Across Ladakh and Zanskar (July-September 2013)

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I spent 7 weeks in Ladakh and Zanskar during the summer of 2013, doing two treks: a long one from Phyang (a few kilometers west of Ladakh′s capital, Leh) to Padum (Zanskar′s small ″capital″) and a short one from Murobok (a short distance from Phyang) to Hundar further north in the Shyog valley.


The itinerary of this trip is shown in the map below (click here or on the map to get a more readable larger version in a separate tab):

- The itinerary of the long trek is shown in yellow dotted line: it first goes toward the west to cross Kanji La (mountain pass #8), then it heads in the south-east direction to reach the Zara Chu river, before switching toward the north-west and ending in Padum. My initial plan was to cross Zara Chu and return to Leh by an itinerary on the east side of this map. Unfortunately, due to bad weather during the preceding week, fording Zara Chu was too dangerous and I decided to go to Padum instead.

- The itinerary of the short trek is shown in purple dotted line.

- The itinerary by car is in green dotted lines: from Leh to Phyang/Murobok, from Padum to Leh via Rangdum and Kargil, and from Hundar to Leh.

- The itinerary in orange dotted line (from Leh to Spituk, Stakna, Thikse, and back to Leh) is a one-day loop trip on bicycle along the Indus river.



The red dots designate towns, villages, and named places. The blue lines show some important rivers. The double yellow triangles indicate major passes along the itinerary. These passes are numbered 1 to 21, in the order I have crossed them:


1. Lhalung La (3550m)

2. Charatse La (3650m)

3. Tsarmangchan La (3870m)

4. Mebtak La (3820m)

5. Lago La (3820m)

6. Tar La (4970m)

7. Yogmi La (4720m)

8. Kanji La (5250m)

9. Pudzong La (5020m)

10. Parpi La (3900m)

11. Pandang La, also called Ningri La (5150m)

12. Lar La (4850m)

13. Rotong La, also called Gorteng La (5000m)

14. Nialo Kontse La (4850m)

15. Gotunda La (5100m)

16. Gotunda La (5100m)

17. Nialo Kontse La (4850m)

18. Pentse La (4400m)

19. Photu La (4090m)

20. Lasermo La (5550m)

21. Kardung La (5340m)


Nialo Kontse La (14 and 17) and Gotunda La (15 and 16) were crossed twice, first to reach Zara Chu, then to backtrack toward Padum after failing to cross Zara Chu. Pentse La (18), Photu La (19) and Kardung La (21) were crossed by car. All the elevations given above are from the Ladakh & Zanskar trekking maps published by Editions Olizane, Geneva, Switzerland.


For this trip I had a support team of 4 people and ponies provided by Adventure North. Adventure North also arranged transportation, permits, and food logistics.


Click on the links below to see photos of the treks:


1.   Phyang to Nurla

2.   Nurla to Wanla

3.    Wanla to Kanji

4.    Kanji to Dibling







5.  Dibling to Zangla

6.  Zangla to Zara Chu

7.  Zara Chu to Padum

8.  Murobok to Hundar







I also include some photos of Leh (and surroundings) and from Delhi:


Leh and surroundings






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