Love Her Wild Stok Kangri Expedition
WEDNESDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2018 – TUESDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2018
A perfect first mountain adventure with no previous mountain experience needed! Just a good base level of fitness and a healthy dose of a spirit of adventure.
Stok Kangri is the highest peak in the Stok range of the Himalayas. Located in Ladakh in northwest India, you reach it from the region’s capital, Leh. Ladakh means “the land of high passes” as the region links the Karakorums to the north with the Himalayas to the south.
It makes a fantastic entry level 6,000m peak as the ascent is generally considered to be non-technical.
We spend some time exploring the environs of Leh and visit some of the local monasteries while submerging ourselves in the famous Leh festivals that are taking place on our arrival. This fun time spent in leh is vital so to help us acclimatise. Thereafter the trek is a wonderful ascent through wild Indian countryside, through rural villages and up into spectacular mountain scenery of plunging rivers, steep gorges and high mountain passes all surrounded by majestic snow capped peaks. The summit rewards us panoramic views across to the Karakorum’s and K2 220km away.
Who will be delivering this expedition?
This expedition is being run and delivered by 360 Expeditions. Our leader will be the rather awesome Everest summiter, Jo Bradshaw. If you haven’t already, check out the interview she did for Love Her Wild and also her Tough Girl podcast.
Included in the price
• Local guides and a 360 guide
• International and domestic flights plus taxes
• Airport transfers
• Pack horses for porterage
• Accommodation during trek (camping)
• Accommodation in Delhi and Leh in doubles/twins with
• All accommodation based on two people sharing
• All food whilst on trek
• Breakfast when city based and 2 dinners
• Climbing gear (crampons, ice axe) for those without
• Park fees and monastery entrance fees
• Personal equipment and excess baggage
• Staff and guide gratuities
• Items of a personal nature: phone calls, laundry, room service, etc.
• Unscheduled hotels and restaurant meals eg if bad weather grounds flights
Day 1: Depart UK
Fly to Delhi and connect for our Leh flight. The spectacular connection flight over the Himalaya takes us to one of the highest airports in the world at 3,350m. If the weather is good we should see the Karakorums from the plane, and get a peek at Stok Kangri as we land.
Day 2: Arrive Leh
Land in Leh, the rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatise to the altitude (3,500m). In the afternoon we can have a wander around Leh and its bazaars and explore our home for the next couple of days.
Day 3: Leh – Ladakh Festival
We stay in Leh in order to begin acclimatising and to enjoy Leh festival. The inauguration ceremony of the festival takes place in Leh on a large scale with a procession of several cultural troupes from a different part of the region which traverses through Leh Market. There is dancing, singing, traditional music, people wearing colorful traditional Ladakhi dresses. The festival takes place in Leh and surrounding villages with archery, polo, and masked dances from the monasteries and dances by cultural troupes from the villages. There are musical concerts too. BD
Day 4: Leh – Choksi (3,210m)
We leave Leh and drive to the start point of our trek. We follow the Indus River for a short while before turning o onto an unpaved track that winds along the Zanskar River. The open valley begins to narrow and steepen until we nd ourselves driving along the bottom of a magni cent gorge. At the rst bridge we leave the vehicle, put on our packs and have a short climb to Choksi (3,210m) where we camp. This pretty village is inhabited by one large extended family who farm this small valley. In the afternoon we can have a short acclimatisation walk in preparation for tomorrow or just explore our environs. BLD
Day 5: Choksi – Shepherds hut
Today is our first day of proper trekking as we climb steeply out of Choksi, the valley narrowing spectacularly as we get closer to its head. Looking back over our shoulders, the colourful Ladakh mountains are spread before us. We reach camp around lunchtime, and have the afternoon to explore the area, potentially climbing up to the ridge opposite us for views of the surrounding peaks. BLD
Day 6: Kang La (4,900m)
We have a short morning’s walk today up to the base of the Kang La (4,900m). After lunch, we can climb up to the top of the small rocky peak behind our camp. At 5,056m the views are magni cent – we can see the Kang La and Palam Peak ahead and the Himalayas are spread in front of us. BLD
Day 7: Kang La (5,260m)
Although the altitude gain today is seemingly small, today remains a tough day as we head for our rst pass. The climb is gentle and long at rst, but the last section is steep, rocky and challenging as we try to identify the little-used path.
