India – Stok Kangri

27 Jul 17

India – Stok Kangri

Photo Credit: Kwan Siew Leong

Ladakh, also known as 'Little Tibet' is the highest plateau region in India. With much of it being over 3000m and incorporating parts of the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges, Ladakh is enveloped in many beautiful snow capped peaks. Among these peaks, is the well known Stok Kangri.

Stok Kangri, standing tall  at 6153m in the Hemis High Altitude National Park, is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas. In the summer months, all but the top of the peak is often snow-free. The relatively snow-free terrain in the  summer months has earned Stok Kangri the reputation of being an excellent first foray into 6000ers peak climbing for climbers to attempt. The trek to the base camp is through the lower beautiful valley, crossing rivers, mountain meadows and canyons. The summit is surrounded by a panoramic mountain view of the Zanskar and Karakoram ranges including K2 (8611m), the second highest peak in the world.

About The Climb

There are a few entry points to trek to the Stok Kangri’s base camp (BC, 4980m). Whichever the start point, there is no escaping that they all start at above 3000m.

The shortest start point to the BC is through Stok Village (3600m). However, this trek to the BC through Stok Village has a high potential risk of attitude mountain sickness (AMS). The short trek to the BC does not give adequate time for the body to adjust to the high altitude.

Our trek starts from Zingchen (3400m), a village gorge towards Rumbak to enter Hemis National Park. We will be crossing 1 high pass - Stok La (4900m) before reaching the BC. Crossing the high pass allows the body an exposure to a higher attitude without sleeping overnight at that altitude. This is a climb high and sleep low acclimatization technique. Crossing the high pass also require an extra day to reach the BC, allowing the body more time to adjust to the high altitude. Aside from the high pass crossing, be prepared to cross several stream/river before reaching the BC. At the BC, we'll rest and acclimatized for a day to prepare the body for the summit climb. Stok Kangri's weather can be erratic, the 2 buffer days act as a backup for the summit climb, in case of bad weather conditions on the actual summit day. We will descend from the BC through a different route to Stok Village.

The summit climb starts at midnight and can stretch between 12 and 16 hours. The final stretch of the summit climb is on a ridge that starts on the southern side of the mountain. You will need to traverse a large glacier  to get to the ridge. The ridge section is almost a 300m scramble challenge at above 5000m. The lack of oxygen and sheer exhaustion can make this section of the climb difficult and unnerving. Crampons are usually required for this section and, at times, roping up.

Trekking Seasons

Ladakh is brutally cold in the winter months from November to February. The temperature often dips to minus 30 degree celsius, especially in the month of January and February. The summer months are the warmest and best for treks & climbs. Though summer (Late May to mid September) also brings rain because Ladakh is in rainshadow of the Himalayas.

Best time for Stok Kangri : mid July to early September

Experience Required

Participants must be of an above average level of fitness with the ability to trek with a 6-8kg backpack load for long hours (6 - 8hours) per day for the trek to the BC and 12 - 16 hours for the summit climb. There will be high pass and river crossing for the trek to the base camp. The trek to the summit involves scree slopes, ice and snow terrain at above 5000m. You will need to scramble up a ridge at the last part to the summit. Crampons and rope up may be required.

Stok Kangri is not a suitable trek for first time high altitude trekkers.

Equipment and Gear

You can wear a lightweight base layer or a quick dry t-shirt and long trekking pants for the approaching trek. A water and wind proof outershell is essential to protect from the weather elements. When at the base camp and after sundown a basic layer of thermal, fleece and down jacket are needed to keep warm. A good down sleeping bag is also needed and can be rented. For the summit attempt, you'll need the basic 3 layers, a down jacket, water and wind proof gloves, sun and cold protection gear etc.

You will need the following equipment for the summit attempt:

  1. Crampons or ice-clip
  2. Climbing harness
  3. Walking ice axe (optional)
  4. A pair of trekking poles

A packing list will be provided for all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to read about the layering system to be better prepared and choose the right gear/equipment for your climb.

  • Group size: 6 - 15 people
  • The 27 Jul - 8 Aug 2017 Stok Kangri trip is part of our annual Mountain Climbing Challenges event.  To promote mountain climbing and to encourage people to challenge themselves physically and mentally, we have initiated and introduced a few  mountain climbing challenges into our calendar each year. These Mountain Climbing Challenges trips are accompanied by a team leader. To read more, click on this link: Mountain Climbing Challenges
  • You can also form a private or join an international open group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg

DayDescriptionMealsAltitude at Rest Point
Day 1Arrive New DelhiNIL216m
Day 2Flight from Delhi to LehNIL3500m
Day 3Rest Day in Leh for
Acclimatisation
B/-/-3500m
Day 4Transport to Zingchen Village CampsiteB/L/D3380m
Day 5-8Spend the next 4 days trekking to Stok Kangri Base Camp (4980m) through Rumbak (3700m), Stok La Base (4100m) and Mankarmo (4500m) via Stok La Pass (4850m)B/L/DRumbak - 3700m
Stok La Base - 4100m
Mankarmo - 4500m
Stok Kangri BC - 4850m
Day 9Acclimatisation Day at Base CampB/L/D4850m
Day 10Summit Day - Stok Kangri (6153m)B/L/D4850m
Day 11Buffer Day for Summit ClimbB/L/D4850m
Day 12Trek from Base Camp to Stok Village and transfer to LehB/L/D3500m
Day 13Flight from Leh to New Delhi. Depart New Delhi (Programme ends here. Next day arrival on flight, if any, not reflected in itinerary )B/-/-

Inclusions

  1. Return airport transfer in Leh, Ladakh
  2. All land transfer as indicated in itinerary
  3. Meals as indicated in itinerary (vegetarian meals only during trek)
  4. Twin/Trip sharing accommodation in Leh
  5. Camping equipment: Three-season sleeping tents (twin/triple sharing),  kitchen tents, toilet tents, dinning tables and chairs and sleeping mats
  6. Climbing gear: Ice-clips, harness & ropes for summit climb
  7. Trek support: Climbing guide, assistant climbing guide, cook and portage to/fro base camp (using horses/mules)
  8. Boiled drinking water during trek
  9. Permits & fees: National Park and climbing fees
  10. One experience expedition leader from Ace Adventure Expeditions

Exclusions

  1. International and domestic air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  2. Visa Fee (Different fee for different nationalities. Visit this link for visa fee & application process: https://www.hcisingapore.gov.in/pages.php?id=4).
  3. Single Supplement
  4. Entrance fees to sight-seeing places like monasteries etc
  5. All beverages except boiled drinking water during trek
  6. Meals not indicated in itinerary
  7. All tipping
  8. Personal porters
  9. Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover trekking up to 6500m)
  10. Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
  11. Personal travel & trekking gear
  12. Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
  13. Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay

Support from Ace Adventure Expeditions

We provide pre-trip support to prepare you for the climb:
1. Trip briefing
2. Equipment preparation & gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Physical training preparation
4. Trip information kit

We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in Ladakh, possess  intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture.

Grading: 3C

Training: Regardless of your level of fitness and physical conditions, it is advisable to train prior to embarking on a climb or trek. A training recommendation specific to the climb or trek will be given upon signing up. A good four to five months of training would be a good preparation for the trek. Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trip.