Period of Operation: June to September.
Duration : 17 Nights / 18 Days
Flying into the Ladakhi capital of Leh, the shapely peak of Stok Kangri (20075 ft) is prominent on the southern skyline is the perfect objective for fit trekkers without climbing experience that want to summit on their first Himalayan peak. Spending several days acclimatizing visit the colourful monasteries, several remote and picturesque villages, camp. This is wonderfully varied trip perfectly suited to someone seeking his or her first Himalayan summit. The south ridge provides an exhilarating climb in these fantastic surroundings. The route is challenging, interesting and it provides the stunning views of the Karakoram Range and on a clear day even K2 in the far distance.
Day 01 : Arrive Leh
On arrival at Leh airport meet with the representative of Max Holidays who meet, greet and transfer you to your pre-booked hotel. Rest of the time free to acclimatize as Leh is at an altitude of nearly 11,000ft, and you can expect to feel the effects of the rarefied atmosphere. Overwhelm yourself with the virgin beauty of shimmering lakes, gurgling rivers, proud mountains, mystic lamas and loving people. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 02 : Exploring the city of Leh
Morning breakfast at the hotel. Today time free to enjoy the surroundings of Leh, to allow the effects of the altitude to wear off. This is an important period, which allows the body to acclimatize in preparation for the initial trek. Relax whole day. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 03 : Drive to Lamayuru (3600 mts, 11810 ft)
Morning breakfast at the hotel. Later drive to Lamayuru around 06 hrs. It is known for its high meadow camp sites and dry desert land, high passes and snow capped peaks. Enroute visit Alchi. After rest at Lamayuru leave on trek for Wanla. Move through the fields and leave the valley and the trail goes through the dry gorge and ascends to the Prinkiti-La at (12225 ft/3726 mts). It is a fairly short, steep ascent to the summit of the La (pass), but it is soon gained if you maintain a steady pace. The path then gradually descends a narrow gorge until Mani Wall and Chortens herald your arrival in the Wanla Valley. The ochre monastery in Wanla can be glimpsed through the trees. Reach the campsite (Around 3hrs) and Overnight stay.
Day 04 : Trek up the Ripchar Valley
Morning after breakfast follow a broad trail that runs along the side of the valley until we reach the village of Phenji. Turn up the Ripchar valley. Refresh yourself and have your lunch. Continue climbing and reach Hinju, where it is possible to buy a most welcome bottle of pop. Reach the campsite beyond Hinju total walking approximately 6 hours, altitude 3,800m/12,000ft. Overnight in camp.
Day 05 : Cross Konse La
Today leave early and follow an easy path until we are at the foot of the Konse La (height just under 4,950m/16,000ft). The walking at this point needs more energy, but all of the effort is soon forgotten once you will reach at the top, from this vantage point, the views are spectacular and breathtaking. The descent is as swift as it is steep but as it eases, we pass a number of shepherds' huts where we may be offered curd. The campsite is reached after about one hour's decent from the pass. Total walking about 5 hours, altitude of the campsite approximately 4,100m/13,500ft.
Day 06 : Trek to the village of Sumdochenmo
From the campsite, the trail descends gradually, criss-crossing a pleasant stream. After a time, we leave this and follow a path adjacent to a water channel until the village of Sumdochenmo is reached. At the village, it is possible to obtain tea and there is a small monastery, which provides a short distraction. After the village, the path contours high above the valley bottom until it drops to a junction of several valleys. Here we find some welcome shade where we may take our lunch. Until this point, we have been descending gradually. In front of us is a climb separating us from our campsite. At a steady pace, the high point can be reached in about an hour before a gradual descent leads to a dusty but pleasant campsite with spectacular views. Approximately 4 hours of walking, altitude of campsite about 3,900m/13,000ft.
Day 07 : First views of Stok Kangri from Dungduchenia
Morning enjoy the breakfast and leave the camp and pass some herdsmans' huts on our way to the top of a pass. The path is obvious and delightful views of the mountains are afforded (great place for echoes near the top). The top is reached within two hours. The Dungduchenia is at an altitude of about 4,450m/15,000ft and from here, enjoy the excellent views of Stok Kangri. The way down is most pleasant to begin with, but a steep descent into a gorge heralds the start of a slog if the weather is hot. Fortunately, the campsite at Chilling makes up for the hard work. Sometimes beer is available as well as rum for the more discerning. About 5 hours walking, altitude of campsite, about 3,100m/10,200ft.
