Himalayan Treks during the Monsoon. Are you Game ?

Trek-Hampta-Pass

The monsoons are considered good and auspicious for various reasons especially for agro-based activities. At this time, when most of the country witnesses heavy rainfall, most of the trekking routes also close for trekking. But there are a few treks that can be undertaken during these months. Needless to say, safety should be one’s first priority during this time of the year.

Indian Sub-Continent Monsoon Trends

The pan-India monsoon season across the country lasts roughly from mid June to September. So the question many adventure seekers have is “how good it is to trek during monsoon season?” Here are some trekking tips during the monsoon months!

June Considered Best time for high altitude Himalayan Treks 

While some parts of the country may be witnessing good rains in June, it is not so in the Himalayas. Monsoon usually starts to show up in the northern parts of Uttrakhand only by the first week of July. So it takes a few weeks for the rains to touch the hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh.

Indeed June happens to be a good time to go on a trekking trip in the Himalayas. Treks like Roopkund, Rupin Pass, etc are happening treks during the month of June. It is bright and sunny. The region is full of lush, green, beautiful shrubs having tall grasses and also the snow is still intact on the upper regions of the mountain passes.

July  Will it rain? Does it get Slippery? Well not really!
Certainly one cannot expect bright sunshine like in summer but yes the rains come and go often, but it does not pour so heavily so as to ruin your trek. The heavy rainy season usually sets in around August which is when the trekking scene shifts to Jummu and Kashmir.

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In Himachal, one can enjoy the Hampta Pass trek fully in mid-June as the snow is quite tolerable on the pass. By mid-July, the monsoon starts dominating the place and when it rains in August, numerous flowers bloom. In-fact best time to trek to the Valley of Flowers is end July/August. It is, in fact called a monsoon trek!

The Hampta Pass is an intriguing trek. On the Lauhaul side, which is in the rain-shadow region, the rains become less. In fact, it rains only on one side of the valley! No wonder during this period the Pin Bhaba trek is one of the best treks to do.

Also the Ladakh region in Kashmir happens to be a safe bet for trekkers as the place hardly experiences much rain between July and September. So July should be fine for treks in Kashmir, as it falls in the rain shadow region.

August August is also a month of very little rainfall in Kashmir. So trekkers can aim to hit the Great Lakes in Kashmir, Tarsar Marsar or Stok Kangri in Leh.

In Uttarakhand, the Valley of Flowers becomes the Garden of Eden during monsoons. As rain pours on the thirsty hills which were exposed to the hot summer, triggers the blooming of many flowers. Also what is interesting is that the new blooms almost every week, gets trekkers rushing here. People worry about trekking during the monsoons, but that’s the only time to trek to the Valley of Flowers and see the flowers in all their glory.

September – This month is the season for trekking that happens in higher altitudes.

September, especially during the third week, is perfect trekking season in the Himalayas and Roopkund, Rupin Pass and Buran Ghati once again come to life, with enthusiastic trekkers heading in their direction. In Kashmir, the trekking season comes to an end.
So now one may wonder as to how bad the monsoons actually are in the Himalayas? Well let’s clear the clouds of doubts for our fellow trekkers – The answer is “not so bad at all.”

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In fact even during the extreme segment of the monsoon season it hardly rains or it does not rain that heavily. Yes it does rain heavily for a few days but that’s about it followed by bright sunny days with some dry days too. Here treks are pretty doable with some amount of rains or with some light showers. Some years ago trekkers almost felt as if they were doing a summer trek as it was quite dry and hot even when it was the peak season of monsoon. Nevertheless it is advisable to carry all the required rain gear like ponchos, anti-skid shoes, etc.

North -East Monsoon Blues!

Avoid trekking in North East India during monsoon. It is a known fact that the rains here are heavy, torrential and dangerous. So trekking in North east is a strict ‘no no’…between May and September. Most of the scenic and breathtaking views that make these trails very attractive are missed during these months. Also, it is risky as the trekking paths along these forest trails are filled with leeches during the monsoons.

So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to get up and go and embrace the mountain monsoon!

About Author

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Arjan Kripal
Arjan comes from a family of professional cricketers. His grandfather, father and uncle have all represented India. Arjan himself captained the Indian Under 19 Team, and has played first class cricket for Tamil Nadu. He is a qualified coach, a BCCI match referee and even holds a world record in cricket! Arjan’s cricket career saw him travel extensively across the world. He has since discovered that he has an insatiable wander lust and a flair for planning itineraries for family and friends – a love and skill that has naturally progressed into setting up Get Up and Go. Arjan is a certified scuba diver and has bungee jumped, sky dived and paraglided several times. He has been to every continent and corner of the world, reveling in exotic foods and myriad photo ops; from walking the Inca Trail in Peru, to swimming with Whale sharks in Mexico… Arjan has even come face to face with a Great White Shark in South Africa! “I want to share all my varied journeys with fellow travellers so they can experience, first hand, something that has been so rewarding for me.”