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India 2010

Trip to India and Stok Kangri 6153m attempt

A trip to India, Delhi, Ladakh, Leh, Stok Kangri, Keylong and Manali
12/9/2010 - 25/9/2010

Leh
Stok Kangri 6153m


Photographs

The diary


Sunday 12 September 2010
At 6:30 we wake up in Elias' house and we took the metro to the airport. Our destination was Delhi via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, which had a delay of 2 hours. We landed in Istanbul international airport which was crowded due to the Mundobasket. Next flight to Delhi had also delay and we were upset, because we would miss the next flight from Delhi to Leh. We tried to solve this problem in Turkish Airlines office without any result. Unfortunately, our flight left 3 hours later to Delhi.

Monday 13 September 2010
Our flight landed in Delhi airport in the morning. The area looked likes a bog, due to the monsoons. We had to wait a lot in the airport because of internal procedures and specially to receive a flight delay certification. Using a taxi we went to the domestic flight airport which was located about 30 minutes far from the international airport (250 rupees). We spend a lot of time in Kingfisher office in order to change the flight date to Leh. Paying 3000 rupees in total we got flight tickets to Leh two days later. By taxi (400 rupees) we reached the center of Delhi and we found a four person room in Sai Dham International 3 star Hotel, for 1500 rupees per night. We had a rest in the room and, afterwards, walked in the center of the city. Streets were full of mud and water potholes. On a rooftop of a building we had dinner until 21:30. The narrow streets with a width of 1-2 meters of the city were very impressive and looked like a maze. Everywhere we come across  incomplete public works which together with the daily rains made the streets difficult to walk.  Delhi is a really dirty city with garbage and bad smells everywhere.


Tuesday 14 September 2010
We walk in the old part of the city and we got lost in the east site of the central railway station. Old Delhi was even more messy that New Delhi. We had lunch in Main Bazar Road and returned to our hotel for rest. We took a walk in the hotel's neighborhood later in the evening.

Wednesday 15 September 2010
The night passed without sleeping due to our stress for the morning flight. We woke up at 2:10 and went by taxi (400 rupees) to the domestic flights airport, where we arrived very early. The officer at the check-in of Kingfisher could not find our reservation and we had almost to fight with him, because we were about losing the flight. We waited one hour at the check-in  and afterwards we had to pass through many checks to arrive at out gate. Flight was nice and arriving at our destination the airplane had to loop 3 times over Leh to reduce the flying height and to land. In Leh it was quite cold in the morning. At the airport everything was organized and we got ticket for a taxi to get us to the city center (150 rupees). We arrived in Padma Guest House & Hotel where Antonis Hatzitheodoris was staying already for two days. He help us to organize our expedition with Mero Expeditions shop. We rented tents and ice-axes, we bought some food and gas. Just after 3 hours since or arrival in Leh we started to trek north of the city and climb the peak Leh North 4062 meters. After 2 hours of trekking we reached the summit, from where wed a very nice view over the Himalayas and the valley of the city of Leh. Our ascent was very hard due to the high altitude and because we did not acclimatized properly. The area and specially the people here were completely different than in India, everything was clean, organized, people were clever and peaceful.


Thursday 16 September 2010
The Hotel had heavy blankets, however I got cold in the night because of the 3520 meters altitude. A Jeep was waiting for us, we loaded our equipment and left to Stok village (3620m). The route was very short and at 10:20 we arrived in upper Stok village. We waited at the check point for our mula-driver with the horses. The woman at the check point asked us for a permit but we did not have any because we were not supposed to go to the summit. Finally we departed at 11:00, trekking in the flat valley. The route was easy with a few small descending parts. After 3 hours trekking we arrived in a location named Spungrul 4300m where we found a camping. We erected the two tents and cooked. All of us had headache due to the altitude, although, we hiked higher in the sub-valley of the camping, up to 4400m meters. An international team of climbers arrived at the camping with their guides. This night was one of the worst in my life, having headache and shudder.


Friday 17 September 2010
We woke up and felt very bad, so we decided to stay there one more day. We stayed for rest of the day in the camping and in the evening we trekked higher in the sub-valley of the camping, reaching the altitude of 4600 meters. The slopes of the mountains were flat and we could easily reach the ridges with altitude more than 5000 meters.


Saturday 18 September 2010
Giannis stayed at the camping and three of us continued the trekking to the Base Camp (BC). After half an hour we passed from a Tea Tent camping and after an hour we reached the crossing of the path towards the two BCs. We followed the right path that was leading to a popular and higher BC. The route was quite long and gradually got steeper. We always thought that we were arriving to the BC but, actually, it was always still far away. Finally we reached the BC which was very close to glacier moraine on 5200 meters altitude. We built the camp and cooked inside. Elias was not feeling well and decided to return to the camping where Giannis stayed. It was quite cold and we could not eat easily. We felt tired, although we could not sleep. We stayed awake almost all night long.


