Chamser Kangri, all of 6622m – Changthang Ladakh

It seems true that once you have been high, you always want to go higher (and  that is coming from someone who hates heights, freezing temperatures and exposed, risky edges.) Chamser Kangri is one of the many 6000m peaks in Ladakh that are less risky in that it is regarded as a so-called trekking peaks. That sounds about right for me, altitude is enough to deal with. We climbed it in September 2013, when conditions were perfect, except for the chill of autumn.

Besides the lure of hiking, higher than ever, the  Tso Moriri lake is a spectacle of Ladakh that I have always wanted to see. An inky blue, high altitude lake surrounded by crumpled mountains on the Changtang (high northern plains) at 4600m. It is also the highest and largest lake in the region some 19km long, 3km wide and a maximum depth of over just 100m. It is fed by glacial streams, the outlet is now blocked which has resulted in the lake being slightly saline.  Due to time constraints we hired a jeep to travel the 6- 7 hr trip from Leh up the Indus river and over a pass to this amazing wetland system that is recognised by Ramsar and is also the breeding ground of various high altitude species like the Black necked crane and Bar headed goose.

The dazzling Tso Moriri with Chamsar Kangri (6622m) in the background viewed from the only village in the area Korzok at 4600m.
The dazzling Tso Moriri with Chamser Kangri  (6622m) in the background viewed from the only village in the area Korzok at 4600m.
We  travelled 240km up the Indus valley to the high altitude Tso Moriri.
We travelled 240km up the Indus valley to the high altitude Tso Moriri.
The prayer flag strewn pass before descending to the lakes.
The prayer flag strewn pass before descending to the lakes.
First glimpse of one of the outer lakes.
First glimpse of one of the outer lakes.
First views of the majestic Tso Moriri.
First views of the majestic Tso Moriri.
More sweeping views, astonishing!
More sweeping views, astonishing!
We continued around the West side of the lake where our jeep dropped us off a few km before an army checkpoint. Some vague pointing was made by our driver, who fortunately happened to have climbed the peak, who ensured that we followed the valley where we wouldnt run into any army checkers!
We continued around the West side of the lake where our jeep dropped us off a few km before an army checkpoint. Some vague pointing was made by our driver, who fortunately happened to have climbed the peak. He helped to ensure that  we followed the valley where we wouldn’t run into any army permit checkers!
And so our 3 day trek began, fortunately a little elevated at 4600m.  Our campsite on the first day.
And so our 3 day trek began, fortunately a little elevated at 4600m. Our campsite on the first day.
Happy campers Kat (our cycling pal) and Feran, Carlos's friend from Barcelona who he met in our Drakensberg!
Happy campers Kat (our cycling pal) me and Feran, Carlos’s friend from Barcelona who he met in our Drakensberg!
Drying up rack!
Drying up rack!
The next morning we were awoken to the sound of a cracking frozen stream...
The next morning we were awoken to the sound of a cracking frozen stream…
Frozen soaking pots with trapped spoons
Frozen soaking pots with trapped spoons.
...all made for a bit of fun as we now had glasses and bowls for our breakfast. Rather Andrew Goldworthy-ish!
…all made for a bit of fun as we now had glasses and bowls for our breakfast. Rather Andrew Goldworthy-ish!

 

