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Remembering our wonderful journeys
Here is a list of treks and expeditions we have previously advertised.
The links may lead to updated versions of the info pages.
It may appear that we spend half our lives trekking. You would be almost right!
We care about each and every trek all the same.
* means these wonderful people have trekked multiple times with us.
+ means summitted the peak.
Back by popular request, we have a "Kanchen Gola Wild" trek of yesteryear.
We trek off the map up to explore the wild snow leopard areas around remote Yangma then pop over the scenic Nango La to Ghunsa where we say goodbye to our kitchen crew. Then we lodge trek up to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (still with porter support). Naturally we scramble a 6000m viewpoint and even sleep out under Jannu. From the middle hills to the remote alpine under the world's #3 peak, this is adventure+ in an area we know and love.
13 Oct-11 Nov, 30 days — hybrid expedition style & lodge trek — Jamie McGuinness — US$3980 — full
Double wild (includes south side too): 13 Oct-17 Nov, 36 days —$4280 — full
Remote Yangma, Lumbasamba and Makalu Base Camp; wahoo, another 42 day special. We explore "off the map" together the the Kanchenjunga Wild team, and when they turn to teahouses, we continue with the kitchen crew along the trek routes we pioneered all the way to Makalu Base camp. High and wild authentic adventure at the best time of the year.
Our spring Everest Base Camp trek was cancelled after the main mover had an accident. We ran a full series of Ladakh treks though!
Our Parang La upgrade, with a 6000m scramble. This is a sublime panoramic wilderness trek in dazzling light to Kibber and Ki Gompa with our unique detour wandering where wolves and snow leopard roam. We get 6000+m high and cross a few secret passes with some trademark exploring, then back to the more usual Parang La for a cultural Spiti and Shimla-Delhi end. Adventure from start to finish!
29 Aug-23 Sept, 26 days — Leh to Delhi — expedition style — Jamie McGuinness — US$3580
Team: Alan Kerr******, John Bermingham, Phil Whitwell**, Ralph Oertel, Mike Parle, Ranjan Banerji****
Crew: Lobsang, Raj, Tenzin, Kunga, Tenzin Dorje, Ram Lam, Sunoj, Tej Sing, Beli Ram, Bipin Kumar and 21 horses
Trekking is the journey, and although I worried about the relative sameness of the terrain through our desolate area, everyone else really appreciated the stark trek terrain then the variety the Parang La and the Spiti drive provided. We found our 2004 pass and crossed it, and with a further link to our 2014 route, we have linked up all the possible routes in the area and have material to document the little-known passes.
Starting at Tsomoriri was a delight, especially as we skipped Korzok, and although we pushed the acclimatization, nobody had any real issues (diamox helps!). Kiangdam is a favourite campsite...
Crossing the desolate "empty quarter", I was worried about the days of similar terrain, although this was broken up by our 6000m scree slog up (Thank you Lobsang, especially, for assisting Ranjan meet his goal). The feedback was otherwise though, with the openness and the Zanskar range castles a highlight.
With few stones to trip on, we ate up distances on the smooth plains, so quite different from most other Ladakh and Zanskar areas. Although we didn't see as much wildlife as I would have liked, we did see Tibetan Argali sheep and kiang, and a fox and others. No wolves this time.
More thoughts sometime...
Trails less trekked... Backpacking is trekking, carrying all your own gear and camping out in the most amazing Ladakh wilderness camps, but with the satisfaction of still helping the local economy. We share the tricks and neat itineraries that ease in the rigours, and luxe out at our resupply breaks, every detail perfectly planned for a satisfying trek with minimal preparation time. You bring your personal gear, we provide the tent, stove, fuel and supplies for you to carry!
