Kang Yatse (or Kang Yatze) is a peak located in the Markha Valley, in the Hemis National Park. It has two summits, namely Kang Yatse 1 and 2. Kang Yatse 2 is the shorter one at 6,270 m and is a more popular summit due to a relatively more accessible approach route. Ever since Stok Kangri was closed, Kang Yatse -2 has increased in popularity as ‘the peak to climb’ in Ladakh. You can reach its base camp using two routes; either from Skiu or from Chang. It's a perfect climb to get introduced to mountaineering and an ideal option for those who are looking for their first 6000m peak or perhaps an alternative to Stok Kangri. The summit is covered in loose rocks and moraine. The climb is recommended for experienced trekkers with experience of trekking above 5000m. Our Itinerary is designed to maximize the chance of a summit and to let the body adjust to the change in altitude at its own pace.
There are two approach routes to this peak. One is from Chilling; trekking through the Markha Valley, passing by the villages of Skiu, Markha and Hankar. Another approach starts from the village of Shang Sumdo and steeply climbs up the Markha Gorge passing by the campsite of Chyuskirmo, Lartsa and then climbing the Kongmaru La, a 5130-meter high pass to reach Nimaling. While making your way to Kang Yatse, you trek through the lush valley of Markha. A biodiverse valley with an array of wildlife and rare flora. If you are lucky, you might spot some Mountain deer, fox and Snow Leopards.
Best Time : July, August and September
Duration : 12 days
Max. Altitude : 6, 250 m
Commences At : Leh
Ends At : Leh
The first day on your Kang Yatse 2 trek. On arrival at the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, also referred to as the LEH Airport, you will immediately be overcome by a sense of awe and wonder with respect to the stark contrast of the landscape when compared to the Indian and Nepal Himalayas. You immediately notice the cold, the complete absence of vegetation, as well as the effort it takes to possibly walk up or downstairs due to the rarity of the atmospheric oxygen. When you exit the airport, look out for the ADVENTURE PULSE BANNER (that’s us, by the way), which will be your ride to our Hotel, ‘The Himalayan Residency’. The first day is spent just resting in and around the hotel so that you allow yourself to acclimatize to the environment and the high altitude. In the evening, we will go for a small walk to the City market, where if you like, you can explore the local culture, purchase souvenirs, and indulge in the local cuisine. In Ladakh, only postpaid sim cards would work. You can enjoy 4G speeds in most of Leh as well as Wifi in the hotel.
As Leh is located at an altitude of 3,524m, acclimatizing is very important. The second day in your Leh is spent resting and walking around the Leh Market, the heart of the city. Breakfast will be served at the hotel itself. We would be happy to direct you to the famous restaurants in Leh so you can head out for a scrumptious Lunch. In the evening, we will trek up to the mesmerizing Shanti Stupa where you can get a view of the entire city of Leh with extended views of the valley. Shanti Stupa is truly one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in Leh. This trek would also help in the acclimatization process as we follow the maxim of climbing high and sleeping low. Dinner will be served after we make our way back from the Stupa.
We start by driving away from Leh after breakfast and cross the famous Pathar Sahab Gurudwara. Continuing the same road, we hit the confluence of the river Indus and Zaskar. This is the start of Hemis National Park. The drive to Chilling (Yup, it’s actually named Chilling) is around 3 hours from Leh and is 65 kilometres away. From the confluence, your phone will not pick up on signal and only BSNL postpaid sim cards will work. From Chilling, we’ll make our way to Skui. There is a road that is under construction to Skui, and the trek duration can be affected by where the road has reached. A good approximate is a 3-hour hike from the road head to Skui (Around 6 km). At Skui, our accommodation will be at a local homestay. As we arrive, tea and snacks will be ready followed by a traditional dinner at the homestay itself.
Our first day of proper trekking on the Kang Yatse 2 trek. This is one of the longest days of trekking as we start our journey after breakfast and trek close to 15kms which should take us 8 hours. The trek through the Markha valley is different from trekking in the rest of Ladakh especially the to Stok Kangri. The valley is greener and the vegetation is significantly more. We'll stop for lunch on the trail and it'll be in the form of packed lunch. We will also have to wade through the Markha river. This will also be the first day of camping. Keep an eye out for Sea Buckthorn fruits, these citrus berries work better than coffee at waking you up. Our camp will be set a couple of kilometres ahead of the village. Hot tea and snacks will await your arrival.
