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Kang Yatse is a fascinating mountain peak in Ladakh that stands at the head of the Markha Valley. There are two peaks on the mountain- the true eastern summit, at 6,400 meters, and the lower western summit at 6,270 meters. Reaching the higher eastern summit requires a treacherous traverse across a knife-edge ridge, making it all the more challenging and exciting for climbers. The views from both summits are stunning and well worth the effort required to get there.
The trek to Kang Yatse is an incredible journey that follows the Markha Valley’s cultural trail. You’ll pass through quaint villages, Lhatos (local deity religious shrines), Mani walls (stones inscribed with Buddhist prayers), old monasteries, ruined forts, and welcoming tea stalls.
As you trek up the Markha Valley, you’ll eventually reach the vast meadows of Nimaling. From there, you’ll leave the valley floor and attempt to summit Kang Yatse. The entire trek is an amazing experience that offers insights into the local culture and stunning natural scenery.
Climbing to the summit of Kang Yatse II is an incredible accomplishment for any serious trekker or mountaineer. The view from the top is indescribable, and you’ll also get to cross the Kongmaru La pass, which sits at 5200 meters above sea level. Descending into the Shang Gorge is also part of this trek, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. If you’re considering this trek, make sure that you’re physically and mentally prepared for it.
It’ll be a challenge, but it’s one that’s definitely worth undertaking.
Your adventure begins the moment you board the flight to Leh. If you’re lucky enough to find a window seat, you are sure to be mesmerized. You can see the views of snow-capped mountains from thousands of feet up in the air. Ladakh is a haven.
You’ll be flying over long stretches of snow-covered Himalayan mountains. In the summer season, you can even take a road trip from Srinagar or Manali to Leh. You will see the changing landscape as you make your way to Ladakh.
Once you land in Leh, you will be transferred to your hotel. After you have checked in and had some time to relax, you can take a walk around the local market. You can also explore the nearby Shanti Stupa and Sankar Monastery.
In the evening, you should try to get a good night’s sleep to be well-rested for the days ahead.
The second day is set aside for acclimatization. Keeping in mind that some trekkers may feel the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), Ladakh Government has implemented new regulations that require all the trekkers going on any trek in the Ladakh region to spend at least two days in Leh to fully acclimatize to the high altitude.
It’s important to take it easy on this day and not exert yourself too much. You can explore Leh at your own pace. Take a walk around town and visit the local markets. You can also visit the Leh Palace and the Namgyal Tsemo Monastery. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated and drink plenty of fluids to avoid altitude sickness.
Your expedition leader will be taking you for an acclimatization walk today and will brief you about the details, do’s, and don’ts of the trek. The Leh market is also a great place to spend the day shopping and remain active. You can do last-minute shopping for your trek.
Distance: 35 km
Time Taken: 3 Hours
Altitude: 3,500 m (11,483 ft.)
After breakfast, we will start our drive to the starting point of the trek, Skiu. The drive takes about 3-4 hours. On the way, we will pass through beautiful landscapes and small villages. You will also get to see the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers. The entire drive is very scenic and you will be mesmerized by the views.
Once we reach Skiu, we will set up our camp for the night and have a hot lunch. After lunch, we will have some time to explore the surroundings. The locals are very friendly and you will get to know a lot about their culture and lifestyle.
In the evening, we will go for an acclimatization walk to prepare our bodies for the upcoming days of trekking. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and get a good night’s sleep as we have a long day tomorrow. The weather can be cold at night, so make sure you have warm clothes.
Distance: 20 km
Time Taken: 8 Hour
Altitude: 3,700 m (12,139 ft)
The Kang Yatse expedition offers trekkers a chance to explore the picturesque Markha Valley. Today is the longest day of the trek, with a challenging trek of 20 km. You will be treated to hot tea by friendly locals in three or four towns along the way. The most scenic town is Harding, located two hours into the trek.
After another two to three hours of trekking, you will reach Chalak town, nestled among fields of grain and surrounded by mountains. You can enjoy some tea here and get ready to cover the rest of the distance.
Our next stop will be at the Markha campsite, which is a 5-6 km hike from here. Even though it is not too far, it will take us 2-3 hours to get there because of the difficult terrain. We will have to cross the Markha river, which can be quite treacherous. The water level can be up to knee-deep, depending on the amount of sun and snow in the day.
The Markha valley is considered to be the largest valley in the area, with around 30-40 houses. For those interested in history, there are remnants of an old fort. You can also find an old monastery that is believed to have been built in the 1800s. Make sure to walk through the town and interact with the locals while enjoying some hot tea.
We will also go for an acclimatization walk in the evening to help our bodies get used to the high altitude. After the walk, we will head back to camp for dinner and some well-deserved rest.
