Trip to Indian Himalayan in Ladakh, Stok, Nubra valley and Tsomoriri Lake, ascents to Stok Kangri 6123m, Mentok I 6282m, II 6248m, III 6153m and attempt of the unclimbed peak Nya Kangri 6480m
All the ascents were in alpine style without any support of guides, porters, horses etc.
Our small team was consisted by Nikolaos Kroupis, Giorgos Margaritis and Petros Tolias. We flight on 15/8/2016 from Athens to Munich and after to Delhi. After only few hours arriving in Delhi with a domestic flight to Leh city at 3600m the capital of Ladakh. We arrive at Ladakh next morning (16/8/2016). Due to high altitude we remain at Leh for 3 days in order to be acclimatized into this altitude and buy supplementary foods for the mountain.
Ascent to Stok Kangri 6123m
Our first target was to climb Stok Kangri which located a few Km south of Leh city. In early morning of 19/9/2016 we move from Leh city to Stok 3620m by jeep, from Stok village we start the trek. The valley of Stok is very smooth with small inclination. There is a good path which is going to Base Camp. At the first day we trek for about 6 hours and we reach the altitude of 4060m just over tea shop in the cross of the paths to BC and to Stok La, and we camp. Next day after a long trek we reach the moraine of the glacier and we made a second camp at 5230m. The second camp was quite far from the normal route and the overcrowded BC. On Sunday 21/8/2016 at 4:00 in the morning we depart from the second camp to climb the summit. At the beginning we cross the glacier and approach the summit for the east side. The path in east face is reaching the south ridge at 5900m. Climbing the little technical south ridge we reach the summit of Stok Kangri 6123m at 10:00 where we stay for one hour. The way back to camp was very easy and we return in less than three hours. Next day we leave from the camp and trek direct to Stok village in afternoon while the evening we arrive in Leh.
Attempting the unclimbed peak Nya Kangri 6480m
After the acclimatization ascent on Stok Kangri, we remain for two days in Leh city, to rest and to organize the next climb to Nya Kangri. During the two days in Leh we get the inner line permit to enter to Nubra valley. Our big project of this expedition was to attempt the unclimbed peak Nya Kangri 6480m. The approach to Nubra valley is by passing over Kandrung La pass at 5359m, one of the highest motorways of the planet. The main part of this road is in bad condition and under construction. The approach of the mountain can be done from the villages Tirit (to the south valley of the mountain) and Sumur (to the north valley of the mountain). The straight distance between the summit from the south valley is sorter than from the north valley. Although, due to the strong river of the south valley, which is not possible to cross, makes the trek from south longer than from the north. Following the south valley, it is needed first to trek much higher up to Arganglas glacier to cross the two rivers and return back to the opposite side for the river, just on south slopes of Nya Kangri. The hard trek which is needed just to avoid the river crossing in Phon location, it is two more days. In this expedition we tried to attempt the summit from the north valley, where we estimate that the cross of the river will be easier, and over all route sorters. We move with jeep on 25/8/2016 from Leh to Sumur Monastery located on the upper side of Sumur village at 3250m. At the same day we cross the jungle beside of the monastery and we camp in the end of the forest just before the steep slopes at 3340m. It was quite difficult to cross the bushy forest, the only way was to follow the small furrow creating for water supplementary. Next morning we follow the small and difficult path which is passes near by the ancient castle at 3900m which is located on the shoulder of the right bank of the river. At the altitude of 4000 m the path is descending and traversing a very steep rotten slope. Those slopes are almost vertical. Actually there is no path but only a few steps that crosses the steep slopes for about 1,5Km long until the location called Mal (4100m). We reach Mal at 11:00 in the morning and then it starts rain. We escape the rain by hiding into a small cave (4110m) located in the vertical slopes of Mal, staying there for about 2 hours until the rain stops. After that we decide to continue higher. The field became smoother and more accessible. At 15:00 we found out a flat place for camping at 4500 m, very closed to the river in order to get water. At 6:30 in the morning of 27/8/2016 we left from the first camp 4500m to climb higher. The valley higher is more beautiful with grass and green slopes. Also here we see a few yaks. After trekking for 3 hours we reach the moraine of the glacier which is comes from north side of Nya Kangri. The moraine of this glacier is reaching the central valley vertically and closes the main river creating a lake (5010m). The lake was quite deep and more that 100 meters long. At the lower point of the lake we cross the river passing over a natural bridge which was created by two big rocks. Passing the bridge we leave the main valley and we trek on the moraine of the Nya's north glacier. The moraine consisted by big boulders which makes huge gaps between them. It was very difficult to cross the moraine and we did it very slow. In order to climb from 5010m up to 5350m with 1800 long distance 3 hours was