Snow Leopards

SNOW LEOPARDS

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Ladakh, India

2016: Mar. 1 – 16

SNOW LEOPARD PHOTOGRAPHY TREKKING

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  • Experience: 3 yrs
  • Duration: 17 days
  • Max No. of Guests: : 6
  • Pricing: Please Inquire Below
  • Activities: Photography, Hiking and Climbing, Exploring
  • Temperature:
    • Day: 40F(-5C)/sunny to -14F(-10C)/ snow & wind
    • Night: -13F(-25C)/extreme cold & snow

Day 1 ARRIVE in Delhi, clear customs, and check into hotel. Usually flights in India arrive late night, hence we will give you time to rest this night.

Day 2: Wake up at leisure. It is important to adjust to the time change before heading to Leh. A short sightseeing tour would be arranged. If any necessities need to be bought, this would be the day. Dinner at a local restaurant with briefing.

Day 3: Fly to Leh, the ancient capital of the former Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh. Our local guides will take us to Hotel Lotus. Spend the day relaxing and acclimating to the altitude (11,500 feet!). Lotus is a family run hotel. Heating is provided in the room through heaters and hot water bottles. It is essential to start getting used to the cold. We spend the day continuing to get used to the altitude, visiting the local sights such as the ancient Buddhist monasteries and the bustling markets around Leh. Return to the Lotus for overnight.

Day 4: Drive to Zinchen, and begin our snow leopard photography trekking adventure. Pack horses carry the bulk of our gear, you’ll carry a small day- pack, your binoculars and camera. We’ll spend 2 – 3 hours hiking to our first campsite, a distance of about 5 kilometers (a little over 3 miles). Spend the night in the sleeping bag you brought (it needs to be rated to at least –25 degrees C). We supply the 2-person tents and mattresses. This is Hemis National Park and we will be in the Husing Valley.

Day 5-15: We’re now at around 12,500 feet, and we should all feel pretty comfortable hiking around at this height. We’ll trek to nearby valleys and rock formations looking for blue sheep, because the snow leopards are looking for blue sheep, too. The program everyday is not fixed. Everything will depend on weather conditions and snow leopard movements. The idea is to have the best possibility to track our grey ghost (Snow Leopard). We may move camp, trekking a few hours to the very remote village of Rumbak, where snow leopards are known to prey on livestock. Again this will depend on messages coming through passing villagers that may make us aware about sightings. We’ll camp near town, but spend the evening enjoying Tibetan hospitality with the locals. There is a possibility that we may stay in a homestay.

Day 16: We end our snow leopard photography trekking adventure and leave the mountain, bound for Zinchen and the drive back to Leh. Clean up. pack in, Rest and take hot shower or bath.

Day 17: We take you to the airport for morning flight to Delhi. Once there, the day will be spent at your leisure. A day room will be booked for you, as well as arrangements for your evening transfer to airport for international flight.

Apply Now

*Trip details, e.g., dates, prices, accommodations, are subject to change without prior notice

February in the Himalayas

As we said before, the snow leopard is the most elusive of all the big cats, but the good news is that February seems to be a great time to see them, and on our recent scout trip, not only did we find the Snow Leopards, but as you can see in the image above, Amos was able to get a very rare photograph two of them displaying affection in the wild — something never before published. No small feat in a day and age where there is almost nothing left un-photographed. We hope you’ll join us next year to document your own experience with this rare and beautiful treasure.

Fit For the Journey

To join this snow leopard photography trekking expedition, you’ll have to be motivated, and you’ll also have to be in very good shape. Fit enough to climb hills at high altitude, grounded enough to endure extremes of cold, and patient enough to stalk a phantom. This expedition will be a taxing, but exhilarating adventure. It will afford you the rare opportunity to spend time in one of the world’s last truly wild places, in search of a majestic, reclusive animal that only the most adventurous and intrepid will ever have the privilege of seeing in the wild.

Tremendous Scouting and Support

“We owe a tremendous thank you to our guides, particularly Gyalson and Gurment; they found the cats for us, and to our sherpas, who carried our cameras, tripods, and sometimes ourselves up the steep hills. These local people are strong, willing, and very proud in their work helping tourists like you and me experience this beautiful but difficult country. Without them I would not have my images or my story, so they have my deepest respect and gratitude.