The trek from Markha to Thachungtse is on the longer end. Today will also be the day we have our first site of Kang Yatse. The trek crosses a rough terrain with plenty of small shrubs and some smaller animals. The trail also crisscrosses through the Markha River, a good source of fresh mountain water. The trail will lead you to the village of Umlung. The trek distance is around 13 km and should take 4-5 hours to complete. We’ll have some tea at the quaint village of Umlung. From here you will be able to see our destination, the beautiful summit of Kang Yatse.
Today's trek is easier than yesterday's, as we make our way from Thachungtse to Nimaling. Nimaling is a grazing site for the local shepherds. Nimaling stands just under Kang Yatse and is the location where we'll accurately be able to see the conditions on the mountain. The trek to Nimaling should take close to 3-4 hours and is 7 kilometres. En route, we'll cross the famous Tigo Lakes which reflect the mountain.
Today is the shortest trek on the entire Kang Yatse Expedition. We will make our way to Base Camp where' well plan our attack on the mountain. Kang Yatse is closer than ever. The trek from Nimaling is around 2 km but has a significant altitude gain. Make sure you hydrate well and trek slowly. Our guide will keep an eye on the team to check for AMS. Base Camp is located at 5,100 metres, and is our first location above 5000 metres.
Today, we will spend the day resting and preparing for tomorrow’s summit push. If there is heavy snow near the summit, we will require the use of crampons. Our guide will teach you how to use them. We'll start the day at a comfortable hour and head out to brush up on our technical skills. Learning how to use ascenders, descenders and crampons is the best way to calm the nerves before any climb. The large boulders are perfect for some bouldering. In the evening, the expedition leader will brief us on the plan for the summit. dinner will be served early as we'll need enough rest for the long journey to the summit.
Today is the big day. We start at midnight and slowly make our way up the mountain. We will climb from 5100m to 6200m. We’ll then walk on the moraine and make our way up the glacier, navigating crevasses and roping up where required. Our guide will make sure that everyone is following a good pace. Mental fortitude is important on a climb such as Kang Yatse. There might be some crevasses on the glacier that have been covered with snow, using an ice axe or trekking pole is a good way to scout the route ahead. Make sure you hydrate as dehydration can occur very quickly. Munching on some chocolate and nuts are the best way to recharge your reserves. We should reach the summit by daybreak (Close to 8 hours of trekking). After a steep climb, we will reach the summit of Kang Yatse. From the summit, you get a view of the entire valley. You might even get a glimpse of the second-highest peak in the world, K2. We will then descend back to Nimaling at 4,700 metres.
This day is reserved in case of bad weather. We will use this day if the conditions to summit are not favourable.
From Nimaling, we will start our journey back to Leh. High on the energy from a successful summit, today's trek is a moderate level trek. After Nimaling, we will head to Kongmaru pass ( 5260 metres). The trek up to the pass is a steep 2-hour ascent. From the pass, you'll get another chance to view the mighty Karokaram with k2 standing tall. After crossing the pass, the terrain follows a 3-hour long steep descend. We will then reach Chuskirmo. Chokdo is a stone's throw from Chuskirmo and where we'll meet the road head. If we make it back in time, we can also visit the Hemis Monastery. Hemis Monastery is one of the most beautiful monasteries and is known for the Hemis festival that takes place every year. From the road start, Leh is around 60 km and should take 2 hours to reach.
Adventure-Pulse representatives will drop you to the airport.
While in Leh, Adventure-Pulse will put you up in a comfortable hotel – “The Himalayan Residency” on double sharing plan with breakfast included. Once we start the trek to Kang Yatse, the accommodation is in a camp set up. We would have good quality tents on double sharing basis with a separate dining tent for meals and a separate toilet tent. Sleeping bags and mats are also provided by Adventure-Pulse.
You need to be in good physical shape to climb this mountain. It does demand good physical fitness and some bit of prior trekking experience. Please refer to our physical fitness document for more details on this topic.
One needs to fly to Leh for the Kang Yatse 2 climb. There are regular flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Leh. On your arrival in Leh, you will be picked up by an Adventure-Pulse representative and transferred to the hotel. After our 02-day acclimatization at Leh, we would drive to the start point of the trek which is a 03-hour drive from Leh.
Even though Kang Yatse 2 is a 6000m+ peak mountain, unlike most other 6000m peaks, Kang Yatse 2 requires minimalistic amount of personal climbing gear. The snow conditions on the mountain are very favourable during the climbing season (which is July – October) and one can climb up right to the Summit in their regular high ankle hiking shoes. In case there is a need to use specialized climbing shoes or crampons, these can be hired from the base camp just for the Summit day. Other than this, no other personal climbing equipment is required. For list of other things and warm clothing to carry, please refer to our link - List of things to carry for the Kang Yatse 2 climb.
