Across Zanskar : Pang to Photoksar Trek - Aug 2017

#1 Sep 15th, 2017, 23:02
Join Date:
Jun 2016
  • SathyaV is offline

You can find below trip report of the Trek covering
Across Zanskar : Pang to Photoksar Trek - Aug 2017
outlining the itinerary, link to photos and highlights.
Across Zanskar : Pang to Photoksar Trek - Aug 2017

Photos from the trek : Pang to Zangla Trek Album - August 2017

Summary : The 2 week long trek from Zangla to Photoksar, involving the crossing of 8 high altitude passes, challenging river crossings across Khurna River & Charchar Tokpo, is a journey through mesmerising albeit scary looking gorge country.

Route Info
The trek starts from the More plains and after crossing the Pogmar La, which is the watershed between the Narbo Lungpa to its southwest and Pangmur Lungpa to the north east, reaches the abandoned village of Sangtha, marked by chortens, along the Zara River. From Sangtha one follows the Lungmoche Nala till one reaches the campsite at Kharnak marked by a solitary chorten. The route then crosses the Yar La and continues to Dat along the dry Ramar Nala. There is no water source in this barren expanse, save the spring indicated by the presence of 2 shepherd huts. As one approaches Dat there are more springs/streams and the barren terrain is interspersed with greenery. Dat, is a settlement with a lovely old gompa, has a jeepable road to reach it - though that road sees no traffic and it does not impinge on your trek experience. Beyond Dat, the trail continues along the Dat Tokpo, till one reaches Tanje, at the confluence of Churio Tokpo with the Dat Tokpo. The Dat Tokpo drains into the Khurna River, which I rejoin at a later point in the trek. At Tanje, one heads along Churik Tokpo and then along the Gunjur Nala till one ascends to Zalung Karpo La and descends in a north-easterly direction along the Langtang Chan to Hankar, where it meet the ever popular Markha trail. From Hankar, the trail descends to Umulung and then to Testa Gompa along the Markha River. At Testa Gompa, the Chacham Nala confluences Markha from the south. One follows along the Chacham Nala, crosses the Rubarung La, descends and heads in a north eastern direction along the valley, through vertiginous gorges, where it confluences with the Khurna River. The trail follows the Khurna river, characterised by numerous challenging river crossings, till one reaches Charchar Sumdo, the confluence of Khurna with Charchar Tokpo. From the confluence one follows the Charchar Tokpo flowing in from the north west. This stretch upto Tilut Sumdo, where the Charchar Tokpo takes almost a U-turn to the south-west, is characterised by numerous stream crossings, albeit not as dangerous as Khurna River crossings. From Tilut Sumdo, the route goes in a south westerly direction along the Charchar Tokpo till one ascends the CharChar La. The Charchar Tokpo, for a few kms before the ascent to Charchar la, cuts through deep gorges and the route here was through knee deep water and very narrow (only a few feet across). Earlier in the season the water levels could easily be waist high, rendering it uncrossable. In my opinion, this stretch more than any other (more than the crossings of Khurna & Charchar Tokpo) makes this trek doable only in late Aug, mid Sep time period, when the water level starts receding. From CharChar La one descends very steeply and then turns south along a stream till one reaches Zumlung Sumdo. From Zumlung Sumdo one heads west along the Zumlung Nala to reach Zangla.

From Zangla there is a macadamised road, along the Zanskar River, to Honia, an abandoned settlement 6km away. From Honia it is a steep climb to Namtse la and a descent to Khurmafu camping ground, at its confluence with Bangche Tokpo. The trail continues along the Bangche Tokpo till its confluence with a side stream which flows from the north-east direction from Takti La. At the confluence with the side stream is a good camping spot. The Bangche Tokpo flows further north to confluence with Zanskar River. A steep ascent to Takti La (aka Neraq La) and descent via Labar La to village of Neraq. The route then descends to Zanskar river, crosses it on a bridge and ascends to Chochogori La. A jeepable road currently is upto here and is being worked upon and will soon reach Neraq. The ascent continues to Kong La and then to Singge La, often along the road or on tracks cutting across the road. The descent continues from Singe La along the river to Photoksar, a village with a significant population. It is possible to get vehicles from Photoksar to Leh.

Trek Highlights
  • Crossing 8-9 high altitude passes
  • The challenging river crossings of the Khurna River and Charchar Tokpo
  • The magnificient, mind-boggling vertiginous gorges along the Khurna, Charchar Tokpo
  • The gorges between Namtse la and Takti La.
  • The remoteness of the trek - I met 3 groups (besides the Markha valley stretch) through these 2 weeks of trek.

Trek Itinerary
  • 22nd Aug : Jeep from Pang to More Plains. Trek More Plains via Pogmar La (33.25819 N / 77.75999 E / 4997 M) to camp near Kharnak (33.37646 N / 77.65276 E / 4645 M)
  • 23rd Aug : Camp near Kharnak to Dat via Yar La (33.41182 N / 77.61530 E / 4950 M)
  • 24th Aug : Dat to Zalung Karpo La Base Camp near Gunjur Nala (33.66564 N / 77.46900 E / 4534 M)
  • 25th Aug : Zalung Karpo La Base Camp to Hankar (33.83107 N / 77.50733 E / 4046 M) via Zalung Karpo La ( 33.69962 N / 77.45425 E / 5193 M)
  • 26th Aug : Hankar to Rubarung La Base Camp (33.82175 N / 77.41580 E / 4181 M)
  • 27th Aug : Rubarung La Base Camp to Camp (33.71500 N / 77.37346 E / 4160 M) via Rubarung La (33.74744 N / 77.41995 E / 4872 M)
  • 28th Aug : Camp on Day 6 to Shang Yongma Campsite (33.71883 N / 77.24329 E / 3733 M)
  • 29th Aug : Shang Yongma Campsite to Campsite at bend of Charchar Tokpo (33.75415 N / 77.12364 E / 4190 M)
  • 30th Aug : Campsite at bend of Charchar Tokpo to Zumlung Nala Sumdo (33.65441 N / 77.06953 E / 3805 M) via CharChar La (33.67719 N / 77.09278 E / 4947 M)
  • 31st Aug : Zumlung Nala Sumdo to Zangla
  • 01st Sep : Zangla to Honia by Jeep. Honia to Bangche Tokpo Sumdo (33.79465 N / 76.91736 E / 3675 M) via Namtse La (33.71396 N / 76.96847 E / 4481 M)
  • 02nd Sep : Bangche Tokpo Sumdo to Neraq (33.87866 N / 76.92549 E / 3684 M) via Takti La (33.83126 N / 76.96289 E / 4949 M) and Labar La (33.84434 N / 76.95412 E / 4809 M)
  • 03rd Sep : Neraq to Singe La Base camp via Chochogori La (33.90718 N / 76.91745 E / 3960 M), Kong La (33.92024 N / 76.91534 E / 3951 M) and Singge La (5010 M)
  • 04th Sep : Singge La Base Camp to Photoksar
  • 05th Sep : Jeep from Photoksar to Leh

GPS Waypoints from the trek

Google Earth file with Maps and Waypoints embedded

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