Sitting astride the Nepal- India border, Kanchenjunga for the time being is still the domain of camping trekkers. Even though these days the lower approaches are seeing road and lodge development available even in Lhonak and Ramche. There are two popular routes into the Kanchenjunga peaks and mountains. In general the more popular option is to the North Base Camp and Pang Pema . It shows off the immense glaciers and towering ramparts of Kanchenjunga and Jannu to the most effect. The other option is via the Yalung glacier to the South Base Camp approach, close to the Sikkim border. Taking just a little extra time, the two base camps can be combined by crossing the Mirgin La ( 4665m). Treks in the region are longer because of the greater distance from the trailheads to the peaks. Three weeks is an absolute minimum for a well- planned trek.
Indeed, The Kanachanjunga is the eastern border of Nepal with the Indian State of Sikkim. This area is opened in 1988 specifically for organized treks though these days can be done tea houses trek. The long trek to the lap of Kanchenjunga takes one through some of the country’s richest and most pristine forests. The region is quite uninhabited and she has great store real natural life. “Kang- Chen –Zod –Nga” , meaning “ Five Great Treasuries of the Snow”. The avalanches that Kanchenjunga throws down are said to be the largest anywhere! Since the locals venerate the mountain, there is a tradition among mountaineers not to stand on the actual summit all “successful” assaults have stopped just short of the summit honoring an old promise made by the leader of the first successful attempt in 1955. The lowland areas are culturally rich but there are few good mountain views. The major ethnic group inhabiting the Kanchenjunga region is the Limbus who along with Rais belongs to the broader “Kiranti” group. Both these peoples have earned respect as fearless infantry men-the “Gorkhas”. In fact, till some years ago, the only serving Victoria Cross holder in the British Army was a Limbu. The Limbus can be recognized from their headgear “lopi” which is identical to the national headgear of Nepal but taller and more colorful. If you are lucky to pass through major Limbu villages during the first of the Nepali month you may be able to witness village fairs which mainly serve as an excuse for the younger generation to go courting. Nevertheless, these are fun times and offer great photo opportunities. By far the more famous contribution of Limbu culture is the millet drink “tongba “which is served in special wooden “tongba pot”. Fermented millet seeds are put in the tall pot and hot water added. Then the potent brew is drunk via a thin bamboo straw, with tiny holes, which act as filters and keep the seeds out. When all the liquid in one pot has been drunk, hot water is added to it again and the process repeated. Look out for this speciality north of Basantapur. Please seek your guide’s advice on the quality of the brew and consume sparingly. This strenuous and extended trek visits both sides of the peak but, as with all treks that spend protected times at high altitudes it requires determination and some luck to complete the trek successfully. The crossing of high passes requires good weather- snow could mean that the trail has become dangerous for travel and heavy rains often cause landslides that wipe our whole sections of trails. Protracted stays at high altitude requires that participants on this trek be in peak physical condition and the duration of the trek requires that no member of the party falls ill. These factors, of course, cannot be controlled or predicted. Medical facilities are few and far between and emergency evacuation involves great cost and mind boggling logistics. Therefore, it is highly recommended that each and every participant on the trip have trip cancellation insurance, which also covers emergency evacuation by Helicopter.
Highlights of the Trekking
Walking through beautiful terrace fields and wild natural vegetation along the trail, breathtaking scenery of tower snow topped great Himalayan peaks including Mt. Everest. Kanchanjungha, Makalu, exploring Yalung glacier.
Our Company representative will be standing in front of arrival gate to meets you at Tribhuban International Airport, Kathmandu holding a board of our company SNOWPAL TREK AND EXPEDITION Pvt. Ltd. along with your Name and transfer to your hotel. Overnight at hotel.
After Breakfast full day sightseeing proceeds to world heritage site to Syambhunath Stupa The Buddhist sanctuary said to be nearly 2000 years old. The hill itself is pleasant place overlooking the entire valley of Kathmandu. The all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha painted in prominent blue atop the dome are visible from long distance from around the Kathmandu city. Then proceed to patan durbar squar also call Lalitpur the city full of fine arts. It covers the dozens of temples like Krishna Mandir, Kumbeswor temple, Golden temle. Next site proceeds to Pashupatinath Temple the holiest Hindu Temple situated on the bank of sacred holy river Bagmati. Sightseeing continue to the Boudhanath Stupa the biggest Stupa. The day ends at Kathmandu Durbar Squar where can visti the Living Goddes Kumari who appear on the balcony of her temple to greet her devotees, Kastamandap temple (under reconstruction process after collapsed in earthquake in25 April 2014), the temple made out of single tree and named Kathmandu as it was known as Kantipur in earlier times. Kathmandu Durbar Squar cover dozen of temple concluding Kumari temple,Hanuman Dhoka, Maizu dewal, Taleju temple, Nautale Durbar, Kaal Bhairav, freak street and many more.. Overnight in hotel.
