Trip report for Ladakh Sky Trail GHT in August 2023

Written by Roland Hunter FRGS (Mt Everest and Mt Makalu summitter)
Written by Roland Hunter FRGS (Mt Everest and Mt Makalu summitter)Managing Director & Founder, The Mountain Company
Doksa Camp on Ladakh Sky Trail GHT
Doksa Camp on Ladakh Sky Trail GHT

Our Ladakh Sky Trail GHT group in India led and organised by Almas Khan successfully completed this trek finishing in Leh on September 3rd. This is the 8th time that Almas has led the Ladakh Sky Trail GHT so knows this region incredibly well. This is a camping-style trek that is rarely done by other groups due to its remoteness and logistical challenges. Well done to all of the trekkers and big thanks to Almas and his Ladakhi trek crew.

The trek went well and they successfully walked down the narrow river gorge section. They had over 120 river crossings from the camp at Zangla Sumdo (Day 13) until the camp at Kumara Sumdo (Day 16). After trekking for 22 days, they finished the trek near Tso Moriri Lake.

Almas describes how the trek went in his own words:

“The trip went well and all clients enjoyed our beautiful trek. The temperatures at the beginning were warmer compared to the last few years up to about 27 Celsius in the hottest part of the day. It cooled down a lot towards the end of the trip with the coldest temperatures experienced at the Gyama camp when overnight it went down to -6 Celsius.

The water level for our river crossings was higher this year because Ladakh for a change had a normal snowfall and summer came later like it used to in the 90’s. Hence the snow started melting later in the year. Because of good snowfall in the winter and heavy rainfall in early July this year, the tracks in the gorge were not at their best. 

Horses had to be unloaded and reloaded many times apart from the day we went from Tsarlo to Tilat Sumdo in the gorge. We had anticipated this so in Zangla we decided we would go slower and use our reserve day in the Gorge which worked out really well for horses, staff, and also the group. As a result, we could spend more time choosing safe crossings and getting everybody through instead of rushing and making mistakes.

The rest of the trek from Photoksar to Zangla and Daat to Tsomoriri was pretty straightforward and normal. Hot in the first section and cold in the second section. At the end of the trek we camped in Doksa for two nights and our car picked us up from there to bring us back to Leh. It worked out really well as a prayer ceremony was being held in Doksa which we attended. During the day we walked up to all vantage points on the ridge and saw the whole Tsomoriri range.”

Like in previous years, Almas and his trek crew collected 17kg of rubbish left by other groups and carried this out on our ponies for disposal in Leh. Almas always makes a big effort to take very good care in leaving campsites and trails clean. Well done!

Thanks very much to Almas and all of the Ladakhi team Stanzing (Guide), Gyatso (Cook), Dorgey (Kitchen helper), and the horsemen, Rigzen and Tonduo.

Almas will be back in Ladakh again next summer leading our 2024 Ladakh Sky Trail GHT. Please get in touch if you are interested in joining him.

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Our ponies crossing the Cha Cha La (4,950m) on Day 14 of the Ladakh Sky Trail GHT
Gyama Camp on Ladakh Sky Trail GHT
Gyama Camp on Day 23 of Ladakh Sky Trail GHT