28th & 29th June : We left Leh amidst dappled sunshine and non threatening clouds. Seemingly the best kind of weather for walking in the vast Ladakhi landscape. We drove 2 hrs to Chilling village. After several dust ridden delays along the way because of road construction activity we finally reached the point just beyond Chilling where the cold Zanskar river had to be crossed in a “jhoola”. The bridge across to the other side had been washed away a few years ago. There seemed to be no urgency to repair or replace it.
Once across the river, our 10 mules waiting on the other side were loaded with all our climbing and camping equipment. We started walking towards Skiu village, our destination for the first day’s walk.
We spent time surreptitiously sizing each other’s capabilities on this first day’s short walk. Actually, let me rephrase that and say that our guide, cook and cook’s helper not to mention my own three young men pretended to be casually though actually looking very hard (without making it too obvious!) to see whether I could keep up with their pace or not……..
An intense wind picked up soon after we started walking, blowing desert dust into our faces. The strong winds soon gave way to a steady monotonous drizzle.
(Mah boyz….Tejas, Farid & Iqbal)
And so began our trek to the base camp of Kang Yatze. The steady drizzle was relentless for the next 48 hours. Our tents and our clothes held us in good stead and I was grateful that I had borrowed my clothes and equipment well!
Unfortunately for me I had a damp sleeping bag by the second night but I made do with a couple of blankets and kept all my clothes on. There is nothing more comforting than a warm tent and dry clothes when it is pouring outside.
We were all popping a low dose asprin at breakfast and dinner. Our acclimatisation was going well and we were hoping that the clouds would lighten their loads as we got closer to Kang Yatze.