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Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now

Pranav Harish

Last updated: 26-08-2019

5 Reasons to do the 6 Pass Trek of Ladakh



Recently, in an effort to showcase a different side of Ladakh, we had the absolute pleasure to explore the ginormously scenic Rumtse to Tso Moriri Lake Trek connecting two of the most pristine parts of Ladakh, the land of mountains. This trek, unlike any other trek we have done before, will leave an everlasting impression on you.

For the longest time, people know about the captivating blue freshwater lake flanked by mountains on all sides. Bikers make it their mission to drive to this celestial waterbody and tourists dream of visiting this beauty. We are talking about the beautiful Tso Moriri Lake of Ladakh.

On the other hand, Ladakh has changed the definition of road trips. People from all over the world fulfill their desire to explore the adventurous drive from Manali to Leh taking you through one of the best sceneries this planet has to offer.

However, between these two escapades lies an exquisite valley with landscapes unlike anywhere else in Ladakh and the whole of India. This is the mighty Changthang.

Taking you from the quaint hamlet of Rumtse on the Leh-Manali highway to the village of Karzok on the banks of the emerald blue Tso Moriri Lake, the Rumtse to Tso Moriri Lake Trek defies all boundaries making it the perfect place where two worlds meet, adventure and unparalleled beauty.

Here we stress on the reasons why you must have this unique trek in your bucket list.



1. Changthang Valley and Changpa

Stretching around 1600 km east into Tibet, the Changthang Valley is a part of the high altitude Tibetan Plateau, best known as the “Roof of the World”.

From colorful landscapes, snaky rivers, towering peaks, massive meadows, prepossessing campsites and a distinctive terrain with an altitude averaging at 4900 M (16,100 FT), the Changthang region hosts vast highlands, staggering mountain passes and giant lakes thus bolstering the beauty Ladakh.  


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


Home to the Changpa, the Changthang nomads who are Tibetan refugees, the Changthang Valley has an entire civilization that calls it their home. These people primarily depend on livestock as a means to their livelihood.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


The Changpa live in canvas tents and semi-permanent stone settlements and rear Pashmina Goats, Sheep, Yaks and Horses for its meat, milk and hair for trade. These people have been trading salt with Tibet since ancient times.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


The Rumtse to Tso Moriri Trek gives you a once in a lifetime opportunity to interact and step into the shoes of the Changpa people and get to know their unseen culture and life that is powered by the harsh environment of the Changthang Valley.


2. High Altitude Lakes

Tucked between lofty passes and encompassed by giant mountains, the lakes of Rumtse to Tso Moriri Lake Trek are a different ballgame altogether. The excitement in reaching these lakes on foot is unlike anything else you have experienced.

There are 3 lakes in particular that elevate the awesomeness quotient of this trek.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


First one is the White Lake, Tso Kar. The only saltwater lake in this trek, the Tso Kar has high deposits of salt that can be seen floating on its shores. This lake used to be an important source of salt for the Changpa to trade with Tibet. At an elevation of 4530 M (14,860 FT), the Tso Kar is present in the Ruphsu Plateau, part of the Changthang Valley.

Connected by a small inlet stream from Tso Kar lake, the Startsapuk Tso Lake is the smaller of the 3 lakes in this trek. Lying south-west to the Tso Kar lake, the Startspuk Tso forms a part of the larger More Plain pool with the mighty peaks of Thugje (6050 M) and Gursan (6370 M) in the background.

Who doesn’t know about the glorious Tso Moriri Lake, rightly called as the Mountain Lake located close to the Tibet border?


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


The third and final lake of the trek is the freshwater Tso Moriri Lake which is also the endpoint of the trek. Located at an altitude of 4520 M (14,830 FT), the blue waters of Tso Moriri with the perfect combination of the surrounding mountains is truly a paradise. Added with the fact that you get the aerial view of the lake from the final pass of the trek, truly an awe-inspiring feeling.


3. Lofty Passes

The Rumtse to Tso Moriri Lake trek, better known as the 6 Passes Trek hits you with a wave of not one or two but 6 taxing passes above 5000M taking this trek to a different level.

Have you heard of any trek that has 6 Passes in it?

Neither did we.

But, here it is.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


Hiding in remoteness and unadulterated beauty of nature, the 6 Passes Trek takes across Kyamar La (5090 M), Mandalchan La (5175 M), Shibuk La (5257 M), Kyamayuri La (5400 M), Kartse La (5370 M) and Yalung Nyau La (5414 M) over a breathtaking distance of 106 km.

Series of ups and downs make the elevation profile of this trek look like a group of mountains that form a massif.

We are not kidding.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


Every pass gives you a different view of a landscape with a valley of various characteristics and a feeling of moving between distinct worlds.

With the top of every mountain pass studded with Buddhist prayer flags, the best highlight of the Rumtse to Tso Moiriri Lake Trek is the passes one gets to conquer, thus the name 6 Passes Trek.


4. Radiant Landscapes

Why do we stress on the fact that the 6 Passes Trek has landscapes that sets it apart from any other trek?

Simply because of this…


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


The only other region to showcase such natural beauty must be the Rainbow Mountains of Peru and China or the Icelandic highlands.

The unmasked natural beauty of the Changthang Valley with no crowds makes it very special.

The Rainbow Mountains of Changthang radiate with a wide spectrum of colors making it look like a rainbow and imagine yourself standing on one of these.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


The reason behind this natural spectacle is the fact that this region was submerged under the sea millions of years ago. When the sea retracted along with sedimentation, it left behind what we now see, a mystical landscape defying all odds. This is why the Changthang Valley has such distinctive features including numerous high altitude lakes.

These colored terrains start from the very second day of the trek and stay with you all till the end making your jaw hit the floor.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


If you think we are exaggerating, then the only logical thing to do is to undertake this trek to see if for yourself.


5. Offbeat Nature

Beating the crowded trails has been a trend lately. People over the years have been craving to venture into the trails less trodden on. The advantage of such treks is the undisturbed beauty and almost zero foot traffic that lets you experience the trek to the fullest.

The 6 Passes trek is no different. However, this trek has been and still is a favorite among foreigners who make it a point to do this trek during their time in Ladakh.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


We fell every trekking enthusiast must experience this trek to understand the grandeur of the same. Anyone who wishes to explore the relatively unexplored must opt for the Rumtse to Tso Moriri Lake for the love of virgin landscapes and vistas that set this trek apart from the others in Ladakh.

We have always known about the famous Chadar Trek or the mighty Stok Kangri Trek which are synonymous to trekking in Ladakh.

But with this being a new player in town overshadows all of them and stands resolute.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


The campsites of the trek are probably the best you will ever see. Nestled amongst huge passes, giant mountains and highlands with meandering rivers and a lush carpet of meadows, the campsites of the 6 Passes Trek steal the thunder.


Why You Must Do Ladakh's 6 Passes Trek Now


You will be the only ones on the trail to enjoy the full expanse of the trek and have the entire world to yourself so that you get to enjoy the same at your own pace.

You have no idea what you are missing out on.


Knowing all these reasons on why the Rumtse to Tso Moriri Trek is the trek to do in 2020, the only thing that is stopping you from undertaking this trek is you.

Plan the trek now and step into a world you never thought existed.

Happy trails!

Pranav Harish

An enthusiastic traveler and trekker who found his calling in the Himalayas. Read more

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