Day 1 – Arrive Delhi
Leave your hotel at 4am to join the morning flight to Leh capital of Ladakh, which in winter is rarely delayed- after an hour long spectacular flight over the Himalayas, we land in Leh. The cold air will catch at your throat and you will definitely feel the altitude- we stay in the comfortable hotel near the main bazaar, which has heated rooms. A free day to acclimatize.
Day 3 – Leh 3500m
We have two days to explore the bazaar of Leh and the striking Indus valley with its snowy backdrop that surrounds it, visiting some of the most ancient forts and gompas of the Tibetan Buddhist world, colorful gompas, the mosque, back alleys with steaming Muslim bread and tiny antique shops tucked away, colorful fruit and vegetable bazaars, polo fields and of course the regular 11 am ice hockey match!!!!.
Day 4 – Drive to Visit Shey_ Thiksey and Hemis monasteries
Day 5-Drive to Chilling and Trek to Tilad do Camp3100 mtrs
Mornings in Leh are special, with the harsh high Himalayan light softened by the dust in the air- in winter, the call to prayer from the mosque wakes you gently, breakfast in the hotel is a last touch of civilization, by eight we will be on the move, driving through the suburbs of Leh then along the Indus valley- the road climbs slowly past Spituk monastery, and bus loads of Ladakhi kids heading for where the Indus has been diverted into shallow pools for skating-we reach about 3700m where we normally stop to stretch our legs and we take in the view behind Leh nestles at the foot of the Ladakh range, its location dictated by the high route to China behind, from here you can really see how geography dictates history. We drive on, descending to the Indus again to its confluence with the Zanskar river-a dirt road from here takes us to Chilling as far as the jeep can go- here we have a simple lunch, and then it is on the ice -it takes an hour or so to get into a comfortable rhythm, and we have found that using crampons tends to be more of a hindrance, as they are not suitable for all ice conditions- as the gear list says, good trekking poles are essential, again as on the gear list, you must have boots with good, new soles that ‘stick’, luckily there are rarely any ice puzzles on this first day, except at the camp, where you ascend a frozen stream. The camp is on a sandy plateau on one side of the Zanskar river, where on this first day our tents will have been erected for us, we will introduce you to camp routines, followed by dinner, soup and a good, varied vegetarian meal- evenings in the dining tent, which is big enough to stretch your legs but small enough to be easily warmed, are very comfortable- before bed as part of the daily routine, we fill your bottles with boiling water- great to toast your toes, and drinkable in the morning.
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