needed. It was afternoon and after some time searching for place to camp, where to have water, we found finally a huge rock (5335m) which had flat the upper side. About 50 meters away, we open a hole into the moraine and receive water from the small stream that runs below the rocks. At the night the weather changed and everything was snow covered at the morning. Although, we decide to continue, such at 9:00 we leave from camp 2 and enter in the glacier. We roped together and try to find a safe route through the glacier. The inclination of the glacier was very small, and look like flat valley and there were no visible crevasse. At noon 12:00, while we are crossing the glacier a snow storm starts and we pitch the tent fast in order to guarded from the storm. Such, the 3rd camp was placed quite close to the second one at 5570m. At the afternoon, the storm stops, and together with Giorgos climb up to the cwm of the glacier (5820m). We reach the upper part of the glacier, where the glacier begins, searching for a candidate route to the summit. After crossing many small crevasses and making a big circle we found out a best route to reach the slope (~60 degrees) to the southwest ridge. Following this slope we can climb on the southwest ridge and following the rocky ridge could climb to the summit. After this exploration we return to camp 3 for rest. At the morning of 29/8/2016 the weather was not good. After 9:00, the weather begins better and we decide to continue higher. It took us 2 hours to reach the upper part of the glacier (5810m) while the snow fall begins again. There, at 5810m altitude, we make the 4th camp during a strong snowfall. The weather at the afternoon was better and we begin the preparations for final push to the summit, the next day. At midnight the snow storm begins again and the camp got about 40cm of fresh now. The ice slope which where plan to climb was covered with 40cm fresh snow, which was very dangerous for avalanche. The food the remains were not enough for many days, in order to wait for a better weather. Finally we decide to return, starting climbing down very fast and passing from camp 3 and camp 2. The moraine with the big boulders was covers with snow and it was a one of the most difficult crosses that I had even done before. After a few hours we reach the lake. The field around lake was snow covered, the snow was until 4500m altitude. We have no reason to stay on the mountain, such we decide to continue the trek down a much as possible. We did a sort break for lunch and continue almost without stops. We did a compulsory break for half an hour, when it begins raining, hiding below a boulder. Finally, after 11 continuous hours, 2640 meters of vertical decent and 19Km long trek we arrive at Sumur village at 17:20. We stay one night in a cottage and the next day by jeep we return back to Leh.
Ascents to the peaks of mountain Mentok 6.282m
Due to fast and light alpine ascents in our trip, we have a few more days of remaining time in Leh, before we will return back to Greece. After a few hours searching the area around Leh and comparing the available time that we had, we decide to visit mountain Mentok southeast of Leh, near the border with Tibet (China). Getting the inner line permit from tourist office of Leh, on 1/9/2016 we travel by jeep to remote village Korzok. Korzok village is located on near the Tso Moriri lake. The surface of the lake is at the altitude of 4522m which is 26 Km long. We pass the night in a guest house and next morning we depart for Korzok village trekking to mountain Mentok, which next to the lake. The trekking approach of the mountain was easy due to flat and green fields, but long. After 7 hours trek we reach the moraine of the glacier, where we camp at the altitude of 5637m. At 6:30 in the morning of 3/9/2016 we leave from camp to approach the first peak by climbing the northeast icy slope (300 meters) with inclination about 50 degrees. The route goes direct to the summit Mentok IÉI 6153m (10:30). Following the long ridge of the peak toward to south we climb the highest peak of the mountain Mentok I 6282m which is locates 1000 meters southern of Mentok ÉÉÉ. After climbing the highest peak we return back to Mentok III. Giorgos and me continue the flat northwest ridge of the peak and after 2.7 Km long distance, then we reach the second highest peak of the mountain, Mentok II 6248m. This trek was very long and easy, but it takes a lot of time for the 5.5 Km trek both ways. After, the two climbers return back to Mentok III and descent to the camp following the normal route from east colouir. The normal route passes through rotten slopes and rocks and traverses the east ridge of Mentok IÉI. At 17:30 at the afternoon we arrive back to the camp. Next morning we descent the easy filed to Korzok village where we arrive after only 2h 40minutes continues trek. At Korzok village we visit the pure waters of Tsomoriri lake and at the same afternoon we travel by jeep to Leh. We stay at Leh for the next two days, visiting the monasteries Thinksay and Hemis, and on 7/9/2016 we flight from Leh to Delhi. We spend 18 hours in Delhi making a tour with taxi and visiting the most important attractions of the city. At midnight, we flight to Munich and next noon (8/9/2016) we arrive back to Athens, Greece.
I want to thanks Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering & Climbing for the financial support of the expedition