If you are looking to transition from trekking peaks to climbing technical peaks, Mount Nun is your best bet. As the highest peak in the Zanskar Valley of Ladakh, Mount Nun is 7,135 meters of sheer energy. You can feel its strength from the very moment you lay your eyes on it. It continues to silently exude its authority by the way of its daunting structure, unnerving slopes, unannounced blizzards and the peculiar way that it holds you, sometimes gently but on others, decidedly not. This handsome mountain is part of the Nun Kun massif and shares its space with its shorter twin Mt. Kun (7, 077 M); separated from each other by a 4 km long snow plateau. The massif is located in Suru valley of the Kargil district about 250 km east of Srinagar.
Himalayas are an inexhaustible treasure house to which devotees of mountaineering have come for years to quench their thirst for exciting challenges. Amongst the many discovered and countless undiscovered peaks, stands Mt. Nun which draws climbers from across countries. A stepping stone for some and for some a challenge in and of itself, the mountain is a thing of beauty and does its share in lending you a dream. First scaled way back in 1953, it is a technical climb which requires navigating difficult terrain in extreme cold, with throes of violent winds being a bully - pushing you around in all directions.
The nature of the mountain, it's crevasse- riddled surface, it's very unnerving habit of changing face every hour thereby changing routes, elaborate glacial formations, high gradient ice walls, technical patches, knife-edge ridges, constantly changing weather, high altitude and strong winds make it a much tougher peak to climb than some other 7,000M peaks and is a very demanding peak. The mountain only welcomes a person with true grit and a heart of a team player.
Since it is a technical climb which requires specific knowledge of mountaineering equipment and a specific set of skills to survive at that altitude in that terrain, this is an expedition reserved for experienced climbers only. Mountaineering certification or alternatively experience in high-altitude mountaineering and extreme temperature with one summit of over 6,500M to your credit is a necessity.
Stay on this page for information on Mt. Nun expedition - Itinerary, Routes, FAQs, and eligibility criteria.
Day 1: Arrive in Leh (3,500 M)
The trek starts from Leh, which is a headway into Ladakh that is home to some of the highest peaks in the region. It is also a very popular tourist destination and hence fairly accessible. If you need guidance on how to get to this high-altitude hub of mountaineering, this article (click here) might be useful.
Day one is reserved for the climbers to make their way to Leh and get settled into their accommodation. Since climbers will be coming to this altitude from sea level, the body will need time to get comfortable with the mountain air.
Day 2: Rest and Acclimatization in Leh (3,500M)
Day two is reserved for rest and acclimatization to the altitude. This is important to allow your body to adapt to its new environment and reduce chances of adverse health conditions. You can go around and explore the city market, delve into the colors and culture of this high-mountain city and visit some places nearby. A little movement around the city would be good for acclimatization. Also, use this time to go through your checklist and do some last-minute shopping for what you might be missing for the expedition. Leh has the best market for trekking essentials.
While the body acclimatizes, we take this time to get together with the group for a debriefing session where we get to know each other better and delve into the happenings of the next few days - schedule, what to expect, basic do's and don'ts in the mountains, how to maintain the sanctity of the environment and other such matters of importance.
Day 3 – Day 6: Pre-expedition
One of the many characteristics that make high-altitude expeditions different is there is a warm-up period for your body and for forming associations. This serves a two-fold purpose – one is obviously that of acclimatizing the body to better prepare it for what’s coming. The second benefit is a little subtler and may be indirect. Since mountaineering is such a team sport, the strength and cohesiveness of the team is a major determinant of the overall success of the expedition. Since high-altitude climbs are high stakes, this is when groups need to be tight, and it helps to have gotten to know each member of the team before the climb actually begins.
There is no fixed destination for pre-expedition climbs. Previously, pre-expedition treks used to go to Stok Kangri base camp, but since the ban on Stok Kangri, we have using other alternatives. You will be informed of the specific details regarding the pre-expedition trek closer to the date of your expedition.
Day 7: Rest at Leh (3,500M)
You will make it back from your pre-expedition trek by the evening of the sixth day. Day seven is to recuperate from the exhaustion of the last few days and to prepare for the upcoming expedition. It will also give you time to pack your bags, so you only carry the essentials and leave behind the extras. This is extremely important since, you need to carry your own weight, through and through on expeditions. And with increasing altitude, as things get more physically challenging; the weight on your bag starts to seem heavier with each step forward.
