Experiencing the Climb of a Lifetime at Kang Yatse II
Kangyatse 2 is an awe-inspiring mountain located in the Ladakh region of India. It stands at 6,200 meters (20,341 feet) and is part of the Zanskar Range, making it one of the highest trekking peaks that Ladakh has to offer. Being one of the 6,000 M plus peaks, Kangyatse II might be a little challenging to climb, yet is suitable for fit beginners as well as experienced trekkers. It requires semi-technical climbing skills, high-altitude acclimatization, and an excellent level of physical fitness, which we at Adventure-Pulse will help you attain. The mountain is surrounded by rocky faces and crevasses, making it a moderate climb with a variety of terrain to explore, leaving you with stunning views of the summit of Kang Yatse II. The surrounding mountains are visible in all directions, and the nearby valleys and lakes provide a spectacular backdrop. The summit is also a great place to spot wildlife, including snow leopards and ibex. Kangyatse II is a little challenging, but rewarding mountain to climb. With proper preparation and experience, the summit can be a truly unforgettable experience.
Preparation required for Kang Yatse II
Although Kang Yatse II is very well known as a tough trekking peak, it does not mean one needs to be highly experienced in climbing or other mountaineering skills. With a dedicated training program of 2-3 months before the expedition, achieving an optimum fitness level is highly possible. There are multiple sets of training programs that contribute to getting one summit ready. This features, training in strength, mobility, flexibility, cardio & endurance. All the above are very important to incorporate into a fitness routine as they add to different strengths in one’s capability of adapting to the altitude & terrain of the mountain. Follow this hyperlink to have an insight into a sample fitness training program we have created here at Adventure-Pulse.
Landing in the city of Leh
Landing at an altitude of 11480 feet in the midst of vast mountain ranges including the Zanskar & Karakoram, add to the magnificent views of the cold desert around you, making your entrance into the city of Leh a truly magical experience. Once you enter the city, you are welcomed by the friendly and welcoming people of Leh who have a deep love for their city. The ancient architecture, the markets, and the cultural attractions all combine to create a unique and special place to explore. Whether you are looking to experience the beauty of nature, explore the local culture, or simply take a break from your everyday life, a visit to the city of Leh is sure to leave you with a lifetime of memories. As one leaves behind the city of Leh to embark on the expedition, the winding roads that lead to Skiu (the start point of the trek) are lined with beautiful mountains, making for a breathtaking journey.
Acclimatization in Leh
Directly landing at an altitude of 11480 feet, makes acclimatizing for 24-48 hours a very important factor. It is recommended to drink at least 3-4 liters of water & go for a small & easy walk as it helps in the entire process. However not exerting yourself & sleeping early is of key importance in making sure one is well acclimatized to the altitude, temperature & cold region. Following the above would essentially define how well-prepared one would be to start the trek.
A trek as well as a climb!
A climb to the summit of Kang Yatse II involves trekking for a few days through the valley of Markha which is also, a well-known trekking destination in Ladakh, India. Along the route, the terrain is mostly dry and rocky, with some sections of grassy meadows and sand dunes. You will encounter snow-covered peaks, glaciers, and several high passes along the way. There are some steep ascents and descents. The trek passes through some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the Indian Himalayas. Some of the notable peaks include Kang Yatse I (6,500m), Kang Yatse II (6200m), Stok Kangri (6153m), Dzo jongo (6240m), and Matho Kangri (5926m). The mountain passes you will encounter include Kongmaru La (5150m) & Nimaling (4700m). Along the way, you will also be treated to views of the Zanskar Range, the Karakoram Range, and the Himalayan Range. From small streams to the Magnanimous Marka River, one will witness a great diversity of terrain along the way. Having first-hand experience witnessing local Ladakhi culture & the remains of ancient monasteries, that are believed to be built back in the 1800 centuries is a truly delightful experience as well.
Local flora & fauna
The local flora consists of alpine meadows, juniper and willow forests, and rugged, rocky terrain. The local fauna includes a variety of birds, such as the Himalayan snowcock, chukar, and black-necked crane, as well as pikas, marmots, foxes, and ibex.
A day at base camp!
After reaching a place called Nimaling (4700), the climbers of Kang Yatse de route from the Markha valley & move on a small hike towards the base camp of the mountain they’re about to attempt. Here spending a day for rest & acclimatization, also brings in time for the climbers to touch up on the skills required the next day for the summit push. A team of experienced guides and mountaineers would be there to assist you with that. Here one understands the uses of basic climbing equipment such as a harness, rope, descender, carbineer, etc. & other mountaineering techniques such as Jumaring & snow crafting. Having trekked all the way to the base camp along the Markha valley, and rested the day, now acclimatized & technically sound with mountaineering as well, a climber will be ready for the summit push coming the next day.
Waking up early in the morning, with the summit standing right in front of your eyes, we gear up & get on the move under the shining stars making our way to Kang Yatse II. We usually start for the Summit at 1 am . Walking along the ridge, your crampons crackling through the ice, every step counts, bringing you closer to your dream. From the base camp, the summit push begins, and the terrain becomes steeper and rockier. The climb is often icy and snowy, here skills learned the previous day come to the test. Climbing in dark is a challenge all by itself, leaving you with your headlamps as the only source of light. The terrain is steep and rocky, with an exposed ridgeline to the summit making use of your technical climbing skills. Moving along the route follows a glacial moraine, with short sections of snow, scree, and rock climbing. Walking towards the summit one follows along the famous Kang Yatse shoulder with fixed ropes all along the way to insure a safe ascent & descent. The area is known for its high altitude, strong winds, and unpredictable weather, making it a slightly challenging climb. The last part of the climb is the toughest and involves a steep ascent over rocky terrain. The summit push can take up to 8-9 hours, and once at the top, climbers are rewarded with breath-taking views of the Himalayan range. Finally standing on the top of the mountain, witnessing the views of the Zanskar & Karakoram from a bird’s eye view, looking back at the effort it took, makes it a proud moment to rejoice. The way down from the Summit usually takes about 5-6 hrs as one is exhausted.
Communication systems on the way
Once we start the Markha valley trek, there is no form of communication system available, nor is there any network or internet & this would essentially mean that for the next 5-6 days you would be completely cut off from the world.
Heading home –
Leaving the mountain behind is absolutely overwhelming, especially after having witnessed a breath-taking summit. As you start descending towards the base camp, the memories of the night and the summit push will keep flashing through your eyes and it may all seem like a dream because it’s hard to believe the mesmerizing beauty of the high altitudes.
On your journey back to Leh, ‘summit smiles’ (as we like to call it) will be palpable and it will now be time to head back to the monotony of the cities, nevertheless, you will be heading back home with tons of memories & an unforgettable experience to share with the world.