Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 18th June 2013, 15:25   #181
BHPian
 
Dodge_Viper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Vashi
Posts: 454
Thanked: 431 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Ah, so finally my wait is over. Here comes stok kangri . Thanks adc da.

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 18th June 2013 at 15:27.
Dodge_Viper is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 18th June 2013, 17:26   #182
adc
Senior - BHPian
 
adc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,343
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Thanks again to the readers going through and definitely also for all the good words and appreciation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sen2009 View Post
Tang Lang La scares the gut out of even a 4x4 driver, let alone a lone cyclist. In my list, it is more fearsome than Khardung La itself.
This is what I wrote about in Oct 2010 travel: "There are some passes which are well known but lets say "touristy" and there are some which gives you that feeling as you approach it, and these when you get over commands attention respect. Over the course of journeys like Kunzum in October over Rhotang and like Tanglang la at a late evening and this [Wari la] over Khardung la."


This was before I got stuck right at Zojila top at 13,000 feet for 2 nights with Safari engine and thus heater running all through day and night to kept us from freezing - in that same trip while going out of Ladakh, end October 2010.

Now I say like this, touristy or not: Wrong place, wrong season, wrong time, wrong luck - any pass is as much dangerous as it had been benign before.

The extra edge about Sach, Wari la, Tanglang la is the desolateness - whether the day is good or bad. Hours can pass without much seeing anyone.



Similarly a pass that is thought as nothing in other season, can be a wild one during off season, i.e., the start months and just before closing. Rhotang just as it opened would be tough on the incline due to snow melt and slush. Similarly Bum la comes to mind. Other times even Alto would roam about, but after snow and by Jan with knee deep ruts by Stallion trucks and with iced tracks it would be a different story.






Quote:
Originally Posted by Jignesh View Post
Hello ADC,

While reading through your last post, I actually wondered whether I am reading a thriller novel or hearing a thriller movie story from a friend.
I mean its simply unbelievable. You start 30 km ride from Tanglang La at 6 pm on a cold (October) winter evening. Then a Truck / Sumo lighting the road ahead & you pedaling your bicycle at 25 - 30 kmph. Finally you reaching Rumtse at 8 pm. I don't think I have read something more exciting than the narration in this thread.
As the darkness came on the cold October night, the 13th day of this cycle ride, I was not looking forward to anything other than going back to Rumtse. So if the truck was empty, I would have picked up the cycle on it. Tanglang la incline was done with whatever effort was needed, so I would not have much "guilt" about getting it up on the truck and reaching Rumtse without much of the end drama.




Quote:
Originally Posted by nitin.rai View Post
I was so impressed by this thread that I did the below:


It was a crazy 3 day trip and included 36 (12+10+14) hours of saddle time in 3 days over 1350 (600+100+650) kms! But I had to do it after going through this thread to temporarily settle the cycle itch.

Manali to Leh on cycle is on soon!!
Great on the spur trip, great snow view and walls you must have got, and must have enjoyed that huge downhill from Rhotang. You can definitely attach out here some pics if you want.



Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
We should have arranged for a team of camera persons to record your entire adventure on video. It would have so aptly captured all the emotions involved in completing this unique feat. And we have not even started our trek of Stok Kangri .
I do have bits and clips of videos but almost all are shaky. But still with the pics and bits of videos, a kind of recording could be done but that would require heavy editing and such some technical guys who know. So as for now, those videos will most probably gets stored up as our other journey videos, rarely seen again.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
I don't think that is the intended meaning.

I feel it is more like.

May God's mercy always shine on the makers of these roads.
They have made wanderers/ nomads of those who drive here.

Rudra da, that would be the nearest one and almost perfect one.

Thank you bblost for getting it quite right. I rearranged a bit, but the second line is kind of funny.

On the makers of the high mountain roads, may God's mercy shine
They have made nomads and wanderers [out of??] those who drive


So as they say in heavy language: "As translation is also an interpretive act, meaning may get lost in the translation process" - it is better to keep it just as that pic is.





Quote:
Originally Posted by manolin View Post
A close friend has written this super short guide to cycling to leh in Outlook traveller this month (http://travel.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?285819). I forwarded him a link to this thread ;-)

Thank you for the link and it is a good article.

