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In this trek you will explore the Chang-Thang, “literally means the high altitude plateau”, is the home of Nomade (Changpas) to which can be reach by passing several passes, Tukche is the nomade headquarter with its huge salt water lake of Tsokar.Further east of Rupshu is an another great salt water lake of Tsomoriri located at Karzok the capital of Rupshu. wildlife as Kyang, “the Tibetan wild ass” and occasionally visible snow leopard are found here. Rare and exotic birds as Bar headed Goose. Black necked crane and Brahme ducks are also found.
Region : Ladakh
Altitude : 5500 mts / 18040 ft
Trekking Routes : Leh - Runtse - Tisaling - Nuruchan - Karzok - Narbo Sundo - Parang La - Kibar - Tabo
We will then visit Hemis, the largest and most famous Drukpa monastery in Ladakh (built in the early 17th century). After the tour, we will drive to Martselang, where we will meet our crew. Martselang is the entry point into Hemis National Park, where we catch a glimpse of endangered high-altitude animals such as the snow leopard, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan sheep and Golden eagle. From there, we will walk for 2 ½ hours to the small village of Shang Sumdo (3700 m).
Leh to Shang Sumdo via Martselang (2½ hours) We will leave Leh by jeep to the starting point of the trek at Martselang (3600 m). Along the way, we will visit the first Palace of Ladakh at Shey, following the famous Yellow Sect monastery of Thikse, which houses one of the largest Buddha statues in Ladakh (called the future Buddha). We will then visit Hemis, the largest and most famous Drukpa monastery in Ladakh (built in the early 17th century). After the tour, we will drive to Martselang, where we will meet our crew. Martselang is the entry point into Hemis National Park, where we catch a glimpse of endangered high-altitude animals such as the snow leopard, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan sheep and Golden eagle. From there, we will walk for 2 ½ hours to the small village of Shang Sumdo (3700 m).
Shang Sumdo 3700 m – Lartse 4600 m (6 hrs) On this day, we will climb steadily through the gorge of Shang, enjoying the magnificent colors and rock formations on view. We will then pass through the small village of Chogdo (4000 m) and cross a few rivers before reaching camp for the night.
Lartse 4600m – Thachungtse 4250 m via Kongmaru La 5200 m (6-7 hrs) A steep ascent leads us up to Kongmaru La (5200 m). From the pass we will get a breathtaking view of the north face of Kangyatse (6400 m), Zanskar and the Karakoram ranges. We then descend gradually to the summer pasture of Nimaling, where the villagers from Marka valley spend the summer with their sheep, goats and yaks, which graze on this lush greenery. The campsite of Thachungtse is further down the valley on the bank of the Marka River at 4000 m.
Thachungtse – Yakrupal (5-6 hours) After the previous day’s strenuous walk, this day is easier as we walk through the remote Langthang valley, where few other trekkers go. It’s only the villagers from Markha, who use this valley as a pasture ground for their animals. From Thachungtse, we will follow the valley down until it divides, cross the river and follow the valley to the left along the Langthang Chu River. The valley down to the right leads to Markha. The Langthang river has a tendency to rise during the day due to the melting of snow in the mountains, and by noon it becomes a dangerous river to cross. An early start in the morning is therefore essential, as one has to cross the river several times. Yakrupal is a nice, green campsite where we will have a good meal.
Yakrupal – Zalung Karpo La 5200m – Khar (5-6 hours) After Yakrupal, we will continue up the valley towards the pass of Zalung Karpo La. From the top of the pass there is a spectacular view of the Zanskar range on one side, while on the other, the highest plateau in the world appears the Chang Tang plateau stretching far into Tibet, known as the land of the nomads. The trail down is steep and several river crossings will follow and will lead them to the beautiful and lush campsite of Khar, which will be our home for tonight.
Khar – Dat (5-6 hours) A relatively relaxed day accompanied with a beautiful walk through wide, lush valleys even by Ladakhi standards. At Tangtse Sumdo the valley divides – the left valley leading to Dat and the right into Zanskar, by the ‘Zhunglam trek’, where one will get one’s feet real wet due to the 80 river crossings! On the way we pass several nomad camps before reaching the tiny village of Dat, a settlement of stone huts and the winter headquarters for the nomads in Kharnak. Here they live from October to December and March to June. The nomads of Kharnak are colorful and joyful people moving together with their yaks and pashmina goats. In Dat there is also a Monastery, and when the villagers are away from Dat, one or two people ride back on horses every second day to light the candle here.
