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India - Mentok Kangri - KE Adventure - August / September 2017
Below you will find a list of pictures, taken on our trip to the Mentok Kangri organized by KE Adventure from August 12 to September 2 2017.
The most interesting images have a red bullet in front of them. In a hurry? Just want to see the pictures? Check out the slide show.
The days we were walking we kept track of how much time we spent walking. This is excluding the time for breaks.
Tip for Dutch Tourists regarding Visa for India
Lees even het stukje over het eVisum; dat kan je een hoop gedoe besparen bij het verkrijgen van een eVisum voor India.
August 12: Home - New Delhi
We departed from Schiphol Airport around 11.45 in the morning. We had a smooth flight and arrived around 10.30pm in New Delhi. Outside we spotted someone holding a KE Adventure sign and that person took us to the Ashok hotel. Turned out we had spent a day there in 2010. We informed our families that we had arrived and quickly went to bed.

August 13: New Delhi
A day spent reading and meeting the other people of our group. We went to bed early as we would leave at 2.30am.
August 14: New Delhi - Leh
Shortly after midnight we woke up, packed the last luggage and headed for a light breakfast. Around 2.30 we departed for the domestic airport. As usual there was some uncertainty about where to put batteries. This year it was in the hand luggage, which meant we had to take it out of our main luggage and repack. Just as we were going through security, the last one of our group joined us. He had come straight from his flight into Delhi, so he was lucky to have made it.
AT 5.10 we had lift off to Leh. The flight was fine and we had great views of the mountains. Just after 6 we landed in Leh. We were driven to the Eco Poplar Resort where we had breakfast. Flying in at high altitude (3.367m / 11,047 ft.) is quite something. You have to slow the pace of walking...
After a bit of sleep, we did a bit of reading in the beautiful hotel garden. After lunch we headde for the town center to buy some water and prayer flags. The rest of the day we spent reading.
August 15: Leh - Alchi - Leh
Around 9 we left for Alchi. On the way over there we made a stop at a viewpoint from where you can see the Zanskar (grey water) and Indus (brown water) join. Around 10.30 we arrived in Alchi. We had visited the monastery before, but it is a nice monastery with nice wood carvings, mandalas and very large Buddha statues, so nice to be there again.
After lunch we were driven back to Leh, where we rented climbing gear.
Back at the hotel we decided to walk to the town center again. We ran into kind of a parade to honour the godess Krishna. In the town we had milkshakes. The rest of the day we spent reading
August 16: Leh - Khardung La (5.360m / 17,585ft.) - Leh
After breakfast we headed for the Khardung La. The road is long and winding and starts out as asphalt, but after a while becomes a dirt road. It continues on the other side of the pass into the Nubra Valley, but we stopped at the pass. It was cold up there and of course the air has much less oxygen, so the climb up to a viewpoint at 5.400m / 17,717ft. was quite strenuous.
We had tea at the cafe at the pass (the self-proclaimed highest cafe in the world) and then headed back to the hotel.
After lunch we decided to walk up to the old palace and from there to the monastery (3.684m / 12,087ft.) so quite a climb. Back in the town we bought some water and visited two Tibettan markets.
Back in our room it was reading time again. Arjen started in the book written by our guide Tom Richardson.
After dinner we got some more information on the details of the equipment on the trek: no need to put up the tents ourselves, that would be done by the crew.
August 17: Leh - Shey - Thiksey - Hemis - Rumtse (4.222m / 13,852ft.)
Around 8.30 we got into the van and were driven to the Shey Gompa (home of a very large Buddha statue). Next stop was Thiksey, also home of large Buddha statues and some mandalas. Third stop was Hemis. New to us was the museum. Very interesting place to visit.
From there we headed to Rumtse, our first campsite. On the way we saw many beautiful coloured rocks (purple, green, grey , brown, orange, yellow).
When we arrived at the campsite, our tents had already been put up. We dropped off our luggage and decided to go for a walk to get a better view of the rocks and the Kang Yatse.
By 4 we had arrived back at the campsite and were invited into the dinner tent for hot cocoa and cake.
Back in the tent we repacked for the trekking and did some reading. After dinner we went outside to enjoy the beautiful view of the milky way! With all the pollution of light and particles in the air, something we never see in Western Europe anymore...
This day we walked approximately 3h25m.
August 18: Rumtse (4.222m / 13,852ft.) - Sumdo Chorten (4.540m / 14,895ft.)
Bed tea was around 6am. We repacked the last things and then got ot of the tent. Breakfast was very good with milk, corn flakes, toast and omelet.
Around 7.45 we started walking. The first few meters on asphalt, bu then we left the road and went onto a path that crossed a few small streams. We saw birds and butterflies, 2 vultures and more than 15 picas (creatures that looked like a mix of mouse and hamster). The mules passed us around 10.45. An hour later we had lunch at a nice patch of grass next to a small river. The only disadvantage: flies and mosquitos like such places too. After lunch it was only a short walk to the campsite which we reached around 1pm.
Patricia went up a small hill and when she got back, Tom proposed to do another short walk. She and Jean-Michel joined Tom and went up to 4.665m / 15,305ft.
This day we walked approximately 5h15m.
August 19: Sumdo Chorten (4.540m / 14,895ft.) - Kyamri La (5.116m / 16,785ft.) - Mandalchan La (5.222m / 17,133ft.) - Tisaling (5,066m / 16,621ft.)