We began a long and slow slog up the pathless valley, always looking back for views o of the majestic blue...
We began a long and slow slog up the pathless valley, always looking back for views of the majestic blue…
I focussed on the number of different plants species I could count from 5000m onwards.
I focussed on the number of different plants species I could count from 5000m onwards.
Beautiful lilac chive-like succulents.
Beautiful lilac chive-like succulents.
Incredible luminous lichens.
Incredible luminous lichens.
My favourite Delphiniums grow at nothing less than 5000m.
My favourite ‘Anenomes’ grow at nothing less than 5000m.
I counted 17 different species between our 5000 -5600m where we arrived at our base camp.
I counted 17 different species between our 5000 -5600m where we arrived at our base camp.
A cat nap with Kat on the way up... its was a slog for sure..
A cat nap with Kat on the way up… its was a slog for sure..
And there before us stood our Chamsar Champion... looks so much easier in the photos!
And there before us stood our Chamser Champion… looks so much easier in the photos! (it took all of 8hrs to get up and down that bump)
Our base camp. Despite the brilliant and dazzling sun, it was one hellavu chilly spot!
Our base camp 5600m. Despite the brilliant and dazzling sun, it was one hellavu chilly spot!
Carlos, Kat and Feran!
Carlos, me and Feran soaking up the last rays of afternoon sun!
Pasta supper that night, with Feran and Kat
Pasta supper that night, Feran, me and Kat.
And so the real trek and climb began.
And so the real trek and climb began. We headed over these rocks and up the snowfield on the right, then headed left along the ‘ridge’ line.
Taking a break at around 5900m.
Taking a break after some serious slogging through this snowfield at around 5900m.
Was much harder than it looks!
Was much harder than it looks! (photo: Feran)
Still a looong way to go!
Still a looong way to go!
The higher we got the more mountains loomed into site.
The higher we got the more mountains loomed into site, Tso moriri still in view.
.
.
Thanks to Wedgewood's Race Food... it really helped and kept spirits up!
Thanks to Wedgewood’s Race Food… it really helped and kept spirits up!
A rest before the final assault - another 200m vertical and another hour of 'cramponing' up this dubious slope filled with holes!
A rest before the final assault – another 200m vertical and another hour of ‘cramponing’ up this dubious slope filled with holes.
The final 200m
The final 200m
More views of blue and green lakes.
More views of blue and green lakes.
Kat and take time to check  out the amazing views.
Kat and I take time to check out the amazing views (Photo: Feran)
And fly the Eco-Schools flag, the highest its ever been!
And fly the Eco-Schools flag, the highest its ever been! (photo: Feran)
The final cornice to 6622m...
The final cornice to 6622m… (Photo: Feran)
The Summit - Chamsar Kangri (6622m)!
The Summit – Chamser Kangri (6622m) Feran, Kat, Carlos.
Moon-Sun view!
Moon-Sun view!
It took us almost 8hrs from our 5600m base camp to reach the 6622m summit.. a freezing epic,  I am not sure I would like to repeat. We made it down to Korzok the following day and were graced with the most beautiful full moon rise over the Kangri (snow peak) we had just summitted!
It took us almost 8hrs from our 5600m base camp to reach the 6622m summit.. a freezing epic, I am not sure I would like to repeat. We made it down to Korzok the following day and were graced with the most beautiful full moon rise over the Kangri (snow peak) we had just summitted!
Enjoying exploring the surrounds of Korzok village, back-dropped by Chamsar.
Enjoying exploring the surrounds of Korzok village, back-dropped by Chamsar.
Little lama playing with his homemade kite, Korzok.
Little lama playing with his homemade kite, Korzok.
Kite shadows
Kite shadows.
Korzok village, has a monastry of over 300yrs old of the Drukpa lineage and is home to about 30 monks.
Korzok village, has a monastry of over 300yrs old of the Drukpa lineage and is home to about 30 monks.

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Bridget Ringdahl

Pedaling has been natural to me since the tender age of three. Cycling is practical, fun, it gets you to the corner café, across countries, continents, keeps you fit and is by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly transport option around, being virtually carbon neutral.

I live in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal which is great cycling country, within 10 minutes I can be bouncing along some of the finest single tracks in the province.

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10 thoughts on “Chamser Kangri, all of 6622m – Changthang Ladakh
  • Robert Ian Ferguson

    Derest Bridg, The world is a magical place - only hope homo sapiens is really sapiens. I have my doots. Love and deep thoughts, Always, both the Nuncles So wish we could have been with you on your birthday since we both hungered for that lovely food in Hilton Road,

  • Sana

    Amazing post. I have been reading your post from a little while now, they are very inspiring.

  • Pia

    Spectacular scenery! Nearly 7kms up into the sky! :)

  • Awesome pictures a.. Loved the blog! :)

  • Dale Holmes

    Great photo's and great blog. Do you mind telling me the name of the village in the second photo above?

  • Beautiful pictures!! Amazing blog!

  • Cool - well done! I love that area near Tso Moriri, but have never seen the lake from the mountains on the eastern side!

  • Moumita Pradhan

    fabulous!

  • I thought Stok Kangri is the highest trekkable peak but now i came to know that Chamser Kangri is it. Your blogs are great and informative.

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