Stok Kangri is a six-thousander located south of the town of Leh, in the Indian are of Ladakh. It is officially considered a trekking mountain, but that definition depends on the amount of accumulated snow and resulting rock climbing. Officially, guiedbooks state that a permit is required, however various trekking sources indicated otherwise and my personal experiece indicates that the permit rules are either obsolete or ignored this far from Delhi.
Note that I have also posted a detailed trip report (lifted from my website) if you want specifics.
To get to Leh Options;
1. Fly from Delhi ($100 each way).
2. Bus from Delhi to Manally (12hrs 500 rupees)then take at least one rest day.
3. Bus from Manally to Leh (2 days with overnight camping). 1000 -1500 rupees).
4. Take shared jeep from Manally to Leh (18hrs, 1500 rupees front and middle seats, 900 rupees rear booster seats). Worst road in the world.
From Leh to trailhead at town of Stok;
A private bus leaves Leh for the village of Stok (1hr trip), from the New Bus Park each day at 8am, 2pm and 4pm (cost 20rs). The bus stops about 100m short of the washed out bridge. It returns to Leh at 9am, 3pm, and 6pm. These times are flexible because this is a private bus, so will hang around looking for passengers before leaving.
There are no shared jeeps or taxis to/from Stok.
Base camp can be reached in one long day.
I used Indian Himalaya Maps Sheet 3, by Leomann Maps, but many are available in the town of Leh.
From Trailhead Village of Stok:
Go to end of road (washed out bridge) after bus stops and turns around. Cross river to teahouses on left. Follow the river upstream from the teahouses located at the south end of the village (end of the road at the washed out bridge). Stay on the right side of the river (facing upstream) unless forced to cross temporarily due to frequent washouts. Note that there is a tent teahouse located three hours before the Stok La Pass that is the location of a trail split. The smaller trail to the left across the river leads to the Stok Kangri and base camps (correct), while the direct (right) trail leads to the Stok La pass and the Markha valley (incorrect).
Follow trail to the left, up to a small pass and over then down to the river again. Follow the river upstream on the well marked trail to another tea tent, then further upstream to the left valley to reach Base Camp 1.
Any of the trekking maps in Leh show the trail to base camp.
Route Details From Base Camp 1:
Average ascent is 8 -10 hrs from Base Camp to Summit. Departure is usually 4am. Return to Base Camp is 2 - 3 hrs. These estimates vary due to snow conditions.
Base Camp 2 (BC 2) is located in the first valley, while Base Camp 1 (BC 1) is in the second. BC 1 contains less difficult terrain and a tea tent (so is a better choice). From BC 1 (5,000m) climb west (away from the river) following the steep path to a small pass (with flags) at the top of the ridge that separates BC 1 from BC 2. The path here splits. One goes part way down the opposite slope in a south-west direction (up the valley), while the other follows parallel, but higher (the better option since it saves you having to re-gain elevation later). For the upper path follow the ridge, heading up valley, for about 50m (small cairn marks the trail) where it then leaves the ridge and tracks south-west above the other. From here both trails steadily climb along the east side of slope, around two bends, and then a short climb to Advance Base Camp 5,300m. ABC comprises four tent spots located along side a prayer flag marker and east of the leading edge of the glacier. Note that there is no water at ABC and it is much colder at night than BC 1 or BC 2. You will need drop down to the glacier to find water. It takes about 2 hrs to reach ABC from either BC 1 or BC 2. Camping at ABC cuts the ascent time by 2hrs.
From ABC follow the trail south-west as it runs along the east side of the glacier into the bowl of the valley (following the few cairns). The path turns sharply to the west just before a large crevice, then crosses a number of melt streams / fishers to the steep base of the east face (1 hr from ABC). Here the trail begins to wind its way up to the south and over two humps. From here the trail becomes very steep. If covered in snow you can go west and straight up (the hard way) for about 200m, otherwise zig-zag up until reaching the even steeper scree and boulders to the south of the snow slop (another hr). At this stage you can cut south and climb the zig-zag trial thru the rocks to reach the ridge about mid-point (another hr). The trail is hard to follow and the footing slippery and difficult at this stage.
The ridge is the most logical approach to the summit, even though you could continue up the scree slope. From the ridge turn right (north) and begin a cautious and difficult trek towards the summit (not visible until within 50m of it). This portion includes a considerable amount of rock climbing, plus the trail thins in places to less than a meter with sheer drops on either side. The views along the ridge are dramatic and daunting. If snow covered (which is generally the case year round) the trail may be difficult to find and you will have to decide whether to climb over or scramble around large rock structures (another 1-2hrs).
The last 50m to the summit are gentle and to the west of the false summit that you have been looking at during the ascent. It is quite narrow and sheer with breath-taking views in all directions.
Reverse your track to return to camp (2-3hrs).
I did the trek in September after four days of snowfall so needed plastic climbing boots, crampons, and ice axe. Guides in town say that very little snow is found on the mountain in mid summer so only hiking gear is reqired for the summit (although the glacier must be crossed in all cases).
A tent is probably a must as well as some emergancy food. The tea tents are open from May thru the end of September. They supply basic foods (instant noodles and liquids).
Visit my website (www.dirttreks.com) for a full trip report and many photos.
My Stok Kangri Page
Route Maps and Sketches
GPS Waypoints: Datum WGS84 # Latitude Longitude Elevation
1 N 34 04.042 E 077 32.651 3414
Stok village tea houses at trail head (river)
2 N 34 02.032 E 077 30 738 3882
Stone Sheppard's hut
3 N 34 01.705 E 077 30.199 4039
Tea (circus) tent at trail split (left Stok Kangri, R Stok La)
4 N 34 00.606 E 077 29.949 4305
Stone huts and camp area
5 N 34 00.113 E 77 29.964 4398
Tea tent before base camps
6 N 33 59.852 E 077 29.421 4546
Trail split. Left Base Camps, Right Advance Base Camp
7 N 33 59.562 E 077 29.252 4641
Stone hut 100m East of trail (across river)
8 N 33 58.994 E 077 28.558 4979
Base Camp 1
9 N 33 59.084 E 077 27.439 5300
Advance Base Camp (prayer flags)
10 N 33 58.707 E 077 27.021 5400
In bowl, at base of steep slope
11 N 33 58.932 E 077 26.609 5830
Start of skree (where I gave up on day 1)
12 N 33 58.927 E 077 26.506 5917
Where skree trail meets ridge.
13 N 33 58.934 E 077 26.487 5927
Prayer flags on ridge (not the summit)
14 N 33 59.178 E 077 26.487 6240
Stok Kangri summit (flags)