Leh is a remote town in the region of Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas. Bathed in natural beauty — towering mountains, seemingly endless vistas, blankets of white mist  — the town was host to a different sort of beauty this August. 100 bright, creative, and optimistic people getting together to discuss great ideas for the future of Leh and the world at TEDxLeh.

For one speaker, Stephanie Wolcott, the event capped off an eleven-day trek through the mountains (hence the stunning photos above). She walked for seven hours a day at an altitude of 16,000 feet, braving slippery slopes in freezing rain, and delivering solar lanterns to remote villagers. Later, she recorded her fascinating experience. Below, Stephanie’s story in her own words:

A visionary Tibetan Buddhist monk, a brave Ladakhi filmmaker, a snow leopard savior, India’s best rafter, a solar crusader, two Dutch guys on bamboo bicycles and me; this was the lineup of speakers at TEDxLeh. Eclectic perhaps, but the line-up included some of the most innovative Ladakhis driven by a mission to take on the extraordinary—people from very remote, resource-challenged areas working against pretty big odds to make their world a better place.

People of the Himalayas face extreme odds, a dispersed population, poor communications capacity and few resources. Organizing, promoting and hosting a TEDx in such an environment should have been impossible, but a small group of young men, led by Paras Loomba, did it. And in the process of hosting a TEDx, the organizers, speakers and participants took their place in a global family of people doing extraordinary things — the TEDx community.

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