Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stok Kangri (elevation 6137m)

, For two days I was searching for people to join the amateur Stok Kangri expedition. And the second day indeed I managed to find in the internet cafe Marcin and Wojtek who were also considering to climb Stok Kangri. Together we gathered the necessary equipment (tent, food, water purification tablets, crampons, ice axes) and information. It was supposed to be an relatively easy summit, but due to heavy recent rain/snowfalls it could have been more challenging than usual.

We departure to the village Stok, we got the permit for this peak, and started to climb slowly to the base-camp. Most of the other tourist rent donkeys or horses, but we decided to be tough and to do it in Polish way and we carried all the gear in our rucksacks. We reached the base-camp (at 5000m) and we still decided to spend two more days for acclimatization. During this time I got the most sever diarrhea in India till now.

Half past midnight at 22nd of August (still with diarrhea) we decided that the weather was good enough to get to the summit and we started our trip.
The night start is advisable since one have to cross the glacier and it is much easier and safer if the snow/ice is frozen. From the beginning I was the slowest from our group, I guess I was the least acclimatized to such a high altitude, and every 50 steps I had to take a breathing break for couple of seconds. The night was bright, there was almost full moon, and we were climbing up and up. We have seen lights of other climbers before us also going for the same summit, but we started as the last ones, and we were the slowest. When the sun rise came (one of the most beautiful that I have seen) we were already through the glacier and we were climbing on the snow up and up, relatively steep (around 45 degrees). With every step one could feel that there is less and less oxygen, and I had to make the breathing breaks more and more often. Every move, every step was as huge motivation afford. But finally, after ages I managed to crawl to the mountain ridge, where my two partners were waiting for me.

Basically this is how I looked like after crawling to the ridge. Already famous MOVIE. I am sorry but the dialogs are in polish.

From this point it was "only" two-three more hours to walk on the ridge between the rocks and snow to the real peak. But one had to be very careful, one wrong step... could be the last one...

On the summit of Stok Kangri.
Twenty minutes before reaching the summit we met Marek and Stasiu, two other polish guys coming down from the summit. I guess this was the moment that I started to believe that the aim is close. Around twelve during the day we managed to get to our aim!!!!!!!!! It was an amazing moment. We put on the top Polish flag and took the Korean one with us. I was very, very tired (believe or not I did only few photos on the top). The time that we were at the top was mostly cloudy but from time to time there was a window of clear sky showing a magnificent view on the mountains around.

After half an hour rest we started to climb down. Since the sun was already high the snow started to melt and the route was more difficult. Luckily without any injury we managed to go down.

Both our routs were much longer than the shortest ones possible and more difficult than average. We managed to reach the base camp in 18h from our departure and... I did not have a problem with any of my knees. Not at all!!! And I am also very grateful to Marcin and Wojtek that they waited for me many times during our Stok Kangri expedition.

I would never predict that I would loose so much fitness on the high altitude, and I would never predict that the motivation can do so much over the very, very weak body...

Now, I am not planning to go anyhow higher in the nearest future, just a very simple tracks at a low altitude. And I will try to post some photos when I get out from Ladakh. In the whole region still there is only from time to time satellite internet connection and there is an electricity in the city for three hours a day :) Good news is that they managed to repair most of the flooded roads.


  1. wow, amazing experience! i hope you are enjoying your time there!

  2. Congrats Miko, and a great story too - keep it up!

  3. Wow, that sounds great! I must come again to Leh and go there ...somewhen :)

  4. thanks Miko,i found your blog right in time....i am going for stoke Kangri Expedition in July and was searching articles and information about the u said...true mental ability can do wonders and overcome physical difficulties...and in the mountains mental fitness is more important!! congrats and thanks once again!!