The Kanamo Peak is situated at a staggering height of 19,600 ft. Imminent behind Kibber and Tashi Gang villages, the peak is hidden away in the depths of Spiti Valley. Extreme isolation, the Kanamo Peak trek is situated in an area which is untouched by modernity and unperturbed by civilization. If you are on the hunt for a trek that will lead you to the most stunning and picturesque views, while challenging you mentally and physically – Kanamo makes for a wonderful comparable alternative to Stok Kangri trek.
About Kanamo Peak Trek
Serial trekkers and nature enthusiasts often speak about climbing unthinkable heights! There is a charm and heroic attached to conquering mountains of that magnitude. Kanamo is a trekkable peak. And, what I mean by that is you don’t require pro-level mountaineering skills to maneuver your way to the top. What you do require is proper acclimatization, sound knowledge of your surroundings and a keen understanding of your own body!
A similar peak that has become highly popular among trekkers for its trekability is Stok Kangri at 20,190 Ft. Kanamo trumps Stok Kangri because of its seclusion. Stok has become somewhat commercialized and if you’re seeking true isolation and one-ness with nature – Kanamo fits the bill!
Now, do note that while this is a trekkable – it is by no means easy. There is a requirement for high endurance and physical fitness. In order to conquer the summit, you’ll traverse through a relentless climb! Combating altitude related problems adds to the difficulty. Also, on the final day – you’ll have to ascend almost 4,500 Ft to reach the peak and descend back to the base camp on the same day!
But, once you reach the top – the views are magnanimous! 360 degree views of equally majestic mountains around you – is no short of looking at mountains as if from a flight! The Shilla Peak, Kanamo’s sister peak is so close, you can almost reach out and feel it.
How to get to the basecamp: Kaza
The Kanamo trek starts from Kaza, a beautiful town along the Spiti river & a major town of Spiti Valley. The route to reach your basecamp of Kaza is through Delhi/Chandigarh – Manali – Kaza or from Delhi/Chandigarh – Shimla – Kinnaur Valley – Kaza.
While we have discussed this at length covering the Spiti Valley and itineraries related to the area – basically, you’ll need to take an overnight bus from Delhi or Chandigarh to Manali, reaching early in the morning. From here, the journey towards Kaza is 10 hours in total and a private cab can take you anywhere from 10,000 – 13,000 for a SUV. This cost can, of course, be shared with fellow passengers by way of a shared taxi! To know more details and alternative routes, do check out the Spiti guides.
Detailed itinerary for Kanamo Peak Trek
The detailed itinerary will prepare you with what to expect and how to navigate your way through the trek!
Day 0 – Beginning of your journey (14 hours, 550 km)
Start your journey from Delhi/Chandigarh towards Manali. Preferably, leave late at night by an overnight bus.
Day 1 – Manali (6,725 ft.)
Reach early in the morning and rest. Explore Manali and surrounding areas, as per your fancies! There is a lot to do in this beautiful town – lots of lovely cafes and some super delicious food! The views by the river are majestic. Enjoy your day here!
Also, do note that there are all sorts of accommodations available – from luxury to budget – depending on your preferences. Manali has a wide range of hotels that you can choose from, according to your budget and preferences.
Remember to not overdo it, however. You have a long journey tomorrow!
Day 2: Drive from Manali to Kaza (10 hours, 204 km, 12,467 ft.)
Today is going to be a long journey for you! Leave as early in the AM as possible. Since you’ll be crossing two major passes of Rohtang and Kunzum, I should tell you that these are known of TERRIBLE traffic jams. Hence, leave before the sun rises, preferably!
You will be taking the route towards Batal, crossing Rohtang Pass on the Manali-Leh Highway. Once you reach Gramphu, you’ll spot a diversion towards Batal-Kaza. This is the route you’ll be taking. Post Batal, you’ll be in the true Spiti Valley with tiny little villages and arid landscapes. You will have the best time gazing out your vehicle at this world so far from what you experience in the day to day life.
You’ll reach Kaza after a long journey. There are plenty of stay options available here. This is your Day 1 of acclimatization.
Day 3: Kaza to Kibber (1 hour, 19 KMs, 14108 ft.)
Today is going to be an easy-breezy day. With a short one-hour drive to Kibber – you’ll be mostly acclimatizing today. Once you’re settled into your homestay – go out and explore the town. One AMAZING place that must be on your to-do list is the Key Monastery. The stunning views combined with the generations of history will leave you mesmerized, to say the lease. The Key Monastery sits atop a hill while the Spiti river trickles past in the desert mountain valley – straight out of a picture book!
You should take full advantage of the visit to Key. Interact with monks who will happily take you across the compound. Here, you must plan on visiting the prayer rooms and browse through some of the old manuscripts. It truly is an experience to be surrounded by so much history and witnessing a time lapse is definitely eye-opening.
Today, you should also plan on squeezing in an acclimatization walk. What this basically entails are climbing up a hill gradually, gaining more elevation as you go on to get your body used to being at higher altitudes. Since you’ll be sleeping in Kibber – your body would have gone to a higher elevation and come back down – getting used to the limited availability of oxygen and how to function on that. Ideally, you should climb for about an hour to an hour and a half. Also, this will provide you an idea on what to expect in days to come!
Post your acclimatization walk – I suggest you explore Kibber and truly indulge yourself into the experience and culture of the place. The village is tiny, with about 80 households and people are generally friendly and extremely wonderful to interact with.
