Got back sound and safe from my recent trip to Ladakh, India on Monday night and got a few days then to sort things out. A fantastic trip I couldn´t have planned and done myself – only with the help and organisation of Thomas Boehm, who did the so-called Chadar-Trek more than 20 times now. Chadar means `Beyond the Ice´ and that describes it true in every single meaning. Once you step down into the Zanskar Gorge some 16 km south of Chilling, Ladakh, there is almost no way back. There is no walking track, you just have to find your way on the ice, and that is sometimes very difficult. The surface varies from smooth, snow-covered ice to open running water, from turquoise to dark-grey colored ice, sometimes you see the water running under the ice, and very often you have to walk through ice-cold water rubber-boot-high. If that wouldn´t be enough, carrying a 17 kg backpack and the cold the whole day do its rest. Camping in caves, collecting some rare firewood, building a fire, get some food and do a bit of talking were the main things in the afternoon. After 8:00 pm everyone was in his sleeping bag, to recover for the next day, with another walking of 5-6 hours until we reached the next cave, where we would find shelter from the freezing wind, sometimes from snowfall and onetime from falling rocks. I also have to say a big Thank You to our three locals, who helped us with carrying the kitchen/cooking stuff, doing the scouting and most of all for their cheerfulness all the times, no matter how could and wet their feet were! Starting at an elevation of around 3200 m, we reached the village of Lingshed, with its famous monastery at an elevation of 3950 m on our 5th day.
The images in this post are from the second night, were I was still in good shape and therefore I took those night images – which I regretted very much the next day. Too less sleep/recovery took a lot out of me the next day walking and carrying the backpack, but since today, after processing these images first of all others, I´m very glad I did them that night – no pain, no gain!
So here are the first images of the frozen Zanskar River, Northern India and a whole bunch will follow! Enjoy!
Around midnight, the full moon illuminated the whole Gorge; a very intense feeling, hearing the water rushing close by, hearing the ice cracking here and then and having the feeling to be in outer space…
Startrails over the Zanskar River/Gorge; maybe the first ever trails image from this area in winter; no light-pollution, no aircraft tracks, no nothing; the bright lane to the left is planet Jupiter, left from that is the star Aldebaran of Taurus, the prominent lane to the right is the star Capella of Auriga…
If you want to do a trip of a life-time like this yourself, check out this site: http://lets-go-trekking.com/touren.php?aktion=5&sprache=en&PHPSESSID=8c2b5d302998ea11bcd5de7d014329af and give Thomas a shout!