Ladakh is a beautiful country, with the main selling points as the scenic landscape as well the humbling atmosphere portrayed by the ladakh people. We had initially planned to do two climbs; Kang Yatse II as well as Stok Kangri. Stok was supposed to be a warm up for me and Cloud and then when Haizzatd arrived, we would be ready for the next climb. But we were shocked.
In the end, we climbed Stok Kangri and made a change of plans for Kang Yatse II. As a whole though, the trip was well planned and executed and we pushed for the summit, only to turn back 250m from the summit.
For the climb of Stok Kangri, we went independently, without any guides whatsoever and for a moment of time during the summit push, we were actually a bit lost. But nonetheless, we started out for the summit first amongst all of the groups and only about 3 others went all the way for the summit that day, while the rest turned back even before reaching the glacier.
We started off the trip by flying to Calcutta/ Kolkata from Kuala Lumpur via Airasia. Our one-way tickets cost us about S$150. From Kolkata, we made our way to New Dehli via sleeper class train seats for 23 hours. Then from Dehli, we paid S$190 for a one-way GoAir ticket to Leh, Ladakh.
At ladakh, we rented equipment for climbing boots, crampons and ice axes and made arrangements with the Indian Mountaineering Federation to get our permit for climbing.
After doing so, we were ready for the 4-day challenge ahead of us.
The climb would involve trekking to a mid camp, just 5 hours from Stok village. The following day, it would involve a short 2 hours trek to base camp where we would replenish for the summit push the same night. The summit push on the second day midnight would start at 5000m in altitude and push up to the glacier where we would change over to crampons around 5500m. When we reached 5900m, the summit was very close but we felt that if we had went for the summit that day, we might not be able to come back down safely due to exhaustion. At that point of time, weather was fantastic even though weather forecast stated otherwise. Acclimatization was great also but just the lack of training was the problem.
In the end, we decided to head down to the base camp and proceed with our descent down the mountain.
Together with the Ladakh trip, we also went to Kashmir where we stayed in house boats. Additionally, we also went to Pangong Lake where we stayed one night.
As a whole, the trip was very successful since we managed to do one climb and it was a clear indication that I was really into climbing and with the right acclimatization, I would be ready for the summit.
I have learnt that I need to train harder and my breathing technique needs to improve a bit more, in terms of the pressure breathing and continuous movement. This would be beneficial for the next climb up Pisang Peak in Nepal together with the Everest Base Camp Trek, that I have planned in December.
Till then, adios and allez!