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Stog Kangri Trekking
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Stok Kangri Trekking

Book NowBest time: June – October
Duration: 21 Days

INTRODUCTION:
Flying into the Ladakhi capital of Leh, the shapely peak of Stok Kangri (20075ft.) is prominent on the southern skyline. Spending several days acclimatizing, we visit the colorful monasteries at Shey, Thikse and Hemis before setting off on the lovely trek through the Markha Valley. Our route leads by way of several remote and picturesque villages to the high Nimaling Plain below the imposing peak of Kang Yatze. Crossing the Kongmaru La, we then follow an unusual high route to Stok Kangri Base Camp, a 3-day approach to the mountain, which includes superbly located campsites and far-reaching views towards Tibet and the eastern Karakoram. Although objectively very safe and technically straightforward (involving low-angle scree and easy snow slopes), the climb on Stok Kangri is both challenging and interesting. This is a wonderfully varied trip, perfectly suited to someone seeking his or her first Himalayan summit.

DETAIL ITINERARY

Day 1. Arrive Delhi
On arrival in Delhi we transfer to our hotel. We have the afternoon free for sightseeing.

Day 2: Delhi - Leh (3500 m)
We go to the domestic terminal of Delhi airport of the early morning internal flight to Leh. The hour long flight provides close views of the 7000 meter high massifs of Nun and Kun. After arrival at Leh's 3500 meter high airfield, we drive by jeep to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to either rest in the shade of hotel courtyard, or we can take a lazy walk into Leh's colorful bazaar, with its roadside stalls selling Tibetan artifacts. Flying straight into the high altitude of Leh can take your breath away and it is best to concentrate on acclimatizing for the first few days.

Day 3: AT LEISURE IN LEH.
A full days' sightseeing tour, we visit some of the area's most important monasteries, at shey, Thikse and Hemis. The first two of these monasteries occupy hill-top sites, and offer remarkable views across the Indus valley. Hemis is the most powerful of the monasteries in the vicinity of Leh, and belong to the Kagyupa Budhhist sect. Large areas of the surrounding farmland are controlled by the monastery.

Day 4: A second Sightseeing day.

Day 5: A jeep drive up to the 5300 meter-high Khardung La (which is the highest road pass in the world). This high pass in the mountains to the north of leh leads into the Nubra valley, which has until recently been closed to foreign visitors. The 2000 meter climb to the pass provides panoramic views of the Zanskar range beyond the Indus valley, with stok Kangri standing our prominently as one of the higher peaks in the range. After taking tea at the pass, gasping in the rarified atmosphere, we return to our hotel in Leh.

Day 6: We are now acclimatized and ready to begin trekking. Our brief introduction to the Tibetan Buddhist world of Ladakh (which has been many times threatened by invading forces over the years) will make us better able to appreciate the significance of the hill-top location of many of the monasteries which we will see on our trek through the Markha Valley. 40 kilometer drive along the road towards Srinagar and Kashmir to Nimmu, where the chill waters of the Zanskar river meet the Indus. We turn onto a dirt road, cross the Indus on a sturdy bridge and then follow the left bank of Zanskar River through a gorge to Chilling- A village well known in Ladakh and Zankar for the skill of its silversmiths. Chilling is also the gateway into the Marka valley. We camp at Chilling and spend an easy afternoon.

Day 7: Crossing the Zanskar by way of a box and cable bridge, we meet our trek crew and our pack-ponies, who will have traveled to this meeting place, via the Markha valley, a day in advance of our arrival. After sorting out the loads for the ponies, we begin our first day of trekking along a narrow trail on the right bank of Zanskar gorge, to a point where the Markha river meets the Main valley. We climb to cross spur and can look southwards to where the impressive Zanskar gorge disappears around a corner. A red-painted collection of chortens on the far side of Zanskar and faint indication of a trail point to the existence of route into Zanskar. In face the only time it is practicable to follows the Zanskar River southwards as far as Padum in Zanskar is in the depths of winter. When, for a few short weeks the frozen river allows reasonable progress through the gorge to be made but that is another story. At this point, we turn towards the southeast into the Markha valley and continue until we reach the irrigated trees and fields of the hamlets of Skays and Skiu, where we camp for the night. The main trail into the Marks valley from the north, over the Ganda La, joins our route at this point. There is a small monastery in Skiu and a derelict fortress/monastery on the cliff above our riverside camp.

