Kangchenjuna (8598 m), RIGHT, third highest mountain in
the world. View from Kangchenjunga Base Camp at around 5000 m altitude. Nepal Peak to the left.
with Sherpa guide (Sirdar) Phurba Sherpa.
Temperature around -2 Celcius during the day in November, much lower (-20 to -25?) during the night.
(Click on picture for large format)
The Kanchenjunga trek is in Eastern Nepal.
Kanchenjunga Base Camp with a view at Nepal Peak. Knachenjunga in the clouds far right.
Yannu Mountain (7710 m) and Yannu Glacier.
Chang Himal Mountain Range (6750 m).
Sinion La pas (4800 m) with the Jannu Mountain (7710 m).
Phurba Sherpa at the Sinion La pas (4800 m) with a view at the Mount Everest in the far distance.
Ang Yokphu Sherpa with a view at the Khumbu Himal Mountain Range.
The three Tamang porter girls: Sanghita, Parvati en Puterly. Unbeatable.
The three Tamang porter girls, bed time.
Back at photos, choose: Go, Back
Kachenjunga has 2 base camps: Base Camp North at Pang Pema and Basecamp South at Ramjee. Both base camps are at an altitude of about 5000 meter and offer spectacular vies at the Kanchenjunga. For a trek to one of the base camps you could fly to Tapjejung, but the Stol air strip is often closed because of dense fog. In such cases, the trekking personel if forced to wait for days for your arrival with the equipment and this is a poor start of the trek. Some trekkers take the bus from Kathmandu to Basantapur which takes 2-3 days, not very inviting.
We did a reconnaissance of the trek in 1998 with Ang Phurba Sherpa, a very experienced "Sirdar" (guide and camp manager) as he has done the trek already 22 times for Iceland Trekking.
On 26 October we took a plane to Biratnagar with Necon Air which took 35 minutes. At the landing strip, our Sherpas were already waiting with the bus. They slept in the bus after a 24 hour ride from Kathmandu and were reasonable fit considering the long trip.
This period of the year is notorious for poor weather lasting normally 3-4 days which already passed. Before arriving in Basantapur there are excellent camping spots and we enjoyed a very relaxed start of the trek.
The trek takes us in 3 days through the hilly terrane of around 3000 meters with manificent millenium old, original forests. Near Dhoban we walk along the Tamur River at an altitude of only 800 meters! We pass scenic hamlets, forests and rice fields, and after a lot of going up and down, we arrive at the village of Ghunsa located at an altitude of 3400 meter. We are now already 2 days in an area where a large number of Tibetan refugees have settled. All houses have prayer flags and the local population of Ghunsa is very friendly. The father-in-law of Dorji Sherpa, a co-director of Iceland Trekking, lives here and participants of our treks will be invited to get a welcome ceremony at a warm camp fire. After Gunsa, we are climbing slowly to Kambachen and Kachenjunga Base Camp North at Pang Pema to avoid high altitude sickness.
En route the high altitude mountains are getting more and more scenic with unique views near Kambachen to the Jannu Mountain (7710 meter). Note that the nights past Lhonak (day 12) at an altitude of 4750 meter are very cold (-8 to -15 degrees Celcius)! After magnificent panoramic views near the hamlet of Pang Pema (day 13) we will head back to Ghunsa and traverse the Sinion La and Mirgin La passes, both at 4800 meter in a rugged terrane.
The descent to Tseram (3900 meter) is long and at Tseram several trekking groups camp. Until 1998 the number of groups was reasonable but is on the increase as many groups are heading for the Kachenjunga South Base Camp. Due to poor weather we decided to walk back to Taplejung in only 5 days.
The flight back from Taplejung must be confirmed carefully. We easily received OK seats, thanks to Tendy Sherpa who carefully organized the trek.
The trek takes 24 days without Basecamp South and 26-28 with.
Inviting trekking peaks are past Pang Pema, like the 6850 meter high Drohma Peak which could be combined with the trek at request.
The level of the trek is 3-4.
Photos from a 4 week trek in the Kangchenjunga region of Nepal in October and November 1999. To see each one, click on the title in the first column below, then return to the index using your browser's "Back" button.
|TITLE (to click on)||Date|
|Kangchenjunga (8598 m, below 'g' of Kangchenjunga) and Yannu Mountains (7710 m, below 'a' of Kangchenjunga), view from Basantapur to the NNE. Our trek followed the main valley above '3rd' till the back (North side) of the Yannu and Kangchenjunga Mountains.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Rice (low) and millet (higher) fields near Dhoban (altitude 640 m).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Camp (right) in rice fields surrounded by banana trees in Mitlung (altitude 1140 m).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Steep cliffs along main path from Taplejung to Ghunsa, between Sakathum and Amjilassa (altitude 2430 m). This portion is a bit treacherous.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Tibetan village of Phale (altitude 3140 m), just before Ghunsa.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Boudhist prayer site in Phale.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Main valley before Ghunsa (altitude 3300 m).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Main valley just before Ghunsa, with carrying zopkiok (male cross-breed yak and cow).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|The village of Ghunsa (altitude 3795 m) with bridge.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|The village of Ghunsa (altitude 3795 m) with house of Dorje Sherpa inlaws.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|High (500 m) waterval between Ghunsa and Kambachen.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Valley between Ghunsa and Kambachen at 3600 m altitude.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Forest between Ghunsa and Kambachen at 3800 m altiude.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Waterval between Ghunsa and Kambachen at 3600 m altitude. Cliff is around 100 m high.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Kambachen, 4000 m altitude. Main Kangchenjunga glacier valley and Drohma Peak far back-ground. Temperature around -8 Degrees Celcius at night in November, +12 Degrees Celcius during the day.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Glacial breach in end moraine of Kangchenjunga and Ramtang Glaciers between Kambachen and Lhonak at 4300 m altitude. This caused a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) a few thousand years ago.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|View at Yannu glacier from mountain 400 m up from Kambachen.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Yannu glacier at 4200 m altitude, with subterrean glacier river cave.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Yannu glacier at 4200 m altitude, Ang Dorje Sherpa in subterranean glacier river cave.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Yannu glacier at 4200 m altitude, Phurba Sherpa and Jean in subterranean glacier river cave.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Panorama of the hamlet of Lhonak (altitude 4785 m), with teashops. Our tents to the right. Temperature around -18 Degrees Celcius at night in November, +5 Degrees Celcius during the day, -14 Debrees Celcius at breakfast (7 AM). Far back-ground right is valley towards the 5800 m high pass to Tibet, used in the summer by yak caravans for trading.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Kangchenjuna (8598 m), third highest mountain in the world. View from Kangchenjunga Base Camp at around 5000 m altitude. Jean in front of it, completely bundled up, with shiny snowglasses. Temperature around -2 Celcius during the day in November, much lower (-20 to -25?) during the night.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Same, but with chief Sherpa guide (Sirdar) Phurba Sherpa (from near Paphlu in the Everest Region).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Phurba Sherpa at 3800 m altitude, with Ghunsa - Kambachen valley in the background.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Sinion La Pass (4440 m altitude), between Ghunsa and Tseram. With upright prayer stones.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Phurba at Sinion La Pass (4440 m altitude), with Boudhist prayer flags and Yannu Mountain (7710 m) in the background.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Same, with Sponsortrek Coat.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Same, with Everest and Lhotze (middle, faint) in the far distance.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Ang Yok Pu, Ang Dorje and Sunam Sherpa (our mountain guides) on the Sinelapche pass (4640 m altitude), with Yalung Ka (ridge). Near Kangchenjunga Base Camp South.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Hamlet of Tseram (3980 m altitude)||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Tree in the valley between Tseram and Torontian (3500 m altitude).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Jungle camp, near Torontian (3000 m altitude).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|House near Yamphuding (1990 m altitude).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Camp and playing cards in rice field camp near Kunjari (1928 m altitude).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Old, swinging bridge with Phurba Sherpa. Bit unsafe, only used during the monsoon.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|House and rice fields near Tambema (2000 m altitude).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Cook Joklal Tamang with a view at the valley of the Phawa Khola (relief around 1000 m).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Old lady in Taplejung, with big gold ear rings (1824 m altitude).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Shopping street in Taplejung, a district capital in North-Eastern Nepal, with school girls.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Young girl near Basantapur, with fake pearl necklace.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Suketar Airport or landing strip (2420 m altitude), Twin Otter plane taking off from the 600 m long grassy (and bumby) run way. Porters in the foreground.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Our tourist tents near Suketar Airport (2420 m altitude).||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Our kitchen and dining tent near Suketar Airport (2420 m altitude). Flags on the hill for the new year festival.||Oct/Nov 1999|
|Kangchenjunga trekking group of Oct/Nov 1999 at Suketar Airport (2420 m altitude). 10 out of 20 porters present (some with blue hats)||Oct/Nov 1999|
|6 Dutch tourist of the Kangchenjunga trek of 1999 or "Chete Yanis" (Nepalese for "white monkeys"). Standing left to right: Ineke, Erika, Edwin, Jean. Sitting left to right: Ursula, Hannie.||Oct/Nov 1999|