Trekking in Ladakh
Ladakh is one of the coldest and highest inhabited desert places in the world. You don’t have to be an athlete or an Everest climber to do trekking in Ladakh but you definitely need to be physically fit. Water is always in short on the trek, however, due to increasing tourism these days, some of the villages have started maintaining stocks up on the supplies that you may need.
The best season
The best time for your trek depends on the trek you are choosing for. The best weather in Ladakh however is between June and August. Though some rivers are overflown in June, and the worst time to cross them is in the afternoon, when they carry all the snow melted down the glaciers. Treks that involve rivers and streams en route are best undertaken after July till September for the safety angle.
The Markha Valley Trek
Route: Leh – Spituk – Jingchen – Yurutse – Ganda La – Shingo – Skiu – Markha – Tchatchutse – Nimaling – Shang – Hemis – Leh
At the heart of trekking in Ladakh lies the jewel in crown – the Markha Valley Trek. You will be leaving from Stok traversing the high country to visit some of the most exceptional landscapes in Ladakh. This is a nice circular route and it takes ten days of trekking time. Setting off from Leh you drive to Spituk, across the Indus River, and start trek to Jingchen after which there are a few high passes like the Ganda La at 16,100ft/4900m and Kongmarula at 16,900ft/5150m. It takes a hardy and experienced trekker to do this trail.
The Sham Valley Trek
Route: Leh – Likir – Yangthang – Ang – Khaltse – Lamayuru – Leh
A short trek of three to four days of walking that rarely goes beyond 13,100ft/4000m, this route is a good one for beginners and others who may have shortage of time. It passes through some pretty villages such as Hemis shukpachan set midst a rich forest of cedar trees. The entire route traverses north of the road between Leh and Kargil and at the end of the trek near Khaltse, it is nice to take a look at the Lamayuru Monastery and then head back to Leh.
The Lamayuru To Stok Kangri Trek
Route: Lamayuru – Hinju – Sumda – Chilling – Shingo – Rumbak – Zingchen – Leh
Undoubtedly a demanding trek and for the hardy experienced trekker who wants a rewarding experience of having sweated it out and gone on a trail that is less travelled. There was also a problem of a bridge that was sometimes missing or under disrepair at Chilling. Even now, though sturdy, the bridge over the fierce Zanskar River is not for the faint hearted. Allow seven to eight days of sustained long day trekking.
photo credit: kev's album P8097281 via photopin (license)