So I'm travelling to Ladakh for a two week trip. Ladakh literally means land of high passes and is sandwitched between the Karokaram and Himalayan ranges. The area is respite with lakes, steep passes and rugged beauty. It is almost akin to visiting Tibet, without actually leaving Indian territory. The J&K state is not known for its political stability and I don't expect a smooth passage through Ladakh, though I do plan to arrive back home in one peice and alive.
Leh is probably going to be the base camp for all of our expeditions outwards. The current route traces itself through Rohtang La (13,000+ ft) and upto the passes at 17,500 feet. The passes are open only between July and September, but we are hoping that the mid-summer Sun has cleared up enough snow to take this route rather than the Srinagar-Kargil (NH1) road which was the scene for the 1999 exchange of fire with Pakistan. Anyway, first stop on the route is the hill station of Manali which is a pleasant enough place and lies on the ancient Silk Route towards the middle east.
This trip is so cool that I had to buy extra sweaters for it. Jokes aside, I have never seen snow in my life. I have always lived in the tropical climes and am accustomed to 20-35 Celsius days. So I expect the mountains to be a challenge to get used to, in addition to the normal altitude sickness. All in all, I think it will be one of those experiences which you can think back to and draw strength from, not just a fun fortnight out on the hills. I can already hear myself say "I can do this".
Wish me luck.--
What did Mohammed do when the mountain didn't come to him ?