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Ladakh (Homestay Treks, Camping Treks, Trekking Peaks)

Ladakh is one of the best places to trek independently in India.  There is very little regulation except near the border areas, it is easy to find places to stay in villages, the people are friendly and the scenery is spectacular.  Yet the vast majority of people go through travel agencies to book their treks despite the fact it is relatively simple to trek here on your own.  The main problem here is maps.  The maps are, in general, adequate at best yet still its a lot better than other areas of India.  It is possible to get foreign good quality and expensive (1300 INR) maps at the Ladakh Book Shop above the SBI ATM in Leh.  The trailblazer guide "Trekking in Ladakh" is a good resource for independent trekking despite being dated, and is what I've used in the past.  Unfortunately it has a limited number of trails, and the information on homestays is woefully out of date.  It is now out of print but can be found it book stores in Leh although its much cheaper to buy it online in the US.  An new and much more up to date guide book is Cicerone's "Trekking in Ladakh" published in 2012.  There is also a convenient ebook vision to save weight.  It covers a good variety of trails between Ladakh and Zanskar, including the popular Markah Valley, Hidden Valley, and Across Zanskar treks.  It does not cover any of the Rupshu (Tso Moriri region) area treks or the Nubra Valley.  It is written with the independent trekker in mind and gives vital information such as shelters and water sources.  There are also cheaper locally produced books that cover popular trails like Across Zanskar and the Markha Valley, these are adequate but not nearly as good as the trailblazer guide which has more detailed information about water sources and stone shelters for those trekking on there own.  There is independent trekking opportunities in Ladakh to suite any type of trekker, whether you are just hopping between homestays or heading off in to the barren landscape on your own with just a tent and sense of adventure to guide you.  It is also probably the easiest place in the world to hike above 6000 m.  There are numerous trekking peaks which require no technical climbing.  The arid climate of Ladakh means that high peaks which would be engulfed in thick glaciers elsewhere in the Himalayas merely have a few snow fields and small glaciers clinging to their sides in Ladakh.

Ladakh Guidebooks from Amazon.com

Ladakh Trekking Practicalities

If your are trekking into the areas around Tso Moriri, or the Nubra Valley you will need an interline permit available for a 100 to 200 INR from any travel agent in Leh, although you are unlikely to have it checked unless you are driving out or in to the area.  To climb Stok Kangri you need a permit from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) which you can get for 2000 INR, the office is near the beginning of Chanspa Road in Leh.  Technically you need approval for other peaks as well but Stok Kangri is the only one you are likely to get checked.  Other than that Ladakh remains blissfully free of the infamous Indian red tape.

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Homestay treks of Ladakh

Trekking Routes  It is generally possible to stay in just about any permanently inhabited village in Ladakh.  In heavily trekked areas like the Markha Valley these homestays are more formalized with fixed fees of 350 INR per person in 2009 (this includes sleeping, dinner, breakfast, and a packed lunch), elsewhere you will just have to ask around for a place to sleep and negotiate a reasonable fee usually between 150 to 250 INR per person for food and a place to sleep.

The Markha Valley:  This trek has the reputation of being one of the most popular treks in Ladakh and the travel agents tend to discourage it to their customers staying its too crowded and full of trekkers, yet both times I've done it (once in late June and once in late July) I saw hardly anyone on the trail and was almost always the only one in the homestays.  Its a really beautiful trek and very diverse passing through beautiful valleys, picturesque villages, colorful canyons, and high alpine grasslands.  If you have a short time in Ladakh and only have time for one trek I would recommend the Markha valley.  For detailed information on how to do this trek as a homestay trek click here.

Duration:

5-9 days depending on the starting point.

Route Finding:

Easy, just follow the valley.

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag is useful, homestays are available in every village and a "tent" homestay is available at Nimaling.

Comments:

This trek can be started in Stok (most difficult two passes), Spituk (one pass), or Chilling (easiest no pass).  The best part of this trek is from Markha up to Nimaling and the Gongmaru La (5100 m).  Its worth spending an extra night in Nimaling and doing a day hike up some of the ridges or peaks for some amazing high altitude scenery.  There is a ~6000 m peak with wonderful views opposite Kang Yaze that is a fairly straight forward but long climb (ridge walk) from Nimaling.

