A unique high altitude trek plus the chance to conquer a 20,000ft/6000m trekking peak
This challenging trek traverses the Ladakh mountains on a little-used route high above the Indus Valley, and offers a chance to ascend Stok Kangri, a 20,130ft/6141m peak. We approach from the west of Leh, climbing steeply from the Zanskar River towards the rugged Ladakh and Zanskar Range.
This stark region of high passes and wild mountains is softened by the immense charm of the Ladakhi villages and their inhabitants. We cross one high pass after another, including the seldom-used Kang La where we have the chance to ascend Palam Peak, a warm up for Stok Kangri. We continue towards the spectacular scenery of the Stok Range, where we begin our ascent.
The tough, but optional climb provides stunning views extending across Ladakh to the Karakorams, the Himalaya and into Tibet.
What makes this trip responsible?
We ask that you use environmentally sound practices whilst in Ladakh. Please try to buy as little mineral water as possible to avoid plastic waste. Boiled drinking water is provided on trek and available in the Leh hotel. We advise all clients to bring a purification product to treat any non-boiled water. Burnable rubbish will be burnt on trek and we ask each trekker to keep a rubbish bag for non-burnable rubbish that is taken back to Delhi or UK.
Please note that many Indians are still traditional in the way they dress. Out of respect for the country we ask you to dress conservatively – no sleeveless tops. Although shorts are acceptable on trek only they should be very modest and reach the knees and for women a skirt or trousers are preferable. Monasteries are places of worship so please be respectful when visiting and taking photographs.
Exodus started supporting this area in the Markha Valley in 2007, after the heavy rains in 2006 caused flooding throughout Ladakh, which destroyed many houses and caused loss of life and livelihood to many families. We rebuilt two houses and provided wire for the school in Hankar so they could build themselves a flood barrier. When Ladakh was hit by worse flash floods and mudslides in 2010, we set up a flood relief appeal to help support these communities.
Since 2011 we have been working with the Youth Association for Conservation and Development in the Hemis High Altitude National Park (YAFCAD) and a Niyamdru Dro, a French NGO, to provide the people of the Markha Valley with safe drinking water which they can sell to foreign trekkers instead of mineral water. We aim to sponsor as many water filters as possible and ask those villages without to boil water rather than selling bottled mineral water. The plan is eventually to ban the sale of plastic mineral water bottles along the popular Markha Valley trekking route.
Please see our project page for more information.
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View from summit of Stok Kangri