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Stok Kangri Trek – Guide To One Of The Most Challenging Treks At Ladakh

Written By: Srushti

Ladakh, located in Jammu and Kashmir, is one of the most magnificent places to visit in India. With lofty snow-capped mountains, high altitude cold deserts, glimmering lakes and pristine natural beauty, a visit to Ladakh is definitely a must for all travellers. Due to its high peaks and rough terrain, it is one of the most sought after destinations for adventurous activities like trekking, mountain biking, river rafting, to name a few.

One such adventure is the trek to Stok Kangri. It is the highest peak in the Stok range of mountains in Ladakh. Perched at a height of 20,000 ft, Stok Kangri is one of the most challenging and underrated treks, that has recently gained attention.

Stok Kangri Trek

PC: Sagar

Basic Details Of The Trek

The level of difficulty is much often underrated, but the most important aspect of the trek is to get acclimatised before and during the trek. Especially if you reach Ladakh by flight, getting properly acclimatised prior to the trek is very necessary; otherwise you might end up with acute headaches and nausea.

It is obvious by now that the trek is quite difficult and you need to be physically fit in order to complete the trek. The final phase of the trek might be especially difficult since the high altitude may cause breathing problems. It is an 8-days-long trek, beginning from the arrival to Leh. Prior experience with trekking is a must for this herculean trek.

The months of July to August is ideal to trek to Stok Kangri, when the snow is mostly cleared off from the slopes and only found on the mountain peak.

Stok Kangri Trek

PC: Jørn Eriksson

Things To Carry

Basics like a backpack including rain covers, energy bars or dry fruits, toiletries, water bottles and a medical kit are a must, along with a walking stick and a torch. Carry comfortable clothes like t-shirts and track pants, and for the cold, carry thermals and wind/waterproof jackets. Wearing good-quality trekking shoes for the trek is a must.

Here's how the trek will be.

Trekking Day 1 to 3

Once you reach Leh, it is advised to spend a day or two getting acclimatised. While you're at it, you can visit some places in Leh like the Shanti Stupa (/travel-guide/shanti-stupa-the-symbol-of-peace-and-prosperity-003858.html), Pangong Lake, Thiksey Monastery, etc. On day 3, drive to the Stok village which will mark the beginning of your trek.

Stok Kangri Trek

PC: Jørn Eriksson

Enjoy the beautiful vistas of Ladakh on the way. The trek will be till Chang Ma, which is perched at an altitude of 13,087 ft, through Stok village. You can see the royalty of Stok village since the king of Ladakh lives in this village. Once you reach Chang Ma, pitch your camps on the open and clear lands of this place.

Trekking Day 4 to 6

Apart from crossing a few streams of water, you will truly understand the meaning of the high altitude cold desert of Ladakh on the 4th day of the trek, since most of the trek will be through a deserted grey landscape. This bit is quite easy, and the destination to reach on the 4th day is Mankorma, situated at 14,200 ft. With 4 days of acclimatisation, you should be good to go for Stok Kangri.

Stok Kangri Trek

PC: Jørn Eriksson

The base camp is located at 16,300 ft, which is a pleasant place to trek to, since it is a grassy patch of land. Many sights like Parcha Kangri and Gulap Kangri can be viewed. The trek from Makorma to the base camp is just for a few hours.

Day 6 will be a rest day when you'll learn about the difficult terrain, like sinking snow, that you will have to trek through in the following days. You can spend the day prepping for the last phase while enjoying the beauty of Ladakh.

Trekking Day 7 and 8

7th day of the trek is the big day, when you have to be mentally and physically prepared to make the longest and the most strenuous part of this entire trek. You will be climbing from the base camp to Stok Kangri, perched at a height of 20,080 ft. The route will be through glaciers and then finally a summit ridge.

Stok Kangri Trek

PC: Jørn Eriksson

This trek will take about 9 to 10 hours for average trekkers, and an additional 2 or 3 hours for those who trek slow. Therefore start the day as early as possible. Once you reach the summit at the end of the day, you will realise that the herculean trek was worth every struggle. With the view of Karakoram ranges in the north and Zanskar ranges in the south, the beautiful vista will leave you spellbound.

After an overnight stay, prepare for the return trek. This is comparitively less harder and almost 14 km can be covered in a span of 4-5 hours. You can divide this final part into two days by staying overnight at the base camp; however, it is possible to return to Leh on the same day.

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