On this alumni trip, you will explore the high mountain Himalayan region of Ladakh in Northern India. Traveling with mules, you will hike through valleys, up mountains, and over passes, immersing yourself deep in the culture of this ancient Buddhist region. Along the way, you will visit temples and monasteries that have held their roots in Tibetan Buddhism since the second century and people who can trace their ancestry back even further.
This is a pilot trip for NOLS and while we have spent time in the region and have many local contacts, it is the first time we have run this route. New trips often require a bit more tolerance for adversity and uncertainty from participants as we learn about an area and adjust to the trip as it happens. It also means that you are a pioneer for NOLS, seeking out a different type of expedition in a new area for us.
You will start in Leh, the former capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh. Leh is situated at 11,500 ft so the group will spend two days acclimatizing and exploring local sites, including monasteries and a peace pagoda, before taking to the trail for the next eight days.
After leaving Leh, the group will drive to our trailhead and meet the rest of our team for the next eight days of the expedition. For this trip, NOLS instructors team up with local Indian support to transport most of your gear by mule and have meals prepared in traditional fashion. While you will carry daypacks and help with meals, the bulk of the work will be handled by our support team.
During the next eight days, you will hike 4-6 hours a day through the villages, farms, and pastures that sprawl across this incredible landscape. You will spend time stopping and talking to locals about their lives, and the culture of the region. While you will be at high elevation (11-14,000 ft), you will only be carrying daypacks with extra clothes and lunch while you hike. After a good day on the trail, we will eat a hearty dinner and set up camp for the night.
*This trip starts at 11,500 ft, even with pack animal assistance, the backpacking is hard work.