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Kanchenjunga Base Camp

Background

Less than 1000 travellers visit this area each year. With views of Everest, Makalu, Lhotse and of course Kanchanjunga, the planets 4 highest peaks, we suspect one day this will all change.

Highlights

  • Trek to the base of the third highest peak on the planet, Kanchenjunga
  • Trek where fewer than 1000 people visit each year
  • Camp at the base of ancient glaciers and bath in high altitude lakes
  • Be witness to the entire Himalaya range from the east to the central Everest region

Overview

The great massif of Kanchanjunga, lying in the far east of Nepal on the border with Sikkim, is the second-highest in Nepal and the third-highest in the world. Only recently has the Nepalese government opened up this area for organized trekking agency group. The fact that it has seldom been visited by foreigners can only add to the quality of our experience. This outstanding trek offers the fit walker a chance to experience the stunning contrasts of Nepal from dusty, lowland plains of the Terai to high alpine ridges adjacent to many of the greatest peaks in the world.

We fly east from Kathmandu to Biratnagar or (direct flight to Suketaar occasionally) and for our first views of Kanchanjunga (8598m.) Jannu (7710m.) and Everest (8848m.). After a short flight to Suketaar Taplejung, we descend to the Ghunsa Khola through terraced fields, rice paddies and neatly clustered villages of the Newar, Chhetris and Rai, Limboo people who have populated the area. Here conditions are almost tropical and this section of the trek will provide delightful interaction with peoples who have seen few visitors.

As we move higher, dense forests of Rhododendron, Hemlock and Fir replace the cultivated lower slopes. Tantalizing mountain views become more and more dramatic with altitude; Everest, Makalu, Lhotse and of course Kanchenjunga are suddenly spread out before us: four of the highest mountains on the planet.

This is one epic journey to a wonderland of summits
Above the tree line, the views become increasingly awesome; we travel to the northern base camp of Kanchanjunga at Pangpema with the mighty north face of the mountain dominating all. A series of high pass crossings as we move to the east with their attendant, stunning views will bring us to Tseram. Located just below the foot of the Yalung glaciers, it is the perfect base for a day’s exploration to the base of the east face of Kanchanjunga. The views on this trek are incredible, Kanchanjunga, Khambachen (7365m.), Pyramid Peak (7123m.), Tent peak (7365m.), Yalung Kang (8505m.). Our return route heads past Taplejung to the airstrip at Suketaar where we take a shuttle flight to Biratnagar, before flying back to Kathmandu. This is one of the best treks available in Nepal for those seeking a challenge. This walk is surely going to be a classic.

Trek responsibly with trained porters and guides
Our staff is committed to making sure your journey is a safe and memorable one. Each guest is paired with one porter (we have a 1 Porter 1 Trekker policy) to ensure a comfortable trek, and all of our guides receive medical and mountaineering training to make sure your experience is pleasant. We provide safety equipment and bring necessary medical supplies on each trip.

Who is this trip for?

If you love camping.

If you are looking for a challenge and are ok with over 20 days in remote locations.

If you have been to altitude before and understand its difficulties.

If you are an experienced trekker who can put multiple days of 7 plus hours together.

Who is this trip not for?

If you don't like camping.

If you haven't done much trekking and your fitness is questionable.

If you really need a shower and a toilet every night.

Itinerary

Day 1: Kathmandu
Day 2: Cultural Tour / Pokhara
Day 3: Biratnagar
Day 4: Phurumba
Day 5: Chiruwa
Day 6: Sakathum
Day 7: Amjilasa
Day 8: Kyapra
Day 9: Ghunsa
Day 10: Rest day Ghunsa
Day 11: Khambachen
Day 12: Lhonak
Day 13: Pangpema
Day 14: Khambachen
Day 15: Ghunsa
Day 16: Selele Base Camp
Day 17: Tseram
Day 18: Ramze
Day 19: Torongden
Day 20: Yamphudin
Day 21: Mamankhe
Day 22: Sinchena Pass
Day 23: Lali Kharka
Day 24: Tapljung
Day 25: Fly to Kathmandu
Day 26: Kathmandu
Day 27: Home

For those who wish a single room in Kathmandu, this can be arranged for $300. And for those that would like a little more luxury in Kathmandu, we can arrange a hotel upgrade to the Nepali Ghar for $300 Twin Share and $550 for a single room.

Routes

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu
You will be met at the airport and transfer to the hotel, where our pre-trek briefing and other information will be given. All the arrangements are made today for the distribution of your kitbag, down jacket, sleeping bag etc. The remainder of the afternoon is free. Your guide will be happy to assist you in any way he can and will meet you every day while you are in Kathmandu to help you with any queries. The evening will be highlighted by a traditional Royal Nepali cuisine as a perfect end of the first day.

Day 02: Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu
Today you will have time to explore the Kathmandu-valley, which has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world. After the guided tour, the afternoon is free to pack, purchase last minutes items for your trek or simply relax.

Day 03: Biratnagar
We fly to Biratnagar. The 45-minute flight provides excellent views as we head eastwards across Nepal. In clear weather, the panorama stretches from Ganesh Himal (7406m.) in the west to our first view of Kanchenjunga in the east. We spend the afternoon here and overnight in a hotel ready for our flight to Taplejung in the early morning.

Day 04: Phurumba (1430m.) (Trekking 3 hours Approx.)
From Biratnagar we take a short connecting flight to Taplejung located close to the village of Suketaar. Here we will meet our trekking crews upon arrival and have lunch, with views of Kanchenjunga (8586m.) before descending to Mitlung and then to the Ghunsa Khola. From Thawa, we continue upstream, crossing a couple of landslides to reach the village of Chirwa (1530m.) in the early afternoon. Our campsite is in a large open field.

Day 05: Chiruwa (1240m.) (7 hours walk approx)
We descend down following the terraced fields into the Uttis (Nepalese elder) forest with cardamom plantation for about 45 minutes. We will cross the suspension bridge over a small river. From there again we climb about another 45 minutes and reach the top where there is a resting place. From there the trail is easy with terraced fields and Palas trees before climbing again. We cross another suspension bridge and reach a village called Yamkhia where we have lunch. After lunch, we will follow terraced fields along an undulating trail. From here we walk about 2 hrs to the village of Chiruwa. 

Day 06: Sakathum (1770m.), (Trekking 5 hours Approx.)
Starting with a gradual climb we reach Sisawa after an hour or so. After crossing a small suspension bridge we continue on the east bank, passing the village of Thapethok. The walking remains easy through rice paddies until we reach a sheltered glade of Chilauney trees for lunch at Tapnawa Khola. In the afternoon it is a steady climb heading into the forest until we meet the junction of the Tamur and Walungchung rivers. From here there are views of the high peaks, a taste of things to come. We camp by the river at Sakathum.

Day 07: Amjilasa (2650m.), trekking 6 hours Approx.
Today we climb up the sides of a steep V-shaped valley. The trail zig-zags up through terraced slopes and passes the Tamang settlement of Ghaiyabari. From here we continue to climb steeply to pass a large mushroom-shaped rock. We take lunch a few minutes further on, near a small stream. In the afternoon, we continue to climb. The rest of the afternoon's walk is gradual climbing and contouring past a beautiful 150-meter high waterfall before arriving at Amjilasa and our evening's camp.

Day 08: Kyapra (2850m.), trekking 4 hours Approx.
An easier day starting with a short climb through terraced fields before descending into a forest of bamboo, rhododendron, prickly and silky oak. The trail is now only a few hundred meters above the river and we leave behind the terracing that has dominated the trek so far. Lunch is taken early in the shade of overhanging cliffs. As it is only a short day we have ample time to wander up the trail admiring the scenery. As we are near Kyapra, some of the lesser peaks come into view at the head of the Ghunsa Khola. We camp in fields below the village in view of Phole peak.

Day 09: Ghunsa (3580m.), trekking 5 hours Approx.
For the time being, we have finished trekking across the grain of the land. From here on, up to the base of Kanchenjunga, our trails climb following the Ghunsa Khola through a forest of Birch and Rhododendron. The first settlement we reach is at Phole, populated in the main by Tibetan refugees. The village has an interesting monastery and is well known for its home-based carpet industry. We schedule lunch at the village to allow plenty of time for looking around. From here to our camp at Ghunsa is about one and a half hours.

Day 10: Rest & acclimatization
Ghunsa is the main village of the valley and we allow a full day to explore or relax as part of our acclimatization to the higher elevation. There is a chance to sample 'Tongba', the local brew of millet.

Day 11: Khambachen (4230m.), trekking 5 hours Approx
We leave Ghunsa on a level trail through cultivated fields before entering a forest of Birch, Junipers and Rhododendron. The valley floor is now wider as we enter glacial terrain. Steep cliffs line the way with occasional views of Khabur peak (6332m.). After crossing the river at Rambuk Kharka, we take lunch before crossing the tricky scree slopes that lead the way to Khambachen. Nearing camp we get our first good views of Jannu and the Shaphu peaks. We camp at Khambachen, a small temporary settlement, inhabited by yak herders mainly from Ghunsa.

Day 12: Lhonak (4780m.), trekking 6 hours approx.
The early morning affords good photographic opportunities. We are now above the tree line and the slopes of the bare mountains are home to blue sheep that can sometimes be seen on this days walk, though they are not easy to spot. The trail is less well defined and at times it can be tricky, particularly when crossing the many tributary streams. We lunch at Ramtang in full view of Kanchenjunga. The scenery is certainly the most spectacular so far. In the afternoon we reach the snout of the Kanchenjunga glacier and camp a short distance further on in the large yak grazing pastures of Lhonak. We will spend a further day acclimatizing here.

Day 13: Pangpema (5 hours walk approx.)
We are now at quite a high altitude. It is necessary to take our time and proceed slowly. However, this section of the trail is surrounded by dramatic scenery. To the right of the trail the huge creaking glacier, lined by stunning ice peaks; at the head of the valley more peaks forming the India/Nepal border. Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak is initially tucked away and out of sight and it is not until we arrive at Pangpema that we get views of the towering north face. We lunch here, set up camp. The whole afternoon is free for relaxation or exploring the area.

Day 14: Khambachen (4230m.) trekking 7 hours approx.
Today's plan is to rise early for an exploration of the area before taking a late lunch and then heading down back down to Lhonak. For those feeling energetic, they will have the chance to climb Cocks Comb (though to reach the summit involves a good three-hour climb and is only recommended to those feeling very fit). As the views of Kanchenjunga are as impressive from our campsite or from only a few hundred meters above our camp, everyone has the opportunity to enjoy some excellent photographic opportunities. In the afternoon our walk takes us back down the valley to Lhonak and on to Khambachen where our crew will have camp well established prior to arrival.

Day 15: Ghunsa (3560m.), trekking 4 hours approx.
We retrace our steps down the valley where we have the opportunity to get excellent photographs of Jannu. At Ghunsa we camp near to the school in preparation for the following morning's uphill walk.

Day 16: Selele base camp 4210m. Trekking 5 hours approx.
After checking our trekking permits at the police post, we will head through a series of boulder fields before gaining a steep ridge that leads us out of the Ghunsa valley. The climb takes us through thick Birch and Rhododendron forests, the best on the trek. The trail here is not well defined. At the Tagmalasi pass (4935m.), the trail evens out and gives great views both up and down the Ghunsa valley. Soon we climb above the tree line and continue on a series of ups and downs high above the valley. We take a packed lunch today as there is little water on this trail. We camp in a small rocky basin with excellent views towards Makalu and Everest.

Day 17: Tseram 3930m.), trekking 6 hours approx.
Today's walk is particularly exciting with superb mountain views initially of Everest and Makalu, as we climb and then Jannu and Kanchenjunga come into view. It takes about two hours to cross the Mirgin La pass at 4610 meters which takes us into the Simbua river valley. We are well above habitation and the tree-lines. The trail is clearly defined through this barren terrain. After lunch, we cross another pass above Tseram and gain great views looking northwards to Kabru Peak (7353m.) and Rathong (6678m.). The descent into the valley is steep, via a small lake to our camp at Tseram.

Day 18: Ramze, trekking 4 hours approx.
The track gradually climbs up the valley via Ramche, a yak herder’s settlement, before bearing left and ascending onto the lateral moraines to give excellent views of Kabru and Kanchenjunga. Ramze is a high altitude camp, but it is well worth the visit. Here we will see the glacier Okthang (4750m.) with incredible views of the southern aspect of Kanchenjunga.

Day 19: Torongden (3510m.), trekking 6.5 hours approx.
We descend following the Simbua Khola. The landscape begins to change again from high altitude vegetation back into forests of Rhododendron, Fir and Cedar. The valley becomes narrower as we descend. At Hellok we cross the river and take lunch beside the wooden bridge. In the afternoon we climb steadily through the forest of Oak, Rhododendron and bamboo to the Lase pass (3480m.), high above the valley. We camp in an open pasture ten minutes further on with views of Jannu to the north.

Day 20: Yamphudin (1860m.), trekking 7 hours approx.
The day starts with a steep descent through a forest where many water buffalo graze. Here we take lunch before climbing to a small saddle (2660m.) adorned with prayer flags. We descend from here. Past the first permanent habitation seen for a number of days to the village of Yampudin. We camp near the river in the early afternoon and have the opportunity for a swim in the cool water.

Day 21: Mamankhe (1740m.), trekking 5 hours approx.
From the village, we walk downstream following the Kabeli Khola passing occasional Rai and Limbu’s settlements before climbing out of the valley to begin a series of small ascents and descends through terraced hillsides. Our trail continues via the small village of Dekadin to the much larger settlements of Mamankhe where we camp out of earshot of the local school.

Day 22: Sinchena Pass (2190m.)
We start with a gradual but then steep descent to the Khesewa Khola which we cross on a suspension bridge. The route then winds uphill through terraced hillsides and various small settlements to reach the ridge at Ponpe Danda, where there are good views of Jannu Himal. We descend again to Anpan village and continue high above the river in a series of short ascents and descents through a beautiful forest before reaching the Nandeva Khola, from whence we descend to our campsite at Sinchena pass.

Day 23: Lali Kharka (2580m.), trekking 6 hours approx.
From our campsite, we descend to Khesewa, the peaks of the Kanchenjunga massif behind us in the distance. We take lunch close to the bridge, crossing the Phawa Khola. In the afternoon, we descend to Simbu (1707m.) and then continue uphill through a forest of Oak to the shepherd's huts below the pass which provides views of Makalu to the west.

Day 24: Taplejung/Sukhetaar (1850m.), trekking 6 hours approx.
We descend to Tambawa village (1990m.); from here we have a further descent on a ridge route to the airfield at Sukhetaar above Taplejung village. A final night with our crew is spent here in celebration of one of Nepal's best treks.

Day 25: Fly to Kathmandu via Biratnagar
In the morning we await the arrival of our shuttle aircraft to take us to Biratnagar. Our flight to Kathmandu is usually in the late afternoon taking approximately 45 minutes. On take-off, we should gain views of some of the places and rivers and mountains which have been our companions for the last three weeks. From Kathmandu airport, we transfer to our hotel.

Day 26 – 27: Kathmandu and then Home
You are free this day; you can do whatever you like, you deserve it. There are lots of things to do or see in Kathmandu valley; The Royal Palace, Durbar Squares, Swayambhunath ( the Monkey temple), Pashupatinath, Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath, Patan and the ancient city Bhaktapur etc. Or you may explore Thamel to shop for souvenirs.

Note: The above route and walking hours must be seen as a guide only. This itinerary may change at any time due to weather, trail conditions or other reason.

Inclusions

  • Arrival and Departure transfers on both domestic and international flights.
  • 4 nights accommodation at Harati Manor Hotel twin share
  • OPEN and CHOICE of Full board meals while on the expedition.
  • One Trekker: One Porter Policy
  • Accommodation at clean and comfortable tea houses or lodges.
  • Welcome dinner with the cultural program as listed in the itinerary.
  • Half-day guided city tour with world heritage entrance permit as listed in the itinerary.
  • All domestic flights.
  • All transfers.
  • Private transportation to and from the starting and ending points of the trek as applicable.
  • Free use of quality trekking gear - sleeping bag, fleece liner, down jacket, rain poncho.
  • Professional local trek leader with Wilderness First Aid.
  • Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC) / Gamow Bag (A life-saving device in case of Acute Mountain Sickness) along with a comprehensive First Aid Kit.
  • Assistant trekking guides and other support staff for Everest base camp trek.
  • Trekking map.
  • Personal Sherpa Porters to carry all personal gear. 
  • Insurance of all staff including Porters.
  • Warm clothing and required trekking gear for Porters like Gortex jacket /trousers, trekking shoes, woollen hat, woollen gloves, woollen shocks, sunglasses etc.
  • Complimentary souvenir Tshirt.
  • TIMS Trekking permit.

Exclusions

  • International airfares
  • Personal insurance
  • Tips and beverages

Extensions

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