Umasi La and Kanji La   - 22 days    16 days of trek    

Remote Padder valley & its Sapphire Land, Southern entrance to Zanskar, Kishtwar Shivling & Chandra Bhaga River

Trip Route: Manali - Kilar - Gulabgarh - Machail - Sumcham - Umasila - Dzonkhul - Padum- Hanumil - Lingshed sumdo - Dibling - Pikdong La - Kanji La - Kanji - Lamayuru -Leh

Trip Facts

Kishtwar region, Jammu Kashmir, India
Difficulty Level - Moderate to Strenuous, Max Altitude - 5342m 
Trip Length - 22 days Delhi to Delhi, 18 days Manali to Leh, 16 days of Trek and 14 nights of Camp and 6 nights hotel.
Activity - Trekking expedition, Best time - Mid July, Aug to Sept

Trip Introduction

The Greater Himalayan Range is a most formidable barrier between Zanskar and the valleys to the south, a natural frontier for more than just the sides of the valleys. It is a frontier for the monsoon which is broken up on the peaks and exhausted before it reaches Zanskar. Consequently either side has its own distinctive vegetation and climate. It is a frontier for the inhabitants who are racially, culturally and religiously worlds apart. It is a frontier which marks differences in the very mountains themselves 

- by Luke Hughes

Unlike the others high passes Kang La, Poat La, Shingo La. The Umasi La also is the Southern entrance to Zanskar, situated at Great Himalayan Range in between Kishtwar and Zanksar. This trek offers one of the spectacular route.
Setting off from Gulabgarh we follow a well define trail through Oak and conifer forest and pass numbers of beautiful villages with traditional Paddari home i.e. Garh, Kundel, Chishoti, Jashail etc. Crossing Machail the Buddhist culture starts to appear which has a close links with Zanskari for centuries. After Suncham we trek beneath the Kishtwar Shivling and camp in beautiful vast alpine meadows. Taking on left steep ascent towards hanging valley through boulder, rocks, moraine and then long glacier to beneath the huge rock which has a huge cave mostly used by Paddari and Zanskari people for a overnight shelter for next day early crossing of Umasi La pass.  After crossing large ice and snow field arrival at tiny corridor - Umasi La pass at the edge of rock wall. Steep descent through loose rocks and moraine to long glacier to the natural bridge. Than long descend along the stream and crossing it to Dzonkhul gompa road head finally. You will be driven to Ating and Padum.
 NOTE: To do Umasi La trek - one must have a experience of high altitude trek above 5000m

Highlights

Umasi La - The Southern entrance to Zanskar, Mesmerizing Kishtwar Shivling

Remote and beautiful Paddar - The Sapphire land, Scenic drive along the Chandra Bhaga River 

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 “Good support on all various aspects. 4 season tent to keep me warm all night. Provide sleeping bag and thick mattress; provide rope carabiner for Umasi La glacier travel. Morning bed tea and hot water for washing. Gas stove are in good condition. Its play an important role to prepare a hot meal after a long trek. Porters are helpful for helping me to some obstacle on river crossing, glacier crossing. Folding chair, toilet paper, pass message to my family during trek where std is not available. Driver Raj is very experienced and knowledgeable on the Manali - Paddar valley. To make us a safe trip. Arranged bus ticket from Delhi to Manali. I have to carry only my day bag during trek which i enjoyed. Always choose the best spot for set my tent, client came first. This is my third time of joining Potala Adventurers - achieves the objective with happy memories. I am looking forward to next adventurous holiday with Potala Adventurers in the near future. "

Mr Stanlay - SINGAPORE - 16 September

Detailed Trip Dossier

Day 1 & 2: Arrive Delhi, Drive to Manali/Flight to Kullu Manali airport. At Manali

Day 3 & 4: Manali - Rohtang pass (3978m) - Udaipur - Sach - Kilar - Gulabgarh (1850m).

Leaving early from Manali through one of the most scenic route to Rohtang pass and along the Chandra Bhaga River to Gulabgarh

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Day 5, 6 & 7: Trek to Chishot (2400m) - Machail (2750m) & Dharlang valley exploration

Leaving Gulabgarh, we drive 4 kms and follow a remote route through dense forest of Oak and Cedar to Kunhel. It is well define trail that leads to Garh and along the right bank at first than crossing bridge to the left and final bridge near Kunhel village. We climb gently to a large river bed short before Chishot. Along the left bank of Liddrari nallah to Hamur village, one of beautiful village with traditional Paddari house.  A short before Hamur bridge then along the right bank to Machail. Losain - Gorna - Dangel - Dharlang valley  these three villages situated across the river and at the foot of Agyasol peak.  As well enter in Dharlang valley to explore the area.