But one thing I would point out is that most of the supported cycle groups do this part in one shot. From Sarchu, it is a direct to Pang. Definitely it can be done but then a part of cycling gets lost as one has to rush through Lachung la and those brilliant gorges before Pang - as if done in one shot, it is only by end of day that one crosses the gorges and as such much of that landscape is lost in late evening shadows or dusk, as seen here it was dark when were around Pang

A stop in between Sarchu and Pang is thus desirable, but the downside is that in between it is desolate, dry and super windy and cold, more so late September. But in season times there should be a couple of dhabas/serais en route for shelter.

Last edited by adc : 18th June 2013 at 17:51.
adc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th June 2013, 18:04   #183
Distinguished - BHPian
 
phamilyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 5,520
Thanked: 3,078 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Quote:
Originally Posted by manolin View Post
A close friend has written this super short guide to cycling to leh in Outlook traveller this month . I forwarded him a link to this thread ;-)
With due respect, there is no guide information in that link except a plug for Dhananjay's outfit. That kinda thing is no patch on the kinda superhuman effort taken up by ADC or by other cyclists such as http://www.jaiman.org/blog/2010/10/c...-cycling-trip/
phamilyman is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 18th June 2013, 18:44   #184
BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Delhi/Cuttack
Posts: 372
Thanked: 175 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Thank you for the link and it is a good article.

But one thing I would point out is that most of the supported cycle groups do this part in one shot. From Sarchu, it is a direct to Pang. Definitely it can be done but then a part of cycling gets lost as one has to rush through Lachung la and those brilliant gorges before Pang - as if done in one shot, it is only by end of day that one crosses the gorges and as such much of that landscape is lost in late evening shadows or dusk, as seen here it was dark when were around Pang

A stop in between Sarchu and Pang is thus desirable, but the downside is that in between it is desolate, dry and super windy and cold, more so late September. But in season times there should be a couple of dhabas/serais en route for shelter.
This is something my friend also found to be troublesome. That day was really long, and as the itinerary was tight and since backup vehicle was available (group ride), people ended up availing of the same eventually. So apparently in a group of 8-10 people, 3 managed to avoid hitching a ride overall. 2 major passes in one day sounds like bad planning, but I guess it really depends on how much you are paying for the trip (and consequent costs of the backup vehicle and the helpers, and food for each extra day).

On a solo trip, with your own luggage to carry, I guess, the joy is two-fold - take extra time as the cycling is tougher, and at the same time, enjoy the beauty for longer - you had to bake the cake, but you got to eat all of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
With due respect, there is no guide information in that link except a plug for Dhananjay's outfit. That kinda thing is no patch on the kinda superhuman effort taken up by ADC or by other cyclists such as http://www.jaiman.org/blog/2010/10/c...-cycling-trip/
Hahaha. No, I was not trying to compare, nor is Dhananjay's outfit said to be any better than the others offering similar services (as per my friend, who did this trip last year - as a sort of testing of his ACL surgery - to see if it had worked out for the better or worse). I was merely attaching another writeup on the same - travelogue writing for magazines requires a different approach from writing for the Internet; in this case, I have read the original submission and the final edit is a quarter length of it. But before the internet, that those driblets of information in 2 pages of a mag were sufficient for a lot of people.

BTW I love Sam and Erin's writeup about their spiti - leh ride, and the accounts of the fellows at Masterly Inactivity for their himalayan rides.

A shimla - spiti - leh - srinagar loop on an Indian atlas cycle cycle would be a dream journey for me; I wish some more had been mentioned here about the Japanese cyclist on the used Rs.250 cycle going to leh.

Last edited by manolin : 18th June 2013 at 18:52. Reason: referenced wrong blog regarding the Japanese tourist. Thought I had read it here.
manolin is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 18th June 2013, 18:59   #185
adc
Senior - BHPian
 
adc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,343
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Just noticed your edit. And thanks for the link.

Brilliant effort that is. With a single speed, it is definitely again something even more out of the ordinary.

