If you are an experienced trekker and looking forward to another wonderful opportunity to pump up your adrenaline rush, it’s the best time to explore the fascinating Stok Kangri trek in Ladakh.
Location: Situated at an altitude of 20,180 ft, Stok Kangri is one of the highest trekkable peaks in Ladakh region of the Himalayas. Stok Kangri trek has become famous in recent years. The wide Himalayan ranges, deserted surroundings and tranquil environment offer the ultimate peace of mind to trekkers. The entire trail incorporates plenty of ridges and you’ll certainly witness changing vistas as you move forward while overlooking Zanskar and Indus Valley. The summit gives you unparalleled views of the Karakoram ranges to the north and the Zankar ranges to the south.
You can check Stok Kangri trek itinerary here.
Best time to Trek:Usually, the best time for trekkers to do this trek is from June to September, as there’s no risk of landslides or heavy snowfall during this time of the year. The conditions prove suitable for a successful trek.
Difficulty Level:Since the summit is at an altitude of 20,180 ft, the difficulty level is high. That’s why this trek is recommended only for experienced trekkers and not for beginners. The glamorous landscapes of the region attract many thrill seekers. But you need to consider your physical and mental health when going for such high-altitude treks. Furthermore, you need to be prepared to complete this 8-day trek with all your trekking gear and keep some other crucial factors in mind.
What makes Stok Kangri trek tough and how you should prepare for it?
While for some experienced trekkers and mountaineers this trek is not too daunting, Intermediates need to consider some important factors for a successful summit climb.
1) Higher Altitude
The altitude has a major impact on trekkers, as it can induce acute mountain sickness (AMS) while moving to a greater height. The Stok Kangri peak stands at a height of 20,180 ft, whereas the base camp is at a staggering height of 16,300 ft. The higher you move, the thinner the air gets and there’s also lack of oxygen supply. All these conditions can throw your mind in a conundrum, affecting your judgment skills.
In severe cases, lack of proper acclimatization can lead to High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). So, you must acclimatize your body to prevent altitude sickness. The easiest way to avoid the same is by drinking a lot of water, eating carbohydrates, climbing slowly and sleeping at a lower height than you’ve climbed. It is recommended to spend a couple of days in Leh before the start of the trek thus allowing your body to acclimatize well and good.
- Blatant Cold Wind
When moving across the summit, the major challenge is to pass through the 3 km long glacier at night while battling the freezing winds. The piercing cold winds at the glacier at subzero temperatures can send jitters down your spine despite wearing warm layered clothes.
To brave this unforgiving cold, it is advised to layer up for maximum comfort and warmth and also cover your head and ears.
- Fitness level for inclination gradient
There is at least 70-degree inclination gradient on this steep terrain towards the summit. Therefore, the trekker of average fitness level may face many difficulties on the summit day which involves a tough push to the peak. Moreover, the hard glacier snow makes it difficult to move forward. You can rely on crampons for good grip. You must move forward with undivided attention to avoid any falls and slips. Your trekking pole is also going to help you here, should you choose to use.
It is advisable to have technical knowledge in the use of crampons, ice axes, and also roping-up procedures. Moreover, you need to ensure you are physically fit to endure all the challenges this trek throws at you. Regular exercises and running will help you overcome this difficult trek. Previous trekking experience is a huge advantage.
- Lack of sleep
For the summit day, you need to trek for at least 12 hours strenuously. But the challenge here is the “lack of sleep.” The midnight summit push will be very tiring and exhaustive. It is imperative to get a proper sleep after having an early dinner before the summit day so that your body stays fresh and also helps in acclimatization.
How to reach the start point of the trek
It is advised to reach Leh a couple of days prior to the trek for proper acclimatization. Leh is easily accessible by road from Manali or Srinagar. One can choose to fly to Leh from Delhi as well. The Stok Village is the starting point of your trek. From Leh you will have to reach the Stok Village through a very picturesque drive of 15 km and then trek to the overnight camp at Chang Ma which is at an altitude of 13,100 ft.
Advice and Expectations
- Come prepared with the right clothing and other protective equipments to brave the unpredictable mountain weather.
- Pack all your trekking gear safely, together with other essentials like woollen socks, wind-proof jacket, and caps.
- Choose quality and the right type of footwear like fitted boots to prevent frostbites.
- Carry a warm and sturdy sleeping bag for a comfortable sleep.
- Carry a high-quality backpack that can bear harsh conditions and wear and tear.
- An extensive planning and preparation is a must to undertake this trek successfully.
- Also, carry an identification proof and fitness certificate to help you obtain permits from the officials.
Stok Kangri is the best expedition to enjoy the beauty and thrills in the Himalayas. It is the perfect trek for aspiring mountaineers. But the harsh weather conditions increase its difficulty level. Therefore, it is important to prepare yourself according to the region’s weather and difficulty level. If you prepare appropriately and are ready to conquer the challenges of this epic trek, nothing can stop you from reaching the summit.
This is contributed by Seema Gurnani from https://pandareviewz.com