Day 4: Acclimatization day at Kibber
Another day to acclimatize, get your body used to the high altitude. You may even take up another walk to explore the nearby hills and surrounding areas. This is an important day and should not be skipped. Also, it provides you with ample opportunity to actually squeeze in some rest before you have to hit the soil, literally!
Day 5: Kibber to Kanamo Base camp (6.5 hours, 5km, 15,748 ft.)
Your journey begins in its earnest!!! You’ll be fighting exciting, anxious nerves along with a lot of hope of what’s to come next! The day involves a fairly moderate trek, though it will take you all the way up for the entirety of the 6-7 hours. While during the first 3-4 hours, the trek might seem steep and that you’re diving straight into the deep end. But, it will even out and become easier through the day.
Today on the trail you will experience rocky slopes, grass and desert mountain valleys. As you can tell, overall you’ll be climbing 1,640 ft. Right at the beginning of the trek, you’ll cross fields of green peas. Also, throughout the day you will cross 2 lakes. The last two hours are especially picturesque and given that the ascent is moderate, you’ll actually be able to day dream and soak in the views. Lots of flowers and fields of beautiful fauna awaits you. Also, about a KM before reaching the base camp – keep your eyes peeled at the unique rocks you might spot. These are some repositories of fossils of all types.
As with a itinerary I share, I should tell you start your day as early as possible. Also, you should carry sufficient water. Dehydration can be quite painful and you might not be able to complete your journey if it impacts you severely.
For today’s journey – you can refill your water at a lake about an hour before the base . Thus, carry sufficient water with you.
Day 6: Acclimatization day at Kanamo base camp
You get to chill and enjoy the base camp location today. It is stunning and a much needed break for acclimatization. You have to remember one thing – if the climbing mountains is an important part – so is the letting your body get used to the severe and extreme heights! There is no point in skipping any of these acclimatization days – it will do you no good!
Day 7: Kanamo base camp to Kanamo peak and back to base camp (12-13 hours, 19,553 ft.)
I am not going to lie to you. Today is going to be a strenuous and difficult journey. You will be climbing continuously for 3-4 hours to reach the peak on an extremely steep hillside. The descend might seem simpler – but, it isn’t! You have to be extremely careful with every step you take and how you place yourself!
Your day today will start even before the sun wakes up. You should start your attempt on the Summit Day as early as 3 AM! In fact, you should aim to cross the first shoulder in the mountain at dawn. If you do so any later – the journey back becomes challenging. By the time you reach the second shoulder of the mountain – the wind will be picking up and the cold will be excruciating! But, the views are stunning and the ever-changing colours of the sky in the backdrop of the Spiti mountains is indescribable.
Do ensure you’re wearing the right gear and your face, hands and feet are well protected! The wind will be ice-cold and it will be as harsh as it gets. Try making your journey a little more comfortable by packing on the layers. You will be facing this for nearly 4 -5 hours. The last leg of the climb, is a steep ascent of about 80 degrees on the slopes. Now, I should warn you here that is easy to slip down each time you take a step up. A good trick to keep in mind is that small steps would be difficult to maintain, so make sure to take large strides to navigate the slope. This four-hour journey will take you to the Summit!
The Summit – Reaching the Kanamo Peak!
The top is stunning, breathtaking, out of this world. You are greeted with a 360-degree view of the greater Himalayas. Truly, this has to be the best reward for a tough climb. From the top, you’ll be able to feast your eyes on Parang La pass leading to Ladakh on hand, the Pin Parvati pass leading to Kullu valley on the other and multitudes of ranges of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti. From the back, you’ll be greeted by a huge glacier.
A fun fact – Kanamo is actually a twin peak with its sister peak, Shilla, next to it. What’s interesting is that Shilla is generally covered with mountains of snow, but, Kanamo only usually has a small patch.
On a side note, do remember there are no water sources and you should carry at least 3 liters with yourself!
The descent takes about 2.5- 3 hours and will take you back from the same route. You’ll spend the night at the base camp. Much needed rest for the day here! Your body will be aching after the euphoric and adrenaline fueled day you’ve had. Try to eat a healthy meal before the much needed night of rest!
Day 8: Kanamo base camp to Kibber (5 hours, 14,108 ft.)
Today is going to be a descending day. Again, the only water source is the lake one hour after the base camp – so carry sufficient water with you! This trek particularly is picturesque. The inviting Spiti valley ahead and the majestic mountains beckoning from behind make for a truly amazing experience.
Day 9: Kibber to Manali (6,725 ft.)
Your day today will begin early in the morning. This is so, in case you want to head back to Delhi on the same day. Often, the return days are so nostalgic for the days just spent. You might want to squeeze in a few days at Manali to get used to being in a civilized society again before you head back to the daily hum-drum of life!
Also, you might plan on heading into Spiti and experiencing the valley as well. There is truly too much to do and see here. I highly recommend making the entire journey and experiencing the culture of Spiti, since you’re already here!! Beautiful villages like Rangrik, with a huge Buddha statue atop a mountain, Pagmo etc. come into view. You might even plan on visiting Hikkim, which has the world’s highest post office The exploring options are limitless!
Very few treks are structured like this one. Rarely will you experience a summit day like this! You start off in darkness and hopefully your path is lined by starlight! Day might begin as early as 1 AM – so it is imperative you have sufficient rest on the day prior! Do carry sufficient water. The mountains are slippery and you have to walk with your group in a line – keeping a check on everyone around. You reach the top by early in the morning and the world, as they say, is your oyster (or mountain peak)!