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Kanji Lingshed Photoksar trek

An exceptionally remote trek through the dramatic and evocative landscapes of Ladakh and the mystical kingdom of Zanskar; following a route where westerners are still an extremely rare sight. A short drive to get to the starting point, but the route is very isolated and not much travelled until the junction from Padum to Lamayuru in Lingshed. A very beautiful trek with some river crossings. Starting point is not far from Leh (only 4 hours by car)and also the end is close to Leh.

Trip Details

Programs

  • 1st Day: Leh - Kanji village (3.800 m), 6 hours drive
    Kanji is a village iwith 20 families who farm the immediate area, and can be accessed through the village of Hemiskot which lies on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway. The village is situated on an altitude of 3.875 m, and is also the starting point on the Kanji la and Shilakong gorge treks (see also Rangdum-Kanji trek). Kanji is 163 km from Leh. First day, drive from Leh and overnight in tent in Kanji campsite.
  • 2nd Day: Kanji campite (3.800 m) - to base of Kanji-La (4.350 m), 6 hours
    A short day to put us at the pass base. From Kanji barley fileds we walk south. Gentle ascent trough meadows, some fords and up to our base camp.
  • 3rd Day: Base Kanji la - Kanji-la (5.271 m) - Junction of Kanji-La & Pingdon-La (4.370 m) 7 hours
    Continous ascent to the pass. Wide panorama on the Himalayas range and the Nun Kun group. Step long descent to a rocky campsite at the junction of two streams. Escape route to Rangdum gompa.
  • 4th Day: Juntion to base Pingdon la (4.579), 4 hours
    Easy day. We walk along the stream that flows from Pingdon-la. It's a short day and in the afternoon we rest at the camp.
  • 5th Day: Base Pingdon la - Pingdon la (5.029 m) alias Pudzong-la - Dibling (4.700 m), 7 hours
    Easy climb to the pass. You will be able to see that your path leading to the pass is an easy snow-slog. Crampons and ice axes are unnecessary and it is unlikely you will need gaiters.
    Pingdon-la alias Pudzong-la has view on the Zanskar range: superb – snowy peaks in every direction. Leaving the pass, snow slopes and then rocks lead to a gulch down which the zigzag path brings you out past fantastic rock walls and towers on either side to the wide valley. About 900 meters of descend and you walk amongst an area of clumpy small trees and bushes with fabulous views. Now you walk easily down the left-hand side of the valley past some deserted houses and some unworked fields before coming to the river entering from the left. Here you have the choice of either wading across or perhaps riding across on a horse, if one can be made available from the pack animals. Another hour from here brings you to the pretty village of Dibling where there are some 14 houses and a gompa. Dibling is the most isolated village of West Zanskar. The monastery, as with virtually all Ladakhi villages, sits above the village and it is well worth the walk up to have a look around. It is a Yellow Hat temple, whose main figures are Shakyamuni Buddha, Chenrizig, Maitreya (Buddha of the future), and Tsong-khapa (founder of the Gelukpa Yellow Hat Order).
    Dibling is indeed a pretty little village with substantial houses, nice chortens and surrounded by good fields. In fact, you will probably find that the village may almost be empty as virtually everybody is out in the fields dealing with the harvest. Nevertheless, your Sirdar and his crew ought to be able to find somebody with a key to open up the temple for you to have a look around. That is, of course, if the resident monk is not 'at home'. It is quite incredible to think that this is the only village in this valley and that it is cut off from all other parts of Ladakh and Zanskar by very high passes. Again, it enjoys a Shangri-La setting, and the people will have seen very few westerners at all. We camp near the village or two kilometer forwad.
  • 6th Day: Dibling - Lingshed sumdho (3.680 m) - Base Barma la (3.890 m), 8 hours
    Leaving the village, we follow a relatively newly-built footpath and after a while some parts of the path are exposed.
    Long day on a narrow and rocky path. The path traverses slopes into the gorge. Fantastic rock scenery. Gigantic slabs on the right further down ahead of you. Horses have to walk in the river. You can walk in water or climb up to avoid fords. Eventually you cross the main river again to take you back to the left bank. The scenery is jaw-dropping – beetling cliffs with choughs and pigeons soaring the heights. Even eagles might come to see who these strangers are. You may encounter local people from the village of Dibling whose nearest place to shop is the village of Lingshed. At Lingshed Sundho we enter a gorge coming in from the left, leave the valley of Oma Chu (milk river) and walk up to the base of Barma-la (Barmi-la). The path enter a narrow section of the gorge and look back now for fabulous views of snow-capped peaks framed by the wall of the gorge. Meet some caves and, at the end of the gorge, we camp at 3.680 m. or may be higher at 3.900 m.
  • 7th Day: Base - Barma la (4.694 m) - Lingshed Gompa (3.900 m), 6-7 hours
    Easy climb. Yaks at pastures. Long descent to the Gompa campsite. Beer shop.
    It is just over three hours to the pass and an easy gradual path until the last 300 metres which is a little steeper. There are one or two places where you would not want to slip on the narrow path! Looking back, the views are inspiring – ranges of snow peaks. As you get higher, the trail turns to the left and then again to the right. The pass itself is broad, with a chorten and prayer flags. It is such a thrill to get to the pass and look down into the valley containing the village and monastery of Lingshed, and the peaks marching off into the far distance. It is a long and hot descent, but the views go on improving of Lingshed and its wonderful monastery.
    The path reaches the route fron Padum (on your right) then drop down past houses and fields to climb back up again to reach the monastery and the camp site just above that. You will feel pretty flaked out by the time you get to camp. However, there is a small shop and two quite decent toilet blocks. The camp site itself, though, is a bit stony and dusty. If you are extremely lucky, there might even be bottles of beer in the shop.
  • 8th Day: Lingshed (3.900 m) to the foot of Sengi-La (4.700 m) via Murgum-La (4.370 m) and via Kiupa-La (4.430 m), 6 hours
    This is the first of two days you have to climb 2 passes in one day. The day starts with an easy climb of 4 hours up to the first pass. If you reach the first pass of the day Murgum-La 4.370 m (14.330 ft) you will have a wonderful view of the valley of Nierag, on the other bank of the Zanskar. The gentle descent toward the villages Gongma 4.000 m and Skiumpata 4.060 m. Start the very steep climb gradually along the mountain side up to the summit of the Kiupa-la 4.430 m (14.530 ft). Continue to the foot of the next pass Sengi-La 4.430 m (14.534 ft).
  • 9th day: base of Sengi-La (4.700 m) to Photokasar (4.130 m) via Sengi-La (4.900 m) and Bumiktse-La (4.200 m), 7 hours
    The rather steep claim to the highest pass of the trek takes you 2 hours. The views from the summit of Sengi-La 4.900 m (16.070 ft) are spectacular. Then a short slope leads into a broad valley. It is an easy going then gentle climb towards the second pass Bumiktse-La 4.200 m (14.430 ft). The descent leads you to the pretty village Photoksar 4.130 m (13.550 ft). It is a splendid village at the base of the hung mountain walls. There is abandoned monastery 20 minutes above the village.
  • 10th day: Photoksar - Leh
    Car can pickup you in Photoksar.
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