Year of 2016 started with a great adventure, exploring more new countries and climbing new mountains. Since last year my aim was to hit my first 6000m mountain. Due to the unforeseen circumstance my last year planned trip to STOK KANGRI had to be carried forward to 2016. Now finally here I am standing right top of STOK KANGRI (6153m) – Ladakh – India. My first 6000m+ mountain and it has never been an easy climb.
TO The Top Of STOK KANGRI(6153m)
- Elevation: 6,153 m
- First ascent: 1951
Stok Kangri falls in the village of Stok and around 15 km southwest of the Ladakhi capital of Leh. Despite its altitude, Stok Kangri is a popular peak and is often climbed as an initial non-technical foray into high altitude mountaineering.
Total Estimated Budget: SGD$1800 approx - 15day trip
- Singapore – Delhi – Singapore : SGD700
- Delhi – Leh – Delhi : SGD300
- Hike package: SGD800 ( Stok Kangri – Nubra Valley – Kardungla – Pangong Lake )
It’s been ages since the last I took Air India having a very bad experience on my previous trips, due to last minute booking I had left with no choice but to fly with Air India airlines. I was quite amazed with the service staff and also looked that the flights have been well renovated. It was a smooth experience flying with Air India. Finally, landed at noon in Delhi Airport made my way to the hotel nearby which I had made a booking for a night stop over.
Finally enjoying my dinner trying some local food I set back to hotel for a good sleep inorder to catch up my early morning flight to Leh the very next morning.
The alarm kicked me out of bed at 4am, hotel staff had managed to arrange a taxi to the airport. After making my checkin at the airport I stood for the flight all excited heading to Leh for the second time after my last visit to The FROZEN RIVER TREK – CHADAR TREK in JAN2016
The flights were scheduled on time and without any delay landed in Leh on time. Take a taxi which usually cost Rs250 from Airport to city central. Always make sure to get a prepaid taxi at the counter. The Agency had booked me at Loongma Guest House. It was a family run business and the owner was very friendly and nice. The stay was very comfortable. There I met my other travel partner Thomas who was from France.
We both decided to head to have our breakfast and do acclimatization hike up to the Leh Palace. One should not miss to try out the food at this French bakery which is located below Il Forno Restaurant @ Old Fort Road. The food is very delicious. From there the Leh Palace looked really awesome. So we took a walk up through the Leh village finally after like 20mins walk up we reach to the entrance. Foreigners need to pay an entrance of Rs250.
Leh Palace used to be a former Royal Palace from the top of it you can get a very good overlooking view of the Leh town. Its said to be modelled same as the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, the palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. Unfortunately most rooms were under renovations. At the top of the Palace lies Tsemo Maitreya Temple which is a Buddhist monastery and was founded in 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal of Ladakh. We rested there for a while overlooking the view of Leh City and finally we decided to head back to the city for some shopping, dinner and rest back at guesthouse for the night.
The rest of the group members arrived today. Deepak (event organiser),Patrick (DirtyGrandpa), Bharath & Ranjit. We all 6 went for breakfast and did the same acclimatization hike to Palace and Monastery again. We went to do our some last minute shopping for our next day trip. We were all set and ready to go.
Our permits had been approved and meet our guides and porters for a quick briefing. Our Guide Temba Sherpa who had summated Everest for 3times. It was a great opportunity to have him as our trip leader.
Day1 of hiking adventure begins to Mankarmo Camp(4600m)
Around 8am after our quick breakfast we all packed and arranged our bags at the jeep which was driving us all the way to the stok village, the entrance of the stok hiking trail. We started our trek at the Stok Village (3650mts). Our first camp will be at Mankarmo (4600 mts) and then the final base camp (4980mts); There used to be an advance base camp earlier, but it’s now closed due to stone falls and many accidents.
With a 40mins of scenic journey along the way, we arrived at the trail entrance. Met our other porters who already prepared horses to carry all the tents and gears for the trip. With my full backpack of about 16-18kg the group set the journey to the adventure.
Starting of the trail is gradually flat and passes next to the river. The first part of the trek to Mankarmo which usually takes anything between 4-6 hours depending on your speed; Half of the journey is a very slight ascent whereby we need to ascent. Rest of the journey is on the river bed with small stones. Unfortunately the weather turned out to be bad and started to rain. Luckily we managed to reach one of the small stall which was located on the way. We stopped for some tea and some of us had a maggi noodles which kept them warm. Finally the rain stopped and we pushed through to our 1st campsite. The weather was still gloomy and we could not see much clear view of the mountains.
Day2 Pushing our way to the Stok Base Camp(4980m)
The coulds had cleared the sky and the sun was bright up with a stunning view of the mountains which stood right infront of us. We took our breakfast packed our stuff and started the journey back on trail. The journey from Mankarmo to the base camp is a quite a short hike with one slight ascent and takes about 2-3 hours. Good thing about this trail is you could see Marmots running around everywhere. It was a great sighting of these wonderful creatures. Finally we arrived at Base camp and setup tents and rested for the day.
The weather was changing soon and felt that it was a very good day to hit the summit same night. Based on the other people who were at the camp site informed us some groups have been stranded for 2 days due to the bad weather and they were waiting for the summit window. The group of us were quite strong but even without proper acclimatization it was very risky to go up the mountain. Our earlier plan was to spend 2 night acclimatize at base camp and then hit the summit. But this bad weather and short summit window period put our team for discussion.
After our lunch the team and guide decided to push for the night summit attack and 2 of them decided to stop at basecamp. Right away we hit our bed and rested till night. Woke up for dinner and packed all our stuff and gears which were required for the night hike. Crampons, Snow Shoes can be rented at the base camp there is a small stall which rents out. But to be advised better rent at Leh the gears were very bad conditions even though it was a cheap rental for a day hike.
Around 11am our guide briefed us on the safety of the hike and we set our journey. It was a steep uphill climb, after a 30mins walk we reach the top hill at 5100m.
Day3 Journey to the top – STOK KANGRI SUMMIT
Continued with the hike we passed through the advance base camp which leads to the glacier part. This place we could see huge groups ahead of us slowly making their way up the mountain. From here all I could see was a trail of headlamps and the start of steep ascent. At some point we didn’t know where we were climbing all I could do was just follow the person in front. There was some snow fall on the trail and we hadn’t put our crampons so we were walking very slowly.
One of our member was having hard time to ascent and some didn’t wanted to go slow so we had to break the team and started to take the lead all the way up. The ascent was just killing we were taking break almost every 5mins walk. As the sun started to come up we could see colors of rays over the mountain and stunned to see how steep we were ascending.
We finally reached the last 3 steep climb where we had to put our crampons this part was extremely dangerous without the ropein. We took little extra care and pass the traverse. Around 100m short fall the mountain was covered with snow. With our crampons we pushed the last 100m and all of us made it to the summit around 7.30am. It was the happiest moment to be on top of 6153m it was a great achievement for my first 6000m+ mountain and it felt a hard climb.
After taking lots of pictures we decided to descend down which was the hardest part as most our energy was drained while climbing up. Some of took a lot of break while descending to recover our sore muscles. At about 12noon I first reached the base camp all I could do was just hit the bed and rest. And slowly and hour later the group arrived and all rested till dinner.
It was a great achievement for the group and all were very happy achieving their dream to summit STOK KANGRI(6253m)
“In the mountains there are only two grades: You can either do it, or you can’t.” (Rusty Baille)