Climate protection trekking in the highlands between Himalayas and Karakorum

Ladakh Climate Action Expedition

The Ladakh Climate Action Expedition combines breathtaking trekking through the mountain wilderness of the sunken kingdom of Zanskar with a commitment to a local climate change project. The Climate Action Expeditions have been awarded by the World Climate Forum and are carried out in cooperation with our partner Global Himalayan Expedition.


Ladakh Climate Expedition, India
Climate protection trekking in the highlands between the Himalayas and Karakorum

Duration: 19 days
Date: Dates for 2024 are in progress
Price: Prices for 2024 are in progress


Key facts

Guided trekking trip through the wild mountains of Zanskar and active participation with climate protection project

Country: India, Ladakh/Zanskar

Level: ●●●○○

Contribution: Joint installation of a water heating system in the project village Shade

Tour guide: Trail Angel and Himalaya expert Günter Mussnig

Included services: among others overnight stays in hotels, homestays & tents with full board on the treck, luggage service, shuttle services & German-speaking tour guide

Breathtaking trekking over the Zanskar mountains in the west of Ladakh to reach a carefully selected project village. During the expedition the village will be electrified and thus an active contribution to climate protection and improvement of the living situation will be made ©Google Maps®/Trail Angels

Climate protection trekking in the highlands between Himalayas and Karakorum

1. The journey


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Character of the journey

The Ladakh Climate Expeditions are unique trekking tours in this form, made possible by the partnership with the extraordinary team of Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE). They combine breathtaking trekking off the beaten track through the fascinating highlands of Ladakh with active involvement in a climate protection project. For each expedition has as its main destination a carefully selected and usually very isolated project village. There, together with the team of GHE, the households of the village are then electrified with the help of solar energy or equipped with heaters for hot water.

A grandiose and already many times awarded idea, with which your trekking trip is climate neutral, the living conditions in the village are sustainably improved and a contribution is made to the protection of the sensitive ecology of Ladakh (preservation of the valuable mountain forests by renouncing firewood).

What makes the “Climate Action Expeditions” so unique? Until now, anyone who wanted to combine long-distance travel with a clear conscience could only halfway offset their carbon footprint by compensating for the CO2 emitted during the flight. And this was usually done anonymously and soberly via one of the large compensation platforms. With our expeditions you are directly involved. By not only hiking to the location of the carbon offset project, but also actively helping to realize the project, you will gain a much greater understanding of the challenges on the ground and of global climate change itself. Not to mention the inspiring encounters and the joint celebration, where the created work will be duly celebrated.

The Ladakh Climate Expedition 2023 will lead to the legendary former kingdom of Zanskar, in the west of Ladakh. The trekking leads on ancient, but so far hardly hiked by tourists paths, over two more than 5,000m high passes and has the remote project village Shade as a goal. The barren and bizarre mountains of Zanskar and a landscape steeped in deep spiritualism, with grandiose monasteries like the Phugtal Monastery, which resembles an eagle’s nest, make this trekking tour an exclusive “Once in a Lifetime” experience.


Highlights of the journey

Leh, the capital of Ladakh is the gateway to any Climate Action expedition. The city today exudes a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

The area surrounding Leh with the Indus Valley has many attractions to offer, and GHE strives to provide exceptional encounters. Like a puja with the Head Lama of Phyang Monastery ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

After some acclimatization days the trekking starts into the wild untamed mountains of Ladakh, with the goal to reach a project village selected for this Climate Action Expedition ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

Climate Action Expeditions trekking can be consistently classified as moderate to challenging, as the high altitude of Ladakh means that there are usually mountain passes of over 5,000m to cross. Those who are prepared accordingly can then climb from the passes to rewarding peaks without much effort ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

During the Climate Action Expeditions, overnight stays are made in spacious expedition tents or in the homestays built by GHE, which open up an additional source of income for the local population. But what could be better than a night under the clear starry sky of Ladakh? ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

Trail Angels Explorer, GHE Team and Trekking Crew: Day by day the team of the Climate Action Expedition will grow together, inspired by the common goal to reach the project village in order to trigger a concrete change for the better with the climate protection project. The picture shows the team in autumn 2022 at the 5,000m high Ganda La mountain pass ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

