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Quick overview - mountains
datemountainheightgap height
04.08.P. 3990 Tirith Phu3990 m80 m
11.08.Kangsalmathug5770 m200 mClaudia, Hartmut, Norbu
11.08.P. 5275 Lasermo La BC5275 m-Marion, Henning, Nina
13.08.P. 5490 Lasermo La5490 m20 mNina, Hartmut (the hill near the pass)
13.08.P. 5716 Lasermo La5716 m106 mClaudia, Hartmut
20.08.Stok Kangri6140 m850 mClaudia, Marion, Norbu, Hartmut

Ladakh 2018:
1. Trekking through Ladakh Range via Lasermo La
2. Stok Kangri

31 July - 24 August 2018

Claudia Bäumler, Hartmut Bielefeldt, Henning Stabel, Marion Stieb-Stabel, Nina Bielefeldt
Author of this text: Hartmut Bielefeldt

Introduction

Having spent the last summer vacation in the Alps and seeing the days passing by without really big highlights, for this year decided for a "real" mountain project again. For the third time we will go to Ladakh, this time we want to cross the Ladakh Range following a trekking route from Nubra Valley to the Indus Valley. Along with this trek we want to explore the rather unknown summits of this area. After that we want to add a climb of Stok Kangri, one of the easiest 6000 meter peak which can be climbed in the area around Leh.

Trip Report

Tuesday, 31 July / Wednesday, 01 August

Flight Friedrichshafen - Frankfurt - Munich - Delhi - Leh

We fly with Lufthansa from Friedrichshafen via Frankfurt and Munich to Delhi. The long flight from Munich is delayed by more than an hour. First there is some confusion about a green stamp which everybody should have on his boarding pass (but nobody has). Then it turns out that the originally scheduled plane had to return to inspection and on short term an Airbus A350 had to be organized. So we arrive in Delhi around midnight; the immigration procedure proceeds rather quickly. 0
Our domestic flight starts from terminal 2, which is (since recently) connected by a footpath to the international terminal. The long and somewhat annoying car trip around the airport area is a thing of the past. At 2 a.m. everything is checked in, until 5:30 we try to find a bit of sleep on the waiting chairs at the gate which are very unsuitable to find a minute of sleep. An unexpectedly large airplane (A320) brings us to Leh in 90 minutes. The mountains on the route are frequently in clouds this time.
In Leh, we again go to Yartsa Guesthouse, where we have a breakfast and spend the rest of the day trying to catch up on our lost sleep. Dinner in the restaurant: Meanwhile even in the Penguin we get the beer not in bottles but in a thermos (with a cup).

Thursday, 02 August

Leh

As we found out on a short term, the Dalai Lama currently is in Leh giving lectures. We cannot attend a lecture, since (a) we wouldn't understand a word (either Ladakhi or Tibetan), and (b) we have no tickets. But we take the opportunity to at least see his arrival with his car convoy at the lecture site. We were brought to the lecture site by car; back to the city center we go on foot. We could have used a public bus, but we saw none which would reasonably have accomodated the five of us. In the afternoon we have a meeting with the agency, specifying the details of the trip and our food preferences for the trip.

Guesthouse in Leh
Guesthouse in Leh
Gebetsmühle in Leh
Gebetsmühle in Leh
Shanti Stupa, Leh
Shanti Stupa, Leh

Friday, 03 August

Drive Leh - Wari La* - Tirith
*(La=pass)

At a reasonable time - 9:30 - we leave Leh by car towards Nubra Valley. We don't follow the main road via Khardung La where a lot of traffic and some construction work would make progress slow. Instead we use the pass Wari La (5310 m) which is a little more to the east. Apart from some road works at the beginning, the road is in very good condition with only little traffic - would also be a good destination for a bicycle trip. The section through the valley of Shyok River is much more winding than expected: The river fills the entire valley with its sediment bed, and the road must avoid every rocky narrow by going up the slopes, returning to the river afterwards.
In Tirith (3175 m) we are accomodated in the "Deluxe Camp" in comfortable bungalows. The camp is situated in the apple and apricot groves which are made possible here by irrigation The food is good, there is turnip cabbage and broccoli from the local garden. The manager even speaks a little German, obviously he frequently has guests from the German-speaking countries.

