The Great Ladakh to Kashmir Traverse
This classic trek which starts from Pannikhar in Suru valley of Kargil is beautiful contrast of stark and green landscape. This trek which can generally be made in a week’s time gives an insight of the upper Wardwan valley and existence of semi nomadic life of Bakerwal herdsmen in the green pastures of this area.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Demanding
Group Size Medium Group
This adventure in paradise starts in Leh and ends with an incredible houseboat experience in Srinagar, on the Dal lake. Two days in Leh help with the acclimatisation and the road trip from Leh to Sonmarg over the Zojila is an entire trip in itself.
Trek amongst the calm mountains of North Kashmir, and enjoy traditional Kashmiri hospitality, delicious wazwan, massive meadows & crystal clear alpine lakes – the parts that have made this valley a hub for travellers for centuries. Experience Kashmir beyond the sensational headlines this summer!
The trek goes over high 3900m+ high passes, but the relaxing terrain, deep blue coloured mountains and lush flower filled meadows make the going extremely pleasant. You may get to experience a few cultural insights. Local shepherds, their herds and families may be your trail companions. There is colour everywhere. The Great Lakes of Kashmir trek will lead you to its turquoise blue-green lakes, climbs over high altitude passes and offers you one of the best trail experiences you will savour for a lifetime.
Leh Airport - Hotel (3500m)
Board the early morning flight from Delhi to Leh. It takes a little more than an hour to get to Leh, the capital of Ladakh. On a clear day the flight offers excellent views of the mighty Himalayas. Arrive at the hotel for welcome drinks followed by breakfast. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Leh (3500 m)
We spend half the day visiting Shey and Thiksey monasteries around Leh. Return to hotel for lunch and spend the day exploring the Leh market.
Leh - Sonmarg (2800 m)
Long day of driving today. Set out after an early breakfast, travelling west of Leh towards Kargil. 36 kms from Leh, we reach Nimu, the confluence of the Zanskar with the Indus. We pass the derelict fort at Basgo, the painted caves at Saspol to reach Khalsi where the road crosses the Indus River and slowly winds its way 27 kms upto the beautiful gompa at Lamayuru.
Continue to cross the Fotu La (4108m) and Namika La (3700m) to reach the village of Mulbekh. 41 kms further is the town of Kargil which marks the transition to a predominantly Muslim area . Continue to drive West to Kashmir, over the Zojila (3500m) with sheer drop on one side. Drive through Baltal to reach the meadows of Sonmarg.
Kargil to Pannikar and start trek to Donara (3770 m)
An early start from Kargil as the road snakes up the Suru valley past the settlement of Sankhoo. Arrive Pannikar 3200 Mts from Kargil and start trek to Donara 3770 Mts, we follow the Cholong River for about 3 hours in-between crossing many side streams till we reach a huge valley at Donara where we camp overnight.
Donara to Kannital (3800 m)
Donara to Kannital 3800 Mts via Boktol 4980 Mts Pass, this day we start very early in the morning for our longest day on this trek (8 to 10 hours). After leaving the camp at Donara we prepare ourselves for a water crossing on a Rolvoling river which comes from Lonlivadgalli, after water crossing we start our uphill walk towards the Boktol pass at 4980 Mts, the trek to the pass is a mix of easy and hard walk for about 4 hours, on the top of the pass there are beautiful views of some 6000 Mts high unnamed mountains peaks around and a huge hanging glacier towards the Nun massif gives a great look, from the pass there is a long descend on main Boktol glacier for about 4 to 5 hours till we get to a beautiful camp at Kannital.
Kannital to Humpet (3350 m)
The 10 Km long walk from Kannital to Humpet is an easy walk all along the Boktol river, we camp in an open meadow at Humpet.
Rest day at Humpet
Sidewalks or read, sleep, or just stare at the beautiful surroundings!
Humpet to Rangmarg (3000m)
From Humpet we start our downhill walk through some beautiful birch trees till we get to Wankadal where we cross the Boktol river on a wooden log bridge and soon start taking up hill trek towards our right to traverse a long hill which will take us to our beautiful camp at Rangmarg.
Rangmarg to Sheeshnag (3590 m)
Rangmarg to Sheeshnag 3590 Mts over Golol Gali pass 4450 Mts. This is a second longest day on this trek. We gain about 1400 mts to the pass from our Rangmarg camp, it is a long uphill trek with steep climb towards its end to the Golal Gali pass from top we get some beautiful mountain views, We descend to our camp near the beautiful lake Sheeshnag.
Sheeshnag to Chandanwari (2890 m)
Sheeshnag to Chandanwari 2890 Mts and drive Srinagar via Pahalgam. Today we walk all along the Baba Amarnath Ji trail losing the height of about 750 Mts to Chandanwari. It is a beautiful walk hitting Pissu top where from we get the best views of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva mountains. At Chandanwari we board the vehicles to drive to Srinagar with some time to spend at Pahalgam. Overnight houseboat!
Srinagar to Srinagar Airport
Transfer to airport for onward journey or spend a day in Srinagar to explore its beauty.