Dat – Yar La 4950m – Lungmo Che (5-6 hours) From Dat we enter the vast land of the Changthang plateau and follow a long, wide valley before taking one of the side valleys towards Yar La. In spring the nomads move with all their animals towards Zara and it can be an unforgettable sight to see 30-40 families moving with their yaks in caravans. It is an easy ascent to this pass. From here it is a short walk down to the pastures of Lungmo Che, where we will spend the night, surrounded by snowcapped mountains, grazing yaks and pastel light.
Lungmo Che – Zara (5 hours) The trail follows rolling hills towards Yagang, another settlement of stone huts belonging to the Kharnak nomads. A jeep road continues to Zara, the summer headquarters for the nomads in Kharnak. If we go for a visit up here, most likely we will be welcomed with numerous cups of butter tea and probably be invited into the nomads’ black tents woven out of yak hair.
Zara – Ponganagu (6 hours) Today we try crossing another small pass, the Shibuk La (4900 m), in about 2-hour journey. From the top of the pass, we have an incredible view of the surrounding mountains and of our next destination, Tsokar Lake. With a breathtaking view to ease our exhaustion, we head down towards the valley accompanied by the shrill whistles of the shy and active marmots, which is characteristic of this harsh region. It’s approximately a 4 hrs walk to the Tsokar basin, and our camp for the night will be the windy Pongunabu.
Ponganagu – Nuruchan 4300 m (6 hourrs) Today is an easy day, and we follow a dusty jeep road towards Tsokar Lake. Along the salty shores of the lake, we have a rare impeccable opportunity to see some of the endangered migratory birds of the world. From here we carry on along the trail to the right of the lake, keeping to a barren land until Nuruchan, where we will be welcomed by a grassy land with streams nearby.
Nuruchan- Gyamar Barma 5100 m (7-8 hrs) We have to get set for a tough day ahead. We will cross the icy cold stream in Nuruchan before gradually ascending Horlam Kongka La (4900 m). From the pass, we will have a view of the turquoise blue Tsokar. After an easy 40-minute walk down to Rajungkaru, we will encounter several typical Tibetan nomads with their flock of yaks, sheep and pashmina goats. Following the stream for about 50 minutes, we will enter another nomad settlement. These nomads are of Western Tibetan origin. When the Chinese subjugated Tibet these nomads and their animals faced numerous hardships, fighting biting cold and losing many lives while fleeing into Ladakh from Tibet. After sharing a cup of butter tea with the nomads, we will continue to ascend the Kyamayuru La (5410 m); this pass is challenging in nature, but the magnificent view from the top makes it worth all our strenuous efforts. From the pass we descend gradually to the valley towards our campsite at Gyamar Barma (5150 m). Due to the campsite’s high altitude, bad weather can make night temperature freezing.
Gyamar Barma – Gyamar 5200 m (3-4 hrs) When we open our eyes in the morning, we will find ourselves amidst a herd of grazing yaks. After breakfast, we head to our next pass, Kartse La (5300 m). Ascending slowly in the thin air of the plateau, we will eventually reach the pass. The trail leads gradually down to the lush green valley of the Gyamar, where we spend our night.
Gyamar – Korzok 4500 m (6-7 hrs) Today we gradually ascend towards the highest and final pass on the trek. Following the narrow valley until the Yalung Nyaulung La (5100 m), we will see some of the rare flowers and herbs of the Himalayan region. The fragrances are astonishing. To our right we can view snowcapped mountains and from the top of the pass we will also have a view of the lake Tsomoriri, surrounded by snowcapped mountains. We descend steeply for a couple of hours to the Korzok Phu, the summer pasture of the Korzok people. From the meadow, we continue to the Korzok (Tsomoriri lake), the destination of our adventure.
Korzok – Leh (7 hrs drive) We drive back to Leh along the gorges of the mighty Indus with all these good memories in mind, leaving behind the beautiful lake Tsomoriri.