Hiking to Stok Kangri
Climbing this 6000m mountain in 10 days is probably the quickest that a person can do it in, keeping in mind that one needs some time to acclimatize to the altitude as well. We’ll spend the first few days acclimatizing in Leh, during which time we’ll also visit some monasteries and the Leh market.
We then set off for a week-long trek. Instead of approaching the mountain head-on, we travel some distance west and then approach it through a slightly longer route crossing the Stok La (4890m) and then descending to the Stok valley. This approach gives us a little more time to acclimatize and the steep climb up to Stok La acts as a good test before the final ascent.
The final climb of Stok Kangri will present a challenge to even the fittest. Even being fully acclimatized and completely in shape, any climb over 6000m isn’t easy. However, the climb itself is not technically demanding. On days with good weather conditions, this involves going up a steep rocky scree slope and walking over sharp rocky ridge to reach the snowy summit.
Most of the snow on the mountain melts away by early August, and we have rarely used crampons on our August departures. However, with the weather becoming more & more unpredictable, we cannot rule out the possibility of dealing with unexpected snow & ice on the mountain.
Given it is one of the most popular trekking peaks in the Indian Himalayas (and on the planet), and its proximity to Leh (the capital of Ladakh) the mountain brings a lot of people to its summit. This is not such a difficult peak to climb, and our trip has a short acclimatization trek built in where we climb a 4890m/16040ft high pass to get to the base of the mountain.
Day 1 - Fly from Delhi to Leh
Board the early morning flight from Delhi to Leh. It takes a little more than an hour to get to Leh, the capital of Ladakh. On a clear day, the flight offers excellent views of the mighty Himalayas. We’ll arrive at the hotel for welcome drinks followed by breakfast and the spend the rest of the day at leisure. You’ll stay overnight in a hotel
Day 2 - Visit Monasteries in Leh
We’ll spend half the day visiting Shey and Thiksey monasteries around Leh. Return to hotel for lunch and spend the day exploring the Leh market.
Day 3 - Leh - Rumbak
We’ll drive 1 hour 30 minutes to Zingchen (3390m) and trek 4-5 hours to Rumbak. The drive goes past the Leh airstrip, the Spituk Gompa, crosses the river Indus and carries on as a bumpy jeep road till Zingchen. The trail follows the stream from here until the pastures at Rumbak (which is a junction of a few trails). The campsite is a little more than an hour walk from here.
Day 4 - Trek from Rumbak to Mounkarmo (4250m)
After an early morning breakfast, we’ll approach the base of the Stok La and start climbing the steep winding trail up to the pass. Stok La is at 4890m and this climb makes everyone feel the altitude. A steep descent from here brings us to the Stok valley and along the more popular route used to approach the mountain. We camp at a small campsite just short of the bigger campsite of Mounkarmo.
Day 5 - Rest at Mounkarmo
Today we’ll take an acclimatization climb up a side valley to get some real height gain in. Return to camp by late afternoon for hot lunch.
Day 6 - Trek Mounkarmo to Stok Kangri Base Camp (4975m)
Now we’ll follow the busy trail up to the Stok Kangri base camp. It’s a short day with a gradual ascent to the campsite. The base camp is on a big meadow and is usually full of climbers from all parts of the world. After lunch, we’ll do a short, yet steep hike to gain some altitude.
Day 7 - Getting Ready!
Spend the first half of the day getting your gear ready. We check the entire climbing equipment and ensure that everyone is kitted out properly. Relax in the second half of the day as we leave for the summit in the middle of the night.
Day 8 - Early Climb to Stok Kangri (6150m) and Back to Base Camp
Today will be the toughest day of the trip and would test anyone’s endurance as it’s a long way up from the Base Camp to the Summit and back. The climb starts steeply from the Base Camp which flattens out slowly until we cross the glacier. Once we’ve crossed the glacier, we’ll climb up the steep slope to the summit ridge. A couple of hours of scrambling on the ridge brings us to the summit of the Stok Kangri, which offers wide open views of the Karakoram range on the north with the Saser Kangri dominating the sky and Zanskar ranges on the south.
Day 9 - Trek to Stok Village and Drive to Leh
We’ll exit Stok valley at Stok village. After washing up at the hotel we will have enough time to do some last minute shopping in the Leh market.
Day 10 - Fly to Delhi
We’ll catch an early morning flight back to Delhi.
|TRIP DATES||31 July – 9 August 2018||6 – 15 August 2018|
|INCLUDED||All travel from arrival at Leh airport on day 1 until drop off at Leh airport on day 10
Accommodation on twin share basis in tents, guest houses and hotels
|Professional guide and camp staff
Sanctuary fee / royalty / permits
|NOT INCLUDED|| Flights from Delhi to Leh & Leh to Delhi
Delhi hotels and airport/train station transfers
|Individual climbing equipment
End of trip tips and gratuity
Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, flight cancellations, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.
Checklist of Essential Personal Items:
- *Most important: Ankle high Trekking / Climbing Boots (which can take crampons)
- Sleeping bag (-5 deg C or lower)
- A tough duffel bag / rucksack / soft travel bag which gets loaded on mules
- A day pack which one needs to carry oneself
Depending on the snow conditions we sometimes need plastic boots for the climb. These can be hired easily in Leh.
- Thermal Underwear / Long Johns (Upper + Lowers)
- Quick dry Trousers
- Shirt / T- Shirt
- Warm Fleece / Jacket
- Insulating Layers
- Down Clothing (optional)
- Wind protection and rain protection gear
- Hands (gloves – 2 pair woollens + 1 pair with hard shell)
- Feet (socks – 1/2 pair nylon + 2/3 pairs cotton / woollen)
- Head (balaclavas / woollen, sun hat, bandana etc.)
Climbing Equipment (if needed can also be hired in Leh):
- Climbing Boots
- Ice Axe Carabiner – 1 Gaiters
- Sandals for the camp
- Headlamp / Torchlight
- Trekking Poles
- Water bottle (at least two)
- Personal toiletries: toothbrush, comb, sunscreen, lip balm etc.
- Personal recreation: camera and film, books, music, cards etc.
- Personal medicines if any.
Why choose Aquaterra Adventures?
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ATOAI Hall of Fame Award 2014
Voted 'Best Adventure Resort in India'
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