trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles
Colossal blunder or Adventurous Side Trip?
Though I managed to get myself lost for 8 hours, this was to be the best day of the trek. 🙂
Was I carrying too much? Missing anything?
As it turned out, carrying 3 books was crazy. Instead I should have brought some sort of power supply for my iPhone. Audio books are best on the trail.
Around one corner I stumbled into a big herd of Blue Sheep.
Actually, the boys at this parachute camp were providing a salt lick.
These parachutes are seasonal restaurants. They all serve hot and cold drinks. Few provide hot food.
I stayed some time snapping pics.
It’s here that you either ascend to climb Stok Kangri 6153m (20,182 feet) … or head for the Markha circuit via one of two passes.
Up and up.
Beautiful and somewhat mystical.
My lunch for the first few days was peanut butter on Naan. I’d purchased these flatbreads from outdoor Muslim bakers near the mosques in Leh. Less than $1 for 10. They keep well on the the trail.
One very good reason to come to Ladakh end of season is to enjoy the autumn colours. It reminded me of Yukon in the Fall.
These odd high altitude plants are mostly leaf.
I finally reached Stok Pass. Alon from Israel arrived same time from the other side.
We were both happy to get some weather. It made the crossing more memorable.
Just behind Alon were 3 more hikers, not quite so enthusiastic about the snow.
Dropping down the weather cleared.
This is an extreme desert. Precipitation is rare.
I love desert landscapes.
Arriving to the other side my plan was to shortcut – skipping Rumbak village. Why descend when I could traverse the mountain?
A series of cairns seemed to confirm my off-trail route.
I left a Summit Stone in this sentry.
Climbing high I ASSumed I’d be able to traverse towards Kanda Pass in the next valley.
I ASSumed wrong. I was nowhere near Kanda. 😦
Daylight failing, all I could do was set up my tent well above 5000m.
Nothing lives up there. But a couple of vultures did fly-bys. Hoping I was dead.
It was an impressive campsite.
If needed, I could melt snow.
I listened to Jack Reacher on audio through the night.
See all my high resolution photos from this day on flickr.