Distance: 10 km
Time Taken: 7 Hour
Altitude: 4,250 m (13,944 ft)
Trekkers will love the easy trek up to Thochungtse today. The route crosses streams and the Markha River several times, providing a refreshing respite on the journey. You’ll know you’ve arrived in the small town of Umlung when you see the houses and monastery dotting the landscape. This is a great place to rest and recharge before continuing on your trek.
Once we cross Umlung, we see the imposing figure of Kang Yatse II. It seems to be beckoning us onward!
Hankar town will be our next stop. The Tacha monastery is located here and it is an impressive sight. Hankar is also a good place to camp for the night. Depending on the weather, we may stay here for a day to acclimatize before continuing our trek to Nimaling.
From Hankar, we will follow a trail that will take us to a stone scaffold. There are many forks on this trail, so make sure to stick with your guide and leader. After a few hours of trekking, we will reach the fields of Thochungtse. Here, we will be able to set up camp and enjoy the views. Now is a good time to rest and relax, as we will have another long day of trekking tomorrow.
Distance: 8 km
Time Taken: 6 Hour
Altitude: 4,700 m (15,420 ft)
It’s going to be a thrilling day, as we get closer and closer to Kang Yatse. The trek is a gradual ascent of 700 meters, taking 3-4 hours. We’ll see Buddhist mani stones with prayer inscriptions along the way. Offer your prayers and believe in a successful summit. You’ll be greeted by twin Tigu lakes. Although they’re small, they reflect the majestic Kang Yatse peak. Keep your cameras ready!
This trail will take us through to the breathtaking Nimaling meadows, where you can see sheep and mountain goats roaming around. Nimaling is known for its lush meadows, making it the perfect place to set up camp for the night. The scenery is absolutely stunning and will leave you in awe.
Distance: 5 km
Time Taken: 3 Hours
Altitude: 5,050 m (16,568 ft)
The trek to the base camp of Mt. Kang Yatse II is not too difficult, but it is important to take it slow to adjust to the altitude. The trail starts with an uphill climb through loose rocks and scree, but eventually levels out and follows a gentle downward slope until you reach the river.
From there, it’s just a short walk to the base camp, where you’ll spend the rest of the day acclimatizing and getting used to the thinner air. In the early evening, we’ll take a short walk around the area to help your body adjust even more before dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Today is our final day of acclimatization before our summit push. We will spend the day getting used to the altitude and preparing for our climb.
We will use this time to distribute the equipment and gears required for the climb and also to practice the basic techniques we will require on our summit push tonight. Once everyone has their gear, we will go to a nearby slope for some training.
We will learn techniques and calls of roping up and ascending and descending on snowy terrain. We will also learn how to use our ice axes, which will be very helpful during our climb.
After today, we should be fully prepared for our summit push tonight. With a little luck and a lot of determination, we will be able to reach the top of Mt. Kang Yatse II tomorrow!
Distance: 8 km
Time Taken: 12 Hours
Altitude: 6,250 m (20,505 ft)
This is it! We will start our summit push early in the morning, around 12:00 am.
From the base camp, we will make our way up the slope to the right and reach the top of the ridge. This part of the journey will be treacherous because of the slippery and loose scree. Once we make it to the ablation zone, we will need to rope up and be careful as we traverse the north face of the glacier. Our goal is to make it to the northwest ridge where we can begin our ascent to the top.
At this point, it will be a straight climb until we reach the summit. Depending on our pace, we should reach the summit around 8 AM.
The climb is challenging but doable, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you reach the summit is indescribable. Enjoy the views and take plenty of pictures to remember this momentous occasion.
After spending some time at the top, we will begin our descent back to base camp. We should arrive back at camp by early afternoon, where we will celebrate our successful climb with a well-deserved feast!
Distance: 16 km
Time Taken: 10 Hours
Altitude: 3,500 m (11,483 ft)
With the sun blazing in the sky, today we make our way down to Leh through Kongmaru La pass. At an altitude of more than 5,200 M, this route is known to be a long and difficult one. We start early in the morning in order to get to the roadhead by nightfall.
The trek is a tough one, made more difficult by the dry terrain. Although there are no dangerous patches, the distance is sure to be taxing on all of us. By the end of the day, we’ll all be exhausted but happy to have made it to Leh safely.
We will spend the morning packing our bags and getting ready for our journey back home. We will have plenty of time to reflect on our incredible experience and say our final goodbyes to the beautiful city of Leh.
As we depart, we’ll be sure to take with us all the wonderful memories we’ve made over the past week. We’ll also have plenty of pictures and stories to share with our friends and family back home.
This is a buffer day in case we are delayed by bad weather or any other unforeseen circumstances like bad weather. We can make a second attempt at summiting on this day.