When it comes to trekking and mountain climbing, Ladakh is a fantastic destination overall, but there’s a region within the province that seems almost designed for these activities: the Changtang – home of the nomads. In a place where the ground level is at 4500m over the sea, climbing a 6k mountain is a very realistic possibility.
Changthang: High plateau of the nomads
The Changtang region is not only limited to the Ladakhi territory. It actually runs from the northwestern parts of Tibet over the border to Ladakh. In its overall expansion from east to west, it stretches over 1,500 km. In Ladakh as well as in Tibet, this is a region very scarcely populated – nothing surprising, since it’s also considered one of the most inhospitable places of the world. Only the toughest people can survive here: hardly anything green grows at this altitude (and whatever grows must be shared with the nomad’s yaks, sheep and goats), and during the winter months the temperature can drop sometimes to less than -30°C.
In spite of this harshness, or maybe because of it, the remote Changtang region is also one of otherworldly beauty with its deep blue, emerald green and shimmering turquoise big mountain lakes – the three most important being Pangong Tso, Tsokar and Tsomororiri – AND majestic peaks ideal for mountaineering. 6k-giants look here almost like the 2,000m-high mountains look in the Alps, since at their feet you are already at least 4,500m above sea level!
The beautiful ChangthangTake a look at our Photo gallery – we have a great collection of extraordinary shots of this beautiful region. To the Photos
Mountain climbing in Changtang: Chamser, Lungser, Mentok and other “Kangris”
The number of 6000m peaks in the neighborhood of the Lake Tsomoriri can make a mountaineer’s heart to start beating faster. The highest, most prominent Kangris (Kangri = snow-covered mountain) in this area are the Chamser and the Lungser Kangri.
Lungser Kangri 6.666m
The mountain with the “diabolical” height of 6.666m is situated on the eastern shore of Tsomoriri. It is the highest peak in this mountain chain. Despite its height, from a technical point of view it’s one of the easiest summits to conquer in Ladakh. The usual base camp lies at about 5,000m, and the 1st high camp is normally set up at 6,100m, with a possible second camp at 6,250m near a small lake.
Chamser Kangri 6.620m
Chamser Kangri is the slightly smaller brother of Lungser. They both share the same base camp at about 5,000m (that by the way can be easily reached in one day from the village Korzok on Tsomoriri). The first high camp is set up on a plateau at about 5,650m, and the second one can be set up at approximately 6,100m.
The Flower Mountains
Mentok I, II, III and more
Mentok, the name both of many of the individual mountains and the range to which they belong, translates approximately as “flower” – a rather curious name given the general lack of flowers in this land. However, one could say that many 6k peaks in the region sprout out of the earth like wild grass.
The Mentok mountain range extends from the western shore of Tsomoriri to the northwest. Again, most mountains here are not technically difficult. From Gyama (5,200m) there’s good access to several six-thousanders. However, some may also be tried starting from Manechan Valley.
Gya mountains en route to Spiti
Running south of Lake Tsomoriri, on the road to Spiti and the border with Tibet, another sierra delights mountain climbers with many peaks over 6,500m. The most prominent among them is the Mount Gya (6,794m), located right on the border between Ladakh, Spiti and Tibet. For a long time unknown to the West, it has since being conquered in many occasions.
List of mountains in the region higher than 6000m
- Mount Gya (6.794m) – South of Lake Tsomoriri
- Lungser Kangri (6.666m)
- Chamser Kangri (6.620m)
- Chalung Kangri (6.545m) – in the Lungser chain
- Polokongka (6.390m) – mountain range East of Tsokar
- Spangnak Ri (6.390m) – North of Lake Tsomoriri
- Unnamed (6.347m) – mountain range East of Tsokar
- Namsang Peak (6.280m) – in the Lungser chain
- Mentok Pyramide (6.280m)
- Mentok I (6.270m)
- Lanyar Peak (6.254m)
- Mentok III (6.240m)
- Kharpa Ri (6.234m)
- Unnamed in Mentok-Range (6.230m)
- Mentok II (6.180m)
- Unnamed in Mentok-Range (6.138m)
- Unnamed in Mentok-Range (6.110m)
- Unnamed in Mentok-Range (6.090m)
- Unnamed in Mentok-Range (6.090m)
- Yalong Nyau Ri Süd (6.080m)
- Yalong Nyau Ri Nord (6.060m)
… the list is incomplete and could be continued for a long time
Acclimatization in advance
The Changtang is ideal for trekking tours where a previous, early acclimatization has been performed. Depending on how much time one has planned, it can be a good idea to come from other regions (like Markha or Zanskar …) after at least 14 days getting used to the altitude.
Some of our expeditions