Compass Blog

Jeff Fuchs' Expedition: "The Route of Wool and Wind"

Locations: India & Area

Kensington Explorer-in-Residence, award-winning explorer and author Jeff Fuchs will lead an expedition to trace one of the ancient world's longest trade routes through the daunting and stunning geographies of the Indian Himalaya. On August 1st, Fuchs will begin what he's coined as the "Route of Wind and Wool", a passage shaped by fierce blizzards, jarring rock surfaces and remarkably lush valleys. He will lead a first-ever western team on a close to 8oo km journey to discover what is left of the remote "highway in the sky". Along with a team of local Sherpas and his long-time expedition partner, Michael Kleinwort, the Explorer-in-Residence will retrace the same route that was, for centuries, used to transport precious pashmina, tea, and salt upon the backs of mule, Bactian camel, and yak.

The 33-day journey by foot will see some of the most remote landscapes on the globe and is for no other than the brave and devoted. Fuchs is taking on the challenge to not only retrace the fabled route but to track down the remaining traders who may still remember the days of the great "highway in the sky."

Here is a glimpse of the "Route of Wind and Wool" and what Jeff and his team hope to accomplish during their summer expedition:

The team will pass along the eastern most spur of the great Karokorum Pass and its rugged snowcapped ridges to follow the traditional and ageless trade route taken by the nomadic traders of Spiti, the Changtang, and Tibet.

The expedition continues over the massive Barasigri Glacier and through the middle valleys between Tibet and India – one of the last-remaining bastions of western Tibetan civilization. Until recently the entire region was closed and still now the area is only inhabited for a few months by the hardy nomads and their herds of yak and pashmina goats, shared by their ancient nemesis, the wolf.

The journey will then take in the fabled and deadly 'Galloping Dead Horses Valley' with its carcasses of dead animals and sudden blizzards. This is notorious stretch of terrain that was (and still is) a test in extreme physical and mental endurance.

Beyond the spires and glacier-laden mountains, there is an area where all of the great trading peoples gathered to honour commodities and survival. This grand meeting point sits where the Tibetan Plateau meets with Central Asia. It is an area where Ladakhis, Turkoman, Kyrghiz, Khotanis, Dards and the reclusive and feared Changpa nomads all gathered, traded, and warred for uninterrupted centuries.

More About Jeff Fuchs:

Jeff is an author who has lived most of the past decade in Asia where his work and research has centered on indigenous mountain cultures, oral histories and an obsessive interest in tea. He gained prominence in the realm of exploration for being the first westerner to trek the daunting Tea Horse Road, one of the world's greatest trade routes. His book 'The Ancient Tea Horse Road' documents this 8-month ground breaking expedition covering 6,000 kilometers through the rugged Himalayan Mountains to uncover the mysteries of this vital route that has been so critical to the lives of the remote Himalayan people.

Jeff is a current member of the Explorers Club fluent in several languages, most notably in Mandarin, and calls the Shangri La County his home. His passion for exploration can be seen through his powerful photo essays which have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, World Geographic, Kyoto Journal, The Spanish Expedition Society, The Earth, The China Post Newspaper, Silkwinds, Outpost, The Toronto Star and The South China Morning Post amongst others.

Visit Fuch's website to earn even more about him and his other adventures:

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