Stok Kangri Trek in Ladakh | Adventurous Ewe

Stok Kangri and the Markha Valley

Dates & Availability

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Please note, the 2020 trekking season of Stok Kangri has been closed to allow regeneration of the area so we will not be operating our 2020 departure as planned. Apologies for any inconvenience caused however it is good news for the environmental aspects of this incredible region.
As soon as news becomes available with regards to the 2021 climbing season, we will update accordingly.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • One of the most fascinating places on the planet is Stok Kangri in the area of Ladakh, North-West India
  • Explore the remote and scenic Ladakh region dotted with small villages and ancient monasteries
  • Take your trekking to the next level with Stok Kangri at 6,153m, a fantastic entry level 6,000 plus peak
  • A mountain which is considered non technical ascent and the highest trekkable peak in the Himalayas
  • Opportunity to explore the vibrant sights, sounds and smells of the bustling city of Delhi

The Himalayas provides some of the most beautiful and rewarding mountain trekking in the world, Ladakh is home to rare wildlife including the elusive snow leopard, with sweeping high altitude plains dotted with small villages and ancient monasteries, or gompas there is much to take in.  Stok Kangri is one of the world’s most accessible 6000m peaks in that it does not require technical climbing experience, however it does require good physical fitness, and unwavering determination and self-belief! We spend time acclimatising in Leh, a friendly and picturesque Buddhist town, before trekking through remote villages and over high passes to Base Camp and our night-time ascent of Stok Kangri (6153m), where we should be rewarded with sunrise views over the Himalayas and Karakoram Mountains.

Included

Before your trek 
– Personalised support leading up to your trek
– Pre-trip support materials – kit list, travel advice, responsible tourism tips
– All trek info available through our mobile travel app: Vamoos
– Discount codes for outdoor retail stores
– Training programme
– All risk assessments and safety management
– Public Liability Insurance
– International Passenger Protection Cover

On your trek
– Qualified and experienced high altitude mountain guides
– Adventurous Ewe Mountain Leader for groups of 6 or more trekkers
– All ground crew per your itinerary
– Road transfers within India per your itinerary
– Accommodation – 7 nights in hotel (twin or triple share) and 7 nights camping
– Three meals per unless stated in your itinerary
– Drinking water during your trek
– All logistical and safety management whilst in India
– Satellite telephone and VHF radio back up
– Emergency evacuation
– Monastery entrance in Leh 
– Stok Kangri Peak fee

Not Included
– All flights, airport taxes and any fuel surcharges to allow you to travel from the airport of your choice, the ability to extend your stay in India and/or use frequent flyer points
– Travel insurance (mandatory)
– Visa – please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india
– Vaccination/s. Please refer to: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-east/india
– Clothing and equipment on your Kit List

If anyone needs to leave the group at any point during the trip (for reasons such as an early descent from Stok Kangri due to altitude sickness), all expenses incurred until re-joining the group on the itinerary described in these Trip Notes are the responsibility of the individual(s) concerned and should be paid to our local operator before leaving India.

Itinerary 

Day 1

Day 1: Depart the UK

Day 2

Day 2: Arrive in Delhi

Arrive in Delhi and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time there may be some time to explore the sights, sounds and aromas of Delhi. We meet again for dinner and have a trek briefing prior to getting a good night’s sleep in preparation for an early start in the morning.

Accommodation: hotel / guesthouse

Meals included: no meals included allowing you to sample the local delights of your choice.

Day 3

Day 3: Arrive in Leh

An early flight takes you to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, and at 3500m an excellent place to start your acclimation to the altitude. The flight is approx 1.5 hours and takes you over the Greater Himalaya where you should experience excellent views of Stok Kangri. You will then transfer to your hotel and have time relax and organise your kit. If you feel up to it, a gentle amble around Leh’s colourful bazaars is a good way to spend the afternoon, but it’s important to take things easy. Overnight in a hotel.

Accommodation: hotel twin share
Meals included: breakfast lunch and dinner

Day 4

Day 4: Acclimatisation Day – Ladakhi Monasteries 

After a good night’s sleep you will be feeling more acclimatised and ready to explore! You will be taken on a drive to three of the major gompas around Leh, which provide a wonderful cultural insight to the region. The drive then takes you up to Hemis, approx 200m higher than Leh, where you can wander around the temples of its 17th-century monastery, once the largest and richest in Ladakh. Next to explore is then the modern red and white monastery of Thiksey; perched on a hilltop, it can be seen from miles around. Lastly you visit the gompa at Shey, a former Royal Palace of the kings of Ladakh. Returning to Leh, you are free to explore – it’s a great place to wonder or relax in a café and chat to your fellow trekkers. Overnight in a hotel.

