After Mount Everest (8,848m) and just 25m short of the second-highest K2, Kanchenjunga is the third-highest peak in the world (8,611m). Until The Great Trigonometrical Survey in India declared Everest to be the highest mountain in 1852, Kangchenjunga was thought to be the highest mountain. This belief was dispelled in 1852. The second-and third-highest mountains measured were K2 and Kangchenjunga.
Kangchenjunga, the easternmost of the fourteen 8,000-meter peaks and the only one in India, is situated on the boundary between Nepal's yet-to-be-named Province No. 1 and the Indian state of Sikkim. The Tibetan name for this enormous mountain, Kangchenjunga, which translates to "the five riches of high snow," refers to its five peaks. Four of them exceed 8,000 meters (Kangchenjunga Main 8,586m, Kangchenjunga West 8,505m, Kangchenjunga Central 8,482m, Kangchenjunga South 8,494m, and Kangbachen 7,903m). Joe Brown and George Band, two British mountaineers, made the first successful ascent of Kangchenjunga in 1955. The locals had the belief that the mountain summit is home to spirits or mountain gods who must not be disturbed. Both Brown and Band purposefully halted short of the peak out of respect, and ever since, every climber has done the same.
The mountain has three faces: the North and South faces are in Nepal, and the East face is in Sikkim. The region is secured by wildlife protection in both India and Nepal. The blue sheep, red panda, and snow leopard are among the animals that call it home.
Kangchenjunga is still undiscovered by outdoor enthusiasts, despite the fact that the popularity of both Everest Base Camp/Kala Patthar and K2 Base Camp/Gondogoro La has increased recently. It lacks Everest's distinction as the tallest mountain in the world and K2's reputation as a legendary peak. Similar to the likelihood of seeing a yeti, snow leopard sightings are quite likely.
In Nepal, you can hike to the Kanchenjunga Base Camp (Pang Pema/ North Base Camp), Kanchenjunga Base Camp (Yalung or Oktang/South Base Camp), or complete a full circle that encompasses both camps but necessitates crossing a number of low-tech high passes (Sele La and Mirgin La).
Once all the requirements were completed, Youcan into Kathmandu in the first few days of March, where you can spend the entire day obtaining my Kangchenjunga hiking permit. In contrast to other trekking regions, a special permit from Nepal's Department of Immigration is required for Kangchenjunga due to its location in a wildlife protection area and its proximity to the Indian and Chinese borders. The following morning, after a 40-minute flight, you will arrive in Bhadrapur, Jhapa in eastern Nepal, one of the country's lowest points at 175 meters. We traveled via switchbacks for a miserable eight hours from Bhadrapur to Taplejung, reaching 50 kph just four or five times. The road ends at Tapethok, and to access the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek, you must continue walking into the Kangchenjunga region (the South Trek starts in Mamangkhe).
Our hiking begins for the Kanchenjunga Base camp trek, We took the trek for about 7.5 kilometres in three hours to get to Sekathum, a little community where we stayed at a modest lodge managed by a Sherpa couple.
You will taste daal bhaat, a lentil, rice, and vegetable meal from Nepal, here (mostly saag and potatoes). For the following several days of the walk, this would serve as our meal.
The next morning, your trail starts off early and follows the Ghunsa River, or Ghunsa Khola in Nepali, which is formed by glacier melt from the Kangchenjunga Glacier. To reach Lhonak, where the glacier starts, you would need to follow this river for the following four days.
Near Sekathum, you will go past fields of cardamom, potatoes, and corn. You took a break for tea at a small store on the trail somewhere in the middle. We soon returned to the route after a brief delay. Standard treks stop in Amjilosa for the night.
You can get to Ghunsa, which is located at 3,400m, from Thangyam in 14 kilometres and 7.5 hours. While travelling through deep rhododendron and larch forests, views occasionally opened up but were mostly obscured by the trees.
The majority of the settlement, Ghunsa, in the North Kangchenjunga region are Sherpa-owned homes, numbering about 35 in total. It is to Kanchenjunga Base Camp what Namche Bazar is to Everest Base Camp, with the exception that Ghunsa lacks a bazaar, wifi, or phone coverage. However, there is a basic school, telephone service, and power in the village.
The Ghunsa community manages every campground along the North Kanchenjunga route. You had to register with the Kanchenjunga National Park security and wildlife conservation staff at this location.
The 11-kilometer hike and ascent from 3,400m to 4,100m will take four hours and thirty minutes to complete. To get to Khambachen, we traversed the snowy trail and crossed a few bridges. You can run into other trekking groups or mountain climbers in Khambachen who are also going to the Kanchenjunga Base Camp (North).
You will take a nap in Khambachen and plan your walk to Lhonak for the following day. At Khambachen, the morning was particularly spectacular. The sky was a color of intense blue that is unheard of in cities, but the valley remained black despite the mountains being bathed in sunlight.
Here, we will be offered our first and final views of Kumbakharna (also called Jannu Peak). Kumbakharna, the 32nd tallest peak in the world at 7,710 meters, is one of the hardest to climb and is named after Ravana's younger brother in Hindu mythology.
The Kangchenjunga and Lhonak glaciers merge in Lhonak, albeit both may have started to retreat as a result of climate change. Just before Lhonak, which was frozen in March, the glaciers from the two created a pond or small lake.
We had to move slowly over the ice sheet, dodging any crevasses to prevent falling into the lake below, and we arrived in Lhonak at precisely 12 o'clock. 11 kilometers and a roughly 4,800-meter ascent took us four hours to complete.
Our efforts to get to Pang Pema were prolonged due to the trail being degraded by severe landslides from the previous season (North Base Camp of Kangchenjunga).
You can choose to push for the North part of the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek the same day a few minutes later while enjoying hot tea beneath the starry sky at Lhonak.
Through the non-technical passes Sele La and Mirgin La that link Ghunsa in the North to Tseram in the South, it is feasible to get from North Kanchenjunga to South Kanchenjunga (or vice versa).
Crossing the Kanchenjunga base camp path is straightforward in a regular season. Climbers and trekkers departing from Ghunsa hike up to Sele La, where they spend the night in a lodge before descending to Tseram, two Kanchenjunga Base Camps distant from South base camp, after crossing Mirgin La.
From the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek, it took us two days to travel back to Lhonak and then to Ghunsa. We made a lunch stop at Khambachen on the route to Ghunsa and so on you will return the same way towards Kathmandu.
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