Sky High Treks and Tours
|Chamser Kangri Mountain Tour|
|By Rainer Schöffl|
After having conquered Stok Kangri in October 2006 I had the obsession to try a higher mountain and I selected the Chamser/Lungser Kangri massif at lake Tsomoriri with altitudes of about 6600m as my goal.
During the flight from Delhi to Leh I noticed with concern that the Himalaya mountains were covered with a lot of snow although it was just only mid September - too early for the winter. However, during my 3-day stay at Leh the sun was shining throughout the days and it melted most of the fresh fallen snow.
On our way to lake Tsomoriri - I was accompanied by Norboo and his assistant Phunchok - we remained for one night at Chumotang. This overnight stay was an excellent acclimatization since Chumotang at about 4000m altitude lays well between Leh (~3500m) and Tsomoriri (4500m). We reached Peldo, our campsite at Tsomoriri, at noon giving me the opportunity to explore the surroundings.
The next morning, the horseman from Korzok with three ponies arrived together with a young man from the same village who knew the way up to the Basecamp. We started hiking along the lakeshore and set up our camp at a spring near Skyurchu in 4760m altitude.
The ascent to the Basecamp on a barren plateau at 5580m was easy, but the hot sun caused a lot of sweating. Since I had forgotten my sunblock lipsticks at home, I burnt my lips rather badly.
I used the excellent view to study both Chamser Kangri and Lungser Kangri and, after discussion with my Ladakhi companions, I decided to try Chamser Kangri (6600m). There was a small spring near the basecamp, but no grass. Therefore, the horses had to return to a lower place with some grass in the evening. They came back early in the morning of the next day.
Since we did not know how far we can go with the horses, we left the kitchen tent and some of the equipment which was not absolutely needed back at the Basecamp. The way up to Chamser Kangri led through very rough terrain with coarse gravel. At the bottom of Chamser Kangri we arrived at several small, beautiful lakes of deep green color. We chose one of the lakes as the place of our Advanced Basecamp. It was a hard work to remove enough gravel for having sufficient space for my 3-person tent which should shelter Norboo, Phunchok and me for one night. Whilst the horses and the two guys from Korzok went down to the grassland, Phunchok prepared our dinner on an open kitchen place before we went for sleep at 5770m altitude.
We got up before dawn, and after a cup of hot soup we started the ascent. The terrain was steep and consisted of very coarse slate debris, partly powdered with fresh snow. In contrast to all the days before, the cloud ceiling was low, and all high peaks were hidden in clouds.
After almost four hours of rather exhausting climbing we reached a terrace at about 6200m altitude. The following very steep slope up to the summit had disappeared in fog, and there were no signs that the weather conditions would change. After discussing the situation, we decided to turn back to the Advanced Basecamp. When the horses had arrived again at noon to pick up our equipment, we descended first to the Basecamp and then down to the camp at Skyurchu. The sun was shining again during the descent and we had always a beautiful view on lake Tsomoriri and the Mentok massif. But we also could see that there was snowfall on all mountains including Chamser Kangri.
The last day we walked again along the Tsomoriri lakeshore back to Peldo where we dismissed our two companions from Korzok. The taxi from Leh arrived the following morning and took us back to Leh via lake Tso Kar which is my favourite place in Ladakh.
After having stayed one day in Leh and three days in Delhi I took my flight home to Germany where I learnt that there was heavy snowfall at Ladakh with about one hundred tourists missed temporary in the mountains. So, my bad luck on Chamser Kangri finally turned into good luck by having descended in time.