Mountaineering in Leh Ladakh
Ladakh is a well-known destination among adventure lovers because of the various thrilling activities organised here. Besides white water rafting, mountaineering in Ladakh has also become a popular activity among tourists. This plateau consists of some parts of the Himalayan and Karakoram Ranges, making it a paradise for mountaineers. What makes mountaineering adventures in Ladakh more eventful is its strong cultural background. The destination has numerous Buddhist monasteries, drawing hordes of devotees. Many mountaineering expeditions revolve around the vibrant culture of the local people and allow you to familiarise with their values as you enjoy the sport. So if this desert-cum-plateau is appealing enough to you and an escapade from the dull life is what you need, then you may embark on a Ladakh mountaineering adventure.
Often termed as the Land of High Passes, Ladakh is a region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, popular for its picturesque landscapes. The place has always fascinated travellers with its diverse topography, which includes flat plains, high mountains and several enchanting lakes. While mountaineering, you get to climb some mighty peaks of the Karakoram Range, which contains K2 or Godwin-Austen. The vastness of this range can be attributed the fact that its average altitude is about 20000 feet.
Other ranges in the region that you can scale and explore are Zanskar and Ladakh. The region has an altitude that is not too high, but just enough to induce considerable thrill during mountaineering. Travellers also favour this place, as it is easily reachable by air and road. The rich history and culture of the destination is another aspect that would appeal to you. It is a major hub for Tibetan Buddhism and is often termed as mini Tibet.
The region consists of some parts of the Himalayan as well as the Karakoram Ranges. However, Stok is undoubtedly the most prominent one of all such landforms present here. Stok Kangri, the highest peak of this massif or sub-range, is among the most popular trekking destinations. The Stok Kangri expedition is a complete journey through the mountain range that takes you to an altitude of over 20000 feet. While undertaking this jaunt, you will get a glimpse of the numerous glacial lakes that charm the region. After reaching the summit, you will see some remarkable sights of the surrounding landscape.
Some mountaineering adventures in Ladakh like the Chadar Frozen River trek involve walking on relatively flatter terrain, but they have their own excitement-inducing factors. Meant for experts and experienced mountaineers, the jaunt tests their endurance and fitness. While on this sojourn, you may come across various local tribes and get an opportunity to learn about their ways of life. A walk on the frozen Zanskar or Chadar River will give an adrenaline rush to you. If you like to scale mountain passes, then you may go on the Parang La trek, which starts in Himachal Pradesh and ends in Ladakh. The Ripachar Valley trek is a similar expedition that will lead you to a mountain pass, located more than 15000 feet above sea level.
Like most such on-foot jaunts, the majority of mountaineering expeditions in Ladakh are undertaken during summers as the soft snow in winters makes walking difficult. Hence, the best time to embark on the Stok Kangri expedition is between the months of June and September. The summer season is also the ideal time to walk to Parang La and to explore the Ripchar Valley on foot. But unlike it, some walks like the Chadar Frozen River hike are undertaken only in winters as during other seasons, the water of the Zanskar River does not freeze.