Pictures and Journal Entry from the Markha Valley

Pictures and Journal from 2nd Markha Valley Trek 2009

Lamayuru to Chilling "Hidden Valley Trek" :  The tour agencies seem to push this trek over the Markha valley now but I still would not call it crowded by any means.  There is a road that goes all the way up to Hinju now and a bus as far as Phanjila which can cut out a day if you like, but Lamayuru is a nice monastery and worth seeing if you are not planning on going there another time.

Duration:

3-5 days depending on starting place and not including transportation days to and from.

Route Finding:

Easy

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag is useful, bring extra food for lunches and snacks not as many tea tents as on the Markha Valley or Across Zanskar treks but can be done staying in homestays the entire way.

Comments:

Doing this as a homestay trek requires two long days (9-10 hours), from Hinju to Sumdha Chenmo via the 4950 m Kungski La and from Sumdha Chenmo to Chilling via the 4700 m Dungdungchen La.  Its very worthwhile to climb up the ridge to the right of the Dungdungchen La to the prayer flags for a panoramic view much better than the one form the pass. The difficulty with this trek is the exit via Chilling.  There is not a daily bus to Leh.  Its a very popular starting point for rafting (usually daily during the summer) so it is possible to go down and just pay your way on to a raft (~1000 INR) to get back to Leh.  Other options include continuing on to the Markha valley, follow the road up river from Chilling and cross the rope bridge when you reach it, from there its a few hours to Skyu.  Two more days will take you to Spituk or five days down the Markha Valley to Hemis.  It is also possible to exit via Sumdha Chungun (homestay possible) and the Stakspi La (5200 m) and end in Alchi which has a regular bus connection to Leh and a very famous old gompa with beautifully preserved paintings.

Pictures and Journal Entry from Hidden Valley Trek (includes Markha Valley as well)

Spituk to Stok:  If you really have a short time and want to get into the mountains you can do this trek. Its possible to do in 2 days one night spending the night at a homestay in Rumbak.  The trek passes over the Stok La (4800 m), actually the view from the false pass (closer to Stok) is better than from the true top.  If you make it to Stok by 6:00 pm you can catch a bus back to Leh.

Duration:

2-3 days

Route Finding:

Easy, coming from Rumbak there is a trail that heads down between the two passes continue over the second pass.  Coming from Stok the trail splits about 15 minutes after the tea tent, both trails go to Rumbak but the left one heading straight up the valley is easier.  This junction is not to be confused with the one at the tea tent where the left fork goes to Stok Kangri base camp and the right goes to the Stok La.

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag is useful but not really necessary, homestays available at Rumbak, Stok, Zhingchan (Jingchan)

Comments:

If you want to see some mountains and have very little time this is a trek that will do it.  Rumbak is a nice village but basically its a trek for those with no time.  It is high though so don't try it your first or second day in Leh.  Its worth getting transport to Zingchen to avoid the long hot boring walk from Spituk.

Pictures and Journal Entry from Zingchen to Stok

Liker to Tingmosgam (Sham Valley or "Baby Trek"):  I have not done this trek but it is supposed to be a very easy homestay trek.  There are no high passes and plenty of accommodation and food is available along the way.  No high mountain scenery, more of a cultural trek passing monasteries and villages.

Duration:

2-4 days

Route Finding:

Easy

Equipment needed:

You really don't need much more than cloths on this trek, maybe even just the ones on your back.

Comments:

I haven't done it personally, yet.

 

Across Zanskar (Lamayuru to Darcha) Trek  This is a fabulous trek and most people don't realize it can be done predominately by homestays.  It is also possible to do either half as there is transportation from Padum (administrative center of Zanskar) and Leh.  The Lamayuru Padum half which has several steep passes is a much more strenuous trek than the Padum Darcha half which has one high pass.  There are two nights you will have to sleep in your own shelter or in a tea tent on the Lamayuru Padum half and one or two nights on the Padum Darcha half.  For detailed information on how to do this trek as a homestay trek click here.

Duration:

16-20 days

Route Finding:

Easy

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag is necessary, at least a plastic sheet shelter or a tent is recommended for emergencies, and dry food for snacks and lunches.  It is possible to sleep in homestays or Tea Tents the entire length of the trek during the season.

