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Markha Valley Trek - 7 Days

Markha Valley Trek
19000

The Markha Valley Trek is one of the most spectacular and famous treks in the Ladakh Region of India. Located in the north western area of India, the Ladakh region is famed for its wildness and untouched beauty. The trek follows a stunning high valley with superb views across the mountain region and is one of the best ways to still experience the unique culture of the High Himalaya region. The Markha Valley trek follows the Markha River downstream taking in several high passes including Gandala La (15748 ft) and Kongmaru La, (17,060 ft). From both passes you get epic views across the landscape with the tall peaks of Kang Yissay and the 20,086 ft Stok Kangri coming into sight. Not only is the trek one of mountain beauty, but it also takes trekkers through a landscape of ancient farming with many green irrigated fields and local villages being passed along the way. You’ll also experience several monasteries and meet the brightly dressed monks as they go about their daily lives. You’ll will be exposed to several waist-deep river crossings, high rocky canyons and explore many buddhists villages en-route.

One of the most amazing alpine treks in Ladakh that passes through a remote region and snakes through varied landscapes, the Markha Valley Trek is no doubt a serious quest amid the barren beauty. It is one of the moderate to difficult treks in the Ladakh region that requires a lot of stamina, technical skills and strength. With steep and craggy cliffs, deep gorges and pinpricks of dust all throughout the trail, the journey takes a beetling shape at a certain elevation when it embarks upon to cross some high altitude mountain passes and deadly moraines. Gandala at 4,800 meters and Kongmaru La at 5,150 meters offers a panoramic view of the beautiful Markha valley, which is one of the major attractions on the trek.

Further, the Markha Valley trek cuts across several remote Ladakhi villages where you can dig into the vivid culture of the Indo - Tibetans. The trek also passes through the Hemis National Park, which is a home to several endangered animals and you may often encounter species like the Baharal, marmot or wolf here. If you are lucky enough then a snow leopard and ibex might just appear in front of you out of nowhere and make your day.

The Markha Valley trekking tour starts from Leh at 3,500 meters and heads to Spituk, which is a few hours of drive from Leh. Thereafter an easy trek of 4 - 5 hours leads to Zingchen where from the trail turns to Yurutse at 4,160 meters. The trek from Zingchen to Yurutse mostly stretches over a phantasmagoric landscape and cuts across the Zingchen Nallah and Kandala Nallah. Thereafter en route the Rumbak village the trail proceeds to the base of Kandala or Gandala thus making your journey a bit strenuous. A steep descent from Gandala turns you to pass through the beautiful barley and mustard fields where the journey leads to Skiu. The trek from Yurutse to Skiu is approximately 8 - 9 hours and hence one needs to be prepared for the long day hardships. Following the barren landscape and a few remote villages the trail from Skiu heads to the picturesque Markha village and later leads to Thochuntse at 4,150 meters. From Thochuntse the trail slowly follows a gradual climb to Nimaling at 4,750 meters and later dips down to conclude at Shang Sumdo via Kongmaru La.

 

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Markha Valley is between June and mid-October. During this time, the weather is Ladakh is pleasant and the average temperature ranges between 20 and 30°C in the daytime. July and August are the ideal months for Markha Valley trek as during these months Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh highways also opens for private vehicles.

WEATHER DETAILS

Early on in the season (Jun) there might be snow along the trail and surely on top of the passes. Days are going to be very sunny and warm (22 – 30 deg) while the night temperature at the highest campsite would be in the range of 2 to 8 deg. In the July – Aug period snow starts melting and we will catch snow only at the top of the passes. Day temperatures are around 20 – 27 deg and night temperature at the highest camp can fall to about 4 to 6 deg. In Sep the weather starts getting colder with day temperatures around 10 – 20 deg and night time the temperatures can go sub zero to around – 5 deg. Please keep in mind that on this trail irrespective of the season the temperature can fall below the above mentioned figures. Wind chill is a factor you need to account for while preparing for the trek

Please keep in mind that the above information is not exact and does not account for sudden changes. Whatever the temperatures and conditions rest assured we will be prepared to handle it with ease as we use equipment of very high specifications.

