Kanchenjunga BC to Makalu BC GHT over Lumba Sumba pass

Kanchenjunga BC to Makalu BC on Section 1 of The Great Himalaya Trail (GHT)
  • TRIP TYPE: Trekking
  • TRIP GRADE: Strenuous
  • TRIP STYLE: Camping
  • TRIP LEADER: International Leader
  • GROUP SIZE: 5 - 14 people
  • NEXT DEPARTURE: 25 Sep 2021

Details

This is a 36 day trek following a section of The Great Himalaya Trail ("GHT") in Nepal crossing Lumba Sumba pass at 5,160m. We trek through a remote region on border with Tibet from Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Makalu Base Camp.

This epic Kanchenjunga GHT trek is the longest trek in our portfolio. Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Makalu Base Camp follows Section 1 of The Great Himalaya Trail. Robin Boustead mapped and walked the GHT. Our second longest trek is Snowman trek in Bhutan at 28 days of walking. We start by walking the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek on the northside of the mountain. Mount Kanchenjunga, or sometimes spelt as Mount Kangchenjunga, is at a height of 8,586m. It is the third highest mountain in the world. This mountain is only a few hundred metres shorter than Mount Everest. From our high camp at Lhonak we hike to Pangpema to see the vast North Face of Kangchenjunga.

We return on the same trail back to Ghunsa. From there we start on the remote section of GHT as we head to the West. Kanchenjunga Circuit crosses the Mirgin La to the East whereas we head to the West on the Lumba Sumba trek. We cross the Nango La at 4,820m into the remote Yangma valley and onto the village of Olangchungola. We cross Lumba Sumba pass at 5,160m and walk out to Hongon. The Lhomi ethnic group live in this village and only inhabit the upper Arun valley. They follow Buddhism combined with Shamanism.

At Hongon, the Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Tumlingtar GHT group will start their walk out to the South. We continue westwards along the rarely trekked high trail on the Makalu Base Camp trek. At 8,481m this is the fifth highest mountain in the world.  After visiting Makalu Base Camp we descend the Barun Valley then we cross Shipton la at 4,125m. We walk out to Tumlingtar airstrip for the flight back to Kathmandu.

  • We have recent experience organising GHT Section 1 in October 2013 and 2014. For more information on how these treks went please take a look at our Trip Reports.
  • We are Himalayan trekking specialists having operated trips in Nepal for many years. Roland Hunter has designed the itinerary from his first-hand experience of this trek.
  • Based on client feedback we won the 2018 Gold Award as AITO Tour Operator of the Year. Read more about our Testimonials and Awards.
  • We have included a gradual ascent profile in our itinerary for this trekking holiday. This will help you acclimatise to the high altitude.
  • We use Western branded tents for our camping treks in Nepal. These are high quality three person tents with space for two people plus gear.
  • We pay for private weather forecasts from EverestWeather.com. We also use in house forecasting throughout the duration of this trek.
  • We send a Thuraya satellite phone on our group treks in Nepal. Your leader will have reliable communications for logistics, planning and group safety. We use GPS to upload your location daily on to Google Maps to track your progress during the trek.
  • We provide the porters with windproof jackets & trousers, crampons and shelter. We follow International Porter Protection Group (“IPPG”) guidelines.
  • We provide a range of tasty meals for breakfast, lunch and supper. We give everyone in the group a chocolate or muesli bar per day. For breakfast we provide fresh coffee from our Bialetti Moka coffee machine.
  • We bring a comprehensive medical aid kit. There will also be a portable altitude chamber (PAC or Gamow bag).
  • Our team with first hand knowledge of this trek provides pre trip support. During high season we have someone from our UK Operations team based in Kathmandu.

Route Map

Itinerary

Arrive in Kathmandu

No meals

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

Flying into Kathmandu on a clear day is in itself an unforgettable experience. The Himalayan peaks are only a short distance north of the capital of Nepal as seen from the plane. After customs, you will pass into the passenger pick-up area outside the building. You will see a Mountain Company signboard. Our representative will be waiting to welcome you to Nepal. After transferring to your hotel we will give you a full trek briefing. The rest of the day will be yours to explore Kathmandu and to make final preparations for the trek. You will hear the Nepalese word for hello ‘Namaste’, you will never forget that word after this holiday.