Last edited by adc : 18th June 2013 at 19:03.
adc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th June 2013, 19:02   #186
BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Delhi/Cuttack
Posts: 372
Thanked: 175 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Confused, Do you mean the Greek guy I met Sarchu, who I have wrongly mentioned as Portuguese in the first page, but he was on no Rs 250 cycle, rather on a proper touring bike with a Brooks saddle - he was equipped for his ride. He was travelling from Uttaranchal to Manali side to Leh to Srinagar, brilliant trip definitely it was.
I had confused myself. Last week I had been reading your thread along with another account of leh cycling. While I was editing my post with the correct link, you posted. Sorry for the confusion.
manolin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th June 2013, 20:04   #187
BHPian
 
nitin.rai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 327
Thanked: 235 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Great on the spur trip, great snow view and walls you must have got, and must have enjoyed that huge downhill from Rhotang. You can definitely attach out here some pics if you want.
Dada, had thought so but did not want to hijack your thread
Also, the pics are from my BB & BB to iPad transfer thought was killing me so here we go directly from the laptop!

Raju Sharma (blue T-shirt) of Magic Mountain Adventures provided me a guide (his nephew Shambhu - in 1 frame at Rohtang) at the last minute. Very personable and helpful guy.
He has a home stay as well in Jagatsukh; very hygenic.

This was my seventh trip to Manali but never had the 0 Km milestone seemed so prominent!
Attached Images
      
nitin.rai is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 19th June 2013, 11:10   #188
BHPian
 
narsi_6989's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: TN 13/KA 03
Posts: 232
Thanked: 154 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Day 13: Tso Kar [15,000 ft] - Tanglang la [17,480 ft] - Rumste [14,100 ft]: 78 km.
I was holding back from posting comments and wanted to post once the trip log is complete. But the trip details of the above quoted day has made me write this. No number of superlatives is enough to appreciate your effort ADC da. The downhill trip from Tanglang la takes the cake though. . I bow before your determination, guts and efforts.

Eagerly waiting for the Stok part now.
narsi_6989 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 20th June 2013, 11:36   #189
adc
Senior - BHPian
 
adc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,343
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Default Re: Stok Kangri - Intro note

Stok Kangri (elevation 6,153 m (20,182 feet) is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region of northwest India. The peak is located in Hemis National Park, 12 km southwest of the trail head at 3,610 m (11,845 feet) in the village of Stok and 24 km southwest of the Ladakhi capital of Leh.

Despite its altitude, Stok Kangri is a popular peak and is often climbed as an initial non-technical foray into high altitude amateur mountaineering. And over the last couple of years there has been an quantum jump of trekkers heading off to Stok Kangri summit - the "glamour" of a summit, the highest trekable mountain in India - in fact, it would have been the tallest mountain if it were located in Africa, Europe, Antarctica, or Australia has been alluring to say the least. Plus on top of that it is so easily accessible from Leh, and quite a few of the travellers also put in their itinerary. Almost all trek companies, whether based outside of Ladakh or those in Ladakh are super busy with booking in the month of July and August, as most of the rush is seen in these summer months.

Now as said, it is a trekable summit i.e., no technical knowledge of mountaineering is required and in the worst of times during the trekking season, crampons and ice picks provided by the tour agencies help to ease out the sections if there is an unseasonal snow.

However there are two vital factors will decide whether you will reach the summit or not.

1. The biggest factor is proper acclimatization, where proper is the word that is stressed. Sitting down in Leh, at only 3500 mt, for 2 days after a flight cannot be considered as acclimatization for Stok Kangri. At heights of 5 to 6 km above sea level, the amount of oxygen available is less than 50 percent of sea level. The last hour or so towards the summit is a slow progress whereby every few steps are labored with deep breathing, and some of the trekkers have been forced to return with only metres left -- again due to altitude issues, not enough time spent to let the body cope up and thus be able function in that rarefied air.


The same analogy of examination marks that I had given for Tanglang la holds true out here also - that there is a difference in ability at different altitudes i.e., the difference between 5 to 6000 m is much profound than 4000 to 5000 m and so on as altitude increases

And severe altitude sickness will manifest in serious complications including shortness of breath at rest, inability to walk, decreasing mental alertness and a build up of fluid on the lungs which can result in a "gurgling" sound when breathing. It is thus very important to know the first signs of altitude sickness, e.g., headache, tiredness, nausea or vomiting, substantial loss of appetite, dizziness and of course sleeping difficulties. If a person is developing AMS and is not stabilizing, it it is absolutely vital to come down as fast as possible to lower altitude. A few trekkers have even known to have died, here's a sad report of death - due to AMS. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/...cle3706511.ece


Stok Kangri altitude map, from interent
Name:  Stok kangri.png
Views: 1844
Size:  9.0 KB

Note: Stok la is not crossed on the direct route, for that it is straight from Leh/Stok village to Mankorma.

