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Trek Ladakh and Stok Kangri

India Trek EXTREME
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About the Challenge

The beautiful Ladakh region in northeast India is home to spectacular Himalayan panoramas of snow-capped peaks and sweeping high altitude plains dotted with small villages and ancient monasteries. It offers some of the most beautiful and rewarding mountain trekking in the world, and is home to rare wildlife including the elusive snow leopard.

Our goal is the summit of Stok Kangri, one of the ‘easiest’ 6000m peaks in the world, in that it does not require technical skills or experience. It does, however, require physical fitness, and unwavering determination and self-belief!

We spend time acclimatising in Leh before trekking over high passes to Base Camp and our night-time ascent of Stok Kangri (6121m), where we should be rewarded with sunrise views over the Himalayas and Karakoram Mountains.

 


Trek Ladakh and Stok Kangri

14 DAYS
  • Arrive in Delhi and transfer to our hotel. Depending on our arrival time there may be some time to explore the sights. We meet again for dinner and get a good night’s sleep, as we have an early start in the morning. Night hotel.

  • An early flight takes us to Leh, the capital of Ladakh and, at 3500m, an excellent place to start our bodies acclimatising to the altitude. The flight lasts approx 1.5 hours and takes us over the Greater Himalaya, and we should get excellent views of Stok Kangri as we fly in. We transfer to our hotel and relax, catching up on some sleep if you need to. If you feel up to it, a gentle amble around Leh’s bazaars is a good way to spend the afternoon, but it’s important to take things easy. Night hotel.

  • After a good night’s sleep we’ll be feeling more acclimatised, and feeling ready to explore! We drive to three of the major gompas around Leh, which provide a wonderful cultural insight to the region. We drive up to Hemis, approx. 200m higher than Leh, and wander the temples of its 17th-century monastery, once the largest and richest in Ladakh. We then move on to the more modern red and white monastery of Thiksey; perched on a hilltop, it can be seen from miles around. Lastly we visit the gompa at Shey, a former Royal Palace of the kings of Ladakh. Returning to Leh, you are free to explore – it’s a great place to wander, or relax in a café and chat to your fellow trekkers. Night hotel.

  • Today we take to the hills around Leh, testing our bodies a little further. The ruins of the Old Royal Palace are set above Leh, overlooking the town. The palace was modelled on the famous Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. From here we walk along a winding path to Tsemo Monastery, where there are magnificent views over Leh and its surrounding villages and valleys. Descending round the back of the palace via Sankar, we come to the recently-built Japanese Peace Pagoda, which also commands fabulous views. From here we can see across the valley to Stok Kangri, which dominates the skyline. With our appetites for the trek truly whetted, and hopefully feeling good at altitude by now, we return to Leh and prepare our kit for tomorrow. Night hotel.

    Trek approx. 3-4 hours

  • Our day starts with a drive along the mighty Indus River; the road then becomes a dirt track which leads us through a spectacular gorge alongside the River Zanaskar. We come to Chilling, a village renowned for its blacksmiths and metal crafts, which lies on the banks of the Zanaskar. Crossing the river by rope trolley bridge, we start trekking towards Skiu. Today is a relatively short day, but we’re still building up gently. We trek through fairly arid lands with jagged rocky mountain slopes around us. Villages use irrigation for their crops, so there are dazzling patches of green among the striking reddish-brown rocks. We come to Skiu, a small village in the beautiful Markha Valley, with a picturesque crumbling old gompa. Night camp (3450m).

    Trek approx. 3-4 hours

  • Today is a longer day taking us predominantly uphill to the base of Ganda La, a high mountain pass. We leave Skiu on a path lined with stupas, or chortens as they are known in Ladakh and Tibet. We will see more of these Buddhist shrines, and carved mani rocks, as we follow today’s route. We start to ascend and pass through spectacular rocky gorges and canyons, and can look back across the more cultivated land we have crossed. As we near the base of Ganda La there are magnificent views – folded barren ridges running parallel as far as we can see, and the snow-capped Stok mountains. Night camp (4450m).

    Trek approx. 6-7 hours

  • Our morning starts early but with mountain panoramas which inspire us to continue our uphill walk to the top of Ganda La. It’s fairly steep at times, but as we gain height the views over the Stok and Karakoram ranges become increasingly impressive. We may see Himalayan marmots playing on the slopes, or hear their whistles; they create a good distraction from our efforts. We walk slowly, and within an hour or two will be at the top (4900m). After some time to enjoy the views – we can see our route for the next two days from here – we walk down the other side, through scenic valleys to Yurutse (4160m), where one solitary house perches above irrigated fields. We trek on to Rumbak, a picturesque cluster of white flat-roofed houses and narrow alleyways, overlooked by a gompa. We may be invited into one of the local houses here to try the traditional Ladakhi butter tea. Our camp lies just beyond the village at the base of Stok La; the views of the mountains ahead are truly magnificent, and as the sun sets the colours in the jagged rock change dramatically. Night camp (3850m)

    Trek approx. 5-6 hours

  • Today’s route is renowned as one of the most spectacular treks in Ladakh, as we climb back up to 4900m to cross the Stok La, another high mountain pass. Our path takes us gently uphill to start with, but becomes steeper as it zigzags to the top of the pass. Jagged rock flutes rise all around us – home to the endangered snow leopard. They blend in very well to their surroundings so are hard to spot, but keep your eyes open! From the top of the pass the views are magnificent – layer upon layer of multi-coloured rock cathedrals lie before us in every direction. Once we have our fill of the views, we descend – steeply at first, but then contouring more gently around two valleys until we come to a river tumbling down from Stok Kangri. We walk alongside it, crossing a few side streams, until we reach a shepherd settlement at Mankarmo. We may see groups of Himalayan blue sheep scrambling agilely on the rocks. Night camp (4380m).

