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The adventures of two Hungarian climbers on the peaks of the great mountains of Little Tibet

The adventures of two Hungarian climbers on the peaks of the great mountains of Little Tibet

It is relatively easy to get to Ladakh, as Leh, the largest city, has its own airport, from where several domestic flights depart daily, as stated in the recently published report. Tourista MagazineWhere the two Hungarian climbers talked about their adventures. From the airport, you can reach the center in almost no time by taxi. Ladakh is also a curiosity for Indians, as it is very different from other parts of the country. It has its own people and language, and its distinctive religion is Buddhism.

Here there is no need to be afraid of India's unnerving hustle and bustle. The Federal Territory, also called Little Tibet, is like an island of tranquility in the far north of the country. It is inhabited by kind, smiling and helpful people, who almost without exception speak English, although it is sometimes difficult to understand them.

The two Hungarian climbers set off into the mountains on the most popular trekking route available, the Marka Valley. Starting from the settlement of Scio, this was the most logical route, which allowed gradual ascent and thus satisfactory acclimatization. They were looking for a less repetitive and more serious challenge, which is what brought Dzo Jonjo into the picture.

The big advantage of the popular trail is that people who live in the valley rent a room to hikers who come for some money, which includes a hot dinner, breakfast and even a lunch pack for the daily leg. This is the so-called “homestay” accommodation. In this way, the walk, which is usually divided into five or six days, can be completed with minimal equipment.

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There is only one compromise: no meat anywhere. Rice, lentils, boiled vegetables, and pasta are the foods you can eat. For lunch, the small package without exception contains a boiled egg, boiled potatoes, and a type of bread, accompanied by the main portion, chocolate and juice.

Photo: Milan Duscuti, Christian Gazzo
Photo: Milan Duscuti, Christian Gazzo

Photo: Milan Duscuti, Christian Gazo

A little traffic here or there, at the last “civilized” stop compared to the end of the season, at the Nimaling dining tent, about forty people gathered for dinner. Clients, who often hire mountain guides, set out for the majestic Kang Yatse II from here, whose pyramid-shaped peak dominates the skyline of the upper Marka Valley.

Incidentally, Nimaling is an idyllic plateau located almost at the same height as the summit of Mont Blanc, where animals graze, streams graze and have a beautiful view. Only wolf attacks can cause trouble. Sometimes they target herd animals.

Far from the well-trodden trails, on the sixth day of the tour, the two Hungarian hikers surveyed the terrain on their own to find a suitable place for a tent, which would serve as a starting point for the summit climb. Finally, below the snow line, at an altitude of about 5,300 metres, they found a fairly straight plateau, where an ice stream provided an unlimited amount of liquid supply. Here we had to decide how to proceed.

Photo: Milan Duscuti, Christian GazzoPhoto: Milan Duscuti, Christian Gazzo
Photo: Milan Duscuti, Christian Gazzo

Photo: Milan Duscuti, Christian Gazzo

Although they did not originally plan an immediate attack, they decided to attack the summit the next day, avoiding setting up any high-altitude camps, following the “climb high, sleep low” principle.

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On the easier, lower side peak of Dzo Jongu (Dzo Jongu II, or Dzo Jongu East), a small group occasionally appears, but there are hardly any entrepreneurs on the main peak. The true climax does not reach itself easily. Without fixed ropes, it would be reckless to tackle the 60-degree ice wall leading to the North Saddle, and the final snow-covered prologue should not be underestimated either.

For safe climbing of the former, a few snow screws don't hurt, while for the latter, it is advisable to be familiar with the use of media that can be mounted on a powder-coated surface, i.e. a polished surface, as well as basic contact or synchronous climbing methods. This is not the best place for someone to try out straps for the first time or to practice self-control.

Gentle winds, pleasant temperature and impeccable snow conditions accompanied the climbers as they followed their routes higher and higher.

“At a snail’s pace, constantly panting, I put one foot after the other, and my partner, who was attached to me, walked parallel to me. And so we approached, meter by meter, the rocky outcropping of the roof.”

recalls Krzysztian Gazso.

In the late afternoon, they reached the 6,280-metre summit of Dzo Jungo, where a stunning panorama opened up before them – with monsters like the Riboni Malai Ri or the Epsti Kangri. In the distance, the Karakoram mountain range appeared. In a state of lack of oxygen, they tried to enjoy the view, knowing that it was not over yet: they had to climb down the mountain. With due caution, they descended on the line he had carved in the snow. As atmospheric pressure increased, their movement accelerated. When they returned to base camp, they calculated: There was a 16-hour round trip behind them.

Photo: Milan Duscuti, Christian GazzoPhoto: Milan Duscuti, Christian Gazzo

Photo: Milan Duscuti, Christian Gazzo

Back at Nimaling, there is a shorter route back to Leh: this route leads via the 5,260m Kunjmaru La Pass. The trail is clearly the crown of the hiking tour. Reaching it is a remarkable achievement even for those who do not come to climb the mountain. Even for the wealthy hiker who set out for the valley with six horses and a crew of four.

The next morning, in the snow, they pitched their tent on the trail. On the other side of the pass, they set off through the wild valley, where the constant pain from the shoulder straps no longer mattered. Only the comfort of the stay was floating before their eyes: a hot bath, and a hearty dinner. And of course to give a sign of life to those at home, who had known nothing about them for a week and a half.

If someone decides to do this: the summit requires a permit, the valley tour does not require a permit

Marka Valley can be completed independently, without the help of tour operators. Although it is part of Hemis National Park, you do not need permits to complete it. Mountaineering, on the other hand, requires a permit, and the IMF (Mountaineering Foundation of India) requires the involvement of a separate agency.

Costs: Ladakh is much cheaper than Hungary. Unfortunately, you cannot use any bank or credit card, they are mostly only accepted by high-end hotels or better exchange companies. A liter of bottled water costs INR 20-30 (100-120 Forints), a one-course meal in a restaurant costs INR 150-200 (700-900 Forints), and accommodation with meals costs INR 1,500 (6,750 Forints). . .

The route can be zoomed in on the hiking map:

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