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Snow Leoaprd Trekking and Camping Adventure (14 Days)

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Snow Leoaprd Trekking and Camping Adventure (14 Days)

 

Code: SaredDot

Day 01 - Arrive Delhi

Arrive in India. A representative of Adventure Travel Vacations, holding a sign in your name, will meet you in the arrivals area upon exiting baggage claim and escort you to your hotel.

Delhi is one of India’s most vibrant cities today. It is not only a city that has played capital to various dynasties, but is also one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Today, apart from being at the political forefront, it also leads the country in terms of art, culture, culinary experiences, shopping, entertainment and overall standard of living. The city, like other ancient cities, is a beautiful homogeneous mix of the old and the contemporary. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Delhi is a microcosm of all that is India.

 

Day 02 - Delhi – Leh

This morning after breakfast you will be transferred to the Indira Gandhi Airport for your flight to Leh. On your arrival in Leh you will be met by a representative of Adventure Travel Vacations and transferred to your hotel. Check in to your hotel on arrival with the rest of the day at leisure for you to acclimatize to the high altitude and reduced oxygen level of this region. It is recommended that you engage in no activities this day – not even a walk around the town. Leh is one of the most magical places in India. Its stark beauty has been captured on film and is the base for adventure activities around the region. The ruins of the Leh Palace still stand proud overlooking the valley with the rest of the town spread out below. (B, L, D)

Day 03 - In Leh

Another full day of taking it easy to acclimatise to the rarefied air is very wise. Today it will be possible to do some birding to look for Ibisbill, Solitary Snipe, Horned Lark, Guldenstadt’s (White-winged) Redstart and a few other species local to Leh. For those who wish we can include a visit to Thiksey Monastery where you’ll enjoy commanding views across the Indus Valley. Your guide will confirm the times to meet up the following morning for the drive to Hemis. (B, L, D)

Day 04 - Drive Leh - Zingchen – Husing (Hemis National Park) Approx. 1 hour drive to Zingchen and Hemis National

This morning after breakfast you will be driven to Zingchen.

From here you will walk approx. 1½ hrs to the campsite at Husing located at approximately 3700 m. The actual walk is not far and the track isn’t steep, but for some it will take a bit of effort at this altitude! Husing is a perfect location in a corridor linking three valleys where there is much evidence of Snow Leopard.

Your guide will point out scrapes, spray sites and of course the ultimate would be a sighting of this fine cat. After lunch at the camp spend the afternoon looking for Snow Leopards in the Tarbung area, returning to Husing tented camp for the night. This afternoon and the rest of the time in Hemis will remain flexible depending on the sightings of Snow Leopard, so you may move camp or have a night or two at a local homestay in Rumbak (a wonderful experience) when required, but expect most of the time to be under a canvas.  You will stay in a camp for the night at an elevation of 3600m. (B, L, D)

Day 05, 06, 07 & 08

Zingchen area (Husing Valley and local area at approx. 3700m) trekking at times upto approx. 4600m depending on the weather and Snow Leopard tracks and signs and Rumbak (4050m – 4600m)

The junction of Husing Nala and Tarbung Nala and local high ridges will be scanned; there will be a hike to a vantage point at Rumbak Sumdo and the area of the parachute café to scan for sightings. During this time you should see Chukar, White-winged Redstart, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Fire-fronted Serin (depending on dates), Himalayan Snowcock, Yellow-billed and Red-billed Choughs, Robin Accentor, Horned Lark, Tibetan Snowfinch, perhaps Eurasian Eagle Owl and a few other species. Look out for groups of Blue Sheep (Bharal), Mountain Weasel, Red Fox, Stone Marten and among the boulders on warmer days Royal Pika often venture out. Overnight at Husing tented camp.

Note: depending on the tracks and signs of the Snow Leopard you might change camping site - there are up to three likely camping locations. The camp staff will arrange everything for you and your main bags will be transported by pony/mule so you just have to carry your optics and day bag.

