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When people think of adventure trekking, the first place which crosses their mind is the Himalayas. The Himalayan mountain ranges are revered for trekking and mountaineering. Leh, Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir are the places where most of the trekking expeditions originate.
Leh, lying amidst the mountain passes of the Himalayas and the Karakoram Range has excellent trekking opportunities. Few of the popular treks in Leh are Indus Valley Trek, Changthang Trek, Markha Valley Trek, Zanskar trek, Monasteries Trek etc.
But the most exciting and challenging trek in this region is the trek to the Stok Kangri Peak. Stok Kangri is at an amazing height of 20, 080 ft (6, 153 m) and is the highest mountain in the Stok range of Himalayas. It is 24 kms from the district of Leh. Even though the trek is the most glamorous one, it is by no means an easy trek. Only very few people who attempt, succeed to reach the Stok Kangri Peak. People from all over the world come here to endeavour this amazing trek to the summit.
The only reason this trek is considered a difficult one is due to the height of the destination, which is almost 70% of the Mt. Everest. And by no likelihoodt you can finish the trek in 5 days. Many people suggest completing the journey in five days to reduce the cost. But this might be dangerous as your body needs proper acclimatization. The level of oxygen in the air reduces significantly as you mount higher. And if your body is not prepared for the sudden change in weather, then the trek might be tiring and exhausting. It might mean that you have to return without completing it. Thus, two days is further added to the itinerary. The best months to go for the Stok Kangri Peak trek are July to September.
Whenever we talk of Ladakh, a striking, rocky, snowclad and population free mountain place comes to our mind. Ladakh is the only place in India which has preserved its ancient beauty and culture. One of the adventurous sports which you can highly cherish is trekking in Ladakh. The place has many scenic locations and vast meadows adorned with multicoloured flowers albeit the speculation of it being a dry place.
The Stok Kangri peak is summited by many people and is considered the best trekking experience in the Himalayan Mountains of Ladakh. Trekkers flock from different parts of the world just to trek here. Stok Kangri is the highest mountain range of the Himalayas in Ladakh region. The best season to go trekking in Ladakh is July, August and September. The place is usually dry in these months with a few bursts of rains in July and August. The nearest station to Stok Kangri is Leh. Leh can be reached from Delhi by air or from Manali or Srinagar by road.
The Stok Kangri Peak trek is considered one of the most challenging treks on Himalayan Mountains. The final altitude that is achieved in the trek is 20, 080 ft, which is almost 70% height of the Mount Everest. One must be mentally and physically fit and prepared to attain this trek. Most people return from the base camp of Stok Kangri without even completing the last leg to Stok Kangri summit. People try to complete this trek in five days. But this is potentially risky because of many reasons. Oxygen level substantially decreases in the summit and if your body is not properly acclimatized, the climb would be exhausting and difficult. Therefore, a nine days trek is recommended by experienced trekkers. There are few mandatory preparations to be made before starting the trek, which will be announced by your guide.
Description About the Trek
First day: From Delhi to Leh by air. Second day is dedicated only for acclimatization. The process is done in the district of Leh. Following your guide is essential, as he will tell you the whole plan. Acclimatization means preparing your body, so that it can adjust to the climatic changes in high altitude. On third day you will trek to Chang Ma via Stok village. The fourth day destination will be Mankorma camp site from Chang Ma. Mankorma Mountains are purple in colour and are fascinating to look at. It is situated at 14, 200 ft above sea level. You will reach the Stok Kangri base camp, one of the largest trekking base camps, the following day, i.e. 5th day. This is situated at 16, 300 ft. Again on day 6 a rest cum training day would be observed. Training with tools and equipments is done followed by a good sleep. Then comes the 7th day, the day to conquer the highest peak of the trek- Stok Kangri. Day 8th and 9th is the return trek back to Leh.
This famous trek in Leh is especially meant for experienced trekkers and for people filled with enthusiasm.
Day 1 :- Arrive Leh
Day 2 :- Leh (Acclimatization day)
Day 3 :- Leh (11500 ft.) to Chang Ma (13087 ft.) via Stok Village (11800 ft.)
Day 4 :- Chang Ma (13087 ft.) to Mankorma (14200 ft.)
Day 5 :- Mankorma (14200 ft.) to Base camp (16300 ft.)
Day 6 :- Rest day + training day.
Day 7 :- Base camp (16300 ft.) to Stok Kangri (20080 ft.) back to base camp
Day 8 :- Base camp to Leh
Day 1: Arrive Leh
Your trekking to Stok Kangri begins with the arrival to Leh. You can easily reach Leh once you come to Delhi. You can reach Leh from Delhi either through a flight or through the road. Taking the flight is a better option as you would be saving a lot on time and energy. Taking the road may cost you a lot of time as you have to first go to either Srinagar or Manali to start for Leh. You can spend a day in Leh to acclimatize to the weather. Trekking in the area of Leh is among the best options among Trekking in India.
Day 2: Leh (Acclimatization day)
On day 2nd, you can enjoy the cultural and natural beauty of Leh. This can be considered as a day to get familiar with the town and also acclimatize to the weather. Lah is culturally a rich place. There are dozens of monasteries and ancient temples that you can go around. They are located in and around the town. Therefore you would be getting enough time to go around the place in a day. You can have an overnight stay in Leh. The hotels are easily accessible and rates are reasonable too. You can enjoy trekking here as post monsoon trek and pre monsoon trek.
