Stok Kangri Expedition

Day 1: {Acclimatization} We landed in Leh and reached the homes stay by the name park fields in Shenam, Leh. It was a beautiful morning and sun was out. Devjit greeted us at the home stay. Just to mention, the home stay was probably the best I ever stayed in. It had a beautiful 1000 sq yard garden in the front with thousands of flowers and vegetation. The owner of the house, Mrs Dolma was also a very soft-spoken lady who also was an awesome chef I must say. We were told we need to take it easy on the acclimatization days and drink a lot of water. At the end of it all, I think that really worked. We were a group of 9 people along with Devjit who was leading 2 guides and us and a team of porters.

Day 2: {Acclimatization} We got up at ease in the morning. It was once again a hot day and the sky was clear. In fact, we could clearly see the Stok Summit Trek from our homestay. We went out to the local market in leh for lunch and were accompanied by the Wanderers team. Had a great meal and some shopping as well. The evening was cold and we were back in our rooms. We had dinner and called it a night. We were to start for Stok village the following day.

Day 3 {Stok village to Chang Ma} We left our homestay after thanking the amazing hosts Stanzin and Dolma and got in the cab. We then drove to Stok village, which took about a little over 30 minutes. We crossed the beautiful Stok palace and got down right at the beginning of the trek in Stok village. Devjit managed the permissions and other requirements that took about 30 minutes. We then started through a rough patch and a carved out trek towards Chang Ma. Through various ascends and descends, we made it to Chang Ma by early evening. We were quite slow as a group I guess otherwise Chang Ma is not too far away. In fact, a lot of trekkers reach Mankarmo straight away. Anyway, we reached Chang Ma and the camps were all fixed. I was delighted to see the dining area selling kingfisher beers. Dev quickly told everyone that it is not a good idea to get dehydrated. So we all agreed that we would celebrate once we are done with the Summit. It was an early night and we all dozed off around 7.

Day 4: {Chang Ma to Mankarmo} We started after breakfast around 9. Mankarmo wasn’t too far away from Chang Ma as we were told. Once again, after a couple of passes (one that comes right after one starts from Chang Ma), we reached Mankarmo campsite. Once again, our camps were pitched and we reached at lunchtime. We had food, which was delicious and were also served some snacks later in the evening. We played cards inside the tents as it was a cold evening and then slept after having our dinner. A small stream flows right next to the camp to fill our flasks. There is an acute shortage of water on this trek.

Day 5 {Mankarmo to Base} We started early the following day and the ascent wasn’t too easy today. Through various passes, we made it to the last pass, which was a steep ascend and brings us to the huge meadows where approximately 50 camps were pitched. It was an absolutely beautiful site. I was the first to reach the top where all the camps were pitched. I checked into the diner, which was bigger than all the previous ones. It was an igloo shape tent and just to share it with you all, it also had beer cans. The diner also had series of mountaineering boots, ice axes crampons and other equipment. We were to stay here at the base for this day and the following day so we all socialized with fellow trekkers. Most of the trekkers were foreigners and pro mountaineers. It was a great night.

Day 6: {Acclimatization}: We started after the breakfast and led by Devjit, trekker to the advance base camp, which was far ahead from the base camp location, we were staying. It was a steep trek from the base camp for about 500 meters from the base location and believe me, it was not easy. Once on the top, it becomes flat till the Adv Base Camp. We returned from the advanced base camp to the base camp location and had lunch. The evening was at ease and we were to start the summit at around 2 in the morning.

Day 7: {Summit Day} We started at 2 in the morning and followed the same trail to the top and trekked then to the advanced base camp location. The guides played an extremely important role to then negotiate the glacier. It took us a long time to negotiate the glacier as a group. After the glacier it was really a tough climb and the moraines really made it very difficult to negotiate. We were taking breaks very often. At a point in time, it became so difficult that we were taking breaks in every 5 steps. Reaching the shoulder that leads to the summit was one of my most difficult treks ever. It was all snow covered and took a couple of hours only on the rocky patch. Once at the shoulder we could feel that we are now close to the summit. It still took a long time to reach the summit. We didn’t even realize until we saw those prayer flags. The sky wasn’t really clear. But it was the most beautiful sight ever. The whole of ladakh was in our sight. It was my first 6000+ summits so I was on a high. After spending about 1 hour there at then started descending. I will also mention that coming down was also equally tough. Once at the base camp, we were extremely happy as everyone made it to the top. We took some rest and then in afternoon returned to Mankarmo campsite.

Day 8: {Mankarmo to Chang Ma} Reached the Chang Ma campsite and played card, music and had fun with our stories from Stok Summit

Day 9: {Chang Ma to Stok Village} We were excited now to reach the village and then our homestay. We all planned a huge party with alcohol along with best of non-vegetarian. So there we were, the evening was simply awesome where all of us simply celebrated our feat.

Thanks to Team Wanderers and Devjit. It was absolutely great times and we made good friends.

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