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About the Mountain


Stok Kangri (20,182 ft) is a popular climb in the Indian Karakoram, as it’s a uniquely accessible opportunity to break the 20,000-foot barrier. Reaching the mountain is almost too easy. You can start at Stok Village (11,800 ft), as it’s just 10 miles or so from Leh (11,562 ft), where all expeditions start. However, this route has a higher risk of altitude mountain sickness (AMS) than other options, as it is often ascended too quickly before climbers have fully acclimatized. Expeditions have a better chance of success when they start at alternative entry points to Hemis National Park, like Zingchen (11,160 ft) and Chilling (10,978 ft). These routes allow more time for climbing high and sleeping low, ensuring you reach the mountain’s higher altitudes sufficiently prepared for the challenge.

“The never-ending steep slope seems to end and we walk on rocks, which appear as if they have been strewn on the snow….We have reached the summit.”

- Hemant Soreng

While Stok Kangri is often called a trekking peak, this is a misnomer, as it often requires crampons and roped travel over glacial terrain. It’s also extremely arduous, as you’ll be carrying a heavy pack at altitude for 8 to 10 hours per day, even more on the summit day. Temperatures can be as low as 5°F. In short, it’s not an adventure to be underestimated, even if lower-end tour providers in the region would like you to think otherwise. If you’re lucky enough to reach the summit of Stok Kangri, you’ll have panoramic views of the Zanskar and Karakorum mountain ranges. You’ll even be able to see K2 (28,250 ft) standing tall in the distance. But you’ll have to wait until 2021 (maybe even 2022) to attempt it, as access has been shut down to allow the environment to recuperate from excessive tourism. It’s a good reminder to be conscientious citizens of the world and we travel and climb, especially when it comes to dealing with waste and being respectful of local communities.

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