In the winter in Chamonix, a great friend, Sauze, asked if we fancied joining her and her husband, Patrick, on a trip to climb a 6,000m peak in Kashmir. As any invitation for adventure or travel always receives a “yes”, we agreed. Later we started hearing of unrest in the area and some pot shots being exchanged with the Pakistan army over the border. Fortunately one of the guests in the chalet had an associate who was fairly high up in the Pakistani Military Intelligence so we received a report stating that it was mostly political and that it would all be calm again after some elections. A few weeks later we discovered that the destination was Ladakh and not Kashmir after all.
The build up to the trip was a logistical nightmare to get the right kit together in the right place at the right time. Usually all our winter kit stays in Chamonix. Some climbing kit from the UK went to Greece with us and then into my parents shed in Berkshire. Other kit, like high mountain boots, was gleaned specifically for the trip and needed “breaking in”. A spreadsheet was required to identify how it was all gonna come together and want needed to migrate from where to where. Then there was a suit for me and a dress for Breezy which needed to get to a hotel in the New Forest for my parents 60th wedding anniversary in Sept.
Itinerary wise we flew into Delhi then got a flight the next day up to Leh (3,500m). A few days in Leh, exploring and getting some altitude hikes in before starting the trek to Stok Kangri. Five days trek to get to base camp (>5,000m) then a rest day before getting up in the small hours and ascending; getting to the top, then back down to base camp for 11am.
After the trek we returned to Delhi for a city tour then Breezy and I tagged on a couple of nights in Agra to see the Taj Mahal.
We had an amazing trip and fabulous food throughout. Great fun and lots of laughs. Everyone we met were so friendly and helpful. Traffic in India, especially Delhi and Agra is crazy. You can watch it for hours and see no discernible patterns or rules of the road emerging. The only rule I managed to discover is that all traffic, motorised or not and whatever size, gives way to cows.