Accommodation: hotel twin share
Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5

Day 5: Acclimatisation Day Trek
Today you will take to the hills around Leh to help with your acclimatisation. The ruins of the Old Royal Palace are set above Leh, overlooking the town. The palace was modelled on the famous Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. From here you will walk along a winding path to Tsemo Monastery, where there are magnificent views over Leh and its surrounding villages and valleys. Descending round the back of the palace via Sankar, you will come to the recently-built Japanese Peace Pagoda, which also commands fabulous views. From here the incredible views across the valley to Stok Kangri dominate the skyline. With your appetites for the trek truly whetted, and hopefully feeling good at altitude by now, you will return to Leh and prepare our kit for tomorrow. Overnight in a hotel.

Accommodation: camping
Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner
Trekking time: approx. 5 – 6 hours

Day 6

Day 6: : Leh – Chilling – Skiu

Your day starts with a drive along the mighty Indus River. The road then becomes a dirt track which leads through a spectacular gorge alongside the River Zanaskar. Arriving in Chilling, a village renowned for its blacksmiths and metal crafts and lying on the banks of the Zanaskar, you will cross the river by rope trolley bridge to start trekking towards Skiu. Today is a relatively short day, which is ideal in order to build up your acclimatisation and endurance gently. You will trek through arid lands surrounded by jagged rocky mountain slopes. Villages use irrigation for their crops, so there are dazzling patches of green among the striking reddish-brown rocks. Arriving in Skiu, a small village in the beautiful Markha Valley with a picturesque crumbling old gompa will host your overnight camp. Night camp (3450m).

Accommodation: camping
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking time: approx. 6 hours

Day 7

Day 7: Skiu – Ganda La Base

Today is a longer day taking you predominantly uphill to the base of Ganda La, a high mountain pass. Leaving Skiu on a path lined with stupas, or chortens as they are known in Ladakh and Tibet, you will see more of these Buddhist shrines and carved mani rocks. During the ascent you will pass through spectacular rocky gorges and canyons, and can look back across the more cultivated land you have crossed. As you near the base of Ganda La there are magnificent views – folded barren ridges running parallel as far as you can see, and the snow-capped Stok mountains. Night camp (4450m).

Accommodation: camping
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking time: approx. 6 – 7 hours

Day 8

Day 8: Ganda La Base – Ganda La – Rumbak

You morning starts early but with mountain panoramas will inspire you continue your uphill walk to the top of Ganda La. It’s fairly steep at times, but as you gain height the views over the Stok and Karakoram ranges become increasingly impressive. You may see Himalayan marmots playing on the slopes, or hear their whistles; they create a good distraction from your efforts. Trekking slowly, within an hour or two you will be at the top (4900m). After some time to enjoy the views – you can see your route for the next two days from here. From here the path takes you down the other side, through scenic valleys to Yurutse (4160m), where one solitary house perches above irrigated fields. You will continue to Rumbak, a picturesque cluster of white flat-roofed houses and narrow alleyways, overlooked by a gompa. You may even be lucky to be invited into one of the local houses to try the traditional Ladakhi butter tea. Your camp lies just beyond the village at the base of Stok La where the views of the mountains ahead are truly magnificent. As the sun sets the colours in the jagged rock change dramatically. Night camp (3850m).

Accommodation: camping
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking time: approx. 5 – 6 hours

Day 9

Day 9: Rumbak – Stok La – Mankarmo

Today’s route is renowned as one of the most spectacular treks in Ladakh, as you climb back up to 4900m to cross the Stok La, another high mountain pass. The path takes you gently uphill to start with but becomes steeper as it zigzags to the top of the pass. Jagged rock flutes rise all around you and this area is home to the endangered snow leopard who blend in very well to their surroundings so are hard to spot so keep your eyes open! From the top of the pass the views are magnificent – layer upon layer of multi-coloured rock cathedrals lie before you in every direction. Taking time to soak in all the views, you will then descend – steeply at first, but then contouring more gently around two valleys until you come to a river tumbling down from Stok Kangri. The path takes you alongside the river, crossing a few side streams, until you reach a shepherd settlement at Mankarmo. You may see groups of Himalayan blue sheep scrambling agilely on the rocks. Night camp (4380m). 

