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4 950 m ( 16 240 ft)
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This trek goes through a little visited region of Ladakh near Kargil inhabited by both Buddhists and Muslims. While it should be possible to do this as a homestay trek (I camped one night and stayed in a village the other) you may have to do some work to find a place to stay as they are not used to foreigners in this area and very little English is spoken. This can trek can either be started from Kargil, there is a bus to Fukor (sounds a lot like the English obscenity but its more like Foo-kor) the last village before the Sapi La Pass, or from Leh by getting off the Kargil bound bus at Shergol. You can either wait around Shergol (visit the gompa there) for the bus to Fukor or walk about 2-3 hours to get there. Start asking around to stay in Fukor. I stayed with a very nice Buddhist family the father was an ex-Indian army officer. I offered 200 rupees for the dinner and lodging but he only accepted 100. Its a two hour climb to the top of the Sapi La from the upper most part of Fukor along the trekking path not the road. It would may also be possible to take a bus to Sapi from Kargil, on the other side of the Sapi La in which case you could cut out a day and the Sapi La. Descending from the Sapi La, head off the second valley to the left (south) departing the road and crossing the river for the Rusi La. There are many villages along the way so its easy to ask. You can stay the next night in village at the base of this side valley on the other side of the river. I continued on and camped at the top of the Rusi La (no water and cold but a great view). The Rusi La has one of the better views of any pass in Ladakh. On the other side of the Rusi la there are many villages where it would be possible to stay. There is a little used dirt road that connects the villages to Sanko and the main Padum-Kargil road. A bus leaves the village at the end of the road to Kargil at 8:00 am. Or its about a 3 hour walk along the road to Sanko. From Sanko you can either head back to Kargil or go up the Suru valley to Panikhar and eventually Padum in Zanskar.
Do It Yourself Information
The trail to the Rusi la is not obvious, I took a harder route than I needed to off the main trail. I think the correct way to go is to cross the bridge after the last village on the way up the valley and climb the ridge on the left side (looking up stream) of the valley. The pass is near where this ridge intersects the ridge at the far end of the valley. On the way down there are many trails that split off stay on the most heavily used ones and you will find your way down. Its a case of essentially "all roads go to Rome."