Lamayuru 360 View

Well, after 19 days of walking and 275 kilometers (170 miles), we’ve finally made it to our end destination, Lamayuru. It’s been quite an adventure. To celebrate this exciting achievement, we are sharing with you the view over the incredible monastery at Lamayuru in this 360 panorama.

The Eighth Pass

“Only two more days of walking,” I thought to myself as I was huffing and puffing up toward Sirsir La, a 4,800 meter (15,744 ft) pass just 100 meters ahead. This would be the eighth pass in the last 18 days and it certainly didn’t seem to be getting easier. I looked back and saw Tony leaning over his hiking poles resting. All I could hear was the wind and my own breathing. Then I caught a last glimpse of Photoksar in the distance, the little village we had left only 3 hours ago. What an amazing place to be.

I continued walking. Just as I was approaching the saddle studded with colorful prayer flags, I heard a low rumbling coming from the other side of the pass. “What the heck?” I wondered, pushing on faster to see what was going on. As I got closer to the top, the noise suddenly increased. I looked toward the source and couldn’t believe the evil I was witnessing. Continue…

Snotty Chapati

A small stream of snot slowly worked its way down from her nose pooling on the ridge of her upper lip. She sucked and snorted in vain. My stomach churned apprehensively waiting for the inevitable – and then she did it again for the eighth or ninth time. She whipped up her barley-flower-coated hand, dragged it across her face leaving a thin strand of sticky goo, a snot web, stretching out as she plunged her hand back into the chapati dough, otherwise known as our breakfast.

“That’s it,” I secretly whispered to Thomas, “I’m not Continue…

Darcha to Padum

Join us on the first half of our trek across Zanskar as we hike through roadless mountains and river valleys from Darcha to Padum. The video features our climb to the stunning pass, Shinkul La (5,100 m), our first encounter with Zanskari nomads, homestays in isolated villages, overnight stays in Phuktal and Mune monasteries, and more.

Please see our note about the posting delay.

Momos in the Snow

It’s hard to convey the reality of this trek. Pictures and videos will show the landscape, the wildlife, and the unique culture, but I’m sure the challenges of the trek will be lost in the beauty of the area. Yes, it’s spectacular – but it’s also quite tough going. Luckily, with the challenges come thrills hearkening back to a much simpler age.

Leaving Phuktal, we took an alternate route along the northern side of the beautiful Tsarap River via the tiny village of Cha. Locals had assured us the path was good enough for pack animals and that we should have no problems along the way. Yeah, right. Continue…

Spectacular Phuktal

Phuktal Monastery is, without question, Zanskar’s most spectacularly situated gompa. Built around a sacred spring high above the turquoise Tsarap River, the monastery’s prayer chapels and white-washed monk’s cells cling to the sheer cliffs underneath a large cave blackened by the soot from centuries of smoke.

But it’s not just the setting. Adding to the attraction is Continue…

Tea with Nomads

On day three, after crossing a long stretch of wilderness we encountered our first Zanskari people, nomads at the base of the incredible, monolithic Gonbo Rangjon. Awkwardly approaching at first, a tiny girl ran out to study us. She bounced and bobbed around us staring in curiosity and then led us back to her family’s tent where we were given delicious tea made with pure yak milk (straight out of the yak) and loaded down with sugar. (Sugar and fat were exactly what we were craving after the long stretch of wilderness behind us.)

Shinkul La

Most people hiking across Zanskar start their trek in Lamayuru and finish in Darcha, keeping Shinkul La, the highest pass, for last. This makes sense in the summer months, but with the threat of snow this late in the season, we decided to start from the Darcha side and get this oversized hurdle, 5,080 m (16,730 ft), out of the way.

Luckily, we were already acclimatized from our Stok Kangri flop so we weren’t too worried about the two-day 1,500 meter climb. Still, with our 40-pound packs, this was no easy task. At the end of the first day, I was ready to set my backpack on fire, bury it or Continue…

Violent Lollipop Eating

These narrow, rocky paths are quite a challenge. Loaded down with food and camping gear, it’s pretty tough going. With the calories slipping away, sugar takes on a whole new meaning.