Climb Kilimanjaro in 2020

by site editor Rick McCharles 

I’ve finally scheduled Kilimanjaro for September 2020. Kili is our #1 ranked trekking peak.

I’ll be joining the expedition organized by friends David Adlard and Kraig Becker.

Cost is $5480 including everything from arrival to departure in Tanzania.

We’ll be taking the longer, less traveled Lemosho Route to maximize our chances of getting to the top.

How Do You Sign Up?
You can sign up for the trek on the Tusker website or by calling them at 800-231-1919 or +1-775-833-9700.

You can also email them directly with questions or comments as well. When you do sign up, be sure to mention that you are joining The Adventure Podcast/Blog Kilimanjaro Expedition. A $1000 deposit is due when you make your reservation.

climbing Stok Kangri – Indian Himalaya

Stok Kangri 6154 m (8,812 ft) is one of our top 10 trekking peaks in the world.

Easy access from the tourist town of Leh, Ladakh.

Guest post by Carley Fairbrother who climbed in 2017:

At a Glance

  • Location: Ladakh, India
  • Distance: 20 km, one way
  • Elevation Gain: 2,686 m (8,812 ft)
  • Maximum Elevation: 6154 m (20,190 ft)
  • Hiking Time: 3 – 4 days plus at least a week to acclimatize.
  • Best times to hike: June – September

Highlights

  • An incredible sense of accomplishment
  • Amazing views
  • Easy to access (compared to other 6000+ m Himalayan Peaks)
  • Mountaineering skills not required (unless going unguided)
  • Meeting adventurers from around the world
  • Close encounter with wild blue sheep
Clay in the last few feet before the summit

Considerations

Elevation: Take time to acclimatize and consider packing acetazolamide (Diamox). Learn the signs of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and be prepared to cut your trip short or postpone it until you are acclimatized. AMS can progress into the deadly High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or High-altitude cerebral edema (HACE). Also, bear in mind that the scant oxygen will slow you down a lot.

Weather: Less oxygen makes everything seem colder and the temperature felt like it was around -10 ° C (14° F) at the top. Don’t be fooled by reports that Ladakh is a desert. Bring a rain jacket. It can also get very hot, so come prepared to protect yourself from the sun.

Glacier Travel and Steep Terrain: There is a short glacier crossing followed by a lot of steep, exposed terrain. Use rope, crampons, and an ice axe, and either learn how to use them or hire a guide.

Dawn was welcomed as we approach the ridge after a long night of climbing

Dark: A midnight start is required to take advantage of the glacier while it’s hard and icy. Travelling on the aforementioned terrain in the dark carries some obvious risks.

Water: The camps provide boiled water, but bringing your own filter or water treatment tablets/drops will give you more options.

Logistics

Getting There
To get to Leh (Ladakh’s largest town), either fly or drive overland from Delhi. The cheapest way is to catch a bus to Manali, then another bus on the Leh-Manali highway to Leh. The bus ride from Manali to Leh takes 17 hours and is best split into two days. A nonstop bus costs Rs 833 (12 USD) and the 2-day trip costs Rs 2900 (40 USD).

If you don’t want to sit on a crowded bus as you go over some of the world’s highest motorable passes, you can hire a private or shared taxi from Manali for around Rs 20 000 – 30 000 (290-420 USD. Manali is a nice town and worth a few days’ visit.

Leh – Menali Highway

The road is open in the summer months and is prone to closures from landslides and flooding. It is narrow, rough, and windy – not for the faint of heart. It also contains one of the world’s highest motorable passes, and several more over 5000 m. Pretty much everyone I know (myself included) got altitude sickness going over the passes. Leh can also be accessed via the Srinagar Leh highway, but the road is longer and subject to the same closures.

Flying is the easiest and cheaper than hiring a private taxi. A one-way flight from Delhi to Leh will be around $100 – $200 USD and will take 1 hour 20 minutes. We went overland on the way there and flew out.

Getting from Leh to the trailhead at Stok Village is a quick taxi or bus ride.

Food and Accommodation

Accommodation and restaurants are plentiful in Stok Village and Leh.

There are three camps on the way up Stok Kangri: Chang Ma, Mankorma, and Base Camp. All serve food and have tents available for trekkers. The tents all have sleeping pads, but they aren’t very warm or comfortable. Bring your own sleeping bag. Also, Chang Ma only had a few tents available.

Guide or No Guide?

Most people choose to hire a guide for climbing Stok Kangri. You can hire one at base camp or in Leh, and it is fairly inexpensive. Whether you hire a guide in Leh or base camp, the cost will be roughly the same for a 4-day trek. Ask around in Leh for current costs of both, as things can fluctuate from year to year. You can also join an expedition complete with ponies, cooks, and comfortable tent.