After a bit of a chilly night, it quickly warmed up and we could start walking around 7.30 with our fleece in our daypack. It was a beautiful ascent up to the first pass (Kyamri La) at 5.116m / 16,785ft. We let the mules pass and then went down to our lunch spot next to a river at 4.980m / 16,339ft. where we had lunch shortly before noon.
The sun had disappeared and it look as if there could be a shower later on, so we quickly continued walking to the second pass (Mandalchan La) at 5.222m / 17,133ft.. This one was a bit steeper than the first! At the pass we had a bit of hail. Fromn there we went to something that looked like a third pass (there were prayer flags) and then down to Tisaling, our campsite for the day.
This day we walked approximately 2h15m.
August 20: Tisaling (5,066m / 16,621ft.) - Thratsang La (5.292m / 17,362ft.) - Tso Kar campsite (4.615m / 15,141ft.)
We didn't sleep very well this noght. After breakfast the path quickly went up to Thratsang La, a windy pass. After a few pictures we went down. We saw some wild mules ("Kyang"). From there we walked at sort of the same altitude for quite a while. Around noon we stopped for lunch. We could see the lake, but it was another two hours walking before we finally reached the campsite.
We had a few drops of rain, but nothing serious on our side of the lake. We could see heavier showers pass on the other side of the lake.
This day we walked approximately 4h25m.
August 21: Tso Kar campsite (4.615m / 15,141ft.) - Nuruchang (4.706m / 15,440ft.)
During the night Patricia had gotten a bad case of diarrhea. We had breakfast in the sun (although it was still a bit chilly). On a mostly flat route we walked near the lakeside. Tso Kar is a salt walt lake. We saw a lo of small wildlife near and in the lake. And because there was little wind, it was a wonderful mirror, reflecting images of the hills and blue sky. Shortl before 2pm. we arrived at Nuruchang, our next campsite. As this was located next to a stream, it was the perfect place for Arjen to take a bath. Although cold, it was very refreshing!
Unfortunately the sun left our campsite early, so it was a bit cold.
This day we walked approximately 4h10m.
August 22: Nuruchang (4.706m / 15,440ft.) - Harlam Kongka (4.963m / 16,283ft.) - Rachung Karu (4.944m / 16,220ft.)
We had to cross the small stream - very cold this morning - and continue up on the other side to the Harlam Kongka pass. It wasn't too steep, but still quite hefty for Patricia. We went down a bit and then crossed another small stream. From there it was up and down (but a bit more up than down) to the next campsite, a small summer camp for shepherds. By that time, Patricia was exhausted.
At the end of the afternoon hundreds and hundreds of sheep returned to their corrals.
This day we walked approximately 3h20m.
August 23: Rachung Karu (4.944m / 16,220ft.) - Leh
The night hadn't been too bad for Patricia, so hopefully the antibiotics had kicked in. After breakfast it quickly became clear though that the ascent to the first pass was too much for Patricia. With pain in our hearts we decided we had to return to Rachung Karu. Coincidentally, the mobile health post was there that day. Eventually their driver brought us (and a guide) back to the road from Manali to Leh. There our guide eventually managed to hitch a ride back to Leh. That was quite a drive, we arrived late in the afternoon.
First stop was the SNM Hospital. For 5 Rupee Patricia saw a docter who checked her and told her that the antibiotics were the correct ones. We then went to a hotel in Leh (hill Town). We were dropped off there and told that our luggage would come the next day at the end of the day or the morning after at the latest.
Patricia called the insurrance company so they are aware we'd be making costs. Patricia then went to bed Arjen went for a bite.
This day we walked approximately 1h35m, making a total of 24h25m.
August 24-31: Leh
We asked to be moved to the Eco Poplar Hotel as that had a quiet garden. It eventually took two days before our luggage arrived and we could put on clean clothes. Most days we spent relaxing in the lovely hotel garden and walking to the town center for lunch and later for dinner.
It took quite a few days before Patricia started feeling better again. And it was not untill the 28th that we started for a walk uphill again. We visited the Shanti Stupa (beautiful!). The 29th we went up to the Palace to see the inside. It's worth a visit if you have the time.
The 30th the rest of the group joined us. Only 3 had made it to the top of Mentok II.
September 1 & 2: Leh - New Delhi - Home
Shortly after 5am we left for the airport. After numerous security checks and again some hassle about where to put the batteries - we had to tell the security officers they were supposed to be in the hand luggage o the way TO Leh, so why not the same on the way back? - we eventually boarded and flew out of Leh. We had great views of the Indus, Zanskar and the valley.
Back in Delhi we went to the Ashok again. Patricia had wanted to go for a swim in the hotel pool, but rain was pooring down in the afternoon. Around 11.30pm we took a taxi to the aiport. Our plane had a late arrival so it wan't before 3am that we could board.
One of the KLM stewardesses sat across us at the exit ile. She asked us how our trip had went. She had clearly heard the disappointment in Patricia's voice. An hour later she stopped by with a handwriten card and a keyring. How sweet!
When we arrived at home, Arjen discovered he'd left his daypack on the bus... Fortunately the driver had handed it over to the driver of the next bus that was still waiting to depart (the advantage of living at the end of the line).
For those interested, the Google Earth .kml file and the GPS TrackMaker .gtm file can be downloaded too: