Dzo Jongo West Peak Expedition with Markha Valley
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Dzo Jongo West Peak Expedition with Markha Valley
Hidden like a secret in plain view, Dzo Jongo is one spectacular mountain. Starting from Leh, the trip takes you through the spectacular and barren Markha Valley. What's remarkable is that the peak remains concealed from view until you arrive to it's very base - the first 5 days of the walk leave you guessing if the mountain in question truly exists or not. Does it genuinely exist? Yes it does! Is it gorgeous? Based on our previous experience, we'd say every bit worth the wait!
From the dust storms of Markha Valley to the tent-flapping winds of its basecamp at 5,500M to the snow storms during summit push, Dzo Jongo West (6260M) is the ideal formula for adventure. It's the perfect amount of tough and technical, the correct blend of severe temperatures, and takes the proper combination of talent and stamina for it to make it to the top of your 'must-have' experiences.
What's remarkable about the West face of Dzo Jongo (6260M) is that it's got simple stretches of straight walking and it's got incredibly terrifying sections with 80° ice walls. It's got hiking portions and it has got areas where you need to know precisely how to utilise your tools. It's got bits where you'll feel like it's a cake walk and it's got sections that will make you weep. This great peak may make you bursting with self-confidence and just when you thought you had this, it throws something at you which will fill you with self-doubt. It's an incredibly complicated internal and exterior trip but it's worth every bit of the dilemma for its amazing sights and the quantity of learning it delivers.
Cost Per Person
Itinerary of Expedition
The city of Leh, at the beginning of the climb, is located at a height of 3,500 metres, therefore acclimatisation to the altitude is crucial. We spend the first two days acclimatising to the altitude, learning the ropes, and getting to know one another in preparation for our ascent of Dzo Jongo (West).
At a height of 3,500 metres, the high alpine city of Leh is the starting point of the walk, making acclimatization all the more important. We use the first two days to acclimatize to the climate and set up camp, making sure we have everything we need, down to the proper size snow boots.
The journey from Leh to Skiu provides an ideal preview of the next days' surroundings. We get ready and go off between 10:30 and 11:00 AM so that we can be at the campground in time to pitch our tents, create some campfires, and enjoy a hot meal while we adjust to our new surroundings. It's a really relaxing ride. Almost an hour and a half later, after driving across a flat and bleak plain beside the river Indus, we reach its confluence with the distinctively coloured Zanskar River. During our brief journey, we saw bare mountains in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and surfaces, including perfectly stacked slabs of rock, carelessly piled pieces of rock, sheets of rock pushed tightly together, loose rocks, mud mountains, and many more. It's as if God used the whole thing as a dumping ground for the many failed clay sculptures He made. By the time we get to the campground for lunch, we will have been through some of the driest regions you have ever seen. There are a number of dispersed, little settlements here, and the surrounding fields are all a little bit greener as a result. Greenery is a sight for sore eyes because of how new and vibrant it always seems. After lunch and setting up camp, we'll take an early evening stroll to help us adjust to the altitude. Due to the novelty of the environment, this is crucial. You should always have a water bottle with you. It won't take long for you to notice that the weather in this area is somewhat unusual, being as hot, dry, and dusty as it is. There is a high probability that your neck may feel dry due to the heat. Yet this is typical. It will take time for your body to readjust.
Upon approaching Ladakh, the first thing you will notice is the tremendous dryness; your throat may feel scratchy and your face may feel scorched by the intense, unfiltered sunlight. As far as the eye can see, the Marka valley just adds to this dry atmosphere. Think about it: you're out in the hot sun on vast, open plains, with no trees to provide shade, and the surrounding mountains seem like they may collapse at any moment. Those people aren't doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. The Markha valley journey takes you to a strange and wonderful land of dirt, heat, and unrivalled beauty. A very long day indeed. Therefore, we get an early start. We have an early morning yoga practise and breakfast, then we break camp and go out to Markha Village by 8:30 AM. Wear warm layers in the mornings because of the terrain. The path is rather flat and straight today, with just a few short, gentle climbs. During the five days it takes to reach the peaceful camp of Dzo Jongo (West), the sharp peaks of the surrounding rocks, the poplar trees, and the muddy road all appear to form a single, unchanging image. One of the few signs of life in an otherwise still terrain is the silvery river that winds its way down the valley floor in flowing cascades, glistening in the harsh sunlight. At the 2.5-hour mark, we reach a little wooden bridge that stretches over the fiercely running dark creek. An hour later, we'll have arrived at Sara, which is exactly halfway to our final goal. The terrain consists mostly of unpaved roads and the stony bottom of the ocean. By 4 o'clock at the earliest, we will have arrived at the campground. We've set up camp in the middle of the long green grass against a background of bare mountains, and now it's time for the acclimatisation walk. We'll spend the remainder of the day looking around and relaxing.