Once the project village is reached, hands are immediately put to work. Together, the Trail Angels Explorer, the GHE team and the locals start installing solar-powered hot water systems. A milestone in the history of the village! ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

A milestone that will be celebrated properly after the work is done. The inhabitants of the project village Burma in the Nubra Valley united in dance with our Trail Angels Explorers ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

Travel itinerary*


1. day Arrival: Flight Delhi – Leh; Arrival in Leh (08/27/2023); Accommodation: Hotel
Flight time: 1.5 h
2. day Acclimation day & Culture: Sightseeing Leh; Accommodation: Hotel
3. day Transfer: Shuttle Leh – Kanji (3,853 m); Accommodation: Tent
Shuttle time: 4 h
4. day Trekking: Stage 01 Kanji – River Kong Nallah (4,280 m); Accommodation: Tent
Walking time: 4-5 h → 12.5 km ↗ 450 m ↘ approx. 100 m
5. day Trekking: Stage 02 River Kong Nallah (4,280 m) – Junction (4,269 m); Crossing the Kanji La Pass; Accommodation: Tent
Walking time: 6-7 h → 11 km ↗ 1,050 m ↘ approx. 1,000 m
6. day Trekking: Stage 03 Junction – Rangdum (4,060 m); Accommodation: Tent
Walking time: 4-5 h → 13.2 km ↘ approx. 200 m ascent
7. day Transfer: Shuttle Rangdum – Padum (3,669 m); Accommodation: Hotel
Shuttle time: 5 h
8. day Transfer & Trekking: Shuttle Padum – Stongday (3,483 m); Stage 04 Stongday – Stongday Camp Site (3,583 m); Accommodation: Tent
Shuttle time: 1.5 h
Walking time: 0.5 h → 2 km ↗ approx. 100 m in altitude difference
9. day Trekking: Stage 05 Stongday Camp Site – Doksa (4,300 m); Accommodation: Tent
Walking time: 3-4 h → 6 km ↗ approx. 750 m altitude difference
10. day Trekking: Stage 06 Doksa – Taktak (4.2667 m); Crossing the Stongde La Pass; Accommodation: Tent
Walking time: 6-7 h → 12.5 km ↗ approx. 850 m ↘ approx. 950 m
11. day Trekking: Stage 07 Taktak – Basecamp (3,900 m); Accommodation: Tent
Walking time: 4-5 h → 10.5 km ↘ approx. 400 m ascent
12. day Trekking: Stage 08 Basecamp – Shade (4,200 m); Accommodation: Tent
Walking time: 4-5 h → 9 km ↗ approx. 300 m ascent
13. day Project Day: Installation of Solar Water Heaters in Village Shade; Accommodation: Tent
14. day Trekking: Stage 09 Shade – Yougar (3,917 m); Accommodation: Tent or homestay
Walking time: 8 h → 21 km ↘ approx. 300 m
15. day Trekking & Transfer: Leg 10 Yougar – Chha (3,657); Shuttle Chha-Padum; Accommodation: Hotel or guesthouse
Walking time: 3 h → 6 km ↘ 250 m altitude difference
Shuttle time: 3 h
16. day Transfer: Shuttle Padum – Kargil; Accommodation: Hotel
Shuttle time: 7-8 h
17. day Transfer: Shuttle Kargil – Leh; Accommodation: Hotel
Shuttle time: 5-6 h
18. day Recovery: Recreation day in Leh; Accommodation: Hotel
19. day Departure: Return Leh – Delih (09/14/2023)

