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Stok Kangri at 6153 m is surely the best way for beginner level mountaineers and non mountaineering trekkers to touch 6000 m.
Trip style ---Expedition
Max Altitude -- 6153 mts (Stok Kangri)
Last few years this peak has gained phenomenal popularity as a lot of trekkers not wanting to do technical climbs but wanting to go high up have turned their attention to this beautiful mountain. Have no doubts, this trip is about doing 6000m! Everything else is secondary and we have planned the climb with just this and your safety in mind.
There is a special flavor to this trek – The trail has sections which take you through remote villages giving you a wonderful experience of looking at a completely different way of life. Also you get enough opportunities to interact with locals and shepherds who move around on the endless meadows along the trail. The climb though non technical is still challenging and requires people to be properly acclimatized and in good physical shape. The biggest challenge on this climb is for one to get used to the rarefied air at high altitudes and for this reason we have the first 3 days planned with the sole purpose of helping group members get acclimatized well. During this duration we will drive up to Khardungla the second highest motor able pass in the world at 5600 m and spend time at this altitude for our bodies to get used to thin air. Also the itinerary is designed such that we take the shortest route to the summit this is done keeping in mind the combined effects of exhaustion and high altitude. We have deliberately not kept extra trekking days in the itinerary as we feel one has the best chance to summit if one is physically not very tired and has acclimatized well. You are sure to feel a tremendous sense of achievement on reaching the top of a 6153 m peak in the Himalayas. One is going to be further rewarded with scintillating views all around. There are wide open views of the Karakoram and Ladakh range on the north, the Zanskar range on the west and a bird's eye view of the Indus valley and the Leh city. From the summit we return to the base camp and the next day walk down to Stok village and from there drive back to Leh where we celebrate the successful completion of this adventurous trek.
ARRIVAL, ACCLIMATISATION & EXPLORATION IN AND AROUND LEH (3500M) First 3 days are planned with the sole intention of getting everyone acclimatised well. On Day 01 we will almost do nothing but sit in the hotel and sip on tea/coffee. This is done to ensure that we acclimatise well as this is the most important component of this adventure trip. Day 02 we will set out on an acclimatisation hike (3-4 hrs) in the first half and spend the other half exploring the famous monasteries around Leh like Shey & Thiksey. On Day 03 we drive to Khardung La at 5600m which is the second motorable pass in the world. Here we will try to spend some time as it will again help us get used to thin air at high altitudes. This pass offers unparalled views of the valley below on a clear day and is a photographer's delight. Evening time there will be a briefing on the climb by the lead guide. We will be staying in a good quality hotel at Leh on the first 3 nights.
LEH (3500M) – STOK VILLAGE (3650M) – STOK BASE CAMP (4900M, TREK/5-6 HRS) Having acclimatised well for 3 days we set out towards Stok Kangri. After a short drive from Leh we reach the Stok village where we visit the palace and the gompa before starting on the hike. Today's hike is through the Hemis National Park and it will take us 5-6 hrs to get to the base camp. Depending on how the team is faring on the acclimatisation front, we might decide to do this in 2 stages if there are group members who have still not acclimatised well to the conditions. During these 2 days we will climb up from the campsites for altitude gain following the simple principle of acclimatisation which says 'climb high - sleep low'. Overnight in tents.
BASE CAMP (4900M) – STOK KANGRI (6153M) – BASE CAMP (4900M, TREK/10-12 HOURS) This is the big day when we summit Stok Kangri. We will start very early (around 2:00 a.m) from the base camp with our head lamps showing us the route for a couple of hours till the sun breaks out. From the base camp there is a steep climb to the ridge just above the camp and this will set the tone for the climb to come. From the first ridge we move to a big glacier which we negotiate carefully and from here we find our way up to the final ridge which will lead us to the summit. The final stretch is quite steep and the thin air makes it even more challenging. Early on in the season (May – June) there is lots of snow on this stretch while in July and August there is comparatively lesser snow making the climb easier. This is a very interesting though tiring stretch as we move through a typical high altitude terrain which has boulders, scree-laden ridges, glaciers and high snow capped mountains all around. The summit rewards us with wide open views of the Karakoram and Ladakh range to the north, the Zanskar range to the west and a bird's eye view of the Indus valley and the Leh city. Enjoy the feeling of having achieved a difficult task of climbing a 6000m+ peak and take a few pictures before climbing down to the base camp. The climb to the top will take anywhere between 6 to 8 hrs while the return trip will take us around 4 hours. Overnight in tents.
STOK BASE CAMP (4900M) – STOK VILLAGE (3650M, TREK/4 HRS) – LEH (DRIVE/30 MINS) Today we trek back to the Stok village from the base camp. From here we drive for an hour to Leh and check in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
EXTRA DAY AT LEH This day is kept in the itinerary as an extra day which might get used up during our climb in case the weather is bad or someone's not acclimatized well. In case the extra day is not utilized then one can spend the day exploring Leh. There is a wonderful option of river rafting on the Indus or a road trip to Pangong Tso lake. Overnight in a hotel.
LEH DEPARTURE Post breakfast, depart for your onward destination.