Ladakh & Zanskar
The magic of the four important climbing regions in Jammu & Kashmir are indescribable. There is no place on earth that is comparable and mountaineers are drawn by its stark and dramatic beauty, its flora and fauna as well as its challenging climbs.
Kashmir, Zanskar, Ladakh and Kishtwar are areas for month-long expeditions. The peaks of Kishtwar are not too high but offer technical climbing with challenging routes. Well-known peaks are Sickle Moon (6575m), Eiger (6001m), Brammah I (6416m), Crooked Finger (5630m), Arjuna (6230m), Katori (6138m) and Flat Top (6100m).
The most famous peaks of Zanskar are Nun (7135m) and Kun (7077m). For Nun, one would follow an interesting trekking trail from Leh – Lamayuru – Shilla – Yogmala – Kanjila – Mapolan – Ringdum -Panikhar and then to BC till you begin your climb. For Kun, one follows a similar route till Ringdum and then moves to Golmatongas and a two day trek gets one to the base camp.
Adjacent to them in the Shafat glacier are White Needle (6500m), Pinnacle (6930m), and Z1 (6400m). The Z peak series are around the nearby Durung Drung glacier off Pensi La. In the Ladakh region, it has Stok Kangri (6153m), Parcha Kangri (6065m) and Kang Yatse (6400m).
For Stok Kangri, you follow the very popular Markha valley trail till you begin your ascent. Leh – Lamayuru – Wanla – Hinju – Lanak – Chilling – Skiu – Markha– Thachunngtse – Nimaling – Chogdo – Shang – Shang Phu – Shang la –Yarlas – Stok Kangri glacier.
For climbing in the Eastern Karakoram area for which one needs to drive over the Khardungla Pass, getting close to the vicinity of the Siachen glacier, certain peaks are allowed on a joint Indo-Foreign expedition basis with a maximum of 7 members from each side. Peaks like Apsaras II (7200m), Chong Kumdan II (7004m), Siakangri II (7093m), Saltoro Kangri II (7005m), are some of the virgin peaks.
Climbing expeditions from overseas are obliged to pay a peak royalty depending on the height of the mountain.
Walking the Chadar with the local Ladakhis
A walk on the frozen River Zanskar, traditionally called the `Tchadar’ or ‘Chadar’ meaning “white sheet” is a once in a lifetime journey. Into a land that is cut off from the outside world for over half the year and can only be visited in winter by following the old trade route across the frozen Zanskar river, this route was the last vestige of the famous Silk route that used to come to Leh. The river freezes in midwinter and is safe to walk on until late February.
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