I personally have a less consideration for anti-altitude drugs, like Diamox or their derivatives [personally never have taken them]. It may be still okay for that odd headache and nausea at around Leh heights but for heights at 5000 or 6000 mts they cannot be effective and are not a substitution for good acclamatization for preventing AMS. In fact a study says "experts found that neither altitude-sickness drugs nor rest days had a major effect on whether people got ill".

Trekkers who go up rapidly, drugs will not protect against the harmful effects of altitude. To summarize, Diamox does not help acclimatization for the heights that is seen along this trek to the summit.


So if you just landing to Leh to do this trek, skip any operator who is saying 4 days is enough. It is enough only if you are well acclimatized as I was due to cycling all through the high mountain passes over the past days. If not, there is a vital need for spending more time trekking around Stok before going to base camp and then onwards to summit - to get adjusted to the rarefied air gradually.

Among the circuitous route that is most common is the Stok Kangri via Rumbak route [Zingchen - Rumbak - Stok la - Mankarmo - Base Camp - Stok Kangri], making it a around 8-9 day program. There is also a roundabout way to the base camp from Shang Village. This route being longer also thus allows for better acclimatization, - through Shangphu La and Matho La passes, Gangpoche and the Red Valley, before reaching the base camp. The descent route is via Mankarmo Valley to Stok Village. Some trekkers also combine Markha valley trek with Stok Kangri ascent.


Also in some previous trek reports there had been mention of advanced base camp near the glacier. However this base camp is not allowed any more as residents of Stok village were concerend about pollution and contamination of the glacier - source of village water supply. Thus, as of now it is a long trek from base camp to summit.


As per the recent development, Indian tourists will be charged Rs 200 by the Stok Panchayat, to be used solely for cleanliness and garbage management.



To conclude, Stok Kangri summit trekking at 6152 mt is not glorified walking or hiking. Get adequately acclimatized, and then it is more of a mental fight considering someone is physically fit for a mountain trek.



2. This of course goes without saying: Physical conditioning. A reasonably fit person should be able to do - It is not technically challenging like clinging on an overhang or crossing crevasses with ladder or climbing with ropes. But the summit trek for city people like us can be said to be tough and even challenging. A glacier moraine area and then a glacier has to be crossed and the last couple of hundred metres is quite strenuous as the track goes much steeper on the ridge. But again the high altitude has to be thought of. As one exerts body around those high altitude, lungs are finding it really hard to get its breath back.

A person who is not reasonably fit or has skipped on the physical part will succumb easily to the altitude and thus have AMS. A previous high altitude trekking experience is also desirable in order to make the Stok Kangri trekking a much more enjoyable one.


The summit trek can also be done absolutely independently, i.e., without any guide. The route is well laid out and there are tea houses during the season months of July and August, and as long the stream is not frozen at the base camp, for water needs. However, if you do not have experience with glacier crossing, a guide is absolutely needed a guide or an companion who has some alpine experience with glaciers.

The route to summit from around base camp. The glacier is crossed and then along the ridge to summit.
Name:  stok_kangri_overview.jpg
Views: 1191
Size:  128.5 KB
Picture taken from: http://alpspitze.al.funpic.de/tripre...tok_kangri.htm


Equipment: The general checklist for an Himalayan multi-day trek is needed. For groups some of it is carried in ponies leaving the hiking part to the trekkers. For us [guide and me ] and those doing on their own, need to carry all that is required on their backpack. If there is heavy snow, crampons and axe will help in faster ascent than not having them. Of course, in an organized group tour, the travel company in Leh will be provide with all equipment, crampons, food, guide, donkeys, etc


Anyway coming back to my condition, I considered myself fulfilling both conditions, 1 and 2, due to the Manali-Leh cycling over the past days. As such took out the short trek option of 4 days, i.e., from Stok village [Leh] - Mankarma [1N] - Base Camp [[1N] - Stok Kangri Summit - Base camp [1N] - Stok village [Leh]. And as this was the 2nd week of October, with season having closed for the year, there were no organized groups. As said, I just about got a guide through Altitude Adventure - Shareef, a very cheerful guy of 25 yrs around from Nubra region, and thus my trek was more of a backpacking style one with supplies taken along with us in our backpacks and relying on the information that the tea houses are still there till Mankarma for replenishment of supplies. If you are going through an organized trek group, ponies bring up the supplies from Stok village. Pony owners give out on rent groups of ponies and a single pony would have been quite costly for me. The basic notion was the same as cycling - let me see, - if there is too much of an issue, will return back and try again sometime when conditions are favourable. It was more relying on that clear weather window, and finish off the trek before the first snowfall happens and closes the summit trek for that year.


