A High and Wild Trek Into the Remote Valleys of Ladakh’s ‘Little Tibet’
- The Land of Passes
- Dramatic Landscapes
- Ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Northern India
Since 1974, when Ladakh first became accessible to foreign visitors, this high and arid region has captured the imagination of adventure travelers. Geographically, Ladakh is a western extension of the Tibetan Plateau and, as recently as the beginning of the nineteenth century, this mountainous country was a part of Tibet. Buddhism was brought to Ladakh by Guru Rimpoche who was born in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and this colorful religion is still practiced throughout Ladakh and neighboring Zanskar. Large numbers of monasteries, many of them occupying impressive hill-top sites, are active in the region to this day. The Muslim religion is also important in Ladakh, thanks in part to the influence of Kashmir to the west.
A mixture of cultures and religions is an important element in the attraction of Ladakh as a destination for adventure travel. Just as important, however, is the remarkable landscape of the area, which provides perfect terrain for trekking. A number of parallel mountain ranges, including the Great Himalaya Range and the Zanskar and Ladakh ranges, divide this territory and provide the setting for a wealth of excellent trekking routes, usually involving high pass crossings. Scattered high villages, each with its irrigated fields of barley and potatoes, add color to this otherwise quite barren environment. Our journey starts out with an exciting flight to the town of Leh, where we spend several days taking it easy, exploring some of the monasteries of the upper Indus Valley, visiting the world’s highest road pass at the Khardung La (5300m.) and traveling to the start of the trek. After this acclimatization period, our trek into the ‘Land of Passes’ starts out at Chilling beside the Zanskar River and follows an ancient trade route westwards.
Crossing the first of 5 high passes on our route, we can look back across the Markha Valley to the popular peak of Stok Kangri. Dropping down into the remote Ripchar Valley, our trek continues by way of centuries-old hill-top monasteries and scattered villages, each with its fields of barley and potatoes which add color to the stark Zanskari landscape. Increasingly impressive views culminate at the Kanji La (5150m.), where the twin peaks of Nun (7085m.) and Kun (7135m.) dominate the western horizon. This exciting trek traverses a rarely-visited corner of Zanskar and is a fantastic addition to our collection of Indian adventure treks.
The Zanskar Trek (Camping Trip) is part our Himalayan Classic Trek Series. Our Classic Treks are led by an experienced, English-speaking Sherpa Guide and full support crew. We are able to arrange this trek starting on any day of the week during the months of June through September for groups of 1 to 12 people. Please contact us with any questions or to receive a detailed day to day Trip Itinerary.
Day 1: Arrive Delhi. Meet & transfer to group hotel.
Day 2: Fly Delhi to Leh and drive to group hotel.
Day 3: Sightseeing in the Indus Valley. Hotel.
Day 4: Excursion up to the Khardung La Pass. Return to Leh. Hotel.
Day 5: Drive to our first camp at Chilling. 3 hour drive. Camp.
Day 6: Trek to below the Dungduchen La Pass. 13,200 feet. 3 hours of trekking. Camp.
Day 7: Cross the Dungduchen La Pass at 4,650 meters. 5-6 hours of trekking. Camp.
Day 8: Cross the Konzke La Pass (4,900 meters). 5 hours of trekking. Camp.
Day 9: Descend into the Ripchar Valley. 6 hours of trekking. Camp at 3,850 meters.
Day 10: Trek to the base of the Snigutse La Pass at 14,700 feet. 4 hours of trekking. Camp.
Day 11: Cross the Snigutse La Pass (16,700 feet). 6-7 hours of trekking. Camp.
Day 12: Cross a 5,300 meter unnamed pass. 4-5 hours of trekking. Camp at 16,400 feet.
Day 13: Descend to Kanji. 3,850 meters. 5-6 hours of trekking. Camp.
Day 14: Trek to the foot of the Kanji La Pass at 4,400 meters. 5 hours of trekking. Camp.
Day 15: Cross the Kanji La Pass. (5,150 meters). 7-8 hours of trekking. Camp.
Day 16: Trek to camp at Tashi Dongtse. 5 hours of trekking. Camp.
Day 17: Drive to Kargil. Hotel.
Day 18: Drive to Leh. Hotel.
Day 19: Fly to Delhi. Hotel.
Day 20: Transfer to airport and depart.