The beauty was mountains was opulent and heavenly.

Patalsu Summit

Joban’s happiness after reaching the peak

When you are facing the Kullu Valley, Bhrigu Lake, Mt. Indrasan, Deo Tibba of Dhauladhar will be at your left. Rohtang along with Beas Valley, Shitidhar, Friendship peak, Seven Sisters and Tentu pass will be behind you. To your right is the Solang Valley and the adjoining Bara Bangal Ranges.

The panoramic vistas of the Shitidhar, Friendship and other Manali peaks from the summit are quite mesmerizing. One can even witness the Beas Kund also from the top. We stayed there for some time and clicked some beautiful pictures of the mountain ranges. The aerial views of Mt. Hanuman Tibba, Beas Kund, Mt. Shitidhar, Mt. Friendship Peak, Rohtang Pass, and much more were just outstanding. It was finally a reward for the steep climb.

Steep ascents

Saddle shape valley

Here begins the descent

After witnessing the magnificence of grandiose peaks, thickets of alpine flora and fauna we had our packed lunch and finally made our descent to Shagadugh base camp. The return journey was equally picturesque. We started our descent at around 12:10 PM and reached the base camp at 2:45 PM.

Posing with Patalsu Peak in backdrop

Our trek guide and make shift hut enroute basecamp
View from Meadows

We rested for the day. In the evening we did a bonfire, enjoyed our delicious dinner. We discussed all the highlights of the day and did some gup-shup with our cook and his team. we called it our day and went to camp for good sleep after such hard work.

Preparing for the bonfire

Bonfire 🙂

Day 3: Shagadugh to Patalsu Peak and back to Shagadugh base camp

Shagadugh to Solang Valley to Manali 

  • Altitude:  to (10,700 ft. to 8,400 ft.)
  • Trek Distance: 1.5 to 2.5 hours, 4 km trek and 45 minutes drive to Manali 14 kilometers. 
  • Trail Type: well marked with white arrow followed by Solang village. 
  • Water resources: This trekking patch has some taps and many water points
  • Trekking difficulty: Easy 

This marks the end of our beautiful trek. Here the trip ended physically but not in our memories. We will surely cherish this awesome trip for a lifetime. We felt more energized and adventurous after the trek. The mountains are huge and they occupied a huge space in our heart with a promise to return back real soon for another trek.

We arose early had our breakfast and quickly packed our bags. We started to walk towards Solang. It was an easy walk of 2 hours. We clicked a lot of pictures along the way. From Solang, we hired a car to Manali at Rs. 1000. It was a fantastic trek, I must say, We enjoyed it so much that even our fatigue could not spoil the fun.

After reaching Manali I talked to my sister they have also finished there trip and decided to have a good lunch on the river side. We then had our lunch and strolled in the local markets of Manali. We then finalized to hire a cab for our return journey to Chandigarh. Luckily we got an Etios at hire charges of Rs. 6000 to Chandigarh. Finally we reached our home and with beautiful memories of this trek and a promise to come back for another challenge..!!

If you are seeking a bliss in the lap of mountains amidst white glittering snow and want to witness the pristine beauty of colossal mountain peaks, Patalsu Peak is the trek to be..!!

Will be back soon ..!!

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