 

 

Day 1
Arrival at Leh. (3500m.)

Day 2
Leh - Chilling (3195m.) - Skiu (3366m.) (6-7hr.)

Day 3
Skiu - Markha (3760m.) (5-7hr.)

Day 4
Markha - Hankar (4030m.) (4-5hr.)

Day 5
Hankar - Tachungtse (4376m.) - Nimaling (4841m.) (5-7hr.)

Day 6
Nimaling - Chogdo (3905m.) - Leh (3500m.)

Day 7
Depart Leh

Day 1: Arrival at Leh. 

(Reporting – Acclimatization – Orientation & Briefing of the trek – Trek Preparation & window shopping. Sufficient time would be given for visiting market and nearby places)

Arrive at Leh and check into the guest house and take complete rest for acclimatization. You will landing at 3400 Meters above sea level so acclimatization is very important. We suggest our trekkers to consult their Physician before taking any high altitude medicines. Proper rest and hydration is very important for acclimatization and to avoid AMS. Please make sure that you do not exert yourself too much. Have good sleep, good food and avoid smoking and alcohol completely.

In evening we will meet for briefing about the Markha Valley Trek and Bring a copy of ID proof and 2 photo graphs. foreigner, a copy of passport and visa.

Day 2: Drive from Leh to Chilling and Trek to Skiu.

  • Drive:  65 km, 2-3 hours (Leh to Chilling)
  • Altitude: 11,150ft
  • Trek:  9 km, 4-5 hours (Chilling to Skiu)
  • Easy level of ascent
  • lunch: Hot lunch at camp site.
  • Stay: Overnight stay in tents/ Home Stay

We leave Leh to Chilling by jeep in the morning on the rugged barren field of Taru. En route we see the confluence of Indus and Zanskar River, where we cross the bridge on the Indus River and follow the Zanskar River on rough road for 2-3 hrs. Crossing the mighty Zanskar River is full of thrill and excitement in a cable trolley. On the other side of the river, we will meet our pony man with the horses. After crossing the small pass, it is an easy walk until Skiu.

Day 3: Trek From Skiu To  Markha

  • Altitude:  12,200ft
  • Trek: 14-15 km, 6 -7 hrs
  • Trek gradient: Moderate level of ascent
  • Water sources: Can refill water from river.
  • Stay: Accommodation in Home Stay/Camping

Following the Markha River, we will hike through a lovely valley on a fairly level path. The trail crosses the river at various points, and passes winter settlements that contain Lhatos (religious shrines for local deities) and Mani walls (stones inscribed with Buddhist prayers).

During peak season, a number of tented teahouses will be open for refreshment. Once we cross the river for the final time, we will arrive in Markha, the largest village in the valley (consisting of around 20 houses, an old monastery and a ruined fort). Note: Water and sunscreen are essential, since the valley is quite exposed.

Day 4: Trek From Markha to Hankar

  • Altitude:  13,100ft
  • Trek: 11 km, 5-6 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate level of ascent
  • Water sources: Can refill water from river.
  • Stay: Accommodation in Home Stay/Camping

The trek to Hankar from Markha is a short one, and we have kept it so to enable you to spend some good time in this prosperous valley of Greens with snow covered peak of Kang Yatse hovering over it from the top.

You will be having 4 - 5 hrs of trek for today. Its just an beautiful place to be in, and just passing by will not do justice to it. Spend a night here, talk to the local herders and farmers. Know more about them. All of these makes your journey memorable, not just the photos.

Day 5 : Trek From Hankar - Tachungtse - Nimaling

  • Altitude:  15,400ft
  • Trek: 9 km, 3-4 hours
  • Trek gradient: Easy level of ascent
  • Water sources: Can refill water from river.
  • Stay: Accommodation in Tent

After spending a peaceful night in the village of Hankar, today we will head to the high altitude pasture land of Nimaling. The terrain changes immediately after crossing Hankar with no mentionable greens to be seen further en route. The route is jaw-dropping with unique structures of the mountains and the rocks. Here its very easy to spot blue sheep and ibex, snow leopards too !!

