Stok Kangri (6153m) is one of the most popular trekking peaks in the Indian Himalaya. Being the highest peak of Stok range in Ladakh, the climb to the top is a great introduction to anyone graduating from high altitude trekking to climbing in the Himalaya. That said, the climbing on Stok is mostly restricted to the summer months and there have been very few successful attempts to the peak in winters. The conditions on the mountain and the extreme cold make it a lot more challenging and even a bit technical. On this winter climb, we take the route starting from Stok village till Mounkarmo which will act as our base camp. From Mounkarmo Base Camp, we ferry our loads and stock up the summit camp. All participants are expected to carry their own personal equipment to Base Camp and do a load carry till high camp near the glacier.
The climb is a solid winter expedition and would be highly demanding on both the body & mind. One would need to be prepared for tough days at high altitude in harsh winter environment. Expected temperatures on summit day is around -35° C and factoring in the wind chill, can go as low as -40°C. It is a perfect preparatory trip for people climbing Everest or other high peaks in the Spring season. One would get a chance to test all their gear in temperatures similar to that on 8000m climbs in Spring.
A moderate climbing expedition to a peak above 6000m. These climbs generally have a short approach march and a challenging summit day which is attempted from a base camp or an advance base camp. The climb will require basic climbing skills and would involve being roped up on glacial terrain and climbing with mountaineering boots and crampons in excess of 10hours on the summit night. Some climbs even require you to climb on fixed ropes with an ascender on steep terrain. The level of difficulty both physically and technically is a notch above a trekking peak.
This being a winter expedition, the temperature & winds are the biggest factors. The temperatures routinely go down below -20'C and can go as low as -40'C on summit day. To endure those kind of temperatures day in day out, you need a lot of motivation and mental strength apart from very good warm gear.