Using knowledge built up over seasons of exploring, this is our unique take on the Mentok Kangri climb, and our route is substantially more straightforward and with better acclimatization than any other company offers. In 2014 we switched from Lungser Kangri to Mentok II on short notice and had an absolute blast, with everyone summitting, and thoroughly exploring the area too.
Beginning in Leh we settle and sightsee around the ancient, colourful Buddhist gompas of "Little Tibet" then drive along the Leh-Manali highway over the famed Tanglang La with a very necessary acclimatization night en route. Off the main highway, we begin trekking and can really stretch our legs following a delightful river for several days while we acclimatize, almost unnoticeably gaining altitude, trekking through a sublime textured valley where yak and pashmina goats roam, and the wolves that hunt them.
At our base camp we have a couple of days to explore and acclimatize, all the while with glorious panoramas, and then we ascend Mentok Kangri for a 6250+m experience. There are two peaks accessible here, we will climb one. Mentok I is our aim and is the highest of the two with an altitude of at least 6250m; Google Earth put it at 6261m, and another report at 6277m. Mentok II, which we climbed in 2014, is 6210m on the Olizane map and we roughly measured it at 6250m/20,500ft.
Although a trek with an expedition peak, there is little roughing it. Our trekking style is surprisingly comfortable with our fully self-contained horse caravan in
a rhythm untouched by the always-on daily stress. After a nourishing breakfast
we trek, sometimes in broad valleys, sometimes tight canyons and over windy passes, having a simple
but delicious lunch and then set up camp when we find that perfect spot. Afternoon tea leads to time to relax or explore, and
a tasty Asian cuisine dinner and an evening of kicking back then finally fitful sleep.
the trekking life and climbing life, join us!
extra hotel nights: single $50, double $60, suite $96
Fort Road, Leh
Tel: +91 1982 252 153, 251 673
Mob: +91 94191 78401
Our service includes
Leh airport transfers
Hotels and guesthouses
Group transportation by private vehicle
Leh sightseeing half/full day
Leh group dinner
Expedition-style trek includes
all meals and hot drinks
roomy single tent (huge double for couples)
very experienced crew
comfy foam mattress
Nice touches included
compact Himalayan library and maps
cards and Scrabble
solar charging for cameras, USB devices
filtered drinking water at camp
Gear available for rent
Ice axe and crampons
limited boots for rent; better to bring your own
Our service excludes
meals in Leh
Delhi airport transfer, hotel, but we can advise
Insurance, India visa, international flights, equipment rental, alcohol and soft drinks, laundry,
tipping and other items of a personal nature
Tips & extra cash
allow approx $150 for Leh meals
we suggest $150-200 per trekker for the crew tips pool
We have multiple itineraries with our delightful and unique Sangtha start.
Day 0 - Sunday 6 Aug - arrive Delhi
Day 1 - Monday 7 August 2017 - meet in Leh 3500m
2 - Leh 3500m
3 - Leh 3500m
4 - drive Lhatoo 4000m with sightseeing
5 - drive Sangtha, trek Yabuk Barma/Yogma 4340m
6 - trek Tozay Chu camp 4450m
7 - trek Numa camp ~4550m
8 - trek Lanyar 4850m via Thelakung La 5020m
9 - trek Thargang 4740m
10 - trek Mentok Kangri BC 5080m
11 - rest Mentok Kangri BC 5080m
12 - explore Mentok Kangri BC 5080m
13 - BC 5080m: climb Mentok Kangri 6261m
14 - trek Lanyar 4850m or higher
15 - trek ~Kyama Yogma 5180m via Lanyar La 5860m
(And the hill beside the pass is 6006m)
16 - rest-explore
17 - trek Korzok 4540m via Yalung Nyau La 5430m
18 - drive Leh
Day 19 - Friday 25 August - depart
Day 20 - Saturday 26 Aug - optional later departure
Climbing Mentok II; Mentok I is only slightly steeper - Jamie
To see the detailed itinerary and more photos use a laptop/desktop browser or tablet in landscape (and hit refresh).
We plan to follow the itinerary however roads wash
out, or are extended, occasionally people get sick, logistical challenges arise,
or we hear of a better campsite, and so
we will adapt it as needed.
(Day 0 - arrive Delhi / early Leh arrival)
We spend three nights in Leh, so reasonable acclimatization to the
3480m/11,415ft altitude 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 are a couple of sightseeing trips, 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 (~3100m) and Basgo Gompas or further afield Lamayuru (~3500m), a day rafting trip on the Zanskar River or or hammer down the Khardung La on a mountain bike (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, and adjust a little more slowly to the time zone change.
Sophie admires the mural at Basgo - Jamie
Day 1 - meet in Leh 3480m
Phew, after a long series of flights, you are here! Look for a Project Himalaya sign or a simple 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 health over
tea/coffee or breakfast and introduce Leh (if you are a first timer) 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, perhaps pop some vitamins and let your body adjust to the new time zone.
We normally go out to
dinner together, let's meet in the peaceful hotel garden at 6:30pm. We eat at some of our favourite clean (very important!) restaurants: Chopsticks, G Kitchen, Tibet Kitchen, Open Hand and Summer Harvest.
2 - Leh 3480m
This is a day for sightseeing and relaxing. 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 trip with lunch at Leh (or Thikse) 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. Thikse also has a good restaurant for lunch.
Heading west out of Leh are Spituk, Phyang, Nyemo where the Indus meets the Zanskar River, and further afield are Basgo, Likir and Alchi.
