Amazing outlook point Kang Yatse
Markha Trek 4: The highest point of classic Markha trek is the pass Kongmaru la, over which passes the mountains Stok. From the pass is an amazing view of the highest mountain in Zanskar – Kang Yatse and the whole range of other glaciated peaks. The ascent to the pass has a different character from each side. From the pastoral plains Nimaling it's gradual ascent, so you probably would not guess that you are higher than in 5,000m. From the other side it is a steep slope that is quite difficult
View of the pass
The area around the mountain Kang Yatse is renowned for strongly unstable weather – clouds can hide the sun within a few minutes and it can begin to snow. So it is advisable to get up very early and try to be in the pass as soon as possible.
From the camp Lartsa is already visible to the pass, which does not look very difficult. You would not guess that there is more than 600 vertical meters awaiting you. The path does not lead directly, but turns right and rises in the seasonal creek bed. Very probably there will be no water, so you have to tap it in advance.
At the beginning the path gradually rises in small side valley surrounded by colorful slopes.
The path gradually turns back and rises to the flat ridge and increasingly approach to the main steep slope. In the distance peeks out mountain, let’s call it (otherwise nameless) Kongmaru peak (5 680 m asl), on its slope is a small glacier, which supplies water throughout the valley.
It is easy to ascent from the pass to this peak, if you have time, energy and especially weather permits. It's a little secret tip.
On flat plateau in about 4,950 meters above sea level ends relatively easy ascent and begins a steep slope that will test your strength. You can enjoy the views of eroded slopes of local mountains during looks back.
Steep ascent to the pass
The path rises in twists in steep slope and the number of breaks for breaking are increasing. If you look back, you can clearly see the upland plateau and the two valleys.
Pass Kongmaru la (5 276 m asl)
You finally reach the pass Kongmaru la after the exhausting ascent. You will be welcomed here by fluttering flags and a nice view of the barren landscape already falling to the catchment area of Markha /from which comes the name of this trek/, respectively to Zanskar.
Changes in Kang Yatse
Directly against you is the highest mountain far and wide – Kang Yatse (6 400 m asl). It is possible that sun will be shining during the time you will admire it in the pass and in a while it will be snowing again.
Also the look back into the jagged ridges has its own charm. You can feel here relatively lonely, because you will meet here during the day only one or two organized tours and someone hiking independently only rarely.
Descent to Nimaling
After some time you have no choice but to leave the pass and set out down to the plain Nimaling – a popular summer pastures for yaks. There is also another tea tent, so another possibility for a small snack.
Kongmaru la from the south
From the south side looks the pass and neighboring ridge more "easier“ – as a completely insignificant hill, not as five thousand high mountain.
Only shepherds and villagers were walking over the pass earlier. They had it this way closer to Indus valley than along the river. Now only trekking caravans with support walk here.
Nimaling in sight
The very final descent into the plain Nimaling surrounding the river Markha is finally only a little steeper. Admire here the views of Kang Yatse, because it then disappears behind the ridge and it is not visible from the camp. Very good secret tip is a flat not-ice ridge directly above the camp, where you can ascent to more than 5,900 meters above sea level without having to have stepped onto the glacier.
After about 5 hours of walk you reach the camp, where you can enjoy hot tea.
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