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SNOW LEOPARD TREKKING

£300.00£3,800.00

Sorry this Workshop is now SOLD OUT! New dates coming soon. Email info@wildexposures.co.uk to register an interest.

Tour Dates: 14 Days | 1st – 15th March 2018 – SOLD OUT! (2019 dates TBC soon)
Location:
 Hemis National Park, Ladakh, India
Leaders: Scott Latham, Skalzang Rigzin & Kev Sidford
Group Size : 4 Max

For more information & full itinerary scroll down the page.

Description

Snow Leopards of the Himalayas Photography Trek

We travel to Hemis National Park, Understood to be home to the largest population of Snow Leopard on planet earth. Hemis High Altitude National Park is located in the eastern Ladakh region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. World famous for being the best place to see the snow leopard in the wild, it is believed to have the highest density of snow leopards of any protected area in the world. It is the only national park in India north of the Himalayas and largest national park of India

The park is home to a viable breeding population of about 200 snow leopards, especially in the Rumbak catchment area, the main area our study will take place. The prey base for the apex predator in Hemis includes, Argali (Great Tibetan Sheep), Bharal (Blue Sheep), and livestock. A small population of the Asiatic Ibex is also present in Hemis. Hemis is also the only refuge in India containing the Shapu(Ladakhi Urial). The Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear (endangered in India), and the red fox are also present.

Small mammals include the Himalayan marmot, mountain weasel and the Himalayan mouse hare. Hemis is a great area to study Himalayan and Trans-Himalayan birds of prey, such as, golden eagle, the lammergeier vulture, and the Himalayan griffon vulture.

The Rumbak Valley offers good opportunities for birdwatching, including several Tibetan species not common in other parts of India. Birds present here include brown accentor, robin accentor, Tickell’s leaf warbler, streaked rosefinch, Tibetan snowfinch, chukar, Blyth’s swift, red-billed chough, Himalayan snowcock, and the fire-fronted serin. In total 16 mammal species and 73 bird species have been recorded in the Hemis NP.

Tour Highlights


Day 1: Fly to Delhi and overnight stay in the city (overnight stay not included in cost approx £25pp).

Day 2: Fly Delhi to Leh the capital of Ladakh (3524m)

Day 3/4: We will spend two days relaxing so your body become accustomed to the altitude this helps with acclimatisation process. Leh is a very peaceful environment a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Dehli. There are options at extra cost to visit the 11th century monastery at Alchi or if you a feeling on top of the world then perhaps the famous Khardung La pass 5,359 metres (one of the highest drivable roads in the world).

Day 5: Drive to Zingchen (Hemis National Park). The park is famed for being the best place to observe snow leopards in their natural habitat and is considered to have the highest density of snow leopards of any protected area in the world.

Day 6 – 12: We trek to the vantage points to Scan the known passages used by Snow Leopard, Head out into several areas depending on the information provided by our team of local spotters. To get the best from our trek, we will have the opportunities to lay down camera traps in several areas (your own equipment will be required). We’ve been granted special access to use DSLR camera traps across the valley hotspots, such as the Camptrations set ups, or a basic trail camera, can be used. It’s all about utalising the time with have and giving us the best opportunities to capture images of this elusive cat.

Day 13: Return to Leh and overnight stay.

Day 14: Flight to Delhi, with overnight stay in city (overnight stay not included in cost approx £25pp).

Day 15: Flight from Delhi to Home.

Additional Information

The average maximum daytime temperature in Leh in March is a cold 7°C. Approximately 7 hours of bright sunshine each day. Expect 14mm of rainfall across the whole of March. Maximum UV levels will be very high (9 UV index) at midday when the skies are clear. The average night time, temperature is usually a very cold -6°C.

It is strongly recommended that you begin a series of country walks slowly increasing in height and duration before arriving in Leh. Please be prepared for some arduous trekking. This will be even more challenging as your body works harder in the rarefied air. Safety is paramount anyone who wishes to descend to the campsite during trek to get to a photo shoot then arrangements will be made.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure you acclimatise if you begin to feel ill, please note that for health reasons descent is the only option.

Whilst we will provide you with an in depth clothing and equipment list. We do not feel this is sufficient so we offer a one-to-one, consultations to help you get the best possible advice.

During your stay in the Hemis National Park you will have to endure a few hardships. Whilst in your tents at night, there will not be an opportunity for heaters because of the rarefied air that would eat up the available oxygen. There will be a toilet tent but please do not expect porcelain or indeed a chemical toilet.

Please note: Tents are shared, crawl in style, however a single supplement is available at £350pp.

