Markha Valley Winter Trek

Markha Valley Winter Trek

Ladakh 10 Days

Moderate

63 KM

MAX 15

MAX ALTITUDE

4050 mts.


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Brief Description

The Markha Valley Winter trek is one of the most fascinating treks in Ladakh. The trek takes you on a beautiful journey in the land of fluttering colorful prayer flags, mane walls, high passes, exotic wildlife and unusual sheer canyons in depth of the cold Ladakh winters. Not only will you get a chance to experience the Ladakhi way of life in the cold, dark winter, but long stretches on the frozen Markha river makes it a great alternative to the Chadar trek, possibly even better! Gear up for a beautiful and culturally rich experience in the winter wonderland of Hemis National Park.



Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive in Leh. Rest & Acclimatization.

Arrive in Leh by 12 PM. Today is for rest & acclimatization. Explore the local market of Leh.


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Day 2

Acclimatization in Leh

Explore the cultural and natural beauty of Leh. This will make you familiar with the town and also help in acclimatize to the weather. Leh is the centre point of Laddakh and also a major town from where all expeditions begin. It is also a culturally rich place. There are dozens of monasteries and ancient temples that you can go around. They are located in and around the town. Enjoy the local cuisines which are major attraction for travellers.


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Day 3

Drive to Chilling. Trek Chilling to Skiu.

We will drive to Leh to Chilling. From Chilling, we will cross the river and start trekking through the snow covered Markha valley. It will take a few hours to reach the village of Skiu. Overnight in homestay in Skiu.


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Day 4

Skiu to Sara

Today is one of the best days on the trek. You will walk through a rural winter wonderland with long stretches on the Chadar over the frozen Markha river. Overnight in homestay in Sara.


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Day 5

Sara to Markha

Today we will trek to the Markha village, namesake of the valley and the biggest village in it as well. In winter, the trail is sparsely populated from this day, which means if you're lucky, you may spot wildlife like the snow leopard. Overnight in homestay in Markha.


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Day 6

Markha to Hunkar

We will trek to the village of Hunkar, the last village inhabited in winter in the Markha Valley. Expect it to get more cold, remote and beautiful. Overnight in homestay in Hunkar


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Day 7

Hunkar to Markha

Today we will retrace our steps back to Markha.


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Day 8

Markha to Skiu

We will head back all the way to Skiu today. This will be our last day in the frozen Markha valley.


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Day 9

Skiu to Leh via Chilling

We will trek back to Chilling and board our vehicles for Leh. The trip ends in Leh.


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Day 10

Departure from Leh

You will be required to check out from the Hotel at 10:00 AM.



Frequently Asked Questions

Pick your question

Mandatory documents: What are the mandatory documents required for the trek?

ID Proof (Soft Copy to be sent to us in Advance & original to be carried), Medical Certificate (Soft Copy to be sent to us & original to be carried) and Photocopy of ID Proof are the mandatory documents required for the trek.

About the Trek: Why should I go for this trek?

Markha Valley Trek In Winters - An Alternative to Chadar Trek

A stunning alternative to Chadar Trek, the Markha Valley Winter Trek takes you across the stunning Markha Valley villages giving you a glimpse of Ladakhi life of the locals in winters as well as the white-clothed winter landscapes while temperatures plummet to as low as -20 degree celsius which gives you a completely different experience as the excitement level is far higher than you could imagine.

Eligibility: Experience required

Before going for Markha Valley trek you should have at least 7-10 trek days in the Himalayas in their kitty. For the trek’s achieving more than 5000 meters, a person must have prior experience of trekking at altitudes of 3700 meters.

Miscellaneous : Is there an option to offload my backpack?

If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to make a request for offloading a few days prior the trek through an email so that arrangement can be made in advance. You will be charged per day for offloading your rucksack. In case you decide to offload on the spot, you may have to pay a higher price than usual. However offloading your rucksack is not recommended since it is not a safe practice.

Miscellaneous : Who will lead us on the trek?

A team of participant will be led by a course certified trek leader and a local guide. All participants are requested to abide by what their leader says. There will also be a team of kitchen staff and porters on the trek. We maintain 1:8 ratio of trek leader and participants. All our trek leaders and staff have a certified training in first-aid and rescue operation.

Miscellaneous : Is the trekking pole necessary?

Yes, trekking pole is necessary. If you don’t want to buy one, you can rent it from us on minimal daily basis charges. You can request the renting link from us.

Miscellaneous : Are there any local stores/shops from where I can shop trekking necessities?

Yes, there are stores and shops in Leh from where you can buy necessary stuff. Though it is recommended that you come prepared with all the stuff. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.

