Lying amidst the glamorous mountain passes of the Himalayas; the Stok Kangri Trek is a sensational yet challenging expedition. Positioned at an astounding height of 6153 meters, it is the highest in the Stok range of the Himalayas. The elevation of this majestic peak covers about 70% of the height of the Everest, making it perplexing and fairly strenuous. The outstanding rocky and snow-clad mountains of Ladakh offer its well-preserved beauty and cultural explorations. With vast meadows, picturesque locations and vibrant flowers, the Stok Kangri Trek permits for a precarious yet exciting experience. Once you get acclimatized in Leh, this trek will take you on to the Stok Village where this adrenaline-charged trek amidst streams, glaciers, moraines, grasslands and snow-capped mountains will leave you absolutely bewitched.
How To Reach
The starting point of this trek is at Leh, where you will trek amidst the nearby regions to get acclimatized. Leh is accessible by air and road through the months between May and September. Various flights are scheduled from the Indira Gandhi International Airport of New Delhi, which arrive in Leh’s Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport latest by 3:00 pm. If you choose to arrive in Leh by road, the road route is via Manali, which can be accessed from Delhi or Chandigarh. Although it takes a considerably long road journey to reach Leh, the drive by state-run or private buses will grant you beautiful picturesque sights along the way. These roads are only open in the summers and may take you 2-3 days to arrive, depending upon your mode of transport and the weather conditions.
Image Credit: Jørn Eriksson -Flickr
Peaking at a majestic and demanding height of 6153 meters, Stok Kangri trek offers a spectacular view of the Himalayas in the South and Tibet in the East. The Stok Village is your basecamp in this trek and lies about 15 kms from Leh and offers a non-technical venture for high altitude mountaineering. The Base Camp lies adjacent to a frozen river, which provides an impeccable camping spot for trekkers. The valley embraces beautiful grazing landscapes, which are generally snow covered and has a stark backdrop alongside a melt water stream, which flows out of the Gulap Glacier’s moraine.
Best Season To Visit
The Stok Kangri Trek originates at Leh where you must devote a couple of days in demand to getting acclimatized to the elevation. Due to the high altitude of the region, the temperature here is falls below freezing point. The months between July to September are considered to be the textbook season to embark on this trek, as the climate is better apposite to scale. The climate between October and November can be marginally unkind yet suitable for experienced risk taking trekkers. For the rest of the year, the paths leading to Leh and Ladakh are padlocked and trekking here in such punitive condition is forbidden.
About The Locals
Image Credit: Patrik M. Loeff -Flickr
It is true to say that the people of Ladakh are quite unique from the rest of the country, given their culture, behaviour and lifestyle. The inhabitants carry with them the faces, physique and clothes that are more in sync with the Tibet than India, owing to immigrants in the past. Buddhism is widely entrenched in their culture as one can witness it amidst the Buddhist engravings and monasteries. The people of Ladakh display a natural joy of life due to the uninhibited supremacy of ancient tradition. They are a closed community who engage in socio-cultural and religious activities apart from social gatherings that include indulgence in sports such as Archery and Polo.
Image Credit: Jørn Eriksson -Flickr
This extraordinary and challenging trek allows you to get acclimatized in Leh before you achieve the majestic Stok Kangri. Leh marks as the starting point of this trek that stands at 3500 meters. The expedition then takes you to the astonishing Khardung La which summits at 5600 meters. From here onwards, you will proceed towards the Stok Village at 3650 meters before you reach the Stok Basecamp located at 4900 meters. A sense of accomplishment will shield you when you attain the 6153 meters elevation of Stok Kangri.
The required permits for the trek and camping charges for the trek may be included as part of the trekking expedition. Please carry your ID cards of driving license or voter ID or passport (along with visa for non-Indian travellers), along with a passport size photo, a medical certificate ensuring your fitness for the trek and a disclaimer certificate ensuring your submission to voluntarily participate in this trek. Climbing permits from the Office of Indian Mountaineering Foundation in Leh is mandatory and takes one day to be issued.
Medical Advice and Emergency Numbers
A well-equipped first aid kit will be accessible with the guides throughout the duration of the trek. We recommend that you carry your own individual resource of first aid items such as medicines, antiseptics, insect repellents, prescription drugs etc. All precautionary measures shall be taken to ensure your safety yet there lays no harm in having awareness of the general know-how of healthcare. CPR and other common medical knowledge about altitude sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness) should be present. This illness is associated with trekking with symptoms that range from headache, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, lung problems, ataxia etc. Please consult your doctor before your trip to procure prescription drugs for such possible situations and only consume them if required, as they are powerful and have strong effects, especially if taken during your trek.
As Stok Kangri lies in Ladakh, please keep with you at all times the following emergency contact details.