A walk of some 2 - 3 hours brings us to small grassy plains which is the designated campsite of Thochungtse. After taking some rest here, we head towards Nimaling. We will be having 5 - 6 hrs of trek today.

After crossing Tachungtse, we climb a mountain hump straight ahead of us. At that altitude, it does take some time, but once done, enjoy up-close views of Kang Yatse. A huge massif overwhelms us with its presence. We reach a small lake where we rest and watch the reflection of Kang Yatse on the water surface. It’s from here, the route splits and one goes to Kang Yatse base camp and the other one descends to Nimaling - a vast plateau encircled by tall mountains all over.

Day 6 : Trek From Nimaling To Chogdo And back to Leh 

  • Altitude:  12,100ft
  • Trek: 10-12 km, 4-5 hours
  • Drive: From Chokdo drive to Leh (2 hours drive)
  • Trek gradient: Easy
  • Water sources: Can refill water from river.
  • Stay: Accommodation in Hotel

Today you will be walking towards Chogdo from Nimaling. The walk is of 4 - 5 hrs. Then you drive back to Leh. Overnight stay in hotel at Leh.

Day 7: Depart Leh

Today, you will be leaving Leh and flying to your destination.

The Trip Cost Includes

  • All accommodation during trek.
  • Guest house in Leh on Day 1, and day 6 as per the itinerary.
  • All meals during trek.
  • Necessary Permits and first aid medical kits
  • Qualified and experienced mountain guide, and support staff.
  • Oxygen Cylinder and stretcher for emergency case.
  • High altitude rescue expert trek leader.
  • Necessary equipments for climbing, ropes, ice axe and other technical gear for climbing.
  • Transport from Leh guest house to Zinchen and return from Chokdo as per the itinerary.
  • Mules to carry the central luggage.

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • Any type of personal expenses
  • Food in Leh
  • Airfare and pickup and drop from airport.
  • Extra snacks and meals during trek from shop.
  • Necessary permits, entry fees and Foreigner peak booking charges.
  • Insurance of the trip
  • Things not mentioned under Inclusions.
  • Mule or porter to carry personal luggage.
  • Personal gear, and equipment

Trekking Gear

  • A rucksack with rain cover
  • A water bottle or a hydration pack
  • A Hand/Head Torch with spare batteries
  • UV Protection Sunglasses
  • A trekking pole

Clothing:

Since it is a high altitude trek, at least 3 layers of clothing is mandatory. A full sleeve shirt, a fleece jacket, and a padded jacket are imperative. An additional layer (Thermal bodywarmers) for the evenings in the high altitude campsites are strongly recommended

  • Quick Dry Warm lower or Track Pants - 2
  • Full sleeves T-shirts - 2
  • Thermal Bodywarmer Upper & Lower - 1
  • Fleece Jacket - 1
  • Padded Jacket -1 (Goose down or feather is preferable)
  • Full sleeves sweater - 1 (Needed if you feel cold at high altitudes despite 4 layers)
  • Rainwear (Jacket & Pants) - 1
  • Thick woolen socks -  1 pair
  • Cotton socks - at least 2-3 pairs
  • Undergarments - 1 for every day of trekking
  • Pair of Warm Gloves - 1
  • Woolen cap - 1

Footwear

  • Hiking shoes (Preferably ankle high) -1
  • Pair of lightweight Slipper/Sandals - 1 pair.

Toiletries

    • Sunscreen lotion, lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, toilet roll, cold cream, small towel.
    • Anti-fungal cream: Carry an antifungal cream if you are sensitive to sweating and prone to skin irritations around genitals or groin area due to lack of bathing.
    • For women:
      • Tampons or sanitary napkins,
      • 2-3 zip pouches to dispose off non-biodegradable waste
      • Vaginal wash to avoid any irritation due to lack of bathing.

