We plan to follow the itinerary however roads wash out, or are extended, occasionally people get sick, logistical challenges arise, or we hear of a better campsite, and so we will adapt it as we see is needed.
This is an exploratory trip so we don't write full trek itinerary notes, however here is some more detail on the start of the trip.
(Day 0 - arrive Delhi / early Leh arrival)
We spend three nights in Leh, so reasonable acclimatization to the 3480m/11,415ft altitude but if you are new to altitude or to Leh, perhaps plan to arrive one day early and we will arrange transfers and hotel and show you around.
Included in all our Ladakh trips are a couple of sightseeing trips, with or without a cultural guide (your choice) and it is your choice of where to go; many people joining are previous trekkers so have seen some places previously.
If you are more ambitious we can also help you arrange a day or overnight trip to Alchi and Basgo Gompas, a day rafting trip on the Zanskar River or even a mountain bike descent of the Khardung La (best a few days into your Leh sojourn). If you have been working flat out you are welcome to just relax, kick back and de-stress too.
Day 1 - meet in Leh 3480m
Phew, after a long series of flights, you are here! Look for a sign with your name on it at the airport, and our wonderful drivers Ang Chuk or Pasang will pick you up.
Jamie meets you at the hotel on your arrival and we discuss altitude over tea/coffee or breakfast and perhaps introduce Leh and show you the better places to eat. Most people crash out for a few hours and spend the day relaxing; do drink plenty of fluids which helps the acclimatization process. We normally go out to dinner together, let's meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30pm.
2 - Leh 3480m
A day for sightseeing and relaxing. Perhaps best today, if you are waking up early, is to visit some of the historic gompas and monasteries a short distance from Leh. We will arrange a jeep, and a local cultural guide if you like (included). Choosing where to go is the biggest challenge; Spituk Gompa, Matho, Stok, Pyiang, ever popular Shey, Thikse and more. Usually we arrange as a morning trip with lunch at Leh (or Thikse) then you can relax in the afternoon. although we can easily arrange a day trip.
Prayer time at Matho Gompa - Jamie
3 - Leh 3480m
After gentle sightseeing yesterday we exercise a little more today. In the morning we wander up to the palace and gompa above Leh, and before dinner, perhaps up to the Peace/Shanti Stupa for a Leh sunset panorama. Because tomorrow we stay 4000m, at minimum we need three nights here in Leh prior to moving higher.
Leh from Shanti Stupa - Jamie
4 - drive Skyidmang village 4000m with sightseeing
It is only a few of hours drive to our camp so we visit some gompas that are further afield from Leh along the way such as Matho, Stakna, busy Hemis or Chemre and Thag Thog. What haven't you already seen?
We will camp Skyidmang village with our trek crew, which is more comfortable than the simple hotels there, and get our first taste of Punsok's wonderful cooking.
Ang Chuk, one of our regular drivers, with his turbo Scorpio jeep - Jamie
5 - drive Yarlung Marlung 4540m (Tsomoriri)
We continue driving and the closer to Tsomoriri, the more scenic it gets. At Korzok, on the lake shore, we meet our horse caravan team and head just an hour or so beyond the end of the road, to a peaceful camp. The mountainscapes and cloudscapes here are often stunning with a foreboding storm or two building in the distance, yet rarely do they hit us.
6 - trek Kiangdam 4560m
7 - trek Lameke 4650m
8 - trek Manechan 4760m
Here are a few old (digital) photos from our 2004 exploration.
The scale! Yes, that is our camp at the bottom of the photo.
9 - trek Thargang 4750m
10 - trek Karpa Peak BC 4925m
11 - rest-explore-climb? from Karpa BC 4925m
12 - trek to BC for peak 6230m
13 - exploration
14 - climb 6230m peak
15 - trek near Kum Tso 4980m
Curious kiang, 2004 memories
16 - trek Pangpo La BC ~5100m
17 - trek Thochung 4560m via Langpo La 5350m
18 - trek Lamaguru 4420m
19 - trek Umnag Chu ~4750m
20-24 - trek-explore to Baralacha La/Tingting Khurd/Pang
25 - drive Leh
We hit the road, and some initially rough driving, the road smooth's out and so is a relatively quick drive now. Driving back will take around 6 hours driving time (barring delays) where we deserve a cold beer or cocktail and a celebratory meal. Chopsticks or Bon Appetit?
A Tanglang La view - Jamie
26 - Leh
(A spare day for all those just in case's).
Day 27 - trip ends
You are free to take the morning flight to Delhi or bus to Manali for the long way back, or just enjoy more time in this central Asian town of yore.
When will we see you in the Himalaya again?!