Take you time to check your gear, clothing and pack your sacks well. If you are missing something, get it from Leh market because there are no shops beyond this point.
Day 8: Leh (3,500M) to Kargil (2,676M)
Distance: 217 kms
Time Taken: 6-7 hour drive
Today is a big day! It is the official beginning of the actual expedition when you will be driving straight towards Mount Nun. You will also meet the Sherpas and other support staff, a vital part of this team. Expect to leave after breakfast. The drive should take close to 6-7 hours. By now you would be familiar with the terrain and roads of Ladakh. Barren landscape, smooth roads and the flavoured air make the seven hour drive seem like a visit to the neighbours!
Day 9: Kargil (2,676M) to Tangol (3,700M)
Distance: 65 kms
Time Taken: 2 hours
You drive down from Kargil to get to the head trail of Mt. Nun, a small village by the Suru river, called Tangol. Today starts with no sense of urgency in anyone’s gait because the distance to be covered is very small. The drive is all of two hours but has the capacity to cleanse your soul in that short period. You lose your cellular networks as soon as you head out of Kargil and can concentrate fully on what the landscape outside the window of your car has to offer. Narrow roads, lush green villages, people carrying stacks of firewood on their backs, the greens against the barren brown mountains, and a special scent in the air. As you drive up the mountain, towards a higher altitude, you chance upon a bird’s eye view of mountain life on the lower flanks of the mountain. Farming, small kitchen gardens behind every stone structured house - you start to realize how self-sustained the ecosystem of mountain life actually is. People bowed down with sickles, working their land mirroring the humility of high-altitude living. Notice how the houses have high ceilings but low doors which need you to bend down in order for you to enter without banging your head – there is humility in every aspect of mountain culture. Is it a mystery then, what version of yourself you are expected to bring to the mountain face when you come here for a climb?
Half an hour into the drive, the valley opens up, and as if experiencing a sudden growth spurt, the river grows much wider. The mountains get smoother and greener; streams of clean water cascading down from all sides enter and join the river on its quest.
Fifteen more minutes and you get your first glimpse of snowy peaks which is a welcome change in the color palette of the landscape, drenched in an assortment of earthen colors for the last few days. The white peaks that were peeping from behind are now bang in front of you, like you will drive straight into them.
A little further into your drive, you go from smooth roads to kachcha trails and get to the brown landscape of rocky mountains. The greens have now bowed their way out of the show. An assortment of big boulders in what looks like areas where the rocks have tetris-ed into each other welcomes you. The rows and rows and rows of apricot trees along with the smooth gray of the roads with the bright yellow line stretched out for as far as you can see, all add to the beauty and colour of the overall landscape.
Further evidence of a harmonized existence are the mud brown houses with wooden windows painted green mimicking the two predominant colours of the mountains that host this culture of living. Entire villages on pinnacles in the middle of the valley as you ride alongside the muddy and forceful Suru river is a sight to behold and it makes you wonder, do all villages dream of becoming towns, really?
Since we have gained some height today, we will also go for a small acclimatization walk in the evening.
Day 10: Tangol (3,700M) to Base Camp (4,600M)
Distance: 7-8 kms
Time Taken: 7 hours trek
The actual trek starts today. You will slowly move towards the upper reaches of the mountains. We will try to leave right after breakfast because it is likely to be a long day. There is a height gain of 900M and the weight on your back does not make it easy. You start by crossing over the other side of the river through a sturdy bridge with a deep gorge and river underneath. This leads you to the last village you will visit before heading out of the boundary of civilization.
The route to basecamp takes you through small villages rich with lush green fields bordered with pink flowers and locals running up and down the steep slopes like it were an Olympic field. Cattle scattered around the landscape, you soon leave the geometric greens behind at the foothills of the mountain and enter the world of browns on narrow shepherd trails– rocks, boulders and mud – extremely dry but rich in flowers of all colors growing out in tufts from the cracks between the land.
The mountains here are peculiar – rocky with pointed peaks – completely brown and dry from a specific point upward with lush green fields at the foot of the slopes. You walk through boulders and scree on the many shepherd trails crisscrossed across the landscape dividing the dry greens into mounds of tufts.
Three hours into the climb, you reach the pass. The landscape on the other side changes completely, and so does the air. After the steep ascend to get to the pass, you descend down into a much chillier valley – a bit more rustic than the one you left behind. On crossing miles of moraine and glaciers, you will make it to the bottom of the waterfalls. This last leg of the climb is steep (close to a 60 degree gradient) and slippery, thanks to the loose rocks and scree. The basecamp rests waiting for us at the top of the waterfall. Your last challenge is crossing streams of water from the waterfall to get to the warmth of your tents which will be your homes for the next few days to come.
Day 11: Rest and Acclimatization at Base Camp (4,600M)
The day starts with a puja. The base camp for Mt. Nun, as of any other mountain, is rife with colour from the prayer flags and small stone structures where you offer your prayers to the mountain gods and thank them for allowing you to be there. This sacred ritual where the team members, seek blessings for the safety and the success of the team ends with a sip of some brandy and some sweets to fill you with warmth along with the benedictions of the mountain. It does help connect you to the mountain better and makes you feel belonged – like your presence is not a burden to the massif anymore.
A lot is to be achieved during your time at base camp. From the distribution and setting up of all the gear to technical training and practice on the icy slopes around the basecamp. But before then, you have the entire day to rest your bodies and acclimatize to the terrain, altitude and temperature of the base camp which lay at 4600M – a height gain of approximately 800M from Tangol.
Day 12 – Day 22: Expedition
Once you step in to mountaineering, the conditions on high-altitude become unpredictable. There is a constant readjustment of plans to adapt to the situation at the time. Providing fixed day-wise schedules, like we do for treks, is tricky. But roughly, the schedule includes rotation rounds between camps which are a standard acclimatization process on high-altitude expeditions. Mt. Nun has 3 camps at 5,550M, 6,100M and 6,400M above the basecamp.
Camp 1 (5,500M): Camp 1 is at an altitude of 5500M which is a 900M vertical height gain from the Base Camp. The first stretch of this trail includes climbing two hours of a steep rocky slope after crossing the river over to the other side of the camps. This stretch is full of boulders and rocks but has a pretty well laid out trail which makes the ascent a little less grim. The two-hour climb takes you up the mountain ridge and down to the other side requiring you to walk on massive boulders – a stretch to be cautious on till you make it to something called a ‘Crampon Point’. This infamous point is an enormous rock with a little opening at the bottom, making it a perfect place to store all our equipment to protect it from the rain and from being blown away by angry winds. Consider it the green room for your trek – this is where you put all your gear on and get ready for the actual climb.
The most difficult section between Base Camp and Camp 1 is the 300M of a 75 degree gradient ice wall. After the first wall, there is an additional patch of steep ice which needs to be navigated. Once we cross the ice wall and its annex, the slopes get a bit gentler and the snow gets a little softer. You then turn to the right, jump over a few crevasses and reach the point where the slope is now at close to 30 degrees. This is the end of the fixed rope section and the start of the land of hidden crevasses. Camp 1 is bang in the middle of a 4kms wide snowfield. Walking the long flat land after a while starts to feel like walking into nothingness. You should reach your tents within 5-6 hours of leaving from Base Camp.
Camp 2 (6,100M): The path between Camp 1 and Camp 2 is a straight ascent, through and through, with slopes between 60-70 degrees. The entire stretch of the climb, which is a height gain of 600M from Camp 1, is likely to take an average of 9 hours for the climbers to cover. For the most part of the climb, depending on the texture of the snow, you will find yourself on front point! The most difficult part of the climb, however, remains navigating large sections of boulders and rocks with crampons on.
All these conditions aside, Camp 2 is absolutely mesmerizing. Mt. Nun, no doubt, has some of the most beautiful and the most thrilling high-altitude campsites. But of the three, Camp 2 is a class apart. It gives you the drama of a 007 film while creating the humor of a Black Jack movie. Resting precariously on a sloped and narrow ridge of a high pinnacle, tents on Camp 2 are literally dangling in the air. With an impossible slope on one side and a direct 800M drop on the other, even to answer nature's call, you have to anchor yourself to the rope. However, whoever dares to look up could vouch for the fact that the campsite gave them some of the best morning and evening views they have ever witnessed. With the rest of the world hidden below clouds and a crack in the sky that added the orange to the otherwise white landscape is nothing short of magical. The sunlight on Mt. Nun from Camp 2, gives it a God-like halo captivating you further.
Camp 2 gives you such spectacular sights that the drama and thrill might just be bigger than the summit itself. The cloud show is amazing sitting at that height with an unobstructed view of the snowfield below. The dance of shadows of the clouds on the massive snow field is one show you definitely want front row seats to!
Camp 3 (6,400M): Camp 3, which is the Summit Camp, is at an altitude of 6400M which is a 300M vertical height gain from Camp 2. However, it is likely to feel not too taxing after having endured the daunting slopes to reach Camp 2. After the initial steep descent from the campsite, the rest of the route is mostly snow dunes which go up and down at a gradient of not more than 40 degrees. Much like Camp 1, Camp 3 is also stationed in the middle of a snowfield. Camp 2 to Camp 3 should take you close to 6 hours to cover.
Summit Push (7,135M): Like all other summits, it is vital to cover as much distance as possible through the night because that’s when the ice is most stable. You start the climb between 11 and 12 in the night. Hopefully all the anxiety and tension from all the physical and mental stress you put your body through the past few days, will dissolve into the calm of the night as you focus on the climb and the goal ahead. You will access the west ridge from Summit camp, which involves traversing on 40-60 degree ice after which the gradient comes down to 40-50 degrees. The last section with large boulders is especially tricky because of the crampons. It is exceptionally hard to carry your weight and pull yourself over the massive boulders after the extreme physical and mental fatigue from hours of ascent. Once the boulders are crossed, however, there is only around 50M more to get to the summit. Expect this round trip from Summit Camp to Summit Camp to take anywhere between 14-16 hours.
Camp 3 to Base Camp: This is going to be long day. Be prepared for very steep descends early in the morning– after breakfast. Descends can be precarious so try to keep yourself as focused as while going up the mountain – depleted energy has a way of defocusing your mind. Expect this ordeal to take anywhere between 8 to 10 hours to complete.
Base Camp to Tangol to Leh: After resting your body, pack up your temporary homes on Base Camp and head on down towards Tangol. It is a relatively easy stretch and should take close to 4 hours to cover. We get into our buses soon after and make our way down to Leh. Expect to reach Leh late in the night.
Day 23: Depart from Leh
Your expedition ends here but not before some celebration. How can we end this adventure without a summit party?
If you plan to stay for a few more days to explore the wonders of Ladakh, the article below might help start you off on what places to consider. (click here)
Like we indicated before, the weather on high-altitude is unpredictable as are many other conditions. So, we would suggest you keep spare days between the end of the expedition and your travel arrangements to head back home.
The best climbing season for Nun Peak is from June - September when most of the rest of the Himalayas remain under monsoon. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold in winters make this expedition impossible.
Click here for packing list.
The Nun peak expedition begins from Leh in Ladakh. The best travel option around Leh is by air.
By air: Jet Airways, GoAir, and Air India provide daily flights from New Delhi to Leh. It is recommended that you make your flight bookings well in advance not only to save on the price but also for a confirmed seat. You can also take an alternate flight route to Srinagar. Fly to Srinagar from Delhi and then drive to Leh from Srinagar. The 10 hour road journey from Srinagar to Leh can be covered by hiring a shared taxi which will cost you around INR 3000-4000. The drive route from Srinagar to Leh is scenic. For coming back, you can either take a direct flight from Leh to New Delhi. Or take the same route via Srinagar. Flights from Srinagar to Delhi are cheaper than Leh-Delhi.
By road: You can take the route from Manali to Leh. Travel from Delhi to Manali by a HRTC Volvo bus. From Manali get a seat in a shared taxi (INR 2500-3500). If you are on a tight budget, There is also a bus from New Delhi to Leh (via Manali) with one side fare of INR 1365. The bus journey begins at 2:30 pm from Delhi ISBT reaching Keylong next day at 1:30 pm. After an overnight halt at Keylong, it reaches Leh the next day. The another route to Leh can be taken through Srinagar. There are shared taxis from Srinagar to Leh available at cost of INR 3000-4000. If you are an ardent biker, you wouldn’t mind taking a bike trip from Delhi to Leh and back.
BSNL has the best connectivity in Leh-Ladakh region followed by Airtel. However, all the mobile networks like Idea and Vodafone also work in Leh. Please note that only postpaid numbers work in J&K state, prepaid connections will cease to work as soon as you enter Ladakh region. On & Off network coverage is available throughout this trek (BSNL mostly).
There are so many enchanting places to visit in Leh-Ladakh. During your acclimatization period, you can roam around the town and visit the monasteries; Diskit Gompa, and Lamayuru Monastery. Drive up to the Magnetic Hill and experience the crazy magnetic phenomenon on the hill. The picturesque Nubra Valley will take your breath away. The green oasis villages, the monasteries, the ruined palaces- Turtuk and Bordang; there is a whole different culture in this place. It is 150 km away from Leh. You can take a shared taxi to this route. How can you leave Ladakh without seeing Pangong Lake, the sapphire blue lake? Also, visit Gurdwara Pathar Sahib and Leh Royal Palace.
In accordance with the rules and regulation set forth by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) for mountaineering expeditions, out of 12 seats per batch:
- 6 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Advanced Mountaineering Course (AMC)
- 4 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC)
- The remaining 2 seats are reserved for aspirants with previous trekking experience of expeditions above 6000 meters
Foreign Nationals - Due to a specific set of guidelines for Foreign Nationals it is recommended to call our support team to gain information on the list of documents and procedure involved in booking a mountaineering expedition with us.
Nun Expedition is made only for trekkers with previous mountaineering experience and wants to test their limits. The challenges faced in the expedition should not be underestimated. You should attempt this expedition only if you have already done climbs over 6000 m and have completed a Mountaineering Course. It is recommended not to opt this trek if you cannot get acclimatized in the high altitudes of Ladakh. The climb required expeditionary tactics and experience with glacier trek which is a strenuous endeavor. Besides you need to have a strong physical endurance to complete this trek. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale
A basic mountaineering course is recommended though not mandatory in case of people who have previously been on an expedition to a technical 6000 m peak. At least 4-5 challenging treks along with 30+ total trekking days in the Himalayas. Experience with glacier trekking and high altitude mountaineering are essential for Nun. Medical fitness certificate from CMO of a recognized hospital.
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
How to use an Ice Axe
How to use Climbing boots & Crampons
How to rope up & follow queued climbing/descending
How to self-arrest using an ice axe
Knowledge of Basic First aid
The minimum age limit is 16 years. However, minors aged 16 and 17 years should be accompanied by 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 and mountaineering.
Guesthouse / hotel accommodation will be provided on Delhi, Kargil and Leh on Days 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 23, and 24 as per our itinerary. During the expedition, accommodation will be in 4 season tents on twin sharing basis.
We provide 4 seasons tents by Gipfel for higher altitudes which can easily withstand heavy snowfall and storms. They are spacious enough to accommodate 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.
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.
Since this is a technical climb at extremely high altitudes on snow and ice, all required technical equipment such as Ropes, Helmet, Ice Axe, Crampons, Mountaineering Boots, Jumar, Descender, Harness will be provided. You can refer to the inclusions section for more details.
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 fulfill 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 the journey and arrival day are not included in our cost.
You can rent the following items from us- Trekking Pole, Trekking Shoes, Fleece Jacket, Rucksack.
You can expect temperatures to drop to as low as -15°C to -25°C at higher camps on the climb. The more altitude we gain the colder it gets. However, the weather is always unpredictable so be prepared with all the essential layers required to keep yourself warm and dry.
Since this is a technical climb at 7000 m, you can expect snow and ice on the expedition.
If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to make a request for offloading a few days prior to 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.
A team of participants will be led by an IMF certified mountaineering 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 a 1:8 ratio of trek leader and participants. All our trek leaders and staff have certified training in first-aid and rescue operation.
Yes, the 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.
Yes, there are stores/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.
Yes, it is absolutely safe for a solo woman to travel in fix departures. Women on the trek will be sharing a tent with each other. In case you are the only woman on the trek, you will be given a separate tent.
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.
You will be picked from and dropped to your hotel in Leh.
Expect to be free by the afternoon on the last day of the expedition. So plan all your journeys post 1800 hours or from the next day.
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 and passport size photos are the mandatory documents required for the trek.
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.
For us, a successful summit is not about reaching the highest point of a mountain but about making it safely back to base.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure
Less than 15 days of departure
No Cash Refund
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations less than 5 days prior to departure
Sarthak Madan 31 October 2018
Knowing how to correctly pack your backpack can mean the difference between enjoying and enduring a trek. The video below details the process and principles to keep in mind while packing your backpack.Read More