Sunday 19 September 2010
We did not feel strong enough to start the trekking to the summit at 2 o'clock after midnight, so we finally started at 8 o'clock in the morning. First we ascended to the morena and we walked to the left side of the valley, where we met the main path which was coming from the other BC. We followed the path in the left side of the valley which was leading to the glacier. We crossed the flat glacier from left to right, jumping over the two visible crevasses. We climbed up a rocky ramp and we reached the base of the summit pyramid. We walked slowly and we had continuously headache. At the altitude of  5750 meters we decided to stop. Tomi continued alone, taking with him only the camera and the GPS, and he reached the altitude of 5823 meters. Tomi returned exhausted and together we went back to the BC. For the descent we used crampons to go faster following the snow covered slopes. We returned from the opposite side of the glacier and crossed the glacier lower near the morena. Late in the afternoon we arrived back to BC for rest.


Monday 20 September 2010
We woke up early and packed our equipment. Tomis and I begin to descend together. The mule-driver came later and met us lower in the valley. We started to feel better while descending. After 2 hours and 30 minutes we arrived at the first camp, where Giannis and Elias waited for us. All together we packed this camp as well and continued descending to the Stok village. We needed six hours in total to reach the Stok village from BC. From the Stok village and using our satellite phone we called a taxi from Padma Hotel. The taxi arrived after an hour and picked us up to our hotel in Leh.


Tuesday 21 September 2010
Our team together with Antonis walked up to a Buddhism temple which was located northwest of Leh. The name of the temple was Shanti Stupa (Stupa = Buddhism temple). There were hundreds of steps in order to reach Shanti Stupa up on the hill. The temple had a huge yard and a statue of Buddha in the center. From there we had a very nice view over the Leh valley. Afterwards, we returned in Leh and had lunch in a restaurant in the city. We spent our last evening shopping in Leh.


Wednesday 22 September 2010
At 5:00 in the morning the taxi arrived at our hotel. From the previous day the hotel owner had arranged the taxi to Manali. This travel took us two days with an intermediate stop for sleep in the middle of the way. The road passed over three passes over 5000 meters and the road is almost always higher than 4000 meters. The road would close for the winter season a few days after, when the first snow would have fallen. After 2 hours of travelling close to the Indus river, we made a break in the village Upshi, an area full of military camps. From there, the road gradually went higher. The car was going with only 20 km/h. The nature was getting wilder the higher we were going and there were no more villages. After many hours we reached the pass Tanglang La 5328 meters, where we encountered quite a lot of snow. During the travel we met decades of workers repairing the road. The workers were black from the asphalt, the sun and the coldness. After the pass we crossed a long plateau, the altitude was varying between 4000 and 4600 meters and there was no road. In the middle of nowhere we found restaurants and hostels in tents, for the tourists. During the longest part of the road we found only two tent facilities. Late in the afternoon, just before the dark came, we descended towards the Keylong town, a place for tourists to pass their night. We stayed in the center of the town in a quite comfortable hotel with restaurant.


Thursday 23 September 2010
At 9 o'clock in the morning we left from Keylong to our next destination Manali. The road was quite better and the speed of the car increased. Unfortunately, 2-3 hours before reach Manali, there was a huge landslide in the road. The cars were going 3 hours up and after down only to one direction. So, we had to wait for about three hours. During our waiting we saw huge rocks falling down from the slopes of the mountain. The bulldozers were waiting there and cleaning the road of the rocks. This was happening very often and it was very dangerous for the drivers. There were many kilometers queue of cars. Finally, our car passed this point after three hours and we reached Manali in the afternoon. We found a hotel in the center of Manali, and we arranged taxi for out next travel to Delhi for the next day. Manali is a touristic city especially during the winter season, because it was located over 2000 meters altitude, with ski center and many hotels.

Friday 24 September 2010
At 10 o'clock we departed by taxi from Manali, our destination was the international airport of Delhi. The road was going through steep gorges, where the slopes were green covered with tropical forests. There was a lot of traffic on our way. There were many trucks leaving black exhaust. This trip was very dangerous due to abnormal overtaking. On the side of the road there were many monkeys. We reached Delhi late in the night. First we left Antonis in the center of Delhi, because Antonis would be staying for two more days in Delhi and the rest of us continued by taxi to the airport.


Saturday 25 September 2010
Our flight took of normally from Delhi to Istanbul. In Istanbul we had a long delay for the next flight to Athens, so we decided to visit the center of the city. We took a tram but we got lost because we got it in the wrong direction. Taking a taxi, finally we reached the center, in Agia Sofia area and the Galate gulf. Afterwards, we went to Aksaray square and had an ice-cream before returning to the airport by metro. Next flight departed on time and we landed in Athens at 18:00. Elias' wife brought us to the center and left me at the bus station. Late in the night I departed by bus to Trikala, where I arrive after midnight. This was the end of our attractive travel in Kashmir (India), with the wish to be back in the near future.



Dr. Nikolas Kroupis
Electrical & Computer Eng.
Elati, Trikala, Greece
Elia Tsikas
Economist,
Athens, Greece
Tomis Theodorou
Hospital P asteurization,
Elati, Trikala, Greece
Giannis Psyrras
Photographer,
Elati, Trikala, Greece

 

Cost of the trip
Euro
Visa to india
68
Flight from Athens-Istabul-Delhi and back
490
Flight from Delhi to Leh
50
Hotel in Delhi (4 beds)
27
Padma Hotel Leh (2 beds room)
17
Mero Expeditions (Rent 2 tents, Horses for 5 days)
150
Car from Leh to Manali (2 days)
260
Car from Manali to Delhi (1 day)
135
Total trip cost per person
1000

 

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