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Ladakh: The Tso Moriri Trek

Nomads & Sacred Lakes on the Changthang Plateau
with Hashmat Singh

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5195  
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.

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

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
Aug 3-22, 2014  Hashmat Singh

*Please note change of dates since publication of 2014 catalog

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$5195 (13-16 members)
$5495 (9-12 members)
$5795 (6-8 members)
Single supplement: $1075
Forced single supplement: $875
Internal airfare: $590 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Dharamsala and Amritsar Extension
   from: $1435
Varanasi and Khajuraho Extension
   from: $1295
Taj Mahal and Jaipur Extension
   from: $2495

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Camp staff including porters and cooks
  • All accommodations as noted
  • All meals included
  • All group camping and cooking equipment including dining, sleeping tents, toilet tents, sleeping pads (please note that sleeping bags are not included)
  • All land transportation, airport transfers for passengers arriving Day 1 and departing Day 20

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare; airport departure taxes; any meals not specified after each itinerary day; optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff; hotels en route to/from Delhi; any additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by international airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations, visa fees, travel insurance; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

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.

Hashmat Singh

Hashmat Singh has led over 100 journeys on three continents for us since 1990. He holds a BA in History from Delhi University and is a noted photographer. His book, Trekking in the Himalaya (Roli Books), features photographic essays from Ladakh to Bhutan. Born an army brat, Hashmat traveled extensively as his father was posted in various remote regions of India. His first big Himalayan trek was at age 12, with his school group, and during college, he headed into the Himalaya to take mountaineering courses. “Big mountains of the world, whether they are in the Himalaya, Alps, or the Andes, hold a special fascination for me, as do the people living amongst them, holding on to their ancient cultures in a world where everything is rapidly changing.” A passionate traveler, Hashmat has been instrumental in designing new adventures for us throughout Asia. The profession of Trip Leader combines several of his interests—hiking, exploring the mountains, photography, and meeting new people. Hashmat lives in Delhi with his wife and two children.

Upcoming Trips:

Hidden Kingdom of Mustang, May 17-June 5, 2014
Journey to Ladakh, June 19-30, 2014
Ladakh: The Tso Moriri Trek, August 3-22, 2014
Royal Rajasthan, October 25-November 6, 2014
Treasures of South India, January 6-19, 2015
The Arc of the Sacred Symposium: Ancient Cities and Monuments of the Deccan Plateau, January 25-February 7, 2015
Hidden Rajasthan and the Holi Festival, February 21-March 11, 2015

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Client Testimonials:


This is my fifth trip with Hashmat. He is affable and unflappable. Lisa C., Seattle WA Hashmat was terrific. He is so knowledgeable and proud of his country. He made India come alive for all of us. We loved his enthusiasm and encouragement. Barbara C., Toronto, Canada This is our second trip with Hashmat–he’s a great leader. Betty R., Lexington MA
Royal Rajasthan
This is my fourth WT trip and second with Hashmat. He is the best! Matthew H., Ukiah CA
Treasures of South India
Again, Wilderness Travel exceeded my expectations! Hashmat and Ang Tsering took extra care to locate beautiful, quiet, set-apart campsites off the main trail. Amy S., Denver CO
Ultimate Evereset
We couldn’t have asked for a better trip leader than Hashmat Singh. This trip raised our standards to a new high! Ann and Fred S., Wyoming OH
Royal Rajasthan
Hashmat is simply the best! Mary C. Farnsworth, Fort Mills SC
Royal Rajasthan
I can’t tell you how comfortable I feel traveling with Hashmat. The experiences he provided for us were unforgettable. Melinda M., Berkeley CA
Treasures of South India
As always Hashmat organized a rich and full trip experience. Not only was he, as usual, an incredibly well organized and knowledgeable leader, but added to our experience by keeping away from the usual tourist crowds and arranging special events to entertain, relax, and teach us. He remains an ideal leader who deserves his superb reputation. Michel and Deborah W.
Hidden Rajasthan
Hashmat Singh is without question the best leader, hiker, and friend any WT client could hope to have. His enthusiasm and curiosity is contagious. Stephanie B., Cambridge, MA Hashmat Singh’s knowledge, experience, and professionalism are of the highest order. Philip and Sally M., Wersham, Wrexham Hashmat Singh is a remarkably effective leader. I think I have joined the Hashmat Fan Club. John N., Monarch Beach, CA Hashmat is always on task, behind the scenes as well as during events. Nancy W., Prescott AZ
Himalayan Mountain Kingdoms Photo Expedition
What can I say? He’s the best! Fulton W., Prescott AZ
Himalayan Mountain Kingdoms Photo Expedition
I understand why Hashmat has a committed group of fans who will follow him anywhere, who choose trips according to his leadership. He is knowledgeable, passionate, wonderful. Andrea L., Brooklyn NY
Annapurna Adventure
Hashmat is simply the best. Knowledge, communication, attention to detail, adding special experiences, and he’s a really fun person to be with. William N., Long Beach CA
Treasures of South India
I cannot imagine a better guide...always helpful and knowledgeable about the history and culture of the trip! Craig K., Sewickley, PA
Royal Rajasthan - Pushkar Fair
Hashmat is an inspiring trip leader, extremely knowledgeable, both in terms of cultural and historical aspects and the area traveled, and very supportive of staff and trekkers. It was a real privilege to trek with him and I hope I have the opportunity to do so again. Henry P., Boston, MA
Around Manaslu
Hashmat is truly one of your 'stars!' Jeff P., Paradise Valley, AZ
Hidden Kingdom of Mustang
Hash is a terrific guide in every way, the consummate professional, concerned with individual's needs. His passion for India is palpable and contagious, and his leadership is an integral part of what makes this trip so special. Kristin E., Morristown, NJ
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Wow—best trip leader I've ever encountered! Always personable, informative, organized yet spontaneous, thorough, pro-active. A real treasure. Elizabeth L., Santa Barbara, CA
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Eleven trips with Hashmat so far. What more is there to say? Jack H., Cockeysville, MD
Hiking the Haute Route
Once again Hashmat knocked one out of the park! So many wonderful sights and new experiences all brought to life with his brilliant leadership. Can hardly wait to travel with him again. Peter F., Cambria, CA
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan
This man is an amazing treasure! He made the trip so memorable, and made us crave more. Abbe L., Melbourne Beach, FL
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Hashmat was simply the very best. He has great knowledge, knows how to share it to the group, interacts with us on a personal basis, is considerate of our needs, and has personality second to none. Mark L., Melbourne Beach, FL
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Hashmat always brings all his heart to his trips, teaching history, culture, the sense of India. Debra B., Jackson, WY
Expedition to Hampi and Ajanta
Hashmat is a treasure. He knows the country, loves it, makes everyone around him enthusiastic and comfortable, and gets along with an incredible variety of personalities. Lisa T., Hamden, CT
Treasures of South India
I get why so many people go on journey after journey with Hashmat. He is knowledgeable, professional, and always knows just what to do. Mary M., Superstition Mtn, AZ
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan
Twelve trips with Hashmat so far. Need I say more? Jack H., Cockeysville, MD
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan
One could not ask for a better guide than Hashmat: knowledgable, kind, funny, resourceful. Priscilla H., Cockeysville, MD
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan
My fifth trip with Hashmat, all of which have been outstanding. His knowledge and experience are unsurpassed, and he is a great trip companion. I'm looking forward to the next trip! Marilyn H., Barnstable, MA
Snow Leopard Trek to Shey Gompa
Hashmat is a great trip leader—there are very few individuals who are as knowledgeable about culture and natural history of the region. Henry P., Boston, MA
Snow Leopard Trek to Shey Gompa
Just a consummate professional. Would rate him at the top of his field. Incredible enthusiasm, energy and knowledge. Most importantly, the man cares about his people and clients. Karen W., Greenwich, CT
Ladakh: The Tso Moriri Trek
Hashmat is an incredibly talented leader and it's no wonder clients follow wherever he goes. We are now Hashmat groupies! Ann & Jon S., Orlando, FL
Royal Rajasthan - Pushkar Fair

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