Depending on sightings and the weather we may move location today to focus on the Rumbak area. The mountains around Rumbak are home to Asiatic Ibex, Ladakh Urial and Tibetan Argali, though these species can prove difficult here and are potentially easier to see at other locations outside of Hemis National Park which will be visited later in the tour. After breakfast, the trek to Rumbak village (again not that far) will take approximately 2 to 3 hours where we may camp or stay in a homestay for the night, or just return to the original camp. Further exploration today may take us to 4600m up towards Yurutse where it is possible to see Tibetan Argali, also known as Great Tibetan Sheep.

We’ll continue our quest with more trekking, looking for tracks and signs, scanning the ridges and mountain-sides with telescopes and binoculars. Tibetan Wolf tracks and signs are likely with sightings possible, but more difficult. We will visit Husing Pass (4450 m) and scan from excellent vantage points on the pass. On another day we may hike for 3 - 4 hours towards Gandala base to look for Tibetan Argali in an area where the habitat is also good for Eurasian Lynx, Tibetan Wolf and Tibetan Partridge. Nights will be in tented camps.
Day 09 - Husing Camp – Zingchen – Ulley or Saspochey (depending on Snow Leopard Sightings)

After six nights in Hemis National Park you walk for about an hour down to Zingchen where the vehicle will be waiting to take you to a different location, the area of Ulley or Saspochey, depending on Snow Leopard sightings. The drive will take you back along the Indus river. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Saspochey / Ulley

Your search for the elusive snow leopard will continue here. Snow Leopard Conservation estimate there are around 8 to 10 snow leopards locally and you will have a good chance of Asiatic Ibex too. Birds locally may include Great Rosefinch, Brown Dipper and White-winged Redstart.  Overnight at a homestay in Saspochey OR Ulley. (B, L, D)

Day 11 - Saspochey / Ulley – Leh (by surface)

This morning we will trek down to a location where Ibex are found in large numbers. After a packed or hot lunch you will drive back to Leh enroute visit Alchi monastery, the confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers and hall of fame museum. (B, L, D)

Day 12 In Leh

This morning after breakfast you will be taken on a tour of the famous Monasteries in Leh – namely Shey, Thiksey and Hemis.

You start the tour with a visit to the Shey monastery, which was founded by the first King of Ladakh, Lachen Palgyigon in the 11th century. The monastery has a copper gilt statue of Lord Buddha made in the memory of King Singey Namgyalin 1633 AD. Thereafter you will visit the Thiksey monastery where you will get a chance to see numerous shrines after which you will drive to Hemis, which is considered the largest monastery in Ladakh and belonging to the Red sect Buddhists. The monastery is home to many monks. After the tour return to the hotel for an evening at leisure. (B, L, D)

Day 13  Leh – Delhi (by flight)

This morning after breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to connect your flight to Delhi. On your arrival in Delhi you will be met by a representative of Adventure Travel Vacations holding a sign in your name once you exit Baggage claim Thereafter you will be transferred to an airport hotel. (B)

Day 14 Depart Delhi (by flight)

This morning after breakfast you will be transferred to the International airport to connect your flight back home. (B)

Cost inclusions for Snow Leopard Trek

• 2 night’s accommodation on Twin share basis on Bed and breakfast in Delhi (on arrival and departure).
• 11 night’s accommodation on TWIN share basis in Hotel / Camp / Homestay in Leh on full board basis (all 3 major meals – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
• Monastery Entrance Fees.
• An expert Snow Leopard English speaking guide throughout the trek for 8 days.
• All Camping trip with Guide, cook, Helper.
• Camping in Husing and Rumbak (full board), with pick up and drop in Leh and to Rumbak.
• Tented camps consist of a row of crawl-in-tents with a foam ground sheet and padded mattresses on the floor.
• Down feather sleeping bags with 2 layers OR you need to bring your own good quality four season sleeping bag.
• A pillow and blanket are supplied.
• Hot water bottles are supplied at night and a bowl of hot water delivered each morning and on request.
• The camp at Husing now has two built drop toilet blocks with access up a set of steps.
• The Homestays have a similar drop toilet.
• At other camps the toilet may be a toilet tent.
• The dining tent (with table and chairs) is kept warm by a gas heater and lighting is provided here.
• Meals are very tasty basic Ladakhi, Chinese and Continental style, freshly prepared in the catering tent by an experienced cook.
• Ponies are used to transport larger bags and each person is expected to carry their own day sack.
• Homestays at Ulley or Saspochey (full board basis – all 3 major meals)
• All transfers between sites by Scorpio/Xylo/Innova vehicles.
• Wildlife entrance fee in Hemis National Park
• Note: Any increase in entrance fees will be charged as a supplement as to keep your price low there is no contingency for this.
• Filtered/pressure-boiled water while camping, tea/coffee.

