Zanskar, on the roof of the world

Flying into Leh, looking down on 7000m mountains was stunning!
All photos here

zanskar kayaking

This was the start of a month trip in the North of India, an area called Ladakh, a region that is called western Tibet and which both Pakistan and China would like to invade. I was travelling there with Geza Rolands, Deb Pinniger and her trip with British teenagers who were into kayaking and expeditions.
After a day acclimatising we set out with Geza to paddle the lower Zanskar, travelling in the back of a tiny van seeing everything that was happening around us, road works, trading, the every day life of people who lived at 4000m!
The river was lots of fun, with some whirlpools and some big bouncy waves, but it was definitely the scenery that made the whole experience!
The next day we paddled the Indus which is below the confluence between the Zanskar and the Indus, with it’s bigger volume it had bigger rapids but longer stretches of flat. However the biggest rapid was actually made by a barrage that is currently being made.
After a days rest, and a paddle with the kids on the upper Indus, we set out for our 3 day drive up to the start of the Zanskar. We drove past Kargil and then up over some amazing mountain passes.
The put in was on the river Stod, which joins up with the Tsarap Chu to form the Zanskar. It was on an amazing plateau at around 4500m flowing past monasteries, villages and some amazing landscapes.
On the third day we entered the Zanskar gorge which was magnificent with the rock rising straight out of the river on both sides! We hit the entrance rapid which had changed last autumn in the fluds. We all stopped and the rafts went down first and our gear raft flipped on the curling wave. We followed in two groups and then helped flip the raft back up.
The next day was our rest day and we definitely made the most of it. Above our camp there was a local village where we had tea and saw how they lived.
The next couple of days were the biggest white water days with quite a few grade 3 rapids and some fun surf waves which made the whole experience a bit more lively!
The amazing scenery and river made this tripone that I will remeber for a very ong time to come!
All photos here
Thanks to Deb Pinniger from Watermark Experiences, Kensin and Jeetu from Aquaterra and Norton Rose Group.
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