That's enough of introductory gyan and from next post, starting on my actual trek to Stok Kangri summit


contd..

Last edited by adc : 20th June 2013 at 12:02.
adc is offline   (9) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 20th June 2013, 13:30   #190
adc
Senior - BHPian
 
adc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,343
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Leh [11,480 ft] - 1 hr drive to Stok village for start point - trek to Mankorma [16,080 ft, 5-6 hrs/8 km]


The first majestic glimpse that I got Stok Kangri was in the October 2010 got from Saboo village, near Leh [ Around Leh and the amazing experience at Saboo (Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10) ]

Name:  IMG_3860.jpg
Views: 1302
Size:  44.6 KB


From then and finding it out that it was a trekable summit, had always kept it in consideration for the next Leh trip. Thus back in Leh in October 2012 by cycling and with Stok being still open in 2nd week of October, the summit trek was the first option that was soon confirmed.



The day in between, October 5, could have been used to go to Khardung la if I had already taken out a permit before the DC office closed. Having reached to the hotel close to evening on Oct 4, it was not possible for the next day journey to Khardung la and as such that day was spent in roaming around. Point to note is that on a cycle and if doing a day trip to Khardung la top along with the nuermous photo breaks, I have to leave early morning - that is cannot wait for the DC office to open and then start for Khardung la as can be done easily by a vehicle.



A somewhat late start for the day, and along with Mr Qayoom and my guide, Shareef, we drive down to Stok village. At a distance can be seen Stok Palace.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma49.jpg


A better view of Stok Palace, taken while returning from the trek. Stok Palace, built by King Tsespal Tondup Namgyal is the year 1825.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma48.jpg



A goodbye to Mr Qayoom and his friend, and here me and my guide on the verge of starting the trek at 11:45 am, little late for a start.
Name:  At Stok Kangri Mankorma3.jpg
Views: 1126
Size:  242.6 KB Name:  At Stok Kangri Mankorma4.jpg
Views: 1095
Size:  220.7 KB


Leaving the Stok village and along Stok Chu. Beautiful clear day on Oct 6, 2012, just hoped that it remained so for the next 3 days to summit.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma5.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma6.jpg



Some ponies returning with supplies after an organized group trekking had finished.
Name:  At Stok Kangri Mankorma7.jpg
Views: 1070
Size:  251.0 KB

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma8.jpg



For us it is the start of the trek.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma9.jpg



We also soon come up with this solo trekker, who had summited successfully a day back. He gives info that the tea house is still there at Mankorma and summit route and glacier is okay.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma11.jpg
Individual heights are somewhat exaggerated due to track height difference and also wide angle lens




And me take a look as Stok village goes out of sight.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma10.jpg


contd..

Last edited by adc : 20th June 2013 at 13:41.
adc is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 20th June 2013, 14:10   #191
adc
Senior - BHPian
 
adc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,343
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Towards Mankorma [16,080 ft, 5-6 hrs/8 km] contd..


Along the Stok Chu river, the ascent continues towards Mankorma
Name:  At Stok Kangri Mankorma13.jpg
Views: 1072
Size:  308.2 KB

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma14.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma15.jpg

Name:  At Stok Kangri Mankorma16.jpg
Views: 1044
Size:  279.9 KB Name:  At Stok Kangri Mankorma17.jpg
Views: 1032
Size:  282.0 KB


Some kind of red berry plant are more seen at the start of the trek, in September bright yellow coloured.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma20.jpg


Along the gorge and interesting jagged rock structures are seen along with vertical cliffs.
Name:  At Stok Kangri Mankorma19.jpg
Views: 1013
Size:  291.9 KB

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma21.jpg


Being absolutely out of season and the big rush of the Stok Kangri ascent over, we were more or less the only ones till then headed towards Mankorma. With no crowds, bharals or blue sheep could also be seen quite close to the trek track. Superbly camouflaged against the rocky background.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma22.jpg

Name:  At Stok Kangri Mankorma26.jpg
Views: 1028
Size:  258.3 KB

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma24.jpg




contd..

