Stok Kangri Base Camp Trek in Ladakh
Season :July to September
Location Covered :Martselang - Chukarmo - Nimaling - Markha - Skiu - Base of Kundu La - Rumbak - Khilchey - Upper Munikarmo - Abc - Munikarmo - Stok
Grade :TM 4
From the village of Martselang, proceed up the torrent, to Sumdo. On the right, a valley leads to Shang. Continue up the valley, passing through the tiny settlement of Shodgo. Overnight camp is set at the snout of the deep gorge.
Immediately after leaving camp, enter into a deep gorge. As soon as the pass becomes visible, the trail climbs steeply to the beautiful grassy slopes at the foot of Kangmaru La (17,409 ft/5,274 m) with its wonderful views from the top. Descend to Nimaling. Camp on the other side of the river.
Rest day. The Nimaling plain is a broad undulating meadow which slopes upwards to the base of the ice-clad Kang Yurze which dominates the area. Nimaling with tiny ponds and rivulets flowing all over its meadows provides pasturage in the summer for an astonishing number of animals - yaks, dzos, sheep, goats, horses - not only from the Markha but also from villages all around. Himalayan marmots and white tailed hares are seen in plenty and it is not unusual to sight an occasional blue- sheep or wolf. Camp by the river.
The trail descends steadily down the narrow valley, past small villages and barley fields. Further on in a gorge lies the Humlung monastery, not often inhabited. The trail continues descending steadily down the valley through the picturesque village of Markha. Its monastery is worth visiting. Camp is set near the village for the night.
A very pleasant walk up one of the loveliest sections of the valley, with thick bushes along the river which is spanned by several bridges. Camp is set at Skiu.
Climb up a well-timbered gorge which opens on to the broad grassy shoulders of the upper valley of Sumdo. The small village with its few houses and fields lies at the junction of a small stream with the Skiu Nala. Camp is set here for the night.
Approximately an hour's steep climb gets you to the top of the pass. From here a spectacular panorama of snow-capped mountains merging into the distance Karakoram range is revealed. The trail descends steadily to the head of the Rumbak valley and passes through the small settlement of Yurutse. Rumbak is a very pretty village of farmers and caravaneers. Overnight camp.
Immediately after leaving camp, cross the Nala over the bridge and follow the trail to the right bank of the Rumbak Nala. After a short while a steep ascent through scree through a complicated knot of ridges leads you to the top. A steep descent leads to the campsite which shelters summer shepherds.
Descend through the narrow gorge over avalanche debris. Just before the spot where a side stream joins Stok Nala, turn right and keep following the main valley, walking for quite some distance over a gentle slope. The slope gets steeper as the valley winds to the right. On leaving the curve, you get your first glimpse of the snow-capped group of mountains. Overnight camping.
Immediately after leaving camp, start climbing up the west ridge till the top. From here, walk eastwards. Base Camp is generally set at 5,300 m on moraine below the glacier. Walk through hard ice, climb up an ice wall with a 70 degree gradient, past an old snow ridge and crevices. To avoid the loose rocky area just above the snow ridge, traverse the exposed west flank, another ice wall with a 75 degree gradient.
Explore the surroundings and make your way to the summit. Overnight camping.
Retrace your steps to Munikarmo. Overnight camping.
Keeping on the left bank of the Stok Nala, the trail descends, going past the jagged ruins of the Staklang Khar fort. At its base is a thick grove of willow. The trail is well worn, being used for the summer movement of cattle and sheep to the higher pastures. The small gorge opens on to an alluvial plain. The trail through apricot orchards and barley fields, ending at the village of Stok where vehicles await you for the short drive to the Ladakh Sarai.