Wari La
Wari La
erster Blick in den Karakorum: Saser Muztagh
erster Blick in den Karakorum: Saser Muztagh
am Shyok
am Shyok
Tirith Camp
Tirith Camp

Saturday, 04 August

Acclimatisation walk towards Tirith Phu
P. 3990

After a night (almost) without barking dogs, we have a good breakfast at 7 am. At eight we leave for a small acclimatisation walk. Already in the morning, it is hot in the sun, and there is almost no shadow in the scree slopes.
We pass by a big rock which has big Buddha representation painted on its vertical side - surely several hundred years old. After 3 3/4 hours we reach the top of the hill (3990 m) above the pass which leads to Tirith Phu. Up here, the wind makes our stay more comfortable than below. The mountain offers a good view over the Nubra Valley: Coming from the east, Shoyk River uses almost the complete width of the valley. Where it meets the Nubra resp. Siachen River coming from the north, the valley is about five kilometers wide. In the west, beyond Hundar, the valley slowly narrows again.
Descent on the same way, the 1 1/2 kilometers on the road back to the camp are quite a torture in the midday heat. Fortunately, the camp is shady due to the trees.

Heiligtum oberhalb von Tirith
Heiligtum oberhalb von Tirith
P. 3990: Aussicht übers Nubra Valley: Shyok und Siachen River
P. 3990: Aussicht übers Nubra Valley: Shyok und Siachen River

Sunday, 05 August

Northbound excursion by car (Siachen River)

Excursion by car towards north, following the wide valley of Siachen (or Nubra) River upwards, as far as foreigners are allowed to go. That means, as far as Warshi (3400 m).
Across the 65 kilometers, we see a dry langscape. Only where tributary waters are coming from the side or where irrigation channels from the main river have been built, there is a little green. The wide valley base is again and again completely used by the river, leaving no space for cultures. On both sides there are steep detritus slopes, becoming steeper and more inaccessible as we move northwards. The high snow peaks of Saltoro, Saser and Rimo Range are not visible from the valley. Anyway these summits are almost unreachable, any escape from the valley to the side valleys looks very difficult. Apart from the fact that (of course) no expedition permits are issued for this area.

Throughout all the road there is intense military traffic: Siachen Basecamp, from where the Indian military bases in Earth's highest conflict are supplied, is just 20 kilometers north of Warshi.
Even if the mountains are inaccessible, the scenery offers impressive views: The valley near Warshi is surrounded by smooth rock walls more than thousand meters high. But, sitting in the shaking car on the narrow, winding and only sometimes reasonable road is quite tiring. A good distraction are the road signs by the Border Roads Organisation which shall admonish the drivers to drive carefully:

  • "Speed thrills but kills"
  • "With Whiskey driving risky"
  • "Drive slow, live longer"
  • "Life is short, don't make it shorter"
  • besides these there are even some philosophical masterpieces: "The road to success is always under construction".
  • The speed limit is sometimes to be calculated: "Please do not exceed 10×√9 kms/hr".
  • And (but we understood the real meaning of this request not before seeing traffic in Delhi): "Please obey traffic rules"
Straße am Siachen River
Straße am Siachen River
Landschaft bei Warshi
Landschaft bei Warshi

Monday, 06 August

Drive to Wachan; short acclimatisation hike

Transfer to Wachan, the starting point of the trek over Lasermo La. In Diskit we do some last shopping of luxury items like Coke, there in no opportunity to buy anything during the trek.
In Hundar we leave the Shyok valley. For more than 10 kilometers, the "road" is passing through a narrow gorge with loose rocks and almost vertical scree. The village Wachan (3865 m) consists of only one house. Here the valley is opening again.
Our camp is already installed, the cook and the helpers introduce themselves. In the afternoon we go for a short hike on a scree with sort of a trail up to 4200 m. The weather is nice, we enjoy a good view to the three mighty summits of Saser Kangri vis-à-vis, 50 kilometers to the northeast. We also get a first glance of the mountains around Thanglasgo, but not as detailed to say anything about climbing possibilites.

Hauptstraße bei Diskit
Hauptstraße bei Diskit
Straße nach Wachan
Straße nach Wachan
Wachan
Wachan
der Samgyal S (Jungdung Kangri)
der Samgyal S (Jungdung Kangri)
erster Blick auf die Berge bei Thanglasgo
erster Blick auf die Berge bei Thanglasgo
drei Riesen im Saser Muztagh: Saser Kangri I (7672), III (7495) und II (7518)
drei Riesen im Saser Muztagh: Saser Kangri I (7672), III (7495) und II (7518)

