From Chiling to Tsomoriri

This 12 day trek in August-September 2007 permitted us to discover the famous Marka valley and the more remote areas of Dat valley, before crossing the wild high plateau area between Tsokar and Tsormoriri lakes. Our team was composed of Puntsok, our guide, Jorge, his assistant and Tsering, our horseman with four horses. Thanks to them for the great ambiance, the excellent food, the “good mooning” and the quality of the service.

We started the trek at Chiling (3200m) in the Zanskar valley, with an impressive river crossing in a tiny gondola hanging from a cable. The first step of our hike was the slow ascent of the Marka valley, with very steep valley sides, tiny villages, barley fields and irrigation systems. The gentle slope favoured a good acclimatization.

On the the third day, instead of turning left towards Nimaling and Hemis we kept on in the Marka valley in the south direction, west of Kang Yatze (6400m). From this point, the trek entered in a wild and remote area. After four days, we reached the end of the Marka valley at the Zalung Karpo La pass (5200m), which offers a gripping view on the Kang Yatse. A long downhill led us to the extraordinary Sogra campsite, in a grassy large valley facing to very sharp crests.

The next day we started the long uphill of the Dat valley, with scenic green alluvial plains at the foot of dry slopes. This was also the opportunity for visiting the 11th century old Dat monastery.

During the two following days, a long and rather flat walk in Tsokar lake direction made us crossing wide landscapes, with sometimes goat herds, and still nice oasis along the rivers. The ninth day, we left without any regret the beautiful Tsokar campsite (not so clean…), to keep on with our trek towards Tsomoriri. From here, the landscape became extraordinarily wild and scenic. We entered in the nomad area, with their sheep and yack herds. The wildest landscapes of the trek were crossed during these days. The altitude gradually increased.

The highest night of the trek was spent in Gyama, at about 5200m, in an incredibly sublime valley. The last day led us to the culminating point of the trip, the Yalung Nyau La (5430m), in the vicinity of the glaciated summits of the Korzok Range. The pass offers a great view on the Tsomoriri lake and let’s imagine how long will be the last downhill!

Last contact with the nomad people, last night in Korzong, last goodbye to this extraordinary region, and journey back to Leh on the very impressive road in the Indus valley.

Thousands of thanks to Tsering for having proposing and organising this unforgettable trek, mixing cultural area of Marka valley and wild landscape of the Dat – Tsokar – Tsomoriri !