Kanchanjungha Base Camp Trek

Kanchanjungha lies on the eastern border of Nepal providing a great chance to experience the remoteness, spectacular mountain scenery, diverse flora and fauna and rich local culture, quite different to those found in the far-western region of Nepal. Although it has seven major summits, ‘Kang-chen-zod-nga’ means ‘Five Great Treasuries of the Snow’. To the locals Kanchanjungha, which stands at 8,585 m (the third highest mountain in the world), is the abode of gods who bestow prosperity and goodwill on them and their lands. While to the climbers of this mountain, the phrase ‘Five Great Treasuries of the Snow’ takes on a slightly more threatening tone. The avalanches at Kanchanjungha are said to be the largest anywhere!

Since the locals worship the mountain, there is a tradition among mountaineers not to stand on the actual summit. All successful climbs have stopped just short of the summit honoring an old promise made by the leader of the first successful attempt in 1955 to the Maharaja of Sikkim.

Trek Profile:

Grade : Moderate Hard
Average walking per day : 6 hrs
Maximum Altitude : 5,400 m
Best seasons : Mar-May, Oct-Nov
Type of Trek : Camping
Starting Point : Suketar
Ending Point : Suketar

Standard Itinerary:


Day 1

Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400 m)

Upon arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport, meet our airport representative who will be displaying our company’s placard just outside the airport terminal. Then, get transferred to the respective hotel in a private tourist vehicle. Overnight at hotel, Kathmandu

Day 2

Pre-trip Meeting; Kathmandu Valley sightseeing

After breakfast, at around 07:30 AM, pre-trip meeting is hosted in your hotel in Kathmandu in order to introduce the trek leader/guide. It is recommended to seek this opportunity to ask any question relevant to the trek. Please remember to bring the passport, 3 copies of passport-size photos, and a copy of the travel insurance policy. In any case that you will be arriving late and therefore are unable to attend the meeting, please inform in advance.

After that, get ready for the sightseeing tour that will start at around 09:30 AM. A private vehicle and professional tour guide is provided to guide you through the Kathmandu Valley including Bouddhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. A full-day sightseeing takes no more than 8 hours to complete including the lunch time and rest of the time in Kathmandu is free for further exploration and some last-minute shopping in Thamel. Overnight at hotel, Kathmandu

Day 3

Fly to Biratnagar (72 m)

After breakfast, free till noon. Afternoon, get transferred to the domestic airport, take a 40 minute flight to Biratnagar and get transferred to lodge. Overnight at lodge, Biratnagar

Day 4

Fly to Suketar (2,320 m) & trek to Lali Kharka (2,276 m)

From Biratnagar, take an early flight to Suketar. It takes around 30 minutes to reach Suketar Airport at Taplejung. The crew arranges your gear as you have lunch after the flight. In the afternoon, get started with an easy 2 to 3 hrs walk along the ridgeline to Lali Kharka, a grazing area. Overnight at tented camp, Lali Kharka

Day 5

Trek to Khesewa (2,120 m)

After traversing the hillside a short way, descend to the village of Pakora along the Phawa Khola, crossing a suspension bridge before beginning the steep climb up towards Kunjuri. Lunch will be taken somewhere below Kunjuri and the afternoon’s walk takes to the campsite at Khesewa. Overnight at tented camp, Khesewa

Day 6

Trek to Mamankhe (1,920 m)

Today, the path covers the steep hillside through terraced fields high above the Kabeli Khola. There are some ups and downs crossing side valleys, but there are many shady spots to rest. After lunch, pass the village of Anpan, before descending to cross the Kashawa Khola and finally, climb again through terraced fields to the village of Mamankhe. Overnight at tented camp, Mamankhe

Day 7

Trek to Yamphudin (2,080 m)

Start with an easy climb to Yamphudin along a track which contours the hillside above the Kabeli Khola. The path has several ups and downs as we cross the ridges and streambeds that make up the valley sides. Generally, the route is flat and the river eventually becomes level with the trail, a couple of hours before Yamphudin. After lunch by the riverside, start again to complete the day’s walk to Yamphudin. Yamphudin is the most remote settlement in this area and the last village we will see until we reach Ghunsa. It is a charming place tucked away beneath the ridge of Deurali Danda that we must cross next. Overnight at tented camp, Yamphudin