Tuesday, 07 August

Trekking stage 1: Wachan (3865 m) - Thingsa (4280 m), 7 km, 3 hours

There was a short rain shower in the night; the morning is cloudy, but very warm (18°C).
After morning tea we pack our things together, and soon the horses arrive. After breakfast, we all start (including Nina) on foot at eight o'clock, since on the first day the horses need quite some time until all loads are sorted correctly. The first part of the trek leads through the barley fields of the dispersed settlement Hunder Dok; frequently new houses are being build. Ninas riding horse meets us after 1 1/2 hours, now she can spend the rest of the day on horseback. We follow the river and cross some scree plains. After three hours we reach the campsite Thingsa at 4280 m before the horses with the loads.
The loads are coming exactly on time: As all tents are pitched, drizzling rain sets in. Three Indian soldiers are hiking along, obviously on duty (and armed). We have no idea what exactly they are guarding here. All the mountains around us appear very high and very challenging. Only at a few places, the steep slopes allow an escape from the valley base. And we can hardly judge from down here if up there we would find a reasonably easy summit or only ferocious rock shapes. Most what we can see seems to fall into the second category.
In the afternoon it rains heavily and steadily - very unusual for the region. In the evening 12°C, some first leaks and small puddles in the dining tent, some more in the kitchen tent. We can hardly do more than considering the relative advantages of our situation: The camp is not in a gorge, far enough away from the river and also from any possible rockfall slopes. And we have enough food to stay on the spot for one or two bad weather days. After all, we have planned for three climbing days in addition to the normal trek duration. And, we have enough books with us.

Brücke über einen Nebenfluss
Brücke über einen Nebenfluss
Sniamo Valley mit Burgocha (5950 m)
Sniamo Valley mit Burgocha (5950 m)
Endlich ist Ninas Pferd da
Endlich ist Ninas Pferd da

Wednesday, 08 August

Rest day in camp Thingsa (4280 m)

During the morning, the rain stops except for occasional drops of water. The higher mountains look slightly snowy. We cannot judge if the bad weather is over now: In India's mountains our weather information has the quality like 100 years ago in Europe. In other Himalayan countries we could ask Charly G. in Innsbruck by satellite phone when the weather would improve again. In India, such tools are forbidden.
We stay here for the day, it looks to uncertain for the next stage to Thanglasgo. Fortunately we have our buffer days, even if it costs us a day for climbing. After a little sunshine around noon, the afternoon is rainy again. The tendency looks better than yesterday evening. After dinner, it soon becomes cold; at eight o'clock we move into our sleeping bags.

Schlechtwetter in Tingsa
Schlechtwetter in Tingsa

Thursday, 09 August

Trekking stage 2: Thingsa (4280 m) - Thanglasgo (4660 m), 10 km, 1100 height meters, 7 hours (including recce)

Most mountains in the west and the north are still hidden in the clouds, but in the south it looks more friendliy.

Tingsa
Tingsa

Nina wants to be with her horse from the beginning on, so she is waiting in the camp while we already start our hike. Through the broad valley, the trail is gaining height only very slowly. After an hour Nina catches up, shortly afterwards Claudia and I leave the main trail in order to explore the valley northeast of Thanglasgo, on the left side of the main valley. The summits are not visible from the valley base, therefore we want to look for suitable climbs from further up.
A rather good path leads up through a steep grassy slope, disappearing on a yak pasture. Unlike further down, we find many flowers here, including big quantities of edelweiss. Beyond about 5000 meters, the grass is interspersed with more and more rocks, and our progress becomes slow.
After a little gymnastics in loose moraine terrain, eventually we can steal a glance to the backmost part of the valley: The mountains surround the glacier in a steep cirque, the glacier itself is hidden behind several moraine walls. An attempt of these summits makes only sense with a high camp and a much better acclimatization than what we have right now - at 5250 m we are at the end of our power for today. Indeed, the peak "Lungmochey Kangri" which we can recognize from literature here seems to be the only summit without technical difficulty. The secondary summit P. 5750 (which is the continuation of our gras slopes to the right side) also looks feasible, but it is only a marginal hillock. The way back down to the valley is quickly completed, but the flat way along the river to the new camp Thanglasgo takes another hour.
We decide not to go back this longish way only to besiege a secondary bump with a gap height of 30 meters.

Erkundungsergebnis am Lungmochey Kangri
Erkundungsergebnis am Lungmochey Kangri
die Ebene von Thanglasgo
die Ebene von Thanglasgo

Friday, 10 August

Trekking stage 3: Thanglasgo (4660 m) - Base camp north (4990 m), 8.6 km, 4 1/2 hours

In the night, there is some rain; the morning is clear again. The river cannot be crossed because of floodwaters, so we find no worthwile excursion objectives and continue to Lasermo La Basecamp already today. To do so, first the sun has to dry the tents, therefore the caravan starts rather late.
We start our hike at eight o'clock as usual, slowly walking inwards the valley. One can hardly say "upwards": Except for some small terraces, the valley mostly consists of flat sediment ground. On the way we meet some yaks (or dzos), following a flock of sheep.
At early afternoon we reach our campsite Lasermo La Basecamp (4990 m). After the tents are pitched, a thunderstorm comes by.
Before dinner there is some time for a short exploration walk eastwards in order to localize some possible summit objectives for tomorrow. This area looks better than the previous camps: The mountains appear not so inaccessibla, they are a little lower, and the camp is a little higher. After dinner, again a rain shower. How will it be tomorrow?