Trails less trekked... For the first two sections, we didn't meet another trekker, and indeed only one bemused shepherd, and for the third section although we crossed paths with a few trekkers, we didn't meet them; kiang were in abundance though. It was only on the forth section, as we approacched the Markha, that we began to meet trekkers, and brimming campsites showed why we take the lesser trekked routes. Our last camp also demonstrated our relatively luxe way of trekking, meeting two backpacking couples carrying 13 and 18 days supplies - we never carried more than five days, and that was certainly not light...
Our first two sections were tough, with longer days but perfectly graded sleeping altitudes as we built up acclimatization. After a day's rest at Tso Kar, with Lobsang expertly filling our belly, we peaked out at over 6000m a couple of times, particularly satisfying as these were personal bests for Tomie and Lesa (who can be especially proud as a cancer survivor as she has a few bits of lung missing!). The weather was nasty, at least once we had camp set up, but didn't upset our itinerary.
This was also a surprisingly good wildlife trek. Dozens of kiang, curious domestic yaks slipping by our camps, marmots, curious and shy pikas and voles. Those are the usual, but we also saw the rarely see, an owl during daytime, two wolves with their tails between their legs, perhaps we scared them while they were hunting blue sheep, which we spotted a moment later. We also watched relatively immature white-neck feather vultures (Himalayan Griffons) feeding on a marmot, a real highlight for Esther and Jamie.
It was also a trek of variety, each section wildly different scenery and character from the last, covering all of the main trekking zones, much appreciated by all.
On the supplies side, Lesa and Tomie showed how home-dried meals can be, showing up what was available in Leh, which isn't much. We have some work to do there.
The wildlife highlight had to be our Nat Geo lunch spectacle of two kiang going at each other, hard out racing each other until we were breathless just watching, then a neck-biting finale, and all while we simple ate lunch.
After the hilltop gompas and forts of the Markha Valley, we get remote and wild in the domain of blue sheep and their predators, snow leopards and wolves, and cute pikas and marmots, and even the free roaming kiang. We cross high and wild passes, and scramble the hills beside for a real adventure.
From hot to cold, and from voles to kiang, everyone rose to the challenges for a real adventure. More to come...
Across Zanskar has always been the classic trek; we avoid the new roads with two adventurous variations that few dare for mesmerizing views, adventurous canyons, stunning wild camping and pretty villages. Rugged, colourful rock contrasts with the azure rivers and green village oases. Ancient monasteries cling to rock faces and Buddhist chortens dot the immense landscape. It is the updated classic and one of the very best adventure treks there is.
11 June-1 July, 21 days — Leh to Leh — expedition style — Jamie & Esther — US$2780 — full
Team: Fred M****, Kurt Herbert***, James** & Michaela, Stacey Bowker and Mike Farris***
Crew: Lobsang, Raj, Sherap, Samphal, Ram Lal, Sunoj, Teej Singh and 15 horses
What an adventure, start to finish!
Thank you, everyone, for joining, and to our superstar crew. As Fred said, the level of adventure or perhaps difficulty is British-style understated above. Those river crossings, the passes, even the bridges, and just the whole experience!
The heavy later winter falls of snow were evident driving out of Leh, and were a feature on most pass crossings too. I envisaged our first couple of days to be less than exciting given that we were simply following the Tsarap Chu (river) as we acclimatized, however each day in Shun had it's own character and was interesting trekking, sometimes above the river, sometimes close to the roar of a river almost in flood, exploring dicy bridges.
The first major river crossing was only mid-thigh deep, luckily far from the chest deep Lobsang once experienced. We had timed it well. The first pass was a tough but rewarding slog, the elation of pass success dampened by a horse dying on the pass, apparently of altitude sickness. The horses had acclimatized similiar to us, including three days at 4400m before meeting us, so this was surprising to everyone, but Teej did admit it was this horse's first time to Ladakh. A distressing scene.
After the first pass, as the jagged mountains randomly stretch into the distance, the Ladakhi saying really is self--evident: "Only the best of friends or the worst of enemies come to Ladakh". A curiously long, scenic traverse brought us to a camp hacked out of the hillside (thanks, Kim!).
Dropping into familiar territory, we were soon at the remote village of Shade where it rained for our rest day, although that didn't dampen the Scrabble competition or reading. Thankfully our double pass day was less eventful than our first pass, although apparently, the locals had scared and driven on a bear in the direction we were heading three days prior.
We shared a stream with nomads who came and explored our camp - and we explored theirs, petting baby yaks and watching the mother naks being milked, a delightfully natural experience.
The second major pass of the trip was the 5160m Pangdang La, and instead of the flowers of last year, much of the top was snow-covered, some great boot skiing for those who dared. Thankfully, the waters of this canyon afternoon cooperated, with fun crossings and we made it to Zangla Sumdo before the stream rose too high. Missing were the ibex of last year, indeed on this trek we saw little wildlife, other than blue sheep at our acclimatization camp as we left Leh, and one other spot, and a variety of birds. The crew did see and scare the bear by a side stream though.
Then those impossibly steep-sided canyons down to Zangla... The river had not really dropped and so we had to work our way around several normal crossing points and even pull out a rope for a couple. The crew were fantastic though, Lobsang, the bear, standing in the river helping trekkers across, and the others forming a chain to support on the most challenging crossings. It really was a particularly satisfying day, and perhaps the last day for descent for a while as the stream continued to rise.
A bear still featured on the Lingshed section, three shops had been broken into just days before we arrived, biscuits and uncooked rice seemed to be the favourite. Thank goodness it didn't learn to open the beer as we needed some "sports recovery beverage" by this stage. We had the most delightful lama-gompa experience at Lingshed then some harder trekking in real rain as we took an unplanned trek over the Singge La as the road was awash and boulder-strewn.
Among the many highlights I have to mention the meals, the delightful dinners with a real variety of non-greasy dishes, Raj was an awesome cook - thank you. And thanks, Mike, for the whiskey!
Esther, Stacey, Fred, Kurt, Mike, James & Micheala and Jamie
atop the 5160m Pandang La - the Zanskar Spring trek team
Sherap, Sunoj, Samphal, teej Singh, ram Lal, Raj and Lobsang - the superb Zanskar Spring trek crew
You can fly in and out - but it is a real adventure to overland both ways ... !
Apr, 23 days — teahouse style — Gombu
Team: Peter W
Crew: Pasang Gombu and Tishi
We summited Mera Peak on Wed 12 April, at approx 0730. Glorious weather, Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Kangchenjunga all on display.
I think only one westerner summited on each of 10 and 11 April. We had 2 large parties of Thais and Koreans climbing with us, we passed most of them and 3 Koreans were at the summit crux when we arrived.
We were lucky with the weather, there was plenty of afternoon mist on the trail before 10 April and it snowed at Khola Kharka 4200m a few days later down the trail. Walking out over the high pass and past the lakes was wonderful. First couple of days were easy, just as well as part of me getting fit on the job. Then the track got a bit steeper with plenty of ups and downs. Until we met the hikers from Lukla coming over the pass we were alone in the bamboo jungle apart from the odd local. Had a couple of "rest" days on the way up at 4300m and 4900m, went for day hikes and slept back at the same altitude. The acclimation process went well, just one headache at Mera La 5300m, was gone the next day.
Guide Sherpa Gombu is a hearty sociable fellow, he always found me a glass of the local millet or rice brew (Rakshi or Chang, helps one sleep...). I stopped this medicine above 3600m. He seemed to know everybody on the trail, perhaps on account of him having climbed Mera 67 or so times. 56yrs now, but still has the legs for it. And our porter Tishi, 17yrs, a strong boy who is still growing up. Very nice guy. Like all teenagers loves a chat on his mobile phone...
No aeroplane ride back to Kathmandu, we walked to the start of the "road" at Sotang and then the fun trusting your life to the skill of the jeep driver. ...