Last edited by adc : 20th June 2013 at 14:20.
adc is offline   (8) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 20th June 2013, 17:16   #192
adc
Senior - BHPian
 
adc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,343
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Towards Mankorma contd..


After spending some time seeing the blue sheep, continue with the ascent towards Mankorma
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma27.jpg

Next comes a location in the trek known as Chang ma. Here the circuitous track from Zingchen/Rumbak and then through Stok la comes to join the Stok Kangri trek
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma50.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma29.jpg

Name:  At Stok Kangri Mankorma28.jpg
Views: 943
Size:  311.9 KB


Continuing further come across a few more of these bharals or blue sheep.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma30.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma32.jpg


To continue further in the ascent along the track. My guide, Shareef, can be seen among the rugged landscape and mountains that has become now more prominent.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma36.jpg


This reminds of my guide during the Kun base camp, among the vast panoramic mountains of Zanskar - during the Tangole - Kun base camp trek - Tangole (Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011) from Oct 2011
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-fullscreen-capture-20062013-151711.jpg




As the trek continues, bewildering mountain sculpture is seen. One wonders what kind of forces would have caused these solid mountain rocks to be sliced up like this!
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma33.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma34.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma38.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma37.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma41.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma40.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma42.jpg



After some 4-1/2 hrs of trekking, at around 4:15 pm, comes up in view the tea house tent of Mankorma. Also see two big bright orange dome tents of a group, that had most probably arrived early in the day.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma43.jpg


That group consists of senior school guys, class 11 or 12, sponsored by IMF. But what is special is that they are all someway or other physically challenged. Slowly over the days, they have been moving towards the base camp as they all get acclimatized. I am amazed to see their endeavor, particularly at this altitude and at this month.

They are led by a guide from IMF, very experienced who has also summited Mt Everest. Other than that there is a full time doctor, trek manager and kitchen staff.




As night comes up soon, get acquainted with some of the them in the Mankorma tea house. Their spirit indomitable, resolution absolute. Hats off to their effort and will power.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma44.jpg



Tukpa with soya granules is the food for the night along with my favourite drink by now in the hills, black tea.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma45.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma47.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma46.jpg


Soon retire for the night in my tent, tomorrow is the short trek to the base camp, from where the final ascent to Stok Kangri will be attempted.




contd...

Last edited by adc : 20th June 2013 at 17:34.
adc is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2013, 12:51   #193
adc
Senior - BHPian
 
adc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,343
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Mankorma – Stok Kangri Base Camp (5000 m): 4 km 2-3 hrs.

October 7, 2012, a clear day again but of course very cold this late season. This also is the shortest day of the trek, some 2-3 km from here, and will bring up the base camp from where the final ascent to the summit will be done. The day is purposely kept short as just to give some time to acclimatize to 5000 m height.


The dome tents of that group of students with special needs, who are also on this trek, lead by a very experienced trek leader.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma21.jpg


The tea house [yellow tent] at Mankorma. Those who do independent trekking depend upon this for replenishment of supplies and fooding. We also have our breakfast and pick up some food items for our next day at the Stok Kangri base camp, as the tea house at the base camp has closed down due to the extreme cold in this month of October thus freezing the stream water. Plus the season is all but over and only people are coming up knowing that weather is somehow holding on this late season.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma22.jpg


Stok Kangri seen from Mankorma camp. A lazy start and only by around 11 am started from here for the short 2 hour trek to the final base camp at 5000 m.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma23.jpg


Ponies and their support staff of that group start early with supplies. They will pitch the tents as that group reaches slowly from here.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma24.jpg


I say bye to them, they will be coming slowly later on to the base camp. Again to repeat one more time - really fantastic effort. It does not matter if they can go all the way to the summit, but that they are here and in high spirits is big enough proof of their will and courage to face life in spite of all their physical challenges.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma2.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma3.jpg


En route to the base camp of Stok Kangri.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma25.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma5.jpg



Off of off-season, and some more bharals or blue sheep seen on the mountain side.
Name:  Stok Kangri Mankorma4.jpg
Views: 868
Size:  261.5 KB


And the motto out here in this rarefied air and high mountain land, "Never, never give up!"
Name:  Stok Kangri Mankorma6.jpg
Views: 845
Size:  293.6 KB


But then of course you can look back, and appreciate the magnificent panorama as I gather my breath.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma7.jpg



contd...

