Stok Kangri and the Markha Valley Trek
India, Climbing, 21 days - from £1,795 (land only) - from €2,425 (land only) - from $2,825 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Delhi. Airport transfers are provided for all clients arriving on Day 1. KE Land Only package services begin with lunch. Afternoon at leisure, with the chance to enjoy the gardens and pool at our airport-accessible hotel.
Day 2: We make an early transfer to the domestic airport and take the 1-hour flight northwards, across the Indian Himalaya to Leh, where we transfer to the group hotel. The afternoon is free, with the opportunity to take it easy at the hotel or to take a leisurely stroll around the town.
Day 3: A full day's sightseeing tour. We visit some of the area's most important Buddhist monasteries at Shey and Thikse and Hemis, for example. This is a great opportunity to meet the monks who live here and there are great views across to the Zanskar range of peaks throughout the day. We return to spend a second night at our hotel in Leh.
Day 4: Today we have the option of a whitewater rafting trip on the Indus. Starting at Phey, the river runs through an impressive gorge to Nemo, close to the point where the Zanskar River joins the Indus. Transfer back to the hotel in Leh.
Day 5: Today, we boost our acclimatisation by driving up to the Khardung La (5380m) one of the world's highest road passes. There are great views of the Karakoram peaks (and of Stok Kangri) before we make the return drive to the hotel in Leh.
Day 6: A short drive beside the Indus takes us to its confluence with the Zanskar River which we follow to the silversmith's village of Chilling. Crossing the Zanskar here we now follow the river to a junction with the Markha Stream. The road continues to Skiu Village (3400m) where we meet our trek crew who will have already set up our camp.
Day 7: We make an acclimatisation walk, climbing the trail leading to the Ganda La. We will trek as far as Shingo village (4150m) before returning to Skiu, a return trip of around 5 - 6 hours. We spend a second night in Skiu.
Day 8: More river crossings today as we follow the Markha Valley, passing a number of quite impressive ruined fortresses high on the valley sides. We set up camp in the village of Markha. Walk distance: 20 km, with approx. 700 metres of ascent and 400 metres of descent. 7 - 8 hours.
Day 9: We pass more impressive monasteries as we trek deeper into the Markha Valley. We reach the important village of Hangkar, before continuing to Thachungste (4265m) where we make our camp. Walk distance: 16 km, with approx. 900 metres of ascent and 335 metres of descent. 6 - 7 hours.
Day 10: A shorter day today climbing up to the Nimaling Plain. The scenery opens out as we traverse around to the north side of 6400 metre high Kang Yatze. Our camp tonight is at an altitude of around 4700 metres. Walk distance: 7 km, with approx. 700 metres of ascent and 65 metres of descent. 5 hours.
Day 11: A day for rest and acclimatisation. For the energetic there is the option of a day hike to a view point on the north-west ridge of Kang Yatze. We spend a second night at our camp on the Nimaling Plain. Acclimatisation hike approx. 6 km, with 500 metres of ascent and descent. 3 hours.
Day 12: Today, we trek up to cross the Kongmaru La (5100m) and have views of the distant Karakoram peaks and across into Tibet. We then descend via a narrow gorge of contorted rock formations to a camp beside the river. Walk distance: 10 km, with approx. 600 metres of ascent and 1300 metres of descent. 6 - 7 hours.
Day 13: Leaving the Markha Valley trail, we head west up a tributary valley to the Gyuncho La and descend to camp at Shang Po (4350m). Walk distance: 11 km, with approx. 1000 metres of ascent and 800 metres of descent. 6 - 7 hours.
Day 14: Today we cross the Shang La, descend to the Tokpo River and continue trekking generally downhill to our camp at Gangpoche (4435m). Walk distance: 13 km, with approx. 1000 metres of ascent and 970 metres of descent. 6 hours.
Day 15: Today, we trek to the Mato La and descend into the Stok Valley to a camp at Smankarmo (4380m). Walk distance: 7 km, with approx. 600 metres of ascent and 540 metres of descent. 5 hours.
Day 16: We have a short walk this morning to reach our basecamp for Stok Kangri. The afternoon is free for rest and to make any final preperations for the climb. The altitude at our basecamp is 4900 metres. Walk distance: 5 km, with approx. 550 metres of ascent and 100 metres of descent. 2 hours.
Day 17: This is a contingency day in case of any delays to our trekking schedule. If not used at this point, this will be a day to rest or for walks around basecamp.
Day 18: An early start, as we cross a pass to reach the lower slopes of Stok Kangri. Trekking across scree slopes and possibly snow, we reach the rocky ridge leading to the summit snow cap at 6120 metres. After taking in the spectacular views which stretch as far as the Karakoram mountains, we return to basecamp. Walk distance: 10 km, with approx. 1200 metres of ascent and descent. 8 - 10 hours.
Day 19: We descend directly to Stok Village, with its fields of barley and buckwheat. Here we meet our jeeps and transfer to Leh where we check in at the group hotel. Walk distance: 13 km, with approx. 150 metres of ascent and 1500 metres of descent. 5 - 6 hours.
Day 20: We have an early start and go to the airport to catch our flight to Delhi. Arriving in Delhi, we transfer to our airport-accessible hotel in time for lunch. In the afternoon, a city sightseeing tour is provided. Alternatively, you may choose to take it easy at the hotel.
Day 21: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.
This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude.
GPS Trip Data
Click on the link below to view the detailed stats for this holiday via Garmin Connect. Tracked using a Garmin etrex20 you can see detailed mapping of the route, daily distances travelled, the total ascent and descent each day and maximum altitude.