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Expiditions
MARKHA VALLEY-STOK KANGRI EXPEDITION MARKHA VALLEY- KANG-YATSE EXPEDITION
 
 
 
 
MARKHA VALLEY-STOK KANGRI EXPEDITION
   
Duration : 14 DAYS
Place Covered : Leh, zinchen, Skiu, Markha, Nimaling, Shang, Stok
 
MARKHA VALLEY-STOK KANGRI EXPEDITION
   

Kangyatse
The Kangyatse peak (6,400 meters.) lies south east of Leh and is reached via the famous Markha Valley trek of 9 days. There are many other peaks around Kangyatse on the altitude range of 5,500 meters and 6,400 meters, which are also available for climbing in the Nimaling plateau.

 

DAY 01: DRIVE TO SPITOK, TREK TO ZINCHEN (3,530m) 5-6 hours.
SPITOK GOMPA Spitok Gompa was built about 500 years ago by Gyalpo Bumlde, although one temple, dedicated to Mahakala was built about 900 years ago.  About 125 yellow-hat sect lamas are considered Spitok Lamas, but at least half of them live and pray at Spitok’s dependent monasteries at Sankar, Stok and Sabu.  All the lamas do however gather together for major festivals.  The name Spitok is probably derived from the Central Tibetan language and means, “effective as an example,”  referring to the fact that this was the Tibetans’ first monastery in Ladakh.  The head lama for Spitok is the head lama for Ladakh and represents Ladakh as a Member of Parliament, spending much of his time in Delhi.  Spitok Gompa contains both old temples and those built in the 1970’s.  Ancient thankas are preserved there, some having been taken from the Potala in Lhasa after the Chinese invaded Tibet.
Our trek begins from Spitok by crossing a bridge and walking south-west of the River Indus. The trail passes through barren countryside for about 3 hours until the Indus enters a narrow gorge at its confluence with the Zinchen. From here the trail climbs steadily through the Rumbak Valley, which is lined with trees, providing sufficient shade for a rest stop, before we reach the tiny village of Zinchen, which consists of just 4 or 5 houses. Camp overnight.

DAY 02:TREK TO YURUTSE. (3530-4,180m). 5/6 hrs. The trail from Zinchen ascends gradually all the way along the Rumbak Nala until you reach Rumbak, the largest village in the Zinchen Valley. If the fields are cultivated you may have to ford the river a few times up to Rumbak junction. We then follow the well-marked trail on the left bank of the Rumbak Nala, passing cultivated fields and scattered houses until we enter a side valley leading to the south. Further trek on along the river until you reach Rumbak where you can see the snow capped
peaks of the Stok mountains. Here you take the right fork of the river and continue a gradual ascend towards Yurutse, where the villagers grow Barlay, Potatoes and some green vegetables. Near the village are some impressive purple and green rock formations. Camp overnight.

DAY 03: TREK TO SKIU ..(4180-3660mt). 6 to 7 hrs. Today we follow the trail beside the river until the valley widens at Rumbak. After 10 minutes walk from the camp you have to cross the river to the right hand side. Here you can see Golden Eagle nests up in the rocks. We make an early start today to ascend the Gangala pass (4985 mts). You can have a spectacular view of Stok Kangri massif from Gandala top on a clear day. From here descend to Shingo 3660m ,Have you lunch here , after having lunch a gradual ascent followed by a steep climb gets us to the Kundu La (4906m). From the pass there is a fabulous view of white-fringed mountains merging into the distant ranges of the Karakoram. The trail descends steadily to the head of the Skiu Valley, where a number of rivulets join to form a small stream. The broad grassy shoulders of the upper valley narrow sharply to the pinched waist at Sumdo, with its few houses and fields at the junction of a small stream with the Skiu Nala. From here the river swoops exuberantly down a tight, narrow gorge, choked with willow and wild roses, and we follow the trail as it leaps from bank to bank all the way to the village of Skiu on the banks of the Lower Markha. You enter the village confronted by towering rock faces. Since Skiu is only at about 3660m and the Markha Valley is quite narrow, the temperature is higher here.

DAY 04: TREK TO MARKHA (3660-3200 MTS).  Cross the river and trek upto the Markha village. It is the longest valley. A beautiful oasisterraced green fields and small irrigation  canals. At dusk just as the evening shadows begin to envelop the valley, it is worth walking along the trail where the Skiu Nala meets the Markha to visit a small monastery. This is cared for by an old nun, who comes every morning and evening to light the butter lamps at the altar of Chamba - the Future Buddha. Camp overnight.

DAY 05: TREK TO THACHUNGTSE. (3,589m).  6-7 hrs.  A very pleasant walk up one of the loveliest sections of the Markha valley. Woody bushes grow thickly along the river, which is spanned by several bridges over which the trail marches to Thinlespa village and further to Hankar village from where we get a goog view of Gyalpo-Ri peak. The camp is beyond this small village on the bank of the river. Camp overnight.

DAY 06: TREK TO NIMALING. (3500-4,800m).  5-6 hrs. The trail climbs steadily up the now narrow valley, past villages smaller and seemingly poorer than those in the lower areas.  The Nimaling plain is a broad undulating meadow, sloping upwards to the base of the ice-clad Kang Yatse, 21,500ft/6,553m, which dominates the area.  Nimaling with tiny ponds and rivulets flowing all over its meadows provides pasturage in the summer for an astonishing number of animals; yaks, sheep, goats, dzos and horses, not only from the Markha, but also from villages all around.  Himalayan marmots and white-tailed hares are seen in plenty and it is not unusual to spot the occasional blue sheep or wolf. Camp overnight. 

DAY 07: REST DAY.  A chance to relax at Nimaling and enjoy & explore the superb scenery and surroundings.   There is the chance to walk to the base camp of Kang Yatze, the highest peak in the Zanskar range, 6,553m. Camp overnight.

DAY 08: CROSS PASS, TREK TO SHANG. (4800-3600m).  7-8 hrs.   Crossing to the north of the Markha, climb to the top of the highest of the three passes the 5,400m Kangmaru La with its wonderful views from the top.  Snow peaks in every direction and on a clear day the giants of the Karakoram, including K2 can be seen on the north-western horizon.  The trail descends steeply to the head of the Martselang valley past the sulphur springs of Chyushkarmo, and follows the Martselang stream to the village of Sumdo or Shang-Sumdo, at the confluence of the Shang Nala and the Martselang. Camp overnight.

Day 09: Shang-Shang Phu[Alt.3600-4500 mts.].After breakfast visit Shang Monastery and proceed on upto the summer grazing grounds of Shang village. 05 hrs. trek.

Day 10: Shang Phu-Matho phu[alt.4500-4450 mts.].Ascend upto Matho  La [4700mts.] and down traversing across the grazing grounds below Matho Peak. Later on we climb another small pass and finally down to Matho Phu. 6-7 hrs.

Day 11: Matho Phu-Base camp[Alt.4450-4870 mts.].From here we will continue up the valley making a steep climb over a pass and traverse to another pass from where we can have much better view of Stok Kangri peak. Also visible below will be the route to the high camp. From here a steady descend to our base camp and home for three nights.  07-08 hrs. trek.

Day 12:Rest A rest day and time for final preparations for the climb. The trek leader will check the route to the glacier and the Summit.

Day 13:  Submit;A very early morning start (approx 3 a.m.). After about an hour and half we reach the base of the glacier. Depending on the snow condition we will all put on crampons as soon as we climb on to the glacier.There are very few crevasses and these are small and not dangerous. However one must be very careful while crosing them. It is always advisable to stay close to the group while climbing. The last 200 meters to the summit is exposed and may require a rope. At an altitude aproaching 6000 meters, it is extremely very tiring and any body who feels more secure on a rope must tell the guide who will be carrying one.Stok Kangri (6121 m). The summit is a superb reward for your effort giving magnificent views in every direction . The town of Leh is so small that you can barely see it. After taking photographs and perhaps a bite to eat, we set off back down hill to the base camp.

Day 14:Base camp – Leh: From the base camp we will trek down the valley towards Stok village. This is a very delightful walk, passing through several homesteads and numerous ruins of old fortresses. We will reach Stok after about 05 hours of walking. Pickup and drive to Leh.

 
 
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