8/19/2010 to 8/21/2010 | India , Ladakh

Turtuk: Eden on the Pakistani border


Tam and Kip had given up on a road exit from Ladakh and booked flights to Delhi.  There departure date left them time for one last trip in Ladakh.  We managed to hook up with a brother and sister from Britian and an Israeli girl to share a jeep to the Nubra […]

8/15/2010 to 8/16/2010 | India , Ladakh

Zingchen to Stok

One of the reasons Tam and especially Kip had come to Ladakh was to do some trekking in the high mountains.  The rains that brought such havoc on Leh had also washed away many trails and had swollen rivers to the point that they were impassable, not to mention the logistical nightmare of […]

8/14/2010 | India , Ladakh

Stakna to Matho

By the 14th of August the tourists in Leh had thinned out dramatically with most taking flights out town.  The roads to Manali and Srinagar were still closed but the roads to some nearby villages especially to the south had opened and bus services had begun again.  Having been stuck in Leh since […]

8/12/2010 | India , Ladakh

Spituk: The New Rimpoche


The day of the flash flood in Leh was supposed to be a day of celebration, it was the day that a young lama the 20th Bakula Rimpoche, Thupstan Ngwang Norbu  would be brought from his birth place in the Nubra Valley to his monastery at Spituk (near Leh) for the first […]

8/6/2010 | India , Ladakh

The Flood: Leh 8/6/2010


I remember thinking these houses are not made for this kind of rain.  The flat roofed traditional mud brick construction of many of the houses in arid Ladakh provides excellent insulation against the extremes of hot and cold but is less effective against the force of water.   The rain pounded ferociously against […]

7/29/2010 to 8/5/2010 | India , Ladakh

Leh the quiet before the storm


I first met Zangmo and Angchu when my Latvian friend Santa took me to one of the family style dinners held nightly at their Tsavo guesthouse when I was in Leh last year. I was impressed with the warm family atmosphere created by the Ladakhi couple in their guesthouse.  When I returned […]

8/24/2009 to 8/25/2009 | India , Ladakh

The Dalai Lama in Leh


I returned to Leh in time to catch one of Dalai Lama’s public teachings, the last in a series of five.   The teachings in Leh are held in a large outdoor ground in nearby Choklamsar home to large community of Tibetan refugees.  The atmosphere the massive gathering reminded me something of an […]

8/22/2009 to 8/23/2009 | India , Ladakh


Arriving to Kargil in the early afternoon, gave me a half day to kill, since the bus to Leh departed early the next morning.  Not a great town by any stretch, but mildly interesting for being much more like Kashmir than the rest of Ladakh.  It is a heavily Islamic town settled primarily […]

8/17/2009 to 8/21/2009 | India , Ladakh

Nun, Kun and the Suru Circuit


I arrived in Panikhar from Sanko in time to hike up the ridge behind the village, catching the setting sun illuminate Nun and Kun for my first of what would many impressive views of the twin 7000 m peaks.  I also found a nice family run guesthouse in Panikhar serving up diner, […]

8/15/2009 to 8/17/2009 | India , Ladakh

Shergol to Sanko trekking the roads less traveled to the Suru Valley


There is something satisfying about hopping off a bus full of tourists at a small little known village and walking off into the mountains on your own.  In this case the bus was bound for Kargil nearly half of those on board were foreigners headed to see the Dalai Lama give teachings […]

7/29/2009 to 7/31/2009 | India , Ladakh

A 20,000 ft day hike


After a day of rest and recuperation in Korzok following my previous climb, I still had another day before the tri-monthly bus to Leh.  The weather had improved over the last two days and I was eyeing the peak directly to the north of Korzok, marked 5098 m (20,000 ft) on my […]

7/25/2009 to 7/28/2009 | India , Ladakh

Soloing 21,725 foot Chhamser (Chamser) Kangri


There are several 6000 m peaks within easy striking range of Korzok. But when it came down to deciding which peak I would attempt first there was really no question, I had my sights set squarely on 6622 m (21,725 ft) Chhamser Kangri (also spelled Chamser Kangri). After all, I couldn’t continue […]

7/24/2009 to 7/25/2009 | India , Ladakh

Korzok Festival


We had arrived in Korzok for the annual monastic festival held at the local gompa. Another Tibeatan monastic festival with the requisite Cham dances, trumpets and drums. While the Cham masks were not as spectacular as others I’d seen, the main interest for me were the locals who flocked to Korzok from […]

