Stok Kangri Trek – Trekking is fun if you are doing it with the like-minded trekkers. True! But trekking is even more fun if you are choosing the best possible place for trekking.
Nothing beats the feeling of trekking the Himalayas, especially from the Ladakh area.
No doubt Kashmir is the heaven on earth but Ladakh too is not less than any heaven.
In fact, it is that cinematic heaven which gives the pleasure of experiencing all the landscapes including the sky, mountain, river, and land in one single frame.
Trekking in the Leh Ladakh region is like an adventurous dream for the trekkers.
Best trekking destination in Leh Ladakh is Stok Kangri trek which is 6000 meters high as Stok Kangri is the highest peak in the area.
Spectacular would be an understatement adjective describing this trek.
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About Stok Kangri Trek
Stok Kangri trek is the most challenging, famous and the best treks of the Ladakh area. It is the highest peak of the Ladakh area and one of the highest ranges of the Himalayas. From this peak, you can view the entire Indus Valley and the Zanskar valley.
Already Leh is a beautiful place having cultural beauty and natural exquisiteness and because of this, the Stok Kangri trek becomes even more beautiful.
The altitude of this trek is quite high but reaching the top point of this trek would only take around 3 days which is not possible with the other Himalayan treks.
But the trek is going to be quite challenging as the main summit will be a long stretch glacier, immense chilly winds flowing, the air becoming thin and the oxygen supply getting weaker.
You would be crossing the barren grey landscape of Leh area and will be crossing green fields, gorgeous glaciers, steep slopes and beautiful chilly water bodies. The adventurers would be thrilled by the sight of the mountains while trekking in this area.
The trail of this trek includes deserted surroundings, countless ridges, lofty mountains and green fields. The trail is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in India and it is considered to be one of the most captivating places in the country.
As we told, trekkers are going to trek their dreamlike destination at this one. With each trail, one could see the scenery changing at this trek.
And especially during the winters, the beauty of this place is unmatchable as the mountain peak is covered with thick snow. Once you reach the summit, you will be able to see the Indus Valley and Zanskar completely.
The trek is for 9 days and assures it to be the best of your life.
Day 1 – Arrive at Leh
The first day of the trek begins with the arrival at Leh. Leh is one of the most beautiful places on the earth.
Hotels will be pre-booked so you have to check into the hotel. You have the full day to explore this place.
A little briefing session would be conducted for sharing the important details of the trek. Renting of the trekking equipment will be done this day. Other than this, full day plans are up to you.
Day 2 – Full Day Touring at Leh with the Group
The next day is totally dedicated to exploring the beautiful Leh. The plan of exploring the city is with the whole trekking group.
You could explore the monasteries and other tourist places. Take a break to enjoy some local dishes.
Day 3 – Drive to the Stok Village and Trek to Chang Ma
The drive to the Stok village is for 35 minutes and the distance is of 15 km. While driving, you will come across some of the best sights and you will feel that you are in the middle of the heaven, to be honest.
The Stok village is really picturesque with the lush green trees and beautiful Himalayan peaks.
After this, you will start trekking to Chang Ma. The trek would take around 4 hours and the distance is of 5.5 km. You would be enjoying hot lunch at the campsite and the night would be spent in the tents.
Day 4 – Going to Mankorma from Chang Ma
On the fourth day, you will be trekking to Mankorma from Chang Ma. The trek distance is of about 3.5 km and would take around 3 hours to trek.
You will explore the barren grey landscape of the Ladakh area, few small streams and a beautiful sight.
This scene would make you feel being in the cold desert with snow everywhere. This trek is not that difficult one.
You would be spending the nights at the tents.
Day 5 – Moving towards the Base Camp from Mankorma
To reach the base camo from Mankorma, you again have to trek for 4 hours to cover the distance of 4 km.
The ascent of this trek is moderate to difficult. You would find a number of water bodies here.
Gulap Kangri, Parcha Kangri, and many other peaks are there to enjoy the sight. The air becomes thin here and the lack of oxygen supply is less there.
Day 6 – Training and Chilling Day
Before going to trek the Stok Kangri peak, an easy day will be given to you. Have your breakfast, explore the place a bit and get ready for the briefing session.
You will be taught to use technical equipment as well as planning for the summit will be done.
A day of rest is given so that your body has a day to relax because the other two days are going to strenuous.
Day 7 – Finally trek to the Stok Kangri Trek
You will be starting really early for this trek. The route of this trek is going to be tough including the glaciers, steep slopes, and the summit ridge.
