Stok Kangri

Route

There are multiple routes to the mighty Stok Kangri. The most preferred and common route taken is from Leh – Stok village – Changma – Mankarmo – Stok base – Stok summit and back from the same route. This is covered in 7 days from Leh to Leh after two days of acclimatisation. On this route, one has options to camp at Changma, Mankarmo as well as the Stok base campsite. There are multiple service providers for Stok Kangri. Wanderers team uses our custom made equipment to camp at these sites and have an independent support team.  This is a 45kms total trek from Stok village to Stok Village. You trek in the stok range which is a beautiful range to explore and also offers other peaks like Gulep Kangri. Surrounded by rocks, boulders, glaciers, this route from the Stok Base is physically challenging and needs strong fitness level.


Grade

In order to grade a trek, a lot of factors have to be taken into consideration like elevation gains with inclination degree, distance in kms, time taken to cover each day’s trek, water points on the route, tricky sections/ risky patches on the route, technical climbs or descend on the route, nearest evacuating points on the entire route, villages, home stays, primary health care facilities on the route, mobile network availability, electricity supply, weather challenges in terms of heavy rains, lightening prone areas, avalanche prone areas, army/ military base nearby, local administrative challenges, local manpower challenges – finding the suitable persons for the job and many more. For being able to understand the grade of a trek in one word – EASY, MODERATE or DIFFICULT, would be a task in itself. Being a professional community Wanderers rate Stok Kangri as DIFFICULT on the basis of altitude, distance in kms for each day, physical challenge, thin air challenge, water points on the route and evacuation points.


How to reach

The most suitable season to attempt Stok Kangri would be July and August. During that time the road routes are open and one has the option to take road route as well. Alternatively, Leh has a lot of flight options. As a matter of fact, it is better to reach Leh via road rather than flight as you get better acclimatised via road drive (provided one has enough time). If coming from Delhi, you can travel Delhi – Manali – Leh via Volvo buses and tempo travellers. The drive from Delhi to Manali would be of 11 – 12 hours and from Manali to Leh would be another 9 – 10 hours. It becomes important to take a rest break in between.

In order to save time and efforts, people also take a direct flight from Delhi to Leh. On reaching Leh via flight it becomes important to rest for a day or 2 and not do any physically exerting tasks. This is to let the body acclimatise. Chances of developing Acute Mountain Sickness reduces with the resting.


Evacuation points with nearest hospital

There is a road drive on the very first day from Leh to Stok village which takes about an hour. From here there is no road on the trail. In an evacuation situation, the only option is to hop on a pony/ horse and get back to the stok village. If the patient is unable to sit on the pony, he/ she would have to be carried down on ropes/ stretchers (whichever would be best as per the situation). A the fter reaching the Stok Village, the vehicle would have to drive down to the SNM hospital on Leh, which is a 45mins drive from Stok Village. This arrangement of the evacuation would be planned and executed by Wanderers (or for that matter any professional organisation) for this trek. There are helicopter services which could be availed at an additional cost however we cannot be sure of the availability.


Network connectivity

In Leh, only post paid numbers have network – BSNL, Airtel and Jio. Other than these 3 carriers any other network does not get range. If it’s a local sim purchased from Leh, prepaid services also work. After starting the trek, there are a few patches where we can expect network. Right at the Changma site, network for BSNL, Airtel and Jio carriers could be available. Post Changma the next place to expect network would be at the ridge point of stok an hour’s ascend from the stok base on the summit day or the base acclimatisation day.

These places mentioned are from where our trek team was able to share updates with our head office in Delhi. In case the weather plays a spoilt sport network might not be available throughout the trek. Being the outdoors it becomes impossible to predict weather conditions especially in the Himalayas.


What else to do in Leh with extra days in hand

It is important to realise that the acclimatisation days are not for planning local sight-seeing trips, but for resting and only resting. On the completion of Stok Kangri trek, if you have additional days, you can hire a cab and do a one day visit to Pangong lake and back with or without Nubhra valley. It takes nearly 5 to 6 hours one side to drive to Pangong from Leh. Other lake options are Tso -moriri lake and Tso-kar lake. One can club one lake with a Nubhra Valley trip for an additional night spent.

For travellers not willing to drive over an hour from Leh, they can visit the Thikshey monastery, Shey Palace, Hemis monastery, Hall of Fame or other monasteries. All these monasteries are culturally rich and follow Budhism. They are ancient constructed monasteries as well.

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