7/18/2009 to 7/24/2009 | India , Ladakh

Rumste to Tso Moriri


After a week of rest in Leh, following the departure of Karin and Jeff, I returned to the trail. This time would be a new experience for me, as I would be accompanying a trekking group organized by my friend Mohan. I was going in the capacity of an officially unofficial guide, […]

7/4/2009 to 7/9/2009 | India , Ladakh

Stok Kangri


I looked at the massive yellow duffle bag at my feet. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought, “The thing is bigger than my backpack; maybe it’s not as heavy as it looks.” I lifted it into the waiting taxi. Nope, it was as heavy as it looked. When I had […]

7/2/2009 to 7/3/2009 | India , Ladakh

Hemis Festival 2009


The next morning we gave our legs a break and took a bus from Shang Sumdo to Hemis.  The monastic festival of Hemis is the largest and most well known of the many monastic festivals that take place throughout Ladakh and Zanskar.  Its fame, proximity to Leh, and timing (falling during Ladakh’s […]

6/25/2009 to 7/1/2009 | India , Ladakh

Markha Valley Trek


I had already done the Markha Valley Trek on my previous trip to Ladakh but it is a good short trek and easy to do without camping equipment so it was the trek I decided to take Karin and Jeff on. In addition we would finish at Hemis in time to catch […]

6/11/2009 to 6/25/2009 | India , Ladakh

Around Leh and Pangong Lake with Karin & Jeff


I was excited to leave Delhi for Leh, not only for the obvious weather considerations, and I was certainly anxious to leave the heat of Delhi for the cool crisp mountain air of Ladakh, but rather to see sister, Karin, and brother-in-law, Jeff, who were coming to visit. I had not seen […]

9/12/2008 to 9/18/2008 | India , Ladakh

Tso Moriri to the Spiti Valley via the Parang La



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We awoke in Korzok, the village nestled along the northwestern bank of the high altitude sailine lake of Tso Moriri, to a mass exodus.  Anyone with any mode of transportation, horse, donkey, tractor, jeep, motorcycle, truck, anything that could move a person to some where other than Korzok, […]

8/15/2008 to 9/3/2008 | India , Ladakh

Trekking Across Zanskar



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I walked up Chanspa road in Leh towards the Sandwich Bar where a group was meeting to discuss the logistics for a self organized trek to Zanskar.  I had planned on doing the Lamayuru to Darcha trek across the remote region of Zanskar, so when I noticed a […]

8/6/2008-8/11/2008 | India , Ladakh

Trekking to the Nubra Valley



The most common way to enter the Nubra Valley is via the 5602 m (18,375 ft) Khardong La which the Indians love to tout as the highest motorable road in the world, a title which is apparently somewhat debatable.   In any case, I decided to hike in via the lesser used pass […]

7/11/2008, 7/14/2008, 7/31/2008 - | India , Ladakh

Around Leh

Monk creating sand mandala, Spituk Monastery.


In between treks and lazy days in Leh, I made a few day trips to some of the monasteries near Leh.  Spituk monastery is the closest major monastery to Leh and was mainly interesting for the sand mandala that was being created by the monks at the time I visited, an undertaking […]

7/28/2008 to 7/29/2008 | India , Ladakh

Stok Kangri: soloing a six-thousand-er



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Stok Kangri rises like a white sail above the Indus valley opposite Leh.  Looking up at the snow covered peak watching the last rays of the setting sun bathe the white massif in a golden glow, I found it hard to believe I had stood that morning watching […]

7/18/2008 to 7/25/2008 | India , Ladakh

Trekking the Stok Range: Phanjila to Hemis



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As I slid down the glacier my speed increasing with every passing moment I struggled with all the might my oxygen starved lungs could muster to slow my acceleration, thrusting my trekking pole into the ice with as much success as one might have in forcing a pencil […]

7/12/2008-7/13/2008 | India , Ladakh

Hemis Festival

Monk watching Cham dance, Hemis Festival.


Shortly after I arrived in Ladakh, the festival at the Monastery of Hemis was scheduled to take place.  Probably among the most touristy of the monastic Cham dance (traditional Tibetan masked dances) festivals in Ladakh, due to its proximity to Leh and the fact that it takes place in the summer during […]

6/5/2008 to 7/11/2008 | Himachal Pradesh , India

Nepal to Ladakh: via Dharamsala

Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Leh.


The toughest leg in my journey from Nepal to Ladakh in northwest India was not the bone shattering 24 hour Manali to Leh bus along one of the highest and remotest roads in the world, nor was it braving the heat, humidity, and down pours of the Indian monsoon while passing through […]