Wintertime Quest for the Snow Leopard in Ladakh, India
Trip Dates: January 30 to February 15, 2018







A male and female courting near Ulley.
Photo by KarmaQuest, 2014




Blue sheep, snow leopards' primary prey.
Photo by KarmaQuest, 2014





2014 snow leopard trackers and experts.




Using a high power spotting scope,
viewers get up close.
Photo by B. Jollymore



Rumbak village: homestay site.
Photo by B. Sharaf


Included:
Airport transfers in Delhi and Leh, two nights' hotel in Delhi on twin sharing bed and breakfast plan, hotel on twin-sharing basis and breakfast, lunch and dinner in Leh, all transportation by Jeep in Ladakh, welcome dinner, National Park entrance fees, ponies for luggage, homestay accommodations and meals, all meals on trek, all camping services and equipment on trek (as noted), and a tax deductible donation to Snow Leopard Conservancy.

Not Included:
International flights (US-Delhi-US), Flight Delhi-Leh-Delhi, any expenses of personal nature, personal clothing during the trek, sleeping bag (you can rent a suitable sleeping bag in Leh), optional tips to tour and trekking staff, emergency evacuation and medical insurance (required), personal medical kit (details provided upon booking).

For more information and a detailed itinerary... please contact

KarmaQuest Ecotourism and Adventure Travel
Tel: (650) 560-0101/
Fax: 712-8164
699 Spindrift Way, Half Moon Bay,
California 94019 USA
Karma@karmaQuest.com
Website: www.KarmaQuests.com


KarmaQuest Ecotourism and Adventure Travel is proud to collaborate with Snow Leopard Conservancy (SLC) on this special winter snow leopard tracking trip to Ladakh, India. The snow leopard’s winter mating season offers the best chance of seeing this elusive creature in the wild. Trip members will join the SLC-India Trust staff on their watch for the snow leopard as it descends from the snowy mountaintops in search of food or a mate.

Wintertime Quest clients have seen a snow leopard on every trip since we began in 2005. Please join the 2018 Quest and hope to see one too!

A tax-deductible donation to the Snow Leopard Conservancy goes directly to support snow leopard conservation in Ladakh and the ecotourism development programs that benefit and inspire the Ladakhi people to protect it. Please see Conservation and Community Service Activities for more information about this win-win partnership.

KarmaQuest’s award winning trip “Wintertime Quest for the Snow Leopard in Ladakh” soared to new heights in 2017 when the group accompanied by Jigmet Dadul, Snow Leopard Conservancy-India Trust's Field Program Coordinator, observed snow leopards an unbelieveable six times. The group sat for hours watching the cat devour its prey. KarmaQuest maintains an unbeatable record of 100% snow leopard sightings on every one of the ten trips we've run.

Here’s what trip members say about the trip:

“The sighting of a snow leopard... was a huge success and an experience that none of us will ever forget .” Thomas Bauer, Travel Journalist, Germany

The Winter Snow Leopard Trip was beyond anything I could have imagined… We left our breakfast and ran as fast as we could to the next camp. There they were a mother and two cubs approximately a year and a half old sitting on the rocks at the top of the mountain. I saw one of the cubs gracefully jumping and winding itself though the rocky terrain with not one paw out of place. It was just magical. I could not believe our luck!

“The following two days we also had sightings… Day three: I sat down in the freezing snow to catch my breath. Then with Jigmet’s hawk eyes he pointed her out to me through my camera. She was beautiful! Her blue sheep kill sat just below her as she watched us and kept the cheeky magpies away. So wild and free, I'm truly in her territory now.

(Days later) “we headed back up to the Valley hoping to see her … again. As we turned the corner there she was. I could not believe my luck. I knew someone was looking out for me! We spent the day with her and watched her move from her kill up the mountain then back down to her kill... It was adorable to watch, she was like a little playful kitten at times. I managed to get some great photos of her. I must say just sitting in the valley watching her and taking in the surroundings was just incredible. The following day we headed to our home stay in Rumbak. What an amazing experience. The hospitality was just wonderful and the food was some of the best I have tasted. I can't thank you enough for the amazing trip.”