Day 3: Leh (11500 ft.) to Chang Ma (13087 ft.) via Stok Village (11800 ft.)
It is one of the best sites that you would have once you have decided to trek this area of land. Trekking in Leh, could be considered by some people to be living their dreams. At any point of time, you might just feel that you are right in the middle of heaven. This is a day when you would enjoy a great drive and have an enjoyable trekking experience.
The day starts with a drive to Stok village. At the start of the drive from Leh, you would go through many exotic and beautiful scenes. The drive to the Stok village is an adventurous one and if full of natural beauty and lush green trees. The weather is perfectly fine for the summer season. The Stok village lies immediately to the south of Leh and it is well known for a royal palace. The recently crowned king of Ladakh lives here. There is also a small museum inside the palace which has beautiful and religious artifacts.
The day 3 is however the day when you trek to Chang Ma. This might be a difficult trek and you may experience the joy of a snow trek. You would like to spend the night here and the overnight stay would be in tents in the open lands.
Day 4: Chang Ma (13087 ft.) to Mankorma (14200 ft.)
The whole trek passes through the barren grey landscape of Ladakh. From chang ma trek up to Mankorma, This day will show you the real beauty of ladhak and gives you the answer why ladhak known as cold desert, while trekking you will cross the 2-3 times small streams, it is a fairly easy trek along with the river and you would love the overnight stay in tents.
Day 5: Mankorma (14200 ft.) to Base camp (16300 ft.)
A few hours trek takes you back to the base camp. This exotic base camp is a pleasurable place. It lies in a grassy area. This area has a number of water bodies in the form of lakes and water streams. During the day time, you can walk on the upper areas of the campsite and enjoy the views of the surroundings. There are some beautiful peaks like Gulap Kangri, Parcha Kangri and many others. You can also take rest in the base camp to make sure that the group is ready for the next day’s trek and touring. You would get time to acclimatize to the weather. This is pretty necessary because in the coming days, you wuld find a drastic change in the climate and might experience thin air and lack of oxygen.
The overnight stay, would again be arranged in tents and make sure that you have enough warm clothes for the lowering temperature.
Day 6: Rest day + training day
This day is an easy day for trekkers. You would enjoy the time for going around and knowing the place to a much better extent. It is essentially a day to train for the upcoming trek and know the possibilities and challenges that are involved in it. Your trek leader and guide would let you know about all the different changes in the terrain.
You need adequate knowledge and experience to go around the mountains. There might be situations where you have to trek in the sinking snow. You would find your legs sinking up to your knees. Therefore it is essential that you know the weather and surrounding conditions. It is also a day when you would to take enough rest so that you are well prepared for the coming excursion. The overnight stay would again be in tents. By now, you should be well familiar to the conditions prevailing during the day and night.
Day 7: Base camp (16300 ft.) to Stok Kangri (20080 ft.) back to base camp.
Now that you have had rest for a day i.e. the Stok Kangri trek, you should be well prepared for the big climb. You should wakeup early to start the climb. The route goes through glaciers and then comes to steep slopes to the summit ridge. This is a long climb, so you should be mentally strong and prepared psychologically. It would take somewhere between 9 to 10 hours for average climbers. Slow climbers may take another 2 to 3 hours in addition.
At the start of the trek, after a couple of hours, you should reach to the summit of the ridge. The summit offers you great views of the area. The wide and open surroundings give you a royal feeling. Towards the north, you would get a view of the Karakoram range. The Saser Kangri dominates the sky in the north along with the Karakoram, and the Zansker ranges in the south. The overnight stay, as usual, would be in tents.
Day 8: Base camp to Leh
Day 8 would be the ultimate day of your fantastic trekking experience. The trek which included high altitude trekking mountaineering and expedition would finally come to an end after this day. But before you end the day, you would see a lot of snow clad beauty and memorable view of mountain ranges. The joy of Ladakh trekking can be rejuvenated from this spot. As the day rises, you would have to start coming back from Base camp to Leh.
The trek back could be difficult and you need to perform care and precision. On the same day, after you reach Leh, you would also have to cover up to Stok Village on your feet. Stok village is the final stopping point of trekking. From Stok village to Leh, you would have to take a drive. The drive may make you nostalgic of all the fun that you had while trekking the mountains in the last eight days.
How to Reach
By Air :-
Jet Airways, Go Air and Air India provide daily (once every day) flight service between New Delhi and Leh. In the summer season, the services may even be provided twice a day. However if you plan a trip to this area of the country, you must try to book your tickets well in advance. This might even cut down the prices which may be levied on booking at the last time. You would enjoy the flight as you would fly over many untouched areas and even some mountain ranges. The aerial view is just fascinating and gives a great start to your tour.
By Road :-
The road from Manali to Leh is only open in the summers. The road trip may take you 2 days, but depending upon the weather conditions, the travel may also extend to 3 or even 4 days. You should also make sure that you carry at least two spare tires. A good advice would be to carry a sleeping bag with you well, as the bus may stop in the middle of nowhere for the overnight stay.
Another route to Leh via Srinagar, also takes around two days. On this route, you would pass through some lonely yet famous villages like Kargil and Khalsi.