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Kangchenjunga, the 3rd highest peak, elevating at an altitude of 8586 m, was considered the highest peak of the world until 1856. Crowned by 5 significant peaks, out of which three reside at the Nepal-India border and two reside in the Taplejung district of Nepal, Kanchenjunga is a mystical mountain also believed by the locals to be the home to mountain deity. In the Tibetan language, the name 'Kanchinjínga' refers to the “Five Treasures of the Great Snow”. The treasures represent the repositories of God being Gold, Silver, Grain, Gems, and Holy Books and are often associated with the five peaks in the Kanchenjunga Himal.
The Kanchenjunga section of the Himal extends from Nepal to India with around 16 peaks above 7000m. It is bordered in the north by Lhonak Chu, Goma Chu, and Jongsang La while in the East by the Teesta river. The western limits are distinguished as they run down the Jongsang La to Ginseng and Kanchenjunga Glaciers and rivers of Ghunsa and Tamor.
The first successful ascent to Kanchenjunga was made by George Band and Joe Brown the British Expedition team in 1955. They took the route from the Yalung Glacier to the southwest of the peak, leading to the Yalung face. The route to the summit is a mixed terrain of snow, glacier, and one icefall with a little section of rock. They had set up six camps during their expedition.
The huge mountain massif of Kangchenjunga consists of the following peaks:
The massif houses five main glaciers namely, Zemu, Kanchenjunga, Yalung, Talung, and Ramtang that drain the Saptakoshi Rivers including Arun, Tamor, and Teesta in Sikkim as well. Kanchenjunga main is the highest point of the Brahmaputra River Basin, one of the largest river basins. The Kanchenjunga massif is also a part of the Ganges River Basin.
Kanchenjunga has been able to retain its pristine beauty and serenity as it is not very easily accessible from Nepal. The remoteness of its location makes it one of the less frequently traveled destinations despite its alluring beauty. The trekking to the Kanchenjunga region has recently been permitted in Sikkim, the Goecha La pass trek is the most popular one, as it offers the marvelous view of the huge southeast face of Kangchenjunga. The reason for restrictions to traveling in this isolated region could be the myth associated with it, making people believe that some mountain deity dwells in this region. The British Expedition team had spotted a bipedal creature in 1925, which is believed to be “the Kangchenjunga Demon”, often called “Yeti”.
The trekking route to Kanchenjunga is unbelievably attractive and mindblowing as it goes through three diverse ecoregions: the eastern Himalayan broadleaved and coniferous forests, the eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows, and the Terai Duar Savanna and grasslands. As you trek along, you will come across numerous small and big rivers that rage at their pace. We ought to trek through the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, which is the home to a number of endangered species including but not limited to Snow Leopards, Asian Black Bears, Red Panda, White-bellied Musk Deer, Blood Pheasant, and Floras like Rhododendrons and Orchids. If lucky enough, we may encounter some of those on our way.
Best Seasons for Kanchenjunga Trek and Expedition
The best season to go on expeditions to Kanchenjunga is Pre-monsoon or Post-monsoon when the sky is clear, the weather is moderate and the days are neither too hot nor too cold nights. However, we can organize trips to Kanchenjunga any time of the year.
What makes the Kanchenjunga Expedition difficult?
Kanchenjunga expedition is comparatively difficult than other 8000 m mountains because of its remoteness, technical difficulty, risk of icefall and avalanche, difficulty in managing logistics, and fewer Sherpas available to climb Kanchenjunga. Moreover, India has restricted the expeditions from the easier side, compelling the climbers to take a tough route.
Preparation for Kanchenjunga Expedition
Kanchenjunga is quite technical as it involves walking on snow, ice, and glaciers. Only a small section of the climb involves walking on rocks. Harsh terrain and extreme weather conditions pose a huge risk and challenge. Climbers are required to trek and hike for about 10 hours a day, so a high level of physical fitness and substantial mountaineering experience is required for the Kanchenjunga Expedition. High altitude mountaineers, who have summited Everest and Kanchenjunga claim the latter to be even more tricky and difficult. The last part of the climb comprises the longest horizontal climbs over 8000 m making the summit a bit demanding.
Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, you will need to obtain an Entry Visa for Nepal. As soon as you complete the immigration procedures, you will be greeted by one of our representatives and transferred to the hotel booked for you. You can rest, relax and freshen up at your hotel and go sightseeing around the Tourist Hub, Thamel in the evening.
Before we start our expedition, we will need to obtain the required permits for the Kanchenjunga Expedition. We will also prepare all our documents and go for last-minute shopping. At our Eight K Expeditions premise, we will conduct a short briefing about the expedition. Enjoy your day in Kathmandu and prepare to head out to a wonderful adventure experience.
We wake up to a warm breakfast in the morning. Then, we will drive to the airport to catch a short flight to Bhadrapur, a town in eastern Nepal. Then, we will drive to Illam, a beautiful and old market in Eastern Region of Nepal. It is very popular for tea gardens and exports high quality tea leaves around the world. We will explore around the Illam Bazaar and rest overnight in a hotel.
The next day, we will drive from Illam Bazaar to Jorpul via Phidim village. We will behold the pleasing sights of terraced farmlands, vegetations, tea gardens, and cardamom plantations as we move higher. We will finally reach Jorpul to rest overnight to release the pain due to the 9-10 hours drive.
