Leh | India
Leh | India
Leh | India
Leh | India
Leh | India
Leh | India
Leh | India
Leh | India
Leh | India
The bountiful Markha Valley is slowly rising in popularity for its offbeat peak treks. The famous Kang Yatse 1 and 2 peaks are located here. The trekkable Dzo Jongo Peak of 6240 meters also lies here, just behind the Kang Yatse peaks. The climb is non-technical, but it is quite an arduous challenge for expert trekkers, making it the perfect alternative to the Stok Kangri peak trek.
Breathtaking views from Dzo Jongo:
When trekkers attempt the summit during the best time for Dzo Jongo peak climbing from May to September, they are rewarded with clear skies. The summit offers breathtaking views of Stok Kangri, Kang Yatse 1 and 2, Changthang Valley mountains, and even the Karakoram range in the distance.
The adventurous Dzo Jongo:
The Dzo Jongo peak climbing is the perfect adventure for experienced trekking enthusiasts. The wild winds here sometimes cause dust storms in the Markha Valley, and their ferocious intensity makes trekkers give it their best to protect their tents. The thrilling affair of experiencing snowstorms during the summit push gives the trekkers just the right amount of adrenaline rush. The extreme temperatures add to the challenges that the trekkers need to overcome on this trek.
Trekking the three high-altitude passes:
Another major highlight of the trek is that it takes the trekkers to three high passes of the Ladakh region. The Shiul, Chak, and Kongmaru La passes are all over 5000 meters. This trek is a unique opportunity for trekkers to hike through these passes and witness the rugged Markha Valley sprawling beneath them.
Location and basic information:
The hidden gem of Markha Valley, the Dzo Jongo Peak, is located close to the Kang Yatse in the Indian province of Ladakh. It is often compared to the Stok Kangri peak trek, but Dzo Jongo is more of an offbeat trail. It is tucked away from the cacophony of crowds, unlike other treks. This trek serves as a quiet getaway for trekking enthusiasts and everyone who loves the rush of adrenaline.
Duration and length:
The Dzo Jongo trek starts from Leh and ends at Leh, covering a stretch of 41 km by foot and an additional distance of 70 km each way between Leh and Lato by car. It takes around 10 days and 9 nights to complete the trek. This estimate includes buffer days and acclimatization days which the trekkers and their instructors can decide whether they need or not.
The Dzo Jongo trek cost is around USD 388 to 429 (INR 29000 to 32000). It covers the trekkers' tent accommodations and food for the trek duration. The trekkers will also have to hire an experienced trekking instructor to aid them in navigating along the trail. These hiring charges are also included in the budget.
For those doing the Dzo Jongo trek solo, the cost will be on the higher side of the range given here. Usually, in a group of trekkers, the typical expenses like tent accommodations, food supplies, standard gear and equipment, and trekking instructor charges are divided amongst themselves. Solo trekkers have to bear this all on their own.
ATM availability and cell phone connectivity:
It is best to go for BSNL and Airtel SIMs with post-paid service for network and cell phone connectivity. Local prepaid SIM cards bought in Ladakh and the Jammu and Kashmir region also provide commendable service. However, the network will only be available till Leh. Beyond Leh, there is hardly any cell phone network available. You will find ATMs in Leh, and hence it is advised to withdraw cash there and pay your travel agency or tour operator in advance.
The Dzo Jongo trek is not technical, but it challenges the experienced trekkers to test their limits. It has been categorized as a challenging trek, and the trekkers attempting this must have prior experience in high-altitude trekking. The steep ascent on almost vertical slopes requires crampons and the help of ropes to climb, so the trekkers must know how to use these tools.
The trekkers will need a trekking instructor, especially if they are doing the Dzo Jongo trek solo. Experts consider this an alternative to the challenging Stok Kangri peak climb. People looking forward to preparing for more extraordinary mountain expeditions in the future should scale this six-thousander to gain more experience.
The best time for Dzo Jongo peak climbing is from May to September. The Dzo Jongo West peak lies in the rain shadow region of Leh, so it is suitable to trek here in the monsoon. The day temperatures stay around 10-15 degrees Celsius, but they might fall to sub-zero levels at night. The snow levels at the top are the lowest this time, easier for navigation during summer, monsoon, and early autumn seasons. The late autumn season should be avoided since it may start snowing early at such a high altitude.
