The Markha Valley is certainly one of the most varied and beautiful treks in the world. It ventures high into the Himalayas crossing two passes over 15,000 ft (4575 m) as it circles from the edges of the Indus Valley, down into parts of Zanskar, and passes through terrain that changes from incredibly narrow valleys to wide-open vast expanses. This valley is well known for its ancient form of Buddhism that flourishes in the many monasteries. The majestic looking Kang Yatse is the most prominent peak in the Markha Valley. It can be approached through the Markha Valley from either side. It has 2 summits and resembles a King’s Throne. The Western summit, Kang Yatse II II is lower at 6250m and is quite often climbed, at the same time it is not at all busy like the neighboring Stok Kangri peak. It is perfect for people who would like to climb their first 6000-er and would like to stay away from the crowds. The Markha valley offers the perfect acclimatization trek needed for climbing a 6000m mountain. On a clear day you see views as far Nun Kun & Zanskar ranges in the West & the K2, Broad Peak & Gasherbrum Massif in the far North. Kang Yatse II is often referred to as the protector of the region.
After spending 2 days acclimatizing to the altitude in Ladakh (3500 meters), during which time we will explore Leh and visit the surrounding monasteries,, the time that we actually spend trekking and climbing will be 7 days. The approach to our base camp traverses a wild area where trails are not always well-defined. In normal conditions, the ascent of Kang Yatse II involves no technical climbing. It may be necessary to rope up at some point of the climb but the slope is mostly gradual. to cross a small glacier before starting the ascent which will mainly be over easy-angled scree and boulder slopes. Although this is not a technically demanding climb, at an altitude of over 6000 meters, it will be physically demanding. Previous crampon experience is preferable but not essential.
Meet at the group hotel in Leh. A single group transfer at 10.30 am from Leh Airport to the group hotel in Leh is provided. The first day is reserved for acclimatization and you will be advised to rest and drink water as much as possible. A short walk around the city to Leh Palace can be organized.
We will make an early start after tea and breakfast to catch the morning prayers at Thiksey Monastery. Affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, it is situated on top of the hill in Thiksey village and is noted for its resemblance to Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. We will then head towards Shey where a picnic lunch will be awaiting us. After lunch we will rest a bit and then head for Shey Palace and surrounding areas. You will be given some time to yourself to explore on your own. We will then visit Shanti Stupa and head back to our hotel for dinner.
Post breakfast we will drive to chilling which will take about 2 hours from Leh. This being the first day of the trek we will only walk for about 3 hours. At chilling we will cross the Zanskar River on a hand pulled trolley. Once on the right bank of the river we will follow the Markha River upstream for about 3 hours until we reach Skiu village. At Skiu there is a confluence of the rivers from Markha and Shingo valleys. We will camp in the beautiful Skiu village for the night.
A very picturesque and pleasant hike up the Markha valley and well known for its trails crossing numerous streams. Though a pleasant walk, it is quite tiring as we will be walking for around 6 hours. We will also be crossing a few rivers on horseback or on foot as there are no bridges. Markha is a quaint village with a deserted fort and a small monastery.
From Markha the
country changes and the warm, relatively heavily wooded sections of the lower
Markha is left behind. We might be able to spot some wildlife in this area and
also the forts and monasteries perched cliff tops are quite a sight
Trek starts on a good path with several small inclines and a series of grassy ridges. There are a series of Mani walls (walls carved with Buddhist prayers) and chortens en route. This is one of the most beautiful high valleys in Ladakh and is dominated by the Kang Yatse II peak.
This day is crucial, so we will spend the morning recuperating from the last few days' fatigue. After sufficient rest, we will embark on a steep 3–hour climb to High Camp . Although the distance is quite short, the altitude makes the hike quite strenuous.
This is a day for rest and acclimatization prior to our ascent. Our guide will also give basic instruction on the simple techniques we will require for the climb. Afterwards there will be opportunities for walks above the campsite. Early dinner to get ready for our climb at midnight. Rest the day and check our gear.
The final push, beginning around midnight , will be both physically and mentally challenging. But once atop the summit (6250m), the surrounding scenery of Tibet is awe-inspiring. With the beautiful panoramic views of the Zanskar and the mighty Karakoram ranges, all of our numbing pains will melt away in a warm glow of success. After spending an hour on top of the world, we will descend to Nimaling, where we will while away the afternoon, relaxing and recovering from the climb.
After a hearty breakfast, we will cross Kongmaru La, the highest pass on the trek.. The 2-hour descend is quite steep, with its strange and other worldly rock formations. More river crossings bar our way before we arrive at the sour-spring of Chuskirmo (used in traditional medicine by the Amchi doctors).
Post breakfast we will pass through a couple of villages walking along the Shang river before reaching the small village of Chukdo, where we will be received by the car to drive us back to Leh.
Transfers to be provided after breakfast to the airport. If you want to extend your stay to travel to Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and other places in Ladakh please contact UFO consultants.