Miscellaneous : Is it safe for a solo woman traveller to trek in Fixed departures?

Yes, it is absolutely safe for solo woman to travel in fix departures. Women on the trek will be sharing tent with each other. In case you are the only woman on the trek, you will be given a separate tent.

Miscellaneous : Will you give certificates on completion of trek?

Yes, e-certificates will be given at the end of each trek provided that you completed it. It will bear your name, the trek, and the maximum altitude you achieved on the trek.

Transport: In case we opt for the transport with you, where will you pick us from and where will you drop?

The hotel at Leh is the pick up point from which we drive to Chilling in a jeep. The drop point remain the same.

Transport: What time will you drop us at the end point on last day of the trek?

Expect to reach Leh late in the evening, post 1700 - 1800 Hrs. Make sure your bookings from this point to your respective destinations are late in the night or for the next day.

Weather conditions: What will the temperatures be like during this trek?

Winters in Ladakh is very harsh as the temperature may plummet down to as low as -20 deg. celsius at night.

Weather conditions: When will there be snow on this trek?

Since the Markha Valley Winter Trek happens in the months of January and February, there will be a lot of snow on the trail.

Equipment and facilities: What kind of tents and sleeping bags will be provided to us?

We provide 4 seasons tents by Gipfel for higher altitudes which can easily withstand heavy snowfall and storms. They are spacious enough to accomodate 3 people at once with a vestibule to place the backpacks. Our sleeping bags are made up of Heatseeker Pro synthetic insulation that can provide you comfort in -10 degrees celsius. We also use additional fleece liners to have thermal efficiency even in the extreme temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius. If you carry your own sleeping bag, you will get a cashback reward provided that you inform us as soon as you have booked your trek.

Equipment and facilities: Are there any washroom/toilet facilities on the trek?

Toilet tents will be provided to you on the trek.These are portable toilets tents where a deep pit will be dug. A shovel will be provided inside the tent to cover the waste after you have made your business. You can take a toilet roll inside. Make sure you dig used toilet paper along with the waste. Though water is recommended in place of toilet paper. Please refrain from using wet wipes as they are non-biodegradable. There will be no facility for bathing on the trek. Go through our blog section for tips on how to maintain personal hygiene on treks.

Equipment and facilities: If we trek in snow, what equipment will you provide?

You will be provided with good quality of gaiters and microspikes from us depending upon the situation of the snow. Our trek leaders will also be carrying ropes and ice axe.

Equipment and facilities: What kind of food will be provided for the trek?

Vegetarian food will be served throughout the trek. The only non-vegetarian item served on our treks are eggs. Our kitchen staff follows a proper menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner which has been designed in order to fulfil the nutritional requirements of the participants. There will be milk, poha, eggs, muesli/corn flakes, bread and butter served for breakfast. Rice or simple roti sabzi will be packed for lunch. In dinner, you will have dal, egg curry or any other vegetarian dish along with rice, roti, and a dessert item. Packed lunch will be provided to you on the days you are trekking. You are requested to carry your own tiffin box and a mug to consume food. The meals consumed on journey and arrival day are not included in our cost.

Equipment and facilities: What equipment can I rent from you?

You can rent following items from us- Trekking Pole, Trekking Shoes, Fleece Jacket

Accommodation type: What will be the accommodation type in this trek?

When you arrive in Leh, your stay will be made at local hotel/guest house stay. The rooms will be provided on twin or triple sharing basis. You will receive the details of your accommodation through email few days prior the trek. On trekking days, all the trekkers will be accommodated in twin or triple sharing tents. Along with this, there will be also be a toilet tent and a dining tent installed at every campsite as we roll.

Age limit: What is the minimum & maximum age limit?

The minimum age limit is 13 years. However, minors aged between 13 to 17 should be accompanied with their parents or guardians. If you are above the age of 60, kindly carry a medical certificate from your doctor that deem you fit for adventure activities like trekking.

Nearby attraction: What are the nearby attractions that I can explore?

Markha Valley is in Ladakh region. Leh-Ladakh holds within themselves some soul-stirring attractions which are accessible through shared or privates taxis. The blue saphire famous Pangong Lake is a jaw dropping beauty which one can visit. Nubra Valley which is an alluring landscape carpeted with vibrant flowers. Magnetic Hills which have magnetic property offers breathtaking view. Hemis Monastery, Leh Royal Palace, Khardung La Pass, Tso Moriri Lake are few places that you cannot miss.

Connectivity: How to Reach the base of the trek & how to go back from the end point?

The start point of the Markha Valley Winter Trek is Leh. During winters Leh is accessible only by air.
By Air: Leh has a military airport and there are regular flights from Delhi to Leh. It is also connected to a few other major cities in India. Early flight booking can be economical.
The options for the return journey remain the same.

