Mt. Kanchenjunga Expedition (8,586m)
The second highest Himalaya peak of Nepal and third after Mt. Everest and Mt. K2 in the world, Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586m) is located in the eastern part of Nepal. The name “Kanchenjunga” is delivered from the Tibetan word 'Kanchen' and 'Dzonga' translated means "The Five Treasures of the Great Snows", as it contains five peaks, Kanchenjunga I (8586m), Kanchenjunga West (8505m), Kanchenjunga South (8494m) and Kangbachen (7903m). The treasures represent the five repositories of God, which are gold, silver, gems, grain, and holy books.
Kanchenjunga is located on the border between Nepal and Sikkim and it is very remote attracting relatively few trekkers and therefore it retains much of its pristine beauty, mystery and charm. Mt. Kanchenjunga due to its beauty and size is considered a sacred by local Sikkimese people. With 4 ridges radiating in X pattern almost symmetrically from the main summit aesthetically Kanchenjunga is a beautiful mountains visible from many places with a famous view from Tiger Hill in Darjeeling, India.
Three of the five peaks (main, central, and south) in Kanchenjunga are on the border of North Sikkim district of Sikkim, India and Taplejung District of Nepal, while the other two are completely in Taplejung District. Nepal is home to the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project run by the World Wildlife Fund in association with Government of Nepal. The sanctuary is home to the Red Panda and other montage animals, birds and plants. India's side of Kanchenjunga also has a protected park area called the Khangchendzonga National Park.
Kanchenjunga was assumed to be the highest mountain in the world until 1852, and only after the British Great Trigonometric Survey in 1849 Mt. Everest (known as Peak XV at the time) was crowned the highest and Kanchenjunga the third-highest. Kanchenjunga was first climbed on May 25, 1955 by Joe Brown and George Band, of a British expedition team. As a respect to the beliefs of the Sikkimese, who hold the summit sacred, they stopping a few feet short of the actual summit and this has developed to a tradition followed by successful summit parties since then. Kanchenjunga is called Sewalungma in the local Limbu language, translates as 'Mountain that we offer Greetings to'. Kanchenjunga or Sewalungma is considered sacred in the Kirant religion.
Kanchenjunga Expedition is an enormous mountain mass, and many satellite peaks rise from its narrow icy ridges. The Expedition is the most easterly of the great 8,000 meter peaks of the Himalaya. The climb is technical, even along the normal route but it is extremely interesting to climb with technical and intricate mixed rock and ice climb to the North Col followed by a not too technical steady 1500m ascent to the summit. The section past North Col in Kanchenjunga Expedition is exposed to the weather. The views are stunning both from the Base Camp as well as during entire climb of this Climbing Higher Peak.
In the Kanchenjunga Expedition, the west summit, Yalung Kang, is 8420m high and some people classify it as a separate 8000m peak. Three first Westerner to explore Kanchenjunga was the British botanist JD Hooker, who visited the area twice in 1848 and 1849. Exploration of the Skim, side of the peak continued with both British and pundit explorers mapping and photographing until 1899 in Kanchenjunga. In that year a party led by Douglas fresh field made a circuit of Kanchenjunga and produced what is still one of the most authoritative maps of the region. The Japanese now took up the challenge and mounted expeditions in 1973, 1974 and 1976 during which they climbed Yalung Kang. A German Expedition climbed Yalung Kang in 1975, and in 1977 an Indian army team mounted the second successful expedition to the main peak of Kanchenjunga.
The access trek from Suketar to the Base camp is also interesting due to its remoteness, the cultures inhibiting the area and a very rare endemic flora with 30 varieties of rhododendrons and 69 varieties of orchids. In Kanchenjunga Expedition the North Face route is definitely the safest, although not the easiest. Climb of Kanchenjunga begin from a charming base camp in the meadows of Panorama at 5,180 m. First challenge is to fix lines up 900 m of intricate mixed climbing to the North col. This provides the most challenging climbing of the expedition. Once creating a lifeline to and from the North Col you can begin the long process of establishing three camps up the long and complicated North ridge. Using Sherpa support and oxygen, you can move at a systematically slow velocity higher and higher up the mountain. This is a highly satisfying climb for the expert Climbers.
Kanchenjunga Expedition Base Camp Service:
- Snowy Horizon Treks & Expedition provides very professional, supportive and friendly mountaineering logistic services from Kathmandu to the ABC as well as during the climb. Our objective is to ensure a good quality, supportive, safe, friendly, stress free and comprehensive service to maximize summit opportunity.
- We provide a comprehensive service organizing all necessary permits, and climbing documentation, travelling logistics including airfares, ground transportation, porters, and other individual services required by mountaineers. On the track to the ABC we organize logistics for provision of all required accommodation and food.
- In the Base camp our cook and helpers will prepare and serve three delicious freshly cooked and plentiful meals a day and will ensure that hot and cold drinks are available 24hrs a day.
- In the Base Camp we provide spacious expedition quality personal tents for all our clients both with full board or base-camp service only.
- In the base camp we also provide dining tent, kitchen tent, toilet facilities and portable shower facilities and tent accommodation for our staff. We also have a comprehensive First Aid Kit available to our clients.
- In the Base Camp we provide access to communication including satellite telephone and internet access, and solar panels to charge your batteries
Kanchenjunga Expedition Full Board Service:
- For full board clients we provide personal tent and food, which will be prepared in high camps by their climbing Sherpa. We provide UHF/VHF hand held radios on the mountain to maintain communications between ABC and high camps.
- Full board with us means a provision of a personal climbing Sherpa to each individual climber, who will help the clients to reach the summit. Personal climbing Sherpa will set up camp 1, camp 2 and camp 3 and required bivvy including food provisions, fuel and oxygen and will guide and assist the client on the summit day. There are no commercial expeditions on Kanchenjunga so your climbing Sherpa with cooperation of other clients climbing Sherpas will set-up fixed ropes to North Col.
Approaches to ABC:
- There are two Base Camps to climb Kanchenjunga, Kanchenjunga North Base Camp on Kanchenjunga Glacier and South Base Camp on Yalung Glacier. The access to both camps is from Suketar (2400m), the town with closest airport to the mountain with flights to Kathmandu. Suketar is also last town accessible from Kathmandu by the road. The route from North Base Camp via the North Col is the Normal route. It is not the easiest by it is the safest route with least objective danger.
- Kanchenjunga is the most remote of all 8000m peaks in Nepal, and the trek to the North Base camp from Suketar takes about 11 days along Ghunsa Khola valley; it is 80km long gradual hike from 900m to 5100m, so it is a very nice way to relax and acclimatize to start the climb on the strong foot. Suketar is located at 2400m, so first day is a long downhill of 1500m, which has to be climbed on the return way.
- The normal route via North Col and North face is definitely the safest but it is technical climbing. It will definitely not be suitable for an inexperienced climber but it is a delight for technical climber. The scenery is phenomenal all the way from the Base Camp overlooking the Kanchenjunga glacier, Kanchenjunga I and Kang Bachen.
- The climb is challenging but very interesting. The most difficult section is to the North Col of about 500m of mixed ice and rock climb, where our climbing Sherpas will establish fixed rope route from just above 6500m to 7000m on the Col, a bee-line to take gear up safely. Once on the North Col the climb is along the ridge and the North face. The climb becomes less technical but very exposed to the weather.
- From the Col the climb is typically done with 3 camps or bivvies moving up slowly to the summit.
Elevation: 8,586m (28,169ft)
Height Rank: 3
Location: Nepal/Sikkim border
Coordinates: 27°42′09″ N 88°08′54″ E
First Ascent: British Expedition, May 25, 1955
Climbing Season: Late spring (traditionally less hazardous) and autumn
Expd duration: 54 days (typically)
Climbing duration: 32 days (typically)
Group Size: 02-15 person per Group
- Climbing Equipment
- Climbing Permit & Cost
- Royalty Free Mountain
- Peaks Opened for Mountaineering
- Climbing Rules in Nepal
- Peak Climbing Guide
- List of Opened Peaks
- List of Unclimbed Peaks
Peak Climbing Question/Answers
What is trekking peak?
Trekking Peaks are the mountain which can be approached in a day to the summit from their base camp including return to the basecamp. Trekking peaks are generally between 5000m to below 7000m. The climbing permits for these peaks can be obtained from Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). These peaks are also called NMA Trekking Peaks.
Who can climb a peak?