Jammu & Kashmir Road Transport Corporation: Leh (Ladakh): +91-1982-252085
Airport Contact Number: Leh (Ladakh): +91-1982-253076
Tourist Reception Centre: (Jammu): +91-191-2548172/2520432
Tourist Office: +91-1982-252297, +91-1982-252095
Tourist Information Office: +91-1982-252297, +91-1982-252094, +91-1982-253462
Sonam Norbu Hospital: (Ladakh): +91-1982-253626
Police Station: (Leh): 100, +91-1982-252018, +91-1982-254880
Advice and Expectations
This expedition is the perfect experience to enjoy the thrill of the Himalayas yet it holds extremely harsh conditions and is generally considered to have a hard level of difficulty. Prepare thoroughly with regard to clothing and other protective gears to endure the unpredictable mountain weather, as it may get very cold. Keep your trekking gear safe and always keep essentials such as wind-proof jacket, dry socks and caps at hand. Make sure you choose correct and good quality footwear and fitted boots to avoid frostbites. Wear the right kind of socks to facilitate blood circulation. Carry a sturdy sleeping bag that is durable and comfortable. Carry a good quality backpack that can ensure harsh conditions of wear and tear, especially with a plastic or waterproof lining. Carry your identification proof as you might be expected to furnish it with the officials for obtaining permits.
Things To Carry
– Durable good-quality trekking shoes
– Camping shoes for crossing streams
– Thick woollen socks
– Thermal innerwear
– Heavy fleece clothes
– Covers to store used/wet clothing
– Winter jacket and water proof coat
– Trekking pants
– Woollen cap, gloves, etc.
– Sun screen lotion and other toiletries
– Water bottle
– Trekking pole
– First aid kit
– Personal medication
– Swiss knife
Image Credits: Prabhu B Doss – Flickr
Leh – A traveller-friendly place with enchanting and hassle-free sights is Leh, a mountain-framed mesmerising landscape of heaven. Covered with adorned stupas and mud-brick houses, this ancient town is dominated by Tibetan style forts dominated by a dagger of rocky ridges. Located at an elevation of 3500 meters, Leh was once dominated by royal families whose palaces still stand conserved. It is the trekking capital of the Himalayas and offers breath-taking sights that are equivalent to paradise.
Khardung La – An elevated mountain range located in Ladakh, Khardung La lies at an altitude of 5600 meters with the world’s peak motorable pass. It serves, as the gateway to the various cherished valleys of Nubra and Siachen Glacier of Ladakh. The Khardung La Pass is often known as the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ and offers magnificent views of the Karakoram Range with its snow-capped peaks.
Stok Village – Located at a fair distance of 14 kms from Leh, the village of Stok serves as a gateway to various high altitude trekking trails in the Himalayas. It is the erstwhile home of the royal family, as can be witnessed from the Stok Palace which is 200 years old and still inhabited by the descendants of the royal family. The high altitude that offers varied levels of trekking experiences exists, alongside the cultural diversity with attractions ranging from monasteries to Buddhist temples and museums.
Image Credits: Alberto Bertotto -Flickr
Stok Kangri – The Peak of Stok Kangri is an admired crowning amongst trekking enthusiasts and stands at a majestic loftiness of 6153 meters. It is the highest mountain range in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas and proposes one of the most challenging treks in India. It offers a grandiose view of the Himalayas whilst overpassing desolate and barren lands alongside a sporadic row of wild flowers. The perfect radiance of soft snow also offers an ostentatious sight of the Indus Valley and Zansker Valley.
Day 01: Arrival at Leh
Day 02: Acclimatisation and Exploration of Leh
Day 03: Drive from Leh to Khardung La and back
Day 04-05: Drive from Leh (3500 m) to Stok Village (3650 m), Trek from Stok Village to Stok Basecamp (4900 m) (Trek/5-6 Hours)
DAY 06: Trek from Base camp (4900 m) to Stok Kangri (6153 m) and back to Base Camp (4900 m, trek/10-12 hours)
Day 07: Trek from Stok Base camp (4900 m) to Stok Village (3650 m, Trek/4 Hours), Drive from Stok Village to Leh (drive/30 Minutes)
Day 08: Extra day at Leh
Day 09: Leh Departure
Tips And Tricks
– Hydrate two days before your trek . You must triple your water intake to avoid dehydration.
– Choose a shoe that is half a number larger than your normal size. It may be uncomfortable if one chooses a shoe size, which is one number smaller than your actual size. You may end up with sore fingers and blisters at the end of the trek. To avoid blisters, you can wear double layers of socks – a thin nylon one first followed by a thick Turkish sock.
– In case you carry your camera or a mobile phone, make sure you carry enough supply of plastic waterproof bags to keep them safe.
– Once you start trekking with the entire group, try and get your natural rhythm of walking. Never attempt to walk too fast or too slow as this can lead to premature fatigue.
– It is advisable to carry a windcheater but it is not advisable to wear it while trekking. During trekking, our body produces solid heat and to regulate that, the heated muscles of our body sweat profusely. In a humid atmosphere with a hot and perspiring situation, we aggravate it by wearing windcheaters. All in all, it leads to a suffocated feeling. Our advice is to carry a windcheater in your sack and wear it only when you take a long halt.