Adventure Sports in Ladakh
Trekking - The cast cold desert of Ladakh, with its high altitudes and sparse population, is considered the state's most difficult trekking region.
With the lowest altitude around 11,000 feet, there can be breathing problems to some and acclimatization prior to the trek is essential. Ladakh has been variously described as 'moonland' and 'frozen desert'. At Leh and Kargil in Ladakh, the trek bases, one may hire porters and ponies. The trekking season extends from July to September. At an altitude of more than 9000 ft, Ladakh offers adventure amidst beauty, which surpasses any other mountain range. Tucked between two of the world's greatest mountain ranges, the Himalayas and the Karakoram, its snow-clad peaks, translucent lakes, barren terrain and mystic culture has attracted tourists and explorers from all over the world.
River Rafting - However, it is the white water rafting on the two mountain streams of River Indus and River Lidder that is the favorite of the adventure enthusiasts. Rafting is a very recent sport in Kashmir. The Indus in Ladakh, in particular, has three portions that are ideal for this sport - a half day run for amateurs from Phey to Niemo, a two day exciting run from Phey to Alchi on the first day and Nurla on the second day with a choice of going further to Khalsi. The Zanskar River, also in Ladakh, can offer professionals six days on rapids that begin at Padum and passes through the picturesque Zanskar valley. The best season is August to September. Similarly, the River Lidder near Pahalgam has two short stretches suitable for white water rafting, especially for day trips. As the gradients are not steep, they are excellent for the first timers.
White water canoeing also has has extensive possibilities in the rivers of Lidder, Sindh, Drass, Suru, Indus, Zanskar, Chenab and for the less adventurous, even the Jhelum. The high altitude lakes of Tarsar, Marsar, Kaunsarnag, Kishensar, Vishensar and Gangabal could also be interesting for canoeing, thought the sport has not yet caught on here. Similarly, no one has yet tried diving in the lakes of the valley and it will be certainly a fun to discover the truth of the legendary city, which is believed to lie at the bottom of Wular Lake and the popular belief that Manasbal Lake has no bottom.
Mountain Climbing - The Zanskar Range surrounds the famous massif of NunKun. Bruce, Sillem, the Bullock-Workmans, Piacenza, Harrison and Waller have explored this group of mountains since 1898. Kun at an altitude of 7,077 m above sea level was first climbed by the Italian climber Piacenza in 1913 and Nun at an altitude of 7,135 m above sea level by the Swiss climber, late Madame Claude Kogan, in 1953. It is the only climbing group, which is accessible by a day's trekking from the road head. The other significant peaks in this range are the White Needle at an altitude of 6,500 m above sea level; Pinnacle at an altitude of 6,930 m above sea level; Z-1 at an altitude of 6,400 m above sea level; Z-2 at an altitude of 6,175 m above sea level; Z-3 at an altitude of 6,270 m above sea level; Z-8 at an altitude of 6,050 m above sea level; D-41 at an altitude of 5,813 m above sea level; N-8 at an altitude of 6,392 m above sea level; Bien Guapa at an altitude of 6,006 m above sea level; Bobang at an altitude of 5,971 m above sea level; In addition, there are a number of unnamed peaks in this range overlooking the Durung Drung glacier.
The Ladakh range chiefly consists of the peaks of Stok area - Stok Kangri at an altitude of 6,135 m above sea level; Parcha Kangri at an altitude of 6,065 m above sea level; Gulap Kangri at an altitude of 5,900 m above sea level and some peaks of Nimaling area such as the famous Kang Yissay at an altitude of 6,400 m above sea level. Recently, the Karakorams have also been thrown open to selected joint expeditions. Three such expeditions that are allowed every year to three groups are Saser Group, Rimo Group and Momostong Group in Nubra Valley. Some of these peaks even overlook the Siachin glacier, which is among the longest in the world.
The climbing period extends from mid May till mid October. The monsoons do not affect the Ladakh peaks and the main climbing season is July to August when most of the Himalayas remain closed. The Army and the Air Force are authorized to assist climbers and trekkers in distress. Most of the climbing regions are linked by high-frequency radio to Srinagar - the base of rescue operations.
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