There are no restrictions to obtain climbing permit and anyone with appropriate fitness and skills can attempt a peak climbing. Climbing difficulty varies for different mountains and routes. Non-technical climbs can be attempted by a fit trekker with little or no climbing experience. For technical climbs one needs to have an appropriate level of climbing experience.
I have never climbed before. Can I go for peak climbing?
There is always first time for everything including peak climbing. There are non-technical peaks, which can be climbed safely by a fit trekker and even slightly technical peaks can be attempted by a novice climber with a professional climbing guide.
What are physical fitness criteria to climb a peak in Nepal?
To climb high elevation peak the health and fitness is a paramount criteria. The level of fitness required is proportional to peak elevation and route difficulty and length.
What is climbing permit?
Climbing Permit for trekking peaks is a legal document issued by the Nepal Mountaineering Associationauthorizing the climber to attempt the climb on designated peak or route. Attempting a climb without permit is illegal.
Do I need climbing permit?
Yes climbing permits are required to climb any peak above 5000m and it is illegal to do so without a climbing permit.
Who will lead me during climbing?
A licensed, trained and experienced Climbing Sherpa Guide will lead you while Peak Climbing.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes the rescue insurance is required while climbing.
Which is the best season for peak climbing?
In general August to November and March to May are two climbing seasons in Nepal.
Do I need to join in a climbing group?
There is no legal requirement to join the climbing group however climbing solo is an unsafe practice. It is recommended to hire the guide even for simple routes.
What will be the food and accommodation?
During the access trek you will be accommodated in a lodge/teahouse; once in the basecamp you will be assigned a tent and your climbing Sherpa will prepare high altitude food; all your climbing gear and food for the climb will be carried by the porter up to the base camp.
How much time is generally required for trekking peak?
It varies for different peaks and weather condition. Generally most of trekking peaksrequire one or two days to summit from the basecamp. The access time varies also and depends on peak location and peak elevation.
How difficult are the trekking peaks?
It depends on the Trekking Peak. There is a variety of peaks available ranging from non-technical through easy technical to difficult and very difficult technical routes.
Is there any age limit for trekking Peaks Climbing?
Children below 18 are Restricted for Peak Climbing in Nepal. Is this incorrect?
What are the sources of drinking water supply during Peak Climbing?
On most of treks bottled water is available. There are also purified filtered water stations in many lodges. The boiled water will be also available in the lodges and from the camp kitchen.
Where do we eat our meals?
On popular trails we will stay in lodges and guest houses and the meals will be cooked for you with continental menu meals often available as well as soups and noodles and rice dishes; on some routes there will be a limited choice and on some more remote routes only local Nepal Dal Bhat and curry or instant noodle soups will be available. In the basecamp your Sherpa guide will prepare meals for you from instant dry meals.
Is there any communication while we are on trekking?
It all depends on the area with most of the trekking routeshaving local VHF Phones; increasingly more places get mobile coverage of varied capacity; in remote communication is not available or very limited so the only option would be a satellite phone.
What type of shoes or boots should I wear?
You need comfortable trekking shoes preferably with Gore-Tex style lining for ultimate comfort and thick vibratim soles to have comfortable walk on rocky paths. On snow routes you will also require crampons, climbing harness and on many climbs the iceaxe.
What problems can arise on altitude?
At high altitude your cardio-pulmonary system is affected by low oxygen density and you can suffer from general breathing difficulties to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) as well as your skin is susceptible to sunburn if not protected by cloths or sunblock. The AMS is preventable through appropriate trekking pace and undertaking acclimatization.
What type of insurance should I have? Where can I obtain the insurance?
You need to obtain travel insurance before you arrive to Kathmandu. Your insurance should cover rescue insurance and it should allow the expense of helicopter supported medevac. Nowadays such policies are readily available through many airfare booking agents. Try ihi.com if you cannot find your insurance.
What type of insurance should I have? Where can I obtain the insurance?
You will require a travel insurance, which will not exclude climbing and helicopter evacuation. You need obtain your insurance before you arrive to Kathmandu. Climbing insurance may be obtained through some climbing clubs and some insurers such as IHI.
What is the cost of Peak Climbing?
The cost depends on peak you wish to climb and the number of climbers in the group. The cost of the climb consists of trekking cost, transportation costs (airfare or surface transportation), equipment and staff requirements, climbing duration and permit costs. Please consult us.