This illustrated gallery is from when I was approaching Stok Kangri (6070m) with a trekking group I was leading.
The images illustrate trekking routine from the village of Skiu in the Markha Valley to the Stok La (4900m) pass. During this trek we entered the Markha Valley with an impressive river crossing which is illustrated above.
My next trip to Ladakh will depart from the UK on September 1st 2023 for a trek across the Changthang Plateau to Tsomoriri Lake via Mentok Kangri (6250m) for an optional ascent from base camp where we will camp for two or three nights. Please contact me for further details.
DAY 1 - most flights will arrive in Leh around breakfast time so after transferring to accommodation it is recommended to rest for the remainder of the day in order to adjust to arrival at high altitude. note that a Ladakh Registration Form might be required in the airport arrival hall.
Normally, after taking it easy in my hotel and having lunch, I'd be inclined to slowly walk into Leh to wander around this fascinating town which is the capital of Ladakh.
DAY 2 - I always enjoy a leisurely breakfast before taking a taxi up to the Namgyal compex which overlooks Leh. Namgyal Tsemo or Leh Fort, just above the Namgyal Tsemo Monastery (1430AD) is an important religious and historical point in Leh. After spending some time exploring this fascinating site I walk down to Leh Palace which was constructed around 100AD.
After visiting Leh Palace I'd wander through the bustling streets of Leh, perhaps finding a coffee shop for lunch where the apple pie and custard is to be highly recommended.
After lunch I'd take another taxi out to the Shanti Stupa, or Peace Pagoda which lies on a hill to the west of Leh. After that I'd walk down the long flight of steps and back into town and my hotel and put my feet up for an hour or so.
On my last three visits to Leh, I've stayed in the Grand Dragon Hotel where the food is very enjoyable, particularly the Chicken Biryani. Built in 2007 as one of the first 5 star hotels in Leh, it is decorated magnificently with handmade paintings by Gulam Mustafa, a local Leh artist.
Day 3 - The opportunity exists for an optional tour (usually Euros 40 per person) by road up to the Khardung La (5359m), a mountain pass which forms the gateway to the Nubra Valley, beyond which lies the Siachen Glacier.
The Khardung La is one of the highest driveable roads in the world and provides fabulous views towards Stok Kangri to the south.
Day 4 - The day that Markha Valley Trek over the Stok La pass commences and if an early start can be made, I'd visit the bactrian camel farm across the river and then take an hour to visit Stok Palace whilst the trekking crew are loading the ponies. The centuries old stone monastry is always an interesting plce to visit with historical relics and weapons on display and a terrace cafe to enjoy theviews before setting out on the trek.
The last image looks into the Stok Valley, on the left, and the trekking route to the Stok La (4900m) pass, Stok Kangri Base Camp or further south to Skiu (3500m) and into the Markha Valley.
In 2023, the Kasbah du Toubkal (https://kasbahtoubkal.com) in a partnership with Bryn Walking (www.brynwalking.co.uk) and Alan Ward - International Mountain Leader - (www.alanmward.co.uk/ ) will offer the following courses for those who are involved with bringing groups to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco:
UIAA certificated Mountain Skills: Safety & Good Practice (3 days)
RGS certificated Off Site Safety Management (2 days)
These courses can also be combined with Rescue Emergency Care (REC) Travel & Expedition First Aid courses which include High Altitude First Aid and the use of Portable altitude chambers (PAC).
These residential courses will be based at the Kasbah du Toubkal and on completion of training, participants can opt to trek to the summit of Mt. Toubkal (4167m), north Africa's highest mountain.
Following on from retirement, more time will be available for hill and mountain walking on a personal basis with friends.