Stok Kangri Summit Trek
If you are bored with the usual stories of bike rides to Leh, have been to some treks already and now want something a little adventurous, its time you attempted Stok Kangri Summit Trek. It is one of those summit climbs that all budding mountaineers start their 6000+ meters climbing journey with. At 6153 meters, this non-technical climb is adventurous and scenic at the same time. You will get snow in the last leg of the journey before the summit otherwise the trek is dry.
Where: Leh, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India
Level: Difficult Level Trek
Height: 6153 Meters
Best time to attempt: Summer season. From June to September. While there have been successful summits in winter too, but it is only for experienced climbers to attempt in those harsh conditions.
Days Required: 9 Days minimum (2 days of acclimatization in Leh and 7 days of trek including one extra day at base camp)
Best ways to attempt: Hire an agency that does this for a living. While many will attempt this solo or along with some friends, please remember that this trek is in the Himalayas and is about 5500 meters. At that height, the dangers of changing weather, falling sick due to AMS etc can make any situation into a life-threatening situation. Only experienced and trained staff would be able to make the right choices in these situations and save a life!
Which agency to hire: Do a thorough check on their credentials, their experience. No honest agency would have issues is answering questions like – How experienced is the guide? How big the groups are? Any group size over 10-12 trekkers is a strict no. Is the guide trained in emergency medical response? What is the rescue plan in case of emergency? Porter to trekker ratio? What kind of food would be available? Types of tents / equipment that will be used? Every groups of 10-12 trekkers must have – One experienced Guide + one Trek Leader + 1:1 Ratio of porter and trekker.
Day 1 and 2 – Arrive in Leh (Stay in hotel, do not strain yourself at all)
Day 3 – Drive to Stok Village and trek to ChangMa
Day 4 – Trek from ChangMa to Manskarmo.
Day 5 – Trek from Manskarmo to Base Camp.
Day 6 – Base Camp to Advance Base Camp and back to Base camp.
Day 7 – Base Camp to Summit and back to Manskarmo.
Day 8 – Manskarmo to Stok Village. Drive to Leh
Day 9 – Back to home.
Overall the trek is aprox. 20 kms from Stok Village to summit and you do it in 4 days. An average of 5 Km every day. Many of you must have done longer treks in a day before this however due to the altitude gain, this is a different game altogether. Though non-technical, it is a difficult trek. The ascent up to the ridge and subsequently to the top of the summit is challenging and demands a strong fitness level. After you complete your trek every day, post some refreshments and rest you must always go for the acclimatization walk to the surrounding hills. As you climb up to the hills, the lungs will work 3 times faster to get the oxygen it requires to sustain. Once you are at the top, rest for a while and then come back. When you are coming back, the lungs keep working the same manner and because you are coming down, oxygen levels will be better. This will make you feel better and refreshed. This is something that must be done everyday to better acclimatize.
Points to Remember:
1) Hire and experienced Trekking Agency post checking credentials.
2) Plan your trip in a manner that you have a day or two as back up in case the weather goes bad, you will have time in hand to attempt it again.
3) Drink lots of water, starting from the time you start your journey to Leh till you back home. At- least twice the levels of what you would drink in the plains. Water provides oxygen to the body, which is much needed at that altitude.
4) Do not take any medication especially Diamox without medical supervision.
5) If you are on medication, please ensure that your Trek Leader is aware of the same.
6) You must be in GOOD physical condition to attempt this trek. Ask for a plan from the trekking organization to get fit before the trek. Your planning should start at least 3-4 months before in case you are not active in sports.
7) Pack well for adverse conditions. Must carry clothes for rain and snow. Weather does change abruptly and in quick succession.