Last month (MAY 2017) in Leh our team was acclimatizing and ready to summit Stok Kangri.
Most of the travel agencies will panic and will say May is a little early for attempting peak as there will be high avalanche danger, much snow and a freezing wind at mountain shoulder to freeze you. This is true in general however good preparation and an experienced staff team will become your best aid to achieve it.
1st Day- Stok Village to Mankorma :- It was a warm sunny morning when we started our expedition. We started hiking up to the first camp at Mankorma (4400m). The 1st day climb involves crossing some snow patches (not very difficult), climbing up long stretches (exhausting!!). We reached Mankorma at 4 PM and setup our camps.
Next day in morning expedition team started walking to the STOK Kangri base camp. We reached base camp around 4 PM and it was absolutely covered by snow with no place to camp. Somehow the staff and helpers created space to set up the camps. TripHermit team set up camps at base camp and started short acclimatization hikes and training section.
We were lucky that weather didn’t upset us at all. There were small spells of snowfall but they stopped with high wind. After spending 2 days at basecamp, team decided to climb to Stok peak at night around 11 PM. At the night of summit, the expedition team woke up at 10 PM and got ready with equipment, food and not to forget a good amount of boiled water.
It's always a wise thing to get ready with all your gears when the sun is shining or else the icy wind will make you cry.
The first couple of hours from base camp went relatively smoothly. The deep snow path was frozen solid allowing us to walk across effortlessly. We were using good snow shoes, our bags were light, and we were fairly well adjusted to the altitude after two days at base camp.
After first ridge, we put on our crampons and rope up the route became significantly more challenging. The way became steeper, and more difficult with -25 degree temperature and altitude problems.
The whole team was well trained and prepared for Stok kangri Trek and luckily no one turned back or had any altitude sickness.
We finally made the Stok Kangri Summit (20187 Feet) in morning at 5 AM and it was the first summit of 2017 attempted in May. The team was standing proudly higher than most people reach in their lifetime.
It is absolutely a great pleasure to Summit Stok Kangri in May but make sure you choose right travel partner with experienced staff and guides. This is surely not required that you are an experienced mountaineer however your fitness and preparation will certainly take you to the top.