FOUR PASSES OF RUPSHU
(The harsh and beautiful world of Ladakh's nomadic Chang- pa herdsmen)
Lying between Zanskar and the Tibetan border to the east is the region known as Rupshu, the highest and least well- known part of Ladakh. This area is physically a part of the Chang Tang plains, which extend eastwards from Rupshu for almost 1000 kilometers across Tibet . Consisting of a network of high valleys, separated by impressive ridges, with snow - capped peaks soaring to over 6000 meters, Rupshu is a rugged land inhabited by a hardy and cheerful nomadic people known as Chang-pa.
Flying in to Leh, we will spend 3 days acclimatizing, with visits to several of the region's Buddhist monasteries, and we will also drive upto the world's highest road pass - the Khardung La (17,384 ft.). Our trek starts from Hemis, heading southwards into the heart of unspoiled Rupshu, crossing 4 high passes, 3 of them over 16,400 ft., which each afford splendid view across majestic plateau-land to distant snow peaks. Lovely high meadow campsites stunning scenery, isolated villages and fascinating encounters with the hardy Chang-pa at their black tented encampments, makes this undoubtedly one of the best trips currently on offer in Ladakh
DAY 1) Delhi - Leh (3500m) by plane
Arrive Leh and drive by jeep to the Ladkahi style hotel. The rest of the day is free to either rest in the shade of the hotel courtyard, or we can take a lazy walk into Leh's colourful bazaar. Overnight at hotel.
DAY 2) Visit Leh
A whole day at leisure in Leh. You can visit some of the most famous and oldest monasteries of Ladakh (15th and 17th century), Thikse, Shey and Hemis and take a walk to the colorful bazaar. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 3)Leh - Hemis (3505m) by Jeep
DAY 4)Hemis - Shang Sumdo (3850m) in 4h
Today we leave the Indus valley. We descend towards Martselang, then follow the valley, which is fairly narrow in some places, continuing along the riverbed to Shang Sumdo. A short and pleasant stage, in anticipation of the next two long days.
DAY 5) Shang Sumdo - Latza Kongmaru (4800m) in 7h.
We progress along the river whose banks are studded with ochre rocks.From Chukirmo village, the track leads into narrow gorges, where ponies need to be unloaded twice, and climb up to the base of Kongmaru La.
DAY 6) Latza Gongmaru-Kongmaru La(5030m)-Langtang Chu (4250m) in 7h
From the pass, there are great views north towards eastern Korakoram and China, whilst the southern view is dominated by the shapely Kang Yatze (6400m) and the Ladakhi range. We take a ridge trail and descend zigzagging across scree. Afterwards, the path descends easily towards the Nimaling summer pastures and the Markha valley, the most beautiful valley in Ladakh.
DAY 7) Langtang Chu - Yakrupal (4700m) in 4h
We climb up the large valley, and, after crossing a stream, carry on along a wall of moraine
DAY 8) Yakrupal - Zalung Karpo La (5200m) - Sorra (4200m)
We carry on upwards until the valley divides, where we fork right. From the pass, we follow a ridge trail that leads to another pass, then plunge into the valley.
DAY 9) Sorra - Dat (4200m) in 5h
We follow beautiful woody gorges until they widen into a valley. Manis and shortens are scattered along the trail that leads along the Sara and Dat rivers. Dat is a verdant village, where arable farming uses every inch of land.
DAY 10) Dat - Yar La (5000m) - Lungmo Che (4010m) in 6h
An easy climb takes us up to the pass, where we enjoy a dramatic view over the Rupshu. Sometimes we are overtaken by caravans of "Khyangs", wild donkeys that frighten our ponies.
DAY 11) Lungmo Che - Lun (4100m)
The landscape completely changes, turning into into a vast arid plain where the Zara Chu flows (dry from August on). Tibetan nomads populate the area.
DAY 12) Lun - Marang La (5300m) - Takh in 7h
The path leaves the river and leads up to a beautiful plateau at 4500m. We climb up gently to the last pass. Then it is a long descent towards Takh.
DAY 13) Takh - Manali by Jeep
A long drive to Manali. Crossing the Rohtang Pass (3990m) above Manali, We glimpse the green forested slopes of the Kullu- Manali Valley . Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 14) Manali - Delhi ,
Transfer to the bud station to connect bus for Delhi