“Think you had a tough time giving birth? This mother had to trek for nine days in -35C just to get to hospital… then carry her baby all the way back along a frozen river
Family in Northern India forced to walk 45 miles to the nearest hospital in -35C
They had to repeat the nine day journey when the baby was born, carrying him home
Trekked on foot down river Chadar, at an altitude of 11,123ft, for eight hours a day
The birth of a child is one of the most significant moments in a family’s life.
Many are fortunate enough to experience this in the comfort of a hospital, before driving home with nothing but a table-load of presents and sleepless nights to worry about.
For this family from Ladakh, Northern India, the situation was quite different, as they were forced to travel on foot for 45 miles to get to the nearest hospital.
A different world: As there is no doctor or hospital facility in the village where the family live, they were forced to travel on foot down river Chadar, at an altitude of 11,123ft, for nine days – and then make the same journey back when the baby was born
Latest addition: The newborn baby is wrapped up warm for the nine-day journey back to their home town in Ladakh, Northern India
Long journey: Another member of the family carries the newborn’s older sibling as they make their way up the frozen river, walking for eight hours a day It took them nine days to get to their destination, Lingshed, the nearest town with a hospital, after which they had to return the same way they came – up a frozen mountain river in temperatures of -35C.
A photographer encountered the family during their nine-day journey home with their newborn baby in a basket, carrying a young child.
The frozen river Chadar is at an altitude of 11,123 ft,and the family walked for eight hours-a-day over the frozen river often up to their knees in bitingly cold water.
The family were forced to carry both provisions and children, and camped in mountain caves at night as they trekked back to their home town.
The photos were captured by photographer Tim Vollmer from Iceland who was trekking up the Chadar with his friends when he spotted the weather-beaten family.
No other option: The family had to bring food, blankets and other provisions on their backs or on sleds and camped out in caves at night before continuing their gruelling walk in the morning
Tough trek: The family were sometimes forced to wade through icy water and snow after the cold weather blocked the roads from Ladakh to the hospital in Lingshed
Keeping warm: A cave in the mountainside serves as shelter for the night as the family gathers around a fire in the freezing cold night Tim said: ?One day we met then this family with the little son and newborn, I was amazed what it is normal for someone to go through to get a child!
?For me its just incredible, how easy and how much help we get in the western world to give birth in comparison – when you saw this little child and baby, how cold they have been, what they have to do.?
?The Zanskar River is big and fast flowing. For most if its length between Chillimg and the Zanskar Valley the River is confined within a steep canyon.
?Walking over the frozen river and very cold rushing water just a few inches below your feet is terrifying.
?Travelling from Leh, the capital of Ladakh to Lingshed takes four to five days under the best conditions and the long winter snow closes the roads and passes entirely for six months annually.
?The local people use the river to carry goods for their livelihood and sometimes people die during the dangerous trip.?
As one: Family members brought larger sleds to be able to provide some relief for the mother as she recovers from giving birth
Travelling from Leh, the capital of Ladakh to Lingshed, where the hospital is takes around five days in the summer, but during the winder, snow closes the roads and mountain passes and the frozen river is the only way out