India – Stok Kangri
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 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 Base Camp (4980m). Whichever the start point, there is no escaping that they all start at above 3000m.
The shortest start point to the base camp is through Stok Village (3600m). However, this approach trek to the base camp through Stok Village does not give adequate time for the body to adjust to the high altitude. Therefore, has a high potential risk of attitude mountain sickness (AMS).
Our trek starts from a drive (1.5 hours) to Lato on a well defined path to enter the Hemis National Park. From Lato, we trek through a beautiful village gorge on an undulating trail, climbing gradually until the gorge opens out at the picturesque little village of Rumbak (3700m). We will camp and sleep at Rumbak on the first day of the trek. For the next few days, we continue our ascend to Stok Kangri Base Camp, sleeping at above 4000m daily and crossing 1 high pass - Stok La (4900m). Crossing the high pass is a "climb high, sleep low" acclimatization strategy. It allows the body an exposure to a higher attitude without sleeping overnight at that altitude. Crossing the high pass also require an extra day to reach the base camp, allowing the body more time to adjust to the high altitude. Aside from the high pass, be prepared to cross several stream/river before reaching the base camp. At the base camp, we will have a training day for crampons and rope up practice and a rest day to help prepare for the summit climb. There is also a buffer day for the summit climb in case of bad weather.
The summit climb starts at midnight and can stretch between 12 and 16 hours. The final section of the summit climb is on a ridge that starts on the southern side of the mountain. Before the ridge, there is a traverse on a large glacier. 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. Stok Kangri's weather can be erratic, especially in recent years. Unprecedented snowfalls are becoming a regular occurrence in summer that result in knee deep snow conditions on the summit trail. The use of double or mountaineering boots will be required should the snow conditions warrant.
We will descend from the base camp through a different and shorter route to Stok Village.
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
Important to have above 5000m peak climbing experiences. While Stok Kangri is an ideal first foray into 6000ers peak climbing for those who have not climbed a peak beyond 5000m, the climb is tough. The approach trek to the base camp is at above 3500m with high pass and river crossing. You will be trekking at above 3500m in undulating mountain terrain with a personal backpack load of 5-6kg for 8 to 10 hours each day to the base camp . For summit day, be prepared to trek for 12 – 16 hours starting at midnight and in extreme cold temperature of -10°C to -15°C. The trek to the summit involves glacier crossing, scree slopes and ice and snow terrain at above 5000m. You will need to scramble up a ridge at the last part to the summit. Crampons, double or mountaineering boots and rope up may be required.
Equipment and Gear
You can wear a lightweight base layer or a quick dry t-shirt and long trekking pants for the approach trek. An outer shell is essential to protect from the weather elements. When at the campsites and after sundown, a basic layer of thermal, fleece jacket and down jacket are needed to keep warm. For the summit attempt, you will need the basic 3 layers, a down jacket, water and wind proof pants and gloves. A down sleeping bag is also needed and provided.
The following climbing equipment are/may be required and provided for the summit attempt:
- Crampons or ice-cleats
- Climbing harness
- Double or mountaineering boots (depending on snow condition)
- Walking ice axe (optional)
A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to learn about the layering system and choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.
- Group size: 8 - 12 people
- 2 people: $1580 per person / 3-4 people $1550 per person / 5-7 people: $1490 per person
- You can also form a private or join an international open group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Day||Description||Meals||Altitude at Rest Point|
|Day 1||Arrive Leh||NIL||3500m|
|Day 2||Acclimatisation day in Leh. Walk around Leh. Visit places of interest like Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa etc. briefing & gear check.||B/-/-||3500m|
|Day 3||Acclimatization day. Visit Khardung La Pass (5359m).||B/-/-||3380m|
|Day 4-7||Spend 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/D||Rumbak - 3700m
Stok La Base - 4100m
Mankarmo - 4500m
Stok Kangri BC - 4850m
|Day 8||Training day at base camp. Trek to the glacier for training if snow condition allows.||B/L/D||4850m|
|Day 9||Rest day at base camp||B/L/D||4850m|
|Day 10||Summit Day - Stok Kangri (6153m)||B/L/D||4850m|
|Day 11||Buffer Day. If not use, this day will be at Leh||Trek from Base Camp to Stok Village and transfer to Leh|
(exclude lunch & dinner if day is spent in Leh)
|4850m or 3500m|
|Day 12||Trek from Base Camp to Stok Village and transfer to Leh||B/L/D||3500m|
|Day 13||Depart Leh. (Programme ends here. Next day arrival on flight, if any, not reflected in itinerary )||B/-/-|
- Return airport transfer in Leh
- All land transfer as indicated in itinerary
- Sight-seeing tour as indicated in itinerary with English-speaking guide, except places of interest entry fee.
- Twin/Trip sharing accommodation in guesthouse in Leh
- Twin/Trip sharing tent on trek
- Meals as indicated in itinerary (Lunch is on-the-go during the trek. The guides or helpers will carry plates, cutlery and hot cases with semi hot lunches consisting of various stuffed breads ( paranthas) dried veges, fried rice / vegetable rolls / mashed potatoes stuffed with veg fillings / salads, juices , fresh fruits etc whenever possible)
- Camping equipment: Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, toilet tent, kitchen tent, dinning tent with table and chairs
- Climbing equipment: Crampons or snow cleats, double boots (if required), climbing harness and walking ice axe
- Trek support: Climbing guide, assistant climbing guide,cook and helpers. Ponies for porterage support
- Emergency support: Comprehensive first aid kit and portable oxygen cylinders
- Boiled drinking water on trek
- International and domestic air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
- Visa Fee
- Single Supplement
- Entrance fees to sight-seeing places like monasteries etc
- All beverages except boiled drinking water during trek
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- All tipping
- Personal porters
- Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover agent insolvency and trekking up to 6500m)
- Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
- Personal travel & trekking gear
- Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
- Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items etc)
- 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 and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Training guideline kit
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)
We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure a high standard of service and 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. They are mostly trained in Adventure Outward Bound Courses, medical first aid and/or basic and advance mountaineering.
Our local partner inculcate environmental consciousness amongst the mountain guides and encourage similar responsibility in fellow trekkers/climbers. They are an active member of the All Ladakh Tour Operators Association (ALTOA) and initiated and organized, the first-ever clean up of the Markha and Stok Valley in 2000. The clean up is an on-going annual exercise ever since 2000.
Training: Regardless of your level of fitness and physical conditions, it is advisable to train prior to embarking on a trekking or mountain climbing trip.
Pure cardiovascular fitness is NOT enough.
Focus your training effort in the following areas, assuming that you are in good health and injury-free:
- Climbing conditioning – stairs and load training.
- Cardio training - Jogging/running and interval training like CrossFit or HIIT.
- Strength training for the lower body, shoulder, back and core
- Flexibility training - eg: Yoga and stretching exercises
A good five to six months of training would be a good preparation for this trek.
A recommended training guide specific to the trek or climb will be given to you upon signing up.
Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trek.
Refer to our Training Guide for tips on trekking and mountain climbing training.