A direct flight from Kathmandu to Taplejung (Suketar) takes you to start this journey. The one-and-a-half-hour flight by the 16-seat twin –engined Twin Otter to Suketar drops us in the heart of the middle hills. The porters and crew will be waiting for our arrival. After landing we take an early lunch, while the crews sort the newly arrived gear. In the afternoon we blow out the cobwebs with an easy 2 to 3 hours along the ridge line to Lali Kharka, a grazing area, where we camp.
After traversing the hillside, a short way, we descend to the village of Pakora along the Phawa Khola, crossing a suspension bridge before beginning the steep climb up towards Kunjuri. Lunch will be taken somewhere below Kunjuri and the afternoon’s walk takes on up a short distance over the crest of the ridge then to our campsite at Khesewa. We get our first views of Kanchenjunga and should be able to clearly make out the south and main summit along with Yalung Kang.
From Khesewa the path traverses steep hillside through terraced fields high above the Kabbeli Khola. There are some ups and downs crossing side valleys but there are many shady spots to rest. After lunch at one of these we pass the village of Anpan, before descending to cross the Kashawa Khola (stream) and then, finally, we climb again through terraced fields to camp at the village of Mamankhe or nearby. En- route we have our first glimpses of the awesome Jannu (Khumbakama), 7710m.
Beginning with an easy climb, the walk to Yamphudin is along a track which contours the hillside above the Kabeli Khola. The path has several ups and downs as we cross the ridges and stream beds that make up the valley sides, but generally the route is flat and the river eventually becomes level with the trail a couple of hours before Yamphudin. At last we can stop to bathe in one of the many clear pools in this beautiful river. It is a truly idyllic spot and after lunch by the river we complete the day’s walk to Yamphudin. Yamphudin is the most remote settlement in this area and the last village we will see until we reach Ghunsa. Needles to say, it is a charming place tucked away beneath the ridge of the Deorali Danda, which we must cross next.
Beyond Yamphudin the trail ascends a steep spur, a gentle introduction for what will come. Leaving villages behind we trek through pleasant forest, stopping for lunch in a meadow atop this spur which commands fine views, north and south. A steep descend to the river and an interesting bridge across the Omje Khola bring us to our campsite in a clearing in Chitre.
We climb a real hill today, 3 hours of steep ascent to the crest of the Deorali Danda, in dense forest much of the way. From the 3230m pass we see Jannu again, definitely closer! We descend across some steep and exposed scree before entering the forest again. The steep ‘interesting ‘wooden bridge is Tortongn , a camping place with numerous rock shelters amid towering conifers. The steep hills make today a tough 6 to 7 hours trekking.
We follow the river through more beautiful forest, the conifers giving way to rhododendron forest. The valley climbs fairly steeply and as the day progresses the trees become more stunted and scattered, giving us glimpses of the snow- capped giants ahead and of the massive snout of Yalung Glacier. Just before Tseram the towering heights of Kabru and Rathong peak start to peep over the moraine. Camping at Tseram, a grazing area, the night temperatures will remind us that we are really gaining height
It is a shorter day’s walk up the final 600 metres to Ramche where the trail to Kanchenjunga South Face Base Camp turns dangerous. The scenery is magnificent as we ascend past snout of the Yalung Glaciers and into a series of ablation valleys which give easy walking and good camping. A frozen lake, clear streams and views of Koktang , Rathong and Kabru are the highlights of this stroll. Expect to feel the altitude today.
Setting off early we have our first close encounter with Kanchenjunga. Following the ablation valley round there is stunning south face of Kanchanjunga and Jannu. We get across the Yalung Ri Glacier and continue by a sweeping curve, at Oktang, 4730m, we are suddenly confronted with the southem wall of the mountain. This vast ridge forms a cirque over 15 kms long, nowhere less than 7500m high and with tahe three main summits of Kanchenjunga at 8420m, 8586, and 8474! It is a breathtaking mountain panorama and especially impressive is Jannu (Khumbakarna ) and the glaciers flowing from its east face. We then return to our camp.
This extended part will take you to the high altitudes. It requires determination and some luck too. The crossing of high passes requires good weather, and of course perfect logistic support. Expect to get acclimatized with the altitude today.
we trek down the valley passing the turn off to the high and challenging Labsang La route to Ghunsa and the north side of Kanchenjunga. This pass is rough and dangerous, especially for porters so we take the more southern set of passes, beginning with the Mirgin La. After an initial very steep climb and several false summits we reach the Mirgin La. Apart from the magnificent Jannu, on the horizon are Makalu, Gyakung , Kang, Everest, Lhotse and Chamalang. To the south it is possible to see right down to the Terai, a panorama worth the effort. Overnight at Slllerle after 6 to 7 hours tough walking.
Although there four more passes, there is little descent between them, so in effect it is a high scenic traverse. After lunch a short steep descent brings us to Lamba Sumba Kharka where there are more views of the awesome Southwest Face of Jannu. From the Kharka, the going is easy again down a pleasant forested trail to the village prayer flags flutter from the wooden houses and there are two gompas and is a welcome sight after the many days of wilderness. One of the local specialities is ‘tongba’, a curious alcoholic drink. A jug or large bamboo cup is filled with fermented millet seed and boiling water pored over. The flavor and alcohol seep though and you drink with a special straw. You might need a drink after the tough 4 to 6 hour walk.
The trail gradually ascends the south bank of the Ghunsa Khola and crossing flood plain emerges on a pasture on the north side of the river. Then the trail makes a sleep climb to a slope from where it crosses a slide and then descends to Lakepo. A short climb from here to the village of Kambachen (4040m)
This day is spent acclimatizing to high altitude. It also doubles up as a rest day and can be used for a short morning hike to explore the area around Kambachen. Those who feel the urge should be able to catch up on their laundry. Otherwise, a good book should get you through the day perfectly. It is essential to acclimatize to the higher altitude as you have been spending a lot of time at lower altitudes. From here, there are good mountain views of the peaks near Kanchenjunga, Khubur (6332m), Phole (6445m), Nago Ma and the tip of Jannu (7710m ) are visible. You can hike up the ridge above the village for better views or take a day hike to the Jannu Base Camp. The Nepali name for Jannu is Kumbakama.
A gradual climb through rocky fields gets you to Ramtang (4240m). Lohnak is on a sandy plain near a drylakebed. You will camp between the boulders here to stay out of the wind. There are beautiful mountain vistas all around. Water is very scarce in Lhonak and you will need to use only as much as absolutely necessary.
The main Kanchenjunga peak is only visible from Pang Pema, which is the base camp for expeditions on Kanchenjunga. From Lhonak, the trail gradually ascends across the plain but soon gets steeper as it follows the moraine. Pang Pema is at a height of 5140 meters.
In the morning those who would like to take a morning hike up a ridge, north of Pang Pema. It is a climb of 200 or 300 meters and provides a great advantage point with views of Kanchenjunga. Wedge Peak, the Twins and Tent Peak. As usual the descent goes faster and you can reach Kambachen the same day.
More descent thru magnificent sections of forest and as long as we make Amjilosa tomorrow it doesn’t matter where we stay. From Ghunsa an hour down we pass through Phole, a village in two parts. The Upper sections are Tibetans, refugees who are now well established, the second is the winter village of Ghunsa.
Initially we pass thru beautiful forest then this opens out to steep, grassy hillsides where Amjilosa is perched.
Down, down and down! After a short traverse we begin the steep descent that will take most of the day. We reach the confluence of the Tamur and Ghunsa Kholas, where we camp.
Less than an hour down we cross the Simbu Khola, which originates from Kanchenjunga’s south base camp, the Khola that we followed up from Torontan. It is pleasantly warm at these low altitudes and cardamom grows freely in the moist shaded forest. Crossing numerous small tributary streams we reach Chirwa, a village set among large boulders. This is an easier day.
The villages are beautiful today, pure middle hills. Traversing in an out of minor valleys, we pass thru a succession of picturesque villages on our way to Suketar, we should reach there around late afternoon.
Transfer to Hotel. Overnight at Kathmandu
Transfer from hotel to international airport to board onward journey flight or combine with other trip like white water rafting. Or safari tour at Chitwan Park. The cost would be charge extra for rafting and safari. All trips can be customized and extended as per requirements.