*small program changes reserved

Included services


+ 6 nights in selected mid-range hotels (***/**** national categorisation); double room with breakfast + 12 nights in family-run lodges; double or multi-bed rooms or in two-person tents; each with full board
+ 12 nights in family-run lodges; double or multi-bed rooms or in two-person tents; each with full board
+ Travel guide by an Austrian trail angel with a proven Himalayan expertise
+ Travel guide by a team of experts from GHE (for climate protection project and sustainable tourism) in two-person tents; each with full board
+ Tour guide: Austrian trail angel and Himalayan expert
+ Tour guide: GHE team of experts (for climate protection project and sustainable tourism)
+ Guided by experienced certified guide with knowledge of the area
+ One assistant guide
+ Kitchen crew
+ Horse guide
+ Pack animals for luggage transport (incl. “rescue horses”)
+ 2 days cultural programme in the Indus Valley around the capital Leh (active acclimatisation)
 + All necessary transfers (airport shuttles; cultural programme in the Indus Valley; drive from Leh to the starting and ending point of the trekking and the necessary transfer during the trekking)
+ Trekking Permit
+ Active project day in the mountain village Shade: construction of hot water treatment plants)
+ Contribution for climate neutrality (incl. certificate)
+ Detailed tour documents (incl. trekking map)
+ Before the trip: Info service by Himalaya experts

Price: € 3.488,- p. p.

Small group from min. 6 persons to max. 10 persons

Our experts on the Ladakh Climate Action Expedition

2. The pioneers

Meet our pioneers who will accompany you on your trekking trip and provide you with many insights into the region, culture and the exciting project on the Ladakh Climate Action Expedition:

Paras Loomba,
the visionary from GHE

Hailing from the Delhi metropolitan region, Paras spent much of his childhood in Ladakh, where his father was stationed as an officer. The country never left his mind, although his awareness of climate protection was awakened only later, during an Antarctic expedition.

Shortly thereafter, Paras founded Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) to create a new form of climate-neutral travel by combining technology and tourism. In the meantime, GHE has expanded its activities to other remote regions in India and has also become a driver of regional development in India’s mountain regions by expanding homestay accommodations.

Günter Mussnig,
the trail guru

„I have been traveling the Himalayas since 1992, but it took me until the fall of 2022 to visit the fascinating highlands of Ladakh for the first time. I was immediately taken by the barren mountains, the sublime monasteries and the so hospitable …

people immediately enthralled.

But what fascinated me most was the vision and drive of the Global Himalayan Expedition team! Indeed, I would not have expected to find such an innovative idea of climate-neutral travel in the remote highlands between the Himalayas and Karakoram. Indeed, I have experienced a lot on my many expeditions and trekking trips. The Climate Action Expedition in Ladakh is definitely one of my most intense and touching experiences. And I can’t wait to trek across the barren mountains again, with the goal of improving life in one of the mountain villages and actively contributing to climate protection.“


Irfan & Simarpreet ,
the ying and yang of GHE 

Irfan Hussein and Simarpreet Kaur are one of the most competent and courteous teams that have ever accompanied a Trail Angels trip. The two GHE experts complement each other almost perfectly: Irfan is a native of Ladakhi and cannot live without mountains. If he is not leading an expedition or trekking tour …

he goes on the tracks of the snow leopard even on the coldest winter days. As a graduate historian, he is an excellent person to discuss both the history of Ladakh and the current challenges.

Simarpreet Kaur hails from desert Rajasthan and studied tourism at Delhi University. That’s how she got involved with GHE and is prudently coordinating the various GHE projects, from electrification of hill villages to setting up homestay accommodation. And she always does this with calmness and a broad smile. And she is a source of inspiration and advice during the expeditions especially for the participants of such demanding undertakings.


Travel with an impact for change

3. Our impact

Trail Angels tries to live up to its responsibility as a tour operator for the travel of the future. By opening up breathtaking experiences with handpicked tours and with participation in regional projects and measures for climate protection, we want to trigger the greatest possible impact for a change for the better in the destinations. You can find out more about the Trail Angels’ signature tours here.

And this is how we shape our responsibility in the Ladakh Climate Action Expedition:

1. Trail Angels project

Water heating for the project village Shade:

The special thing about the Ladakh Climate Action Expedition is that your contribution to the climate neutrality of your trip is calculated exactly and this contribution in the form of a concrete climate protection project …

will be implemented immediately.

In this Ladakh Climate Action Expedition, solar-powered water heaters will be financed for all households in the remote mountain village of Shade and also installed during the expedition with your help.

This will sustainably improve living conditions in the village, support the urgent protection of the few mountain forests in Ladakh by reducing the need for firewood and significantly reduce CO2 emissions in the village.