Cost exclusions for Snow Leopard Trek

• Any international flights
• All domestic flights and airport taxes.
• Tourist visa fee.
• Travel insurance (essential for you to take out for activities covered, including high altitude trekking).
• All drinks including bottled mineral water, alcoholic beverages and cold drinks.
• Additional cost resulting from delays due to landslides, sickness, flight cancellations, significant increase in entrance fees etc.
• Cost of evacuation by any means and anything not mentioned above under inclusions.
• Anything not mentioned in the inclusions above.

Notes:

• Check-in time is 1400 hrs and check-out 12 noon.
• Hotels offered may change at the time of actual booking and if so a similar hotel in the same category will be offered.
• Twin room are subject to availability at the time of check in at hotel.

SNOW LEOPARD TREK – Important Points To Remember
SNOW LEOPARD TREK – HEMIS NATIONAL PARK, LADAKH, INDIA

 
Snow Leopard Tour, Ladakh – November to March
 
Tour Highlights

• Accompanied by one of the best Snow Leopard guide in Ladakh and an experienced trek and camping back-up team you will explore some of the best habitats in the Rumbak region of Hemis High Altitude National Park, known as the Snow Leopard capital of the world. In spectacular scenery with panoramic views of high passes, open skies and beautiful valleys mammal sightings will include Blue Sheep (Bharal), the primary prey species of Snow Leopard, Pika, Woolly Hare and perhaps Mountain Weasel, Northern Lynx, Ladakh Urial, Tibetan Argali, Asiatic or Tibetan Wolf if you are lucky. Expect regular sightings of Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Red-billed and Alpine Coughs, Robin and Brown Accentors, White-browed Tit Warbler, Fire-fronted Serin, Robin Accentor, Brown Accentor and Brown Dippers. Eurasian Eagle Owl, Himalayan Snowcock, Tibetan Partridge, White-fronted Tit Warbler, Wallcreeper, Tibetan Snowfinch and Himalayan Griffon are all possible with a Rosefinch or two! Our experienced guide, along with other members of the team, will be looking for tracks and signs left by this elusive and endangered big cat, with the added benefit of up-to-date knowledge of recent sightings and often being in contact with others by radio. Everyone will scan the mountain-scape on a regular basis for the ultimate sighting of a Snow Leopard.
• Accommodation will be in hotels (Leh), well equipped tented camps and village Homestays, subject to weather and where our quest for Snow Leopard and other wildlife takes us.
• Grade is moderate to challenging at times, especially for the first few days as your body is getting used to the rarified air. If you have struggled at high altitude before, then this tour is not the tour for you! You should take it easy, not rush and most importantly go at your own pace. You need to be physically fit (but not ultra-fit) with experience of hill walking and the ability to deal with some challenging terrain including rocks, scree slopes, steep slopes, narrow paths and stream crossings.
• Most of the trekking is on well-trodden trails Depending on sightings it is likely that on several mornings and evenings you may well walk up to one of three vantage points in the Husing Valley which offer excellent views across extensive valleys and long ridge-lines; a popular place to scan for Snow Leopards