bereit zum Aufbruch
bereit zum Aufbruch
Der Weg ist zumindest gut markiert
Der Weg ist zumindest gut markiert
Sieht etwas verwegen aus, war aber sehr friedlich
Sieht etwas verwegen aus, war aber sehr friedlich

Lasermo La Basislager Nord
Lasermo La Basislager Nord

Saturday, 11 August

Claudia, Hartmut, Norbu: Kangsalmathug (5770 m), 11.5 km, 960 height meters, 9 1/2 hours
Marion, Henning, Nina: P. 5275

The camp remains here today; we go for some excursions:

Claudia, I and our guide Norbu enter the valley southwest of the camp in order to climb one of the two nice snow mountains. At the right side there is 5770 m high Kangsalmathug, at the left side its southern neighbor, about 5680 m high.
We decide for the first one (at least this one has a name) with the option to traverse the other one in case everything runs ideally. Our route leads through rather ugly moraines and and a nasty and arduous scree slope up towards the northeast ridge, where the cornice can be overcome at a weak point (40°).
The basin on the right (northern) side of the ridge is abuzz with crevasses, so we continue on the ridge. Approaching the summit, the snow crest steepens more and more, finally meeting a vertical summit cornice. Unfortunately we cannot circumvent it on the right side, there is about five meters of vertical terrain between us and the easy slopes on the other side.
So we go down again, and led by Claudia we traverse to the southeast ridge. There we find a 50° steep snow ramp which gives access to the ridge. Now we only have to do the 70 height meters which we had lost during this action. But now in very easy terrain. Since the morning, the weather has deteriorated somewhat; the cumulus clouds have mutated into bigger clouds which want to get rid of one or another graupel shower. Despite the clouds, the view is quite comprehensive. The prayer flags at the summit are completely bleached out. Apparently the summit is visited only once in a few years. We provide new prayer flags.
For the way back, we choose rock respectively scree, because the snow field was a bit too steep to go down with only one ice axe. A traverse of the southeast summit makes no sense because of weather, time and exhaustion.
It is not so easy to leave the ridge connecting the southeast summit in order to go down on the left side: Steep rock walls or steep snow, only at one spot we find a way through. Three meters down through almost vertical, earthy scree which fortunately has a reasonably stepped structure. After that it is easier; the further way back is a long odyssey along the glacier and though several moraine troughs.
Near the camp we had deposited our sandals for the river crossing. Unfortunately, out of the three sandals only three are still here; obviously a marmot had stolen one of Claudia's sandals. That's a new experience for us. We are back in camp for tea time at 4 p.m. We had not expected to be on the way for 9 1/2 hours at a mountain with only 800 height meters.

Kangsalmathug (5770 m)
Kangsalmathug (5770 m)

im Aufstieg, Blick talauswärts. Rechts der Südwestgipfel
im Aufstieg, Blick talauswärts. Rechts der Südwestgipfel
An der Gipfelwächte geht es nicht weiter
An der Gipfelwächte geht es nicht weiter
Gipfelaussicht Kangsalmathug Richtung Süden
Gipfelaussicht Kangsalmathug Richtung Süden
Gipfelaussicht Kangsalmathug Richtung Nord bis Ost
Gipfelaussicht Kangsalmathug Richtung Nord bis Ost
Sahib Chera
Sahib Chera

schuttiger Abstieg zum Gletscher
schuttiger Abstieg zum Gletscher
der Gletschersee
der Gletschersee
Kangsalmathug
Kangsalmathug

Marion, Henning, Nina and Lopsang climb the smaller mountain southwest of the camp, getting an overview of the area and attaching some prayer flags to the summit.

Marion, Nina und Henning auf P. 5275
Marion, Nina und Henning auf P. 5275

Sunday, 12 August

Claudia, Marion, Norbu: attempt at P. 5810
Hartmut, Nina, Henning: hike around the edelweiss lakes

I prefer a more or less "rest" day. Claudia, Marion and Norbu attempt a glacier peak of 5700 m east of the camp.
Nina, Henning and I fist have a comfortable breakfast and then go for an exploration walk, also into the valley east of the camp. After Henning turned back to camp, I continue with Nina, exploring the small lake. Further up we find a larger lake with an impressive glacier mountain as background. After several hours of playing at the water and a long picnic, still nobody comes in sight on the way back from the mountain, so we turn back to the camp. Our trail variant along the big cairns was not really optimal, it turned out to be mainly loose rocks and scree and not a trail as it had appeared from further away. In the camp we meet Claudia and Marion who had already returned from the mountain; they had encountered problematic moraine terrain due to unfavourable route choice, and a second attempt on a better route would have required a longer detour.
We also find out why we - although at the upper lake for a long time, watching the mountain - could not see anybody: The three had been in the valley turning to the left at the lower lake, and we were in the valley turning right - this mountain appeared so much more obvious to us. After all, it was more an exploration expedition than a mountain climb today.

Nina baut die erste Markierung auf dieser Insel
Nina baut die erste Markierung auf dieser Insel

am oberen See, der Berg ist P. 5720
am oberen See, der Berg ist P. 5720
Wächte an P. 5720
Wächte an P. 5720

Monday, 13 August

Trekking stage 4: Base camp north (4990 m) - Lasermo La (5470 m) - Base camp south (4920 m), 11 km, 500 height meters, 5 1/2 hours
Claudia, Hartmut additionally: P. 5605 and P. 5716 nearLasermo La

Yesterday we saw a huge halo around the sun, and as expected the weather is cloudy this morning. It takes some time to reach Lasermo La, the ground ist rocky and we don't find a good walking rhythm. And, again the trail gains height only very slowly. The final ascent crosses a mostly scree covered glacier, at the upper part there is bare ice. After a turn to the right, we reach the pass (5470 m). Obviously the horses are used to go on the ice.
Claudia and I explore the summits above the pass while the others already begin the descent to the south side. The first summit (5605 m) turns out to be only a minor hump. So we continue despite the worsening weather. The next elevation has an altitude of 5716 Meter (GPS), and all around the terrain is clearly lower.
A sleet shower lets us minimize the contemplation of the (unfortunately rather limited) panorama. Soon we are back at the pass. The descent to the south is very stony and longish. After 1 1/2 hours we are at the campsite (4920 m) - just in time before the afternoon changes into a sequence of rain showers. Lucky: The rain could have started already at the pass, that would have been a lot more uncomfortable. So we can enter the tent which was already pitched and wait for tea time.

das Ende des Tals, links der Lasermo La
das Ende des Tals, links der Lasermo La
Das letzte Stück wird auf dem Gletscher zurückgelegt
Das letzte Stück wird auf dem Gletscher zurückgelegt
Kurz vor dem Pass: Die Berge sind fast alle gleich hoch. Rechts der Sahib Chera.
Kurz vor dem Pass: Die Berge sind fast alle gleich hoch. Rechts der Sahib Chera.
auf dem Lasermo La: P. 5605, P. 5716. Rechts geht es nach Süden weiter (nicht sichtbar).
auf dem Lasermo La: P. 5605, P. 5716. Rechts geht es nach Süden weiter (nicht sichtbar).
der kleine Gipfel P. 5490 neben der Passhöhe
der kleine Gipfel P. 5490 neben der Passhöhe
P. 5716
P. 5716

Tuesday, 14 August

Trekking stage 5: Base camp south (4920 m) - Murabak (4050 m), 8.7 km, 3 3/4 hours

During the night the clouds have disappeared, the morning is distinctly colder than up to now: The little creek is frozen. We walk through a rather broad valley which is populated by marmots, small black/white caterpillars and lizards. The glaciers higher in the mountains are out of view. During the crossing of our tributary creek at its outlet to the main creek, most of us get a little wet. Shortly before the village Murobok, we have to cross a tributary canyon which is a little adventurous for horses and humans. After three hours we reach the road and enter a different world again: barley and potato fields, trees and (mostly prosperous looking) houses.

Frühstück im südlichen Basislager, trotz Frost an der Sonne.
Frühstück im südlichen Basislager,
trotz Frost draußen an der Sonne.
die letzte Etappe des Lasermo La Treks
die letzte Etappe des Lasermo La Treks

Die Wiesen sind voller Edelweiß
Die Wiesen sind voller Edelweiß
Der Bach hat keine einfache Furt
Der Bach hat keine einfache Furt

Murabak (4050 m)
Murabak (4050 m)
Ninas braves Reitpferd
Ninas braves Reitpferd

A short drive of 20 km brings us to Leh at noon, this time we are accomodated in the Omasilla Hotel. The weather is cloudy but dry. Indus river apparently has high water, the meadows along the river are completely flooded.
In the afternoon we have a short meeting with the agency, changing the plan for the upcoming trip such that we will have two instead of only one summit day at Stok Kangri and instead shorten the excursion to Bema by one day. Since the weather is quite uncertain this year, we want to have a second chance for the bad weather case. Even though the official astrologer is said to promise that the bad weather would end on August 19, you never really now...

