Where is Kanchenjunga Mountain?
The world’s third-tallest snow-capped wonder at an elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 feet) certainly has a mysterious vibe. As this massive mountain shares a border with both India and Nepal, this stunning mountain’s location and climbing route has always puzzled climbing enthusiasts. So, where is Kanchenjunga Mountain exactly located?
Sharing borders with the Indo-Nepal Himalayas region, three of its peaks are between the borders of the southern Indian of North Sikkim and the Taplejung district of north-eastern Nepal. The remaining two peaks are entirely in Nepal, forming five long pinnacles known as the ‘Five Treasures of Great Snow.’ However, besides these five enormous snowy peaks, there are 12 more peaks in the Kanchenjunga region at 23,00 feet altitudes.
Dubbed the ‘Five Treasures of Snow’ or ‘Great Five Peaked Fortress in Tibetian, ’ this beautiful natural infrastructure measures just below Mt Everest and Mt K2. The massive snowy peak also holds great religious significance. The climbing route from the Indian side, Sikkim, had been banned for decades after a revolt from local Buddhists in 2000.
This majestic and mystic Himalayas region nurtures many flora and fauna. Several varieties of rhododendrons and orchids, including the endangered upper-Himalayan wildlife like Red panda, Himalayan Musk deer, Snow Leopard, Chestnut Breasted Partridge, and Pheasant including several upper-Himalayan species can be found here.
Table of Contents
- 1 Highlights of the Kanchenjunga Region
- 2 History of Kanchejunga
- 3 Where is Kanchenjunga Mountain?– Interesting Facts About Kanchenjunga Mountain
- 4 Best Time for Trek in Kanchenjunga Region
- 5 Level of Difficulty in Kanchenjunga Trekking
- 6 Level of Difficulty in Different Seasons
- 7 Outline of Kanchenjunga Trekking
- 8 Trekking Eligibility in the Kanchenjunga Region
Highlights of the Kanchenjunga Region
The beautiful untampered Himalayas region has a lot to offer travelers. From the diverse vegetation, landscape, and wildlife, the Kanchenjunga region has everything to charm anyone with its alluring beauty. Still, here are some of its most amazing highlights and experience that you might want to mark on your bucket list in this high-altitude expedition:
- Off-beaten less-crowded routes
- Breathtaking up-close views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Jannu, Mea, and many other peaks.
- Passing through diverse landscapes boasting their climate and wide range of flora & fauna
- Rhododendron forest and the high alpine passes
- Unforgettable walk over the glaciers Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
- Pathuivara temple at the hills of Taplejung
- Diverse ethnic civilization rich with Lepchas, Sherpa, Rai, Limbu, and Tamang culture Kanchenjunga, Yalung, Talunga, and Zemo glaciers Itinerary
History of Kanchejunga
Joe Brown and George Band first climbed this massive stunning mountain with religious significance on 25th May 1995. The British expeditors stopped their ascent briefly before conquering the peak as a promise made to the local monarch. The tradition has been passed down the generation ever since, not to bring out the wrath of the deity resting there. However, the British expeditors were not the first to attempt the climb of Mt. Kanchenjunga. In 1905, the team led by Aleister Crowley was the first to attempt to climb this massive natural wonder.
But, after ascending up to 6,500 meters on the mountain’s southwest side, the team decided to turn back due to difficulties and risks in the path up ahead. Three of the local porters and Swiss mountaineer Alexis Pache traveling with the team lost their lives in an avalanche, forcing Crowley to return. After the successful conquest, several attempts have been made to conquer these massif peaks among the mountaineering peers. However, the treacherous path of this massive mountain has claimed more than 58 lives. Roughly about a dozen even before the first ascent in 1955.
Where is Kanchenjunga Mountain?– Interesting Facts About Kanchenjunga Mountain
- In the time frame earlier than 1852, Mt. Kanchenjunga was considered the tallest mountain in the Himalayas. After the observation and reading of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India concluded Mt Everest was the tallest mountain in the Himalayas.
- After the Great Trigonometric Survey, Kanchenjunga was formally entailed as the ‘Third-tallest mountain in the World’ in 1856.
