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From Discovery and CruisingTo Advanced Mountaineering Expedition
Accompanied by Jono Lineen this outstanding trek provides an in-depth introduction to the rugged lands and rich cultural history of Ladakh, a unique region nestled between the Tibetan plateau and the Indian subcontinent. Ladakh was for centuries an important stopover on the southern silk road from Central Asia to the Mughal Empire, it is the most remote region of India. On this trip we will cross three high passes and explore secluded valleys, visit ancient monasteries and forts from different periods of Ladakh’s history, stay in remote villages and immerse ourselves in some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. Ladakh is a vast land of towering peaks and traditional Tibetan culture, it is one of the last habitats of the snow leopard and black-necked crane, it is a landscape that through its sheer magnitude inspires visitors.
Moderate to Challenging
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2 July - Join Delhi
On arrival in Delhi you will be met by a World Expeditions representative and transferred to your hotel. Due to the differing times of arrival of group members, a comprehensive group briefing will not be held until your arrival in Leh.
We do not recommend arriving in Delhi on a late flight on 2nd July as flight delays are common and we do not want you to miss the next day's early morning flight to Leh on the 3rd July. You might like to arrive the day before the trip commences. Please talk to your World Expeditions reservations consultant for pre–tour accommodation options.
3 July - Fly to Leh (3500m)
We board the early flight from Delhi to Leh in the Indus Valley. If the conditions are clear you will be rewarded with grand views across the Great Himalaya and Zanskar ranges before landing at the capital of Ladakh. On our first day in Ladakh we spend time wandering the bazaar and alleyways that comprise the old town of Leh.
4 July - In Leh, sightseeing in the Indus Valley
We include a sightseeing trip to Tiksey Gompa the largest monastery in the Indus Valley, which sits perched on a sugarloaf mountain above the river 20 kilometres south of Leh.
5 July - Drive to Alchi – 2 hours (3200m)
From Leh we drive to the thousand year old Alchi monastery, located in a serene location alongside the Indus River. Alchi is remarkable in so far as it is one of the few surviving examples of pre Tibetan style monasteries in Ladakh. It consists of four small temples with wall paintings reflecting artistic traditions from Kashmir and the rest of India.
6 July - Drive to Lamayuru (2 to 3 hours) and start trek to Wanlah (Approx 4 hours)
We continue our drive down the Indus valley to Khaltse before ascending to Lamayuru, one of the oldest and most spectacular monastic sites in Ladakh. After visiting the monastery we set off to cross a minor pass – the Prinkiti La (3650m) to reach our camp just above the village of Wanlah (3150m).
7 July - To Hinju village (3750m) (Walk approx 5 hours)
We head for Panjila village that marks the start of the Hinju Valley. We continue on along a jeep track to Hinju (3750m) and our camp just above the village.
8 July - Cross Konze La (4900m) to camp (4200m) (Walk approx 8 hours)
The approach to the pass affords sweeping views back down the Hinju Valley and across to the peaks that form the eastern Karakoram. The trail leads through yak grazing pastures before the final switch backs to the pass. From the Konze La (4900m) there are impressive views of the rock spires and peaks that enclose the valley while to the east are the ridges that form the Dung Dung La. A challenging day that includes a 1200m climb and an 800m descent.
9 July - To base of Dung Dung La (Walk approx 6-7 hours)
From camp we head down to the settlement at Sumdo Chinmu (3920m) before following a trail leading through a dense canopy of willow trees and wild rose bushes. The trail then ascends steeply in places to an idyllic meadow at the base of the Dung Dung La.
10 July - Cross Dung Dung La (4600m) to Chiling (Walk approx 7-8 hrs)
An early start is imperative to gain unrivalled views of the Trans Himalaya. From the Dung Dung la (4600m) the ridge upon ridge of the Zanskar Range stretch south to the main Himalaya while to the north are the snow capped peaks that form the Stok and Ladakh ranges. From the pass it is a long and exhilarating trek to Chiling village (3250m) located above the swirling current of the Zanskar River.
11 July - Trek Chiling to Skiu (Walk approx 4 hours, plus 2-3 hours to cross Zanskar River)
We cross the Zanskar River (either by bridge or an exciting pulley cart) and then continue a short distance to the settlement at Skiu.
12 July - Trek Skiu to Markha (Walk approx 7-8 hrs)
The trail gradually ascends the Markha Valley passing a few small settlements en route to Markha (3770m) the largest village in the valley. That afternoon there is the option to visit the derelict fort above the village and the gompa that has recently been renovated by funds from trekkers and Hemis monastery.
13 July - Trek Markha to Hankar (Walk approx 4-5 hrs)
Just above the village we ford the Markha River before re-crossing by bridge to the settlement of Umlung. A few km beyond the village the valley widens and the imposing peak of Kangyaze (6400m) can be appreciated before reaching Hankar (3980m), the highest village in the Markha Valley.
14 July - Rest day Hankar
In Hankar we enjoy the village, explore the ruins of the old Ladakhi fort above the village and enjoy a coffee at the village ‘parachute’ cafe.
15 July - Trek Hankar to the base of the Zalung La (Walk approx 7-8 hrs)
From Hankar we divert from the main trail and commence our ascent across yak herders pastures to our camp at the base of the Zalung La (4650 metres).
16 July - Cross the Zalung La (5200m) to Tsorka (Walk approx 7-8 hrs)
From camp it is a gradual but long haul to the summit of the Zalung La (5200 metres). It is a windswept pass that affords impressive views of the peaks and jagged ridges of the Zanskar Range. From the pass it takes about three hours to reach a delightful grassy camp near to the abandoned encampment known as Tsorka (4200 metres).
17 July - Tsorka to Karnak Sumdo (4-5 hours)
We walk from the old nomad camp of Tsorka through the breathtaking Karnak Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Ladakh, past more seasonal nomad settlements and onto the confluence of the Gunlas Togpo river and the Karnak Chu river.
18 July - Karnak Sumdo to Dat (4-5 hours)
From Karnak Sumdo we follow the Karnak Chu river across the flood plains and past more ruins to the permanent nomad settlement and small monastery of Dat. Here we are picked up for the 4 hour drive back to the Leh.
19 July - In Leh
Enjoy the day at your leisure. Walk up to the Victory Fort (above the Palace) built in the 17th century to commemorate Ladakh's independence the invading armies of Baltistan and Kashmir, or walk to Shanti Stupa on a hilltop to the west of Leh and enjoy stunning views across the Indus Valley. Visit the bazaar for some shopping and enjoy a farewell dinner.
20 July - Departure from Leh
Transfer to Leh airport for flights to Delhi and your onward connections to home destinations.
What's not included
Jono Lineen is a writer, adventurer and museum curator with deep experience throughout the Himalayas. Jono spent eight years immersed in Himalayan culture studying Buddhism and Hinduism and solo trekking across the mountain range, this experience led to the writing of his highly acclaimed travel narrative, Into the Heart of the Himalaya. The book is the story of a single, 2700 kilometre solo walk Jono made from Pakistan to Nepal. Into the Heart of the Himalayas has been described as the most complete biography of the Himalayas ever written, it was named one of the best books of the year by Good Reading Magazine and the Sydney Morning Herald described the book and the trek as, “… the ultimate exercise in mindfulness”. Jono works as a curator at the National Museum of Australia and has been responsible for some of that institutions most successful recent exhibitions, including Lag Meta Australian, History and Culture in the Torres Strait, and Homefront, Australians during the First World War.
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