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This winter, join Altitude Adventure India for an adventure in moutains of Ladakh, where temperatures plummet way below freezing and a white blanket of snow covers most parts of this primeval landscape. The herbivores descend from the highest reaches of the mountains in search of food and water. And, following its prey, so does the Snow Leopard. In the high mountains of the Himalayan realm rules a mysterious cat. Stealthy. Powerful. Legendary. And Endangered. It is the grey ghost – The Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)!
Join us on on this adventure through some of the most breathtaking landscapes while traveling in one of the harshest terrains of the world. Photograph the diverse wildlife that survives in this extreme habitat. And possibly lose yourself in the hypnotic stare of the grey ghost of the mountains – the Snow Leopard!
Day 01 Arrive in Leh. Acclimatize in hotel with central heating. Photography sessions in the day.
Day 02 Visit monasteries around Leh in the morning. Visit Shanti Stupa in the evening.
Day 03 Drive from Leh to Zingchen. Trek to Husing in Hemis National Park.
Day 04 to 06 Explore Zingchen, Husing, Rumbak for Snow Leopard and other wildlife. Plan would vary based on sighting records at the time of the tour.
Day 07 Trek back to Zingchen. Drive to Leh
Day 08 Depart form Leh
Arrive in Leh. Check in to the heated rooms at the hotel and relax during the day, getting acclimatized to high the altitude of the mountains.
We’ll have an orientation session about the tour followed by sessions on wildlife photography and landscape photography this afternoon. Overnight in Leh.
We will venture out into the cold winter of Ladakh today, visiting a few monasteries not faraway from Leh. The outing will familiarize you with winter landscapes and weather. Expect to see a beautiful blue Indus River, partially frozen on either sides, flowing through mountains covered with snow. This is just a glimpse of more beautiful things to come. An evening visit to Shanti Stupa high up the town will give you panoramic views of Leh and some breathtaking views of Tsemo Gompa with the mountains around it as the sun goes down.
Our Snow Leopard exploration starts today! We drive for an hour from Leh to reach Zingchen in Hemis National Park. Here, we gather our belongings and trek for around 1 1/2 hours to Husing where we set up camp. The actual walk is not far and the track isn’t steep, but for some it will take a bit of effort at this altitude! Husing is a perfect location in a corridor linking three valleys where there is much evidence of Snow Leopard. After lunch at the camp spend the afternoon looking for Snow Leopards in the Tarbung area, returning to Husing tented camp for the night. This afternoon and the rest of the time in Hemis will remain flexible depending on the sightings of Snow Leopard, so you may move camp or have a night or two at a local homestay in Rumbak (a wonderful experience) when required, but expect most of the time to be under canvas.
The junction of Husing Nala and Tarbung Nala and local high ridges will be scanned; there will be a hike to a vantage point at Rumbak Sumdo and the area of the parachute café to scan for sightings. During this time you should see Chukar, White-winged Redstart, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Fire-fronted Serin (depending on dates), Himalayan Snowcock, Yellow-billed and Red-billed Choughs, Robin Accentor, Horned Lark, Tibetan Snowfinch, perhaps Eurasian Eagle Owl and a few other species. Look out for groups of Blue Sheep (Bharal), Mountain Weasel, Red Fox, Stone Marten and among the boulders on warmer days Royle’s Pika often venture out. Overnight at Husing tented camp.
Note: depending on the tracks and signs of the Snow Leopard you might change camping site – there are up to three likely camping locations. The camp staff will arrange everything for you and your main bags will be transported by pony/mule so you just have to carry your optics and day bag.
Depending on sightings and the weather we may move location today to focus on the Rumbak area. The mountains around Rumbak are home to Asiatic Ibex, Ladakh Urial and Tibetan Argali, though these species can prove difficult here and are potentially easier to see at other locations outside of Hemis National Park which will be visited later in the tour. After breakfast, the trek to Rumbak village (again not that far) will take approximately 2 to 3 hours where we may camp or stay in a homestay for the night, or just return to the original camp. Further exploration today may take us to 4600m up towards Yurutse where it is possible to see Tibetan Argali, also known as Great Tibetan Sheep.
We’ll continue our quest with more trekking, looking for tracks and signs, scanning the ridges and mountain-sides with telescopes and binoculars. Tibetan Wolf tracks and signs are likely with sightings possible, but more difficult. We will visit Husing Pass (4450 m) and scan from excellent vantage points on the pass. On another day we may hike for 3 – 4 hours towards Gandala base to look for Tibetan Argali in an area where the habitat is also good for Eurasian Lynx, Tibetan Wolf and Tibetan Partridge. Nights will be in tented camps.