- Mt Kanchenjunga is so massive that it is visible from Eastern Nepal to Darjeeling. Because of its massive stature, where is Kanchenjunga mountain located has been a puzzling question for people unfamiliar with what parts of it are shared with bordering nations.
- It is believed that Mt. Kanchenjunga is not just a physical entity but a guardian deity that watches over the valley below, ensuring peace and prosperity.
- As locals believe gods reside in these majestic massifs, climbers halt their ascent a few meters short of the summit as a sign of respect.
- It is the least successfully conquered mountain after Mt. Annapurna (8,091 m)
- Summer monsoon hits pretty hard in this region. As a result, the mountain is covered with deep snow and some of the largest glaciers in Nepal.
- As per NASA, Mt. Kanchenjunga is most easterly among the other massifs in the Himalayas.
- The Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, After Annapurna Conservation Area, is the second-largest conservation area in Nepal. It is home to Himalayan black bears, musk deers, snow leopards, red pandas, and many other endangered species of high-altitude fauna and flora.
Best Time for Trek in Kanchenjunga Region
The eastern part of Nepal is the wetter region in the country. Thus, trekking in the monsoon when the routes are extremely slippery and dangerous is out of the question. The best time to set out on an adventure of this majestic, mystical mountain range would be in March to mid-May and from October to late November.
During these periods, the weather is quite stable, accompanied by favorable weather and clear skies. These are the ultimate time designated for the expedition in the Kanchenjunga region. In the springtime, it is the peak season for trekking in the Kanchenjunga region. The red decoration of freshly bloomed rhododendrons mixed well with the greenery and other colorful flowers amicably reflects the beauty of the Himalayas. Whereas the skies are crystal clear, followed by warm weather during the autumn.
However, besides these peak seasons, trekking to Kanchenjunga is possible throughout the year, although it is not recommended, especially not during the monsoon or winter. Local natives residing in the higher altitude migrate to the lower altitude during the winter due to extremely harsh weather conditions at the higher altitudes. Thus, the high-altitude teahouses will be closed mostly during the off-season. And trekkers might have to settle for camping in such harsh conditions instead of accommodation in warm lodges.
Level of Difficulty in Kanchenjunga Trekking
Now, passing over the question of where is Kanchenjunga mountain and moving on towards its grading from the side of Nepal. Kanchenjunga Trekking is considered relatively more advanced and difficult than the other mainstream trekking routes in the country.
Thus, adventures in this high-altitude mystical region might not be ideal for newcomers. Due to its long sophisticated routes, external help can be a long wait in any unforeseen turn of events. The spectacular journey to the top Himalayas has a few setbacks that can be even daunting for seasonal trekkers.
One of the major challenges can be considered to its high-altitude route. The trekking of the Kanchenjunga region goes through the off-beaten path, remote landscapes, and virgin territories. The trail altitude is significantly higher than any other mainstream trekking in the country. Further, altitude sickness and freezing harsh weather are hard to deal with. And, as the weather at the higher altitude is unpredictable, someone who isn’t well prepared mentally and physically might feel like withdrawing from the adventure.
It earns befitting the ‘Challenging/Hard’ grading thanks to its remote landscapes and long strenuous routes. Food and accommodation facilities are other challenges in the expedition to the Kanchenjunga region. The flooding and lodging facilities along the beaten path are not on par with other mainstream, crowded trekking trails. The trekkers will have to manage with the facilities available in the region.
Level of Difficulty in Different Seasons
1. Late December to Early March
This is an extremely cold period in the Himalayan region. The teahouses along the trail in the Kanchenjunga region at the upper reaches will be closed. Most of the trailing path will be covered in deep snow, with even fewer accommodation and fooding facilities at the lower reaches.
2. March to Late May
No rain and snowfall to worry about. Perfect weather with clear skies to set out on the conquest of the Kanchenjunga region.