Even though today is shorter than yesterday, we still have a lot of distance to cover. There are vast stretches of flat country interspersed with gentle hills and valleys, and this is essentially the whole landscape. We begin at 8:30 am, same as on Day 4. After just an hour of hiking, we come to our first ford. The fluctuation in water levels is quite difficult to forecast. Wading through water up to your waist is an option, or you may hop, skip, and leap over the stream if the water level is low enough. Within an hour of fording the river, we've arrived at Tacha Gompa, a monastery perched on a cliff's edge, its mud-covered garb a perfect metaphor for its location on top of a muddy mountain. An further hour of hiking up a moderate slope brings us to a tavern in a nearby hamlet where we can relax and refuel. It'll take us two hours to get to our day's camping. After just an hour of hiking, we begin to get glimpses of Lower Hunkar. It's an open area where the thick plants stop and you can see for miles as the mountains blend into one another. You'll leave the river's edge and begin to ascend a little bit higher now. The walk here may seem boring at times, but immersing your feet in the cold water periodically can help keep you focused. We camped out in the midst of a wheat field. There are distant hamlets in the distance, their dwellings spaced out like sentries encircling the camp. In the afternoon, we'll go on an acclimatisation stroll about Hunkar, and there's a lot to see and do there. You won't have any complaints about this stroll!
One of life's greatest pleasures is sitting in the middle of a frigid morning and watching the sunshine gently creep to you, as if tormenting you. We have a lot of area to cover and height to gain today, so we begin as early as we have in the past. By 8:30 a.m., we've finished breaking camp and are on our way out of the campground. In only 15 minutes, we'll have climbed 100 metres in elevation to reach Upper Hunkar, a little village of dwellings smack in the centre of lush green fields dotted with colourful flowers. The prayer flags that decorate every town in this valley break up the otherwise monochromatic landscape. Mani stones, sacred rocks, may be found in every community and along the paths connecting them. Adding to the unique atmosphere of the valley are stone plates and pebbles etched with Buddhist mantras. Often as a tribute to the local spirits, mani stones are arranged in mounds or scattered along highways and waterways. The beliefs of the locals require that these buildings be crossed from the left as a continuation of their concept of the cosmos spinning in a clockwise manner; generating circular patterns which are viewed as a recurring pattern in all Buddhist practises. The fields around each town are arranged in odd geometric patterns that contribute to the overall weirdness of the landscape. Upper Hunkar is a little settlement, so we have to go around it to get to the other side. From here, we head left down the valley towards the side where you start to glimpse Kang Yatse. We keep going on the stones and rocks along the river. In an hour, we'll be leaving the riverbank and climbing a muddy mountain. The peaks in this area appear like cardboard mountains, robust yet twisted in parts in weird ways ready to shatter on one severe hit. There isn't a soul in the valley who is in a rush, save maybe that one lonely cloud up in the otherwise clear sky. Each blind bend reveals a fresh perspective, each with its own set of mysteries, and the yellow and pink flowers just contribute to the chiaroscuro effect. After an hour and a half of climbing, we finally reach a little section of downhill terrain that leads to a bridge. Our stopping station is a barren campground at 4,195M where we fill water from a fresh water spring and lie down for a little among the abandoned stone constructions. At this point, we no longer need to worry about the water. It's going to be a long, steady climb up to Twin Lake from here. The journey there from where we are now resting will take us three hours. The most breathtaking panoramas of Kang Yatse may be seen from Twin Lake. In the midst of the placid water, a Buddhist statue stands as a focal point for the lake, which is decorated with prayer flags. Next to the lake is a tiny enclosure that serves as a sacred gathering spot. From here on out, the landscape is largely level with a few humps until you reach the campground. Keep your eyes peeled for marmots, which can go at the speed of light, and the adorable pika, who are both very active and little. Nimaling, our day's campsite at 4,535 metres, would have been within reach if we had continued on this fairly level area with numerous rodents, horses, donkeys, and herds of yaks for another two hours. In no way should you miss the sunset from this camping. It's tradition for us to take a little stroll in the evening to help us adjust to the altitude.
