High Altitude Check List - Ladakh

Checklist for Ladakh and other high altitude Himalayan travel / trekking trips 

General Instructions on Clothing

Wear clothes in layers. i.e. Multiple layers of thin clothes. (Avoid bulky T-Shirts, Bulk Jacket, Bulky Sweater absolute no no).

In Himalayas/Trans-Himalayan Ladakh region during summer/early autumn  at one moment you may be sweating at 25 to 35 degree centigrade and in next hour you may be at Freezing Temperatures any below zero to -15 degree centigrade with altitudes varying from 10,000 feet to 18,500 feet even during road trips "Road Level".. All three highest motor-able roads in the world are in Ladakh Region.

So at 10,000 feet you may be wearing just an inner and a t-shirt and as your gain altitude you can keep adding layers.. Sweeter, Jacket, Muffler, Gloves etc.. and as you descend keep removing layers..

Always wear clothes in layers.

Layer 1 - Starting with inner thermals (Preferable wear thermals that are made of quick dry fabric / dry fits) 
Layer 2 - full sleeves t-shirt and track pants; Woolen Socks (One double woven woolen socks with one warm nylon or normal woolen socks inside). Carry enough spare socks and other undergarments. 
Layer 3 -  Woolen Sweater or Fleece Jacket / pull over. 
Good thick Woolen Monkey Cap or Balaclava with woolen Muffler 
Layer 4 - Wind Proof Winter Jackets with a wind proof hood.
(down jackets or Snow Jackets meant for extreme cold weather if you are going to Ladakh during Ladakh Winter).
A Pair of good snow gloves and one pair of inner glove.
Good Pair of Sun Glasses with Good UV Protection. 

For Winters (Those who are too sensitive to cold can also carry personal pocket size warmers. Available on most adventure sport gear shops)

Quantity of Clothes to pack on a Ladakh Trip

Pack few full sleeves t-shirts (full sleeves help you protect against harsh sun as-well-as harsh cold.) - 3 to 5 Pairs (Depending upon duration of your journey)

Carry shorts/tights/dry fits and full sleeves t-shirt for River Rafting (You may an opportunity)

Track pants, Lite Cotton Khakis, Tights etc (Wear trousers that are made of light material, Comfortable and have stretch) 

Two pair of thermal inner

Spare Undergarments (Plenty).

Normal Socks – two to three pairs

Woolen Socks - two pairs

One pair of leg warmers

Personal Towel

Light Jacket (Winter Jacket)

Muffler / Monkey Cap

Poncho (Rain-wear)

Woolen gloves (One pair) / Snow Gloves (One Pair)

Other handy items

UV Goggles

Cap / Hat (with a good shade)

Compressed Sleeping bag or one light bed sheet or shawl (Optional)

Shoes optionally with anklets and a pair of slippers or floaters (washable)

Spare laces for the shoe might be a good idea

Shaving kit

Pocket knife / spoon set

Sun Screen – SPF (35 to 45 or higher)

Lip Guard or Balm (with UV protect)

Hand Sanitizer

Toothpaste and tooth brush

Moisturizer and cold cream

Liquid soap and shampoo

Paper tissue / hand towel

A roll of toilet paper

Personal Medical Kit

Anti-septic skin cream
Velbet Skin cream
Asprin / Anti-vomit
Small bottle of dettol
Dimox or equivalent (Please consult your doctor), for Altitude sickness.
Medicine for cough and cold
food poisoning medicine - diarrhea can be an unpleasant experience while trekking
bandages and cotton
generic antihistamine for allergy attacks
Food poisoning - Norfolk
generic painkiller
Any other personal medication
Camphor  (smelling camphor is helpful when you feel giddy) 

Other items

Flash light and Spare Batteries
padlock + chain for the train travel
Small mirror
ziploc bags for cameras with water proof pouch.
Camera with spare battery and memory
matches / lighter
Spike Guard – for mobile / camera charging (We may have only one socket per room in hotels, so kindly carry spike gard with multiple sockets)
spare cells for Mobile Phone and Cameras (Cells discharge faster in extreme colds)..

Emergency Food and Water

1 small Can of Food for emergency
Biscuits / Chocolates / Salad items (can be bought from local market)
2 litres water bottle or hydration pack


Carry one Backpack - 60 Liters (as main bag)
Carry one Daypack - 30 to 40 liters (to carry during the day for camera, sweater, jackets, poto-ids, water bottle, flash light, personal medical kit etc)
A Waist Pouch can help too.


All items are to be wrapped in plastic or poly bags or waterproof nylon pouches..

Carry an additional smaller backpack (for 1 day trip kind of) where you can leave your heavy baggage at the camp and travel with lighter bags if needed.
Pack bulky and light stuff at bottom and top. All heavy stuff towards the center of the bag and towards your body.
Use Compression straps if you have them in your bags, these will help you keep all items in place.
Keep all handy stuff in day pack (Photo IDs, Tickets, Woolens, Camera, Personal Medicines, Money etc). 