Accommodation: camping
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking time: approx. 7 – 8 hours

Day 10

Day 10: Mankarmo – Stok Kangri Base Camp

An easier and shorter day today, as you follow a trail ascending gently through the valley, with Stok Kangri towering before you. After crossing a couple of rivers, you will reach Base Camp in time for lunch. You will spend the afternoon resting, as well as making time to check your equipment and have a full briefing about the ascent. You will also have a run-through of walking with crampons and in a rope team: these are not always needed, however depending on the snow conditions and may be used as an extra safety measure. After an early dinner you will have time to get some sleep before your early start. Night camp (5000m).

Accommodation: camping
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking time: approx. 3 – 4 hours

Day 11

Stok Kangri Summit Day (6153m)  

Starting around 2am you will embark on the summit ascent with your head-torches lighting your way through the dark. This is a long and hard ascent, but the rewards are worth it! You will scramble over scree and boulders at first, heading to the moraine glacier above camp, then take a trail across a sloping snowfield which leads up to the south ridge. The ridge leads to the summit; it is steep, narrow and exposed in places, with some scrambling over loose or icy rock. The team usually ropes up along the ridge for safety. Despite this, the hardest obstacle is the altitude. However on reaching the summit the views are jaw-dropping – the mighty peaks of the Himalaya, Karakoram and Ladakh Mountains lie all around you stretching out to the horizon, while miniscule Leh can be made out in the distance. In clear weather you can even see K2, the second-highest mountain on the planet. Once you’ve had time to take it all in, you will descend carefully the same way back to Base Camp, where hot food awaits! Night camp (5000m). 

Accommodation: camping
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking time: 10 – 12 hours (5 – 7 hours to summit)

Day 12

Stok Kangri Base Camp – Stok – Leh 

We leave Base Camp behind us and trek out to the small village of Stok – a beautiful morning trek descending through a gorge of multi-layered colourful rock which opens out into a wide valley. At Stok, we load up into the waiting vehicles and return to Leh (approx 30 mins) and our hotel, where you can relax and enjoy a hot shower and a cold beer before meeting up to celebrate our huge achievements. Night hotel.  Trek approx 2-3 hours

Accommodation: hotel
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Trekking time: approx. 2 – 3 hours

Day 13

Free day Leh / Buffer day             

Today will depend on your flights, you will have two options:
Option 1: Depart early morning to Dehli, then free time to explore Dehli
Option 2: Relax in Leh or do some last-minute souvenir shopping. Night hotel. 

Accommodation included: hotel/guesthouse on a twin share basis

Meals: breakfast included. Lunch and dinner not included

Day 14

Fly Leh – Delhi – UK

Depart India and arrive home. 

Essential Information

Weather 
Generally the weather is good in Ladakh during the summer time, with warm to very hot sunny days (up to 30ºC/35ºC+) with cooler nights depending on the altitude. There is, however, the possibility of rain, and you should be prepared for this. The sun is very strong at these altitudes and some of the days on trek can be extremely hot.
Ladakh, though technically part of the Tibetan plateau and classified as a high altitude desert, can and does occasionally experience the effects of the Indian monsoon. Although the departures are timed to coincide when the weather is typically good, you should remember that in any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described above.

Delhi in the summer it is very hot and humid.

The best months for climbing are from July through to September during the summer months.

Trekking in the mountains can be precarious and although we take important steps to manage and minimise this risk, we can never eradicate it altogether. Your Mountain Guide reserves the right to change the itinerary at any time should the conditions require it. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best alternative arrangements possible that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Safety
Adventurous Ewe prioritises the safety of all of their trekkers and staff, and as such have developed a thorough safety management system. This encompasses comprehensive risk assessments and procedures together with audits of all aspects of your challenge from vehicles to accommodation to the trek activities. Your health and safety is our top priority.

