Kanchenjunga Base Camp - Nepal
Mount Kanchenjunga; one of the world’s most spectacular mountains and the third highest mountain on the planet, reaching 8586 metres, can boast a wide range of wonderful scenery from lush, tropical jungle through to rhododendron, chestnut and oak forests and high up into the glacial wilderness.
This is a long and challenging trek going deep into the remote mountain ranges on Nepal’s border with Sikkim and Tibet. Experience a wide range of Nepalese culture and life-style from Rai and Limbus to Tibetan Buddhist villages, and the wonderful opportunity of seeing the impressive Kanchenjunga Glacier; the most famous attraction of Kanchenjunga. The trek is fully supported, staying in lodges part of the way and also camping.
Normally we have teams of about five or six people, along with our local Sherpa guides and a team of porters. The guides are all employed by us long term, and the porters will be local people from the region.
The Kanchenjunga circuit trek is strenuous and technical, the terrain can be rough and involves steep ascents with the possibility of some assisted scrambling, so excellent physical condition and some mountain experience is advisable. There are no technical sections at all, it is definitely a high level trek, but familiarity with camping and multi-day trips in the mountains is advisable.
We run our treks from a permanently staffed office in Kathmandu and our dedicated team provide an excellent service. As well as Pasang Tendi (the Director), our other guides include Chiring Sherpa, Lopsang Sherpa and Wongdi Sherpa.
All of the guides are fully employed and have been trained to high standards, following the principles of UIMLA (Union of International Mountain Leaders) and UIAGM (Union of International Mountain Guides). They know how to deal with medical emergencies and speak good English. They are very attentive and after so many years have a good understanding of western needs.
We give the full recommended wage and are a Responsible Partner for the International Mountain Explorers Connection. We provide clothing, food and tents for all of our staff and have proven policies for payment and tipping.
Dates and Itinerary
You can trek the Kanchenjunga Circuit from April to June, and October to December.
The 23 day trek involves a 9 day ascent of 2800 metres over 220 kilometres, from a starting altitude of about 2300 metres to the north side base camp of Kanch, followed by 4 days circling round to the south side, and then 6 days descent back to the airstrip.
This is a long and challenging walk around Mount Kanchenjunga, and the exposure to altitude makes the walking harder and the likelihood of altitude sickness higher, so it is necessary to allow rest days and walk slowly.
The trek will have a wide range of temperatures depending on the altitude and the time of day. In the mountains between 1,000m and 3,500m, the nights will be cool, normally around 5ºc, and during the day temperatures sometimes rise to 25ºc. At higher altitudes temperatures range from about 15ºc to -20ºc.
It is important to mention that occasionally internal flights are delayed because of bad weather, so it is not a good idea to book an international flight on the same day as the internal flight.
|2nd November - 27th November||26th April - 21st May|
|1st November - 26th November|
|1,2, 3||Depart home, arrive Kathmandu, rest day in town.|
|4||921m||7 hours||Fly to Biratnagar and drive to Basantapur. Or fly on to Suketar (weather depending).|
|5 - 12||1270m - 5143m||8 days||Trek to north side of Kanchenjunga, staying in teahouses along the way. Full itinerary provided prior to trek. Highlights include passing the north face of Jannu, and impressive views of Himalayan peaks such as Wedge Peak, Mera Peak, Nepal Peak and the Twins (all around 7000 metres). Eventually reach the settlement of Pangpema and views of Tent Peak, Cross Peak and of course the mighty Kanchenjunga.|
|13||5143m||5 hours||An early start for the trek the Kanchenjunga north side base camp at Pangpema (5143m), and returning to Lhonak for an overnight stay.|
|14 - 17||3595m - 4500m||4 days||The route circles the mountain to the south side, crossing the famous Mirgin La (pass) and affording amazing views of the peaks along the India-Nepal border.|
|18||4730m||4 - 5 hours||Leave early in the morning and follow the valley to Oktang for a view of the south face of the magnificent Kanchenjunga and the climbing route to the summit, first climbed in 1953. From Oktang, the views of the surrounding Himalayas are incredible; the whole cirque is above 7500m. After spending some time in Oktang, trek back to Ramche to rest for the evening and stay overnight.|
|19 - 24||3310m - 2300m||6 days||From Ramche a beautiful trek back towards Suketar, back through forested trails and settlements which are home to a mix of Sherpas, Gurungs, Rais and Limbus. The route may end up at Taplejung followed by a drive to Birtamod in order to reach the airstrip at Biratnagar.|
|25||Internal flights back to Kathmandu via Biratnagar.|
Kanchenjunga Base Camp cost: £1,945.00
- Airport transfers
- Internal flight
- Accommodation in Kathmandu for 3 nights
- Accommodation in lodges/tea houses (twin rooms with beds and mattresses)
- All meals on trek, and hot drinks
- National Park Fees and special permit for Kanchenjunga
- Sherpa guides (English speaking, trained in first aid)
- Staff food, insurance and equipment
- International flight to Kathmandu
- Meals and drinks in Kathmandu
- Personal costs on trek, e.g cold drinks, laundry, hot showers, bottled water (~£150)
- Travel Insurance
- Visa ($30 for two weeks)
- Tips (~£60)
- Sightseeing Tours
Cost of Add-Ons and Some Optional Extras
Spa Hotel: £80.00
Located just outside of Kathmandu is the lovely Spa Resort, Park Village. We can arrange transfers and accommodation at the resort for you. People can then select and 'pay as you go' for the various pamperings and treatments. They also offer classes in yoga and have lovely trail walks in the surrounding hills. This option is all about rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
Everest Flight!: £160.00
Jet flight over the summit of Everest, with an amazing aerial journey over the Himalayas.
Not all about money
Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running cheap trips that promote the practise of skimming budgets would result in the porters getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.
Additionally we plan treks with sufficient rest days and with achievable daily altitude increases which gives good time to acclimatise. Reducing the number of days may make the price cheaper but the chances of successfully completing the trek also greatly reduce.
We include professional staff and a porter for each member. We do not operate kitties and we use an excellent hotel in Kathmandu with which we have built up a strong relationship over the years.
We have our own licensed company in Kathmandu, Adventure Alternative Nepal and full time staff to operate all our treks, climbs and tours in Nepal.
You must have an insurance policy which covers trekking at high altitude and helicopter rescue in the event of an evacuation.
The total distance covered throughout a Kanchenjunga Circuit trek is approximately 220km.
Kathmandu is at an approximate altitude of 1400m and the flight to Suketar will take you up to a height of 2300m. With Pangpema standing at 5143m, the Kanchenjunga trek gains a total of 2843 metres from Suketar and 3743 metres from Kathmandu.
Accommodation will be in tea houses run by Sherpa and Gurung families. Each lodge has a central communal area with stove, while the bedrooms are unheated with two beds and mattresses and pillows. You will need to bring a sleeping bag (3 season is normally enough), and the lodge will lend you a blanket if you ask.
The lodges generally have showers which are powered by gas and they use ‘drop’ toilets (some lodges use flush systems now).
Sometimes we use tents which are two person mountain tents, and we will provide foam mattresses. The tents are pitched close by the lodge and eating is indoors.
The trek is not a forced march and the pace is always slow, the days generally being shorter than a day hike at home.
We do recommend that you embark on a good fitness programme at least 6 weeks prior to your trip though, and one that builds up general stamina and specific leg muscle groups. There is nothing like hiking with a rucksack to train, so the best advice is to get out into the hills as often as you can. You are likely to carry about 5 kilos in your day sack so this is a good weight to work with.
If you are going to be using the gym then concentrate on step machines which work on the thigh and calf muscles, and try to build your heart rate up to 50% above resting rate. Any cardiovascular activity is good, but remember that swimming will not train the correct muscle groups so it must be added to other exercises to be effective. Exercise groups like bodypump, Pilates and aerobic are all excellent preparation for a trek like this, especially those which work on core strength, balance and stability.
Adventure Alternative Support
The porters will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs and cater for all the group needs, including assisting you if you need to go back down the valley. Unless specifically tenting, all accommodation is in lodges or teahouses which are very well equipped, warm and sociable.
Pasang Tendi Sherpa is our operations manager in Kathmandu and Director of Adventure Alternative Nepal. He organises all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. You will have his telephone number, or the staff at the hotel desk can call him for you. He is the organiser, translator, problem solver, advisor and the main link between you and the UK office. He will talk to the Sherpa guides regularly on the mountain and can make arrangements while you are on trek.
You also have continued support from the main office in Northern Ireland. Should a problem arise of significant proportion then you only need to call us. In the Khumbu region there is still an opportunity to communicate since most lodges now have satellite phones.
- 80-100 Litre duffle or rucksack
- 35 Ltr Day Pack
- Stuff sacks, waterproof, various sizes
- Synthetic or Down insulated jacket
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Trekking clothes (several sets) incl fleece jacket.
- Base layer
- Socks - incl thin and thick
- Sunhat and woollen hat
- Buff or balaclava
- Good quality trekking boots
- Sandals/Flip flops
- 3/4 season sleeping bag
- Walking Poles
- Head torch & spare batteries
- Drink bottles or platypus
- Passport & copies, visa, insurance details, money, credit cards, plane tickets
- Wash Kit and towel
- Medical kit
Additional Kit Info
Personal Medical Kit
Water Purification Tablets
Personal Medication as required:
eg. Anti-Malarials, Asthma Inhalers, Insulin, Epi-Pen etc
Possible Additional Personal First Aid Items
Prochlorperazine tablets (for sickness/nausea)
Ciprofloxacin tablets (general antibiotic; prescription required)
Acetazolamide tablets (altitude prophylactic; prescription required)
Note: you must check with your GP for your personal suitability to all medicines and their possible side effects and interactions. Please inform us of the details of all regular medication that you intend to use though the course of your trip and any relevant allergies and medical history related to them. You also need to check the requirements and regulations of the airline and all countries visited in relation to medications. For example; laws governing transport of some pain control medication and the need keep insulin at a suitable temperature, ie not in the cargo hold.
Kathmandu has an area called Thamel which is full of hundreds of equipment shops, each one an emporium of new, used, quality and fake equipment all very reasonably priced for rental and buying. You can buy almost anything needed for any trek.
Make sure you have comfortable trekking clothes for the majority of days, for both hot and cool weather. Fleeces for the evening, and insulated jackets for high up. Don't forget the extremities, with protection against both sun and cold. Boots should be very good quality, with ankle support and excellent soles. Sleeping bags can be 3 season but 4 season if you get cold easily. Try not to bring too much cotton as it chafes and takes a while to dry. Poles will be very useful, and don't forget there are few charging facilities enroute for cameras and so on.
On sale from Adventure Alternative
- Trained and friendly guides who have experience and qualifications and well treated by the company.
- We do not contract out our trips.
- Experienced staff in the UK who will give attention to detail, experienced advice and no sales talk!
- Our company supports sustainable development in Nepal thorugh our charity Moving Mountains.
- Fully bonded against insolvency.
- We have been established since 1991 and running successful expeditions and treks for a long time.