Independently towards Engels Peak

Obviously, you cannot go all to the top of Engels Peak (6510 metres) just as an independent traveller. But with standard camping gear you can get to the lovely green plateaus and see some wonderful snow-covered mountains!

We did not find much information about this trek, although the path is marked on OpenStreetMap. Therefore, we share with you how the different legs are and where it is possible to camp. Here is a map with numbered points. Each point is described below.

We did the ascent from Langar and decent to Zong, although in hindsight we would consider going both up and down from Zong.

Route description

We started at the trailhead to the Langar petroglyphs (not marked, ask around in the Langar village or at your home stay). From the petroglyphs you will have to find your own path to the marked trail to Peak Engels. You can also start directly on this path from Langar.

The first 2.5 km (700 altitude meters) is on a next to invisible path that you need to find on your own from the petroglyphs. Just head up and up and up — if lost just follow the dried out creek and you will eventually hit the formed path. Warning: This part is really steep, the path is difficult to follow, and there is no protection from sun, wind, etc. Consider starting from Zong instead.
At the junction you will hit a formed footpath which seems to be part of a (now unused) water canal. This part is awesome — pretty flat, easy to follow, and easy walk. After 3 km (170 altitude meters) you reach the first point where you can get water from the river. This is also the end of the water canal and the nice footpath next to it.
If you want to continue you will follow a short, narrow path and reach the first point where it is possible to camp (easy access to water).
Beyond this small camping spot you will have to follow a not so obvious path through loose stones and rocks next to the river. About half way through you will find another camping spot (also with easy access to water). Beyond this camping spot the path becomes a little less strenuous to follow.
Next you will find a flat, wet area that was covered by snow in mid April. It was possible to pass on the left side. On the other side there are a few potential camping spots, and you should be able to get water from the river.
After this you will meet a really steep hill. From below or above the path is easy to see, but while walking it is difficult to find. It gets more moderate after what seems to be the top when seen from the bottom. At the top of the hill you will find another possible camping spot, although access to the river (and thereby water) is a little difficult from here.
Beyond this you will find another moderate hill partly covered by snow in mid April. After this another potential camping spot with no access to water, and finally a big flat area that is more like the river’s playground than a place for camping etc.

We did not get much beyond this point, as we run short of time. However, we could see that the wet area ends with a small rim, and we guess you can see the lake beyond this point.

For the descent you will have to backtrack your steps until the junction between the awful hill from Langar and the formed path next to the water canal (point 2). If you want to go to Zong you just continue on this formed path. At some point (no. 12) the path splits, and you should opt for the lower one if going down. This happens again at point 13 — just opt for the lower one. If going up it is more obvious: At both junctions just make sure to get to the path that looks like a dyke from below.

The last part before you join the “road” near Zong is really rocky and steep. The road down to Zong is like an awful dirt road full of loose gravel, and it is rather steep as well.

Be aware

  • Starting from Langar the first access to water is at point 4 — some 3-4 hours of extreme uphill walk.
  • You will need to be totally self-sufficient if camping up here — there are a few herder’s huts, but they were all empty in April.
  • Doing it as a day walk would be extreme. If you wish to do so you would probably need to turn around no later than point 4, unless you are much faster than us (you may very well be, we carried awfully heavy backpacks).

April 2018

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