Comments:

This is one of the best treks in Ladakh.  It has everything diverse scenery, from high mountain passes to narrow gorges, beautiful villages, spectacularly situated monasteries, and the homestays are warm and authentic not like half hotels of the Markha Valley.  If you have the time this is a must do trek.

Pictures and Journal Entry from Across Zanskar

Shergol to Sanko via the Sapi La and Rusi La  This trek goes through a little visited region of Ladakh near Kargil inhabited by both Buddhists and Muslims.  While it should be possible to do this as a homestay trek (I camped one night and stayed in a village the other) you may have to do some work to find a place to stay as they are not used to foreigners in this area and very little English is spoken.  This can trek can either be started from Kargil, there is a bus to Fukor (sounds a lot like the English obscenity but its more like Foo-kor) the last village before the Sapi La Pass, or from Leh by getting off the Kargil bound bus at Shergol.  You can either wait around Shergol (visit the gompa there) for the bus to Fukor or walk about 2-3 hours to get there.  Start asking around to stay in Fukor.  I stayed with a very nice Buddhist family the father was an ex-Indian army officer.  I offered 200 rupees for the dinner and lodging but he only accepted 100.  Its a two hour climb to the top of the Sapi La from the upper most part of Fukor along the trekking path not the road.  It would may also be possible to take a bus to Sapi from Kargil, on the other side of the Sapi La in which case you could cut out a day and the Sapi La.  Descending from the Sapi La, head off the second valley to the left (south) departing the road and crossing the river for the Rusi La.    There are many villages along the way so its easy to ask.  You can stay the next night in village at the base of this side valley on the other side of the river.  I continued on and camped at the top of the Rusi La (no water and cold but a great view).  The Rusi La has one of the better views of any pass in Ladakh.  On the other side of the Rusi la there are many villages where it would be possible to stay.  There is a little used dirt road that connects the villages to Sanko and the main Padum-Kargil road.  A bus leaves the village at the end of the road to Kargil at 8:00 am.  Or its about a 3 hour walk along the road to Sanko.  From Sanko you can either head back to Kargil or go up the Suru valley to Panikhar and eventually Padum in Zanskar.

Duration:

2-3 days

Route Finding:

Medium, the trail to the Rusi la is not obvious, I took a harder route than I needed to off the main trail.  I think the correct way to go is to cross the bridge after the last village on the way up the valley and climb the ridge on the left side (looking up stream) of the valley.  The pass is near where this ridge intersects the ridge at the far end of the valley.  On the way down there are many trails that split off stay on the most heavily used ones and you will find your way down.  Its a case of essentially "all roads go to Rome."

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag, and dry food for snacks and lunches. 

Comments:

This is a nice short trek, unfortunately for trekkers the end and beginning are along newly completed roads.  The Rusi La and the valley leading up to it is very beautiful and the trek is worth doing for the view from the Rusi La alone. The main draw back is the distance from Leh, but that keeps the hoards away so almost certainly you will have the trail to yourself.  It would be a nice trek going to or from Zanskar or as a short detour from Kargil en route to or From Srinagar.  If you have camping gear a nice option for a longer trek would be to head left up the valley after descending from the Rusi La to the Wanka La and ending at the Kargil-Padum road at Rungdum Gompa.

Pictures and Journal Entry from Rusi La trek

Children at a homestay in Umlung, in the Markha Valley, Ladakh, India

 

Child turns a prayer wheel in Hinju along the "Hidden Valley" Trek, Ladakh, India

 

 

 

View from Photoksar, along the Across  Zanskar Trek, Ladakh, India

 

 

 

Rusi La with my tent marking the pass (small grey tent in the center), Ladakh, India

 

 

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Camping Treks

Trekking Routes  If you've got your own gear then there is not limit to the routes you can explore.  These treks can also be done with basic shelters and dried food as well as none are particularly long.

Tso Moriri (Korzok) to Spiti Valley (Kibber):  This is a nice way to exit Ladakh.  The trek is high but not particularly hard from the Korzok to Kibber direction.  Its much harder from Kibber to Korzok, there is very little water on this side of the pass and the ascent is steep.  The trek passes though a very remote region with no villages at all so you will need to carry everything with you for the entire trek.  As I was also going one way I needed to bring all my stuff with me so I hired donkeys along with an English couple I met.  For detailed information about the trek and route click here.