Our trek starts from Jorpul as we slowly ascend towards Khebang through the lush green forests of Rhododendrons, Pines, Oaks, and Deodars. After a series of ascents and descents for about 5 hours, we will reach Khewang to rest overnight.
From Khewang, we walk along the Kabeli Khola and cross many streams over the suspension bridges. We start ascending through valleys, dense forests, and waterfalls. As we move from Subtropical to temperate regions, we will notice diverse vegetation and forest density.
Yamphudin is a village resided by people from diverse cultures and ethnicities. From there, we ascend towards Dhupo Bhanjyang and further to Lasiya Bhanjyang (3310 m). Then, we descend to Amji Khola and walk along until we reach Torongdin at 2995 m to rest overnight. This will be a very tiring day as we trek for almost 11 hours.
We start after breakfast at Torongdin and trek towards Tseram. As we slowly enter the subalpine zone, green trees are fewer and shrubs and wildflowers are abundant. We will be gaining subsequent height so we will spend a day in Tseram for acclimatization.
We will wake up for a warm breakfast and start our trek to Ramche. We will be crossing the Yalung Glacier moraine and beautiful lakes and meadows. After a 6-7 hours trek we will finally reach Ramche to rest overnight. At Ramche, our team will set up comfortable tents for us to sleep.
From Ramche, we start early as we will be elevating to the Middle Base Camp at 4900 m. The trail takes us through the glacier moraines and rugged path until we reach the Middle Base Camp in the meadows.
Following the glaciers of the northern ridge, we will hike up to the base of Kanchenjunga Base Camp and set up our tents. We will be welcomed by the panoramic views of giant snow-capped mountains including the mystic Mt. Kanchenjunga.
We will allocate 26 days of our trip for the climbing period of Mt. Kanchenjunga. During this course, we will conduct multiple rotations around the higher camps. We will allocate enough days for acclimatization as it is extremely important for good health at a high altitude. Climbing up and returning to a lower height is our key strategy for acclimatizing. Most of the climb will be over the snow, ice, and glaciers so we will train with an ice ax, crampons, and ladder climbing before heading to the summit. The last part involves climbing on a steep horizontal rocky section. We will climb up to a step short of the main summit, as it is considered pious and sacred.
As we reach the top, we will be gifted with the vistas of Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Everest, Mt. Makalu, the Kanchenjunga massif, and other giant snow-capped peaks.
We will then return to the lower camp and prepare to leave.
After a successful ascent to the third highest peak of the World, we return to the base camp and pack up our expedition logistics. We then clean up the base camp and prepare to leave.
We retrace our path back to Ramche walking on the rugged terrain for 9 hours. We then rest overnight in a lodge or a tented camp.
Our trek starts from Ramche and we reach Tseram for lunch. We then walk through the forests down to reach Torongdin to rest overnight.
Our trek continues to descend back to Yamphudin until we reach our lodge to rest overnight.
We start early after breakfast and resume our trek to Jorpul. We will cross the Khebang village and continue towards Jorpul. The total trekking hours will be about 9-10 hours.
Our trek ends at Jorpul, from where we take a private vehicle to reach the commercial city Birtamod. We will rest at a very comfortable hotel in Birtamod.
After a night's rest in Birtamod, we will drive back to Kathmandu. You may choose to take a flight as well at some extra costs. Upon our arrival in Kathmandu, you will be escorted to the hotel to rest and relax.
This leisure day is for you to explore Kathmandu city. You can go sightseeing to different World Heritage Sites like Bouddhanath Stupa, Swayambhunath Temple, Pashupatinath Temple, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Basantapur and Thamel areas, and many more. In the evening, we will all meet for a wonderful farewell dinner at a typical restaurant.
If you have not booked any other packages or extended your holiday/stay in Nepal, one of our representatives will drop you off at the airport for your departure to your home country. We will look forward to traveling with you again.
NOTE: Trekking and mountain climbing in the Kanchenjunga region are highly dependent on weather conditions. We try to schedule our trips at the most favorable time but in case of extreme scenarios, domestic flights may be delayed or canceled. In cases as such, we would like to notify you that except for the total number of days in the itinerary section, expenses of other extra days shall be borne by the client himself/herself. However, 8K Expeditions will make necessary arrangements for the accommodation of porters and guides. If you wish to make alternative arrangements such as a helicopter flight to avoid flight delays, we can arrange it at a nominal extra charge.
Also, 8K Expeditions shall not be liable for any compensation for losses due to missed International Flights but we will surely help to make necessary arrangements to minimize your loss. To avoid missing flights, we suggest keeping some flexible time frames before trip departure and after trip departure.
Also be notified that as we will be traveling in remote areas with extreme climatic conditions and geography where trails can be distorted at times, we might need to adjust our itineraries as required. But we assure you that the quality of service shall not be compromised at any cost.
Climbers are advised to prepare and train their bodies and mind in a perfect way to adapt to the remoteness, high altitude, and distance from the families. It is also advised to carry lesser amounts of valuable belongings. Also, pack in some cotton clothes for your stay in Kathmandu while some warm ones for the Himalayas. Always keep a copy of your passport and photos with you.
Thank you for joining us on our Expedition!!