Leh
Leh
Norbu wählt Momos zum Abendessen, sie werden in dieser Form gedünstet
Norbu wählt Momos zum Abendessen, sie werden in dieser Form gedünstet

Wednesday, 15 August

Drive Leh-Beema

A two-day excursion to Bema (Beema?). We don't really remember why it is on the program, but with our program change we compressed it from 3 to 2 days. By car, we follow the "National Highway 1" towards Kargil/Srinagar, i.e. downstream the Indus. Nevertheless the road frequently climbs up, because the river has many narrows where the road cannot follow directly.
Enroute is Alchi, allegedly the oldest temple complex in Ladakh, built around the year 1000. The visit is worthwile, even though the complex looks rather small and not very impressive (the souvenir shops are almost bigger than the monastery).

Auf dem Highway 1 nach Westen
Auf dem Highway 1 nach Westen
Gebetsmühlen in Alchi
Gebetsmühlen in Alchi

After 107 km the highway leaves the Indus valley; we continue along the river through a gorge on an adventurous and very curvy road. The scenery is spectacular, but progress is quite slow. In some places the Indus is dammed by mudslides from the side, and bumpy and exposed provisional roads circumvent the obstacle.
In the early afternoon we reach Bema where we find accomodation in a comfortable tent camp: big house tents with beds and individual bathrooms. The mattresses are quite hard, but there are enough blankets to construct a softer bed.
The camp is situated at the lower edge of a fertile terrace above the Indus where apricots and apples are grown. There is a nicely decorated monastery which is unfortunately closed, a near-derelict school building (doors open), and a newly constructed school building which is not yet complete. Beyond these buildings - like almost everywhere here in the Indus valley - there are more or less unconquerable rock walls. So it is not a really good hiking area.

Die Straße am Indus entlang hat ihre Tücken.
Die Straße am Indus entlang hat ihre Tücken.
Beema am Indus. Zur pakistanischen Grenze sind es noch etwa 30 Kilometer.
Beema am Indus. Zur pakistanischen Grenze sind es noch etwa 30 Kilometer.

Thursday, 16 August

Drive Beema-Leh

There is not too much to see here for us, we go back to Leh during the morning and enjoy a few hours jolting on the road.
The afternoon is used as rest day. A new finding: In the Penguin restaurant an excellent chicken cordon bleu is served.

auf dem Rückweg am Indus
auf dem Rückweg am Indus
Postleitzahl 194106, wann wird wohl die nächste Leerung sein?
Postleitzahl 194106,
wann wird wohl die nächste Leerung sein?
Auf den Dächern werden Aprikosen getrocknet.
Auf den Dächern werden Aprikosen getrocknet.

Friday, 17 August

Rest day in Leh

More detailed town sighseeing today. The "beautification" (pedestrian zone) is completed, after only a few years of contructions works... Everywhere, new houses are being built, several restaurants and shops which we had visited last time have disapeared giving place to new buildings. Already now, the traffic is a nuisance in these narrow roads; one may wonder how this growth will go on in the future. Noticeably, especially the number of Indian tourists has distinctly increased.

Leh. Die Fußgängerzone ist sogar recht schön geworden.
Leh. Die Fußgängerzone ist sogar
recht schön geworden.
Am Rand wird Gemüse verkauft.
Am Rand wird Gemüse verkauft.

Saturday, 18 August

Trekking day 1: Stok (3650 m) -Mankarmo (4385 m). 10 km, 815 height meters, 4 1/4 hours.

In the morning rain sets in. Also in Stok (3650 m) where we meet the crew and the horses (the crew is the same like at Lasermo La, but other horses): drizzle.
On the way to the first camp we wnter a broad valley which soon narrows to a spectacular gorge scenery. In particular the vertical rock slabs which look like book pages are an awesome view. Instead of flowing along the slabs, the creeks and rivers have cut thought the rocks again and again, creating a very small-scale, confusing landscape. Lunch break at a pass (4133 m); camp Mankarmo (4385 m) beyond the gorge is reached in the early afternoon.
In contrast to the Lasermo trek where we had not met anybody for days, this camp is almost like a small town. But that has also the advantage that there is a tea tent where one can buy different kinds of beverages.
In the evening the clouds dissolve.

Das Tal verengt sich bald zu einer Schlucht.
Das Tal verengt sich bald zu einer Schlucht.
Die Szenerie wechselt nach jeder Ecke.
Die Szenerie wechselt nach jeder Ecke.
einsames Örtchen
einsames Örtchen

Erster Blick auf den Stok Kangri (rechts)
Erster Blick auf den Stok Kangri (rechts)
Blauschafe
Blauschafe
Mankarmo (4385 m)
Mankarmo (4385 m)

Sunday, 19 August

Trekking day 2: Mankarmo (4385 m) - Stok Kangri base camp (4980 m). 3.5 km, 600 height meters, 2 hours, plus excursion towards ABC

