Climbing Stok Kangri (6130m)

Stok Kangri (6130m),  literally translates as ‘snow-peak  of Stok village’. The peak is a perfect A-line that ‘watches over’ Stok  some 3000m below.  It is regarded as one of the easiest 6000m peaks in the Indian Himalayas, a trekking peak to be precise. Not one for heights, ice and on the-edge-kind-of-stuff, the suggestion to climb it didn’t seem like such a bad one considering it is regarded as ‘easy’. Besides this gave me an opportunity to beat my highest climbed altitude to date:   Huanya Potosi at 6080m in Bolivia which I managed on my pan-american bike trip some years back.

Stok Kangri, the highest peak on the right joins many others that make up the Zanskar range. A stones throw from Leh, tackling a 6000m peak couldn't be made more accessible.
Interestingly Stok, is also the home of the unassuming Ladakhi royalty who live in a comparatively modest palace.
Typically it takes at least 2- 3 days to get to the high base camp, following the river valley past Stok. As we were well acclimatised we pushed through to base-camp at 5000m in one day.
The small details like these striking rose-hips always catch my attention.
The hike itself is nothing short of stunning, we made our way up wine coloured scree strewn slopes with sedimentary rocks tossed in impossible directions making up the mountains.
This is a well beaten track. Overburdened pony caravans supporting trekking and climbing groups just goes against my grain.
I had to look hard, but I did find more fascinating and unique high altitude flora.
Stok Kangri looms into view.
Wanting to go a light as possible we opted for hopefully finding floor space in the very basic base camp dhabba seen in the background. Lucky we did! Carlos had felt bad for the final few kilometres, admittedly he had a very heavy pack, but this was also definitely a dose of altitude sickness. (Mike, Alex, Ben and Carlos).
Fortunately we all squeezed into this dingy dhabba. We were more than delighted considering the only other option was sleeping out under the stars, which even during summer would be way too chilly for me.
Expecting to spend one day 'resting' at the base camp, we all woke up feeling good despite the oxygen deprived air which were made worse by the kerosene stove that burned all night. Carlos had also recovered. Karma our guide suggested that we head for the summit as conditions were so perfect. We set off at 8am unlike the rest of the sheep who all got up at the ridiculous hour of 2am, completely over the top for this hiking peak. Of course out of the mainstream season it would be a different story.
One glaciar to cross, crampons weren't essential, but fun to try out!
Glacial crossing to the base of a never-ending scree slope which then took us to the ridge line which appears so very close in this photo.
Alex taking a break - after an endless slog we made it to the ridge line. A very satisfying view!
With Karma our guide. Karma is a first generation Tibetan in Ladakh, his parents fled Tibet in the late 50's to the little Tibet.
Following the ridge line to summit, looks fairly straight forward. There were of course a few gnarly scrambley bits, but even I managed these. We were exceptionally lucky to have such perfect warm, wind-free and cloudless conditions.
Ben in between mid summit vomit, poor guy literally puked his way to the top. Despite feeling 100% lousy his determination was nothing short of impressive. And he even managed to grimace for this photo!
Prayer flags adorn the kangri (snow peak).
By 1pm after 5hrs of heavy breathing Ben and I are on the tippy top!
Karma takes this 6130m peak in his stride - he has summited this kangri 20 times this season! Carlos undresses in his semi altitude delirious state. Actually conditions were spectacular, not a breathe of wind and its was warm enough for just a t-shirt!
Leh lies far below (upper left), Stok village immediately beneath (Rt side), a 360 degree sea of desert peaks surround us. 7000m snow peak breaks through the horizon - the Karakorum and Zanskar ranges were in full view.
Stok Kangri summit (6130m). It's hard to describe the feeling of being so high and having made it under your own steam.


Bridget Ringdahl

Pedaling has been natural to me since the tender age of three. Cycling is practical, fun, it gets you to the corner café, across countries, continents, keeps you fit and is by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly transport option around, being virtually carbon neutral.

I live in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal which is great cycling country, within 10 minutes I can be bouncing along some of the finest single tracks in the province.

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7 thoughts on “Climbing Stok Kangri (6130m)
  • Ian Langstaff

    Amazing, amazing, amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your experience Bridget. And you do it so well.

  • Shirley

    Awesome account of your expedition, Bridge! You are one hard core chick! Thanks for sharing with us softies. Love Shirl

  • Larissa Tompkins

    You are an inspiration, Bridget. Love LJ

  • Maria Josenhans

    I am so green with envy!!! How stunning - and to see our friends there is so thrilling. Thank-you for all the updates and photos. Tashi delek! Maria

  • Ashish Pansare

    Nice photos....when you did it?

  • Hi all! Congratulations! Check out my experience of my 1 day solo ascent of Stok Kangri – and dont hesitate to message me if you have any questions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrkrbrRhujI

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