India – Stok Kangri

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  • Duration: 12 Days
  • Grading: 3C
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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 points, 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 body exposure to a higher attitude without sleeping overnight at that altitude. Crossing the high pass also requires 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 streams/rivers 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.

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 results 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.

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 rain shadow of the Himalayas.

Best time for Stok Kangri: mid-July to early September

Experience Required

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:

  1. Crampons or ice-cleats
  2. Climbing harness
  3. Double or mountaineering boots (depending on snow condition)
  4. 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.

 

DAY DESCRIPTION MEALS
1

Arrive in Leh.

Overnight: Leh hotel (3500m)

-/-/-
2-3

Acclimatisation days. Walk around Leh. Visit places of interest like Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa, etc.. Briefing & gear check. Visit Khardung La Pass (5359m) on Day 3.

Overnight: Leh hotel (3500m)

B/-/-
4-7

Trek to Stok Kangri Base Camp via Stok La Pass (4850m).

Overnight:  Tent at Rumbak (3700m), Stok La Base (4100m), Mankarmo (4500m), Stok Kangri Base Camp (4980m)

B/L/D
8-9

Training day at base camp. Trek to the glacier for training if snow condition allows. Next day rest day.

Overnight: Tent at Stok Kangri Base Camp (4980m)

B/L/D
10

Summit Day – Stok Kangri (6153m). Return to base camp.

Overnight: Tent at Stok Kangri Base Camp (4980m)

B/L/D
11

Trek from Base Camp to Stok Village. Transfer to Leh.

Overnight: Leh hotel (3500m)

B/L/D
12 Depart Leh. (Programme ends here. Next day arrival on flight, if any, not reflected in itinerary) B/-/-
DATES PRICE
xxxx 2021 $1,300 (SGD) / person

Group size: 8 – 12 people

Package prices for less than 8 people:
2 people: $1650 (SGD) / person
3-4 people $1550 (SGD) / person
5-7 people: $1450 (SGD) / person

Option to extend to run the Ladakh Marathon for 27 Aug- 7 Sep 2019

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

 

Inclusions
  • 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
Exclusions
  • 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 inculcates 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.

Visa

A visa to enter into India is required for all foreign nationals except Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan. An e-Visa can be applied online at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in. The e-Visa is valid for 30-60 days depending on nationality and type.

For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit https://www.mha.gov.in/MHA1/TourVisa.html.

Money

In Leh, money changing services can be found at the banks and moneychangers in the main town area around Main Bazaar. They accept USD, EUR, GBP and most major currencies. Do not accept dirty and torn notes as they may not be accepted at the shops. Double count your money before leaving the moneychangers to make sure the accurate amount is given.

ATMs are widespread and cards operating the international network of Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro would work with most.

Credit cards are gaining useability and may be accepted in most hotels, major retail outlets and mid-range to top-end restaurants/cafes. Small local retail or food stalls are highly unlikely to take credit cards. So, it is useful to keep a moderate amount of cash on hand.

Electricity

In India the standard voltage is 230V. The standard frequency is 50Hz. The power sockets that are used are either the two narrow round pins (Type C) commonly used in Europe, or the three-pronged thick round pins (Type D).

Language

The official language of India is Hindi and English, amongst 21 other dialects of the country. Hindi is the most spoken language while English is commonly used for national, political and commercial communication. Hotel and tourist service staff would be conversant in English.

Drinking Water

It is strictly not recommended to drink water straight from the tap. Bottles of mineral water can be easily purchased in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets. Many hotels also provide a small bottle of complimentary mineral water upon check in.

Tipping

Tipping is common practice in India. In hotels, the bellman or porter can be given a token Rps10-20. Full service restaurants typically impose a service charge and that is usually considered to be sufficient. Tipping is not expected in taxis but good to tip if drivers are honest about the fare. Trekking guides and porters should be tipped as this is a major contribution to their income.

 

Travel Safety Advice

With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrests, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.

As with traveling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.

It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.

For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/eregisterportal/common/preLoginEregisterView.action.

 

Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.

 

Travel Immunization Advice

There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter India. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:

Hepatitis A

Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.

Hepatitis B

Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.

Rabies

 

Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.

Tetanus

 

Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.

Typhoid Fever

Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Influenza

A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.

For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.

For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:

Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx.