Day 1: Arrive in Leh (3,500 M)
The trek starts from Leh, which is a headway into Ladakh that is home to some of the highest peaks in the region. It is also a very popular tourist destination and hence fairly accessible. If you need guidance on how to get to this high-altitude hub of mountaineering, this article (Travel options from aound Leh) might be useful.
Day one is reserved for the climbers to make their way to Leh and get settled into their accommodation. Since climbers will be coming to this altitude from sea level, the body will need time to get comfortable with the mountain air.
Day 2: Rest and Acclimatization in Leh (3,500M)
Day two is reserved for rest and acclimatization to the altitude, too. This is important to allow your body to adapt to its new environment and reduce chances of adverse health conditions. You can go around and explore the city market, delve into the colors and culture of this high-mountain city and visit some places nearby. A little movement around the city would be good for acclimatization. Also, use this time to go through your checklist and do some last-minute shopping for what you might be missing for the expedition. Leh has the best market for trekking essentials.
While the body acclimatizes, we take this time to get together with the group for a debriefing session where we get to know each other better and delve into the happenings of the next few days - schedule, what to expect, basic do's and don'ts in the mountains, how to maintain the sanctity of the environment and other such matters of importance.
Day 3 – Day 6: Pre-expedition
One of the many characteristics that make high-altitude expeditions different is there is a warm-up period for your body and for forming associations. This serves a two-fold purpose – one is obviously that of acclimatizing the body to better prepare it for what’s coming. The second benefit is a little subtler and may be indirect. Mountaineering is a team sport, the strength and cohesiveness of the team is a major determinant of the overall success of the expedition. Since high-altitude climbs are high stakes, this is when groups need to be tight, and it helps to have gotten to know each member of the team before the climb actually begins.
There is no fixed destination for pre-expedition climbs. Previously, pre-expedition treks used to go to Stok Kangri base camp, but since the ban on Stok Kangri, we have been using other alternatives. You will be informed of the specific details regarding the pre-expedition trek closer to the date of your expedition.
Day 7: Rest at Leh (3,500M)
You will make it back from your pre-expedition trek by the evening of the sixth day. Day seven is to recuperate from the exhaustion of the last few days and to prepare for the upcoming expedition. It will also give you time to pack your bags so you only carry the essentials and leave behind the extras. This is extremely important since on expeditions you need to carry your own weight, through and through. And with increasing altitude, as things get more physically challenging, the weight on your bag starts to seem heavier with each step forward.
Take your time to check your gear, clothing and pack your sacks well. If you are missing something, get it from the Leh market because there are no shops beyond this point.
Day 8: Leh (3,500M) to Tangol (3,700M)
Distance: 280 kms
Time Taken: 8-9 hour drive
Today is a big day! It is the official beginning of the actual expedition when you will be driving straight towards Mount Kun. You will also meet the Sherpas and other support staff, a vital part of this team. Expect to leave after breakfast. The drive should take close to 6-7 hours. By now you would be familiar with the terrain and roads of Ladakh. Barren landscape, smooth roads and the flavoured air make the seven hour drive seem like a visit to the neighbours!
You drive down from Leh to get to the trail head of Mt. Kun, a small village by the Suru river, called Tangol. After crossing Kargil, the drive to Tangol is all of two hours but in that short period, has the capacity to cleanse your soul. You lose your cellular networks as soon as you head out of Kargil and can concentrate fully on what the landscape outside the window of your car has to offer. Narrow roads, lush green villages, people carrying stacks of firewood on their backs, the greens against the barren brown mountains, and a special scent in the air. As you drive up the mountain, towards a higher altitude, you chance upon a bird’s eye view of mountain life on the lower flanks of the mountain. Farming, small kitchen gardens behind every stone structured house - you start to realize how self-sustained the ecosystem of mountain life actually is. People bowed down with sickles, working their land mirroring the humility of high-altitude living. Notice how the houses have high ceilings but low doors which need you to bend down in order for you to enter without banging your head – there is humility in every aspect of mountain culture. Is it a mystery then, what version of yourself you are expected to bring to the mountain face when you come here for a climb?
