Photo by Hashmat Singh

display information about this photo

Ladakh: The Tso Moriri Trek

Nomads & Sacred Lakes on the Changthang Plateau
Repertory Trip: No Future Dates Set

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: TBA  
Length: 20 days
Arrive: Delhi, India
Depart: Delhi, India
Lodging: 5 nights in hotels, 14 nights camping
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: 14-day trek on steep trails, 4-8 hours a day, altitudes between 12,000-19,200 feet
6

Highlights

  • Changpa nomad families with their herds
  • Sacred Tso Moriri, one of highest lakes in the Himalayas
  • Ethereal Himalayan wilderness of Ladakh's Changtang Plateau
  • Buddhist monasteries of the Indus Valley, lively bazaars of Leh


This trip was excellently planned, led, and executed.Pamela G.—Montecito, CA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Repertory Trip

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered every two to five years.  Future dates have not been set for this trip, but you can see the “Itinerary at a Glance” and the “Full Detailed Itinerary” below (there may be small changes to the itinerary for the future departures, and prices will be finalized closer to departure). Contact us to receive early notification of the trip dates. These special trips fill very quickly once the exact dates are set!

Join veteran Trip Leader Hashmat Singh for an expedition into a lost world of nomads, rare wildlife, and mystical lakes amid the wild beauty of Ladakh. Set on a high plateau in the Himalaya, Ladakh is a high-altitude enclave of spectacular landscapes and a treasure-trove of ancient Buddhist culture. For this adventurous 14-day trek, we cross Ladakh’s vast Changthang Plateau, which stretches from eastern Ladakh towards western Tibet and includes serene, mountain-ringed Tso Moriri (15,000'), a huge turquoise lake held sacred by the local people. The Changthang ("northern land") is home to Changpa nomads, who maintain a traditional Tibetan way of life, moving seasonally to find fresh grazing for their yaks and goats, trading salt and meat for grain and other goods from lower regions, and bringing their yak caravans into western Tibet on age-old trade routes. Our trek is a true high-altitude adventure, with camps at around 15,000 feet and pass crossings of up to 19,200 feet. As we experience this realm of cobalt skies and craggy escarpments, we enjoy memorable encounters with the Changpa nomads and keep an eye out for wildlife that ranges from little Himalayan pikas to bharal (sheep), ibex, and kyang (wild Tibetan donkeys). Ladakh’s high lakes are also an important habitat for many birds, including bar-headed geese, black-necked cranes, and other trans-Himalayan migratory species. This utterly remote journey is trekking at its best—magnificent mountain scenery, ancient cultures, wildlife, high passes, and the inimitable Hashmat Singh, leading in what is his favorite place on the planet!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Delhi / Leh

Arrive in Delhi, India, and fly to Leh (11,500'), Ladakh’s capital and a former trans-Himalayan trading post in a side valley of the Indus River. We acclimatize by visiting Ladakh’s ancient monasteries, including Likir, founded in the 14th century, and Alchi, built in the 11th century.

Days 5-9
Kyamar (14,760') / Tso Kar Lake (15,088')

We begin our trek from Rumtse village (the last village we will see until Day 19) with a hike into the green Kyamar Valley, an ancient trade route to Tibet. We are now in the region known as Changthang, a vast high altitude plateau that extends from eastern Ladakh into western Tibet. On these days, we cross three 16,000-foot passes with spectacular views across the Changthang Plateau. On Day 9, we arrive at Tso Kar, one of the highest lakes in the world, sometimes known as “White Lake” because of its salt fields.

Days 10-18
Kayaru La (17,548') / Barma La (17,100') / Lanyal La (19,200')

Hiking over the Kayaru La (17,548'), the Barma La (17,100'), and the Lanyal La (19,200') brings us to the breathtakingly beautiful Rupshu Valley. On Days 10 through Day 12, our route finds us among the camps of traditional Changpa nomads, who bring their herds of goats and sheep to these high meadows in summer. We then hike down along the shores of magnificent Tso Moriri Lake, with its vivid blue waters. The lake and the surrounding area is part of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve and seasonal home to trans-Himalayan migratory species including black-necked cranes, along with many shorebirds. We camp nearby and also visit the tiny hamlet of Karzok (15,760'), with its lovely monastery.

