Stok Kangri (6121m) is the triangular snowcapped peak usually visible straight across the valley from Leh. As a ‘trekking peak’ it’s accessible to those with minimal climbing experience, but scaling its uppermost slopes still requires ice axes, crampons, considerable fitness and a guide with groups roped together for safety. Pre-climb acclimatisation is essential as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can be a serious worry.

A permit is required. This is free for Indians but costs US$50 for foreigners (or the rupee equivalent) if prepurchased in Leh. Since so many trekkers change their minds about the ascent once they discover the difficulty of simply reaching the starting point, it has recently been possible to pay for the permit at Stok Kangri Base Camp, though the charge there is ₹3500, around 10% more than in Leh.

Leh agencies, notably Stok Kangri specialist Ladakh Mitra, offer packages generally taking five or six days from Stok or Zingchen. Assuming at least four in a group, such packages typically start at ₹16,000/19,000 for Indians/foreigners including permits, food, sleeping, climbing gear and transport. If you want to do the climb alone with a personal guide you'll be looking at Indians/foreigners ₹27,000/30,000, and not much less for two or three in a group. Bring your own gloves, head torch and sunglasses.