Day 8

Trek to Chitre (2,965 m)

Beyond Yamphudin, the trail ascends a steep spur, a gentle introduction to what will come forth. Leaving villages behind, trek through pleasant forest, stopping for lunch in a meadow capturing fine views of the north and south, descend to the river and finally reach to Chitre across an interesting bridge over Omje Khola. Overnight at tented camp, Chitre

Day 9

Trek to Tortongn (3,010 m)

Today’s tough day starts with 3 hrs of steep ascent to the crest of the Deurali Danda in dense forest most of the way. From the 3,230 m pass, descend across some steep and exposed areas before entering the forest again. The sharp descent through beautiful forest continues down into the valley of the Simjua Khola. Across the challenging wooden bridge is Tortongn, a camping place with numerous rock shelters amid towering conifers. Overnight at tented camp, Tortongn

Day 10

Trek to Tseram (3,870 m)

From Tseram, follow the river through a beautiful forest, the conifers giving way to the rhododendron forest. The valley climbs fairly steep and as the day progresses the trees become more stunted and scattered, giving glimpses of the snow-capped giants ahead and the massive snout of Yalung Glacier. Just before Tseram, the towering heights of Kabru and Rathong Peak start to peep over the moraine. Camping at Tseram, a grazing area, the night temperatures will remind that we are really gaining height. Overnight at tented camp, Tseram

Day 11

Trek to Ramche (4,580 m)

Ascend the final 600 m to Ramche, where the trail to Kanchanjungha South turns dangerous. The scenery is magnificent as we ascend past snout of the Yalung Glaciers into a series of ablation valleys, which gives easy walking and good camping. A frozen lake, clear streams and views of Koktang, Rathong and Kabru are the highlights of this stroll. Expect to feel the altitude today. Overnight at tented camp, Ramche

Day 12

Trek to Oktang (4,730 m)

Today, enjoy the first close encounter with Kanchanjungha. Following the valley round to see the stunning south face of Kanchanjungha and Jannu (7,710 m), get across the Yalung Ri Glacier and continue by a sweeping curve, to Oktang. This vast ridge forms a circle over 15 km long, nowhere less than 7,500 m high and with three main summits of Kanchanjungha at 8,420 m, 8,586 m, and 8,474 m! Overnight at tented camp, Oktang

Day 13

Trek to Yalung Ri Base Camp (5,400 m)

This extended part will take to the high altitudes. It requires determination and some good fortune too. The crossing of high passes requires good weather, and of course perfect logistic support. Expect to get acclimatized to the altitude today. Overnight at tented camp, Yalung Ri Base Camp

Day 14

Trek back to Ramche

Yalung Glaciers and a series of valleys, give good walking and perfect camping. A frozen lake, clear streams and magnificent views are the highlights of this stroll. Overnight at tented camp, Ramche

Day 15

Trek to Sallerle via Mirgin La Pass (4,480 m)

Trek down the valley, passing the turn, off to the high and challenging Labsang La route to Ghunsa and the north side of Kanchanjungha. This pass is rough and dangerous, especially for porters so we take the more southern set of passes, beginning with the Mirgin La. After an initial steep climb and several false summits, reach Mirgin La. Apart from the magnificent Jannu on the horizon are Makalu, Gyakung Kang, Everest, Lhotse and Chamalang. To the south, it is possible to see down to the Terai, a panorama worth the effort. The campsite will be beyond the pass, after 6 to 7 hrs tough walking. Overnight at tented camp, Sallerle

Day 16

Trek to Ghunsa (3,475 m)

Although there are four more passes, there is little descent between them, so it is a highly scenic area. After lunch, the descent brings to Lamba Sumba Kharka, where there are more views of the awesome southwest face of Jannu. From Kharka, the going is easy again down a pleasant forested trail to the village of Ghunsa. It is a picturesque Tibetan Village; prayer flags flutter from the wooden houses and there are two monasteries, a welcome sight after the many days of wilderness. One of the local specialties is ‘Tongba’, a curious alcoholic drink. You might need a drink after the tough 5 to 6 hr walk. Overnight at tented camp, Ghunsa

