Breaking the Cycle in Ladakh

Sep 02

Introduction to Breaking the Cycle in Ladakh

Published at 17:37
Dispatch created from email
Leh, Ladakh

1st and 2nd September

Welcome to the first blog of my fourth and final expedition for this
year, Breaking the Cycle in Ladakh (in the Indian Himalaya).

First, a quick recap on what’s happened so far in 2018; in February I
completed an unsupported ride down the Baja Peninsula (Mexico),
following straight on from that in March, a polar training expedition in Iceland,
and in May/June I rode the course of the Finke River in Central Australia from
it’s source 520km to the town of Finke/Aputula.

My vision for this whole project is to complete a challenging
preparatory expedition on each continent, culminating with making the
first bicycle crossing of Antarctica via the South Pole; the expeditions
being integral with the Breaking the Cycle Education curriculum.

In Ladakh, the aim is to cycle approximately 1500km at altitude through
Ladakh and Zanskar regions. Starting in Leh (3500m), the regional tour
will include several of the world’s highest passes, four passes above
5000m, as well as explore the environs around Pangong and Moriri lakes.

This most northerly region in India is often called ‘Little Tibet’; it is Buddhist
and has the summer residence for the Dalai Lama. It is also a militarily
sensitive region, where the borders of India, Pakistan and
China meet. The region is often called the ‘Third Pole’ because, like with
the Arctic and Antarctic, it is twice as sensitive to climate change as other
parts of the world. Yet traditional Ladakhi culture is one of the world’s most sustainable.

For the humanitarian mission, I have partnered with local organisation,
Global Himalayan Expeditions, to participate in a project to electrify
the 1200 year old village of Ralakung, the most remote village in
Zanskar, using solar power to provide light, education and a means of
income generation. Receiving more sunlight than anywhere else in the
world (more than 300 days annually), the Ladakh and Zanskar regions are
ideally suited for generating solar power.

Prior to this, we will set up an innovation (education) centre in the
villages of Phe and Skgyam. The Raspberry Pi computer systems to be
installed are extremely energy-efficient. With no internet access, the
computer systems will be linked to special hard drives that contain a
library of learning resources for the students – the next best solution.

During the cycle journey from Leh to Phe, I am going to stop off at four
of the nine villages that have already benefitted from receiving an
innovation centre – Khalsi, Wanla, Photoksar and Lamayuru – to meet the
communities and present to the students.

The planned route (map below): Stage 1 being from Leh to Phe and Padum
(to take part in the GHE projects and speak at the villages along the
way); and Stage 2 being the regional tour that I am planning to
escort for World Expeditions in 2019, from Leh to Taglang La Pass, Tso
Moriri, Chang La Pass, Tso Pangong, Shyok, Khalsar and Khardung La
Pass back to Leh.

In Memoriam

On 22nd August, a week before I was due to leave for India, my father,
Ted Leeming unexpectedly passed away at home in Northam, Western
Australia. I returned home immediately and spent five days with my
family. It has been, and still is, a very difficult time for us all, but after
discussing with my family and friends, I decided it was important
to complete this journey through Ladakh in his honour. I had actually
spoken to Dad by phone on the day he died, and he was in good spirits
and fully supported the expedition. He would not have wanted me to
cancel it on his account.

This will be my third visit to Ladakh. I find it to be a very spiritual place, a place
that gives me strength and energy. GHE founder, Paras Loomba and his team have offered to dedicate this expedition to my father; the light and educational opportunities we will bring to the remote villagers in Zanskar, Ladakh will be a special way to honour my Dad, in keeping with his spirit.

Ted Leeming
12 May 1930 - 22 August 2018
  • Name: Leh
  • Elevation: 3504 m
  • Latitude: 34° 843North
  • Longitude: 77° 343East


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    2018-09-02 22:56:09 Eric says: You are on stoppable Kate. All the best for this new adventure and I agree the best way to deal with the loss of your dad is to continue as planned, if he’s anything like my mum then he’d have wanted you to continue. Look forward to following your blog again.
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    2018-09-02 21:57:04 Melinda says: Kate, my sincere condolences to you and your family on the sad loss of you dad. I wish you well on the expedition and know you have what it takes to not only honour your dad, but make your whole family and everyone else who knows you very proud! You are amazing and I look forward to following your journey. Take care - stay safe and strong x

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