About Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trekking
The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trekking is one of the most inaccessible and formidable treks in the Himalaya. This trek appeals to those who want to enjoy the outdoors in relative solitude. It is a thrilling trek with a wide range of climate, vegetation, culture and landscape.
The trek starts in steamy jungles which are bursting with life especially after the monsoon rains.The trail passes through small Buddhist settlements with thatched houses. You will marvel how the harsh and barren land can sustain their survival. The Rai and Limbu culture are predominant in the lower altitudes, whereas, the isolated villages higher up are inhabited by Sherpa of Tibetan Buddhist descent. You will want to warm taste of their traditional Tongba, a fermented drink made from millet seeds. Hot water is added to it, and it is sipped from a wooden pot through a straw.
Climbing beyond the tree line the trail reaches into the glaciers of the alpine zone. The high point of this trek, in both altitude and scenic splendor is unquestionably the three-day hike up the Kanchenjunga glacier where the views are quite simply overwhelming. The Kanchenjunga Trekking is a long and challenging trek requiring a good degree of fitness. The rugged trails into this remote terrain do not see many trekkers, but are mostly used by local yak herders.
Kanchenjunga Base CampTrekking Route:
The Kanchenjunga Base Camp trail starts at Suketar, Taplejung. There are two ways to reach Suketar: two flights: Kathmandu-Biratnagar, and Biratnagar Suketar, or fly Kathmandu-Bhadrapur and take a bus to Suketar.
From Suketar we start by heading north-west for two days on a level trail through small settlements, terraced fields and forests to reach the Tambur Khola river valley. We follow this valley for five or six days, on a trail gradually ascending to Ghunsa. This is the last village where we will find a lodge to stay overnight. The villagers of Ghunsa are traders who travel back and forth from Tibet. At this altitude they cannot depend on agriculture, but they have yaks for transporting their goods, and grow one crop of potatoes and barley during the short growing season.
From Ghunsa the trail follows the north side of Kanchenjunga into a remote region where you will only meet a few yak traders. From the second day we start getting views of Tent Peak, Mehara Peak and Cross Peak. After three days we reach Pangpema Base Camp, 5143m, from where we get a spectacular view of the massive north face of Kanchenjunga and its glacier. When we spend the night at the base camp we can hear the ice shattering and falling from the avalanches coming down from the Kanchenjunga glacier.
From Pangpema Base Camp the trek returns to Ghunsa from where we turn east and camp overnight at the Sele Le Pass, base camp on the way up to the Sele Le Pass, 4663m. After reaching the pass we descend to Ramche and camp for two nights in the yak pastures. From Ramche we make a one day excursion up to Oktang, 4900m, from where we get another outstanding view of the south-east face of Kanchenjunga glacier.
We follow the eastern trail back to Suketar; this trail is more popular with Kanchenjunga trekking groups. As we descend, the vegetation increases each day, until we are back into the more tropical landscapes with lush terraced fields of rice and millet, and villages of the Limbu people. Finally, we reach the point where we started, the village of Suketar.