With greater brevity than usual (in the interests of getting my photos onto Flickr before my next trip), here’s what we did on this year’s Autumn in Ladakh trip. You’ll find my photos in my Ladakh, September 2016 album on Flickr.
Monday 5 September 2016 (no photos)
Fly LHR – Delhi (दिल्ली)
Tuesday 6 September 2016 (photos)
Fly Delhi – Leh (གླེ་) (3500m), landing at Kushok Bakula Rimpoche Airport (कुशोक बकुला रिम्पोचे हवाई अड्डा) very early in the morning.
Leh acclimatisation & sightseeing day 1: A rest day, chilling out at the Kang La Chen, with a walking tour of the old town and bazaar with our excellent Rimo Expeditions guide, Pemba Sherpa, in the late afternoon.
Wednesday 7 September 2016 (photos)
Leh acclimatisation & sightseeing day 2: Morning day trip south west along the Indus River valley visiting Thikse Gompa (3600m) and Shey Palace and Gompa and roadside Buddhist rock carvings. Afternoon stroll around the old town and bazaar, and our first visit to the lovely Brazil Cafe.
Thursday 8 September 2016 (photos)
Friday 9 September 2016 (photos)
Saturday 10 September 2016 (photos)
Sunday 11 September 2016 (photos)
Leh acclimatisation & sightseeing day 6: Khardung La (5359m) drive and scramble
Monday 12 September 2016 (photos)
Tuesday 13 September 2016 (photos)
Markha Valley Trek day 1: Drive to Rumbak Lato via Spituk and Zingchen / Jingchan (3370m).
We shared our campsite with a group of Swedish wildlife photographers who were in search of the elusive snow leopard – but they had had one sighting.
Wednesday 14 September 2016 (photos)
Markha Valley Trek day 2: Rumbak (3800m) – Yurutse (4150m) – Lartsa Kanda La (4345m) – Ganda La High Camp (4462m)
Climb up to Stok Kangri view (4729m)
Marmots and mountain hares
Thursday 15 September 2016 (photos)
A long, hot descent along the length of the Shingti Togpo valley. Lunch at Shingo in another parachute tent. Camp at Khangchek New Camping Site, Skiu Gompa.
Finally in the Markha Valley.
Friday 16 September 2016 (photos)
Markha Valley Trek day 4: Skyu / Skiu (3250m) – Nakdi (3527m) – Sera (3607m) – Chalak – Lhatho (3683m) – Markha (3755m)
An easy day following the Markha River valley, and crossing lots of wooden bridges…
Saturday 17 September 2016 (photos)
Markha Valley Trek day 5: Markha (3755m) – Umlung (3890m) – Techa Gompa – Hangkar (3990m) – Thachungtse (4250m)
* Wading across the Markha River not long after leaving Markha
* Scrambling along newly trodden sections of path on the approach to Hangkar
* Great views of Kang Yatze from Hangkar
* A wash!
Steffi and I got very excited at our first sighting of a mouse hare (aka pika) on the rocks and stones around Thachungtse campsite. And then we saw loads, including one who wasn’t at all phased by the dining tent being pitched right next to its burrow.
Sunday 18 September 2016 (photos)
Markha Valley Trek day 6: Thachungtse (4250m) – Tsigu (lower lake) (4690m) – Kang Yatze (6400m) views – Nimaling (4700m) – Above Nimaling (5030m)
En route, birds of prey a-plenty, mouse hares and marmots.
A late afternoon scramble up the gully to the plateau below Kang Yatze provided tranquil panoramas with the ponies and a clear view of the Gongmaru / Kongmaru La.
Back down for the return of the sheep/goat flocks, and a super sunset.
A cold night at Nimaling!
Monday 19 September 2016 (photos)
Markha Valley Trek day 7: Nimaling (4700m) – Gongmaru La / Kongmaru La (5287m) – Chuskyumo (4089m) – Chokdo / Chogdo (3985m)
Aka the Day of the Disappeared Donkeys – or – Steffi’s Special Day. The two are not connected.
Our overnight homestay at Mano Garang Eco Lodge was not on the plan, but was lovely!
Tuesday 20 September 2016 (photos)
Beers back at the Kang Lha Chen hotel.
Wednesday 21 September 2016 (photos)
Back at the KLC, a heartfelt Thank You presentation to our Markha Valley Trek crew.
Thursday 22 September 2016 (photos)
Ladakh Festivals (& shopping) day 2: Ladakh Festival events in Leh (much better!) – Traditional Masked Dancing in Leh Jokhang in the morning and a frantic Polo match in the afternoon, followed by souvenir shopping, strolling and a final visit to the Brazil Cafe.
Friday 23 September 2016 (photos)
Thank yous and farewells to the team at the KLC.
Fly Leh – Delhi over snow capped mountains.
Delhi sightseeing tour and dinner at Saravana Bhavan.
Back to the airport for check-in and …
Saturday 24 September 2016 (No photos)
Overnight flight Delhi – LHR
Ladakh – I’ll be back.
Map & Guidebook