Stok Kangri as seen from the north west flank
|Elevation||6,153 m (20,187 ft) |
|Parent range||Stok Range|
Stok Kangri (6,153 metres (20,187 ft)) is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region of northwest India. The peak is located in Hemis National Park, 12 km southwest of the trailhead at 3,610 metres (11,844 ft) in the village of Stok and around 15 km southwest of the Ladakhi capital of Leh.
Despite its altitude, Stok Kangri is a popular trekking peak and is often climbed as an initial non-technical foray into high altitude mountaineering. However, Stok Kangri is very often underestimated for its difficulty level and in particular the need to acclimatise before and during the ascent.
In late July and August, all but the top of the peak may be snow-free. The elevation data was verified by GPS readings from 11 satellites at the Summit during a late July 2007 joint Nepalese-US expedition which encountered snow cover for 85% of the final four-hour, four km, 900 metre climb.
The shortest route to the peak (often used for the descent) is along the Stok valley, following the Stok Chu to Stok village. This valley's grazing landscape, especially near the village, was devastated by the 2010 Ladakh floods, the most severe in decades.
Stok Kangri has over the recent years gained tremendous popularity among trekkers and novice mountaineers owing to the non-technical nature of its climb. The peak can be trekked non-technically from July-August , but is quite technical during the peak winter days. That doesn't mean any novice should just turn up for the trek with absolutely no training whatsoever. The climb is fairly exhaustive and requires a good amount of stamina. Mental strength is much more demanding than the physical one.
Despite its relative ease, the 6000m peak presents the usual challenges of a mountaineering expedition. Acclimatisation in Leh, particularly for those who fly in from Delhi, before attempting the trek/climb and altitude acclimatization during the trek/climb are essential. The biggest hurdle at such altitudes is rarefied air, which can give acute headache, nausea and other symptoms of altitude sickness to even the fit climbers towards the last stage of climbing the peak.
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Loram, C., 2004, Trekking in Ladakh (3rd Edition), India Trekking Guides, Trailblazer Publications, 304 p., ISBN 978-1873756751.
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