Monday, November 23, 2015

From the Indus to the Nubra Valley across Lasermo La - Part II

The top of the pass Lasermo La
Phyang to Hundar Trek Part II

A South Col team trekked from Phyang to Hundar in September 2015. The detailed trek notes for the first part of the trek was covered in my blog post last week in this link
The his is the second and concluding part.

September 5th 2015
We had planned to start at 6 am for the pass but when I woke up at around 4 am it was snowing lightly. The sky was also very misty with the clouds scudding across the moon. We finally left around 7 15 am when the snow had eased off and the sun was coming through the clouds.

 The trail as usual was difficult to find and there was some scrambling across boulders until we found a path of sorts which followed the valley to the bottom of the pass which we reached around 11 am. We passed some splendid blue flowers amidst the crags nestling below the snow.

From the bottom the trail climbed steeply to the first ridge in about half an hour and then climbed through a series of zig zags reaching the top of the pass around 12 15 pm.  I had brought a prayer flag which we tied across the pass and then along with Pema and Passang  two of our support team we built a small cairn in memory of my mother in law who had passed away a few months before – It was a  high and remote spot;  a stairway to heaven.

The rest of our group arrived in dribs and drabs the last member reaching at around 2 pm. We took the group photos and then headed down across a glacier which took us about 45 minutes to traverse.  From the glacier the path descended onto rocks and again navigating the way became very difficult. The descent seemed never ending and finally we reached the north base camp of Lasermo around 5 pm in the evening. Our last member came in at around 6 45 pm just as the light was fading from the sky. It had been a long and difficult day.

Lasermo La Pass 5474m - 34 18 24 N - 77 29 9 E. Lasermo La North Base Camp 4968m - 34 20 42 N - 77 28 37E

September 6th 2015

I woke up at around 5 am to the pitter patter of snow on the tent. It had been a cold night; the altitude of the North base camp was around 4800 metres where we had camped. The snow continued till around 8 am and we were only able to get away around 8 30 am when the snow eased off and the sun came out. The first hour of the walk was difficult as the trail was snowed over and we had to find it amidst the rocks. After this the sun came up and the valley opened up and we followed a beautiful trail through meadows with grass and flowers.

We spotted a herd of yaks high on the hillside grazing near a rocky outcrop.  We stopped for lunch around 1 pm and must have covered at least 10 km. after lunch we reached a grazing station where we met the first person since leaving the village of Norudok. He was spending the summer grazing yaks on the high meadows which we had just passed and would go down by September 15th. After this the trail continued to traverse through rocks and boulders until around 3 30 pm when we suddenly saw our camp site well before the village of Hundar Dok. We reached around 4 30 pm.
Camp above Hundar Drok 4278m - 34 28 4 N - 77 26 29 E

September 7th 2015
The morning was clear and still- the night temperature was above zero and there was no snow or rain that day.
 The valley to the west had a number of interesting rock peaks in the 5500 to 6000 metre range which would make interesting climbing for a small group. We left the camp around 8 10 am and walked down the valley at a leisurely pace and reached the village of Hundar Drok in around 40 minutes.  The villagers were busy harvesting the fields and ripe barley had turned the fields a beautiful shade of gold.

 We spent an hour photographing in and around the village and left Hundar Drok at around 10 am. The trail carried down to the river which we crossed on a rickety log bridge and then climbed up to the opposite bank. We then took a narrow foot path going north along a bubbling stream of crystal clear water. As we walked north we could see in front of us on the other bank three white chortens and a few houses with a path leading up to them from the river which could be heard but not seen from this point. We went down from the main trail and found a path which took us down to the river in a series of sharp switchbacks. The river was crossed again on another rickety log bridge from where we climbed up for about 20 minutes to meet the three white chortens which we had seen from the other side. The time was around 12 noon and it had taken us 2 hours. We walked on and within a few minutes reached the new jeep able road which had just been built to connect to Hundar. We walked straight down on this new road and in about two hours reached the camping site of Skarchen. The trail had a lot of Tibetan snow cocks on the crags above and we could hear their constant calls as we walked. Fit Trekkers could cover the next two to three hours to Hundar the same day. Skarchen could be identified by some abandoned houses built next to the road and near a small concrete bridge.

Hundar Drok 4066m - 34 29 35 N - 77 26 1 E Skarchen 3573m - 34 32 9 N - 77 25 55 E

September 8th 2015
We had a late breakfast and left Skarchan at around 9 am. The pickup vehicle for the crew and the kitchen equipment had arrived and we left them to load up all the equipment in the pickup. The trail followed the gorge of the Hundar nala where the road had been blasted through the gorge. The colours of the rock were also spectacular - brown, ochre, grey, silver and jet black. The river thundered through the gorge below icy grey green flowing over the rocks. The walk to Hunder took around two hours and we reached the road by around 11 am. The ponies had not yet arrived so we waited for them as our Tempo Traveller had already arrived. I realised that a fit trekking team could make it from Hundar Dok to Hunder in one long day. The distance would be around 15 km.  We stopped for the night at the campsite of Sumur on the other end of the valley.

Sumur 3105m - 34 36 20 N- 77 36 35E


  1. Amazing, Sujoy! I would love to do a trek in the snow in Himalayas... hopefully soon.

  2. wow, that was breathtaking...really heavenly



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