Day 8: Crossing and re crossing the Markha stream, we make a long day's walk of around 7 hours to the 30 or 40 houses of Markha Village (c.3800m ). The trail passes through quite lush vegetation at the riverside, whilst the upper valley- slopes are uniformly brown and dry. There are bridges at many of the more difficult crossing places. En route we pass several more derelict monasteries, which are often quite difficult to pick our, high on the valley sides. There are also a number of well maintained chortens and prayer walls and at least one good example of wolf trap. During the winter, wolves and snow leopards are a nuisance in these high valleys, becoming bold on account of their hunger descend to the villages and prey on domestic animals. The local form of wolf trap is a stone enclosute with overhanging sides, into which is placed live or dead animals baits. If a wolf a jumps into the enclosute to eat the bait, is is unable toescape and is stone to death by the local people. We also pass a couple of isolated house, one of which headdress known as a peraq. On a hill to the north of Markha there is a small gompa. The resident monk will be happy to show you the ancient wall paintings and festival masks which are contained within this lovely old monastery -reputedlly one of the oldest in Ladakh. The trek from Skiu to Markha is as good a day's trekking as any in the Himalayas.

Day 9: We continue above Markha Village, trekking eastwards, deeper into the Markha valley, to a good camping place at Hangkar. During today's 4 to 5 hour walk we pass more impressive monasteries, some ruined and some intact, a testament to the fact thata this valley was once more populous than it is today. Hidden away between the two hamlets which make up Hangkar village, high on a rocky spur is another remarkable ruined monastery. In this high valley we are likely to see small herds of blue sheep (bharal) which oftern come right down to the river to graze.

Day 10: Leaving Hangkar, we now have good view of a prominent snow peak at the head of the valley. This is Kang Yatze, a 6400 metre high mountain which has a subsidiary summit at around 6100 meter which is very straightforward and often climbed as a trekking peaks its own right .Passing another well maintained wolf pit we cross the Markha stream on the last bridge that we will seee and starat steeper climb up towards the high plaints known as Nimaling, Today we will climb from around 4000 meters to a camp at 4600 meters and we will feel the effects of altitude. The scenery opens out as we traverse around to the north side of Kang Yatze and look out for the pass which we must cross to return us to the Indus valley - the Kongamaru La is not immediately apparent from our camp beside the frozen upper reaches of the Markha stream.

Day 11: A spare day in case we have encountered any problems on the trek thus far. If everything has gone according to plan, we may opt to take ar rest and acclimatization day in this lovely sport. Camping up here 4600 meters for a second night will be excellent preparation of the climb to come. Those amongst the group who are feeling energetic can trek over towards Kang Yatze, to a high point on the ridge which runs from the peak towards the north west,. A well as herd of blue sheep. Huge golden marmots and large hares. The other impressive wildlife species hereabouts are immense birds of prey, including lammergeiers ( bearded vultures- The biggest of the Himalayan raptors) and golden eagles. The sight of a lammergeier drifting towards you on motionless wings, passing just overhead, unconcerned by your presence, is simply unforgettable.

Day 12: We trek up to the Kongamaru la ( 5100m) on a well marked trail which zig-zags across scree for the final 250 meters to the pass - 2 hours ascent. From the pass there are views north to the hills of the eastern Karakoram and China, whiles the southern panorama is dominated by shapely Kang Yatze. Descending, we enter a narrow gorge, which presents wonderfully contorted rock formations, pillars and buttresses, some of them remarkable colours, reds through to green and greys. The best trail crosses from one side of the valley to the other time and time again - and we are obliged to cross the growing stream many times. Except for a small level area just beyond the pass. The first reasonable camping place is at Chuskirma( which means sour water ), where there are a couple of stone huts and some rogh pasture.