3 - Leh 3480m
After gentle sightseeing yesterday we exercise a little more today. In the morning we wander up to the palace and gompa above Leh, and before dinner, perhaps up to the Peace/Shanti Stupa for a Leh
Because tomorrow we stay 4000m, at minimum we need three nights here in Leh prior to moving
Leh from Shanti Stupa - Jamie
4 - drive Lhatoo 4000m with sightseeing
Starting a trek in Ladakh always involves the altitude issue and we take acclimating seriously, and have vast experience helping people acclimate. For this trek we break the jump of 870m/2850ft between Leh and our trek start into two parts, spending the night at 4000m between, a proven formula. We have watched other groups ruin their treks with over-large altitude gains out of Leh.
It is only a couple of hours drive to our camp on the Leh-Manali road so we
visit some gompas that are further afield from Leh along the way such as Matho,
Stakna, busy Hemis or Chemre and Thag Thog. What haven't
you already seen?
Ang Chuk, one of our regular drivers, with his turbo Scorpio jeep - Jamie
We camp at Lhatoo with our trek crew, which is more
comfortable than the simple hotels there, and get our first taste of Phuntsok's
The 2014 team camping en route to the trek start - Jamie
5 - drive Sangtha 4420m via Tanglang La ~5328m, trek Yabuk ~4340m
With more altitude under our pillow, we drive over the Tanglang La, claimed by India to be the second highest road
pass in the world, and regardless of the reality, it is scenic with views of the
Kang Yatze mountain range and over the other side, the More/Mare Plains. It is often windy and cold too...
A Tanglang La view - Jamie
We then slip off the main Leh-Manali highway to Sangtha, a deserted-in-summer nomad camp, which we reach around lunchtime.
There is one tricky stream crossing for the jeeps and we need good river conditions to be able to drive all the way, however if the river is slightly higher, we will start trekking a few kilometers earlier, which isn't a problem.
We trek a few hours in the afternoon to either Yabuk Gongma, our delightful 2014 camp, or its sister camp Yabuk Yogma a little further down, and introduce you to
our camping setup and relax in the peaceful area.
Few trekkers ever use this route and in 2014 our camp was visited by some younger Tibetan Argali sheep,
very rare to see. Above the camp was a lammergeier nest with a chick in it and pikas popped up all around our camp, so we really have jumped in to the wilderness.
Our delightful Yabuk Barma camp - Jamie
6 - trek Tozay Chu camp 4450m
We follow the champagne Zara Chu (chu is water and river in Tibetan) downriver until the stony junction with the Tozay Chu where
we turn upstream into the broad valley and wander along to one of the many possible grassy camps on the river bank.
Nights 5, 6 and 7 are all at ~4500m so we really can get used to the altitude, a real key
before progressing higher.
Trekking along the river is delightful as it is the warmest time of the year - Jamie
7 - trek Numa camp 4550m
We continue stram hopping along the pinnacle-sided river valley to the Leh-Manali highway, which we cross close to Pang, a startling contrast of "development" and the cleanliness of the wilderness. So we do cross the road; sadly there are fewer and fewer
treks that are not interrupted by a road, however this is also a chance to resupply. Soon after we also pass one of our favourite camps, our "yogurt" camp, full of memories from explorations of yesteryear and yesterdecade.
However rather than staying there we continue on to the next good camping area as this allows us to cross the pass tomorrow...
Our delightful Pang camp is one of the more distant green patches close to the
river - Jamie
8 - trek Lanyar 4850m via the Thelakung La 5020m
At last we trek above 5000m, briefly, crossing this pass that so many people get lost on. Don't follow the main valley to the end!
We are spoilt for camping choices in the huge valley, filled with yaks being herded by Tibetan cowboys in 2014, and often has nomad camps where we can get fresh yoghurt and perhaps even some dried meat. It is also kiang and wolf country and has gorgeous, oh so spacious panoramas.
Note Lanyar is located wrongly on the second edition of the Olizane (Swiss) map.
Local cowboys herding their yak - Jamie
Coming across kiang, the dominant male is protecting the rest of the herd - Jamie
9 - trek Thargang 4740m
We continue down the valley, probably to the delightful camping area of Thargang.
Meeting nomads along the way; both Lobsang and Phuntsok come from nomad families and speak their language, and usually we are invited in for a cup of tea and chat - Jamie
This detailed itinerary is a work in progress, and therefore also can't be copied!
Ram Lal, our wonderful horseman - Jamie
15 - trek ~Kyama Yogma 5180m via the Lanyar La 5860m
This is the real pass, not the one marked wrongly on the Olizane map, and is a stunner. The top of a pass filled with the expectation of new views, an opening towards where we are heading; at the same time, we are leaving where we have come from with some real finality.
We ascend the bump beside the pass for that 6000m feeling. Where we camp will depend on where we get to, there are a number of spots in this area so familiar to us.
En route to crossing the real Lanyar/Lanyak La - Jamie
16 - rest-explore Kyama Yogma 5180m
Clothes washing and taking in this incredible valley system, although this a day in lieu that we can take elsewhere.
Exploring above camp - Jamie
19 - descend to Korzok 4540m via Yalung Nyau La 5430m
We have one pass to go, not much of a climb from a camp, and then we descend, relatively gently, through the delighful nomad-filled valley above Korzok. We meet Angchuk and our jeeps somewhere here. We can camp in the nomad areas and stop at Tso Moriri tomorrow, or we can descend all the way to Korzok, which has a wonderful view, but is otherwise uninspiring.
18 - drive Leh
We hit the road, back to Leh with around 7-8 hours driving time (barring
delays) where we deserve a cold beer and a celebratory
meal. Chopsticks or Bon Appetit?
Stakna Gompa, with this view we know we are getting close to Leh - Jamie
Day 19 - trip ends
You are free to take the morning flight to Delhi or bus to Manali for the
long way back, or just enjoy more time in this central Asian town of yore.