Duration:

5-7 days

Route Finding:

Moderate, can be tricky finding the route over the glaciated pass especially if there is new snow.  From the Ladakh side head straight up the glacier and then veer to the right as you approach the mountains directly in front the pass is to the Southwest.  From the Spiti side stay to the right as you go over the pass then head straight down the center to the valley below.

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag, food for 6 days minimum, and shelter

Comments:

This is a nice trek, but the scenery is not that varied especially as you walk for three days down the Valley before the Parang La.  The pass is beautiful and it is worth climbing the ridge to the left (east) of the pass for even better views.  The main attraction is the remote and barren feel of the region.

Pictures and Journal Entry from the Tso Moriri to Spiti Trek.

Rumste to Tso Moriri:  From a purely scenic point of view this is one of the most beautiful treks in Ladakh.  While it is a very high trek (so prior acclimatization is essential) the terrain is relatively gentle and most of the passes are not very steep.  There is ample opportunities along the way to climb relatively easy but very high peaks for even more amazing views.

Duration:

5-7 days

Route Finding:

Moderate to Easy, there are few tricky junctions and areas where there is very little defined trail.  After the first pass you descend into a valley before the second pass and cross a stream the trail goes up the left side of the valley opposite where you descend, there are some herders trails that go up to the next valley where there are some rock shelters which can confuse you.  The third pass has no real trail up it just go up the opposite side of the valley from where you descended the trail is re-defined again after the summit for the decent to Tso Kar.  The fifth pass is straight up the middle valley from the nomad camp of Rajung Karu. 

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag, shelter, and food (at least 3 days, better to have 6 days, worth it is possible to re-supply at Tso Kar for the last half of the trek but you options will be limited and more expensive than in Leh, if you buy food for the whole trek)

Comments:

This area is very scenic and if you have extra time (and food) it would be worth wandering off to explore many of the side valleys and climb various peaks.  You will need an interline permit for this trek although its unlikely to be checked until you leave Korzok.  Even then it may not be.  Mine expired by two days but no one looked at it when I left by bus.  The bus goes from Leh to Korzok on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month and returns from Korzok to Leh on the 11th, 21st, and 31st of the month.  Otherwise it is sometimes possible to hitch back to Leh.

Pictures and Journal Entry from Rumste to Tso Moriri

Leh to the Nubra Valley via the Digar La:  I actually did this trek as a homestay trek going from Sabu to Digar in one day but I don't recommend it.  I started at dawn and reached Digar just as night was falling its better to cross the pass in two days.  This is a nice way to enter the Nubra Valley and Digar is a beautiful unspoiled village.  The trek itself is nice but the whole way up the Digar La it is essentially the same view of the Stok range that you get from Leh.  The other side of the pass down to Digar is the best part of this trek.  The trail descends through a series of beautiful meadows open at one end to the distant white peaks of the Karakorum.  From Digar it is about two hours down a new road (not marked on most maps).  It is best to hitch from there although there is not a lot of traffic so you may have to walk a ways, but the walk along the road is hot, there is not much water at all, and the view doesn't change much because the valley is so wide, so getting a ride is definitely the preferred way to exit.

Duration:

2-4 days

Route Finding:

Moderate, I got fooled where there is a meadow the maybe 45 minutes past the rock shelter, the trail goes off the valley to the right and then climbs the wall of rock to the north side of the valley which is the Digar La.  If you start scrambling over big boulders and haven't seen a trail in a while you are going the wrong way.

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag, shelter (there is a roofed rock shelter part way up on the Leh side you could sleep in), 2-3 days of food

Comments:

The Digar La is a tough high very steep pass hiking from Sabu to Digar in a day was one of the toughest days of trekking I've had harder than many 6000 m peaks.  You will also need an interline permit for this trek although no one will look at it until you leave Nubra by road.