Last edited by adc : 21st June 2013 at 13:08.
adc is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2013, 14:02   #194
adc
Senior - BHPian
 
adc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,343
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Mankorma – Stok Kangri Base Camp ...contd..

By 1 pm, i.e, after 2 hours around the base camp of Stok Kangri comes up.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma8.jpg

One more person is there, an australian lady who is doing an individual trek with a guide, but having full supplies and food items - their blue and green tents. The other tent seen on the left is the kitchen tent of the student group, they should be coming up by the end of the day.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma10.jpg


Our tent is pitched too, and Maggi as noon food.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma12.jpg


With enough time in hand before dusk, went out for a little hike, the big one of course starts very early morning tomorrow.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma13.jpg


The tea house that was also there at the base camp but had to be abandoned as the water source freezed up, plus the trek season is coming to a close any day a snowfall happens.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma14.jpg


The immediate steep climb along the ridge from the base camp towards the glacier.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma16.jpg


After an hour's walk returned soon. Got just a bit of an idea what is in for tomorrow, each and every step adds to the breathlessness and this is just at this base camp.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma17.jpg


Dusk comes up on the mountains, at Stok Kangri base camp.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma19.jpg



The best part, Shareef, my guide, knew the other guide who was with that lady. Moreover, my guide is known among the locals as a good cook! So he is on their kitchen duty and which turn gave us a free pass to good solid dinner.


Tibetan "Thenthuk" (pronounced roughly like "ten" + "took") is a typical Tibetan noodle soup that keeps the nomads warm during the long Tibetan winters, made either with vegetables or meat. In Tibetan "then" means pull and "thuk" means noodles.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-mankorma18.jpg


And as said, due to Shareef contributing with his kitchen duties on this camp, we had it with vegetables and with a bit of chicken too!!
Name:  Stok Kangri Mankorma20.jpg
Views: 838
Size:  251.1 KB


The "dinner" is done by 6 pm. The student group also has arrived just before dusk. They would spend another day over at the base camp to acclimatize further. For me, tomorrow, October 8, 2012, is the big day. Alarm set for 3 am, for the start of the high trek towards Stok Kangri summit at 6152 mt.


contd...

Last edited by adc : 21st June 2013 at 14:13.
adc is offline   (8) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2013, 18:34   #195
adc
Senior - BHPian
 
adc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,343
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Base Camp – Stok Kangri summit (6150 m) – Base Camp (5000 m): 12-13 Km


Some points to note for summit day:

Stok Kangri base camp is the farthest one can go, before attempting the summit. In fact the base camp is not located at the base of the mountain as a base camp normally is. In previous years, till around 2010 or so, there was another base camp further ahead, called the Advanced Base Camp at 5300 m/17,300 feet. However this was close to the glacier, which was also the origin of the river and formed the water needs of Stok Village. As more and more people started to trek and this route became popular, the ABC camp was closed down due to the fear of pollution of the glacier, their main water source. So at present, the base camp is the last point till where the ponies and supplies can come and one can tent. The summit thus has to be finished up in one long trek of around 12-13 km.


The summit day begins long before dawn and an early start is essential. Ideally and most of those who will be in organized group trekking will be leaving by midnight to 1 am at the latest. The time taken depends upon the fitness, acclimatization, trek experience and weather conditions. Anywhere between 7 to 10 hours is required for summitting depending upon all factors and then some 2-4 hrs for descending.


Also many group organized treks or those who feel they do need an extra day at this heights, spend another day at base camp and spending that day hiking till the previous advanced base camp/glacier and then coming back to the base camp to complete the acclimatisation.



Coming back to October 8, 2012, It was very cold, almost close to around -10 or so plus with an icy wind blowing. But still I had a good sleep in between, as I woke up at least 2-3 times in the night. Fully up by 2:30 am, still quite late when compared to group organized treks that start by midnight. Have maggi food and biscuits, and put in the backpack some fruits and biscuits and packed lunch prepared by Shareef.