Days 19-20
Leh / Depart

Heading back to Leh, we enjoy a last visit to Leh’s colorful bazaar before flying to Delhi and homeward, departing Day 20.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 6, Very Strenuous. It is a strenuous expedition at high altitude in a very remote region, and it is designed for those who are adventurous and extremely fit. Most of the hiking and camping is between 12,000 and 15,000 feet, and the maximum elevation we reach is 19,200 feet. The hiking is over reasonably well-made nomadic trails, with a lot of climbing and steep descents and many stream crossings. The winds can be fierce over the passes, and the nights at these high altitudes will be cold, yet daytime temperatures will be pleasant, in the 70Fs, sometimes as high as the low 80Fs. On a couple of days, the daytime temperatures can be quite hot, as there is no shade on the trail. Please note that this is a wilderness trek— there are no villages on our entire trek route. We will enjoy chances to visit occasional nomad camps along the way, however, especially on Days 10 through 12.

Trip members carry only a daypack with camera, jacket, windbreaker, water bottle, and other small necessities. For the most part, you can hike at your own speed; the group will spread out along the trail during the day to cover a normal maximum of 6 to 10 miles per day (4-8 hours of hiking). There are a number of days on this trek when the walks are shorter, as well as two rest days.

We have experience in operating successful long-distance, high-altitude treks in Ladakh, but each trek is a new and unique experience. Weather, trail, and camping conditions can be unpredictable. Driving and hiking times are noted, but these can vary, sometimes greatly, from the anticipated times. Road conditions and the group’s level of fitness also affect the travel and hiking times. We ask that you make a special effort to bring flexibility and a spirit of adventure to this unique trip.

Every participant must understand that this trek is truly challenging—you should be in excellent physical condition. We recommend that you make a special effort to get in top physical shape for the trip. There are also dangers inherent in any expedition traveling to remote wilderness regions, especially when they involve travel to high altitude. These dangers include everything from rock falls to the possibility of a serious fall, accident or sickness without access to the means of rapid evacuation. The availability of medical supplies or the adequacy of medical attention, once provided, cannot be guaranteed and cannot be expected to measure up to western standards. Each trek is an expedition. Although we are accompanied by a support crew staffed by experienced veterans of the Ladakh Himalaya, it takes cooperation and flexibility from each participant to ensure a successful trek.

ALTITUDE ACCLIMATIZATION
People vary widely in both their physical response to high altitude and the ability to acclimatize. Since physical fitness does not confer any protection or facilitate acclimatization, it is impossible to predict how you will adapt to the altitude. The greatest protection is avoiding rapid ascents and allowing time for acclimatization. Your body can adapt to altitude if given time. We feel this itinerary specifically provides that option, but you must individually pace yourself to go slowly and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Do not push too hard regardless of how physically fit you may be or feel.

Early symptoms of high altitude sickness include: headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, vomiting, dry cough, irregular breathing, shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of ankles and eyelids. It is not uncommon to experience some of these symptoms when you first arrive at high altitude and then to have them decrease in severity within a few days. It is important that you inform your Trip Leader immediately of any symptoms or discomfort, however minor, so that they can help you monitor the situation. Please be aware that remaining at high altitude in spite of alarm signals from your body may result in serious illness or even death.

Medical conditions that are aggravated or complicated by high altitude include heart diseases, lung diseases, pregnancy, anemia, and sickle cell disease. It is imperative that anyone with any of these conditions consult their physician in detail before attempting this trekking expedition.

Explanation of Trip Levels

Radisson Blu Airport Hotel

Radisson Blu Airport Hotel

Day 1 (1 night),
Day 20, Delhi, India

This stylish business hotel is just a few miles from Delhi’s international airport, with comfortable rooms and all the services you’d ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Omasila Hotel

Omasila Hotel

Days 2 to 4 (3 nights),
Day 19 (1 night), Leh, India

The Omasilla has one of the best locations in Leh, just a 10-minute walk to the restaurants and  main market of Leh. Guest rooms are simple but ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Ladakh Trek Camps

Ladakh Trek Camps

Days 5 to 18 (14 nights), India

We make hiking and camping in Ladakh as comfortable as it can get! On the trail, you are accompanied by our experienced team of Ladakhi trail ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

India

Dharamsala and Amritsar Extension

The Dalai Lama's Mountain Abode & the Sikhs' Golden Temple

Cultural Adventures, Walking
5 days  -  Level 1+

taj mahal agra india cultural tour

Taj Mahal and Jaipur Extension

Romantic Rajasthan, Land of Princes

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 1

Varanasi and Khajuraho Extension

Holy City Along the Ganges, Magnificent World-Famous Temples

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 1