Summary: July-August 2007 A few days in Leh to acclimatise. On leaving Leh we went to the festival at Tak Tok before driving south along the Leh Manali highway to our first camp by the road near Gya/Lhato. The trek route then took us east to Nimaling, then down to the southern end of the Markha valley before turning south under Kang Yatse. After the ascent of the spectacular Zarlung Karpo La we continued south, finally over the Yar La before rejoing the highway and returning to Leh. Thirteen days and hardly a soul.

Getting there:

6.05am KLM flight from Manchester. We have a short doze at Amsterdam and awake in the middle of large numbers of identically dressed Africans - men. women and children. At first I thought they were a large extended family, it took me some time to realise that they were all carrying a small identical bag marked ‘Refugee’. From where they’ve come and to where they’re going I have no idea. A sobering realisation.

Flight arrives early, 10.30pm, at Delhi. Met by Dorjey and a friend, also from Ladakh, studying engineering at Delhi. I phone home to find that my mother’s broken her arm but seems to be OK. A couple of hours in a hotel, woken at 3.30am. We get the second flight to Leh; it’s half full, nonetheless I manage to sit on the wrong side for the dramatic views as we descend past Spituk monastery before landing at Leh. Next time: sit on the right.


Our guide on this trek, and several other treks, was Stanzin, aka Tenzin Chos. Most people in the Himalaya have two names, the family name and the nicname, eg Stanzin. Stanzin lives in Leh with his wife and three children. He’s a brilliant guide, a genuinely great man and a kind and wonderful companion who’ll enjoy the trek as much as you. He’s from a small village near Padum in Zanskar. He works tirelessly, speaks good English, always manages to find the caretaker with the keys and has many friends along the trail and in the monasteries. We’d recommend Stanzin 100%.

Stanzin has a website:

You can email him at



Leh 2


Leh Fort

Tak Tok Festival. Gya Lhato

Gya to Sumdo

Sumdo, Chatsang La to Chatsang

Chatsang Glacier

Chatsang, Pobe La to Nimaling

Nimaling to Zarlung Karpo base camp

Zarlung Karpo

Sorra Gorge

To Lahtoo and Dat

Dat Village

Dat to Yar La base camp

Yar La to Linmoche

To Sangtha and Leh

Leh, The Dalai Lama, Phyang Gompa