Pictures and Journal Entry from the Digar La

Suru Valley Panikhar-Parkachik Circuit and Nun Base Camp :  I put this as a camping trek because that is the way I did it but it would also be possible to do as a series of day hikes from the villages in the valley.  This is a tough trek the way I did it since there is no trail for parts of it and the terrain is tough but the views of Nun and Kun are unparallel.  The area around the huge U-shaped bend in the Suru river from Panikhar to Prakachik is among the most scenic areas in Ladakh yet most people breeze through it on there way to and from Zanskar.  To really appreciate the region you need to get off the road and out of the valley climbing some of the surrounding ridges.  I started in Panikhar and spent the first night on top of the ridge that goes down the center of the U-bend in the Suru river.  The same ridge which the Parkachik La passes over.  It only takes 2-3 hours to climb to the pass from Panikhar but it is worth staying up top for the view but there is no water source.   Hike down to the end of the ridge towards the bend in the Suru for a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains including Nun and Kun as well as the Suru Valley.  Its about an hour or less decent to Parkachik.  From Parkachik its possible to follow some of the herders' trails up the ridge on the opposite (south) side of the valley.  You will eventually reach a few herder's campsites one with a small spring (fill up your water here) on the Suru Valley side of the ridge.  Continue past these herders areas traversing along the Suru Valley side of the ridge until you reach a steep grassy slope.   Head up the slope to reach the top of the ridge its a very tough climb especially if you are carrying a big pack.  At the top of ridge you are rewarded with a brilliant view of Nun with the Parkachik glacier stretching beneath you up to the ice falls flowing from the north face of Nun.  You can camp in the grassy area at the top of this ridge but again there is no water.  You can descend to the glacier and walk up the valley to get a closer look at Nun and the ice falls.  The train is tough and requires walking on the debris covered edge of the glacier.  There are crevasses as well.  Unless you are equipped for ice and rock climbing you will have to return back the same way to the grassy ridge.  It is a steep hike down the Suru valley side of the ridge to traverse around some cliffs and continue along to the valley that contains the traditional base camp for Nun.  Continuing to traverse towards Tongol you run it to a gorge and uncrossable cascading river.  Hike up the very steep grassy slope to the meadow at the mouth of the valley that leads to the base camp.  This meadow is a great place to camp with a good spring and nice soft grassy campsites or you can continue up the valley about 2 hours to the base camp over difficult rocky terrain for better views but harder rocky ground.  There is not much of a tail to the base camp and its easy to lose at times, but just head up the valley at the end you will have to climb steep glacial moraine on the east side of the valley  From the base camp you can hike further up to the left (east) to a higher camp but then progress is stopped by either venturing out on to a crevassed glacier or climbing a 50 m cliff.  But there are great view from there over the icefall to Nun and down at the valley and glacier below. To get back to the main trail leading down to Tongol you will have to ford the river to the west bank of the valley.  If you are camping at base camp do it near where it comes out of the glacier, if camping in the meadow then cross at a point where it divides into two channels or look for the widest and shallowest crossing at the time.  Its about an hour down to Tongol and the road from the small pass at the entry to the upper valley on a fairly good trail.

Duration:

3-4 days, or series of day treks

Route Finding:

Difficult, paths when they exist are often intercepted by various other herders' trail making it easy to get pulled off course in the other cases its a matter of reading the terrain and finding your own route.

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag, tent, 3-4 days of food, at least two and a half liters water capacity if camping in non water areas

Comments:

Day hike options:  You can make it to most of these view points from towns in the valley but some would be very long days.  The ridge in the middle of the valley (Parkachik La) can be reached from either Panikhar (2-3 hours) or Parkachik (1-2 hours).  To reach the ridge over looking Parkachik glacier is proubably 3-4 hours from Parkachik figure half that for the return.  Its another 3-4 hours round trip from there along the glacier to the icefall at the base of Nun.  Its probably about 2-3 hours to reach the small pass before the meadow at the mouth of the valley that leads to Nun Base Camp from Tongol.  To get the base camp will take at least another 2 hours and further hour to reach the higher camp above the base camp.  Figure half that for the return down to Tongol.

Pictures and Journal Entry from the Suru Valley Circuit

 

View from above the Parang La on the trek to Spiti Valley.

 

Kiang (wild ass) along the Rumtse to Tso Moriri Trek, Ladakh, India.

 

Nun from Parkachik Glacier, Ladakh, India.