Every morning, our two master guides left, equipped with radio transmitters, at 6:30 AM, to scout the mountains around for telltale signs of the Leopard’s resting area after its night of hunting or traveling. Each guide team chose one of three main sighting positions, sharing information via radio, thus covering the whole section of the valley. That way everyone along the valley was able to share information so that we might be able to finally see the wily and elusive feline. By 9:00 AM the guides would either call us to join them, or return to camp to get us.”

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES

  • 2 nights hotel in New Delhi
  • 15 nights of mixed accommodation – (hotels, guest house and camping)
  • 11 days of snow leopard photography trekking, all meals and Sherpa assistance through the program
  • Two state of the Art Scopes
  • All transfers, in accordance with group activities
  • Photography seminar/photo coaching by Jon Cornford

TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • All International flights
  • Domestic Airfare to and from Delhi
  • Overweight luggage or excess baggage
  • Sleeping bag
  • Meals which aren’t specified
  • Personal charges such as laundry, bar, and telecommunication charges
  • Insurance – we strongly recommend you buy your own travel, health, and diving insurance
  • Gratuities

PAYMENT & DEPOSIT POLICY When we receive your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive and detailed Trip Preparation Bulletin about the experience and the destination. All trip costs are subject to change without prior notice until your reservation is confirmed.

  • A deposit of 33% of the total trip price is required to secure space on the trip.
  • Full payment is due no later than 90 days before departure.
  • We reserve the right to sell any space that is not paid in full by 60 days before departure.
  • Cancellation Policy
    • Must be made in writing.
    • More than 90 days before trip: Deposit will be refunded in full.
    • 90 days or less before trip: Deposit will be refunded if space is sold, less unrecoverable costs of sales, and administration costs.
    • No refund is made for unused part of the itinerary.
  • The following are subject to change:
    • Cost of services which are not included in the expedition price
    • Flight time and schedule
    • Weather, water temperature, and animal behavior

SNOW LEOPARD EXPEDITION DETAILS

February in the Himalayas

As we said before, the snow leopard is the most elusive of all the big cats, but the good news is that February seems to be a great time to see them, and on our recent scout trip, not only did we find the Snow Leopards, but as you can see in the image above, Amos was able to get a very rare photograph two of them displaying affection in the wild — something never before published. No small feat in a day and age where there is almost nothing left un-photographed. We hope you’ll join us next year to document your own experience with this rare and beautiful treasure.

Fit For the Journey

To join this expedition, you’ll have to be motivated, and you’ll also have to be in very good shape. Fit enough to climb hills at high altitude, grounded enough to endure extremes of cold, and patient enough to stalk a phantom. This expedition will be a taxing, but exhilarating adventure. It will afford you the rare opportunity to spend time in one of the world’s last truly wild places, in search of a majestic, reclusive animal that only the most adventurous and intrepid will ever have the privilege of seeing in the wild.

Tremendous Scouting and Support

“We owe a tremendous thank you to our guides, particularly Gyalson and Gurment; they found the cats for us, and to our sherpas, who carried our cameras, tripods, and sometimes ourselves up the steep hills. These local people are strong, willing, and very proud in their work helping tourists like you and me experience this beautiful but difficult country. Without them I would not have my images or my story, so they have my deepest respect and gratitude. Every morning, our two master guides left, equipped with radio transmitters, at 6:30 AM, to scout the mountains around for telltale signs of the Leopard’s resting area after its night of hunting or traveling. Each guide team chose one of three main sighting positions, sharing information via radio, thus covering the whole section of the valley. That way everyone along the valley was able to share information so that we might be able to finally see the wily and elusive feline. By 9:00 AM the guides would either call us to join them, or return to camp to get us.”

ITINERARY

 

Day 1: ARRIVE in Delhi, clear customs, and check into hotel. Usually flights in India arrive late night, hence we will give you time to rest this night.

Day 2: Wake up at leisure. It is important to adjust to the time change before heading to Leh. A short sightseeing tour would be arranged. If any necessities need to be bought, this would be the day. Dinner at a local restaurant with briefing.

