Snow Leopard Summer Trek

enquire nowThe Snow Leopard name evokes all that is most wild, mysterious and elusive in nature - for this is an animal that comes cloaked not just in the subtle beauty of its own coat but also in all the high drama of the harsh and magnificent environment that it dominates. To go looking for the snow leopard would appear to be the most forlorn of forlorn quests and yet, it is in the nature of such quests that the rewards lie as much in the journeying and the search as in the stated objective. The chances of actually seeing a snow leopard, especially in a relatively short period are slim indeed. The reclusive nature of the animal, the inhuman scale and vertical topography of the habitat, the relative sparseness of snow leopards on the ground all combines to frustrate the seeker. But the snow leopard does not occupy this environment alone; it sits at the apex of a rich and diverse pyramid and in Searching for this master predator we will be exploring its environment and all that live in it in some detail.


Day 01 Fly into Kullu from Delhi .
Day 02 Visit to Naggar after breakfast.
Day 03 From Manali to Jispa o/n Camp :
Day 04 Jispa to Leh
Day 05 Day of Monsateries ( Shey, Thiksey and Hemis)
Day 06 Leh -Zingchen- Rumbhak
Day 07 Rumhak – Snow Leopard Exploration, Hemis National Park
Day 08 Rumbak to base of Chortenchen: (13,480ft/4,084m)
Day 09 Chortenchen to Stok base camp: (14,950 ft/4,600 m)
Day 10 This will be a rest day to explore the surrounding valley
Day 11 Explore the northeastern flanks of Stok Kangri before retracing your steps to the main Stok Nala.
Day 12 Buffer Day / Leh Rest day
Day 13 Morning Flight from Leh to Delhi

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Fly into Kullu from Delhi . Breakfast with Nisha’s family and then onwards for Lunch to Kullu. Drive down to Manali . Check in Hotel Tourist . Evening at Hotel

Day 02: Visit to Naggar after breakfast and then carry on to Nagar Castle and have lunch on the trout café enroute Naggar. Evening Visit hot water springs in Vashsist and prepare for jeep safari o/n Hotel Tourist

Day 03: From Manali to Jispa o/n Camp: Today we drive on one of the most spectatcular roads in the world which is also one of the highest. o/n Camp

Day 04: Longest high altitude drive today . Enter the Indus valley to arrive Leh - the capital of Ladakh also known as ‘the moon land’, ‘little Tibet’ or even more romantically as ‘the last Shangri La’. Geographically and culturally Ladakh is very much a part of Tibet, and this is very evident from the flat and barren mountain valleys and the appearance, dress and religious practices of the local people. Day to rest and acclimatize through small walks of Leh Town.

Day 05: Day of Monsateries ( Shey , Thiksey and Hemis) Shey, about 10 miles from Leh, was once the residence of the royal family and is famous for its high gilded statue of Buddha. The monastery has a two-floor statue of the sitting Buddha. Shey was the former summer palace of the kings of Ladakh. The gompa, still partially used, is being restored. There is a small library and a collection of thankas, and some stupas and Mani walls nearby. The 12m Shakyamuni Buddha statue made of copper but gold plated, is the largest in the region, built by King Singge Namgyal's son. Shey is easy to get to and can be easily combined with a visit to Thiksey by any form of transport. 12 miles from Leh, spectacularly situated, and one of the finest examples of Ladakhi architecture, Thiksey is one of the largest and most impressive gompas. There are several temples in this gompa containing images, stupas and exquisite wall paintings. It also houses a twenty-foot statue of Buddha, which has the main prayer hall around its shoulder. This monastery has an outstanding collection of art in its chambers. This gompa, part of the Gelukpa order, has an important collection of Tibetan books in its library, some excellent artwork and a new Maitreya temple. It’s a busy place, with almost incessant chanting and music, and there is a good chance to witness a puja. The great views of the valleys and villages can be seen from the roof. 25 miles from Leh, Hemis is one of the richest, biggest and most famous gompas in Ladakh. Built during 1630s, it has numerous tankhyas, silver chortens studded with precious and semi precious stones, and various images of Buddha.