 

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Trekking Peaks

Peaks  There are many high (6000 m +) easy to climb peaks throughout Ladakh, especially in the Rupshu.  The ones listed below are just the ones that I've climbed.  Ladakh is definitely the easiest cheapest place in the world to climb above 6000 m, climbing a 6000 m trekking peak in Nepal will set you back at least $300.

Stok Kangri:  This is the most climbed 6000 m peak in Ladakh at 6153 m (20,180 ft).  The view from the top, weather permitting of course, is spectacular.  While all the trekking agencies do this as a four day trek if you are already acclimatized it can be done easily in 2 days one night from Leh.  I would highly recommend doing an acclimatization trek before then doing Stok Kangri.  It is best to do a trek where you will sleep very high, close to or above 5000 m.  The Markha Valley is  good trek for this as you can stay at Nimaling which is 4800 m (and you don't even need your own tent) even better would be to stay for two nights there and do a high day hike during the day.  Another good hike would be the Rumtse to Tso Morrri but make sure you've spent some time in Ladakh, at least 4 days, before doing that one due to the high altitude from the start .

Duration:

2-4 days from Leh

Route Finding:

Moderate, the only tricky part is figuring out when to cross the glacier, walk down the left side of the glacier that descends from the mountain to the south of Stok Kangri until you see a large slope descending from the peak of Stok Kangri opposite you then cross the glacier and head up the slope.  As it gets steeper make your way over to the southern ridge and follow the ridge to the summit.  More than likely there will be several guided groups going up at the same time so you can always follow them if you don't feel confident.

Equipment needed:

head lamp (for early morning start), crampons can help (one time I climbed with them the other time without, ironically the time I didn't use them was when there was the most snow), a trekking pole or walking stick is a must but an ice axe is not necessary however if you've got one I guess you could bring it, sleeping bag, tent (there is a tea tent at base camp and you may be able to sleep in the tent but I haven't tried this), Food for 2 days but there is also a well stocked tea tent where you could buy food at the base camp.

Comments:

Its a 5-6 hour hike from Stok to Base Camp, go left at the first tea tent right up the valley at the third tea tent.  Base camp is on the south side of a ridge that separates it from Stok Kangri, you have to climb this ridge to the north to start your ascent then head west until you cross the glacier and head north up towards the summit.  You will need and IMF permit which costs 2000 INR and which you can get from the IMF next to the garden restaurant at the start of Chanspa Road in Leh.  It will be checked at Stok and the last two tea tents you pass and base camp.  It costs 100 INR per tent to camp at Base Camp.  It takes between 4-8 hours from the base camp to the summit, figure half your time up for the way down.  People usually start between 12 am and 1:30 am for the summit, so that the snow is more firm for the climb.  Its 4 hours back down to Stok and there is a bus to Leh at 6:00 pm.

Pictures and Journal Entry from Stok Kangri

Chhamser Kangri:  At 6622 m (21,725 ft) Chhamser Kangri is the third highest peak in Ladakh (excluding Zanskar and the Karakorum) and a remarkably easy climb.  The only issue is the altitude so one must be well acclimatized before attempting it preferably having already climbed one or two 6000 m peaks in the previous weeks.  The base camp is at nearly 6000 m so you must have slept at or above 5000 m at least a few times before with no altitude issues. For detailed information about the climb click here.

Duration:

3-4 days from Korzok (Tso Moriri)

Route Finding:

Find your own route, but the terrain is generally pretty easy to walk across

Equipment needed:

sleeping bag, tent, 4 days of food, crampons are very helpful but not essential depending on the snow conditions, a walking stick or trekking pole is very useful

Comments:

If you want to get high this is a good peak.  The weather was a bit cloudy when I was up there but on a clear day the views must be spectacular.  Although I have not climbed it nearby Lungser Kangri is also suppose to be a relatively straight forward peak.  You will need an interline permit easily obtainable from travel agents in Leh which is typically valid for 7 days to visit the area.  Buses go from Leh to Korzok on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month returning the next day.  They never checked my permit on the bus on the way out.  If you got one and overstayed it until the next bus returned I doubt you would have any problems.  It is also sometimes possible to hitch out if you are friendly with the jeep tourists.

