Crossing Gongmaru La Pass, Hiking the Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh

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Last Updated on July 23, 2017 by Audrey Scott

Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags greet us as we reach Ladakh's Gongmaru La pass. All the residual fatigue from climbing up to 16,800 feet/5,130 meters seems to evaporate once we've reached this place, our goal. It's been six days in the Markha Valley and we've been up and down — and up again.

We have to remind ourselves not to move around too quickly up here, not to exhaust ourselves from the altitude. But it's difficult to contain the excitement of being on top of the world — and as photographers, to grab a piece of and bask in every little visual slice that we can capture. The scenery stuns with layers of mountains for as far as the eye can see, while a surprise snowfall earlier in the week means our view is blessed with dramatic snow caps.

But what goes up must go down. Soon, we must begin a long journey into the valley below. Until then, we have this view to enjoy.

Ladakh trekking, Gongmaru La Pass .
Prayer Flags and Mountain Views Greet us at the Top of Gongmaru La Pass in Ladakh, India

Update: You can now buy the Ladakh Trekking: A Beginner’s Guide with all the information from this site plus lots of extra details and other goodies (like packing and other preparation) in an easy ebook that you can download and take with you.

Buy the Ladakh Trekking Beginner's Guide

About Daniel Noll
Travel and life evangelist. Writer, speaker, storyteller and consultant. Connecting people to experiences that will change their lives. Originally from the U.S. Daniel has lived abroad since 2001 and most recently has been on the road since 2006. When he's not writing for the blog you can keep up with his adventures on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And you can learn more about him on the About Page and on LinkedIn.

10 thoughts on “Crossing Gongmaru La Pass, Hiking the Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh”

  1. @Liz: That’s the goal with these panoramas – to have the viewer feel like he/she is in the middle of it all. Glad you enjoyed it!

    @Peter: Thanks – appreciate the kudos! And yes, Ladakh is full of incredible landscapes like this. Hard to choose which are the best 🙂

  2. @Guy: Ha! Don’t worry, I didn’t take the height of the pass from the stones. It was written on a map that our guide had and I looked it up afterwards 🙂 So now I’m curious – what number did you write??

  3. @Guy: Well, that’s not too far off. Not like you wrote 7,000 meters or something 🙂

    Yes, the Annapurna’s pass was a more difficult pass. I think partly because the base camp was further away from the top of the pass. And, of course, Thorong La is a few hundred meters higher.

  4. I checked my photos, they wrote 5200… (they wrote it in stones one day before I arrived the spot)
    It didn’t feel like 5200 at the time, 5130 is more like it :p
    The climb wasn’t as hard as the Around Annapurna’s pass, wasn’t it?

  5. That is awesome, soon we are going to be climbing the highest peak in the Dominican Republic which is going to be so much fun. Its around 10,000 ft so 7,000 less then here but will still be fun =)


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