trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles
Coffee in the tent. Two pots.
Nearby was a big marmot hole. Currently occupied by this pica.
I packed up sooner than anyone else in camp (aside from Sergei). Nobody arrived to collect my fee.
I’d never seen so many picas in my life as I did this day. The Ladakh population is quite fearless too.
It’s easy to see we were reaching high altitudes again.
Tsigu lake 4690m.
Here’s Kang Yaze peak 6400m.
Looking back down the Markha a gorgeous vista.
I caught a glimpse of Sergei, perhaps a half hour ahead.
He was en route to Gongmaru Pass. Which looks very easy from here.
I stopped at the parachute in Nyimaling 4848m. (VERY high!) If you’re smart, you overnight here in these tents giving more time next day to get over.
I started up towards the pass at 11am.
Looking back to Kang Yaze mountain.
That’s Langthang Valley, the start of the difficult, remote trek to Pang. (My next trip to Ladakh.)
My climb looks easy. But it took a lot longer than anticipated to get to Gongmaru La 5287m.
Surprisingly, I caught Sergei. And this dog.
Sergei started down while I enjoyed the top for some time.
I like that last photo, using it for Facebook.
Every time you reach a high pass it’s worth checking both sides. In this case you could easily climb to 5500m or higher. I didn’t have the energy. Instead dropped down to the other side.
This guy and his horses coming up looked exhausted.
It would be easier to fly.
“It takes 3 1/2 hrs to Chuskyurmo from the pass.”
Kucharski – the author of my guidebook – bungled that estimate. It must take some people 6 hours to make this descent.
“ … steep, slippery, precipitous, stony, … “
Yep. And worse.
Engineers at various times have tried to make a safer trail. But landslides and washouts are difficult to predict.
Boulder hopping is a necessary skill.
The trail seemed to get worse and worse.
I got fed up after this point. Stopped taking photos. When I finally reached Chuskyurmo I plunked down my pack at the first official campsite.
See all my high resolution photos from this day on flickr.