Chiling to Tsomoriri via Markha Valley (15-16 days)

Starting at the picturesque village of Chiling in the lower Zanskar Valley this trek follows the Markha Valley through several villages with the Stok mountains on one side and the Zanskar mountains towering above on the other side.

From the end of the Markha valley at Thachungtse there are two routes.

Route One

One turns right into the Langtang Chu and takes you over Zarlung Karpo La (5050m) and down through Sorra canyon to the Kharnak Chu. The trail then follows this river to its headwaters passing the village of Dat and ascending over Yar La (4950m) before descending into the Zara valley.

Crossing the Zara Chu at Yagang, the trail climbs past the Tibetan refugee headquarters at Spangmar and over Spangmar La (4905m) before descending to a broad plain dotted with nomad tents and herds of yak and sheep and goats. The trail crosses the main Leh-Manali road and skirts the foothills of the Korzok range crossing Thelekung La (4980m) and Manechan La (4765m) before descending to follow the stream that leads to the broad valley containing Tso Moriri.

From a campsite at Kyangdam at the south end of the lake the trail follows the western shore to the village of Korzok near the north end of the lake. A jeep will take you from here back to Leh or another destination.

Route Two

The alternative route from the end of the Markha valley turns left at Thachungtse and continues to Nimaling then follows a stream bed to the north of Kang Yatze and ascends over Poze La before descending to Latho on the Leh-Manali road.

The trail then follows the river past Rumtse to its headwaters at the foot of Kyamar La (4770m). After crossing Kyamar La you enter the rolling mountains and valleys and broad flat plains of eastern Ladakh. The trail crosses Mandalchan La (4805m) to Tisaling then crosses Shibuk La (4875m) before descending to the fascinating salt lake of Tso Kar and after three days reaches Tso Moriri crossing three more passes and taking you through remote areas where only nomads and their animals live.

There are no villages until you reach Korzok.