Half an hour into the drive, the valley opens up, and as if experiencing a sudden growth spurt, the river grows much wider. The mountains get smoother and greener; streams of clean water cascading down from all sides enter and join the river on its quest.
Fifteen more minutes and you get your first glimpse of snowy peaks which is a welcome change in the color palette of the landscape which has been an assortment of earthen colors for the last few days. The white peaks that were peeping from behind are now bang in front of you, like you will drive straight into them.
A little further into your drive, you go from smooth roads to kachcha trails and get to the brown landscape of rocky mountains. The greens have now bowed their way out of the show. An assortment of big boulders in what looks like areas where the rocks tetris-ed into each other, now welcomes you. The rows and rows and rows of apricot trees along with the smooth gray of the roads with the bright yellow line stretched out for as far as you can see, all add to the beauty and colour of the overall landscape.
Further evidence of a harmonized existence are the mud brown houses with wooden windows painted green mimicking the two predominant colours of the mountains. Entire villages on pinnacles in the middle of the valley as you ride alongside the muddy and forceful Suru river is a sight to behold and it makes you wonder, do all villages dream of becoming towns, really?
Since we have gained some height today, we will also go for a small acclimatization walk in the evening.
Day 9: Tangol (3,700) to Kun Base Camp (4,200M)
Distance: 6-7 kms
Time Taken: 6-7 hours trek
The actual trek starts today. You will slowly move towards the upper reaches of the mountains. We will try to leave right after breakfast because it is likely to be a long day. There is a height gain of 500M and the weight on your back does not make it easy. You start by crossing over to the other side of the river through a sturdy bridge with a deep gorge and river underneath. This leads you to the last village you will cross before heading out of the boundary of civilization.
The route to basecamp takes you through small villages rich with lush green fields bordered with pink flowers and locals running up and down the steep slopes like it were an Olympic field. With cattle scattered around the landscape, you soon leave the geometric greens behind at the foothills of the mountain and enter the world of browns on narrow shepherd trails– rocks, boulders and mud – extremely dry but rich in flowers of all colors growing out in tufts from the cracks between the land.
The mountains here are peculiar – rocky with pointed peaks – completely brown and dry from a specific point upward with lush green fields at the foot of the slopes. You walk through boulders and scree on the many shepherd trails crisscrossed across the landscape which divide the dry greens into mounds of tufts.
After the first couple of hours, the landscape changes completely, and so does the air. You have now entered a much chillier region – a bit more rustic than the one you left behind. The meadows have now turned into scree and glacial moraine – the terrain you get to call home for as long as you stay on base camp.
Day 10: Rest and Acclimatization at Base Camp (4,200M)
The day starts with a puja. The base camp of Mt. Kun, as of any other mountain, is rife with colour from the prayer flags and small stone structures. You offer your prayers here to the mountain gods and thank them for allowing you to be there. This sacred ritual where the team members, together, seek blessings for the safety and the success of the team ends with a sip of some brandy and some sweets to fill you with warmth along with the benedictions of the mountain. It does help connect you to the mountain better and makes you feel belonged – like your presence is not a burden to the massif anymore.
A lot is to be achieved during your time at base camp. From the distribution and setting up of all the gear to technical training and practice on the icy slopes around the basecamp. But before then, you have the entire day to rest your bodies and acclimatize to the terrain, altitude and temperatures of the base camp which lay at 4200M – a height gain of approximately 500M from Tangol.
Day 11 – Day 21: Expedition
Since the conditions on high-altitude are unpredictable, there is a constant readjustment of plans to adapt to the situation at the time. Providing fixed day-wise schedules is thence tricky. But roughly, the schedule includes rotation rounds between camps which is a standard acclimatization process on high-altitude expeditions. Mt. Kun has 3 camps at 5,300M, 6,000M and 6,200M above the basecamp.
Given that high-altitude climbs demand a rigorous acclimatization routine, expeditions usually employ the method of making rotation rounds between camps so as to better adapt to the environment. Living the tenet of ‘climb high, sleep low’ which is a golden rule for survival in that altitude, we make multiple rounds between campsites. For Mount Kun, specifically, we make two rounds. The first is when we ferry our load up to the next camp, leave our stuff there and then climb back down to the lower campsite to spend the night. The next day, we climb back up to the camp where we left our stuff and proceed to pitch out tents to now occupy the campsite. What this achieves is a three-fold benefit. Firstly, you can divide your weight between two days so as to not carry a massive amount in one trip. Secondly, it introduces the body to a higher altitude environment but gives it time to better adapt to it by not pushing it in this new height. Thirdly, for each time that you climb the same route, it tends to get easier and easier, refining your technique, skill and adaptation.