What to expect while camping

The camp team is there to set up camp, cook and help to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The camp is well equipped and the tents and sleeping mats etc. are excellent. You can expect three course dinners on the table with table cloth in the dining tent and often hot meals are carried up the mountain and served with hot drinks! However, it is a basic rural camp, so do not expect hot showers, although you will be delivered a bowl of hot water for a wash/strip wash and hot water bottles are also provided. Packed lunches (often hot) are normally delivered to you by the camp team while you are out and about, so there is no need to carry your own packed lunch each day. Tea and biscuits may be delivered on some days too! You do however need to take a 30 – 50L day sack as you must carry plenty of water to drink and have room for extra layers of clothing that you may well take off while trekking and put on while sitting for long periods. You’ll need the extra layers on very cold days and especially if it is windy (as temperatures can drop dramatically with the wind chill) and towards the end of the day when you lose the warmth of the sun as it disappears behind the mountains. Ponies are employed for transport of camp equipment and some of your extras. Try not to over pack, but do be aware that it is very difficult to wash clothes while you are camping and get them dry. They are strict on the internal baggage allowance on the flights these days, but you can usually pay more per kg of extra weight and it isn’t too expensive. However taking the appropriate kit is doable within the weight allowance.

MUST BRING:

• Binoculars and ideally a telescope with tripod (as lightweight as possible) if you have one to scan for Snow Leopard.
• A 30 - 50 litre day backpack (with cover to keep off the snow if encountered) large enough to carry water bottles, camera and extra clothing needed to combat wind chill and change in temperatures
• 1 large duffle bag/holdall/rucksack (with cover to keep off snow if required) for all your main luggage with 2 large plastic bin bags or dry-sacks for keeping gear dry. Note: It is a very dry environment. You can expect snow, but even the snow is dry snow, but better to be on the safe side and ensure your belongings are protected from the damp
• A thermarest to place on the ground to sit on is essential. Expect quite a lot of sitting and scanning.
• 1 litre water bottles with a wide mouth (preferably not metal as they are cold to hold) but something that can withstand warm water. You may wish to consider bringing a small thermos for tea or coffee if you are not keen on drinking cold water, as it is essential you keep your fluid intake high to help avoid feeling ill.
• Clothing suitable for snow (rain less likely), but hopefully it will be dry – so a light weight waterproof jacket to go over a down jacket, waterproof trousers and ensure your boots are waterproof.
• Good quality sun goggles with 100% U/V protection essential
• Sun hat
• Sun cream lotions (remember to protect your ears!) SPF50+ for your face. You can purchase tins which don‟t freeze!
• A good moisturizer essential for face, hands and lips as the air is very dry
• Head torch and spare batteries (worth taking with you on each trek as we often headed back at dusk)
• Comfortable clothing / no formals required
• Thermals (at least two sets and you may wear both if the climate is extra cold) and plenty of layers. Note: Checkout pure merino wool thermals as these come highly recommended.
• At least one pair of padded (not just lined) trousers and two pairs if you know you feel the cold. Or you could go with lined trousers and carry larger padded trousers to add an extra layer while scanning for long periods at the end of the day
• Pair of water proof trousers
• Decent mittens (like Montane Prism Winter Mitts) or gloves and consider a larger size so you are able to wear glove liners (silk or merino wool liners ideal), scarf and balaclava or buff (the buff recommended over the balaclava) in case of very cold weather so you can cover nose and ears. Consider the movement of your fingers required to focus your telescope or press a camera button. Take a spare pair just in case you lose one, or get a pair wet.
• Warm wool or fleece hat essential
• A warm jacket (a decent down jacket is preferable or more layers) to wear over other layers. For your upper body over the top of thermals you may consider a base layer, micro fleece, a second zip fleece jacket (this can be invaluable to unzip when trekking and feeling hotter, then zip up and have pockets where you can store your batteries to keep them warm). Some may prefer to bring a wool sweater. If you feel the cold you may wish to bring a down waistcoat/gillet. What you ultimately wear will depend on the temperature at the time, what you are doing (walking/sitting) and your own tolerance to the cold. Issue is to have sufficient layers to cover every eventuality and room in your day sack to strip off!
• Personal medicines – even if you are not prone to getting headaches do bring some Paracetamol as the altitude can bring on niggling and sometimes severe headaches, especially if you become dehydrated. If you feel at all ill then you must tell your guide how you are feeling and others in the group.
• Ankle length trekking boots (light weight good quality Gore-Tex preferable with solid soles for both insulation and grip). You could bring gaiters though most of the time these are not likely to be required in Feb or March. Note: Biggest bit of advice is NOT to have your boots too tight. You will need decent woollen socks (take at least three pairs and you may wear two pairs) and a pair of silk socks for extra warmth. So you need to wear boots at least one size larger than normal, and some would opt for two sizes larger to accommodate two pairs of thick woollen socks. Note: If you are purchasing new boots remember to buy in advance and wear them in. Extra note: Some may opt for fur-lined boots (leather and/or rubberized on the outside) if your feet are prone to feeling cold.
• Trainers for around the camp (though you may not bother)
• A good quality four season sleeping bag and you might want to consider sleeping bag liner (silk ones are good for space-saving and add an extra season of warmth – some would prefer the square ended rather than mummy shaped liners). Note: If space or weight is an issue you can hire (on extra payment) army issue sleeping bags. Note: If you wish to hire one please tell us in advance and you then just need to carry a sleeping bag liner.
• Roll-on deodorant, antiseptic wipes (2 packs of large and 2 packs of small help to make washing and personal hygiene easier – small ones are good in the day sack), hand sanitizer, blister treatments, plastic bags for tent rubbish.

