Twin Peaks of Ladakh

Starting From

$3,099/person

Number of days

22

Start Location

Indian Himalaya

Group Size

7-16

Operated by

World Expeditions

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A stunning trek in Ladakh combining climbs on Stok Kangri (6153m/20,187ft) and the western summit of Kangyaze (6200m/20,341ft) with extra days set aside for an in-depth exploration of Leh and the Indus Valley.

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Join Delhi

On arrival in Delhi you will be met by a World Expeditions representative and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore Delhi and sightseeing tours can be arranged. Due to the differing times of arrivals of group members, a group meeting will not be held until the following morning. Note: As an alternative to arriving in Delhi on a late night flight, you may wish to consider arriving the day before the trip commences. Please talk to your World Expeditions reservations consultant or your travel agent for pre-tour accommodation options.

Fly to Leh (3500m)

We board an early morning flight from Delhi to Leh (3505m) where you will be rewarded with spectacular views across the Great Himalaya and Zanskar ranges. On arrival in Leh it is essential to rest and start the all-important process of acclimatization (and also catch up with some sleep after the very early morning start). Our schedule today will be flexible and depend on how everyone is adjusting to the altitude. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to climb to the Victory Fort (above the Palace) built in the 15th century to commemorate Ladakh’s independence from the invading armies from Baltistan and Kashmir. From the Palace we can also appreciate the alleyways that comprise the old town of Leh, located to the east of the main bazaar and appreciate the wonderful panoramic view back over the Indus Valley to the south. You’re sure to fall in love with Ladakh from this great vantage point!

In Leh (3500m)

Today we have a full day sightseeing some of the outlying forts and monasteries in the Indus Valley. We include a visit to Shey Palace – the capital of upper Ladakh - until the Royal family moved to Leh in the 17th century. We also visit the nearby Tikse Monastery perched on the summit of a sugarloaf mountain overlooking the Indus Valley. Tikse was founded in the 14th century after the Dalai Lama sent monks to Ladakh and the outlying regions of West Tibet. The monastery is situated in a commanding position in the Indus Valley with the monk’s chambers spreading down the hillside below the main Assembly Hall. Note the presence here of the new multi - denominational chapel that was completed a decade ago. It was built with the assistance of tourist funds and is proof of the continuing vitality of Buddhism in Ladakh. In the evening we can either wander up to Shanti Stupa for a magnificent sunset or relax around our hotel in the comfortable grounds.

In Leh, day walk to Rumbac village

We drive to Zinchen for approx. one hour and then head up the Rumbak gorge to Rumbak village. The hike should take no more than 2.5 hours and there is an option to go higher to assist with acclimatization. It would also provide an idea of the incredible landscape that you will encounter after completing your climb on Stok Kangri.

In Leh and drive to Khardung La, overnight Leh (3500m)

This morning we will explore some of the surrounding villages and smaller monasteries in and around Leh and finalize preparations for our trek and climbs. In the afternoon, we undertake a special trip to the top of the highest motorable road in the world, the Khardung La (5602m), several hours’ drive north of Leh. This is a one-of-a-kind location, and reaching Kardung La we gain dramatic views back to Leh and the Indus valley and north to the eastern ranges of the Karakoram Range.

Drive to road head and commence trek to Changma (3900m/approx 3-4 hours)

We drive to Stok village (3500m) directly to the south of Leh and commence a relatively short stage slowly ascending the Stok Gorges to our camp at Changma (3950m). This stage is ideal for acclimatization, with an optional hike later in the day towards the Stok La.

Trek to Mankorma camp (Walk 4 to 5 hours walking distance 5 km)

Our hike today is a short stage through gorge country, to further assist acclimatization, to the tiny camp at Mankorma (4330m).

Trek to Base camp (Walk 4 to 5 hours, walking distance 6 to 7 km)

It is a gradual hike to the open meadow and the Stok Kangri Base camp (4970m) today. This area is noteworthy for its fascinating geology, with striking evidence of tectonic uplift reminding us of the forces that created (and continue to create) the Himalaya. With a solid base of acclimatization we should all arrive at base camp feeling healthy and strong and ready for the exciting challenges ahead of us.

Rest and preparations at base camp (5000m)

A day to rest and prepare for the climb of Stok Kangri, which will commence in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Climb Stok Kangri (6153m) (Climb 10 to 12 hours return)

A predawn start is imperative. The ascent is comparatively straightforward. Leaving base camp, there is a short but relatively steep climb to a small ridge (5150m) that gradually leads to the broad glacier flowing from Stok Kangri. Traversing the glacier (5,500m) should not present any problems before undertaking the moderately challenging section. This includes ascending and then traversing the steeper snow slopes on the upper flanks of Stok Kangri that lead to the final ridge and the summit. A short exposed section just before the summit adds to the sense of excitement before we take our final steps to the summit of this fine Himalayan peak. From the summit (6153m) take in breathtaking views of the Ladakh Range and the peaks of the Eastern Karakoram (with possible views of K2). The descent back to Base camp should take no more than three to four hours.

