Kanchenjunga Expedition is the second least climbing expedition of the 14 peaks over 8,000 meters. In fact the Annapurna is the only 8,000 meters peak which has been less climbed than the Kanchenjunga. The Kanchenjunga is a mountain of the Himalaya range, at the Far East of Nepal on the border of Sikkim, around twenty kilometers South of Tibet. It is one of the 14 mountains on Earth that are more than 8,000 meters (26,247 ft) high above sea level. With an elevation of 8,586 m, Kanchenjunga is the third highest, after Mount Everest (8,850 m) and K2 (8,611 m).
It is also called Kanchenjunga, Kangchen Dzo-nga or Kachendzonga, which means the Five Treasures of Snows. The Kangchenjunga contains five peaks, four of them are above 8,400 meters: main summit (8,586 m), West summit (8,505 m), central summit (8,482 m), South summit (8,494 M) and Kangbachen (7,903 m).
Since the first ascent in 1955, only 243 climbers have reached the top of Kangchenjunga, while during the same time 4,500 persons reached the top of Everest. Trekking to Kanchenjunga base camp is very wild; there are almost no trekkers and no lodges. Overall the trekking is much harder than the ones of the Annapurna’s or the Everest. There is no support for trekkers, it is very hard to find porters and there are important elevation changes (from 700 m to 5,500 m).
The Southwest route of Kanchenjunga is also called the Yalung route. Only 162 climbers have succeeded this route since 1955.The route starts at 5,500 meters on the Yalung glacier where the base camp (BC) is established. Above the BC, the route follows a rocky spur up to 6,000 m. Then it climbs steep slopes and the serac up to a snow ridge at 6,200 m where the camp 1 stands.
From the camp 1, the route follows a short horizontal ridge, and then descends on a plateau and cross this plateau. The camp 2 is located at the end of the plateau and the bottom of the face, at around 6,400 m. From the camp 2, climb the snow slope above. It may be hard to find a way between the numerous seracs and crevasses, especially in bad weather. The camp 3 can bet set at the top of the slope or even better on the plateau itself at around 7,200 m.
From the camp 3, continue on the plateau where there are crevasses and seracs. Continue to the base of a spur, at the base of the big Couloir. The camp 4 can be set between 7,500 m and 7,700 m.
From the camp 4, climb the Couloir up to 8,250 m. The Couloir splits in two take the right side and traverse right (Diagonal) to the base of a steep wall (around 8,380 m). Climb the wall which is graded III+; continue to a rocky tower at around 8,450 m. Climb a short snowy ridge then traverse to the right to a Chimney at around 8,500 m. Rappel down the Chimney, traverse to the right on mixed terrain to join a snow slope leading to the main summit at 8,586 m.
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Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
Upon arrival at Kathmandu airport, we receive you there; we will be waiting there with your name and then drive to hotel.
Day 2: In Kathmandu.
Prepare for climbing and Expedition likes renting or buying climbing equipment and gear.
Day 3: In Kathmandu
Spend free day in Kathmandu.
Day 4: Katmandu to Tharpu (1,300 m)
We fly from Katmandu to Bhadrapur in the morning and drive on 4-wheel toward Tharpu. We quickly gain altitude, we pass Ilam, the Nepalese Tea capital and continue up to 2,500 m before going down and up again. We leave the road for a muddy dirt road to Tharpu late in the evening after 9 hours drive.
Day 5: In Tharpu
Stay at Tharpu (1,300 m) for managing porter.
Day 6: Tharpu (1,300 m) - Doban (1,020 m, 18km, 5 hours trekking)
First we descend to the river at 720 m which is the lowest point of the trekking. Then we traverse the valley toward the North to Doban which is a tiny village made of only 3 houses.
Day 7: Doban (1,020 m) - Yamphudin (2,070 m, 15km, 6 hours)
The climb above Doban is steep but nice and so is the traverse up to Khebang. The village is really nice, clean, spread out with nice garden and various cultures. The steep climb continues up to the Ekchana La pass at 2,080m. We make a short break before descending to Otam. Then we climb again to the second pass of the day. Follow another descent down to the river and the last climb up to Yamphudin. There are many prier flags at the entrance of Yamphudin which is the larger village in the valley. Here too, there is no lodge so we sleep in some people house that is much friendlier than in Doban.
Day 8: Yamphudin (2,080 m) - Tortong (2,990 m, 11km, 5/6 hours)
The trail is flattish at the beginning and soon becomes quite steep in the long climb to the Sanyia Bandyiang (3,330 m) pass. This climb is in the rain forest, the Rhododendrons and the Magnolias is amazing. Then we descend on a muddy trail down to the river that we follow for a while until we reach Tortong. There are only two small houses and one shelter in Tortong.
Day 9: Tortong (2,990 m) - Tseram (3,870 m, 9km, 3/4 hours)
The trail goes up gently along the river in another nice forest. Here again the Rhododendrons are blooming. This stage is shorter and easier than the previous ones but again the sky covers up and it is snowing when we arrive at Tseram.
Day 10: walk around Tseram (3,870 m)
Today we stay at Tseram to start our acclimatization. After the breakfast we walk toward the Sinelapche La (pass). We walk up to 4,580 m, enjoying the view over the Kabrus, Ratong and the valley going to the Sikkim (India).
Day 11: Tseram (3,870 m) - Ramche (4,450 m, 6km, 2/3 hours)
Once again the trail is really nice, there are less trees and the mountains around are getting higher and higher. This stage is short and it is still early when we arrive in Ramche. There is only one house there surrounded by mountains and the Yalung glacier. It is a peaceful and pleasant place.
Day 12/13: Walk and rest at Ramche (4,450 m)
Another great day for some acclimatization walks. The low altitude porters leave and some Sherpas carry our gear between Ramche and the base camp (BC). There are only 9 so they will have to make several round trips to bring everything to the BC. They will carry the kitchen and the part of the food first while we will carry our own stuff. We need 4 days of food so we can wait for their next load carry.
Day 14: Ramche (4,450 m) - Oktang (4,850 m, 7km, 4/5 hours)
The first part up to the Shorten is very nice but after 2 hours we leave the good trail and start the walk on the nasty moraine of the Yalung glacier. In fact there is no trail, just endless pile of stones. It is painful, long and exhausting.
Day 15: Oktang (4,850 m) - Base camp (5,475 m, 6km 5/6 hours)
The base camp area is quite large, with amazing view but is not flat and full of big rocks. It is not easy to find a good spot so we dig and move the stones around to make some good spots.
Day 16/ 17: Kanchenjunga base camp (5,475 m)
We spend these two days to improve our camp, prepare the gear and the food for the high camps and to rest.
Day 18: Kanchenjunga Base camp (5,475 m) - Camp 1 (6,200 m) - base camp
The plan for today is to make a round trip to the camp 1 to carry some gear. To reach the Camp1 cross the entire base camp and 10 minutes later we are on the glacier. Twenty minutes later we reach the bottom of the face at 5,600 m. We continue along a spur (to its right) up to 6,000 m. Then we traverse to the left to join the steep slopes and the seracs just below the camp 1. The last 3 pitches are the steepest with some sections at 60-70 degrees. The camp 1 is located on a snowy ridge at 6,200 m. The view is amazing: Jannu, Kabru and the entire Yalung glacier. It takes nearly three and half hours to climb camp 1 and takes less than 2 hours to go down base camp. Leave some tents, food and a bit of gear in Camp 1.
Day 19: Kanchenjunga Base camp (5,475 m)
t it snows in the afternoon. Today we rest at the base camp and prepare to leave tomorrow for our first acclimatization trip. The plan is to spend 4 nights at 6,400 m and 2 or 3 nights at 7,000 m. Then we will come back at the base camp, rest and wait for several days of good weather to do the summit push.
Day 20: Kanchenjunga Base Camp (5,475 m) – Kanchenjunga Camp 1 (6,200 m)
Day 21: Kanchenjunga Camp1 (6,200 m) – Kanchenjunga Camp 2 (6,400 m)
Day 22/24: Kanchenjunga Camp 2 (6,400 m)
The first night above 6,000 m has been rough, we are 1000 m above the base camp and we have to spend a few days there to acclimatize to this new elevation.
Day 25: Kanchenjunga Camp 2 (6,400 m) – Kanchenjunga Camp 3 (7,000 m)
Day 26: Kanchenjunga Camp 3 (7,000 m) – Kanchenjunga Camp 2 (6,400 m)
Day 27: Kanchenjunga Camp 2 (6,400m) – Kanchenjunga Base Camp (5,475 m)
Day 28/ 37: Waiting game at BC and round trips at 6,000 m
Day 38: Kanchenjunga Base Camp (5 475 m) – Kanchenjunga Camp 2 (6,400m)
Day 39/ 40: Waiting at Camp 2 (6,400m)
Day 41: Kanchenjunga Camp 2 (6,400m) – Kanchenjunga Camp 3 (7,100m)
Day 42: Waiting at Camp 3 (7 100m)
Day 43: Kanchenjunga Camp 3 (7,100 m) – Kanchenjunga Camp 4 (7,550 m) - Kangchenjunga summit push
Day 44: Summit to Kangchenjunga (8,586 m) – Kanchenjunga Camp 4 (7,550 m)
Day 45: Kanchenjunga Camp 4 (7,550 m) – Kanchenjunga Base Camp (5,475 m)
Day 46: Kanchenjunga Base Camp (5,475 m)
Day 46/49: Base Camp to Kathmandu (5,475 m)
Day 50: Free day in Kathmandu.
Day 51: Final airport transfer to get flies back to home.