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Adventure in Ladakh

Ladakh Adventure

Ladakh offers great scope for undertaking adventure activities amidst landscapes of breathtaking, rugged beauty. The most popular and best established among these are trekking, mountaineering or mountain climbing and river-rafting.

River Rafting in Ladakh

Exciting river rafting options are also

Adventure in Ladakh

available along the Indus river and its major tributaries in Ladakh. The best stretch for guided river rafting is between Spituk and Saspol on the Indus river close to Leh. For easy runs, the area from Spituk to Karu is chosen popularly. Beyond Saspol, the river becomes difficult and it requires technically skilled participants and careful organization. Upward of Spituk, the Indus has the easiest stretch up to Karu, ideal for basic training and day-return scenic floating for amateurs. In recent years, rafting on the Indus river has become an attractive alternative to trekking and important part of the tour itinerary. Several agencies in Leh offers attractive rafting packages. The most difficult but exciting option for river rafting is on the Zanskar along its spectacular course through the gorge in the Zanskar mountains, between Padum and Nimo. Participants are required to be trained rafters themselves. Adequate arrangements for rescue coverage is an essential requirement before embarking upon the river rafting on Zanskar river.


Mountain Climbing in Ladakh
Ladakh is the paradise for mountain climbing as there are so many peaks and mountains to climb. Climbing and conquering the lofty peaks of Ladakh needs extreme fitness. However, before attempting to climb any peak acclimatization to weather is necessary. The Nun-Kun massif, easily accessible from the Kargil-Padum road, is the most popular climbing option in Ladakh. The area most

Mountain Climbing in Ladakh

frequented by foreign climbers is the Nun-Kun Massif in the Great Himalayan Range. Its easy accessibility from the Kargil-Padum road and the shortest possible approach to the base camps makes this massif the most attractive climbing destination in the Great Himalayas. Nun (7,135 m) and Kun (7,077 m) are the highest summits accessible from the Suru Valley. Climbing it needs advance booking years ahead. The another popular area for climbing is Stok-khangri Massif in Zanskar mountains. The Stok-Khangri massif is accessible and nearest to Leh. The base camp for the various peaks of this massif is about two days trek from the Stok village. Stok-khangri (6,150 m) is the highest peak and offers a spectacular perspective to the central expanse of the Indus valley which it dominates. Other peaks in the area include Gulap Khangri (5,900 m), Matho West (5,950 m) and Kantak (5,275 m). The much higher Konglacha peak (6,700 m) lies south-west of Leh and is reached via Rubak on the first leg of the Markha Valley trek from Stok. Many unnamed peaks in the altitude range of 5,500 to 6,400 metres are also available for climbing. This entire area falls outside the Inner Line, or restricted area. North of Leh, across the Ladakh Range and the Nubra Valley, lies the Karakoram range. It has a chain of known peaks which are within the restricted area and so not freely accessible to foreign climbers except with special permission from the Government of India. The most prominent summits in this range which are accessible from various parts of the Nubra Valley include Saser-I (7415 m), Saser-II (7513 m) and Saser-III (7,495 m). The climbing season extends from mid-May to mid-October, the ideal period being from June to September because during this time only Ladakh remains unaffected by the monsoon. The 10 essential things one requires while mountain climbing are map, compass, extra clothing for changing, matches, fire starter, knife or multi purpose camp tool, sunglasses, extra food, first aid kit, headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries, sunscreen, water filter or other method of water purification and whistle. The foreign tourists are required to obtain permission from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, Delhi for climbing the peaks. A booking fee, based on the height and popularity of the peak, is charged and a Liaison Officer is assigned to every climbing team. The minimum period required for processing applications is six months. Every authorized expedition is provided with adequate rescue in the case of accidents and illness.


Trekking in Ladakh
Trekking possibilities include short, day-long walks up and down mountain slopes to visit isolated villages or monastic settlements, or across a ridge to enjoy the sheer beauty of the mountains or long, trans mountain treks involving weeks of walking and camping in the wilderness. For example, the trek from Lamayuru in the Indus valley to Darcha in Lahaul across Zanskar takes nearly three weeks. Most of

Trekking in Ladakh

the established routes traverse the Zanskar range which separates the Indus Valley from Zanskar. The 10 days Markha valley trek, 11 days Lamayuru-Padum trek and Stok-Khangri trek are the more popular trekking options available in this mountain mass. In recent years, parts of the Ladakh range between the Indus and Shayok valleys have also become available for trekking. The traditional trekking season extends from early June to mid-October. But localized treks within the Indus Valley can be undertaken even in May. On the other hand, some routes are suitable only for late autumn as during the summer, the bed of narrow valleys through which the tracks lie become turbulent streams. In winter the access to the Zanskar Valley is actually along the frozen surface of the Zanskar river. This route, also known as Chaddar, calls for elaborate arrangements, but it is perhaps the most exciting trek in the world. The easiest way to go on a trek is through a travel agency, which will take care of all arrangements including camping gear, provisions, porter, staff, etc. But if you intend to make your own arrangements, it is advisable to carry as much of your provision and fuel from Leh or Kargil. In some villages along the trek, fresh yoghurt and some Tsampa can be procured, but these sources cannot be relied upon. Kerosene or gas for cooking stoves must be carried in sufficient quantity to last the duration of the trek as fuel is unlikely to be available along most of the route. The Ladakh environment is very fragile. As such, it is absolutely important that trekkers keep the routes and campsites clean and avoid disturbing the region's delicate environment. Before striking camp, trekkers and travel agents should be ensure that no garbage is left undisposed at the campsites. Plastic containers and polythene wrappers must be incinerated, while other types of garbage should be properly buried.

For trekking in Ladakh to be a rewarding experience, it is not enough to be physically fit, but at the same time the trekkers must also be prepared to face the rigors of weather. There are considerable fluctuations in day and night temperatures even during the peak summers. While the days are pretty warm, even hot, evening become chilly, requiring additional clothing. It is, therefore, advisable to keep a pullover and jacket handy. A sturdy pair of walking shoes with strong rubber or synthetic soles for grip, thick cotton socks (woolen for autumn trek or glacier walks) and a good sleeping bag together with an insulated ground pad are essential gear for going on a trek even if you may be passing through inhabited areas with the possibility of accommodation in village homes or monasteries. In case of extended treks across mountain passes, a water-proof tent will have to be carried besides provisions and cooking gear, all packed in a good quality rucksack. Additional requirements could include a balaclava, woolen undergarments, wind parkas, etc. Toiletries and first-aid kits could include lip salve, moisturizers and sun-cream, water purifying tablets, medicines for high altitude sickness, etc. A good quality water can is must to carry the drinking water which is essential during high altitude trekking in arid conditions. Do not forget to carry a flashlight with sufficient spare batteries, a hat and a pair of good quality sunglasses with sufficient filter-factor to check the sun's brightness and ultraviolet rays. Various items like two-man tents, insulated ground sheets, sleeping bags, insulated jackets, trekking shoes and rucksacks are available at the government shops at reasonable charges for hire. Some private establishments and trekking agencies in Leh also provide similar trekking gear on hire.  More....


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