The climb is really long and it would take around 9 to 10 hours to climb.
You will get the views of the Karakoram range and the Zanskar range. The night will be spent in the tents.
Day 8 – Coming back to Stok Village and then to Leh
You have to trek down 13 km and it would take around 6 hours.
This day is going to be fantastic as you already have completed the trek and as well as you will come across some picturesque sights.
Then the drive starts from the Stok village commences towards Leh.
The drive is for 15 minutes and would be of 15 km. After reaching Leh, you will be checking into the hotel and spending the night there.
Day 9 – Departure from Leh
On the 9th day, a small group breakfast at Leh will be conducted.
Post this group breakfast, the trekkers would have to return to their own destinations from this place.
The strenuous, gorgeous and the epic Stok Kangri trek ends on the 9th day.
Location and How to Reach
Stok Kangri trek is located in the Leh city which is the capital city of Ladakh. To be precise, the Stok Kangri peak is located in the Hemis National Park.
The peak is actually situated 15 km southwest from the city of Leh.
Leh is very well connected via railways, roadways and the airways. The trekkers can choose any of the transport mediums of their choice
The nearest airport to Leh is Kushok Bakula airport which is in Leh. This is the Indian airport built at the highest elevation.
The nearest railway station to Leh is the Jammu Tavi railway station. And one can easily reach Leh by the public and private transport via the roadways.
Even the bikers travel all the way to Leh as a part of the adventure expedition.
Things to Carry
- A Backpack with all your necessities to cover the entire Stok Kangri trek.
- A rain cover because you cannot predict the Stok Kangri hiking temperature. The climate is really unpredictable and the temperature even falls incredibly during the daytime which you would not have thought.
- Water bottles and all your refreshments which include all sorts of hydration packs which you prefer to keep you energized.
- Snacks like the energy bars and the protein bars which would give you instant energy during your trek. During the nonmeal hours, you can eat these and get back on the track with full energy.
- Personal Medical Kit with all the necessary first aid items and medicines which you feel you will need. It is always advisable to take medicines for dizziness, upset stomach, headache, and cold and cough while being in Himalayan camps or anywhere.
- Pack your outfits with all the relatable clothing items like wind and waterproof jackets, t-shirts, track pants, thermal inners, trekking shoes and fleece jackets. All the necessary winter outfits for the winter treks.
- All the toiletries products in a bag because you will need them the most.
- Also do not forget to take your extra accessories like the sunglasses, caps, gloves, walking stick, torch, and similar other items. These products are really important and you would not get the chance to buy them anywhere while being on the trek.
- You must avoid the sports shoes, jeans, and shorts while going to the Himalayan camp. It is always better to stick to the trek pants and the joggers. They keep you comfortable and perfectly fine while walking up and down the rocky ridges. We also advise you to keep extra joggers with you. And as far as possible to stick to the thicker fabrics because it would be cold over there.
- Do carry a pair of gloves as you will need them the most.
This trek is one of the most fascinating treks in India and is located in the Leh city.
The maximum altitude of this trek is 20,080 feet which are totally over the top. It is at an elevation of 6000 meters.
Though as compared to the other higher treks of the Himalayan region, it takes around 4 to 5 days to reach the summit. But the trekkers can reach the summit of this trek in just 3 days.
Apart from all these, the difficulty level of this trek is difficult and the beginners cannot do it at all.
To go on and explore the Stok Kangri trek, one needs to have a prior trekking experience and professional skills.
The trails that one needs to cross at the Stok Kangri trek are difficult. The temperature is also unpredictable so everyone would not be able to handle it.
People who have taken the Himalayan expeditions before are advised to go on this trek and no one else.
For the beginners, it would be really difficult and the professionals even believe that they will not be able to complete the trek and reach the final destination.
Also, the trekkers who have taken long treks previously and have been on the treks which take about a week at least can manage this long trek which extends up to at least 10 days.
The beginners have mostly experienced the treks of smaller durations like 2 to 5 days so it would be difficult for them to survive for more than a week to cover this trek.
ATM Points and Connectivity
The last ATM point that you will get before you start with the Stok Kangri trek is at Leh. Leh is a well-planned town with good connectivity so you can easily find ATMs here.
Since it is one of the most popular tourist and adventure places of the country, finding ATM would be quite easy here.
If the trekkers have to withdraw the money for the emergency use then this is the last accessible spot.
And even the last area to receive the phone connectivity before starting the Stok Kangri trek will be at Leh.
As you keep progressing and cross Leh, your phone connectivity gets weaker and eventually will be lost as the area after that is not friendly with the phone connectivity.
You may find weaker phone connectivity after this but finding an ATM would really be difficult.
Permissions and Permits
Before going to trek any Himalayan destination including the Stok Kangri trek, you need to take permission and the permit of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) to let your Himalaya trekking expedition go smooth. It takes one day to issue this permit.
These permits and permissions are really important to take before going on any Indian trek because they are ones who give you the authority to enter a certain region.
If you are going on a trekking expedition through a trekking company then they take these permissions on your behalf and sort your issues.
They take the permission for the whole troop. These things make it easier and better to go for any trek in a group that too through trek service providers.
All costs of permissions/permits are included in the package. Even our professionals would do this on your behalf and take all the required permissions.
But the trekkers need to carry their id proofs, and the non-Indian trekkers also need to carry their passports.
You must also take your medical certificate along with you to prove that you are fit enough to go on this trek.
My Experience of the Stok Kangri Trek
I got the opportunity once to go on Stok Kangri trek and obviously I was sceptical about it. But, I gathered all the courage in the world and hit this trek.
To be honest, I had never been to Ladakh ever and the beauty of the place wanted me to go on this trek.
To start with, yes, I went on this trek alone through a trekking group because none of my friends were ready for it. For the starting of the trek every trekker had to reach Leh on their own.
And after a briefing session in Leh we had the time to explore the city and I was the most happy about it.
Next day, after having breakfast and refreshments, we went for a drive towards the Stok Kangri village and the sights that we came across was amazing. Saying it to be picturesque would surely be an understatement.
It really felt like a drive in the heaven. We came across some lush green trees and the snow capped Himalayan peaks.
The trek to Chang Ma was also adventurous and we spent the night at the campsite after having dinner. The camp time was also entertaining.
The next day trek was a small one to Mankorma where we crossed some beautiful small streams, grey barren landscape of the Leh Ladakh area and some pretty sights.
To be honest, these sights were like straight from the heaven.
The 6th day was a pleasant day for everyone where everyone got the chance to interact with each other and chill.
We had the day to chill and feel the beauty of the place. Having snacks, tea and bevarages made our day quite happening.
Till this, we have experienced the sights of the small streams, snow capped Himalayan peaks, the picturesque Stok Kangri village, lush green vegetation and trees.
The next day was the most adventurous one as we had to climb the Stok Kangri peak. While being on this trek, we crossed the longest snow glacier which is hell tough.
The climb was really tough because of the steep slopes and steep ridges.
The peak was at the height of 20,000 feet and this is the highest peak of the area and reaching this was an achievement of its own.
Everything became hell lot difficult because of the thin air and lack of oxygen supply.
Not only I returned with loads of memories but I also experienced staying at the highest peak where the air became thin. This was one hell of a crazy but knowledgeable experience.
Best Season to Go on the Stok Kangri Trek
Stok Kangri trek is one of the best treks in Ladakh. Stok Kangri is one of the highest peaks in India in the Leh Ladakh area.
People visit Leh Ladakh throughout the year but during the summer season, the travel quotient of the city is the highest.
During the summer, the weather of the place is pleasant and there is no issue of any snowfall and the landslide.
Ladakh is at a high elevation so the altitude of the region is high. Because of this the temperature also falls below the freezing point.
The average temperature of Leh Ladakh during the summer season is between 20 degrees to 30 degrees centigrade, in the daytime. This temperature is bearable and is considered to be the max during the summer season.
The temperature at the night however falls and reaches up to 10-degree centigrade or even lesser. But for the Himalayan region, this fall in the temperature is normal.
So for going on the trek to Stok Kangri is best suitable during the months of May to October. The summers and the beginning of the winters make for the best time to go on this trek.
Also, an advantage of going for the summer treks at Stok Kangri is that you will be able to survive without any hassle for the 10 days.
If you are a professional trekker or love to enjoy the extremity of the nature, then you may also go on this trek during the months of November or December. But the temperature extremity would make the trek even more tougher.
This trek is already a difficult one because of the difficult trails and the height. So, if you choose a season which makes this difficult trek a lot more challenging then you may have to bear with the consequences.
So, it is always better to go for the summer treks at Stok Kangri.
How to Prepare for Stok Kangri Trek?
1.Prevent your Altitude Sickness
The Stok Kangri trek is at a higher altitude and above 12000 feet one can feel the altitude sickness for sure.
The peak is at a height of 20,000 feet and almost all the camps are also nearing this height so you have been in that altitude during the entire trek.
The air becomes thin at that altitude and surplus oxygen supply also becomes limited so one feels the altitude sickness at that level. It is very important to prevent the altitude sickness.
And for this, you must drink ample water, eat well, strictly avoid drinking and smoking, and don’t be restless.
2.Fight the Restlessness and Lack of Sleep
This is the normal case with every trekker. Because of the long and strenuous trekking hours, it is obvious that the trekkers would feel sleepy. And because of the lack of sleep, every trekker is bound to feel restless.
But during the time of the peak hours of the morning, you are not bound to feel sleepy and not indulge in resting. Instead, you could rest during the daytime during the trekking hours.
3.Keep Your Acidity Levels in Check
During any trek and especially during this trek which is at such a high altitude one would surely face gastronomic problems.
Having heavy dinner is something every trekker indulges in because they feel they need it after every day’s hard work.
But because of this, the acidity level of a human increase and one is more likely to get gastronomic issues. So, you must keep in mind to have a heavy breakfast but a lighter lunch and dinner.
4.Work on your Lower Body
Well, you must be thinking what is the need for working out and building your body prior to this trek?
This trek is not an easy one to take it so lightly. The inclination gradient of this trek is a tough one.
In addition to this, the hard snow layer on the glacier stretch makes it difficult to have a firm grip upon.
Your crampons and the trekking poles are surely going to help you. But what is extremely important in this case is maintaining a lower body strength.
So, you must indulge in slighter workouts to prepare for this trek. Doing jumps, squats and lower body stretch at least 20 days before would give you strength in that area.
5.Carry Extra Winter Clothing and be Prepared for the Chilly Winds
The most difficult days which the trekkers would face during the Stok Kangri trek is when they reach the long glacier stretch.
Crossing this stretch is the most difficult. The reason for this is extremely cold winds blowing at the lowest possible temperature.
Wearing three to four layers of clothes is a must needed so make sure to carry as many extra clothes as possible and that too of the thicker fabric.
Precautions for the Stok Kangri Trek
- You strictly have to follow the rules laid down by the professionals when you are in the mountains. And if you are in one of the highest peaks of the Ladakh area, you should never ignore the rules otherwise you may land yourself into serious troubles.
- Go for trekking at Stok Kangri only during those seasons when the temperature is bearable and trekking is fun rather than strenuous.
- Pack very light because the trek is for 10 days. But make sure to carry all your necessary items especially your medicines.
- Have a research about the geography, wildlife, picturesque sights and a lot more alike things so that you don’t miss out on any fun. Having a prior research of the place is always a better idea.
- Do not skip the briefing session which is conducted prior to the start of the trek. This is a really important session where you are taught about the entire trek. If you miss the important details here then it may be difficult for you later.
- Refill your water bottles whenever possible because staying hydrated while trekking is one of the fundamental things to be strict about.
- Do have a record of all the important numbers with you. You never know when the situation of emergency happens and you may require these contacts.
- Have enough waterproof bags to secure your gadgets like the phones and the cameras. You must have a back up for protecting your things.
- Keep your walking pace same with the other trekkers. Do not be so overenthusiastic to walk faster and be the first one to reach. Also, do not be extremely slow. In both the cases, you may face premature fatigue.
- You are bound to get some frostbites on your feet for sure so you must wear good quality footwear and fitted boots. Fitted boots or the trekking boots would ensure that you would not trip. Also, other than the shoes, you must wear the socks which ensures correct blood circulation on your feet. Trust the fabric keeping the weather of the place in mind.
- Do not start your trek without taking your id proof. You will need this for sure. You cannot make your trek without your id proofs. If you don’t carry your id proof then you may not be allowed to start the trek.
Best Things to do at Stok Kangri Trek –
1.Explore and a bit sight-seeing at Leh
The starting point of this trek is at Leh. So, you can start by exploring this city. The landscape of this city is straight a sight out of the heaven. So, if you are here you must explore this gorgeous place.
The breathtaking sights at this place are unmatchable.
Make sure to explore and capture the beauty of Leh as much as possible. The experience and the memories made here is truly forever.
2.Reach the Highest Motorable point in the World – Khar Dung La
While being at the Stok Kangri trek you will reach the highest motorable point in the world which is the Khardungla pass. From here you will have the most spectacular views of the snow-capped peak of the Karakoram range.
You would feel you could touch those peaks. They seem so near and real. From Khar Dung La, you can go to various other valleys like the Nubra valley and the Siachen Glacier.