Leh is located at an altitude of 3250m and it’s important we spent the first 48 hours acclimatizing in Leh. We at Adventure-Pulse, consider acclimatization as one of the most important aspects of climbing a mountain and spend enough time to do that. Once you arrive in Leh, the first 2 days are spent acclimatizing. On day 02 morning, we go for a short 02-hour acclimatization hike up to a monastery and/or Shanti Stupa. In the evening, we walk to the Leh market and walk back to our hotel, thus allowing the body to get used to the conditions around. We move up the mountain slowly giving enough time to our bodies to acclimatize and one full day is spent at Kang Yatse base camp to acclimatize and hike around before the final Summit Push.
The hotel in Leh serves good breakfast which is included in the meal plan. During the day and evening, one can order ala carte service in the hotel or even go to the close by market to try some local cuisine. While on the trek, all meals are included, and the meals are usually a good mix of Indian and continental food. Our cooks are very experienced and will be happy to entertain any particular requests you may have for your meals. All the meals are served in the common dining tent.
Regular shower facilities will be available in the hotel in Leh. But while we are higher up on the mountain, a shower facility is not available for the climbing period.
Extreme temperature variations, high altitude, snow glare & proximity to sun are certain factors which necessitate the need to for proper mountaineering equipment. In order to enjoy your experience in the mountains, we have recommended that you carry the following with you.
QUALIFICATIONKang Yatse 2 requires some technical knowledge as well as a good fitness level. The physical fitness required for the Kang Yatse climb can be obtained by training around 2-3 months in advance depending on your current fitness level. High amount of cardiovascular endurance would be required and sports like swimming and running can help build that endurance. Walking up flights of stairs with a loaded backpack helps getting your muscles used to the rucksack you will be carrying. For complete beginners, basic technical knowledge is required for this climb, and so, we have allotted one entire day at Kang Yatse Base camp where your guide will teach you the basics of using equipment such as ice axes, jumars, descenders, crampons, and the basics of ice climbing. However, if you have access to a rock-climbing wall where you can learn how to use technical equipment, you can add that to your training plan.
Participants should develop the habit of being able to get up in the morning and run / brisk walk for a minimum of 5-6 km at least 4-5 days a week. This would represent 20-25 minutes of cardio exercise. Though difficult at first, keep at it. You can stop and take breaks as well. During the day, you should get into the habit of avoiding elevators and taking the steps. You should be able to climb at least 4/5 flights of steps daily. (avoid going down steps too fast as this could result in some knee injuries). If you don’t enjoy running and are into some other sport like cycling or swimming, spend about 45 mins cycling or about 600 – 800 mts of swimming for at least 4 days a week. This is the perfect base for the fitness required for Kang Yatse.
Assuming you have successfully survived week one and two and are consistent with your exercise, you can take up the pace a notch. Increase your distance to 6/7 km per day and 5 times a week, you can additionally go to a gym. Avoid heavy weight training. Focus more on a core workout. These are the muscle groups that run along the length of your body and helps maintain your posture and sustains you during your long hours of working.
In addition to weeks three and four exercises, one additional feature you should add in week three is walking for half an hour during the evenings with a backpack on carrying 6-7 kgs. This could be 2lts of water, some snacks, a jacket etc. This will help strengthen your back and shoulders thus preparing you for the long hours of trekking. If you don’t want to just simply walk, also try increasing your time on climbing flight of steps. As compared to week one, you should aim to be able to climb 10-12 flight of stairs comfortably.
Maintenance- Keep up the tempo, sustain the workout. Try avoiding doing anything very rigorous but be consistent with morning and evening walks/runs and climbing flight of stairs.
Sustain the workout. Increase only if you feel comfortable. Start doing an additional 25-30 mins of climbing stairs in the morning/evening with a daypack of 6-7 kg; about 30-35 floors once a day should help increase the stamina and endurance considerably. And just like that, you're ready to climb Kang Yatse.
Please remember, consistency is the key here. Do not do anything to exert yourself or something that will increase chances of injury. Running / brisk walking 4-5 km for 5 days in a week is far better than running a 20 km on one day of the week and injuring your knee/ligaments in the process. If you can be consistent with above-mentioned schedule, the Kang Yatse 2 climb though physically challenging, will become a pleasant and enjoyable experience for you. Feel free to call us or mail us in case you want more details on how to prepare for this trek!