Stok Kangri climb (6153m):
The Stok Kangri peak is the perfect objective for a first mountaineering experience in the Himalayas and for those looking to cross the 6000-metre barrier. Even though the peak is not technical, climbers still have to use all the mountaineering gears such as crampons, axe, rope, etc. The expedition guide will provide a short introductory course on how to use the equipment during the day of acclimatization at the base camp.
The Stok Kangri expedition is hard on your body and mind but you will realise it was worth it when you reach the summit and enjoy the incredible view of the surrounding mountains. The expedition can be started from Stok or from Spituk, or it can be combined with the Markha trek.
Best time: mid-June to end of September
Duration: 4 to 6 days
Difficulty: level 5
Max altitude: 6153m
Spituk to Stok trek:
The trek from Spituk to Stok is for those who are short on time but want to experience a nice trek in Ladakh inside three days. Make an auspicious start to the trek by stopping at the Spituk monastery, an 11th-century monastery belonging to the Gelugpa sect.
After crossing the Indus river, you will reach Zingchen from where a two-hour hike will take you to Rumbak. It is a nice village with whitewashed houses surrounded by barley and mustard fields. You can stay in a homestay in this village. After spending the night at Rumbak, ascend to the top of Stok La pass from where you will get an amazing view of colourful snow-clad mountains. The winding way down to the village of Stok will leave you with some everlasting memories.
Best time: beginning of June to end of October
Duration: 3 days
Difficulty: level 2
Max altitude: 4855m
Lamayuru to Alchi trek:
The western part of Ladakh is not only famous for its centuries-old monasteries but also the Lamayuru to Alchi trek. This five-day trek is dotted with two tough passes - Kongskil La (4948m) and Stakspi La (5153m) - and will push your limit to the maximum, but you will be rewarded with dramatic mountain sceneries. Spend nights at homestays in remote villages if you want to experience local culture closely. Also, visit monasteries before or after the trek.
Best time: mid-June to mid-October
Duration: 5 days
Difficulty: level 4
Max altitude: 5153m
Zanskar trek from Padum to Lamayuru:
Zanskar is one of the most remote areas in Ladakh and that is where its beauty lies. This 10-day trek from Padum to Lamayuru is the best trek in Zanskar that covers ancient monasteries, small villages and the beautiful landscapes of the Zanskar range.
Before the start of the trek, you can visit the famous Phuktal monastery, one of the most isolated monasteries in Zanskar that was built in the 15th century. Zanskar offers sceneries of exceptional beauty, mountains in almost every colour and also its unique culture to the trekkers. The trek is peppered with three main passes: Hanuma La (4724m), Singge La (5009m) and Sir Sir La (4832m).
Best time: mid-June to beginning of October
Duration: 10 days
Difficulty: level 4
Max altitude: 5009m
Snow Leopard trek:
Ladakh is home to one of the rarest wild cats in the world: the majestic snow leopard. The Snow Leopard trek is organised in the Hemis National Park in the month of February and March. The Hemis National Park is home to snow leopards and many other species of mammals such as Tibetan wolves, Asiatic ibex, blue sheep and Ladakh urials.
Spotting the elusive snow leopard in sub-zero temperatures is certainly not easy. Patience is key to wildlife expeditions like these. After hours and sometimes days of waiting, many have sighted snow leopards in their binoculars and even returned home with images of the big cat captured on their cameras.
Best time: March
Duration: 8 days
Difficulty: level 2
Max altitude: 3956m
Chadar frozen river trek:
As Zanskar remains cut off from the rest of the country in winter due to heavy snowfall, the Chadar route acts as a lifeline.
Over the years, the Chadar trek has become the "next big thing" in Ladakh and it is easy to see why. Walking on the frozen Zanskar river that stretches 105 km in mind-numbing temperatures (-25 to -35 degrees) tests the limit of the trekkers. Also, there are not too many treks that pass through gorges with frozen waterfalls and that follow a trail of ice that turns into a mirror for the sky. The Chadar trek has received coverage in the form of documentaries, especially in the BBC's 2011 series called “Human Planet”.
Best time: January and February
Duration: 9 days
Difficulty: level 3