Standing at an impressive height of 6,153m, Stok Kangri is the highest peak in the Stok range, visible from the moment you touch down at the airport in Leh, the ancient capital of Ladakh in Northern India. Often referred to as a trekking peak, this climb is anything but easy. We first led an expedition to the summit of Stok Kangri in July 2011 and since then we have had the pleasure of leading aspiring climbers every year back up her lofty heights. Strong trekkers who would like to experience the grit, determination and thrill of climbing a mountain using some technical equipment like an ‘Ice-axe’ and ‘Crampons’, are best suited for attempting Stok Kangri.
This entire experience is divided into three segments. A two-day acclimatization period in Leh in order facilitate better acclimatization; a beautiful trek across the stunning landscapes of the highest cold desert in the world; & finally the lofty snow-covered slopes and ridges of the mountain itself. During the trek you cross many streams and even attempt a few passes, with panoramic views of the Indus. From the summit, on a clear day you can see as far as the mighty Karakoram and K2, 220Km to the North West. Stok Kangri presents the very essence of ideal conditions, especially for ‘Adventure Enthusiasts’ who are aspiring to take on mountains like Kilimanjaro in Africa, Island Peak in Nepal, Elbrus in Russia and Aconcagua in South America. It is a perfect blend of High altitude climbing with ease of accessibility and connectivity to civilization, unlike most mountains around the world. This format of expedition style climbing with tented facilities along the way is very different from the Tea-House Trek format found in Switzerland, Nepal and the North East, giving you a good exposure to the life of mountaineering.
Best Time : July, August and September
Duration : 09 Days
Max. Altitude : 6153 m
Commences At : Leh
Ends At : Leh
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 Stok Kangri, the accommodation is in a camp set up. We would have good quality tents on double sharing basis with a separate dinning 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’s the highest point in the Stok range of Ladakh and 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 Stok Kangri trek. 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 01 hour drive from Leh.
Even though Stok kangri is a 6000m+ peak mountain, unlike most other 6000m peaks, Stok Kangri requires minimalistic amount of personal climbing gear. The snow conditions on Stok are very favorable 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 Stok Kangri climb.
Regular phone and data services work in Leh. But please note that only Post-paid services work on roaming in Leh and Pre-paid services won’t work. Leh has good phone and data connectivity with 3G and 4G services also available on most networks. While on the trek, most days there is no network except at the Stok Kangri base camp. At base camp, there are a few spots where one can get basic phone coverage to call home. But one is disconnected on most days during the course of the trek.
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. 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 Stok Kangri 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 dinning tent.
Regular shower facilities will be available in the hotel in Leh. But while we are higher up on the mountain, shower facility is not available for the climbing period.
The Adventure-Pulse staff and guides carry a fully equipped medical kit with necessary medicines and an Oxygen meter. As a standard practice, we check oxygen levels of all our clients twice a day and take necessary precautions if any irregularity is found in the oxygen reading. In case the problem persists, the client is sent down with a qualified guide. In case of an Injury where the trekker is not in a position to walk down, a Pony is organized from base camp to the road head where a vehicle and a doctor visit can be organized.
Adventure-Pulse usually plans all it treks during the most favorable season on the mountain, but having said that, weather is always an unpredictable factor. We usually look at weather reports before leaving for the Summit push. In case the weather is unfavorable for the Summit push, we delay it to the next day. A buffer day/s is always built in the itinerary as contingency if we get hit by unfavorable weather conditions. In the worse situation, we may have to turn back midway, but safety is always a priority which cannot be compromised on.
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.
Note: If you are unable to procure any of the above mentioned items, then suitable arrangements will be made so that the same can be either bought or rented in Leh based upon actuals.
The trek & Climb to the Summit of Stok Kangri can be steep & strenuous at some places, even though it does not require that you have any previous mountaineering experience in Particular, It’s important that you be in good physical condition and be able to hike at a comfortable pace for 5-6 hours over hilly terrain with a light day pack. Good cardio-vascular conditioning and muscles that are used to hiking will make your trip much more enjoyable. Our goal is to climb to the Summit at 20,000 feet, and walk on broken glacial moraine all the way into Base Camp at 16,000 feet. You will spend 6 - 7 days in a land where life is simple, trails are steep and the air is thin. We recommend the following schedule to the participants.
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 kms 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 Stok Kangri 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!