Trek back to Zingchen, meet your car and drive back to Leh to enjoy the comforts of your hotel after 4 nights of camping in Hemis National Park. Overnight at Hotel.
Nostalgia sets in as it’s time to head back home. After breakfast, we say our goodbyes to travel back home. Altitude adventure representative will escort you to the airport for your flight out. Or else, speak to us about an extension tour to explore more of beautiful Ladakh.
The tour price includes:
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis at hotel in Leh. Basic camps/home stays elsewhere
- Ground transportation during the tour
- All meals (basic vegetarian food) during the tour
- All permits and fees
- Photography sessions, expert advice and assistance and image reviews during the tour.
The tour price excludes:
- Additional food/snacks, bottled water or other beverages ordered
- Anything else that is not part of the includes list above.
- - Backpack (50-60 Ltrs) with Rain Cover
- - Trekking Shoes. (Preferably Quechua Forclaz Hiking Boots)
- - Gumboots (Can be purchased in Leh)
- - 4 Pairs of Full sleeve shirts/T-Shirt
- - 2 Pairs of Track Pants
- - 1 Pair of Waterproof Pant
- - 4 Pair of cotton socks. 3 pairs of woolen socks.
- - 1 Full Sleeve Fleece
- - One Down Jacket
- - 1 Wind Jacket
- - 2 Pairs of Thermal Inner
- - 2 pair waterproof hand gloves
- - 2 Pair woolen Gloves
- - 1 Neck Warmer
- - Sun Cap
- - One Scarf
- - Light towel
- - Lip Balm
- - Cold Cream & Sun Screen (SPF 40+)
- - Water Bottle 1 Lt – Thermos
- - Headlamp or torch with a fresh pair of batteries
- - Personal Toilet Kit and toilet paper
- - Personal Medicine Kit
- - Dark Sunglasses (U/V protected)
- - Walking Stick (At least one)
- - People who were spectacles- Should avoid contact lenses and use photochromatic glasses instead.
The Tour has easy treks suitable for first time trekker with basic to above average fitness.
But, at high altitude as the air gets thinner oxygen is less abundant and you will find difficult to breathe. However, the human body has adaptations to altitude that allow it to partially compensate for the lack of oxygen provided you give sufficient time to acclimatize. We have given 2 days in the itinerary to sufficiently acclimatize your body to high attitude and weather conditions.
Trekking Experience: Prior trekking experience is helpful for this tour but not necessary.
Fitness Required: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before this tour is preferable though not critically important.
Registering for the tour is an understanding that you will take care of your fitness before coming.
We suggest the following training schedule to prepare for your fitness before the tour.
You can train yourself to run 3 kms in 30 minutes as per the schedule given below. Remember always start your training program with stretching and warm up exercises.
Stretching: Stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders.
Training schedule for 1 Month:
Week 1: Start with 10 minute of brisk walk and then jog for 10 minutes and finally 10 minutes of easy walk.
Week 2: 5 minutes of brisk walk 15 minutes of jog 5 minutes of easy walk
Week 3: 5 minutes of brisk walk 15 minutes of jog 5 minutes of easy walk
Week 4: 5 minutes of brisk walk and jog for 25 min and cool down your body
If you are somebody who prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.
Record your run on an app like Nike Run or Sports Tracker to have a better understanding of your routine. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button. Review your run on the app to see how you performed on that day and continuously monitor your progress
Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run.
If a tour is called off by us at the last moment due to a natural calamity/ unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh, curfew, etc), Altitude Adventure India will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
If you cancel your tour, the cancellation charges are as given below:
- Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek –full refund.
- Cancellation between 30 days and 15 days to the start of the trek –50% refund.
- Cancellation less than 15 days to the start of the trek –no refund.
Refunds will be processed within 7-10 working days from the date of cancellation.
In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 5% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid.
You have to reach Leh for the Chadar Trek. Leh is the capital city of Ladakh, situated in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, India.
Leh can be reached by Road and by Air.
Reaching Leh by Road: During winters the main Manali – Leh Highway and Srinagar – Leh gets closed due to the snowfall on high altitude passes and the only way to reach Ladakh in January is by flying directly to Leh.
Reaching Leh by Air: Leh Airport is situated few kms on the outskirts of Leh city. All flights to Leh in the winter are in the morning.
Prepad Cabs are easily available once you are out of the arrival gate. Mention the name of your guest house/hotel and the cab will drop you there.