Kangchenjunga, also spelled Kanchenjunga, is the third highest mountain stood at a height of 8,586 m. The expedition of Mount Kanchenjunga is considered to be one of the toughest one. It lies between Nepal and Sikkim, India. In 1955, Joe Brown and George Band made the first ascent on 25 May, followed by Norman Hardie and Tony Streather on 26 May. The full team also included John Clegg (team doctor), Charles Evans (team leader), John Angelo Jackson, Neil Mather, and Tom Mackinnon.
The ascent proved that Aleister Crowley’s 1905 route (also investigated by the 1954 reconnaissance) was viable. The route starts on the Yalung Glacier to the southwest of the peak and climbs the Yalung Face, which is 3,000 meters (10,000 ft) high. The main feature of this face is the “Great Shelf”, a large sloping plateau at around 7,500 meters (24,600 ft), covered by a hanging glacier. The route is almost entirely on snow, glacier, and icefall; the summit ridge itself can involve a small amount of travel on the rock. The first ascent expedition made six camps above their base camp, two below the Shelf, two on it, and two above it. They started on 18 April, and everyone was back to base camp by 28 May.
The Kangchenjunga Himal section of the Himalayas lies both in Nepal and India and encompasses 16 peaks over 7,000 m (23,000 ft). In the north, it is limited by the Lhonak Chu, Goma Chu, and Jongsang La, and in the east by the Teesta River. The western limit runs from the Jongsang La down the Gingsang and Kangchenjunga glaciers and the rivers of Ghunsa and Tamur. Kanchenjunga rises about 20 km (12 mi) south of the general alignment of the Great Himalayan range about 125 km (78 mi) east-south-east of Mount Everest as the crow flies. South of the southern face of Kanchenjunga runs the 3,000–3,500 m (9,800–11,500 ft) high Singalila Ridge that separates Sikkim from Nepal and northern West Bengal.
Kangchenjunga and its satellite peaks form a huge mountain massif. The main ridge of the massif runs from north-north-east to south-south-west and forms a watershed to several rivers. Together with ridges running roughly from east to west, they form a giant cross. These ridges contain a host of peaks between 6,000 and 8,586 m (19,685 and 28,169 ft). The northern section includes Yalung Kang, Kangchenjunga Central and South, Kangbachen, Kirat Chuli, and Gimmigela Chuli, and runs up to the Jongsang La. The eastern ridge in Sikkim includes Siniolchu. The southern section runs along the Nepal-Sikkim border and includes Kabru I to III. This ridge extends southwards to the Singalila Ridge. The western ridge culminates in the Kumbhakarna, also known as Jannu.
Four main glaciers radiate from the peak, pointing roughly to the north-east, south-east, north-west and south-west. The Zemu glacier in the north-east and the Talung glacier in the south-east drain to the Teesta River; the Yalung glacier in the south-west and the Kangchen glacier in the north-west drain to the Arun and Koshi rivers. The glaciers spread over the area above approximately 5,000 m (16,000 ft), and the glacierized area covers about 314 km2 (121 sq mi) in total. There are 120 glaciers in the Kanchenjunga Himal, of which 17 are debris-covered. Between 1958 and 1992, more than half of 57 examined glaciers had retreated, possibly due to rising air temperature.
Kangchenjunga Main is the highest elevation of the Brahmaputra River basin, which forms part of the southeast Asian monsoon regime and is among the globally largest river basins. Kangchenjunga is one of six peaks above 8,000 m (26,000 ft) located in the basin of the Koshi river, which is among the largest tributaries of the Ganges. The Kangchenjunga massif forms also part of the Ganges Basin.
Although it is the third highest peak in the world, Kangchenjunga is only ranked 29th by topographic prominence, a measure of a mountain’s independent stature. The key col for Kangchenjunga lies at a height of 4,664 meters (15,302 ft), along the watershed boundary between Arun and Brahmaputra rivers in Tibet. It is, however, the 4th most prominent peak in the Himalaya, after Everest, and the western and eastern anchors of the Himalaya, Nanga Parbat, and Namcha Barwa, respectively.
There are four climbing routes to reach the summit of Kangchenjunga, three of which are in Nepal from the southwest, northwest, and northeast, and one from northeastern Sikkim in India. To date, the northeastern route from Sikkim has been successfully used only three times. The Indian government has banned expeditions to Kanchenjunga, and therefore this route has been closed since 2000.
According to myths, the area around Kangchenjunga is said to be home to a mountain deity, called Dzö-nga or “Kangchenjunga Demon”, a type of yeti or rakshasa. A British geological expedition in 1925 spotted a bipedal creature which they asked the locals about, who referred to it as the “Kangchenjunga Demon”.
For generations, there have been legends recounted by the inhabitants of the areas surrounding Mount Kanchenjunga, both in Sikkim and in Nepal, that there is a valley of immortality hidden on its slopes. These stories are well known to both the original inhabitants of the area, the Lepcha people, and those of the Tibetan Buddhist cultural tradition. In Tibetan, this valley is known as Beyul Demoshong. In 1962 a Tibetan Lama by the name of Tulshuk Lingpa led over 300 followers into the high snow slopes of Kanchenjunga to ‘open the way’ to Beyul Demoshong. The story of this expedition is recounted in the 2011 book A Step Away from Paradise.
Due to its remote location in Nepal and the difficulty involved in accessing it from India, the Kangchenjunga region is not much explored by trekkers. It has, therefore, retained much of its pristine beauty. In Sikkim too, trekking into the Kangchenjunga region has just recently been permitted. The Goecha La trek is gaining popularity amongst tourists. It goes to the Goecha La Pass, located right in front of the huge southeast face of Kangchenjunga. Another trek to Green Lake Basin has recently been opened for trekking. This trek goes to the northeast side of Kangchenjunga along the famous Zemu Glacier. The film Singalila in the Himalaya is a journey around Kangchenjunga.
|Day 01||Arrive Kathmandu|
|Day 04||Fly Suketar; trek Lali Kharka 2220m|
|Day 05||Trek Kande Banjyang (2240m)|
|Day 06||Trek Phomphe (1890m)|
|Day 07||Trek Yamphudin (1690m)|
|Day 08||Trek Amji Khola (2340)|
|Day 09||Trek Torontan (2990m)|
|Day 10||Trek Tseram (3870m)|
|Day 11||Trek Ramche (4620m)|
|Day 13||Kanchunjunga Glacier|
|Day 14||Kanchanjunga Base Camp|
|Day 15/49||Climbing period|
|Day 50||Trek Ramche|
|Day 51||Trek Amji Khola|
|Day 52||Trek Yamphudin|
|Day 53||Trek Khewang|
|Day 54||Trek Lali Kharka|
|Day 55||Trek Suketar|
|Day 56||Fly Kathmandu|
|Day 58||Depart Kathmandu|