3. June to Mid-Septemeber
Rainy days certainly dampen the outdoor spirit. With monsoon rain, the beaten path in the Kanchenjunga region is wet and slippery. Traveling without the right gear also increases the chance of during this season. But, the most dangerous factor of trekking in this season is the landslides, the existing landslides can become treacherous at any time, and new landslides develop without warning.
4. Late September to Mid-December
The autumn season is a favorable time for adventurous activities in Nepal. The days are sunny, the skies are clear, and the nights are warm, an ideal time to explore the mighty Kanchenjunga region.
Outline of Kanchenjunga Trekking
There are several options for trekking that you can choose from for an expedition in the Kanchenjunga region. The trekking options cover a wide range of options passing through different routes. The outline of itineraries may differ from the trekking package, and the trekking might have its own set of specific requirements based on the region and period. Here is the list of some of the most popular trekking routes to the Kanchenjunga region:
- Kanchenjunga Trek (Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek)
- Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek
- Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek
- Kanchenjunga North to Makalu Trek
- Limbu Cultural Trail
The outline for the trek to the North base camp includes the following:
Day 1: An approximate 45 minutes flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur
Day 2: Travel via bus (approx 8-10 hours) from Birtamod to Taplejung
Day 3: Trekking from Taplejung to Chiruwa (6-7 hours of trekking)
Day 4: Trekking from Chiruwa to Lelep at the elevation of 1,860 m (approx 7 hours)
Day 5: Trek uphill to Amjilosa from Lelep, maximum elevation of 2,510 m (8-9 hours frame)
Day 6: 4 hours trekking to the elevation of 2,730 m art Gyabla from Amjilosa (approx 4 hours)
Day 7: Ascent to Ghunsa (3,595 m) from Gyabla (approx 4 hours)
Day 8: Acclimation at Ghunsa (3,475 m)
Day 9: Uphill trekking from Ghunsa to Kamabacen at 4,100 altitudes (approx 4 hours)
Day 10: Acclimatization at Kamabachen
Day 11: Over 700 m altitude ascent from Kabachen to Lhonak (4,790 m) (approx 4 hours)
Day 12: Long 9-10 hours ascent from Lhonak to Pangpema (5,140 m)
Day 13: Descend to Ghunsa from Lohank (approx 6 hours)
Day 14: Further descent to Amjilosa from Ghunsa (approx 7-8 hours)
Day 15: 6-7 hours trekking back to Tapethok from Amjilosa (approx 6-7 hours)
Day 16: 7 hours descent from Mitlung from Tapethok
Day 17: Arrival at Taplejung (approx 4-5 hours)
Day 18: Bus ride from Taplejung to Birtamod (approx 8-10 hours)
Day 19: Drive to Bhadrapur and fly back to Kathmandu
Trekking Eligibility in the Kanchenjunga Region
First, even before the expedition commences, you should have an acceptable Passport and Tourist Visa to get into the country, as the Government of Nepal requires trekkers to have a special permit, especially when the region is shared with two nations. Although the major climbing peak and most popular trekking routes are inside Nepal’s border, you will still need a special permit to explore the Kanchenjunga region.
All necessary permits, including restricted ones, are issued at the Trekking Department of Nepal Immigration Office. Nepal Tourism Board doesn’t issue the required restricted permits.
Besides these, other requirements should be fulfilled for permission to explore the Kanchenjunga region.
- The trekkers should be in a group or at least two in number.
- An authorized company should be hired to get the permit, and a certified guide should accompany the trekkers.
- Two special permit requirements, ‘Kanchenjunga Restricted Area Entry Permit; and ‘Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Entry Permit.’
- Trekkers are not allowed for a solo expedition and must meet the requirements for an entry permit.
- A Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card is unnecessary for trekking in the Kanchenjunga region. As trekkers will be taking special permits to explore different regions of Kanchenjunga, there is no need for a TIMS card unless the expedition is conjoined with other trekking regions like Annapurna and Everest region trekkings that have a mandatory need for it.
If you plan a trek in the fascinating Kanchenjunga region, Nepal Guide Treks offers a 27-day Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek. We offer convenient private vehicle and flight services for an immersive experience; make sure to check the itineraries and amenities of the package.