    Trek approx. 7-8 hours

  • An easier and shorter day today, as we follow a trail ascending gently through the valley, with Stok Kangri towering before us. After crossing a couple of rivers, we should reach Base Camp in time for lunch. We will spend the afternoon resting, as well as making time to check our equipment and have a full briefing about the ascent. We will also have a run-through of walking with crampons and in a rope team: these are not always needed, but depend on the snow conditions and may be used as an extra safety measure. After an early dinner we get some sleep before our early start. Night camp (5000m.)

    Trek approx. 3-4 hours

  • We start our attempt on the summit at around 2am, our head-torches lighting our way through the dark. A long, hard day lies ahead of us, but the rewards are worth it! We scramble over scree and boulders at first, heading to the moraine glacier above camp, then take a trail across a sloping snowfield which leads up to the south ridge. The ridge takes us to the summit; it is narrow and exposed in places, and steep, with some scrambling over loose or icy rock. We usually rope up along the ridge for safety. Despite this, the hardest obstacle is the altitude. From the summit the views are jaw-dropping – the mighty peaks of the Himalaya, Karakoram and Ladakh Mountains lie all around us stretching out to the horizon, while miniscule Leh can be made out in the distance. In clear weather we can see K2, the second-highest mountain on the planet. Once we’ve had time to take it all in, we descend carefully the same way, back to Base Camp, where hot food awaits us! Night camp (5000m).

    Trek approx. 12 hours (5-7 hours to summit)

  • We leave Base Camp behind us and trek out to the small village of Stok – a beautiful morning trek descending through a gorge of multi-layered colourful rock which opens out into a wide valley. At Stok, we load up into the waiting vehicles and return to Leh (approx 30 mins) and our hotel, where you can relax and enjoy a hot shower and a cold beer before meeting up to celebrate our huge achievements. Night hotel. (Dinner not included)

    Trek approx. 2-3 hours

  • Today is free to relax in Leh or do some last-minute souvenir shopping. Night hotel. (Lunch and Dinner not included)

    In case of bad weather at Stok Kangri, we will use Day 12 as a second attempt at the summit, and return to Leh via Stok today.

  • We transfer to the airport for our flight to Delhi and connect to our international flight home.


Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £499 Fundraising target £4,500 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £499 Fundraising target £3,500 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £499 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £2,000 Airline Taxes £250.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All transport from London to Leh return
    • All meals except where specified, accommodation & camping equipment including sleeping mat
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of 15 or more participants; local guides, cooks, pack-ponies & drivers
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Trekking permit and entrance to any sites included in itinerary

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Three meals as specified in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • India entry visa
    • Sleeping bag
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax applied at time of writing)
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes; we cap these so £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions

     

    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We do not always use the same airline for each destination; if you wish to know the probable carrier please call for details. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.

  • Accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis in hotels or camp. Occasionally we may use hostel-style accommodation. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller in a shared room.

  • We camp in two-man tents; these are usually expedition-style (ie sleeping room only). Camps are usually simple, in remote locations with great views! We have communal dining areas (usually with tables and chairs/stools) and toilet tents, and the local crew look after us very well. We stay in hotels (of a 2-3* standard or equivalent) at the start and end of the trip; standards may vary between different hotels, but they are generally clean and comfortable with good facilities.

  • The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.

    Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we may be in very rural or remote areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.

  • Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.

  • An expedition doctor or medic accompanies the group (dependent on group size.) Their role is to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly, and encourage you when things get tough. The total number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but at Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: participant ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.

  • Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Local guides know the area well, and are a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Not all support crew will speak English well, but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. 

    Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in many countries we travel to is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.

  • Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not porters, mules or even camels might carry your bags, depending on the destination and terrain.

    Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.

  • Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

  • For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

  • This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace. Inadequate training is likely to have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too - and we want you to have the time of your life!

    Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

  • Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid, and any visas are obtained in good time. Check the FCO’s advice on entry requirements for your destination to be sure. To find out if you need a visa you can check requirements on our website; please ensure you allow plenty of time.

    Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.

  • For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow participants and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!


Testimonials

Aaron - October 2017


Excellent. Difficult challenge handled extremely well from start to finish by an extremely trustworthy company.

Jon - October 2017


A fantastic experience that was in part down to the fantastic support of Jo Bradshaw and the Active India team.

Trek Training Weekend

Snowdon_Training_Trekking

£170 Special Offer - Only when you book at the same time as registering for your main challenge

Discover Adventure Trek Training Weekends take place in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. This training weekend is designed to put you through your paces to enable you to gauge fitness levels and gain advice from our experienced leaders.

MORE INFORMATION

GRADE | extreme (5)

Trip grades range from Challenging (1) to Extreme (5).

EXTREME trips involve very taxing terrain and conditions, often with extremes of temperature, at altitude. They will test your stamina and perseverance to the max.

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