This trek crosses the rolling mountains of the high Rupshu plateau inhabited by nomads. The barren region is home to numerous species of wildlife including the wild Ass Kiang, Himalayan Marmot, Tibetan Antelope, and Himalayan Ibex. The route crosses high passes and along side the great saline lakes of Tso Kar, and Tso Moriri finishing in the Nomads village of Korzok.
From Leh, the drive to Rumtse is an exciting one, with views of the Indus Valley and many monasteries on the way. Day one is easily manageable: we have a short walk on a rather flat terrain to aid acclimatization. We will camp overnight at lush Kyamar, near a spring.
We should be fully energized today with a proper breakfast for a challenging day ahead. We begin with gradual ascent towards our first pass of Kumur La (4800 m), which gives a spectacular view of the Changthang range with its colorful rife of the mountain. After the pass, we steadily descend towards the base of the next pass. Here we might come across nomads with their herds of sheep, goats and yaks. After a short rest, we set out for Mandalchan La (4850 m). From this Pass, it’s an easy descent to the camping site at the pastureland of Tisaling.
By now, we are well acclimatized to conquer our third pass, the Shibuk La (4900 m), and about 2-hour journey. From the top of the pass, we have an incredible view of the surrounding mountains and of our next destination, Tsokar Lake. With a breathtaking view to ease our exhaustion, we head down towards the valley, accompanied by the shrill whistles of the shy and active marmots, which is characteristic of this harsh region. It’s approximately a 4 hrs walk to the Tsokar basin, and our camp for the night will be the windy Pongunabu.
Today is an easy day, and we follow a dusty jeep road towards Tsokar Lake. Along the salty shores of the lake, we have a rare impeccable opportunity to see some of the endangered migratory birds of the world. From here we carry on along the trail to the right of the lake, keeping to a barren land until Nuruchan, where we will be welcomed by a grassy land with streams nearby.
We have to get set for a tough day ahead. We will cross the icy cold stream in Nuruchan before gradually ascending Horlam Kongka La (4900 m). From the pass, we will have a view of the turquoise blue Tsokar. After an easy 40-minute walk down to Rajungkaru,we will encounter several Tibetan nomads with their flock of yaks,sheep and Pashmina goats. Following the stream for about 50 minutes, we will enter another nomad settlement og Western Tibetan origin. After sharing a cup of butter tea with the nomads, we will continue to ascend the Kyamayuru La (5410 m); this pass is challenging in nature, but the magnificent view from the top makes it well worth all our strenuous efforts. From the pass we descend gradually to the valley towards our campsite at Gyamar Barma (5150 m). Due to the campsite’s high altitude, bad weather can make night temperature freezing.
After breakfast, we head to our next pass, Kartse La (5300 m). Ascending slowly in the thin air of the plateau, we will eventually reach the pass. The trail leads gradually down to the lush green valley of the Gyamar, where we spend our night.
Today, we gradually ascend towards the highest and final pass on the trek. Following the narrow valley until the Yalung Nyaulung La (5450 m), we will see some of the rare flowers and herbs of the Himalayan region. The fragrances will astonish you! To our right we can view snowcapped mountains and from the top of the pass we will also have a view of the lake Tsomoriri, surrounded by snow capped mountains. We descend steeply for a couple of hours to the Korzok Phu, the summer pasture of the Korzok people. From the pasture.
We drive back to Leh along the gorges of the mighty Indus with all these good memories in mind, leaving behind the beautiful lake Tsomoriri.
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