Alchi Circuit, Ladakh – day 1

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

day 0 | day 1 | day 2 | day 3 | not recommended

After 2 days rain delay, the morning dawned lovely in Leh.

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First stop was the outdoor bakery near the main Mosque.

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I picked up 10 flat bread for less than $1. My hiking lunches. With peanut butter. 🙂

At the NEW Bus Station I found the (unmarked) 8am bus to Alchi, about 70km away. It was packed.

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Alchi Monastery or Alchi Gompa … is said to be the oldest and most famous. …

The monastery complex was built, according to local tradition, by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055. However, inscriptions in the preserved monuments ascribe it to a Tibetan noble called Kal-dan Shes-rab later in the 11th century …

The artistic and spiritual details of both Buddhism and the Hindu kings of that time in Kashmir are reflected in the wall paintings … These are some of the oldest surviving paintings in Ladakh. …

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I made the Kora. Let’s hope my hike goes well.

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My last meal.

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The Italian woman who joined me at the tiny restaurant in Alchi square was hospitalized in Leh the day before. Altitude sickness. She was given 2 shots and 3 different pills!

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The restaurant owner pointed me in the right direction at 11am. Wandering though local fields.

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I was at an altitude of 3,100m (10,200ft). And needed to climb at least 2km vertical!

Here’s the one and only lizard I saw on the trip. He stayed behind in the sun.

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It’s an easy start. Winding up a Himalayan valley.

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Still, I was worried. I’d need to cross a huge, difficult pass, about the same height as I could see on the other side of the Indus valley.

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Higher and higher.

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Up a side valley I spotted Blue Sheep. Here’s the herd at 32x zoom.

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That oasis across the Indus is the famed Buddhist temple Likir.

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I set up my tent at the last possible site, the highest shepard shelter. My guidebook called it Stakspi La Base Camp. It was 3:30pm.

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In the bright Tibetan sunlight, the autumn colours were lovely.

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My goal for tomorrow is climbing up and over this 5000m+ wall.

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Goodnight.

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See all the high resolution photos from this day.

day 0 | day 1 | day 2 | day 3 | not recommended

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