Join an Expedition if:

  • You don’t want to waste time planning.
  • You don’t want to carry your stuff.
  • You want to be comfortable.

Get a guide if:

  • You have no mountaineering experience.
  • You prefer being safe.
  • You haven’t had much time to acclimatize (they can help you down if you get AMS).
  • The climbing conditions aren’t great.

Consider skipping a guide if:

  • You have mountaineering experience.
  • You are confident that you are well acclimatized.
  • You like the independence of hiking alone.
  • The conditions are good.

Gear

Rope, harnesses, crampons, gaiters, and ice axes can be rented in Leh or at the base camp. It’s slightly cheaper to rent from Leh, and the gear is probably better, but that means lugging it uphill at high altitudes for two days. You can rent sleeping bags too, but I’d advise bringing your own.

Your boots should be ankle high with a fairly stiff sole so they can be worn with crampons. Mountaineering boots are not needed. Also, do not forget your headlamp and extra batteries. You’ll be climbing in the dark for most of the summit day.

Permit

Get the permit from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) office in the Mentokling restaurant for 50 USD. You need to go right into the restaurant to find the office. It is cheaper at the IMF office, but buying it at base camp might save you some money if you don’t end up climbing. You can find current permit prices here.

Our Cost Breakdown

For 2 people in 2017

Taxi from Leh to Stok Village: Rs 1900 (27 USD)
Tent stay, including food: Rs 6000 (87 USD)
Rentals of rope, harness, ice axe, and crampons: Rs 1500 (22 USD)

Total: Rs 8400 (121 USD)

Hiring a guide from base camp would have cost and additional Rs 8000 (115 USD)

The Route

We had been in Ladakh for nearly a month at this point, and had been trekking for most of that time, so we opted to do it in three days. Actually, we had planned four, but dragged ourselves all the way back to Stok Village on summit day. Despite the short days, the night at Mankorma is essential to acclimatization.

Day 1 – Stok Village to Mankorma camp

  • Elevation Gain: 823 m (2,700 ft)
  • Distance: 9 km (5.6 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 4 hours

Chang Ma Camp is at 5.5 km (3.4 miles) and makes a good spot to stop for lunch or tea

Photo: Pack ponies were more common than people along the trail.

Day 2 – Mankorma camp to base camp

  • Elevation Gain: 610 m (2000 ft)
  • Distance: 4 km (2.5 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 2 hours

Woke up to blue sheep lingering near our tent.

We took an acclimatization walk to the ridge above camp though most people opted to go all the way to the glacier.

Blue sheep at Mankorma Camp.

Day 3 – Base camp to summit and back to Stok Village

The view from the top. We speculated that the larger peak in the very pack might be K2.
  • Elevation Gain: 1,223 m (4012 ft) ascent, 2,629 m (8,625 ft) descent
  • Distance: 7 km(4.3 miles) to the summit, 20 km (12.4 miles) return to Stok
  • Hiking Time: 12 hours to summit, 16 hours total

12:00 AM departure from base camp to cross the glacier before it softens up
We planned to stay another night, but I was having trouble breathing and loitering around all day didn’t seem like fun.

You can find the whole story of our Stok Kangri climb on Review Outdoors here.

The Best Backpacking Adventure I’ve Ever Had

Getúlio Felipe climbs Marmolada

Getúlio Felipe is a 14-year old kid born with cerebral palsy. That didn’t stop him climbing the highest mountain in the Italian Dolomites 3,343 m (10,968 ft).

… At the age of four, he was advised to start using a wheelchair, which he refused. He told the world he was going to learn to walk.
Age 5, nothing. Age 6, nothing.

Age 7, Getulio took his first steps. This in itself was an achievement no one saw possible, but in his own words, “the impossible does not exist”.

His sheer determination has inspired people around the world, giving people hope when they had lost it. …

… climbing Marmolada involves crossing a glacier with huge crevasses and then a steep climb requiring ropes, crampons, and ice axes. Just to add to the difficulty, there was a deep snowpack …

The day a boy became a man and inspired the world

Accompanying Getúlio on this journey were Pedro McCardell, creator of Lyfx, an app that conects travelers to local guides, Alessio Nardellotto, an experienced climber from the Dolomites, Alberto Benchimol and Stefano Fabris, who worked as a separate support team for safety and image capture.

hiking (not climbing) Aconcagua today

The standard itinerary: 3 days, 2 nights camped at Confluencia.

From there I’ll hike part way at least up both the Plaza de Mulas and Plaza Fancia routes.

Confluencia is at 3200m. There’s a mandatory medical check on arrival.

It wasn’t easy but I managed to get a permit to hike independently and alone. Nor was it cheap – US$180 for the 3 days.

Trip report coming soon.