While travelling, the first box on your check-list is to carry the lightest carriables as possible. Stick to the essentials. While you are on trekking, the city clothes should be left at the hotel (provided you would be returning to the same point) or should be given to the travel staff with you who will store it for you until the return from your trip.
- Day Pack: Make sure you backpack has capacity of 1,500-2,000 cubic inches. This will ensure that you can carry water, packed lunch, camera, clothing and other personal materials comfortably.
- Clothing: Carry clothing which will protect you from chill and wet weather conditions. The best candidates are those made from synthetic items like capilene, polypropylene and pile. Not only are these light to carry, they dry easily and will insulate you the best against cold. You can also choose woolen and synthetic hybrids. It is best not to carry cotton clothing.
- Sleeping bag: Of medium weight, down/fiberfill should be rated from –5ºC if you are travelling to Ladakh in months of July and August and to Garhwal treks in months of May and June. For those travelling to Ladakh, Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan in September, make sure the bag has down/fiberfill rated from –15ºC.
- Other items include:
- Rain outfit;
- Small towel;
- Medium-weight fleece sweatshirt or jacket;
- Socks and footwear (with strong arch and ankle support);
- Woolen or fleece gloves; and
- Toothbrush, Paste, snacks, biodegradable soap, head-lamp, lip protection balm, camera and film, sunscreen and medical kit.
- Common Ailments and Altitude Sickness
Owing to its position on high-altitude and being a cold desert, Ladakh has low range of atmospheric oxygen. Without appropriate acclimatization, anyone who travels over the altitude of 10,000feet (2,700m) is liable to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). The common signs of AMD are: nausea, difficulty in breathing, lack of appetite, lethargy, coughing, troubled sleep and lack of attention. Those who are reaching Leh by air are advised to rest at least for the initial 24 hours after arrival. Including smoking and drinking, the travelers should avoid any kind of physical stress. The body will take about two to three days to get accustomed to the low oxygen levels at Ladakh.
The best preventive measure is the consumption of one tablet of Tab Dimox (250mg) for three days before the arrival at Ladakh. This can help in avoiding the onset of AMS.
Other common illnesses faced during trekking include cough, diarrhea, cold, constipation and stomach infections. Make sure your medical kit contains suitable medicines for these.
- Ladakh Weather
Due to high altitude, Ladakh faces sudden and extreme changes in weather. The region is thinly populated. The position in Greater Himalayan Range brings Ladakh in the hold of harsh winters. The months of December and January bring the region below minus degree Celsius at regions which are placed over the altitude of 3,521 meters over the sea level. It is common for people from smaller towns of Ladakh to move to the mainland where the temperature is higher. Between the months of April and October, the barren areas of Ladakh are hot and dry. Over the past few years, Ladakh has not seen adequate rainfall. The roads keep becoming drier and filled with sand along with the high-winds. The rainfall range of Ladakh amounts to approximately 10-16cm annually.
- Winters in Ladakh:
Winters are generally marked with high drop in temperature during the nights. Even though Himalayas remain covered with snow in the higher regions, Ladakh does not face snowfall. Some of the regions receive snowfall towards late-September. However, the snow melts fast. The temperature during winters in Ladakh ranges from -20°C to 15°C.
- Summers in Ladakh:
Similar to the extremity of winters, summers of Ladakh leave the inhabitants dripping in sweat. Facing over 35°C, Ladakh undergoes a sharp divergence from its winter climate. Snowfall in some of the regions melts away quickly while Shimla and Leh have a snow cover for a minimum period of a month.