Day 13: We continue our descent, passing a couple of impressive house, the highest in the valley, and then another section of rocky gorge. The valley opens out a little as we near the picturesque hamlet of Sumdo and soon thereafter we reach a jeep road which is in the process of being built into the valley. We follow this for an hour until we can see the houses and trees of Martseylang, which is actually on the main Indus valley road. From here we opt to skirt above the valley on a train which leads after about an hour, via a number of impressive chortens, into the tributary valley below Hemis monastery, there is a good camping place in a field of large trees and unsual large. Those who are not tried of gompas can re-visit Hemis.

Day 14: In the morning we transfer by jeep to Stok village which lies immediately south of Leh, on the other sode of the Indus valley, Here there is a royal palace, where the recently crowned young Ladakhi King lives, and there is also small museum which contains religious artifacts and ceremonial clothing belonging to the royal family. There is time to look around the palace and monastery at Stok before lunch and then we begin our walk-in to Stok Kangri with an easy 2 hour trek. Even so close to the Indus valley we are already in a high and wild area which is visited only by climbing groups and by the local people who spend some of the summer months in picturesque villages of stone huts, from where they tend their flocks of sheep and goat.

Day 15: A four hour trek takes us up to the base camp area for Stok Kangri. The very pleasant campsite is on a grassy area beside a number of Mel water streams. In the afternoon we can walk above our camp for views of the surroundings peaks: Stok Kangri (c.6150m), gulap kangri, Parcha Kangri and many others.

Day 16: A rest and acclimatization day to make sure that the group are feeling ready to make the ascent of Stok Kangri . The group will make the half-four climb up to the pass at 5000 meters above our camp, possibly taking the climbing hardware which can be cached at the passed in preparation for the followings day's climb.

Day 17 & 18 : We have allowed two days for the ascent, to try to give everyone a chance of climbing the peak. This will also allow for contingencies such aspoor weather etc. Depending on the fitness of the group, we will either go for a one day ascent from our base camp, or choose to establish a high camp, from which we can make the summit push on the following day. Much of the climb involves walking across scree and boulder slopes, which are likely to be bare of snow by the time of our trip, unless there has been un seasonal snow - fall. The final part of the climb will involve the use of crampons and ice-axe on snow slopes up to about 35 degrees. Although this is note a technically demanding climb, at an altitude of over 6000 meters peaks in Tibet to the north-east, and including a bird's eye view of the Indus valley and Leh below us to the north. If we manage to climb the peak on the first day, there may be opportunity to attempt one of a number of other easy peaks above our base camp.

Day 19: From our base camp, we will descent directly to the upper reaches of Stok village, with its fields of barely and buckwheat. We meet our jeeps at Stok, for the back to Hotel in Leh.

Day 20: Fly back to Delhi. Check in the hotel. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 21: Free day in Delhi. We can spend the morning relaxing and then after lunch we leave for a 5 hours sightseeing tour by coach of Old and New Delhi, which are completely different in character to one another. We visit the Qutub Minar - An 82 meter high medieval commemorative tower, the busy bazaars of Chandni Chowk, the Moghul Red fort: we also see New Delhi's imposing avenues and the Lutyen's designed Government houses. Alternatively, you might wish to the use this free day in Delhi to take an excursion by air-conditioned fast train to visit Taj Mahal. After dinner we transfer to the airport to check in for the British Airways flight back to the onward destination.


Price:

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Domestic flights (Delhi - Leh - Delhi)
  • Land transportation as mentioned in the program by a private vehicle with an English speaking chauffeur.
  • Accompaniment: the assistance of a local staff: guide, cook (and cook helpers for large groups).
  • The Jeep for the carrying of individual camping, cooking and collective material.
  • Lodging : hotel in Delhi and Leh, camping during the Nature Safari 
  • Meals : full board except the meals in Delhi and Leh

 

PRICE DO NOT INCLUDES:

  • International flights
  • International airport taxes 
  • Visa fees
  • Repatriation assistance
  • Main meals in Delhi and Leh
  • Admission fees for the visits of temples, monuments, monasteries and museums planned
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • Tips