Once we reach the pass the climb up Palam Peak (5,380m) is well worth doing for the views from its summit that are almost as good as from Stok Kangri itself. Looking behind us towards Leh, now several days past, we look ahead towards Stok Kangri, our objective. All around us are panoramic views of the Himalayas.
We continue from the top, contouring the top of the valley in view of Stok Kangri. Just below the ridge is a high camp we can use, or we continue down towards the base of Ganda La, depending on the weather. BLD
Day 8: Ganda La (4,970m) – Rumbak
We continue round the valley following the contours once more and then climb up to Ganda La, our second pass, and the entrance to the Markha Valley. From here we can identify the path for the next couple of days, as well as enjoy the spectacular views of the north face of Stok Kangri in the east and the Karakoram Range in the north. The mountain slopes of Ganda La are home to several species of Himalayan wildlife such as blue sheep, marmots, golden eagle and the mystic snow leopard. After enjoying the views we descend down the valley and come across the one house village of Yurutse before entering the Rumbak Valley. Rumbak is inhabited by 20 families and a small gompa. BLD
Day 9: Rumbak – Mankarmo (4,300m) via Stok La (4,950m)
Today is a big day of trekking, but also one of the most rewarding as we cross the Stok La with its amazing colourful rock formations. The path slopes gently, but soon starts to steepen as it zigzags towards the pass. The views of the Indus Valley, Zanskar and Karakoram Ranges once we reach the pass are second to none, while layer upon layer of multicoloured rock cathedrals are spread before us in every direction.
We then drop steeply down the other side, leveling o to contour the valley once more to meet the river that drops from Stok Kangri, following it until we reach Mankarmo, a shepherd settlement. BLD
Day 10: Mankarmo – Base Camp (5,000m)
The trail from Mankarmo climbs gradually through a rocky river bed towards Base Camp. As we climb higher we can see the north east face of Stok Kangri ahead of the valley. The distance today is quite short so we take our time. After a warm lunch we can get a good rest and in the afternoon organise our climbing gearfortheearlymorningpushforthesummit. There will be a full briefing about tomorrow’s ascent and a run through of walking in rope teams and with crampons. After an early dinner we retire to bed to rest for a few hours. BLD
Day 11: Summit (6,173m)
The summit push, like many others, is long and hard. We’re up very early for co ee and porridge before setting o around 2am. The initial climb is gradual, but after about 3 hours we cross the glacier and things get steeper. At around 5,700m we traverse to the exposed left ridge of the mountain, scrambling up the rocky, icy nal section to the summit.
The route isn’t technical, but the altitude and cold will make it hard work. But hard work will be rewarded with stunning views of the Himalayas and Karakorums, and on a very clear day the sunrise might even pick out K2 in the distance.
After lapping up the views and catching our breaths, we head carefully back down to basecamp for a warm brunch, and the chance to climb back into our sleeping bags and catch up with some sleep. BLD
Day 12: Base camp – Stok
Our final trek day is a stunning one as we wander back down a spectacular valley with wonderful colourful rock formations culminating in our emergence into a fantastic gorge before the trail widens and we reach Stok. Here our transport will meet us and return us to Leh for hot showers and a welcome celebration that evening. BLD
Day 13: Leh
You are welcome to join us on a very leisurely sightseeing tour to three of the major gompas (monasteries) in the area. We first drive to Shey, a former Royal Palace of the Ladakh kings. Inside is a small temple containing a 350-year-old copper and gold statue of Buddha. Next stop is Tikse, perched prominently on top of a hill, its red and white buildings visible for miles. A recently built temple contains a magni cent image of the Future Buddha. Final stop is Stakna, a small, friendly monastery high above the Indus River. BD
Day 14: Leh – London
An early start for the day flight back to London. B
This itinerary is a guide that is normally adhered to but can be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances and adverse weather conditions.
When: 19 Sep 2018 – 2 Oct 2018
* please note that the following bits of kit noted on the kit list will not be necessary for our climb due to the time of year we are travelling:
- Ski goggles
- high altitude plastic boots.
- high altitude socks.
- A figure of 8 or other descender
- And only 1 sliing not two.