Mentok Kangri bordering the Eastern Ladakh is an exhilarating experience involving snow mountain climbing and breathtaking sights. First, you need to take a flight from Delhi to Leh, which is a 75 minute journey. The flight will cover beautiful stretches of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. On reaching Leh you’ll settle down for two days in a hotel, and allow your body to adapt to cold climate.
These two days you’ll spend experiencing the distinct culture of mountain people. Best way to spend the day is to visit monasteries (Hemis, Thiksey, and Shey) and Leh Palace, the Himalayan Kingdom. You’ll also cherish seeing Khardung La Pass, the highest road located at an altitude of 5,600 m and allowing motor vehicle movements. Buy some winter gears from the Leh market and catch some sleep at the hotel for the next day’s adventure.
On the third day we leave Leh and drive for 2-3 hours on the Manali – Leh highway towards Rumtse, a village close to Tanglang La Pass (motorable). Gia is the campsite where you’ll be spending the rest of the night. Going out hiking to find chortens and stupas depicting Buddhism should warm your body for the cold terrain.
We start our journey towards the pristine Tso Kar Lake, leaving the civilizations behind. A drive of 3-4 km takes you to Tso Kar, a small village, from where our group leaves vehicles and covers the rest of the journey accompanied by horses/mules for the next six days. For the day people can take a walk along the silent shores of the lake and enjoy disconnection from the world.
Fifth day marks the beginning of our real journey, accompanied by the silence of the surroundings and rustling wind, and a 4-5 walk till our next destination Nuruchan.
You need to overcome four more passes starting from Horlam Kongka La stretching 4,840 m, which will be covered on day 6. First, you’ll cross a narrow stream and start overcoming the ascent to reach the top. You can take some rest when you see Buddhist flags and sight Tso Kar Lake behind. For the time being we’ll camp here for the day.
Tough days are ahead, so we prepare to overcome them by covering two passes this day. The first pass Kyamayuri La looks like a saddle stretching 5,210 m, while the second one Gyamaburma measures 5,210 m. You can locate the first pass clearly from Rajungkaru and the second one as a dot. We camp for the night at Gyamaburma.
On the eighth day, we'll conquer the final pass Yalegon La measuring 5,421 m. From Gyamaburma it is a two-hour descent and you can see Tso Moriri Lake overlooking the barren and snow-covered mountains. For the day our campsite will be Karzok Phu where you will spend the night. From here you can even see Mentok Kangri covered by snow.
On this day you will be walking along the moraine towards Mentok Kangri for six hours. Moraines are the soil debris left during the flow of glaciers. This may be a long, strenuous journey, but you'll get the hang of it. Mentok Kangri will be your base camp on the ninth day.
In the base camp you'll have lunch and spend the day sorting out equipments and allowing your body to acclimatize to cold temperature and high altitude conditions. You’ll spend the night at Mentok Kangri.