Rupshu Valley Trekking Via Kongmaru La Pass | Zalung Karpo La Pass

Rupshu Valley Trekking Via Kongmaru La Pass (India)



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Trip Overview


Rupshu Valley trekking is a high-altitude desert that lies southeast of Leh, Ladakh. Explore Ladakh’s remote Rupshu district, home of nomadic tribes, hidden forts, high passes and majestic yak. Since 1989, Ruphu Valley Trekking route opened for Foreigner. The trek passes through deserted villages, wild desert scenery much like the American Southwest, and vast grasslands where herdsmen graze their yak.

Day 1: Arrival In Leh (3500 meters above sea level)

We will collect you from the airport at Leh and transfer you to the guest house for the evening. Take your time to rest, relax, and acclimatize to the higher altitude around Leh and the Indian Himalaya.


Day 2: Leh to Shang Sumdo via Martselang (Up to 3700 meters/4 hrs trek)

Our drive today takes us by jeep along the banks of the Indus River. Along the way, we will cover some of the most prominent monasteries in Ladakh

Tikse Monastery – This huge monastery dominates the fields and the houses of the village. Tikse is one of the largest and the most impressive monasteries in Central Ladakh. Around 80 monks of the Gelugpa lineage live here and there are also some nuns.

Shey Monastery Tradition has it that Shey was the capital of the pre-Tibetan kings of upper Ladakh, supposedly the descendants of Kesar. The remains, which are fairly extensive, have been reduced by weather and time to bare walls and stones, but this ancient structure is an impressive site.


Martselang, the starting point for our trek, is also the entry point into Hemis National Park, home to endangered species such as the snow leopard, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan sheep, and golden eagle. From here, we will walk to the small village of Shang Sumdo for our overnight camp.


Day 3: Shang Sumdo to Lartsa (4600 meters/5-6 hrs trek)

We start our day passing through the small village of Chogdo, before entering the gorge of Shang with its impressive rock formations and colors. Lartsa is a high camp below Kongmaru La and we will pitch our tents here for tonight.


Day 4: Lartsa to Thanchungtse via Kongmaru La (Up to 5200 meters/6-7 hrs trek)

A steep ascent leads us up to Kongmaru La Pass. From the pass we will have a breathtaking view of the north face of Kangyatse (6400 meters), Zanskar, and the Karakoram Himal range. The campsite at Thachungtse (4100 meters) is further down the valley on the banks of the Markha River.


Day 5: Thanchungtse to Yakrupal (4200 meters/5-6 hrs trek)

It is an easy day’s walk through the remote Langthang valley, visited only by the villagers from Markha who use this valley as pasture ground for their sheep, donkeys, yaks, and horses. Yakrupal is a nice, quiet, green campsite.


Day 6: Yakrupal to Khar via Zalung Karpo La (Up to 5200 meters/5-6 hrs trek)

In the early morning, we continue up the valley to the pass of Zalung Karpo La Pass, presenting us with a spectacular view of the Zanskar range and the highest plateau in the world, the Chang Tang, that stretches far into Tibet. The beautiful and lush campsite of Khar (4200 meters) will be our home for the night.


Day 7: Khar to Datt (4300 meters/4-5 hrs trek)

A relatively easy day’s walk through beautiful, wide, and lush valleys. At Tangtse Sumdo the valley divides – the left valley leading to Dat and the right to Zanskar.  We will pass several nomads’ camps before reaching the tiny village of Dat, a settlement of stone huts and the winter headquarters for the nomads in the Kharnak region. An old, white-washed gompa stands out among the stone huts, now deserted, but taken care of by the villagers.


Day 8: Datt to Lungmo Che via Yar La (Up to 4950 meters/5-6 hrs trek)

From Dat, we follow a long, wide valley surrounded by rolling hills before finding our way up into the gentle pass of Yar La, or “summer pass.” In the spring, the nomads move with all their animals towards Zara and the trail is crowded by 30-40 families moving with hundreds of yaks and horses in long caravans.


Day 9: Lungmo Che to Zara (4050 meters/5 hrs trek)

A dusty, barren trail leads us towards Yagang, another settlement of stone huts belonging to the Kharnak nomads. From here, a jeep road continues to Zara, the summer headquarter of the nomads in Kharnak. A visit may be welcomed by an invitation to one of their tents, accompanied by numerous cups of butter tea and an unforgettable glimpse into a different world!



After a fascinating trek and attached to this trails and mountains you will feel sad to leave this mesmerizing world, but it is time to return to Leh. From Zara you will drive back to Leh over the Taklangla pass, the second highest pass in this region.

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Badri Aryal

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