This post is in continuation with a previous one, and a part of my Stok Kangri Travelogue. In the previous articles, I provided a detailed log of my preparation for the trek and the journey from Delhi to the Stok Kangri Base Camp. Before finally attempting the summit, we were all going to spend a day at the base camp of Stok Kangri and prepare for the final leg of the trek.
Journey So Far:
- Stok Kangri Preparation and itinerary Planning
- Delhi to Leh City – Day 1 & 2
- Leh to Stok Village to Chang Ma – Day 3
- Chang Ma to Mankorma Campsite – Day 4
- Mankorma to Base Camp – Day 5
Today was about relaxing in the malignant weather, soaking up the thin air & acclimatizing in the conditions. It is advised to spend a considerable amount of time at the base camp for the body to adjust completely to the prevailing conditions & ready for action.
Day 6 – Stok Kangri Base Camp
I woke up to some amazing views all around, both beautiful and even amusing. See the pictures below.
The day started with a mild but healthy breakfast. Snow from the last night’s snowfall was still resting on our tents. It was a good sight. Almost everyone was cold but determined. I experienced some headache the night before but was nothing serious.
It was a bright morning, so we stayed out & shared endless talks. Sandeep instructed us to get ready for an early acclimatization walk up the ridge standing right in front of us. And to be modest, it was humongous.
Getting Ready for the Summit
Though the walking trail on the ridge looked easily doable, we knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. We packed minimal essentials in our backpacks & headed out for the final preparatory walk.
I packed along a couple of protein bars for I was famished. With the sun lighting our pathway, we continued on the gradual ascent. It was strenuous, not because of the distance but due to the height we were reaching.
After an uneasy ascent up the ridge, we reached a rendezvous point that, as per my altimeter, stood at 18,600 ft. That’s slightly above the world’s highest motorable road at Khardung La (18,380 ft). I was the first one to point it out & the group broke into delight. We stayed there for half an hour & tried to click the immense landscape in our lenses. The small township of Choglamsar (11,300 ft) was visible clearly from there; check out the image below:
We continued ahead & reached the point right below the snow-capped patch of the Stok range we’re ascending. Sandeep asked us to halt & rest at the place. It was important for us to get some breath & adjust to the height, for we were at approximately 18,900 ft above sea level.
The spot was way higher than we expected to reach, but it was pleasant there. We sat around & soaked in the mild sunshine. The Stok Kangri summit was right by our side & looked stunning in the distance.
In a matter of 24 hours from that moment, we were going to be on top of the summit. This thought motivated us to keep going on. We were not tired anymore, for the summit in the backdrop lifted our spirits immeasurably. Here are some pictures from the pinnacle:
Back at the Camp
Having spent an hour or so there, we began our descent towards the base camp. It was still light out, around 3 pm. However, we were supposed to be in good shape, both physically & mentally hours before we’d head for our summit attempt hours after midnight.
Sandeep suggested us to get some good quality sleep in the evening & wake up fresh by midnight to gear up for the final ascent. That’s what we did.
We had light dinner, packed our essentials for the trek ahead, set up alarms for midnight & turned in for the evening. It would be a dark unending night when we’d set ablaze for the summit. A lot was in store for the journey ahead, and we were in high spirits.
The day was about being one with the place and synching our energies well. It was immensely positive how everyone came together & motivated each other for the mammoth climb the next day.
Below are a few details about Stok Kangri Base Camp and the Summit.
Stok Kangri Base Camp Altitude
The base camp of Stok Kangri is at an altitude of 4968 meters, (16300 ft.)
Stok Kangri Base Camp Weather
The weather at this height will always be cold with a chance of snowfall in all 12 months. Out here, things can change in a matter of minutes.
Stok Kangri Advanced Base Camp
The advance base camp of Stok Kangri no longer exists. The previous campsite is a few kilometers ahead of the existing camp. Earlier this point was used as the Old High Camp where alpine trekkers would set up camp, aiming for the summit attempt. It is no longer used now, for the weather deteriorated quickly in this area & the place is prone to accidents.
Stok Village to Stok Kangri Base Camp
The total distance between Stok Village and the base camp is about 13 kilometers. Even though the distance may seem a little short, it is neither doable nor advised to attempt in a day. It just cannot be done. You should tackle this distance with the utmost care, in short lapses, and breaking your journey at Chang Ma and Mankorma sites on the way.
Stok Kangri Base Camp to Summit Distance
The total distance between Stok Kangri Base Camp and the summit is about 7 kilometers. Considering that you will be climbing down the same day, it will become a total trek of 14 kilometers in both ways.
Once again, even though the distance seems short, it may take you well over 12 hours to complete, something that we were to discover the next day.
It was a gigantic task, but every huge success begins with a first step. And we were in the right minds to take on the terrain. The group synergy was up high, which added to the positivity & everyone greeted each other with optimistic smiles. We were set to climb!
- Journey Ahead: Stok Kangri Summit – At the Top of the World
Eyeing the summit.
I hope the travelogue and the details above on Stok Kangri Base Camp were of help. Please click on the link above to continue reading the next part of the travelogue. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I will be glad to answer.