We believe that along with the privilege of adventure in the Himalaya comes a serious responsibility, the responsibility to protect and contribute to its ecology, cultures and its tremendous beauty. The “Leave No Trace” philosophy is followed to the letter and we work to minimize the environmental impact of our trips. We are scrupulous in our camping, cooking and sanitation practices; we limit the number of trekkers we allow to join us on our trips and the number of trips we lead in a given area.
In wilderness, commercial agreements between service provider and client require a depth of understanding that is more than what is routinely attached to similar agreements elsewhere. In the outdoors, we have to balance pursuit of stated objective and risk. We try to overcome risk and deliver the objective promised in the agreement between client and service provider. But that does not mean that we ignore risk altogether to chase an objective. We wish you to be informed on what makes a trip safe for you and everyone else.
Please take a few minutes to read the following:
The nature of wilderness
By definition wilderness implies remoteness. It means that response to any accident or mishap takes time. Timely intervention is a life saver. Working back from this, it becomes imperative that any commercial adventure in wilderness be conservative in terms of the risk it courts. Yet adventure means there will be risk. The way out is to manage the risk involved in such a fashion that a safe experience is provided. There are a few things that the client can do.
Prepare in advance
Commercial expeditions entail strain even if others are carrying your load and doing the team’s work. Prior physical conditioning – particularly of the cardiovascular sort contributing to improved endurance – helps. Please invest time and effort for that before embarking on the trip. It will help you in the field.
Be honest, speak up
We encourage clients to be honest about how they are feeling on expedition days; voice any personal difficulties they may be experiencing. This helps the team make relevant decisions for clients’ well being, something crucial when venturing into altitude. Not all of us are meant for altitude. If your physiology rebels, there is nothing to be ashamed of it. Speak up. Make sure that your disclosures about self are not biased by an objective you are feverishly trying to achieve like getting to the summit of a peak or crossing a high pass at any cost. Don’t let summit fever and similar instances of extreme personal ambition, consume you. It puts you and your support team at risk. Stay with the team’s assessment of risk. Go with the resultant decisions. If you think you have a point to make by all means do so. We will hear you out. But risk assessment and decisions, will be by the team leaders as the onus of a safe expedition primarily rests with them.
Let the leaders work
You may be familiar with rivers, mountains and altitude. We don’t wish to question that. But there are reasons why many of us choose to go as clients. One of them is that our primary vocation is something else, while those working in the mountains as guides have chosen to make that their primary vocation or at the very least, dedicate time to it. More than us, they are in the mountains. They are alive to it. That’s why we entrust our passage to them. So, please let them work free of interference. Please don’t influence their judgement. Your expedition needs their best work and best judgement. In any expedition, leadership style will vary with the risk being tackled in a given situation. There will be times when we can travel easy in a very consultative fashion. There will be times when that is not advisable and a more directive style may be adopted by your guides. Please comply.
Be open to alternatives
We can set up the best safety systems possible, checking and double checking to make sure that nothing is left to chance. But we don’t control or totally overcome variables like weather and terrain / river conditions. They impact expedition’s progress. If team leaders review / alter plan citing concerns on any front, we request that it be respected and not viewed as money’s worth denied even if it dims prospects for achieving an expedition’s original goal. Such challenges are frequent in the outdoors. Seasoned trekkers and climbers, when they realize that a particular objective does not seem achievable on a given trip, learn to be happy with other pursuits to compensate – like staying camped and enjoying the mountain environment or attempting more doable hikes from wherever they are. We request you to stay aware of these possibilities. Be open to them. Decades ago when exploration and first ascents were happening in the Himalaya, the explorers / mountaineers / hikers devoted months to their work. Committed outdoorsmen still do. They wait out unfavourable circumstances by having a lot of time and patience. Time is what the modern world does not have even as the mountains remain the same, posing the same challenges; the same risk, the same unpredictable circumstances. An exceptionally lucky circumstance may deliver success. But luck isn’t commonplace. We should be mentally prepared for the above mentioned alternatives.
If you don’t achieve your objective it isn’t the end of the world. Be patient, another chance will emerge. There is a simple reminder, climbers often tell their colleagues leaving for a summit: “ the mountain will always be there; make sure you are there.’’
In other words – be safe.
Our expedition trips are designed for energetic and flexible people who have the spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Previous experience in the outdoors and camping helps, though is not a must. These trips are participatory in nature, and everyone is expected to pitch in, set up and break down their own tent, clean their own dishes. Look up our trip grading before you sign up.
Grading of Trips
We have graded our trips in four different categories and you should choose one that suits you the most. Grading of each trip has been done keeping in mind a lot of factors like the trip duration, the altitude, the terrain, the no. of hours of activity everyday, temperatures and conditions encountered, and the level of fitness needed. Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy the region more.
- Easy : Most of our camp based trips, with easy activities, that are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding whitewater trips with easy support and myriad options.
- Moderate : Active trips involving hiking over reasonable terrain, within vehicular access, upto elevations less than 4000 meters, or trips with long walking days, multiple rafting days, wilderness camping. Includes more demanding whitewater trips with Class III rapids.
- Demanding : Hiking and trekking to elevations exceeding 4000-5000 meters, away from vehicular access, over multiple days. Encompasses demanding whitewater with Class IV rapids.
- Challenging : Our most demanding trips include climbing at high elevations in excess of 5000 meters, in remote and extreme conditions with no access to roads; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips, and demanding whitewater trips with Class IV-V rapids.
The Next Step
Ready to go? Email us at email@example.com to book your place and we will guide you through the booking process. Please sign and scan/email us your booking form and inform us about the status of your payments at the time of confirming the trip (Booking form and Payment details below).
Why travel with Aquaterra Adventures?
We are a pioneer in active adventure travel, and run the most number of rivers in India, having opened them up over the past several years. We set the standard and have a strong reputation for excellence. We have a lot to live up to and we ensure we provide the safest, quality trips for our guests.
Should you wish to contact any of our past guests for a trip reference, write to us.
In remote regions, we often use local suppliers who provide services that may include vehicles for transportation, equipment, logistical support, hotels, guest houses etc. We do not own or operate these independent services or suppliers. We work with them as they share our commitment to service and quality.
- ALL TRAVEL FROM LEH AND BACK TO SRINAGAR BY ROAD
- ALL ARRANGEMENTS FOR STAYING AND CAMPING WHILE ON TRIP
- ACCOMMODATION ON TWIN SHARING BASIS IN TENTS/ HOTEL
- ALL MEALS AS DETAILED IN ITINERARY & SAFE DRINKING WATER
- ALL TREKKING ARRANGEMENTS WITH INDIA’S MOST EXPERIENCED GUIDING TEAM, CAMP STAFF AND COOKS
- PORTRAGE UPTO 15KG/PERSON
- PEAK FEE/SANCTUARY FEE/ROYALTY/PERMITS WHERE APPLICABLE
- FLIGHT PRICES NOT INCLUDED IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED COST
- SLEEPING BAG
- STAY & MEALS IN DELHI
- AIRPORT & RAILWAY STATION TRANSFERS IN DELHI
- BOTTLED WATER
- ITEMS OF PERSONAL CLOTHING
- EXPENSES OF PERSONAL NATURE (LAUNDRY/PHONE CALLS/ALCOHOL/CIGARETTES/INSURANCE/CAMERA FEE/ETC.)
- ANY EXPENSE INCURRED DUE TO FORCE OF NATURE SUCH AS LANDSLIDES, BAD WEATHER OR REASONS BEYOND OUR CONTROL
- TIPS & GRATUITIES (WE RECOMMEND 5-10% OF YOUR TRIP COST – TO BE DISTRIBUTED AMONG THE TEAM) – PERSONAL CHOICE
- TRAVEL & CANCELLATION INSURANCE
- SINGLE SUPPLEMENT – RS 16,500 + 5% TAX
Booking conditions: All bookings are subject to availability of space at Camp. We book space on a 100% advance. All payments by wire transfer, cash or cheque/draft in favor of “Aquaterra Adventures (I) Pvt. Ltd.”
Tips & Gratuities: Our recommendation is a minimum 5-10% of your trip cost for tips to be distributed amongst the team that makes your adventure safe and successful. This includes drivers, guides, cook, kitchen team, porters and horsemen. Of course, this remains a personal choice.
a) Kayakers to bring own boat and gear. We can provide kayaks for US$ 250 if you do not want to carry your boat out (choose from Liquid Logic HOSS, Session Plus, Dagger, Necky and Perception boats). This river demands solid boaters with Class 4+ skills and experience in big water.
b) Cost does not include transfers and hotels in Delhi, as there are several options. Airport transfers in Delhi and Delhi hotels can be arranged on request. An airport transfer costs Rs. 2500 (US $40) per transfer. Delhi hotels : The place which we have been using is close to our office, (and where we put up most of our river guests) in a quiet part of South Delhi (about 30 mins from Connaught Place, but equidistant from the airport). They charge Rs. 6000 (US$ 95) for a double room per day.
c) The US $ conversion equivalents are calculated using the exchange rates averaged over the previous year. Please check for any foreign exchange fluctuations at the time of booking.
Rates quoted are on twin share. If you prefer single accommodation, the single supplement is Rs. 15,500/-
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodation, we will try our best to find you a roommate. If that is not possible, a “forced” single supplement of Rs. 9750 will be applicable.
If it becomes necessary to cancel your tour, you must notify Aquaterra Adventures India Pvt. Ltd. immediately in writing. Once we receive your notice, cancellation will take effect. Please note that the following charges will apply on cancellation:
- if cancellation takes place more than 45 days prior to departure, your full deposit
- will be returned except a processing charge of Rs. 5000 or US$ 77 ; (60 days for Brahmaputra trip)
- if cancellation takes place between 45 and 30 days prior to departure, 50% of the
- tour price will be forfeited (between 60 and 30 days for Brahmaputra trip); and
- if cancellation takes place less than 30 days prior to departure, 100% of the tour price will be forfeited.
Some trips attract a minimum processing charge – please check.
The tour price is quoted as a package. No partial refunds or credit will be given for services not used. We recommend that you obtain travel insurance upon booking.