CONSIDER BRINGING:

• Camera with lens to cope with UV filter (especially for more professional cameras), image stabilising lens worth considering and cable release. You are not walking all day, but some of the treks can be long, so you’d need to determine how long a trek is likely to be and decide how much heavy equipment to take with you.
• Tripod for telescope and/or camera, but be prepared to carry it over tricky terrain OR bean bag to place on rocks and boulders to help keep camera steady
• Extra Batteries for the camera OR Solar Backpack Chargers OR Portable Solar Panels for Backpacks

REGIONAL FACTS:

• Avg. Altitude: 3500 m
• Avg. Temp: (Winter) Max 5 / Min –25
• Language Spoken: Ladakhi, Hindi & English
• Regional Capital: Leh
• ATMs available: SBI, J&K, HDFC, AXIS Bank, but please bring with you enough spending money for the duration Credit Cards are NOT accepted by most of the shops, restaurants or hotels.
• Mobile: POSTPAID BSNL, Airtel mainly. Prepaid SIMs will not work in Leh.

HEALTH

Travel to any part of the Himalayas deserves a little more respect than many other destinations because the whole region lies over 2600 meters (8500 ft). People in good health should not get alarmed by this but if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, you must take the advice of a doctor who has experience with the effects of altitude. We do not take heart or lung patients or pregnant mothers on this expedition. Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy more.

ACCLIMATIZATION

Most of Ladakh is at an altitude of more than 3000m so you need to get acclimatized before you can set out to travel. Your body needs to adapt to high altitude, as the higher you go, the air becomes rarified and the oxygen available for you to breathe becomes lesser. Even though your body is capable of adapting to 'thin air', you need to give it time to do so. This is what is called acclimatization.
• Complete rest at the hotel to acclimatize to the high altitude region of Ladakh
• Take short steps and stop if you are breathless. You may not be able to walk here like you do it back home
• Always carry warm clothes while travelling, because weather in the mountains can change any minute
• Do not venture out on the first day
• It is advisable not to take bath or shower on the first day as you might catch cold due to the exposure. So, keep warm and cozy on first day and avoid bathing
• Please do not consume alcohol and cigarettes for the initial 2 days
• Do not spend more than 10 minutes at high altitudes of Khardungla and Changla passes
We recommend Diamox medicine to counter the effects of Acute Mountain Sickness. (PLEASE CONSULT A DOCTOR) before you start your course.
Note: Please keep your personal items to a minimum (besides the essentials) so that your bag (No hard shells please) is light and easy to carry.

  Price:- From $3,243 per person sharing. Please contact us for seasonal rates and availability 

 

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