Miscellaneous

    • Water bottle
    • Camera (optional)
    • Personal medicine kit. Though our trek leaders carry a fully equipped first-aid kit, make sure you consult your doctor before the trek in case you have any special ailment.
    • Dry fruits, energy bars

Fitness Required for Markha Valley Trek

At high altitude as the air gets thinner oxygen becomes less abundant.The percentage saturation of hemoglobin with oxygen determines the content of oxygen in our blood. After the human body reaches around 2,100 m (7,000 feet) above sea level, the level of  oxygen in our hemoglobin begins to plummet. However, the human body has both short-term and long-term adaptations to altitude that allow it to partially compensate for the lack of oxygen.The Markha Valley Trek is an challenging trek suitable for trekkers with prior experience in high altitude treks is recommended.

Who Can Go:-

Here are the fitness criteria one has to match absolutely for conquering Markha Valley with us:

  • Experience of high altitude trek at least 2 treks of more than 4500 mt. or 14,700 ft.
  • The climber must be fit and have sufficient stamina to cover 6 km of distance in 35 minutes without a stress.
  • A goods carrying benchmark relevant in this expedition, the climber should be able to carry a 10 to 15 kg expedition bag pack.
  • Heart problem, high blood pressure, asthma, and epilepsy cannot be reconciled on this mission. The climber must not have these conditions mentioned above.

Breathing exercises

If you’re trekking to Markha Valley Trek in winter, note that the temperature drops to around -8 to 10 degree Celcius at night. During the day, the temperature will be at around 10 to 15 degrees. While going for summit the extreme temperature could make breathing slightly difficult. Doing breathing exercises before the trek will help. Expand your lungs and learn to breathe deep. This will help you inhale more oxygen and help you breathe comfortably.

Fitness exercises

  • Jog/Run for 5 Kms in 25-30 mins or Walk continuously for 10 km (with 3-4 small breaks) on plain terrain (slight incline is better)
  • Hold your breath for 40 seconds
  • 3 sets of Climbing 30 – 40 steps in one stretch
  • Push Ups – 10
  • Lunges & Squats – 15 X 2 sets

Monitoring health on a trek

Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.

On the trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects a day.

  • Oxygen Level
  • Pulse Rate 

High Altitude Medical Kit

Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, DexamethasoneYour Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.

Acclimatisation in high  altitude

This is one of the most important aspects of travelling in the high Himalayas and cannot be ignored or set aside. Acclimatisation basically means our body adjusting to lower levels of oxygen (rarefied air) & reduced air pressure as me move up. In case one does not acclimatise properly there are chances of the person facing extreme discomfort and this can be fatal in extreme cases. While there is no set route to getting properly acclimatised there are a general precautions and steps that one can take to initiate good acclimatisation.

Leh
Ladakh in summer is a great tourist destination for adventure junkies and leisure  travelers. This is the best time to go to Ladakh when the weather is pleasant. During summers the main Manali – Leh Highway and the Leh -Srinagar highway is open.

By Air:

Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the main airport in Leh City. It has a number of flights that connects Leh with Delhi as well as few major cities of India.

By Road:

Leh is connected to the rest of India by two highways: NH 1D (Srinagar-Leh Highway) and Manali-Leh Highway. The Srinagar-Leh Highway passes through Kargil and Zoji-La (3505m), whereas Leh-Manali Highway passes through famed Rohtang Pass and Tanglang La (5325m). It also passes through the upland desert plateau of Rupshu whose altitude ranges from 3,660 m to 4,570 m.

Price From INR21,500 INR19,000/person
19,000
Total 19,000 INR

Trip Facts

  • Leh, Ladakh Himalaya (J & K)
  • 7 days
  • Moderate to Difficult
  • 5,200m/17,100ft
  • -5 to 6 on higher camps
  • 65 - 70 Km
  • Meadows, river crossing, river bed walking, rocky
  • Mid May to Early September
  • 10-15 trekkers
  • Leh to Leh
  • Road is Accessible by Manali-Leh or Srinagar-Leh highway
  • Leh airport (Kushok Bakula Rimpochee airport)
  • Meals while on trek (Veg + Egg)
  • Guest house, Camping, Home Stay

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