3.Have a Peaceful Time at the Stok Village
You would definitely reach this village and you get some time to stay here and explore the beauty of this place.
It is a small village but has some spectacular sights. You could meet the locals in this village.
You can click pictures of their huts and lifestyle with their permission.
4.Feel Happy to reach the Top
There is no better feeling in the world than to reach the top successfully. This peak is the highest one of the Ladakh area and is also the most difficult one.
Once you have reached the top, you know you have made it.
Feel the happiness of achievement from the top. Being the highest point of the area, the sights that you could see from here are more than spectacular.
Necessary Trekking Equipment
When you are all ready for the Stok Kangri trek, make sure to carry at least a pair of 12 to 14 crampons.
Ice axe is really important for the treks. So, one non-technical ice axe would do.
To try out some adventurous activities, these are needed. So, make sure to carry a climbing harness and a carabineer.
4.Map of the Trekking Are
You would be given the map of the trekking area on the day of briefing session. At no cost, ignore this. This is the most important thing you need to carry while trekking.
Another one of the most important things while trekking that you will need without a doubt is a sleeping bag and asleep liner. You will not be able to sleep without this. So, this should be the first thing on your packing list.
You could have either a head torch or any small torch with a good voltage of light. Also, take spare batteries with you so that you can refill the torch.
7.Polarizing Sun Glasses
To avoid the potential snow blindness, which a lot of people face, you must carry a pair of polarizing sunglasses with you.
This is again a thing you need to carry for any trek. You will be told at the briefing session to carry a swiss knife for sure before going on the trek.
Last but not the least, a trekking pole is something which you need to carry for your Stok Kangri trek or basically any other trek.
Where Can I rent trekking equipment for the Stok Kangri Trek?
No matter how frequently you go for trekking, we would advise you to rent the trekking equipment for every trek. This not only this reduces the trekking cost but also your burden of taking care of these equipments forever.
You just have to take care of these equipments while they are with you and no maintenance cost is required.
Trekking equipments are really expensive and you can cut down on these extra costs. If you are wondering from where to rent the trekking equipments of good quality, here are some of the websites.
- Trekking Tents on Rent
- Shoes on Loose
- Trekking Himalayas
- Rent on Go
- Zebra Cross
- Unwind Life
These were some of the best websites for renting the trekking equipments.
You may also find some offline trekking equipment stores in the Leh area but we recommend you to pack your things before hand so that you stay hassle free.
How good is Stok Kangri trek for a solo travel plan?
We would advise you to take this trek solo if you have been on treks before. If you have gone on a trek before then solo trekking can be fun and even more adventurous.
This trek is not an easy one but moderate to difficult. It is at a height of 20, 000 feet. So, it is not going to be easy. But if you are determined then you can go on this trek alone as it will be totally fun.
All you should do is go through the best trekking group so that you don’t face difficulties.
A good trekking tour company ensures the best experience for you without getting it on your nerves. So, be sure to do a good research and choose the best trekking group.
Meeting the new and like minded people and going on such treks
Also, convincing people to go on such strenuous treks is really difficult. Friends cancel a lot of plans at the last moment and if you don’t want to ruin your plans, get strong and get going.
This is surely going to be the best experience of your life.
Travelling solo is something everyone should once in their lifetime and if you are getting chance to try a solo trekking trip, do not ignore it.
You would experience a lot of things which would stay with you forever by going on a solo trip.
Cost of this Trek
The starting price of Stok Kangri trek is Rs 18,150. The price is per person and it is of a total duration of 9 days.
Inclusion in this package
- Travelling expense during the trek.
- Accomodation expense
- Permit fees
- First Aid
- Trekking Equipment
- Guide and Support Team
- Personal expense
- Alcohol and drugs.
Is Guide Required ?
Before starting the trek, there will be a briefing session given to you where the professionals would be giving you the most important tips and tricks. Attending this session is very important.
They brief you about the entire trek in advance and also list the precautions and various other things.
Apart from this, a guide is important to lead you in any trek. A good service provider is the one who provides you with the trekking trip arranges for a guide for you.
The guide would help you with the places, sights, tips, and tricks. So, a guide is important for sure for any trekking trip.
We tried our best to pen down the beauty of the Stok Kangri trek in words but we know we have not even done halfway justice to its beauty. As they say, you cannot explore if you do not step out.
So if you are an adventure enthusiast you must take up this adventure once in your life to experience the epitome of the adventure life.
The Stok Kangri Trek is an experience that will touch your soul and will give you memories for life.
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