Pictures and Journal Entry for Chhamser Kangri

Peak 6098 m Northwest Tso Moriri:  This peak is marked at 6098 m (20,000 ft) on the Leomann Indian Himalaya Map sheet 9.  It can be done in a long day hike from Korzok.  Follow the ridge North of Korzok until you get to the top.  There is a steep section where the ridge extends from some rolling hills where I found it easier to traverse to the back side (away from the lake and climb back up to the ridge from behind, but other than that it is a straight ridge walk.  The ridge is covered in semi-loose large rocks so it is not real easy hiking.  The views from the ridge along the way up compensate for the hard walking and the view from the top must  be one of the best views of Tso Moriri there is.  It is possible to descend down the backside loose scree from the peak and follow the stream back to Korzok if you do not want to re-walk the ridge.

Duration:

10-12 hour day hike from Korzok (Tso Moriri)

Route Finding:

No trail just follow the ridge

Equipment needed:

a walking stick or trekking pole is very useful, and some snacks for the long day and water as none is available on the ridge.

Comments:

It took me 6 hours to reach the summit with about 20 minutes of total rest time and I was very well acclimatized at the time having just climbed Chhamser Kangri.  It took three hours back down traversing the backside of the ridge but I would recommend either descending all the way to the stream down the scree just below the peak on the west side, or going back along the ridge.  While not the highest peak in the area it is situated at the northern end of the lake off on its own so that the views from the summit are mind blowing.

Pictures and Journal Entry for Peak 6098 m

 

Peak 5999 m South of Tso Kar:  This peak is marked at 5999 m on the Leomann Indian Himalaya Map sheet 9.  I climbed it en route between Nurchan and Rajung Karu along the Rumtse to Tso Moriri Trek.  After descending the Horlam La (Rang La) take the side valley to the right (southwest) to reach the base.  Climb up along the stream that decends from the summit and eventually traverse over to the left (southern) side of the mountain and climb the steep loose scree.  Its tough going, pretty much like climbing a 6000 m sand dune.  At the summit the views including back at Tso Kar are well worth the effort to get there.  It took about 3 hours from the trail to the summit and it took about 2 hours from the summit back down the same way to Rajung Karu.  Another possibility would be to follow the ridge to the peak 6000 m and descend down that valley to Rajung Karu ariving from the valley due south.

Duration:

5-6 hour detour along the Nurchan to Rajng Karu section of the Rumtse to Tso Moriri Trek, could also be done in 2 days from Tso Kar.

Route Finding:

No trail just head for the summit

Equipment needed:

a walking stick or trekking pole is very useful, tent, sleeping bag, and food

Comments:

Not the highest peak around but nicely situated to give a great view of Tso Kar to the north and the Rupshu's ice cap region to the south

Pictures and Journal Entry for Rumtse to Tso Moriri trek

 

~6000 m peak opposite Kang Yaze:  This unnamed peak appears to be at or close to 6000 m based on the contour maps I've seen of the region.  Climb the ridge to the south of Nimaling and opposite Kang Yatze, initially the ridge is very broad as you get higher it narrows.  You may have to climb down and around some steep snow/ice fields to reach the peak.  The last bit to the peak is a steep climb up boulder sized scree to the summit.

Duration:

8-10 hour day hike from Nimaling on the Markha Valley Trek.

Route Finding:

No trail just follow the ridge

Equipment needed:

a walking stick or trekking pole is very useful, crampons could be useful if early in the season and there is still quite a bit of snow, tent homestay available at Nimaling during the trekking season so no tent or food is necessary.

Comments:

Very nice views from the top of this peak across at Kang Yaze and across the glacier covered landscape below.  It can also be climbed without a tent or anything more than a trekking pole and a day pack making it a very cheap and easy way to climb to 6000 m.

Pictures and Journal Entry from Nimaling Peak

 

 

 

 

Stok Kangri (6153 m, 20,180 ft)

 

 

Chhamser Kangri (6622 m, 21,725 ft)

 

 

Peak northwest of Tso Moriri (6098 m, 20,000 ft)

 

 

Peak south of Tso Kar (5999 m, 19,677 ft)

 

 

Peak near Kang Yaze (~6000 m, ~19,680 ft)