Tucked away right behind the sky high Rohtang La is a tiny pasture, situated at the entrance of the Spiti Valley. Unlike most hamlets in this part of the cold Himalayan desert, Chatru has a unique imagery composed of high peaks and green grasslands. Sparsely populated, the village comprises only two stone dhabhas and a PWD guest house. However, being cut off from the rest of the world for over 6 months a year, hasn’t posed an impediment in Chatru’s recognition – as a world class destination for bouldering in India.
First discovered and developed by British climber Pil Lockey, as an exclusive boulder garden, Chatru has since become quite popular among climbers from India and abroad. In fact, it has become an attractive destination for climbing in summers. When the rest of the Indian subcontinent is suffering from scorching heat, and bouldering in Hampi is next to impossible. It is then that Chatru really stands out as an obvious respite.
Best visited during months between April and September, Chatru provides all the ‘creature comforts’ by outdoor adventure trip standards. The dhabhas, one of them run by Lal Singh Rawat (popularly known as Lalu), serves fresh meals and tea. The restaurants even double as dormitories with provision for sleeping bags. The more adventurous kinds can even camp on the grounds around.
The crag around the place is home to some of the best quality Himalayan granite. The lines are smooth and distinct. A good mix of powerful problems and high balls, ranging from inviting 5a’s to ambitious 8a’s make Chatru an ideal playground for boulderers across a range of expertise. Those looking for more, may even venture up the valley, to Chota Dhara. And access more lines.
However, bouldering is not all that there is to Chatru. Apart from the climbing one can hike up or climb the several peaks around. Running, yoga or, a game of carrom at Lalu’s place may also add flavor to days in Chatru. This is a place where one can truly wake up with an empty mind and paint their days as their heart desires.
Check out the vibes from this quaint Himalayan paradise, in this soothing new feature talking about Bouldering experiences in Chatru!
Author: Sukrit Gupta
An avid climber, ultrarunner and day dreamer, Sukrit is a fan of everything that is self-managed and solo. A flag bearer for self sufficiency and pushing beyond limits, he loves to spend his time slithering over rock faces and devising cruel trail running courses in his mountainous backyard in Manali.