Day 17

Trek to Kambachen (4,040 m)

The trail ascends gradually to the south of the Ghunsa Khola and crossing floodplains while emerging on a pasture situated on the north side of the river. A steep climb to a slope, from where it crosses a slide, and then the trail descends to Lakepo. Reach to the village of Kambachen after a short climb from Lakepo. Overnight at tented camp, Kambachen

Day 18

Rest day for acclimatization

A day to spend here acclimatizing to the high altitude. It is essential to acclimatize to the higher altitude as you have spent a lot of time at lower altitudes. It also doubles up as a rest day and can be used for a short morning hike to explore the area around Kambachen. From here, there are good mountain views of the peaks near Kanchanjungha which are visible. You can hike up the ridge above the village for better views or take a day hike to the Jannu Base Camp. The Nepali name for ‘Jannu’ is ‘Kumbhakarna’. Overnight at tented camp, Kambachen

Day 19

Trek to Lhonak (4,790 m)

A gradual climb through rocky fields gets you to Ramtang (4,240 m), and then crossing northwest of the Kanchanjungha Glacier you will reach Lhonak. Lohnak is on a sandy plain near a dry lakebed. Camp here between the boulders to stay out of the wind. There are beautiful mountain vistas all around. Water is very scarce in Lhonak and you will need to use only as much as absolutely necessary. Overnight at tented camp, Lhonak

Day 20

Trek to Pang Pema (5,140 m)

The main Kanchanjungha Peak is only visible from Pang Pema, which is the Base Camp for expeditions on Kanchanjungha. From Lhonak, the trail gradually ascends across the plain but soon gets steeper as it follows the moraine. Overnight at tented camp, Pang Pema

Day 21

Explore around Pang Pema & trek back to Kambachen

Take a morning hike up a ridge, north of Pang Pema, a climb of around 300m, provides a great vantage point with views of Kanchanjungha, Wedge Peak, the Twins and Tent Peak. As usual, the descent goes faster and you can reach Kambachen the same day. Overnight at tented camp, Kambachen

Day 22

Trek to Yangswa (2,800 m)

More descents through magnificent sections of forest as long as we reach Amjilosa the next day. From Ghunsa, an hour down we pass through Phole, a village in two parts. The upper section houses Tibetan refugees, who are well established, the second is the winter village of Ghunsa. Further down is Yangswa, a great and warm camp. Overnight at tented camp, Yangswa

Day 23

Trek to Amjilosa (2,460 m)

Initially, the trail passes through the beautiful forest opening out to steep, grassy hillsides where Amjilosa is perched. Overnight at tented camp, Amjilosa

Day 24

Trek to Sakathum (1,600 m)

After a short climb, begin the steep descent that will take most of the day and reach Sakathum, the joining place of the Tamur and Ghunsa Kholas. Overnight at tented camp, Sakathum

Day 25

Trek to Chhiruwa (1,200 m)

Cross the Simjua Khola, which originates from Kanchanjungha’s South Base Camp, the stream that we followed up from Tortongn; crossing numerous small tributary streams, reach Chhiruwa, a village set among large boulders. Overnight at tented camp, Chhiruwa

Day 26

Trek to Suketar

Traversing in and out of minor valleys, pass through a series of picturesque villages on the way to Suketar, reaching around late afternoon. Overnight at tented camp, Suketar

Day 27

Fly back to Kathmandu via Biratnagar

Fly back to Biratnagar enjoying the last glimpse of the mountains that have been recently visited and then take a connecting flight to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu, get transferred to the respective hotel. Overnight at hotel, Kathmandu

Day 28

Free day in Kathmandu

After breakfast, relax and enjoy the day on your own. It’s also spare day in case the flight to Kathmandu is delayed. Overnight at hotel, Kathmandu

Day 29

Departure

After breakfast, free till check out time; get transferred to Kathmandu International Airport for your final departure.