Day 08 : Return drive along the banks of the Indus to Leh
Morning after breakfast start the day, so as to relax after completing the initial part of the expedition. The trek will take us through spectacular country our fitness and acclimatization, to the altitude. The benefits might not be immediately apparent, as we shake off the celebrations from the night before, but on summit day to come our acclimatised bodies will be more assured. After packing up the camp, we embark by road for the return drive along the banks of the Indus to Leh. Arrive in the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 09 -10 : Rest and exploration in and around Leh
Morning breakfast at the hotel. Time free for your own leisure to explore the city on your own. Beneath it, the streets, alleyways and tunnels of the ancient city are intriguing to explore, and many of the local markets. There are many shops, bazaars and restaurants among which you can spend a very pleasant and restful day. On the horizon, to the south, one mountain rises higher than all around - Stok Kangri. Spend the time in visiting monasteries like Thiksey, Shey Palace, and Stok Palace Museum. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 11 : Begin trek up Matho River Valley to Stok Kangri
Early morning we drive up the Indus Valley to Matho (2 hours), which is the start of our approach to Stok Kangri. Returning once again, we trek up the Matho River Valley and set up camp after several hours' walk, at a place called Matho Phul (4,480m/14,700ft). After our rest in Leh, everyone should be fit and in good shape for the trek to base camp and climb.
Day 12 : Trek to Stok Kangri base camp
From Matho Phul, we continue up the valley making a steep climb over a pass from which we get more super views of Stok Kangri. Also visible below is base camp and the whole route from base camp to the summit can be pointed out. From here, a steady descent leads to our base camp and home for the next two nights (altitude approx. 5,000m/16,000 ft).
Day 13 : A rest day and time for final preparations
Morning after breakfast the expedition leader will check the route to the glacier and looks for a site for advance base camp. It is possible that he may require help to prepare the site for this camp, which is located on the glacier, cradled on the lower slopes of the mountain itself, several hours above base camp.
Day 14: Move to advance base camp
Morning from the base camp, climb up the moraine, which is above the camp. It is quite tiring but it soon give a gentle access to the glacier beyond. Depending on snow conditions we may put on crampons as soon as we walk onto the glacier. The surface of the glacier will probably be uneven but there are a few, very small crevasses, which are crossed easily. At the top of the glacier the slope steepens as we climb up onto the south face where the camp is located on a promontory of rough ground at approximately 5,300m/17,400ft.
Day 15 : Summit day
Today summit day starts before dawn, to give us ample time for the climb. Being several hours above base camp, starting from here considerably shortens the day and increases everyone's chances of reaching the summit. The nature of the climb from advance base camp depends on the snow cover. It is most likely that we do not need our crampons for the most part as we scramble over scree and boulders, which lead up to the south ridge. The 1,500 ft ridge that stretches up to the summit is exciting and superbly exposed, although never particularly steep and very straightforward. Most of the ridge is like a steep path, so ropes are not usually necessary, although some scrambling is required. At an altitude approaching 20,000 ft it is extremely tiring and anybody who needs a rope will be able to use one.
The summit is an awesome reward for your efforts, giving fantabulous views. You can see the Leh city. You can take the photographs for your sweet memories, have something to eat, and then set off backdown the hill. The leader will decide the route, occasionally the groups have descended the south face, small absell is necessary near the top. Then reaching the glacier come back to base camp. Enjoy the celebrations along with the evening meal.
Day 16 : Spare Summit Day
Morning have breakfast one more day is allowed in case weather, individual acclimatization, or anything else, requires more time for the ascent to be completed successfully. Overnight stay.
Day 17 : Trek to Stok from base camp
From base camp we trek directly down the valley towards the village of Stok. This is a delightful walk, passing several homesteads and numerous ruins of old fortresses. We reach Stok after about six hours walking, from where transport meets us and take us back to the hotel in Leh.
Morning after breakfast time free till your transfers to the Airport for your onward flight with Sweet Memories of Ladakh.
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