There is a difference between the Dzo Jongo (East) basecamp and the Dzo Jongo (West) basecamp. Since this isn't a well used path, we have to get an early start and be on our way by 9:30 in the morning. To become used to walking in them, we should do the ascent to basecamp in them today, regardless of whether or not there is snow. About thirty minutes after setting out through Nimaling's flat terrain, we begin ascending the rocky hills to our right. We're headed straight towards a blind bend that'll take us down into the valley. From here on out, the path is littered with massive ridges of climb. The mountain, which is covered in scree and loose boulders, seems much more formidable than it really is. When you reach the peak of one mountain, you are shown the next. This section fools you not once, not twice, but five times; it's long and winding and the landscape keeps changing colour as you climb higher and see more and more of the surrounding mountain ranges. Although Kang Yatse is no longer visible due to the mountain's complex topography, you may spend hours poring through peak finder and learning about previously unknown mountains. The vivid orange moss on the rocks and the scattered blossoms brighten up the generally drab environment, making the ascent more visually appealing. The summit of Dzo Jongo is a genuine hidden treasure since it is not visible until the last half an hour of the ascent. Scree and moraine characterise the last hour of the ascent to basecamp. Be careful walking on these large, loose rocks; despite appearances, they might easily cause serious injury. By lunchtime, we should have arrived at base camp, and by early evening, we'll have gone on an acclimatisation hike. We plan to stay at the basecamp for three nights. Setting up camp on a bed of sharp rocks and spending the night at 5,500M when the wind is at its strongest is an extraordinary experience.
Since we gained so much elevation yesterday and have also entered very different terrain, today will be spent acclimating to the new conditions. Now is the time to hand out climbing gear, organise supplies, and run through some of the fundamentals of the ascent that will be necessary for tonight's summit push. After a late breakfast and equipment dispersion, we head to a neighbouring hill for training and to become acquainted with our equipment - jumar, harness, snow boots, crampons. We'll be instructed on the ins and outs of roping up, as well as the appropriate calls to use, while travelling through snowy ground. We also learn to utilise ice axe to help our ascent and also how to use it for safety on such a crevasse-ridden terrain. We call it a day early so that everyone may get plenty of rest before we start our ascent later on.
NOW is the time! We depart for our summit push between 11 PM and 12 AM. We walk straight ahead on an almost level but rocky terrain from our camp to reach the slope of the mountain. The west face lies to our right. On crossing a few minor creeks, we reach to the foot of the mountain from where we start our climb. The whole road from here on is solely on snow and ice. The first three hours of the journey are pretty straight with areas of steady rise. That, too, however is arduous due of the height and the cold winter winds in the dark of the night. The winds here are so severe that you will look forward to the sunrise for protection from the chill. It's a long night of travelling in the cold since dawn on this arc of the earth occurs as late as 6 AM. After the first three to four hours, we reached our first stretch of high ascent, with a gradient of sixty to sixty-five degrees. A rope and about two hours of your time are going to be needed to ascend this segment. When we reach the end of this segment, we'll turn left and go up yet another 80-degree slope. After the last rise, this seems very scary. In order to go over this part, we'll need to utilise our ascenders on a fixed rope configuration. A ray of hope, however, comes with the dawn, and the warmth it brings is just what we need to refuel our strength and continue the ascent. This final section of the climb demands for all the drive and power. At 6,240 metres above sea level, at the end of a fixed rope, you will find a pile of large stones laying next to each other, with the world on the other side of the mountain suddenly appearing. The climb is anticipated to take a total of 8 hours. The view from the top of Dzo Jongo is breathtaking, especially of the surrounding mountain ranges, the final stretch of ridgewalk, and the mountain's buttery slopes in daylight. We need to get moving down before the sun melts the ice too much to walk on. After we have roped up again to climb down the 60 degree slope, we will utilise the fixed rope to rappel down the 80 degree slope. It's a lengthy, relatively straight descent to the camp site from here. It will probably take around 4 hours to do the descent. By midday, you should have arrived at camp.
A backup summit attempt is planned for Day 10 in case of inclement weather or other challenges. In the very unlikely event that anything completely out of the ordinary happens just before the initial summit push, this plan B will be used.