Connectivity: What is the cellular network connectivity for this trek?

Only postpaid connections work in Ladakh region. BSNL and Airtel get the best network. You get full network at the base and end point of the trek.

Packing List: What to pack



Click here for packing list.

Packing List: How should I pack my rucksack?

Packing List: How should I select my trekking shoe?

Best Season: What are the best months to visit this trek?

December, January and February are the best months to do the Markha Valley Winter Trek.

Eligibility: Fitness benchmark

  1. Jog/Run for 5 Kms in 25-30 mins or Walk continuously for 10 kms (with 3-4 small breaks) on plain terrain (slight incline is better) - You would be required to produce a screenshot from a fitness app testifying the same
  2. Hold your breath for 30-35 seconds

If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.

Eligibility: Requisite Skills

  • Know campsite basics like how to use a sleeping bag, sleeping tent, toilet tent.
  • Ascending & Descending technique for mountain trails
  • Basics mountain mannerisms
  • Ascending & descending technique on snow
  • Basics of Mountain Sickness
  • Basics of Mountain Hazards
  • How to cross small water streams

Eligibility: Is this trek good for me?

Markha Valley Winter Trek is a moderate level trek. It is a high altitude trek in Ladakh region which requires climbing to a height of over 4000 meters along with freezing temperatures as low as -20 deg. You also need to make sure that your body is well acclimated before the start. Therefore, it is recommended that you first gain experience of trekking to altitudes of 3500 meters, and then move up a notch with Markha Valley Winter Trek. On Bikat rating scale Markha Valley Winter trek difficulty level is 4. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale


Why Bikat

Learning Experience
  • We are an Adventure Learning Organisation first.
  • We want you to not just complete a trek safely but also pick up some basic trekking knowledge and skills along the way.
  • To achieve this we have integrated learning modules into our itineraries.
  • These modules will help you build the necessary skills to progress from trekking to mountaineering over time.
Loyality Programs

Our community is an integral part of us and we take pride in our trekkers and climbers. When you complete at least three days on any trek or expedition with us, you become eligible for our membership and referral programs.

  • Currently we have three levels:
  • Basic Membership
  • Summiteer Membership
  • Leader Membership
Personalized Attention
  • Our group sizes on treks don’t exceed 15 members in order to maintain a healthy Participants : Leader Ratio of 8:1.
  • Over time we have found this number to be optimum when it comes to ensuring personalised attention to every member of our group.
  • On mountaineering expeditions this number is even smaller. Our group sizes are capped at 12 members ensuring a Participants : HAP Ratio of 2:1.
Best Expedition Leaders
  • Our Expedition leaders are advanced mountaineering course qualified, specially trained in rescue procedures from NIM and certified first-aid responders.
  • Even our local guides are certified first-aid responders.
Eco-friendly Practices
  • Group sizes are capped at 15 people.
  • Batch sizes are capped at 250 people per trail per season.
  • We follow a rolling campsite model.
  • We are constantly exploring and introducing new trails to reduce the burden on existing ones.
Safety

For us, a successful summit is not about reaching the highest point of a mountain but about making it safely back to base.

  • To ensure this:
  • Every region of ours is mapped with an emergency evacuation plan.
  • The equipment we use is UIAA certified.
  • Our trek leaders are AMC certified with specialisation in rescue procedures.
  • Our support staffs are trained in first aid as well.

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What's Included

Whats Included

  • Camping/Homestay during the trek
  • Trek Meals (Starting Lunch on Day 3 till Breakfast on Day 9)
  • Gaiter, Micro-spikes, and Helmet as required
  • Trek Permissions Fee, if any (Upto the amount charged for Indian nationals)
  • First aid medical kit including oxygen cylinder
  • Experienced Guide and Support staff
  • Transport from Leh to Road head and return
  • Hotel/Guest House Stays in Leh (Day 1,2 & 9)
  • Mountaineering course certified Trek Leader with First Aid certification

Whats Not Included?

  • Meals in Leh
  • Meals during road Journeys
  • Any kind of personal expenses
  • Any kind of Insurance
  • Mules or porter to carry personal luggage
  • Anything not specifically mentioned under the head Inclusions

Cancellation Policy

Cash Refund

Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
5% Deduction

Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure
50% deduction

Less than 15 days of departure
No Cash Refund

Voucher Refund

Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
No Deduction

Cancellations less than 5 days prior to departure
No Refund

Please note
  • Cash refund is applicable only in case of bookings made without using any promotional offer code or vouchers.
  • This is only a brief of cancellation terms. For finer details please refer Detailed Cancellation Policy.

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