Duration of Trek: 11 Days
Best Time: June to October
Highest Point: Stok Khangri (6121m)
Focus: Monasteries, Wildlife and Villages
Highlight: Markha Valley, Villages and Stok Khangri
Physical Challenge: Moderate overall
Day 01 : Leh to Chilling - Sku (3500 m) in 5 hours After Breakfast drive to Chilling. We cross the Zanskar River with a trolley bridge turn wise to join the waiting team on the other side of the river.
Day 02 : Skiu - Markha (3850 m) in 7 hours
The trail joins the Markha stream and will follow it for a few days. The day's trek is relatively easy, but it involves crisscrossing the stream at numerous points depending on the water level. Markha has a monastery and a fort for a local cultural sightseeing.
Day 03 : Markha - Hankar (4000 m) in 4 hrs
Many monasteries are spread along our route today. After the Umlung monastery, the valley narrows and we stop to camp at the foot of Kang Yaste (6400 m). Day 04 : Hankar - Nimaling (4650 m) in 4 hrs
Trek in the valley in direction of Zalung Karpo and Rupshu. We pass through Thagshungtse pasture and start our gradual ascent towards the wonderful high valleys of Ladakh.
Day 05 : Nimaling - Kongmaru La (5150 m)- Chogdo (4000 m) in 7 hrs
Climb up to the summer pastures of Nimaling, used by the shepherds of Hankar and Markha, then follow the hedge to the top. The Kongmaru La pass commands a beautiful view of the Kang Yatze north face (6400 m), the Ladakh ranges and the Indus valley.
Day 06 : Chogdo - Gyuncho La (4600 m) - Camp at 4350 m in 6- 7 hrs
From now on, we will follow a new and rarely travelled route through the valleys to the east of our objective. Today, we turn towards the west into a tributary valley that leads after a long and gradual ascent to the Gyuncho La. We descent a few meters bellow to establish our campsite.
Day 07 : Camp at 4350 m - Shang La (4800 m)- Matho Phu (4350 m) in 6 hrs
Today, we will cross many spurs and minor passes with occasional views northwards towards the Indus Valley and the peaks beyond. We climb up to the Shang La and then descend to the Tokpo River. Afterwards we will trek downhill to a nice camping place.
Day 08 : Matho Phu - Mato La (4820 m) -Stok Kangri Base Camp (4700 m) in 5 hrs
At the pass, colourful prayer flags flap in the wind, with the Zanskari range in the background. Afterwards, we descend steadily along the Jingchan River. We get great views towards the Stock summit and the Stock Kangri (6121m).
Day 09 : Acclimatization day at Base Camp
Day 10 : Summit day (Approx. 8-9 hours to base-camp)
Our route initially crosses scree and boulder slopes, and then leads to easy angled snow slopes, which require ice axe and crampons. The route is not difficult but at this altitude, it will be strenuous. From the summit of Stok Kangri (6116m), we should see as far as the Karakoram, the Pamirs and Tibet. If it's warm enough we'll rest and recover some energy on top before descending to base-camp.
Day 11 : Stok Kangri Base Camp - Leh (5 h walk to Stok)
All downhill and through wild gorge scenery. There should be time to visit Stok Palace and museum while we wait for our jeeps. Then an hour's drive across the Indus valley to the comforts of the guesthouse in Leh.
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Ladakh Trekking India (LTI) did an excellent job for our large group for Markha Valley Trek with special spiritual interests. Mr. Sam accompanied us the whole time and took diligently care of our needs. We became friends, and this is all I would like to say: a great thank you from all my heart.