About the area
Stok Kangri lies in the middle of the fascinating area of Ladakh, which is located in the northern part of indian state "Jammu & Kashmere". While the western part of this state (Kashmere) unfortunately is politically still very unstable, the eastern parts Ladakh and Zanskar are fairly safe. So you'd better take the way over Manali to the south to get to Ladakh than over Srinagar to the east, if you intend to travel by bus.
Taking a plane, there shouldn't be any troubles at all. Once this way of transport was only available during a short period of the year for a long time, there's now an airplane service year around.
The capitol of Ladakh is Leh and lies on an altitude of around 3500 - 3800 meters above sea level (depending on which part of it). It still is some kind of engrossed city away from everything and a good starting point for trekking. biking, climbing and, of course cultural excursions. Although there are already lots of muslims living here, this town and especially the surroundings are under a strong Buddhistic influence. There are dozens of gourgeous Buddhistic monasteries reachable within one day. In Leh you can sometimes watch an exciting Polo game, right in front of imressive City Palace, which seems to be closely related to Lasha-Potala.
About the peak
Having the Indus Valley already on a considerable altitude, many mountains around here exceed 6000 m easiely.
One of it is Stok Kangri and its twin Golep Kangri. You can get to the base of Stok Kangri by bus or by taxi, which will take you about an hour.
It might makes sense to stay over night in the small village of Stok, as it is closer to the start of the trek. That town is big enough that you could get accomodations there instead of staying in Leh pre/post trip. You'll probably save an hour or so for your first day of the trip that you can invest in some longer breaks during your accent.
In one day you hike up to the saddle between the two peaks, which is on approx. 5200 m. It might makes sense to hire a local guide and a couple of mules or donkeys, as it's sometimes critical to find the correct of all the scattered valleys. Additionally, it's quite reasonable to bring a tent, food and a stove with you, which is easier to carry on a mules back.
From there you can climb up the either Stok Kangri or Golep Kangri by using ice axe and crampons. From both of the summits you'll have a great view over Indus Valley, Zanskar and to the near Chinese and Pakistan mountains. The decent back to the base should be possible in one day.
If you intend to climb both of the Kangri-twins it's reasonable to climb the easier Golep Kangri (approx. 6100 m) first. After decent to the BC, enjoy the rest of the day in the deserted surroundings. You'll be perfectly acclimatised when you head for Stok Kangri the next day.
Both Stok and Golep Kangri are perfect objectives for fit trekkers without advanced climbing experience who want to summit on their first Himalayan Peak. It is one of the main peaks of the Zansker range.
The route over the South Ridge of Stok Kangri is straightforward, challenging and interesting. On a clear day you'll get great views of the Karakoram Range provided, sometimes even K2 in the far distance.
How to get to LEH
Both India Air and Jet Airways provide daily (once/day) service between Delhi and Leh. (Jet goes to 2 flights/day during the summer months
During high season in summer, reservation is rather necessary well in advance. You'll enjoy this phantastic flight above the Himalayas and over most untouched areas.
The road from Manali to Leh is open in summer only. The trip is promised to last 2 days but can also easily become a 3- or 4- day trip depending on weather and especially bus conditions. Make sure prior to departure your bus driver has at least two spare tires on the roof. The mostly worn-out tires don't have the durability of new western products. A good idea is also to have your sleeping bag ready to hand, as the bus may stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere to stay overnight. Take into consideration that the average altitude of this trip is considerably high (approx. 4000m). You cross dozens of passes of which "Taglang La" is the highest with its 5328m.
The trip from Srinagar to Leh is also supposed to last 2 days.
You'll pass some lonely villages such as Kargil and Khalsi. Also this schedule can easily get out of hand. Especially, as the military sometimes block the road for an indefinite time. Additionally, long traffic jams my appear caused by hundreds of air-polluting Tata-trucks. The road is often winding and narrow and if one truck refuses to work there's no by-pass. Nevertheless, the trip is scenically breathtaking, passing monasteries such as Lamayuru.
Accommodation in LEH:
Hotels of all categories are found in and around Leh.
Recommendable is one of the lovely guest houses to the west of the center. (5 minutes walking)
How to get from LEH to STOK:
Bus service from Leh to Stok is daily at 8am, 2pm, and 4pm. Return trips from Stok to Leh are 30 minutes after arrival of the L->S bus plus 6:30pm.
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