Day 3: Fly to Leh, the ancient capital of the former Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh. Our local guides will take us to Hotel Lotus. Spend the day relaxing and acclimating to the altitude (11,500 feet!). Lotus is a family run hotel. Heating is provided in the room through heaters and hot water bottles. It is essential to start getting used to the cold. We spend the day continuing to get used to the altitude, visiting the local sights such as the ancient Buddhist monasteries and the bustling markets around Leh. Return to the Lotus for overnight

Day 4: Drive to Zinchen, and begin our trek through snow leopard country. Pack horses carry the bulk of our gear, you’ll carry a small day- pack, your binoculars and camera. We’ll spend 2 – 3 hours hiking to our first campsite, a distance of about 5 kilometers (a little over 3 miles). Spend the night in the sleeping bag you brought (it needs to be rated to at least –25 degrees C). We supply the 2-person tents and mattresses. This is Hemis National Park and we will be in the Husing Valley.

Day 5-15: We’re now at around 12,500 feet, and we should all feel pretty comfortable hiking around at this height. We’ll trek to nearby valleys and rock formations looking for blue sheep, because the snow leopards are looking for blue sheep, too. The program everyday is not fixed. Everything will depend on weather conditions and snow leopard movements. The idea is to have the best possibility to track our grey ghost (Snow Leopard). We may move camp, trekking a few hours to the very remote village of Rumbak, where snow leopards are known to prey on livestock. Again this will depend on messages coming through passing villagers that may make us aware about sightings. We’ll camp near town, but spend the evening enjoying Tibetan hospitality with the locals. There is a possibility we may stay in a homestay.

Day 16: We leave the mountain and we set out back for Zinchen and driven back to Leh. Clean up. pack in, Rest and take hot shower or bath.

Day 17: We take you to the airport for morning flight to Delhi. Once there, the day will be spent at your leisure. A day room will be booked for you, as well as arrangements for your evening transfer to airport for international flight.

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES

  • 2 nights hotel in New Delhi
  • 15 nights of mixed accommodation – (hotels, guest house and camping)
  • 11 days of trekking, all meals and Sherpa assistance through the program
  • Two state of the Art Scopes
  • All transfers, in accordance with group activities
  • Photography seminar/photo coaching by Jon Cornford

TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • All International flights
  • Domestic Airfare to and from Delhi
  • Overweight luggage or excess baggage
  • Sleeping bag
  • Meals which aren’t specified
  • Personal charges such as laundry, bar, and telecommunication charges
  • Insurance – we strongly recommend you buy your own travel, health, and diving insurance
  • Gratuities

PAYMENT & DEPOSIT POLICY

‘When we receive your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive and detailed Trip Preparation Bulletin about the experience and the destination. All trip costs are subject to change without prior notice until your reservation is confirmed.

  • A non-refundable deposit of 33% of the total trip price is required to secure space on the trip.
  • Full payment is due no later than 90 days before departure.
  • We reserve the right to sell any space that is not paid in full by 60 days before departure.
  • Refund is made if replacement was found less unrecoverable costs of sales, administration special promotion.
  • Cancellation must be made in writing, 90 days before departure.
  • No refund is made for unused part of the itinerary.
  • The following are subject to change:
  • Cost of services which are not included in the expedition price
  • Flight time and schedule
  • Weather, water temperature, and animal behavior

Apply Now

Have a question?

 

 Nathaniel Smalley Expedition Guide

Nathaniel Smalley

Expedition Leader

Nathaniel Smalley is a professional nature photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. Though he calls the American Southwest his home, he leads photography workshops, tours and expeditions to various international destinations as well. Nature has been the greatest source of inspiration for Nathaniel as long as he can remember. His study of photography began early in high school and he continues to explore the art form to this day. Through his images he strives to foster a real love and respect for the natural world by touching the heart of the viewer with its beauty. Whether sharing his knowledge at a workshop in Arizona or somewhere around the world, Nathaniel’s eagerness to teach and outgoing personality ensures workshop participants a wonderful experience. More than just another nature photographer, Nathaniel is also a passionate conservationist. He has done extensive work with various conservation and rehabilitation organizations over the last two decades, filling every role from a volunteer assisting injured birds and mammals to board member. Nathaniel strives at all times to adhere to the highest standards of ethics in nature photography and avoid any of the cheap shortcuts that could in any way harm his subjects or the environment. For him the natural world is a sanctuary where he captures images of the living world and shares them with those who love and appreciate nature as he does. Visit his website to learn more and view his portfolio.

PHOTOS: SNOW LEOPARD PHOTOGRAPHY TREKKING


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