We start with a scenic drive past 7000 m peaks and huge glaciers to get to the put-in of this remote river. The first two river days give an easy introduction on gentle white-water and time to acclimatise while surrounded by epic scenery and the occasional monastery overlooking the river. As we reach the end of a wide valley with the huge Zanskar mountain range looming, a tight canyon appears and we enter the Zanskar Gorge. Often referred to as "Grand Canyon of Asia", the Canyon walls are over 1000 m high in places. Once in the gorge we are committed to reach the end and with big class IV rapids, and consistently moving water.
This is a high altitude trip (max. height 4450 m). Please contact us us to discuss the implications of this and your own personal fitness. On arrival to India you will be met at the airport. Depending on your personal itinerary you will be transferred to the domestic airport or hotel.
Day 1: Arrival in India. You will be meet at the airport and transferred to the hotel. Spend the remainder of day relaxing at the hotel or go sightseeing. Overnight Hotel.
Day 2: Delhi to Leh (3505 m): 1 hr. Take the one hour flight to Leh, capital of Ladakh. This is an incredible flight over the greater Himalaya with spectacular views of K2 (8611 m) among others. Overnight hotel.
Day 3: Acclimatise and sightseeing in Leh. Spend day in Leh to acclimatise. For the more energetic a visit to monasteries such as Shey, Thikse and Hemis will be arranged. Or choose to relax and walk into Leh town, to its exciting market and outdoor restaurants. Enjoy the great views of Stok Kangri (6153 m) and its surrounding peaks. Overnight Leh hotel.
Day 4: Leh to Kargil (2740 m): 7 hrs. We drive to Kargil, through the spectacular Ladakhi moonscape. We drive over the Fotu La Pass (4200 m) and visit the Lamayuru monastery, stopping along the way for photo and chai (sweet milky tea) breaks. Overnight hotel in Kargil.
Day 5: Kargil to Rangdum (3657 m): 6 hrs. This drive is spectacular, taking us past Panikar and Parkachik with magnificent views of the Nun (7135 m) and Kun (7075 m) Massifs, hanging glaciers and large meadows. We drive till Rangdum Gompa (3680 m). Camp overnight.
Day 6: Rangdum to Remala (3635 m): 6 hrs. The last day of driving takes us over the Pensi La pass (4450 m) and offers stunning views of the Zanskar Range and the Drung Durung Glacier. We reach the Stod River - a tributary of the Zanskar - at Remala, our put-in point and enjoy a good nights sleep under the stars in preparation for the first day on the river. Overnight camp.
Day 7: Remala to Karsha (3600 m): 6 hrs. After a comprehensive safety talk, we start on the river. Class II rapids offer a great introduction to white-water and exercising at high altitude along this 30 km section. These first two days on the river are in a wide glaciated valley. We take out beside the Karsha Gompa (monastery) near Padum. Settle into camp by afternoon, take an optional hike to the Gompa. Overnight camp.
Day 8: Karsha to Pidmo (3420 m): 5 hrs. This is another mellow day, taking us closer to the Grand Canyon of Asia. The river starts to pick up with some class III rapids allowing us to further acclimatise before entering the gorge. Enjoy great views of the panoramic peaks of the Zanskar and Greater Himalayan ranges that surround us in this small valley.
Day 9: Pidmo to Nyerak (3286 m): 6 hrs. We leave the valley behind us and enter the jaws of the Canyon. The river banks change to vertical walls and the river constricts and speeds up, we are now truly committed. We run some great rapids eventually stopping at Nyerak in the afternoon. Nyerak is one of the rare campsites in the gorge, a place where a side/hanging valley forms a gap in the gorge. Overnight camp.
Day 10: Rest Day at Nyerak. We take a rest day at Nyerak. Take the side hike up to Nyerak village or relax with a good book. A nearby stream makes for a perfect shower.
Day 11: Nyerak to Lamaguru (3190 m): 6 hrs. Today’s 35 km river section takes us from Nyerak to Lamaguru (3190 m) through the core of the gorge. A classic white water day with continuous Class III rapids, and a few Class IV rapid where the river squeezes between a gap of about 6 meters. We stop for lunch near a huge waterfall and continue to camp at the confluence of Markha river with the Zanskar. Rock formations, spires and an amazing palette of colours add to the trip today. Overnight Camp.
Day 12: Lamaguru to Nimu (2743 m): 7 hrs. We run 40 km of Class III/IV white water from Lamaguru to Nimu (3154 m) today. We raft past the village of Chilling and exciting rapids as the Zanskar plunges out of the canyon to meet with the Indus at Nimu. We end our expedition at the confluence of the Zanskar and the Indus (India‘s namesake). Drive an hour back to Leh. Last minute retail therapy in the Tibetan markets and a hot shower! Overnight hotel.
Day 13: Leh to Delhi. Take the amazing flight back down to Delhi over the Great Himalayan Range. Upon arrival to Delhi transfer from the domestic to international airports in time for your flight home. Trip ends.
Note: Please contact us for sightseeing in Delhi, or a trip to the Taj Mahal at the start or end of this trip. We can also tailor this trip with a trek or wildlife safari.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia India Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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