Earlier this year a photograph from my 2011 trip to Ladakh, India, was published in Bushwalker magazine.
I took this photo on a seven day trek from Padum to Lamayuru. The route traverses an awe-inspiring, austere landscape of barren hills, soaring mountain ranges and glacial torrents. In seven days we crossed seven high passes between 3720m and 4900m, and countless rivers. We passed numerous villages and encampments. We sang with local women carrying baskets of brambles to start their fires. We drank tea with monks in dusty monasteries. We were surprised to have our walk cut short by a new highway which is penetrating ever-deeper into the mountains to provide those in remote villages with services and consumer goods. We were saddened to see young locals moving from their homes in the mountains to the capital, to sell family heirlooms for tourist dollars.
Hiking in Ladakh was beautiful, moving and deeply troubling. The issues facing Ladakh are not simple and are probably reflected in many countries undergoing the transition from traditional, subsistence economies to developed economies (economies based on economic growth and industrialisation). I can’t go into this now, but I also can’t post this photo without mentioning it! If you would like to read more about some of the issues facing Ladakh and the amazing work being done in the area, check out
and I will post more on this trip later.