It was only by 4 am that we could start, in hindsight we should have been at least an or even a couple of hours before. It was in fact quite callous of us to start that late. We had to really push it to cover the lost time and at that height, hiking briskly is absolutely out of question. Plus there was the backpack to carry along my jacket, food on the trek and for a late lunch, and then my 3 kg of DSLR camera weight. At the most 3 am should be cut off time and normally it becomes quite dangerous [ferocious high winds, snow/ice] and conditions deteriorate around the summit by 11 or 12 noon, the safe descending time of 2-4 hours also has to be kept in mind.


Anyway, the ascent starts right away along that steep path towards old advanced base camp and further to the summit. Today we [Shareef and I] and the Australian and his guide were the only ones going up to the summit. The Australian has started some half hr before and without a backpack or such could keep up a decent pace. As for me, with the backpack and a stick as a trekking pole and then with the initial preoccupation with the camera, all conspired in keeping my pace average - the thin air of course being there and every step takes quite almost all of the breath away.

The first couple of hours are spent on the trudge along the steep yet gradual climb along the ridge, then crossing the old ABC to descend down to the glacier. The sky was brilliant with numerous stars but already were late, and with the breathlessness that accompanies every kind of effort, skipped on night images. : The night track lighted up our head torch, just taking step one a time as the ascent track is lighted up.


By early dawn, at around 6 am, crossing the glacier, quite late due to the late start by at least a couple of hours. The glacier does have some crevasses, this is where one does need a guide to show you the safe way if you do not have previous alpine experience. Else, if solo, one can also follow the different guided parties, in season months of June, July, and early Sept. this whole track will be lighted up with all the numerous trekkers and their guides attempting the summit.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-summit16.jpg



A clear morning till now and have crossed the glacier .
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-summit17.jpg



After crossing the glacier and the boulders field, there is the start of quite a steep slope (5500m-5700m).
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-summit18.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-summit19.jpg




The gradients are now insane, every breath is a prolonged gasp. A walk of 10-20 steps and then a rest for another couple of minutes. And yet with the backpack with camera, and we starting late, it was a slow, slow progress.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-summit22.jpg




The effort to climb at insane incline is multiplied by 10 times at this altitude. Now if we had started by midnight, as most do, we would have climbed covered this part of track at night. Now how it helps psychologically is that, with only a very small part track only lighted up by the head torch and thus a trekker cannot see how steep is the climb or how far it goes on and on.

Shareef, my guide, is seen at the top of an ascent. Just looking at this incline, I stop for 5 minutes or so and while climbing up definitely 2 or 3 times.
Name:  Stok Kangri summit23.jpg
Views: 784
Size:  324.9 KB



Not many pictures at all, most effort had gone into climbing up. Every muscle is stretched, every breath is expended, everything channelized to trudge along the inclines. All that 3 kg+ camera load was in fact was kind of dead weight for most of the time. In a way it cannot be just explained out here unless one does this summit trek from the base camp. Most those who quit, do here on this day - some due to the physical conditions of not being able to cope with it and some more due to the mentally draining trudge that this is.


After some 6 hours of climbing and climbing along the ridge, we come up to this part, the last couple of hundred metres of a big ascent now goes on to the summit. I stop here for sometime; even not trekking, normal breathing is labored due to the rarefied air. The camera is out again. The views fantastic,distant mountain ranges and the whole of the glacier can be seen.


The far away Kun mountain peak of Zanskar can be seen
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-summit25.jpg


Another flashback!! - here's the Kun peak, early morning, mid Oct 2011 during that exploratory expedition of interior Kashmir and Zanskar (Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011).





The complete Stok glacier that was crossed is also seen
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-summit27.jpg


What a view and still the summit top yet to come.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-summit28.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-stok-kangri-summit24.jpg


contd..

Last edited by adc : 21st June 2013 at 18:47.
adc is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Extreme Expedition, Bicycling: Leh-Chang la-Pangong-Chushul-Kakasang la-Hor la-Mahe adc Travelogues 88 20th March 2017 20:04
Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10 spiritofmars Travelogues 45 17th December 2014 14:53
Finally Leh(ed) June 2011 : Delhi - Srinagar - Leh - Manali - Delhi v&v Travelogues 72 4th November 2013 16:06
Manali-Bharatpur-Mt Yunum summit(6118m)-Leh-PangongTso-Kargil-Amarnath yatra-Srinagar recker_us Travelogues 10 5th February 2009 12:20


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 08:32.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks