Breaking the Cycle in Ladakh

Sep 03

#2:
Ready to set off from Leh

Published at 01:00
Dispatch created from email
3rd September
Leh

The 90 minute flight from Delhi to Leh has to be one of the most
spectacular flights in the world. Once away from the thick blanket of
monsoonal cloud, the views are breathtaking. Ladakh is a high altitude
desert, situated where the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges meet. I could
easily spot K2 which is just to the north west of Ladakh. Most
impressive are the colours of the Zanskar Range - purple, red, yellow
and green striations exposed as the ranges continue to be pushed up.

It has been a quick turn around in Leh, the capital of Ladakh
(population of around 30,000). Normally it would have been ideal to have
taken 4 days to acclimatise to the altitude - 3500m or 11,500 feet - but
I had been acclimatising at home, sleeping in an altitude tent, kindly
loaned to me by Box Altitude. I didn't end up getting as much time using
the tent as I'd planned, but I hope it will make the first few days a
little easier.

I was met at Leh airport by Stanzin Gurmat, Global Himalayan
Expedition's Programme Manager and taken straight to Warila Guesthouse,
owned by the Deputy Commissioner for the Ladakh Region, who provides GHE
with a room.

Yesterday I met with the camera operators who will accompany me,
(Stanzin Jigmet) and then film the GHE expedition (Stanzin Gurmet)...
and yes, I had a meeting with three Stanzins! Later on, the final member
of the team, Hussain, the support vehicle driver arrived and the team
was ready.

The plan for the first phase of my expedition is in partnership with
GHE. I will cycle approximately 500km to where the actual GHE project
will take place in Zanskar. During this ride I will be stopping at four
schools to speak to the students. These schools, in Khalsi, Wanla,
Photoksar and Lamayuru, have recently had GHE come in and set up an
'innovation centre', providing computers and a special hard drive/Wifi
unit that enables students to access resources as if they were online,
even though they don't have the internet.

The first day is going to be a long, challenging one - about 100km to
Khalsi, following the course of the Indus River along the Srinagar - Leh
Highway. But I am looking forward to getting started. It has been a very
tough week and a half since my father's passing, but I feel I am doing
the right thing.

Once I set off from Leh, I won't have internet access until I reach
the village of Mulbekh on the 7th September, so more ExpeNews blogs
until then.

  • Name: Leh
  • Elevation: 3504 m
  • Latitude: 34° 843North
  • Longitude: 77° 343East

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