The stunning Stok Kangri Trek is much more than just traversing through the mighty Himalayas – it is a life-changing experience. This popular trek is extremely challenging, and yet at each point, you will feel rejuvenated, motivated and refreshed to carry on through the snow-covered peaks and the large boulders.
Said to be one of the toughest treks, the Stok Kangri Trek has defeated many and humbled others. With awe-inspiring sights, glaciers that will make you gasp, and narrow alleys that fall straight into a dark abyss- this trek is not for the amateurs and faint-hearted people.
The trek starts from the Ladakh area and is the highest peak in the Ladakh region. While, the trek is exceptionally challenging, and you will feel like giving up at every point- the rewards are truly worth it. At the end of the trek, you will be able to witness a sight that is only reserved for the Gods. From the peak, you can witness the entire grandeur of the Indus and the Zanskar Valley opening up to you. It is surreal, and magical in every way. This view is so captivating, that most trekkers keep visualizing it to keep them motivated and on the path throughout their perilous journey.
The entire trek starting from Leh takes about seven excruciating and life-altering days. From, virgin meadows, to lush green fields, from glistening glaciers to slippery slopes – you will be crossing everything. There are areas where you might not find any living thing from acres and acres, there are places where only mountains and ridges exist! With each step, you will find the scenery changing and showing you something that you have never seen.
This is perhaps the most relaxing day that you will encounter before you have to dive headfirst into a trek like never before. On this day you need to arrive at the stunning town of Leh. Indulge in its beauty and culture and get enough sleep before you dive into the world of trekking.
After a heavy breakfast, drive off to the wondrous Stok Village. It is located about 35 min away from Leh and the drive is filled with tall green trees and fresh clean air.
The Stok Village is quite serene and you can stare at the mighty Himalayas, which you will be climbing soon.
From here your trek commences.
Once you freshen up a bit, start your trek to Chang Ma, which is the first stop en route Stop Kangri. The trek is about 4 hours, and you will be covering a distance of 5.5 km. The trek is quite lovely and relatively easy. You will be passing stunning oak trees and meadows that are brimming with soft dewy grass. The enchanting blue sky complete with the Himalayas in the background will keep you company.
Once you reach Chang Ma, indulge in some hot lunch and spend the night under the stars in your tents.
After a scrumptious breakfast, get ready for more trekking. The trek for this day is much shorter and easier. You will have to trek to Mankorma from Chang Ma. It should take you about 3.5 km, and you can experience the rugged and rustic landscape of Ladakh during your trek for the day. This leg of the trek to Stop Kangri will show you a different kind of Ladakh, which is devoid of greenery and is completely barren. Some lively rivulets and streams do provide a contrast in the otherwise rustic and grey landscape, making it all the more alluring.
You can set up your tent once you reach Mankorma.
Once you reach Mankorma, you need to keep moving forward for another four hours to reach a campsite. So, after a delicious breakfast, pack up your tents and keep moving forward to each the base site for your Stok Kangri trek.
From here the trek starts to get a little difficult since the ascent starts from here. You will traverse several cool and ethereal streams. The imposing peaks of Gulap Kangri and Parcha Kangri are also visible here keeping you occupied and motivated.
Please note: Since the ascent starts from here, the air does get thinner and thinner, and you may find a lack of oxygen. Make sure you tale ample rest to acclimatize yourself with this condition before charging on.
Once you reach the base camp you should take ample rest here and train yourself for the arduous climb to the Stok Kangri peak the next day. Make sure you acclimatize yourself to the atmosphere and the lack of oxygen, free up your mind and partake in enough warm-up exercises to free up your muscles.
A good rest is essential to rest both your body and mind before the mammoth trek. The most important thing is to be positive and get into a positive mental framework for the trek.
You should get your gear ready and make sure you have everything you need for your trek the next day.
On this day, you will start your trek to the Stok Kangri Peak. You have to wake up early, as this will take about nine to ten hours to climb. Make sure you have a filling breakfast before heading out.
The route of the trek is laden with steep climbs, slippery slopes, unpredictable weather conditions, glittering glaciers and ridges that will spark fear in you.
You must be extra careful on this trek. There are some places where you are climbing a vertical slope, which is also slippery. However, the scenery is one to die for, as you will witness snow-covered peaks, blue glaciers, and valleys that will keep you motivated and refreshed. It is quite surreal and blissful!
Once you reach at the top after this strenuous climb, you will be blessed with the most heavenly view of the Karakoram range and the Zanskar range. It is quite an achievement to finish this trek and to witness the view is something else altogether. You will feel a serene bliss and tranquillity wash over you as you stand and admire the view. It is both humbling and glorious at the same time. Even though you will be surrounded by snow, you will feel a warmth inside you that will make you glow! You will be feeling a sense of ethereal warmth and victory once you reach the top. Spend the night at the top of the Stok Kangri Peak as your base in your glory!
Your descent from the peak will take about six hours, and here too you must be cautious about every step you take. Let the delirium of your achievement guide you, as you traverse through the mighty the Himalayas one last time before heading home. Take a mental picture of everything around you, and let the magic of the trek be etched in your mind forever.
Once you have reached your base cap, you can drive back top Stok Village and subsequently to Leh for your journey back home.
Stok Kangri is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, that one must experience at least once in their lifetime. However, before embarking on this gorgeous and pious trip, remember to keep yourself motivated and not give up. It will reward you with the most amazing views and the most stunning avenues if you just let yourself go and surrender.