This two-week expedition to the summit of Stok Kangri allows plenty of time to acclimate and see the best of Ladakh, which maximises your chance of reaching the summit.
The ascent of Stok Kangri is tough, and while scrambling is required at the summit, it does not require any technical mountaineering skills. This makes it one of the most accessible 6000m plus mountains and at the summit, you are rewarded with wonderful panoramic views of the Karakorams .
Day 01: Depart UK arriving late night.
Day 02: Fly to Leh (3500m). Transfer to your hotel. Rest for acclimatisation.
Day 03: A leisurely day visiting the market, the monasteries and getting the all important acclimatisation.
Day 04: Sightseeing of Stakna/ Thiksey /Shey. Drive for about 35 minutes to Stakna monastery. Located on the left bank of the Indus river, the monastery sits on top of a rock shaped like a tiger leaping up towards the sky with the monastery perched on the nose and hence the name Stakna or “Tiger’s Nose”. We then continue to architecturally dominating Thiksey monastery which resembles the Potala palace in Tibet and covers a hillside. After visiting the monastery, we can visit the “Amchi” ( Tibetan medicine man) who sits in the monastery complex with his array of Tibetan herbal medicines. We visit the close by nunnery – Nyermagompa - to get an insight in the lifestyle of the Buddhist nuns and have lunch there. We then go on to visit the palace in Shey which is 5 km away.
Day 05: An easy day for further acclimatisation. We walk from our hotel to the town center and walk gradually through the Old Town of Leh to Lehchen Palkhar, the ancient palace of Leh which was built in 1600 by the then King Singge Namgyal. In the evening we drive to Shanti Stupa, a Japanese Peace Pagoda to see the sun set on the Indus Valley. We then drive a short distance and walk through Changspa, one of the most popular places in Leh catering to tourists – with its street side restaurants, bakeries, internet cafes and shops.
Day 06: Drive to Zingchen Lato ( 1 ½ hrs) and then we begin our trek to Rumbak. We trek through a gorge on an undulating trail climbing gradually until the gorge opens out at Rumbak Sumdo . Rumbak is famous for its snowleopard sightings – 3 hrs trekking.
Day 07: It’s a short walk today so we take a walk towards Gandala and then continue to camp at the base of Stokla – 4100m. 3 hrs trekking.
Day 08: We leave camp early to get a head start to the highlight of this short trek – crossing Stok la (4850mts) . We follow a switch-back trail as we climb gradually with the last 200m or so being more steep taking about 2 ½ to 3hrs to the top where you are rewarded with great views of the neighbouring mountains ( Stok Kangri is not visible from here). As you descend from the pass to another high point on the ridge you get views of Matho Kangri and sweeping views of the Indus valley and the villages of Saboo, Shey and Choglamsar – wonderful green oases in the vast desertland. We continue further down to camp at Chortenjen (4100m) – 6 hrs trekking.
Day 09: From Chortenjen, we continue gradually to base camp at 4980m – 3 hrs trekking. We have lunch at Base camp and have time to acclimatise further. In the afternoon, we practice the use of crampons and glacier walking.
Day 10: Rest day before summit day.
Day 11: Summit day. We have an early start, leaving camp a little after midnight. We trek gently to the old High Camp from where we easily cross the flat, broad Stok Glacier before turning towards the peak, donning crampons and carrying ice axes for the steep, exhilarating climb up a narrow side glacier. Roped up, we walk up to the ridge. The final exposed ridge ascent, while not technical, requires scrambling. The views from this ridge and the 6137m summit of Stok Kangri are stunning, as we get views of close valleys and peaks, too. If clear, K2, Broad Peak and other Karakoram peaks can be seen at a distance. The closest peaks we can see are the towering 7000m peaks of Nun &Kun. We then descend to base camp. It's a long day of about 14 hrs trekking.
Day 12: We descend to Stok Village at 3610m, tour Stok Palace Musuem and then drive to Leh. The walk is nearly all downhill taking 3 ½ to 4 hrs through a dramatic canyon with amazing red sandstone formations. The drive to Leh takes 30 mins.
Day 13: Fly to Delhi. Transfer to hotel. Sightseeing in Delhi.
Day 14: Transfer to the airport for flight home.
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