Still the weather is not really good: The morning is cloudy with a little sun. In two hours we hike upwards to the base camp (4980 m). As could be expected, this camp is even a bit bigger (and more rubbish-strewn) than Mankarmo.
The installation of our tents is a little delayed because we have to wait for the departure of an Indian group whose place we are suuposed to use.
In the afternoon we go for a short walk towards ABC (the former Advanced Base Camp which is not used as a camp any more) for exploration and acclimatization. At 3 p.m. the creek in the basecamp has risen a lot, it takes some effort to reach the other side. Unfortunately our tents are situated at exactly this other side. The creek shows a striking color change from clear/white to red during the course of the day.

eine kurze Etappe zum Basislager
eine kurze Etappe zum Basislager
´Cleanliness is next to happiness´. Das Basislager kann nicht sehr happy sein.
"Cleanliness is next to happiness". Das Basislager kann nicht sehr happy sein.
Der Fluss durchs Basislager ist schon mittags schwer zu überqueren
Der Fluss durchs Basislager ist schon
mittags schwer zu überqueren
Bis zum Gipfel wären es noch etwa 1000 Höhenmeter.
Bis zum Gipfel wären es
noch etwa 1000 Höhenmeter.
Ladakhische Weite
Ladakhische Weite
Basislager mit dem Pyramide Peak (5930 m)
Basislager mit dem Pyramide Peak (5930 m)

Monday, 20 August

Trekking day 3: Summit day Stok Kangri. 10.3 km, 1220 height meters, 9 hours.

At 2:40 am we leave the camp; this is late compared to those many groups who already leave in the evening between 10 and 11 pm.
Most groups who are on the trek for only four days are not well acclimatized and therefore slow in this altitude; apparently therefore they leave so early. On the other hand, they hardly find any sleep in the "night" before summit day, and already start somewhat overtired.
We are quite well acclimatized from Lasermo La and don't want to spend many hours stumbling over loose rocks in the darkness. Considering all what one can realistically imagine, there is enough time in our schedule.
It is not too cold (+5°C), but Nina ist not used to walking in the darkness at such a sleepy time of the night. She turns back soon.
The others - Marion, Claudia, Hartmut - slowly continue with Norbu and Lopsang under an almost clear sky. The way seems endless, especially when loosing the trail in the dark on the moraine before the glacier. After an easy glacier crossing, we are at the base of a rock and scree slope 400 meters high. Thanks to the popularity of this climb, there is a decent trail winding up the slope with many switchbacks. Meanwhile the day is dawning. The slope takes two hours; it looks shorter than it really ist, enticing us a little into impatience. 200 height meters per hour are a satisfying climb rate.
At 7:20 we reach the south ridge at 5910 m and more or less follow this ridge to the summit. Sometimes one needs to use the hands a little, and on the shady side of the ridge some short icy places demand a little attention, but altogether the route is quite a good trail. We meet some large groups of six or seven persons, tied together by a single rope just fixed by a knot at their bellies. I don't want to imagine what happens if one of them would really seriously slip of fall...
After exactly six hours I reach the summit (GPS: 6135 m). Although meanwhile a cloud cover has formed, the panorama is magnificient. We only regret that we cannot identify this abundance of summits by their names.
Although some care is essential in the steep terrain, the descent takes much less time than the ascent. At ABC, Nina and Henning are meeting us coming up from the base camp. We go down together and are back in base camp at 11:45. asislager.

nächtlicher Aufbruch um 02:40
nächtlicher Aufbruch um 02:40
Shuku Kangri, Pyramide (der flache Grat), Golep Kangri (hinten links)
Shuku Kangri, Pyramide (der flache Grat), Golep Kangri (hinten links)
Auf dem Grat geht es zum Gipfel.
Auf dem Grat geht es zum Gipfel.
Gipfelbild Stok Kangri, 6140 m
Gipfelbild Stok Kangri, 6140 m
Aussicht nach Norden
Aussicht nach Norden
Aussicht nach Südwesten/Süden
Aussicht nach Südwesten/Süden
Norbu hängt unsere Fähnchen auf. Offenbar waren andere Deutsche kurz vorher da.
Norbu hängt unsere Fähnchen auf. Offenbar
waren andere Deutsche kurz vorher da.
wieder im Abstieg
wieder im Abstieg
Weiter unten ist ein guter Weg ausgetreten.
Weiter unten ist ein guter Weg ausgetreten.
Das obere Gletscherbecken: Man quert den Gletscher in Bildmitte und steigt dann die Geröllhänge nach rechts hoch.
Das obere Gletscherbecken: Man quert den Gletscher in Bildmitte und steigt dann die Geröllhänge nach rechts hoch.