In terms of your Stok Kangri  trek, there are some important points outlined below:

  • This expedition involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4,000 metres and trekking above 5,000 metres. Before joining this expedition, you should read visit this website to gain a better understanding of acclimatisation and altitude sickness: traveldoctor.co.uk/altitude.htm. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4,000 metres you should consult Adventurous Ewe before embarking on this expedition. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies.
  • You will be trekking with the use of crampons and an ice axe. Training and equipment will be provided. This includes the use of a safety harness, ropes, crampons, ice-axes, carabiner and a helmet (all of which will be supplied),
  • Although the guides can assist you in becoming accustomed to the use of ice axes and crampons the trip is not a winter skills training course. If you have not used ice axes or crampons before it is essential that you feel confident in picking up the necessary skills.
  • All our guides are qualified and first aid trained and carry fully equipped medical kits for serious medical emergencies
  • For the all mountain ascents there will be a trekker:guide ratio of 6:1
  • You will be trekking in a mountainous environment where temperatures can drop significantly. You should be prepared for all weather conditions with adequate clothing.

Health
We recommend that you consult your GP or Travel Doctor at least 6 weeks prior to departure for the most up to date information regarding travel vaccinations for India. As a reference guide please visit the Fit for Travel website. 

A good level of fitness is required for this trip.

Accommodation
You will be staying in a mixture of hotels, guest houses and camping during your expedition. Whilst on the trek you will be camping in comfortable 2-person tents of which you will need to provide your own sleeping bags.

Passport
All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. Airlines may not carry passengers holding passports with less than 6 months validity.

Visa
All nationalities need to obtain a Tourist Visa for entry into India. You must have a machine-readable passport with at least 6 months validity at the time of your arrival in India and your passport must have at least two blank pages. For further information, please visit the High Commission of India website at https://www.hcilondon.gov.in/index

Also for up to date information, please visit the FCO website at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india/entry-requirements.

We recommend that you check with the relevant embassy for the most up to date information regarding visas. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and obtain your own visa, if one is necessary. Adventurous Ewe is not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise.

e-Tourist Visa Application
If you require a Single or Double Entry visa for a visit of up to 60 days, we recommend that you use the e-Tourist Visa Application process at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html

Most nationalities, including travellers from the UK, USA and many European countries can apply for their Indian Visa online through the e-Tourist Visa system. Please visit the UK Foreign & Commonwealth office website, or your respective nationality governing website, for the latest travel information on India at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india
This visa is cheaper than the Regular Indian Visa and does not require that you send your passport to your nearest India Visa Application Centre (IVAC).

Please note: If you travel on an e-Tourist Visa, your passport will be stamped and your biometric data (fingerprinting and retinal scan) may be processed on arrival in India. You must make your application a minimum of 4 days before your arrival and a maximum of 120 days before your arrival in India. You must also remember to print a copy of the e-Tourist Visa and take it with you to India for processing on arrival.
The validity of the e-Tourist Visa is 60 days from the date of arrival in India.

The e-Tourist Visa fee is $100 for UK and US citizens.
The e-Tourist Visa fee is $80 for most other nationalities.

Insurance
It is a condition of this trip that you are insured against medical and personal accident. Adventurous Ewe require documentary evidence of your insurance prior to departure. We also recommend that you enrol with Global Rescue prior to embarking on your trip (optional). Global Rescue is the world’s premier provider of medical & security advisory and evacuation services.
www.globalrescue.com/adventurousewe 

Trekking experience and level of difficulty
To complete this trek comfortably, it is ideal that you have previous trekking experience in varied and irregular terrain carrying a 35-litre day-pack. Whilst climbing Stok Kangri is not considered difficult, it is considered a technical trekking peak due to the use of technical climbing gear for the ascent, such as: crampons, ice axe . Previous experience of using crampons, ice-axes, harnesses and ropes is not required. Full instruction, support and practice sessions will be provided by your guides. During the trek you will be required to carry your own kit and equipment including crampons, ice-axes, harness, packed lunches & snacks, drinking water, wet weather gear, additional warm layers and personal items such medication.

Guides
All our Mountain Guides are fully experienced and qualified. Our guides are carefully selected to ensure you have the best experience on your trek and with a bit of humour thrown in for good measure.

How to book your challenge
The easiest way to book your trip is online via the Adventurous Ewe website at simply click Dates and Availability. You will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of £295pp at the time of booking. It is possible to reserve a place on this trek by email to info@adventurousewe.co.uk, however you will need to pay your deposit of £295.00 to confirm your place on this trek together with completing a booking form. The full balance is required to be paid no less than 4 weeks prior to departure.

Difficulty Rating
This challenge has a rating of Extreme!
Cost
£ 1700

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