DAY 01: Arrive in Leh (3500m)
We will all meet at the hotel in Leh for breakfast. One can reach Leh by road via Manali or Srinagar or reach directly by air (1 hour) from Delhi. Today we will check into the hotel and relax. We will not exert ourselves in anyway and try to get acclimatized fast. This is paramount for this trip. We will be staying in a good quality, neat and clean hotel with all basic amenities in Leh on the first 2 nights. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 02: Leh sightseeing / acclimatization (3500m)
Today will be at leisure and one can choose to go on a sightseeing trip, check out the local markets or just relax at the hotel. If required we can make arrangement for the sightseeing trips. Please get in touch with the trek leader for the same. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 03: Leh (3500m) – Zingchen (3400m) drive – Yurutse (4150 m) Trek/4 hrs
We will depart for Zingchen after an early breakfast we drive till Zingchen driving past the Spikut village. From zingchen we start our hike for the day. It’s a short stage with moderate gradient. We will hike through Rumbak village to reach our destination for the day, Yurutse. We cross the village before setting up our camp for the day. There are very pretty barley fields all around. It’s a good warm up hike today and you are sure to like the several stream crossings along the way. Overnight in tents
DAY 04: Yurutse (4150m) – Ganda La (4800 m) - Skiu (3400 m, trek 7/8 hrs)
In the first stage of the trek we climb up to the Ganda La (4900 m). It’s a steep climb towards the latter part and strong winds around the pass add to the difficulty. From the pass there are great views of unserlying valleys on both side and the Zanskar range also visible are many distant summits of the Himalayan range. From the pass we start descending and walk down to Shingo village after a long descent. From Shingo the trail heads into a narrow gorge leading towards Skiu. At Skiu there is a confluence of the rivers coming from Markha valley and Shingo. Overnight in tents
DAY 05: Skiu (3400 m) – Markha (3800 m, trek 6/7 hrs)
It’s a long but moderate hike today till the scenic village of Markha. You are sure to love the hike today as you walk along and cross several streams. Markha village is a true oasis in the middle of this cold/arid desert. There are about 25-30 families/houses here and plenty of green fields and popular & willow trees. There is a deserted palace too. To best enjoy the village catch hold of a local and get to know more of the way of life is this beautiful part of the world. We will camp along the side of a beautiful stream. Overnight in tents
DAY 06: Markha (3800 m) – Thochuntse (4150m, Trek /4-5 hrs)
Another stage of moderate hiking with pleasant views all around. There are yet again several interesting stream/river crossings. Also highlight of the day would be views of the impressive Kangyatze peak (6400m) when walking towards Hankar. We also cross a few settlements/grazing grounds today. There are plenty of good camping sites and we select one to spend the night here. Overnight in tents
DAY 07: Thochuntse (4150 m) – Nimaling (4700 m, trek/ 4 hrs)
It's a short walk today to reach the campsite at Nimalaing. Nimaling is a vast open valley with unending grazing grounds and Kangyatze peak in the background. Almost always there is constant wind blowing in this region which makes conditions slightly uncomfortable. One can do a side trip today towards the base camp of Kangyatse. Overnight in tents
DAY 08: Nimaling (4700 m) – Kongmaru la (5150m) - Sumdo (3800m, trek 7 hrs) – Leh (3500 m, drive 2 hrs)
After an early breakfast we set out on a steep climb to reach the top of the highest pass on the trail - Kongmaru La (5200m). From the pass one can see Nun Kun in the west and Saser kangri to the north. We spend some time at the pass to soak in and capture the fabulous views all around before descending to Sukarmo from where it’s a flat walk along the river to reach the road head at Sumdo. Here we board the waiting vehicles and drive back to Leh. Overnight at the hotel
DAY 09: Departure from Leh
Early morning depart from Leh.
Trip Ends With Sweet Memories !!!
Transport Options (Delhi – Leh – Delhi)
For travel to Leh and back one can choose between air & road. For air travel there is an airport at Leh and there are several daily flights between Delhi and Leh. We will advise you to book in advance as flight prices go up significantly during the season. For road travel one can reach Leh via Chandigarh and Manali. This journey is a long one but through a beautiful landscape. There are frequent Public Transport buses including Volvos available from Delhi to Manali. From Manali one can take shared jeeps or a bus for Leh. A private vehicle could also be arranged for if you require the same.
Early on in the season (Jun) there might be snow along the trail and surely on top of the passes. Days are going to be very sunny and warm (22 – 30 deg) while the night temperature at the highest campsite would be in the range of 2 to 8 deg. In the July – Aug period snow starts melting and we will catch snow only at the top of the passes. Day temperatures are around 20 – 27 deg and night temperature at the highest camp can fall to about 4 to 6 deg. In Sep the weather starts getting colder with day temperatures around 10 – 20 deg and night time the temperatures can go sub zero to around – 5 deg. Please keep in mind that on this trail irrespective of the season the temperature can fall below the above mentioned figures. Wind chill is a factor you need to account for while preparing for the trek
Please keep in mind that the above information is not exact and does not account for sudden changes. Whatever the temperatures and conditions rest assured we will be prepared to handle it with ease as we use equipment of very high specifications.
List of Essentials
It is very important for this adventure trip that you need to be equipped properly and with a bit of back up. Mountain/adventure travel requires one to be adequately equipped with the right kind of personal gear. Since one is travelling in the wilderness there will be hardly any opportunity to buy anything once you hit the trail so we urge you to carefully pack everything into your bags. Also please keep in mind you can rent out or purchase equipment from our Gear Store, if required.
Shirts / T-shirts – 2/3
Warm shirt/light micro fleece pullover/full sleeve T shirt
Trekking Pants (water resistant/repellent & having inside lining for extra warmth) - 2
Windproof/water resistant outer shell (jacket) of good quality (no flimsy wind cheaters please!) with a proper hood
Down jacket with min 600 fill power rating
Thick Fleece / Full-sleeve Woollen sweater
Thermal inner wear (upper & lower)
Woollen cap (Balaclava)
Inner fleece gloves
Outer water proof gloves
Thick woollen socks & regular socks (4 – 5 pairs)
Comfortable waterproof (Goretex) Trekking/Hiking shoes (shoes with a thick sole and high ankles are recommended)
Camp shoes (these can be easy to slip in sneakers/sport shoes)
Raincoat / Poncho
Small light weight towel
Insulated water bottle & hydration pack (optional)
Cap / floppy hat to keep the strong sun away from your face
Sun glasses with UV protection and ability to cut the glare (imp when traversing through snow)
Sturdy walking stick / Trekking pole
Torch / Flashlight (with extra batteries)
Medicines, if requiring any specific medication
Book, if you like reading
Day pack/small bag which you will carry on your back every day and keep your essentials in it
Camera if you like (with fully charged batteries)
…LOADS OF ENTHUSIASM!! AND A PLEDGE TO LEAVE NO TRACE
Carry your stuff in a duffel bag, soft shoulder bag or a rucksack. Avoid suitcases, trolleys or any other hard luggage. As you will be walking long distances carrying a rucksack, avoid bringing unnecessary items on the trek. Please avoid carrying expensive watches, jewellery and electronic items on the trek.
NOTE: In case you are planning to put your bag on a mule or taking a porter please get a duffel bag or rucksack and keep it in mind that there is a possibility that the bag at times might brush against a rock or a tree and get slightly damaged so don't get very expensive bags. Also in case of damage we shall not be held accountable.
Great Indian Outdoors (P) Ltd. takes utmost care to ensure safety of its clients. However in the case of any unforeseen mishaps, Great Indian Outdoors (P) Ltd. will not be liable for any injuries caused or for loss of life. All disputes rising due to the above are subject to the jurisdiction of the courts in New Delhi/Delhi only. All participants would be required to sign an Indemnity Form before the start of the program, without which they would not be allowed to take part in the trip/program/activities.
Duration: 9 Days
Grade: Moderate +
Region: Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir)
DAY 01: ARRIVE IN LEH (3500M)
DAY 02: LEH SIGHTSEEING / ACCLIMATIZATION (3500M)
DAY 03: LEH (3500M) ZINGCHEN (3400M) DRIVE YURUTSE (4150 M) TREK/4 HRS
DAY 04: YURUTSE (4150M) GANDA LA (4800 M) - SKIU (3400 M, TREK 7/8 HRS)
DAY 05: SKIU (3400 M) MARKHA (3800 M, TREK 6/7 HRS)
DAY 06: MARKHA (3800 M) THOCHUNTSE (4150M, TREK /4-5 HRS)
DAY 07: THOCHUNTSE (4150 M) NIMALING (4700 M, TREK/ 4 HRS)
DAY 08: NIMALING (4700 M) KONGMARU LA (5150M) - SUMDO (3800M, TREK 7 HRS) LEH (3500 M, DRIVE 2 HRS)
DAY 09: DEPARTURE FROM LEH
The Markha Valley trek has been the most popular trek in Ladakh for many years now, and rightly so. Some of the reasons that contribute to its popularity are:
(a) one gets to climb on top of two very high passes, Gandala la (4800 m) & Kongmaru La (5150 m) offering stunning views from the top (b) the quaint hamlet of Markha which is nothing less than an oasis in this cold semi arid terrain of Ladakh (c) One gets to hike through remote gorges and vast undulating grazing grounds, cross several streams & rivers, and (d) get a very up close and personal experience of the Ladakhi culture and way of life.
This trail is good for fit first timers also, but before we head for trekking in Ladakh - Namoh advices you to spend some time at lower altitudes and get acclimatized properly.
For the Markha trek we spend the first 2 days in Leh to get acclimatized to the thin air conditions. This is the most important factor in this trek as one is required to hike to altitudes above 5000 m. While in Leh we will get an opportunity to soak in the local culture as we visit the nearby monasteries, museum, fort & the local market place. We start the Markha trek from Zingchen and then cross over the Ganda La (4800 m) the next day to reach the valley on the other side having playing host to the beautiful Markha village.
This village is a real paradise with picture perfect setting; there is a beautiful river, Markha flowing by the village, big jagged and dry mountains and gorges in the background and totally contrasting green field and willow & popular trees all around the village. To top it all the people of the village, that you will come across during the Markha Valley trek, are inviting and very forthcoming of local information. Having seen this jewel in the mountains we start moving towards the next big pass of Kongmaru La (5150 m) which we need to cross over to get on the valley on the other side.
This is a wonderful stage with the top highlight being the views from top of the pass and walking through big grazing fields having a network of streams. Due to the recent work on constructing roads in Ladakh we will be able to reach the road head the same day we do the Kongmarula pass when we reach sumdo. From sumdo Leh is just a couple of hours drive.