Dzo Jongo is a place where every day is a lengthy one, just like today. Today, instead of heading straight down to Leh, we'll be passing through the 5,236-meter-high Kongmaru La Pass. Since we have a long way to go before we reach the road head from where we will be driven to Leh, we get an early start. We break camp and travel down the mountain in the morning. The path until Nimaling is the same as the one we followed to climb up. We begin our ascent of the mountain from the other side, from Nimaling. As the clouds lash out in every direction, the sun's radiance takes on a variety of pinks and reds, from pale to vibrant. When the sun hits the snow on the summits, it reflects its light like a fire, heightening the landscape's dramatic effect. During the morning in Nimaling, the river rushes from the meadows towards the mountains while a plethora of creatures revel in the new day. There are no particularly perilous areas on this day, but the distance and the parched landscape make the journey arduous nevertheless. There are just a few places with a significant inclination on the way up to Kongmaru La pass, and the rest of the way is flat, but home to many pikus and marmots. It takes us three and a half hours to walk from the mountain's base to the foot of the pass, and then another half an hour to climb the pass's steep ascent. Magnificent views of Dzo Jongo and both Kang Yatse peaks may be had from this pass. The prayer flag-draped pass is a dangerous place to be, since the air there may be rather gusty. Despite losing 5 bars on each side of the hill, locals routinely make the ascent to the top to stay connected with friends and family. From Nimaling, you'll need to go close to 2 kilometres to reach the pass. After reaching the pass, the only option is to descend down a treacherous, narrow path through gorges and over streams, with the valley appearing and vanishing at every bend. The geological structures, which include gigantic walls of rocks rising vertically on either side of you and the surge of water filling up these small corridors, are fascinating, as are the bizarre and fascinating flora and wildlife that can be found there. From where we started in Chokdo, we drove for three hours to Leh, going up, down, and in every other direction imaginable.
It's time to say goodbye to the mountains and your new companions on this, your last day of the adventure.
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➽ Preparation for Expedition
As you well know, the great Himalayan expedition is one that requires careful preparation, a strategy that allows for enough flexibility to adapt to whatever challenges may arise.
Therefore, here are some things to consider before setting out on your Dzo Jongo (West) Peak with Markha Valley expedition:
⦿ Physically – You should start working out at least a month before signing up for a program if you want to be physically prepared for the rigours of a journey. Strengthen your legs by jogging and working out regularly to increase your stamina. To better acclimatise to the environment and increase your resilience on the walk, you should give up smoking and undertake breathing exercises twice a day. Engage in vigorous physical activity, such as playing sports, doing Yoga, or running.
⦿ Mentally –
Getting in shape physically is essential, but mental preparation is just as crucial for a successful walk. Take time to enjoy your regular activities, maintain a healthy diet and sleep schedule, and unwind before embarking on a hike. Predictions regarding the journey should not cause mental worry. Spend time with your closest pals to recharge your batteries and renew your spirit. Pre-trek preconceptions are unwarranted since the first contact with the other trekkers is certain to be a source of inspiration and energy. Conditions during the walk will contribute to the increase in mental readiness. The mental repercussions of physical disadvantages will not be ignored. So, when you hike, pay attention to different regions of your body and purposefully relax them. If you want to enjoy your hike, you should learn to loosen up a little, particularly in the hips. Think about your descent as a simple dance, and enjoy the natural rhythms that the path and your body can discover together gradually, whether you're on a flowing downhill route or a frightening slope. Try out a few new walking techniques to add some fun to your commute without worrying about getting somewhere in particular. Maintaining mental fitness mostly requires a willingness to relax and take in the journey, rather than subjecting oneself to undue stress.
➽ Things to Carry
- Good Trekking Boots: You need sturdy trekking boots with supportive high ankles. Don't bring your running shoes. U can carry extra floaters/flip flops also.
- Wear warm clothing, such three-layer coats, fleece upper, hollow fill or down-filled jackets. Carry full-sleeved T-shirt. Carry cotton hiking trek pants and warm pant for your lower body. Never bring shorts or jeans on a hike.
- Take top and bottom thermals with you.
- Quick dry towel with light weight and Personal toiletries. Suns cream lotion, sanitizer, tooth brush ad toothpaste, lip balm and antibacterial powder.
- Socks: Bring two pairs of regular socks and two pair of wool socks for wearing at night.
- A head torch is required.
- Sunglasses/ Goggle: UV-protected sunglasses are necessary to protect against sunlight and Snow Mountain.
- There should also be a woolen cap / balaclava, cap, neck gaiter cum face mask and warm fleece and waterproof summit gloves since it will be chilly. Keep waterproof gloves on hand since they become wet in the snow.
- Everyone taking part in the activity should have their own lunchbox, spoon, mug and water bottle/ hydration pack of 2 ltr.
- Raincoats/ponchos: Since snowfall and rain are frequent at high elevations, it is important to have one on hand so as to avoid getting wet.