Cross Stok La to Rumbak (Walk approx. 8 hours, 12km)

We trek direct to a grazing meadow at Doksar (4540m) before ascending to the Stok La (4865m). From the pass we savour outstanding views down the Rumbak Valley and across to the Ladakh Range. The descent is initially steep across scree slopes before a long and gradual trail leads down to the prosperous Rumbak village. We camp just below the village (3900m).

Trek to high camp below Ganda La (Walk 3 to 4 hours, 10km)

A short day following a trail that winds past a solitary house at Yurutse and on to our camp (4550m). In the afternoon we undertake walks ascending some of the surrounding ridges that give commending views across the Rumbac Valley as well as the impressive northern flanks of Stok Kangri.

Base Camp to Skiu via Ganda La (Walk 7 hours, 18 km)

It should take no more than two hours to ascend to the Ganda La (4950m) where we gain fine views of the Ladakh Range to the north and the Zanskar and main Himalaya Range to the south. From the pass it takes two to three hours to reach the settlement of Shogdo. We then enter a stunning gorge following a trail that crosses the main stream many times as we descend to the village of Skiu (3435m).

Skiu to Markha village (Walk 6 to 7 hours, 20 km)

From Skiu the trail heads east slowly ascending the Markha Valley. An early start is recommended, as this can be a comparatively warm stage. En route we pass the grassy campsite at Narding as well as a few small settlements before completing the stage to Markha (3770m), the largest village in the valley.

Markha to Thochuntse (Walk 4 to 5 hours, 13km)

There is an early morning river crossing of the Markha River to reach the small settlement of Umlung. Just beyond Umlung we gain our first views of the summit of Kangyaze before reaching Hanker (3980m), the highest village in the Markha Valley. It’s a further ascent to a grassy campsite at Thochuntse.

Thochuntse to Kangyaze Base Camp (Walk 4 to 5 hours, 5 to 6km)

From camp we ascend to the high plains of Nimaling where villages from Hanker graze their yaks during the summer months. Before reaching the main campsite area we ascend a series of grassy ridges that bring us our camp (approx 5200m) beneath the impressive flanks of Kangyaze.

Contingency day and ascend to high camp

We will embark on a steep climb to high camp. Although the distance is short, the altitude can make the hike quite strenuous. We include an extra day is kept at high camp to ensure we are well prepared for the climb.

Ascend the western summit of Kangyaze (Climb 10 hours return)

Today we climb to the western summit of Kangyaze. The route to the true summit (6400m) is highly technical and demanding, therefore we attempt the more commonly climbed western summit around 6200m. The final push will be physically and mentally challenging. But once on the summit, the awe-inspiring scenery is just reward. From here we can view beyond the Zanskar range while to the north are the unmistakable peaks of the Karakoram.

Trek to Nimaling (Walk 3 hours, 6 to 7km)

With two 6000m summits under our belt we descend to the open gazing meadows at Nimaling and prepare for one last pass crossing.

Trek to Shang sumdo via Kongmaru La (Walk 6 to 7 hours, 18km)

From camp we head direct to the Kongmaru La (5150m) to gain our final views of Kangyaze while to the north we gain a birds eye view of the Indus Valley some 1500 metres below. The descent from the pass is steep in sections before entering a narrow gorge for several km. The valley widens and the trail leading on down to the settlement of Chogdo and further on to Shang Sumdo (3690m) and our final campsite.

Drive to Leh via Hemis (Walk 2 hours, drive 1.5 hours)

We trek to Shang monastery before driving to Leh. En route should have to visit the famous Hemis monastery on our drive back to Leh. On return the afternoon is free to stroll through the markets and pick up some souvenirs before you return home.

Fly to Delhi, trip concludes

An early morning back over the main Himalayan range to Delhi, where the trip concludes upon arrival at the airport. **We recommend booking your international flights the next day (in the afternoon) in case of any weather delays getting out of Leh. Please contact us for accommodation options in Delhi, or other arrangements as desired.

Additional Information

An updated itinerary that is ideally suited to fit trekkers keen to develop their mountaineering CV. We have added extra time in and around Leh, including visits to Alchi Monastery and the Khardung La, the world's highest road, as well as additional time at Stok Kangri to acclimatise and prepare for the climb. This trip is an ideal introduction to Himalayan climbing or a perfect follow on after ascending a trekking peak in Nepal. Under the expert guidance of our local climbing leader we combine ascents on the well known Stok Kangri (6153m), before tackling the non-technical western summit (6200m) of Kangyaze that looms above the head of the Markha Valley. In between climbs we cross high passes and follow trails linking tiny whitewashed settlements and exquisite Buddhist monasteries set beneath the awesome backdrop of the Trans Himalaya. This new itinerary maintains the best of the mountains, while incorporating more of the culture and history that makes this part of the Himalaya so special.

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