2. Sociale inclusion

Promotion of local structures

We work exclusively with carefully selected and vetted local tour providers and place the highest value on social sustainability and inclusion …

such as:

  • Fair payment & optimal insurance coverage of the trekking crew
  • On the trek: accommodation in small family-run lodges or homestays
  • Promotion of socially disadvantaged population groups and local value chains


3. Climate protection

Climate-neutral design

In order to live up to our responsibility as a tour operator for truly sustainable travel, our trekking tours are designed to be climate-neutral without exception. How does this work?

  • First, in cooperation with our partner “Global Himalayan Expedition”, your personal “carbon footprint” will be calculated during the trekking trip.
  • This then results in a certain amount for offsetting the greenhouse gases emitted during the trip. This amount is already included in your travel price.
  • Each trekking trip is assigned a specific climate protection project in the respective destination, which is selected and supervised by “Global Himalayan Expedition”. With the implementation of this climate protection project your trekking trip will be compensated and thus climate neutral.
  • On selected trekking trips (like the “Climate Expedition in the Ladakh Himalaya”) you will be actively involved in this project, for example by helping with the electrification of a project village.
  • If no project can be assigned to the trekking trip, your trip will be compensated via the international compensation platform Atmosfair® according to the “Gold Standard”.


The future of trekking

4. The story

Ladakh is the northernmost and most sparsely populated province (“Union Territory”) of India. The barren highlands are located at the junction of the Himalayas and the Karakoram and at the edge of the almost endless and icy Changthang highlands of Tibet. Its unbroken fascination radiates Ladakh on the one hand with its wild and untamed nature of deep canyons, wide plateaus and ice-armored mountains, which become over 7.000m high. And on the other hand, with its ancient culture, which has developed since the earliest days along the ancient Silk Road and, due to its location, also marks the intersection of three world religions, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. As a result, the barren and remote mountainous region has remained a bone of contention in world politics to this day. Although the Ladakh of the present day has become a model for the peaceful coexistence of different cultures.

Although Ladakh lies at the intersection of three world religions, its landscape is characterized by the spiritualism of Buddhism Lamaism. The splendor of its great monasteries is due to Ladakh’s location on the ancient Silk Road. Thiksey Monastery above the Indus Valley ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

The harmony of a barren, untamed nature and an archaic spiritual culture quickly captivates most visitors to Ladakh. Trail Angels explorer lost in thought at the prayer wheels in Likir Monastery ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

This is the future of trekking

For a long time completely isolated and accessible by road only from May to October, it is mainly the construction of the airport in the capital of Ladakh, Leh, that has brought tourism to Ladakh. The vast majority of tourists come to Ladakh during the summer months to admire the nature and culture that is so unusual for the rest of India. At the same time, the streams of visitors are concentrated on the excursion destinations near the well-developed national roads, and the barren mountain ranges between the Himalayas and the Karakoram have remained completely untouched to this day.

After our first Ladakh Climate Action Expedition in the fall of 2022, both the mystical highlands and the idea of climate-neutral travel immediately captivated us. Because that’s the only way the future of trekking, and indeed of long-distance travel as a whole, can look: To make the ecological footprint as small as possible by supporting a concrete climate protection project on site both financially and through active assistance. Because in such a way active climatic protection becomes even high point of the travel experience. And with the team from Global Himalayan Expedition, we have not only found partners, but also the pioneers who will soon make the vision of a sustainable climate-neutral future of travel a reality.

Whoever walks through Ladakh enters a truly different world. A world in which time seems to stand still. Archaic, breathtaking and opening up new perspectives with almost every step. And surprise that in this remote highland, of all places, ways into the future of travel are shown ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

The future of travel is climate neutral and socially inclusive. And this is exactly what the Climate Action Expeditions achieve with the climate protection projects in the selected project villages. Trail Angels explorers with villagers in the project village Burma in the Nubra Valley ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

Travel report from the Ladakh Climate Action Expedition 2022

Climate Expediton Ladakh 2022 – A review

The attempt of a first review of what the Explorer Crew together with the great team of Global Himalayan Expedition have experienced while trekking.

Read more.

Travelling for a better world
Our vision.

Blog Series 1/3: The Motivation. How we want to change the future of travel.
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