Lobsang Chomphel

 

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Phuntsok cooks delicately flavoured healthy Asian cuisine; do it in comfort!

Kanji village - Jamie McGuinness

Trekkers say

I would like to thank you all for your invaluable contributions to this unique experience. I think I speak for all my friends when I say that the trek was great, the itinerary very well chosen ... Lobsang was the bestest of all guides and his team was also quite competent and attentive. Regarding Lobsang, I was impressed by his special gift to read our needs and offer solutions even before we had a chance to verbalize anything. He also knows all the best camp sites and trails and is quite resourceful. Raj was our cook and he did an excellent job. The helpers were quite attentive and always ready to make themselves useful to us. I was also impressed with how gently Ram Lal and Sirouch treated the horses, unlike other parties that we crossed paths with on this trip.

Thanks again, Adriana

 

... thanks for a wonderful trip!!!

Eileen and I had a enjoyed everything and appreciate all the planning and advice. Felt we were very well prepared.

Lobsang was a terrific guide. He is very professional and organized - I appreciated his sense of humor (glad he put up with
mine)!

Very impressed when Lobsang divided our tips openly and equally among the crew. He also included the two drivers with a smaller share. Such a strong display of leadership - guessing each of the crew would love to work with him again!

Appreciative of the strong and very competent supportive crew - they worked!

And the food was delicious!

... Felt that Lobsang read the group VERY well.

- John & Eileen

 

Trek thoughts

This is still an absolutely classic adventure trek that I so wish I was trekking but have prior commitments.

Why this season, September only? The rivers. We have multiple adventurous river crossings and these are only reliably and safely possible during September. I should point out that around the middle of September, the season switches in this region from the warmth of summer to suddenly distinctly colder, and endless sunny days. Do pbe prepared with cooler weather trekking gear, similar to what you would pack for an autumn Nepal high country trek.

Why Project Himalaya?

In a nutshell: healthy, tasty meals; caring, experienced crew; quality camping gear, and more. We really care and offer amazing service in every well thought out detail, our trek service is better (or at minimum equal) to any other company so that you can just turn up with the right gear and enjoy.

A delicious, healthy dinner coming up

Lobsang serves a delicious meal of assorted flavourful but non-spicy curries - Jamie

Experience level

This is pure trekking, no climbing, but you should not be scared of heights as some of the trails are relatively challenging. You don't need to be an experienced trekking however you must know that you love being in the great outdoors and like the concept of camping.

Trek comfort

Our trek set up is the best, the most comfortable there is in Ladakh. We have comfortable, warm dining inside and carry an outside dining set with super-comfortable chairs as well. We provide a thick (by trekking standards) mattress to save you flying with a bulky closed cell mat, have clean filtered water available at camp all the time, use good, appropriate tents, roomy for a single and or a palace for doubles. We really have worked at making our trek set up the best, and with horses carrying the loads there is no guilt about the extra gear.

Gear

Tough sandals for river crossings are essential! Crocs or similar light shoes are NOT good enough. Keen sandals/shoes are the best, but Tevas are OK also. Understand they will get wet frequently though so should be quick-drying. Using an old pair of running shoes can also work but note they fill with stones and so need a quick clean whereas washing the small stones out of the Keens is easier, with them still on. With multiple river crossings we will likely trek in the sandals for a couple of kilometers at a time.

Jamie's Flickr photo sets - explore them!

To see the detailed itinerary and more photos use a laptop/desktop browser or tablet in landscape (and hit refresh).

Inspiration

The Zanskar Canyons trek can be seen as a combination of two previous treks, here are some photos from my Flickr photos to inspire. First up, our 2012 Kanji Canyons:

2012 Kanji Canyons

 

And our 2013 Zanskar Traverse (the short photo version here):

2013 Best Zanskar

Click the photo to go to Flickr or use the arrow keys to see them here within this page.

Detailed itinerary

Early arrival

We spend three nights at around 3500m/11,500ft so reasonable acclimatization but if you are new to altitude or to Leh, perhaps plan to arrive one day early and we will arrange transfers and hotel and show you around.

