Albeit somewhat late, my limited grapevine prompted me to Google 'BBC Human Planet' and 'Ladakh'. The results yielded a couple of revealing blog entries from a photographer and freelance cameraman, both working on the BBC's Human Planet series.
The Zanskar River trek has accommodated a number of film crews in the past, and in my opinion few if any have captured the majesty of the gorge. The latest angle from the BBC, filmed this February gone, is to follow a school group from Zangla heading out to Leh, hardly original, but what will be interesting is whether the finished footage acknowledges the many tourist trekking groups that are now sharing the river with Zanskaris. I'll admit that on my last two journeys on the river in 2001 and 2005 I made efforts to avoid photographing the hordes of brightly coloured trekkers, of which I was one. On my first two chaddars in the winters of 1994 and 1995 it wasn't a problem, save one or two European/North American groups we pretty much had the river to ourselves. A lot has changed since then, but will the popularity of the river trek and the slowly encroaching road make the final BBC cut?
Sometimes what isn't filmed is just as revealing as what is.
The latest projected date of opening for the Pensi La is the first week of June.
Whilst both the Leh-Manali road and Leh-Srinagar roads have been open (subject to the odd Spring snowfall) the Pensi La on the Zanskar-Kargil road remains closed. Apparently, for Zanskaris wanting to get in or out of the Valley, it takes around 10 hours to walk across the pass on foot (longer for most other mortal beings) and then with a bit of luck walkers can hitch a ride on the road. Snow clearing is underway but there is no sign yet of an imminent opening.
This update on road conditions was sent by email from a friend's mobile phone in Kargil, a handset that no doubt puts my basic £10 Nokia to shame here in the UK. What next? Leh, Nubra and Khaltse block are going Wi-fi (seriously).