Skalzang Rigzin – Local Guide

Born in the village of Tingmosgang in Ladakh, Rigzin with his strong determination and hard work rose quickly to become a trekking guide. He underwent English speaking lessons in Delhi and completed his basic and advance mountaineering courses. Rigzin has also participated in several mountaineering expeditions in the eastern Karakorams Arganglas with Sir Chris Bonington, Rimo IV, Padmanabh including Siachen Glacier and has proved himself to becoming a great mountaineer. Rigzin spent 2 years at the prestigious Bryanston School in England as an outward bound instructor where he has given training and instructions on outdoor related activities to the students. Fun loving and very straight forward Rigzin has great leadership qualities. With his vast experience in Hemis and Rumbak, Rigzin continues to be the leading guide for the area and snow leopard trekking.

Kev Sidford – Technical Advisor

Kev holds 30 years of worldwide adventure travel and expedition experience. He is the founder of Mountainrite and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and International Mountain Leader.  His experience has led him to guide expeditions in countries ranging from Canada, India, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, Nepal, Morocco and Romania, specialising in the Himalayas and High Altitude areas.

Scott Latham – Photography Guide

Scott is an award winning wildlife photographer based in Staffordshire, UK, who likes nothing more than to capture nature with deep love for wildlife at the soul of each project, creating a unique and real reflection of the subject. Scott likes to focus on a subject for a period of time and try to build up a catalog of images from that project and is lucky to have travelled worldwide photographing, leading tours and undertaking conservation projects, whilst running hides and workshops back home in the UK. He has been lucky to spend time with Mountain Gorillas with his first published book focusing on the Rushegura Group in Bwindi NP, Uganda.

Cost Includes: Transportation, high standard centrally air conditioned hotel with all meals in leh, sghtseeing in leh, camping, camping gear, camping staff, mules and Hemis national park permits, guide fees, drinks when out in the field and RETURN FLIGHTS from Delhi to Leh.

Cost Excludes: International Flights to Delhi, over night stops in Delhi, sundry items, tips and travel insurance.

FAQ

How long does it take to get acclimatise?
Abruptly going to a height of 3500 m, one naturally feels a difference. Your body reacts and behaves differently in rarified air at high altitude. What you need to do is just take it easy and give some time to your body to adjust in to less oxygen (hypoxia) by a slow physiological process called Acclimatisation. Time taken for acclimatisation varies from person to person; usually you need at least 2 days in order get well acclimatised and you need to take complete rest for the 1st day even if you are feeling fine. Drink plenty of fluids at least 3-4 litres. Diet should be high in carbohydrates, less oily and predominantly vegetarian. Avoid excess of alcohol and tobacco in any form.

Who carries our Equipment and food during the trek?
In Ladakh normally you have to trek around the height of 4000mts and the passes are around 5000mts so its very difficult to carry heavy loads at this height, that’s why we provide pack horses/ponies they will carry everything, You will have to carry items you don’t want keep with the horses.

How we look after your health while trekking?
Our guides are careful to prepare your meals with your enjoyment in mind. Typically these plentiful meals will be primarily vegetarian in nature with some meat or protein in the form of canned fish or tofu. This is typical of the Ladakhi diet in general. Our chefs use hand sanitisers such as alcohol based gels prior to food preparation. You are encouraged to do the same. Our staff will provide rehydrating liquids in large quantities throughout your trek. Take advantage of tea, coffee, juice and water whenever you can. At altitude it is natural not to feel much hunger or thirst. Make sure you stay adequately fed and drank plenty of fluids both at meals and along the trail.

Our guides will make every effort to pace your day so you are not pushed to your physical limits. This means you will be getting up and away in good time so your day will allow a consistent but moderate pace.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma or other chronic illness it would be wise to let us know of this condition prior to leaving Leh. This way your guide will understand that you have medication along with you should someone other than yourself have to administer the drugs.

Preparation for altitude during the trek is vital. Acclimatise in Leh prior to departure on your trek. We Take at 2 days of easy to moderate physical activity prior to beginning your trek. If possible start low and go slowly for the first few days of your trek.

Prior to your trek meet with your doctor and discuss your overall physical condition and your doctor’s recommendation for high altitude medication. You may also wish to discuss treatment and medication for traveler’s diarrhoea as you experience new foods and bacterial environments.

With these simple ideas in mind, your trekking experience will be most enjoyable.

What do we do if someone is sick or injured during the trek?
During the trek our guides will make every effort to pace your day so you are not pushed to your physical limits. This means you will be getting up and away in good time so your day will allow a consistent but moderate pace.In the unlikely case it hits a member of the tour then our assistant guide will immediately bring him/her down asap. He will use the ponies to ride for the sick person in the mean time he will inform us through a satellite phone and we will soon send a jeep to bring her/him to the hospital in Leh.

Rescue in Emergency:
If someone is critically sick or injured and requires helicopter evacuation, this can be done with the cooperation of JK Tourism Department & Indian Airforce as long as you have the insurance to cover this so it would be useful to let us know which insurance cover you have.