I’ve just got back from a great trip in India, where I led an expedition to Lungser Kangri, a peak in Ladakh which measures exactly 6666m. The trip began with a night in London then a quick stop in Delhi, from where we flew up to Leh, high in the Himalayas and a good place to start a trip – the town is at 3500m, meaning that acclimatisation gets underway as soon as you step off the plane.
The scenery in Ladakh is mind blowing, and whilst the mountains are not as high as in Nepal, they are perhaps even more photogenic as they rise from long flat plateaus rather than steep sided valleys. The contrast of the green valleys, the brown foothills and the snowy, high summits is amazing, so there is no shortage of photos with this post!
We passed a couple of enjoyable days doing the tourist thing in Leh and then headed into the wilderness to start the trekking stage of our trip.
The trekking phase began at the tiny village of Rumtse, and from there we headed into the hills of Ladakh, and barely saw anyone once underway. There are some busy trekking areas in the Himalayas but this is definitely not one of them!
Having reached the Tso Morari lake we finally saw Lungser Kangri and got stuck into the climbing phase of the trip.
We set up our base camp at a headache inducing 5600m, and had a rest day followed by a load carry. On the day that everybody else did the load carry, Rigzin (sirdar) and I went all the way to the summit – quite a beasting with 1000m of ascent and descent in a 7.5 hour round trip!
Having got back to base camp, all that was left was to climb the mountain again, this time with the rest of the team. We climbed up to the high camp, and the benefit of having had 3 nights at base camp was obvious when nobody had a headache or any ill effects from the altitude, despite high camp being at a whopping 6200m. Unfortunately the wind took its toll though, being strong enough to snap a tent pole! Luckily the tent survived the rest of the night, and we were away at 4am the next morning heading for the top.
Unfortunately the weather closed in on summit morning so we didn’t get any views, but you’ll have to trust me that 11 of the team made it to the top, a fantastic effort. From the top we descended all the way to base camp, and then the following day down to the roadhead, and finally back to Leh. After a welcome shower and a meal in a local restaurant, we headed back to Delhi, which provided quite a culture shock after the solitude we’d had for the previous few weeks!
After a final night together we all made our way back to Europe, and real life. This was definitely one of the most enjoyable trips I’ve done, with amazing views, a great crew and some excellent company provided by our very international group!
Thanks to Pete, Sean, Jack, Alex, Lee, Kristoff, Cordula, Andre, Heinrich, Michael, Marina and Olivia for all the banter, and to Rigzin, Lal, Dorjee et al for being the best crew I’ve had in the mountains.
Chamonix beckons again now, and I see on various blogs that people have been getting out and doing some good routes recently, so hopefully the weather will hold and I’ll be able to make the most of this acclimatisation!