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Day 8, 9 & 10: Trek to Jashail -Suncham (3200m) - Suncham doksa (3400m) - Khachey Phangsa - Base (5000m)

We are now in Buddhist Paddar area and has left the Hindu dominance of South Paddar.  We climb through alpine pasture to Jashail village, which consist of only two or three house.  The trail pass through the Suncham which is last village in this valley. Continue gradual climb then arrival of a large alpine valley set beneath the peak of Kishtwar Shivling. We camp in the meadows of Suncham and share some time with Bakarwal sherpherds who lives in this valley during summber time with their flocks of sheep and goat. Short after the camp river crossing, which comes from the the valley leads to Hagshu pass. Now river crossing will take place every other day except only the day we cross Umasi La pass. After hours of walking on vast river bed we finally climb through boulders with an ill defined trail to the hanging valley coming from North.  Khachey Phangsa campsite provides spectacular view of Kishtwar Shivling.
Now starts of ill defined trail upto Gwara camp which is located otherside of pass in Zanskar. Short after camp an hour of walking, we cross the river and climb steep to the foot of glacier. Difficult route through boulders and long walk through large Haptal glacier field to the moraine, then steep climb for 2 hours to the base camp which is underneath the huge rockwall. The Paddari and Zanskari uses this rock shelter for next morning crossing the challenging Umasi La pass.

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Day 11 & 12: Trek to Umasila (5342m / 17300ft) - Gwara - Dzonkhul - Padum (3600m)

It will be cold start next morning, at first we walk along the edges of large glacier than long traverse through lager glacier field where we have to negotiate with crevasses and find out the best route to the pass. The Umasi La pass is a small corridor in the cliff wall set in high mountain. From pass view of glacier field all around. We descent steep to broad glacier through narrow gully with loose rocks and there is chances of accident especially at this stretch, so by taking precaution we descent by 2 people at one time. After descending we walk through broad glacier which lasts for an hour to Gwara.
We follow the stream and after crossing natural rock bridge descend to valley floor and head upto Dzonkhul. Short before Dzonkhul we cross river and to road head. Our vehicle will be waiting for us here and we drive to Ating and Padum

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Day 13, 14 & 15: Drive to Zangla (3500m) - Pidmo (3430) 2 hrs, trek to Hanamur (3400) - Perfi La (3910m) - Zingchen (3500m) - Snertse (3800m) - Hunuma La ( 4750m) - Lanang (3600m)

Leaving Padum today we drive to visit Karsha - Zangla and continue to the bridge near Pidmo village starting point of our next trek. Leaving Pidmo we trek high above the river to Hanumil which lasts for 2-3 hrs. From Hanumil long walk along the Zanskar River then steep ascent towards the Perfi La pass. Steep down to Zingchen and crossing Oma Chu river to small pass which lasts for 2 hours and arrival of Snertse campsite. We trek through narrow canyon which lasts for hours and hours. After arriving at pass spectacular 360 degree view all around overlooking the Lingshed. The descent is steep to campsite of Lanang.

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Day 16, 17 & 18: Trek to Barmi La (4600m) – Lingshed Sumdo - Dibling (4000m) - Pikdong La (5020m) – Kanji Sumdo (4300m)

Leaving main trail we climb to Barmi la pass and descend through narrow gorge to Lingshed Sumdo. There are some river crossing involve short before arrival of Lingshed Sumdo. We follow Oma Chu River to Dibling and numbers of time main River and side streams to be cross. At some stretches its tricky to find way. Keeping our pace on the valley floor continue to Dibling.Dibling is one of the remotest village in Ladakh and  inhabitants of this village often visit Lingshed. After exploring the village we continue to our campsite short after crossing the bridge in large open meadows. An early start today and long day ahead for us. Leaving camp we cross stream short before the Dibling Doksa and climb a never ending pass of Dibling. Gradual descent after pass in  a narrow gorge. Crossing of stream at several points and need to find out the way. Short climb to a ridge and high above the River we follow  a well define trail to Kanji Sumdo.  We cross 2 river close to Kanji Sumdo.

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Day 19, 20 & 21 : Trek to Kanji La (5250m) - Kanji La North Base Camp (4350m) - Kanji (3850m), Drive to Leh

We follow a small trail to the junction and here we will have first view of Nun and Kun which remains in sight during our climb to Kanji la pass. The more we go up the better appreance of peak rising in Great Himalayan Range. Some of known and famous peaks are Hagshu, Doda and Brahma.It is long climb through rocky morain to the pass. On a clear sky one can have a clear view of Nanga Parbat to the west and K2 to the North.  A tricky descent short after pass which consist of loose rocks than on a small glacier. A resting place which points towards the view of K2 peak. So high range of zoom and camera is must for this trek to enjoy the view of Karakorum peaks. Continue descent to campsite. 

Today is our last day of trekking along the stream and which passes through narrow gorge to the large open field. We will meet with Yaks, Dzo which signifies arrival of Kanji village. After exploring the village for an hour we drive to Leh.Trip Ends

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Day 22: Morning flight to Delhi and onward flight back to Home