14 Mar AHF Snow Leopard Trek
March 14, 2020 - March 28, 2020
Accompanied by AHF Chairman Simon Balderstone plus wildlife experts from the Snow Leopard Conservancy Trust India, this trek affords an opportunity to hike in search of the elusive Snow Leopard. The trip will also provide an insight into Ladakh’s rich cultural history while experincing the raw winter landscape of the Indian Himalaya. This carefully devised itinerary includes 5 days exploring the ridges and valleys above the Rumbak Valley, and a further three days in Hemis Shukpachan Valley – both known for optimum snow leopard sightings.
Beginning in Delhi, our trip begins with the spectacular flight across the Great Himalaya and Zanskar ranges (views subject to weather!) arriving in the regional capital of Ladakh. Leh is situated at 3,500m so we will spend a few days gently exploring its beautiful and historic monasteries and palaces while acclimatising.
Once we reach the 3850m high settlement of Zichen in the Indus valley we will undertake forays exploring adjacent gorges and ascending the nearby ridges in search of the elusive snow leopard. The expertise of our wildlife guides, the dedication of our local World Expedition guide as well as Simon’s intimate knowledge of the ridges and hidden valleys are crucial to optimising the chances of sighting the snow leopard and other rare wildlife in the region.
We will hear from the snow leopard guides about their anecdotes and life time experiences in Ladakh. The SLC Ladakh guides were recently contracted to work on Planet Earth 2, including a program dedicated to the world’s mountains that showed incredible footage of snow leopards a short distance from Rumbak (we can take you to the spot!). Our World Expeditions guide will also relate recent work with a National Geographic crew in search of a snow leopard (yes they were successful) while Simon will offer insights into the achievement and challenges of the AHF and the SLC in Ladakh over the last decade.
In Hemis Shukpachan, appreciate the sheer remoteness of some of the tiny settlements and high passes that afford fine views of the awesome landscape locked between the jagged high peaks south of the Indus valley and the snowy ridges of the Ladakh Range. At Hemis we meet Dorje and his family who run one of the most hospitable lodges in Ladakh. Rooms are comfortably appointed some with private facilities – note that there is no running water – with buckets of hot and cold water brought to your room each morning. Meals are cooked in the main living room, typically Ladakhi style that will appeal to the huge appetites that build up during the day.
After our four days in Hemis, we head back to Leh, stopping en route to visit the monastery in Likir, one of the oldest monasteries in the lower Indus Valley.