Day 06: Leh -Zingchen- Rumbhak After breakfast, you will check out from the Leh hotel, and transfer by car to Zingchen. This is the closest point to where the camp will be set up. From here the party will load the equipment onto pack animals and make the hour-long hike through the Rumbak valley to the campsite. The valley is very scenic, and a few blue sheep may be spotted along the way. Today, you follow the trail beside the river until the valley widens at Rumbak. After a 10-minute walk from the camp, you’ll cross the river to the right hand side. Here, you can see golden eagle nests up in the rocks. We’ll then carry on along the river until we reach Rumbak where you’ll see the snow-capped peaks of the Stok mountains, and fields of barley, potatoes and green vegetable that are grown by the villagers. Overnight in tents. Camp will be set up, and lunch prepared in the kitchen/dining tent. Your guide will be communicating with others in the area and checking local information on snow leopard whereabouts. After lunch, you will hike to a nearby viewpoint and scan for snow leopards and other wildlife. Dinner and overnight at campsite.

Day 07: Rumhak – Snow Leopard Exploration, Hemis National Park These four full days will be spent in Hemis National Park, using your Rumbak camp as a base. Your guide and crew will be searching for Snow Leopards and other wildlife throughout the Rumbak, Husing and Tarbung valleys, an area that is usually occupied by 9-10 different cats. You will receive a morning wake-up call and be given a bowl of hot water to wash and freshen up. Breakfast will be served shortly afterwards. Your guide will already have been out on the trails looking for signs of Snow Leopard activity, then return and make a decision on where to take you for the day. Please ask your guide to charge any batteries.

Day 08: Rumbak to base of Chortenchen: (13,480ft/4,084m) Again, a stiff climb takes us to Stok La, which is at 15,840 feet and will take about 3 hours. Here, one can see the upper Indus valley and Stok Gorge with beautiful rock formations. We’ll then climb down to Khilchay, which is a summer pasture of Stok village, climb over two small humps and get down to Stok Nallah. We’ll then walk uphill on the left bank of Stok Nallah for about twenty minutes and enter into another summer pasture, called Chortenchan. If we are extraordinarily lucky, we might see a snow leopard here. But, this also provides the best opportunity to look for the snow leopards’ primary wild prey - the bharal or blue sheep, which inhabit the steep slopes and rocky ledges. Wolf, Himalayan fox, marmots and several exciting species of birds, which include the chukor partridge, snow cocks, lammergeyer, accentors, rose finches, redstarts, Eurasian hobby’s and kestrels and several others are seen here – and, indeed, throughout the trek. o/n Camp

Day 09: Chortenchen to Stok base camp: (14,950 ft/4,600 m) Immediately after leaving the campsite, we’ll begin a steady climb for about three hours, which takes you to the base camp of Stok Kangri. Overnight in tents at the base camp. O/N Camp (BLD)

Day 10: This will be a rest day to explore the surrounding valley, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. There are excellent opportunities to watch a variety of birds and see animals. Overnight at base camp. . O/N Camp (BLD)

Day 11: Explore the northeastern flanks of Stok Kangri before retracing your steps to the main Stok Nala. The trail moves along the boulder-strewn left bank, enters a gorge and ascends steeply up a left bank spur marked by Cairns and prayer flags. After crossing a stream draining the western side of Stok La, we’ll continue down the Stok valley through willow groves and alpine meadows, past the ruins of an ancient Ladakh fortress - Styang La Khar. The gorge widens and from here it is only a couple of hours to Stok, where vehicles await you for the drive to the Ladakh Sarai. Time permitting, we will visit the Stok Palace, residence of the descendants of the Rajas of Ladakh, which also houses a fascinating little museum. Drive to your hotel. O/N Leh (BLD)

Day 12: Buffer Day / Leh Rest day

Day 13: Morning Flight from Leh to Delhi

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