Included in all our Ladakh trips is a sightseeing trip, with or without a cultural guide (your choice) and it is your choice of where to go; many people joining are previous trekkers so have seen some places previously.

If you are more ambitious we can also help you arrange a day or overnight trip to Alchi and Basgo Gompas, a day rafting trip on the Zanskar River or even a mountain bike descent of the Khardung La (best a few days into your Leh sojourn). If you have been working flat out you are welcome to just relax, kick back and de-stress too.

Day 1 - meet Leh 3480m

Phew, after a long series of flights, you are here! Look for a sign with your name on it at the airport, and our wonderful drivers Ang Chuk or Pasang will pick you up.

Jamie meets you at the hotel on your arrival and we discuss altitude over tea/coffee or breakfast and perhaps introduce Leh and show you the better places to eat. Most people crash out for a few hours and spend the day relaxing; do drink plenty of fluids which helps the acclimatization process. We normally go out to dinner together, let's meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30pm.

2 - Leh

This is a day for sightseeing but with some flexiblity to cope with people who have previously visited Leh and already seen some of the sights. For today perhaps the best plan is to visit some of the world's most revered gompas and monasteries a short distance from Leh. We will help plan and arrange a jeep, and a local cultural guide if you like (included). Usually we arrange as a morning sightseeing trip with lunch at the good restaurant at Thikse or a late lunch back at Leh then you can relax in the afternoon although we can easily arrange a full day trip.

Choosing where to go is the biggest challenge, there are so many special places to visit. To the east is Shey, Thikse, Hemis, Chemde, Thagthok, Stakna, Matho and Stok, although don't plan on visiting all of them in one day.

Heading west out of Leh are Spituk, Phyang, Nyemo where the Indus meets the Zanskar River, and further afield are Basgo, Likir and Alchi.

Prayer time at Matho Gompa

Prayer time at Matho Gompa - Jamie

3 - drive Lamayuru 3550m

We drive to timeless Lamayuru Gompa, exploring it, and meet our horse team here. Spectacularly set atop a hill, this much photographed gompa on the main Srinagar-Leh road has been an inspiration to travellers.

**This detailed itinerary is a work in progress.**

The sublime Lamayuru monastery - Jamie

4 - trek Shilla Orchard 3250m

Trekking! We stretch the legs crossing the baby Prinkti La at 3750m and camp a little above Shilla in an orchard.

A luxury trekking lunch - Jamie

5 - trek Shillakong 4150m

The gorge here is legendary, and still an adventure as the tame morning stream starts to rage in the afternoon. You are warned!

6 - trek Kanji 3850m via Yongma La 4720m

The reward for the relentless climb is a glorious new vista, delightfully colourful crinkled mountains. One time we stayed at a delightful camp near Dumbur but this trek we will aim for Kanji to experience once of the more picturesque villages there is.

Ornella admires the view from the Yongma La - Jamie

7 - trek Kanji La Base Camp 4345m

Today we move smartly, despite the short trekking distance as we should beat a stream that rages in the afternoon.

8 - trek Kanji Sumdo 4300m via Kanji La 5250m

Glorious! Lunch on top of the pass? We continue down through a delightful canyon and again, if we can cross the river, we continue to good camping. If we can't cross then it is interesting camping!

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This detailed itinerary is a work in progress...

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27 - drive Leh 3480m

We drive from Zanskar Sumdo back to Leh with Ang Chuk and friends. It is also possible to finish in Manali instead, talk with us.

Leh from Shanti Stupa

Leh from Shanti Stupa - Jamie

Day 28 - depart (/Leh 3480m)

Ang Chuk or our other drivers take you to the airport for your morning flight.

Ang Chuk with his Scorpio jeep

Ang Chuk, one of our regular drivers, with his turbo Scorpio jeep - Jamie

If staying, Dzomsa does washing by the kilo and there is plenty to see and do, or just kick back and relax over a variety of meals.

Day 29 - optional departure

You are free to fly out today to Delhi - or to stay in Leh for longer, or journey overland to Manali or Srinagar... The Leh-Delhi flight should get you to Delhi before midday, but do note that on rare occasions it can be delayed a day by bad weather.

Julley!