Apparel and footwear:
Remember to pack light yet carry enough warm clothes for this high-altitude trek. In such extreme temperature conditions, layering clothes helps conserve body heat. It would be best to maintain a set of thermal innerwear, 3-4 full-sleeved, quick-to-dry, polyester t-shirts, and 2-3 pairs of sweatpants or joggers to layer and change as and when required.
Among warm clothes, layering fleece sweaters, pullovers, or hoodies under a thick down jacket would be wise. To maintain an optimum temperature of the head, the trekker can wear a balaclava, ski cap, or a beanie under the hood of the down jacket. Ensure to cover up your neck using a woolen scarf or a thick muffler so that you do not catch a cold. There will be snow on the summit day, so it is advised to carry waterproof gloves and jackets.
For day treks carrying quick-to-dry synthetic socks will be ideal, but as temperatures drop at night, it is best to wear woolen socks to protect your feet. Set aside some amount from your Dzo Jongo trek cost for buying proper, fitting trekking shoes that are sturdy and come with a firm grip and ankle support. Water-resistant gaiters will prevent your shoes from getting wet in the snow and any loose stones from getting into your shoes.
Some other accessories will also be necessary for the trek, like a battery-operated torch and its spare batteries for the torch, camera batteries and charger, and a pair of sturdy trekking poles. The intense sun rays reflecting on the surface of the snow can be quite harmful so remember to take a sun cap, sunscreen lotion, and UV-protection sunglasses to protect your eyes and skin. Bring a thick sleeping bag for sleeping comfortably at night.
The trekkers will also need to carry some essential mountaineering equipment like ropes and crampons for the trek. These can be rented from Leh. However, most trekking companies include these equipment within their list, so you might not need to purchase or rent those at all.
Baggage and waterproofing:
One would need a backpack of at least 60 liters capacity to fit all the things they need to bring on this trek. The trekker can also carry a day pack of 20 liters to access the essentials during the day treks easily. Carry water-resistant backpack covers to protect your belongings during sudden snowfall or snowstorms. Waterproof bags will also be useful to put in your electronics in the case of poor weather conditions.
For maintaining personal hygiene, a set of toiletries should contain a toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, biodegradable soap, moisturizer, deodorant, and hand sanitizer. Tissue rolls and wet wipes will also help you freshen up quickly without using the freezing water again and again. However, remember not to litter here as it can harm the ecosystem of the mountains.
To maintain menstrual hygiene, women should carry sufficient sanitary napkins, tampons, or menstrual cups.
Medicines and first-aid kit:
Fever, flu, cough, cold, various allergic reactions, stomach ache, and nausea problems are common illnesses that can occur. Remember to carry paracetamol, antibiotics, antihistamines, antacids, and anti-nausea medications.
It is common to get minor cuts, sprains, and bruises while taking on such a challenging feat. This is why it is imperative to carry a simple first-aid kit. It should contain bandaids, crepe bandages, cotton gauze rolls and swabs, antiseptic liquid, antifungal powder, antibacterial ointment, insect repellent cream, and a pain-relieving spray. Water-borne diseases can be avoided by carrying water-purifying tablets to add to your drinking water.
For identification and verification purposes, carry a few passport-sized photos, your identity proof with address details, and several photocopies of the same. You will also need these to rent equipment and tools, make various reservations, and obtain trekking permits. Foreigners should keep their passports and visas safe for hassle-free processes.
The Dzo Jongo trek is an adventurous expedition for which the trekker needs to build their core strength and stamina. Running, jogging, brisk walking, skipping, swimming, climbing up and down stairs without a break, and doing squats regularly will help you stay in top shape. Alongside these daily exercises, it will be best to attend gym sessions at least 3-4 times a week.
The trekker should also build and develop their grit and determination to summit the peak, especially if they are doing the Dzo Jongo trek solo. Meditation, pranayama, and yoga exercises will help in this regard.
The Dzo Jongo trek cost is worth the thrilling expedition to one of India's most challenging yet non-technical six-thousanders. This Ladakh peak is a hidden gem for experienced trekkers and one of the few summit treks that a trekker can do without any technical training. It is important to follow the instructions of the trekking guide to have a safe and memorable experience of a lifetime.