Most of the remote places only BSNL mobile is available (Leh / Kashmir most networks are available). In some places no network will be available. So you can inform your when you are at places like Sarchu, Pangong Lake, Pso-Moriri, Nubra Valley etc you will not have phone signals most of the time.

Important To Dos

Always reach 30 minutes before scheduled time for all activities reduces stress
(Better early than late, better sure than sorry).
Keep photo ids, tickets in places where you can reach them easily.
Don’t make the baggage too heavy; maximum one backpack and one handbag (day pack). Don’t carry items not require or more quantity than required.
Airport security check-in. Pack all  Liquids, paste tubes, shaving kit; scissors; any sharp objects in check-in luggage; pressurized bottles etc..


Original + Copy (Options)

1) Passport (Preferred)
2) Aadhar Card (Preferred)
3) Driving License ID + Election ID-Card
4) Driving License + PAN Card 

(at least 5 copies of photographs and photo ids; this will be required for permits at certain locations).

Emergency Money Please carry emergency money with you; this in addition to the money towards camp fee (Rupees 10,000/-; and credit card); this fund is your reserve for any emergency is not shopping money). 

E.g. emergency like we are not able to reach the planned destination due to land slide or bridge breakdowns or due to any other un-avoidable circumstances we may have to halt at another place which was not part of the planned trip etc.; or it could be any other situation. 
All items to be packed in 60 liter backpack; and additional (duffel bag / nap sack)

Planning for your days

Most days you can go for early morning walking trips. (This is only possible if you hit the sack previous night before 11pm).

Most days the Safari starts early in the mornings, as there are many roads that have rivers cutting across them. As the day progresses the river swells up and it may not be possible to cross them. Also U have to plan buffer time in case of Land slides / or time required during your trip for Photography.

You can also buffer for 30 to 60 minutes everyday for Landslides or Jams due to some vehicle breakdown on the way.

Evenings can be just spend chilling out at camp site or casual stroll in the market place, enjoying the local culture.

Precautions (For high altitude)

It’s advised that for first couple of days to minimize exertion as you may be rapidly gaining altitude (over 10,000 feet), so that your body has enough time to get acclimatized to the thin atmosphere. 

Prevention First 2 to 3 days of your journey take is EASY .. Literally let your body adapt to high altitude. Especially those who land in Leh directly should take total rest the first day and keep second day only for light trip. Drink plenty of water, eat even if you are not hungry.

Some of you may face symptoms of High altitude sickness like headache; some may have vomiting tendencies; mostly this condition should go in a day or two.

You may take Dimox tables or equivalent a day or two before (kindly consult your Doctors on the medicines)

Sniffing Camphor is also helpful for those getting headache.
We have to carry Asprin tables.
We are also be carrying emergency oxygen bottles as extra precaution.
Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic); this will also help.

(Ladakh Altitudes of few locations)  

In Ladakh Safari is one of those trip where Journey may be as important if not more important thatn the destinations, Kashmir (Stay and Enjoy Kashmiri Hospitality in Luxury House Boat) – Shikara Ride – Sonmarg – Gumra (11,250 feet) – Sonmarg – Experience thrill of crossing Zoji La Pass (11,250 feet) – Baltal – Zoji La Pass (11,200 feet) Landscapes changes from Green Medows to Ladakh Arid Zone – Gumra (11,250 feet) - Drass (Second coldest habitat place in Planet Earth) –  Cross over to Kargil under enemy observation – 45 km from Kargil Mulbek (10,600 ft) 30 feet statue of Maitreya Budha carved on cliff – Namkila Pass (12,204 ft) – Bodh Karbu (10,890 ft) – Heniskot (11,640 ft) – Fatu La (13,479) Highest pass between Leh and Kashmir – Camp at UlheyTopko – River Rafting in Indus and Zanskar Sangam – Herigate and Culture (Alchi, Pathar Sahib, Likir),  Exhotic ( Magnetic Hill, Pangong Lake, Camping at UlheyTolpko, Camping in Wilderness on way to Tsomoriri lake, Camping at Tsomoriri Lake, Camping at Sarchu, Exhotica Keylong (in Lahaul Spiti Valley), Cross Rohtan La also to Manali, Also experience Baralachala (4892 m) – Lachung La (5065 m), Pang, Debring (4500 m), TanglangLa – Morrey Plains – Manali to Delhi – Mumbai. There are lots of opportunities for Camping, make most of it.

Important Note: To make most of Ladakh Adventure, go there with an open mind. Don't have preconceived expectations. Be Bold, be adventurous

Physical Pre-preparation for high altitude trip

One to two hour walk or any other cardio exercise every day at least 4 days a week
Breathing exercise
Stretching exercise
Drink plenty of fluid; especially during last week and on the trip
Avoid Alcohol / minimize smoking if possible avoid it totally
Eat good food (Add plenty of vegetables; salads; fruits to your diet).


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