- Trekking bag of 75 ltr with rain cover.
- Walking stick.
- Personal first aid box. Emergency ration, energy bars, dry fruit, electoral/Ors
- Personal technical gears list of mountaineering (on rent basis available)
- Climbing boot, Crampon, Sleeping bag (optional), Ice axe, seat harness, Rope and tape sling, helmet, Summit gloves, Gaiters, Carabineers 2 no (screw), figure of eight/descendor, Zumar (Ascendor),
- Required Documents:
a) Registration Form
b) Medical Certificate (signed by a licensed MBBS physician)
c) NOC form (completed by the trekker)
d) 2 passport-size photos
e) ID Proof photo (not PAN)
f) Basic Mountaineering Course certificate.
g) Insurance upto 5 lac..
➽ How to Reach
The best mode of transportation is airplanes:
The only way to get to Ladakh is by flight after the roads to the high passes are blocked for the winter season due to snow. The Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh roads are often shut by October-November and November-December, respectively. Throughout the winter, a number of airlines provide frequent flights to Leh. The major goal is Delhi. From Delhi to Leh, there is one flight every day. All three airlines provide flights between New Delhi and Leh: Jet Airways, Air India, and Go Air.
Because rates have a tendency to increase after a given length of time, reservations should be made well in advance.
➽ Trip Cost Includes
- Mountaineering (Instructor/guide) services provided by a highly trained, professional, and qualified Himalayan Adventure Trips staff.
- Certified local guide with extensive familiarity of the area.
- Climbing provides only vegetarian food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
- Staff include chefs, cooks, and helpers.
- High Altitude Force, Low Altitude Force, Porters, Mules for Common Equipment (Rations, Tents, Utensils, Central Climbing Equipment, etc.)
- Tents (to be shared), sleeping bags, air mattresses, and air pads are included. Inner
- We offer twin-share accommodations in dome, alpine, and high-altitude tents on all of our treks and expeditions. All necessary camping equipment, including air mattresses, a shelter for cooking and eating, a table and chairs, a stool, and more, would be supplied.
- Someone who can carry heavy items, set up high camps, repair ropes, etc. at high altitudes.
- Assistance from Guide All the Way to the Top
- High-altitude butane gas cooker
- The only meal offered at the hotel will be breakfast. All meals while on the walk will be supplied for you. Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisines, all freshly cooked, will be on the menu.
- Tin-packaged food is what we'll eat at high altitude.
- A standard first aid kit with oxygen masks for the patient.
- Camping fees, wildlife fees, and forest permits.
- Taxes imposed by the state.
➽ Trip cost Excludes
- Climbers may hire individual porters to carry their gear.
- Airport transportation costs
- Expenses for carrying still/video cameras etc.
- Irregular/Personal costs, such as laundry, phone calls, and gratuities.
- Climbing equipment such as ropes, pitons, snow bars, crabs, etc.
- Your own personal mountaineering equipment and clothes, as well as any specialised foods you may need
- Inner Line Permit.
- Health coverage or the price of a rescue mission
- Expenditures of a more personal character (such as booze, soda, bottled water, mineral water, canned or bottled drinks, candy, canned or packaged dried fruits, etc.)
- Provisions/food to or from the starting point of the trek.
- Any expenses that are incurred as a result of natural disasters, human error, or other unforeseeable occurrences.
- Protect your trip with a travel insurance policy.
- Authorization, licensing, and enlistment with the IMF.
- Payment for Liaison Officer (included for foreign expedition only)
- GST of 5%.
➽ Special Casual Leaves
Government employee can avail the benefit of special casual leave when u join us for a trekking expedition. As per the rule of the pay commission, special casual leave can be availed for up to 30 days in a calendar years for trekking and mountaineering expeditions through a register organization. Himalayan adventure trips are a register adventure tour operator register with Indian mountaineering foundation and Himachal Pradesh tourism. Candidates have to apply for leave at least 30 days before the trek/expedition start.
➽ Provided By The Customers
Everything about our visit to Prashar lake was better than we could have imagined. From our initial contact with Himalayan Adventure Trips, we felt their genuine interest in learning about our group's goals and expectations, and our travels with them reinforced at every turn that they not only understood our requirements but also have the acute skill and expertise to achieve them. Having already had such a wonderful experience with this firm, I will be promoting a trek to Prashar lake to all my friends who share my passion for hiking and will specifically recommend that they work with this outfit. Absolutely fantastic; I have nothing but praise for it.