Katrina Martlew, WinterQuest 2013

Trip Highlights:

A Ladakhi snow leopard expert will lead the field visit, directing the viewing outings and tracking the snow leopards' movements with the help of local villagers who have vowed to help protect this magnificent cat. All have been trained through a program assisted by Dr. Rodney Jackson of the Snow Leopard Conservancy, in collaboration with international and local partners. Dr. Jackson has studied these cats in their natural habitat and documented their travel patterns with camera traps in Ladakh for over a decade.

In support of community-based ecotourism, you’ll spend a night or two with a Ladakhi family in a traditional Ladakhi home: a Himalayan Homestay. Homestays provide clean and comfortable accommodations that reflect local lifestyle while giving visitors a taste of home life. Homestay operators are farmers and herders who are working with the Snow Leopard Conservancy to develop village-managed conservation and ecotourism programs to help protect the snow leopard and its prey species, as well as their natural habitats. Communities committed to not harming rare wildlife in exchange for having received training to help set up homestays and seek employment as nature guides, both of which have turned their hospitality and innate knowledge nto income-generating livelihoods.

Another highlight of the trip is a Buddhist ritual dance festival -- a colorful and lively event. Please note that trip members will attend the festival on Day 15 of the trip. The trip date is chosen to allow trip members to attend the festival.

Deadline for joining this trip: November 30, 2017. Space is limited and the trip fills up quickly. Please inquire now!

NOTE: Due to the nature of this trip, and the uncertainty of what path a snow leopard may choose on any particular day, the day to day itinerary must remain flexible, responding to information that the naturalist and the local community informants gather regarding where snow leopards have been sighted. Weather conditions may also affect the placement of camp and daily movement. We may even shift to a different location for better sightings. The following itinerary remains subject to alteration in the field as information and opportunities become available. The number of trek days will remain the same, barring weather or other unusual circumstances that require a change.

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Delhi: Transfer to the hotel. Rest, or explore your own.

Day 2 Fly to Leh (11,500 ft), Rest in the morning. Afternoon explore Leh and acclimatize. A trip briefing and meet with field crew. Overnight in the Hotel.

Day 3 Leh: A guided walking tour of Leh Palace, Victory Peak and the old town. Prepare for the camping. Overnight in the Hotel

Day 4 Drive Leh to Zingchen, Trek to Camp: Hike a little more than an hour along the Zingchen gorge, a dramatic entry to Hemis National Park. Camp at wildlife study base camp, 12,300’.

Day 5 Wildlife Viewing: A full day of tracking snow leopard and its wildlife prey. Hemis National Park is home to blue sheep, argali (a large horned sheep), numerous mountain and migratory birds, as well as an occasional Tibetan wolf. You are likely to see sign of snow leopard as winter is when they descend to lower elevations. Camp.

Day 6 Wildlife Viewing: Spend another day with the SLC-IT staff and local naturalists on the look-out for snow leopard and its prey. The views of this stark landscape, the sky pierced by upward tilted strata and – on snow-free days – the ground adorned with hardy alpine plants, provides constant fascination. Camp.

Days 7 to 13: Wildlife Viewing, Visit Village and Overnight at a Himalayan Homestay: Trek to nearby sites where snow leopard have been sighted recently. Spend one afternoon or evening in a neighboring village and overnight in a family home-stay. Homestay hosts have been trained in hospitality; they are members of a community conservation group seeking to conserve the endangered snow leopard. Spend other nights at camp. Village elevation: 13,500’

Day 14: Trek to Zingchen, and Return to Leh: After a short trek to the trailhead, drive to Leh and enjoy free time. Hotel accommodations.

Day 15: Leh: Attend Dosmoche Festival at Likir Monastery: Today you'll attend an all-day Buddhist dance ritual performed by masked and silk robed monks. Time permitting, explore Leh Market on your own and prepare for the field trip. Overnight in the hotel.

Day 16: Leh to Delhi: Early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Arrive in Delhi, transfer and overnight at a hotel. Rest or explore Delhi on your own.

Day 17: Depart Delhi: Note: Due to uncertain mountain weather conditions, flights to and from Leh are occasionally cancelled. For this reason, we suggest that you book your homeward bound international flight out of Delhi no earlier than the late afternoon or evening of Day 16.

Trip Cost:

4-7 persons US $4,995/ person

8-9 persons US $4,750/ person

Single supplement US $500 / person

For more information about snow leopard conservation and ecotourism development in Ladakh, please see the Snow Leopard Conservancy website.

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