Base City: 


Starting Point: 

Panikhar, Parkachik, Tongol

Ending Point: 

Panikhar, Parkachik, Tongol

Average Duration: 

3 to 4 days for all view points (1 day for long day hike options)

Route Finding: 

Difficult, paths when they exist are often intercepted by various other herders' trail making it easy to get pulled off course in the other cases its a matter of reading the terrain and finding your own route.

Equipment Required: 

sleeping bag, tent, 3-4 days of food, at least two and a half liters water capacity if camping in non water areas



Trek Overview

 I put this as a camping trek because that is the way I did it but it would also be possible to do as a series of day hikes from the villages in the valley.  This is a tough trek the way I did it since there is no trail for parts of it and the terrain is tough but the views of Nun and Kun are unparallel.  The area around the huge U-shaped bend in the Suru river from Panikhar to Prakachik is among the most scenic areas in Ladakh yet most people breeze through it on there way to and from Zanskar.  To really appreciate the region you need to get off the road and out of the valley climbing some of the surrounding ridges.  I started in Panikhar and spent the first night on top of the ridge that goes down the center of the U-bend in the Suru river.  The same ridge which the Parkachik La passes over.  It only takes 2-3 hours to climb to the pass from Panikhar but it is worth staying up top for the view but there is no water source.   Hike down to the end of the ridge towards the bend in the Suru for a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains including Nun and Kun as well as the Suru Valley.  Its about an hour or less decent to Parkachik.  From Parkachik its possible to follow some of the herders' trails up the ridge on the opposite (south) side of the valley.  You will eventually reach a few herder's campsites one with a small spring (fill up your water here) on the Suru Valley side of the ridge.  Continue past these herders areas traversing along the Suru Valley side of the ridge until you reach a steep grassy slope.   Head up the slope to reach the top of the ridge its a very tough climb especially if you are carrying a big pack.  At the top of ridge you are rewarded with a brilliant view of Nun with the Parkachik glacier stretching beneath you up to the ice falls flowing from the north face of Nun.  You can camp in the grassy area at the top of this ridge but again there is no water.  You can descend to the glacier and walk up the valley to get a closer look at Nun and the ice falls.  The train is tough and requires walking on the debris covered edge of the glacier.  There are crevasses as well.  Unless you are equipped for ice and rock climbing you will have to return back the same way to the grassy ridge.  It is a steep hike down the Suru valley side of the ridge to traverse around some cliffs and continue along to the valley that contains the traditional base camp for Nun.  Continuing to traverse towards Tongol you run it to a gorge and uncrossable cascading river.  Hike up the very steep grassy slope to the meadow at the mouth of the valley that leads to the base camp.  This meadow is a great place to camp with a good spring and nice soft grassy campsites or you can continue up the valley about 2 hours to the base camp over difficult rocky terrain for better views but harder rocky ground.  There is not much of a tail to the base camp and its easy to lose at times, but just head up the valley at the end you will have to climb steep glacial moraine on the east side of the valley  From the base camp you can hike further up to the left (east) to a higher camp but then progress is stopped by either venturing out on to a crevassed glacier or climbing a 50 m cliff.  But there are great view from there over the icefall to Nun and down at the valley and glacier below. To get back to the main trail leading down to Tongol you will have to ford the river to the west bank of the valley.  If you are camping at base camp do it near where it comes out of the glacier, if camping in the meadow then cross at a point where it divides into two channels or look for the widest and shallowest crossing at the time.  Its about an hour down to Tongol and the road from the small pass at the entry to the upper valley on a fairly good trail.

Day hike options: You can make it to most of these view points from towns in the valley but some would be very long days. The ridge in the middle of the valley (Parkachik La) can be reached from either Panikhar (2-3 hours) or Parkachik (1-2 hours). To reach the ridge over looking Parkachik glacier is proubably 3-4 hours from Parkachik figure half that for the return. Its another 3-4 hours round trip from there along the glacier to the icefall at the base of Nun. Its probably about 2-3 hours to reach the small pass before the meadow at the mouth of the valley that leads to Nun Base Camp from Tongol. To get the base camp will take at least another 2 hours and further hour to reach the higher camp above the base camp. Figure half that for the return down to Tongol.

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