Tuesday, 21 August

Rest day in base camp

Rest day in base camp. This day was planned as a spare day in case the first summit day would habe been a failure. The morning is cloudy, in the course of the day the sun comes out. In any case we did right with yesterday's summit day, it had the best weather far and wide. In the evening it clears up, the moon has a huge halo.

Im Tea Tent kann man Getränke oder andere Lebensmittel einkaufen.
Im Tea Tent kann man Getränke oder
andere Lebensmittel einkaufen.
Blick zum Indus-Tal
Blick zum Indus-Tal
Das Abwaschen wird nachmittags schwierig, die Strömung nimmt zu.
Das Abwaschen wird nachmittags schwierig,
die Strömung nimmt zu.
Abendessen
Abendessen
Zum Nachtisch gibt es einen Erfolgs-Kuchen
Zum Nachtisch gibt es einen Erfolgs-Kuchen

Wednesday, 22 August

Trekking day 4: Descent to Stok. 13 km, almost only downwards, 4 1/2 hours.

Last day at Stok Kangri. Sun with clouds, the higher mountains are hidden in the clouds. After breakfast clothes and pieces of equipment which we indend to leave here are given to the staff (by lottery).
The horses are a little late today, we begin our hike before they arrive. It takes only 1 hour to Mankarmo. Many groups are on the trail today, we meet them ascending. At least half of them are from India, covering the whole sportive spectrum from thoroughly fit to others who have not only a few kilograms too much to carry. Almost all of them are very friendly and interested.

Abtauchen in die Buchseiten-Schlucht
Abtauchen in die Buchseiten-Schlucht


Ankunft in Stok
Ankunft in Stok
Gruppenbild
Gruppenbild

Thursday, 23 August

Leh

What we had been missing on the trek: a good, comfortable bed and the possibility to go to the toilet barefoot.
What we had not been missing: dogs in territorial fight all night long, and the muezzin around 4 am.
In total, we can sleep quite well, at last we have nothing to do than shopping for souvenirs today. In the evening we celebrate Claudia's and Marions's birthday with a birthday cake in the Penguin.

Stok Kangri, von Leh aus gesehen
Stok Kangri, von Leh aus gesehen
Tibeter-Basar in Leh
Tibeter-Basar in Leh
Das Chicken Cordon Blue, eine wichtige Entdeckung
Das Chicken Cordon Blue,
eine wichtige Entdeckung
Claudia und Marion haben heute Geburtstag
Claudia und Marion haben heute Geburtstag

Friday, 24 August

Flight Leh-Delhi; Delhi; flight Delhi-Frankfurt-Friedrichshafen

Long before any reasonable breakfast time, the remains of the birthday cake serve as a rudimentary breakfast; at 5:20 we are brought to the airport.
Several security checks take some time; in addition a Spanish group with excess baggage delays the check-in.
So we are just about ready with all the procedure when our flight is called and we must jump the queue at the last security check.
The flight takes only about an hour, but there is even a meal on board (Jet Airways).
Arriving in Delhi, we can only find four of our five pieces of baggage. Ominously, the fifth suddenly appears near a baggage conveyor beld after an hour. Through the usual traffic chaos, we are brought to the guesthouse "Tree of Life", where inadvertently only one room is reserved for the five of us. But that doesn't matter: During the day the demolition works in the neighboring house (jackhammer) made any sleep impossible anyway.
For lunch and dinner, we fulfill our fast food quota for the whole rest of the year - but at KFC, McD or BurgerK we have at least have a chance to find some edible food amongst an abundance of spices. Short detour to the sports park nearby where several pieces of sports equipment are waiting to be used by somebody. In this weather (35° at 100% humidity) we are completely sweat-soaked after five minutes. Haveing watched a completely crazy British sports action competition show and Ice Age 3 on TV (yes, here we have a functioning TV) we drop of to a restless sleep for an hour, until we are picked up at 10 pm by the drivers.
Basically the airport not very far away, and in the middle of the night - applying European standards, traffic should not be a problem. Far from it! This is Delhi. Red traffic lights, traffic rules of any kind - unneccessary stuff which is ignored by everybody. If a crossroads is already completely blocked by five "tracks" of vehicles trying to turn right, the Indian driver would rather try to circumvent all these and push the others to the side than following some kind of ordered queue. Correspondingly all have an extremely slow progress. After 45 minutes we arrive at the airport, 11 pm. Three and a half hours until departure, that should be abundant. Indeed it is.
On the Lufthansa flight, there is an extensive choice of video entertainment. Nina indeed is able to spend the whole flight time of 7 1/2 watching movies. Waiting for the connecting flight in FRA she can catch up on the missing sleep. We arrive in Friedrichshafen on schedule, and we still have the whole sunday in order to prepare our return to civilized everyday life.


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Hartmut Bielefeldt
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