The entire length of the expedition will include proper acclimatization, rotation rounds, rest days and a possibility of 2 summit attempts in case of bad weather.
As for the difficulty, the route between Camp 1 to Camp 2 is the most difficult and a highly technical section of the climb. The section requires a use of fixed ropes and an ascender to climb to the next camp site. There are small patches of difficult sections and high ice-walls on the summit push as well.
Day 22: Basecamp (4,200M) to Leh (3,500M)
After resting your body, pack up your temporary homes on Base Camp and head on down towards Shafat Nalla. It is a relatively easy stretch and should take close to 4 hours to cover. We get into our buses soon after and make our way down to Leh. Expect to reach Leh late in the night.
Day 23: Depart from Leh (3,500M)
Your expedition ends here but not before some celebration. How can we end this adventure without a summit party?
If you plan to stay for a few more days to explore the wonders of Ladakh, the article below might help start you off on what places to consider. (Places to visit in Leh Ladakh)
Like we indicated before, the weather on high-altitude is unpredictable as are many other conditions. So, we would suggest you keep spare days between the end of the expedition and your travel arrangements to head back home.
Mt. Kun Peak is a level 8 adventure on the Bikat Rating Scale.
This makes it mandatory for you to have high-altitude experience of preferably multiple treks marked at level 5 on the BRS. The altitude, the terrain and the nature of the climb demand a certain level of skill and a need for you to be aware of how your body reacts to the various features of high altitude environment.
we will send you a progression chart to help you comfortably get out of your comfort zone in order to level up and ultimately reach your highest potential in the big, bad world of outdoor adventure.
This is a list of essential items for individuals doing the trek with Bikat Adventures. This list contains only those items which the participants are required to bring with them. The list excludes those items which are provided by Bikat Adventures on the trek. We have divided the items into five categories. All the items in the list are essential except for those marked as optional.
Our batch sizes are capped at 15 for smaller treks with the trek leader and trekker ratio of 1:8. This ratio, in our years of experience, has proven to deliver the best trekking experience for individuals as well as groups. Capping the size of the group ensures individual attention to each trekker so that no signs of distress or need during the trek go unnoticed. It also helps to form a more cohesive cohort with better group energy which helps define the rhythm and pace of days on the trek. As you go higher up on the BRS scale, since the stakes are higher, expeditions have an even smaller group size with the ratio of expedition leader to climber set at 1:2.
We follow a rigorous regime of hiring and training our experts in the field. Each trek leader is a certified mountaineer with years of experience in the field. In addition to their qualification, they also go through practical and situational training to tackle any and all kinds of sudden conditions that may present themselves on the ground. Being unpredictable is the core nature of the mountains but being ready for any circumstance as best as possible is a controllable asset that we try to nurture. Our field experts are also trained in basic medicine and first-aid response. Watch: Forerunners - The Making of A Trek Leader At Bikat Adventures
Since Bikat Adventures is a learning-based organization, we help you climb up the ladder of difficulty within the sphere of outdoor adventure systematically. Our on-ground training modules are designed to handhold you through the upskilling process so that you are ready to take on bigger challenges.
All the gear used on our treks and expeditions is tried and tested, maintained for good quality, and is overall top-notch in quality and condition. We are continually looking to obtain the best of everything there is in the market so as to ensure optimum safety.
Along with the staff you see on-ground, we have a team of superheroes working in the background to give you the best experience possible. Our background team also comprises local staff from each area who know the region best. Having local support helps with studying the area, pre-planning, execution, and in receiving timely support in case of emergencies in these remote locations.
Our on-field staff is in constant contact with our teams based in primary locations so as to eliminate any avoidable delay in reaching additional help and support when required. We try to use the best tools for communication available, including satellite phones, in regions where they are not restricted.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Cancellations between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 5 days prior to departure date