Breakfast

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

This morning your leader will give the trek briefing and check your gear. We will collect your passports from you so that we can apply for the trekking permits. The rest of the day is free to explore Kathmandu and to pack your bags. You can leave a bag at the hotel with items not needed on trek. 

Fly to Bhadrapur

Bus to Ilam (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Hotel in Ilam

We take the morning flight to the small airport at Bhadrapur in the East of Nepal. We drive in a private bus to the town of Ilam where we spend the night in a hotel. This region is well known for its tea plantations and Darjeeling is not far away on Indian side of the border.

Drive to Taplejung (4 hours)

Walking for 9km (4 hours)

Walking ascent 37m

Walking descent 800m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We leave early in the morning and drive through tea and cardamom plantations. We will stop at the top of a pass on the road where we get our first magnificent views of Mount Kanchenjunga. We drive onto Taplejung where we meet the trekking crew. After lunch we start the trek by following a steep trail down to the Tamur river. The trail can be slippery so it is best to use two trekking poles for stability.

Walking for 14.5km (6 hours)

Walking ascent 695m

Walking descent 350m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From camp the trail descends to the Tamur river passing several villages. This is a fertile area with crops including rice, millet, potatoes and vegetables. There is a descent to a wooden bridge crossing the Thiwa Khola. The trail undulates before arriving at Chirwa. This village has a bazaar, some lodges and shops. We camp a short walk from the village in a large field near a large boulder.

Walking for 11.5km (5 hours)

Walking ascent 580m

Walking descent 260m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

After leaving camp the trail follows the Tamur river along the valley floor. After a couple of hours we arrived at Taplechok at an altitude of 1,380m. After checking our trekking permit at the park gate we cross a suspension bridge over the river. We walk along the west bank along a path where cardamom is growing in the forest. Cardamon is a cash crop and grows well in the middle hills of East Nepal.

We have lunch at a lodge in Phembu after about 3 ½ hours trekking. After lunch the trail ascends above Tamur river to Lelep at an altitude of 1,750m.  We cross a suspension bridge over Tamur river to enter the more narrow Ghunsa Khola Valley. Our camp for the night is at Sekathum. From here you get the first views of the high Himalaya where Jannu is visible on a clear day up the Ghunsa valley.

Walking for 10km (4.5 hours)

Walking ascent 965m

Walking descent 160m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

At Sekathum camp we cross the suspension bridge and follow the path through dense forest. In places the trail is steep and narrow as we walk through a dramatic gorge. We have lunch at one of the basic lodges in Solima. After lunch we hike along a trail with switchbacks up through trees. We reach Amjilossa high above the gorge where we camp for the night.

Walking for 10km (4.5 hours)

Walking ascent 750m

Walking descent 450m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

On leaving Amjilossa there is a short ascent to a ridge. We walk through lush bamboo, oak and rhododendron forest. We descend towards Ghunsa Khola at a place called Thyanyani. The trail is undulating and after passing a large waterfall there is a final steep climb to Gyabla.

Walking for 12.5km (5 hours)

Walking ascent 910m

Walking descent 220m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Gyabla, the valley opens out and we walk along an easier path for most of the way to Phole. It starts to get cooler today as we climb above 3,000m. The vegetation changes with more rhododendrons and azaleas. Before Phole we pass through the winter settlement used by Ghunsa villagers.

At Phole village there is a monastery and you are likely to see the women weaving carpets. It takes a further 1 ½ hours to reach the larger village of Ghunsa. This is a Tibetan village with wooden houses covered in colourful prayer flags. There are lodges and shops and a small Kanchenjunga Conservation Area office. We camp in the garden of one of the lodges and will use their dining room for meals. There are hot showers available in the lodge.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We spend two nights in Ghunsa for time to rest and acclimatise to the high altitude. It is a good idea to walk in the morning as this will help your acclimatisation. We follow the route above the village to Lobsang La. This walking trail reaches 4,000m in about 3 hours from camp and 2 hours to return to Ghunsa.

Walking for 12km (6 hours)

Walking ascent 810m

Walking descent 170m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

After leaving Ghunsa we walk through pine and rhododendron forest. We are on the east bank of the Ghunsa Khola and pass Buddhist mani walls and chortens along the way. After three hours we cross a bridge over Ghunsa Khola. We have lunch in a grassy area called Rampuk Kharka (3,720m). Today the mountain scenery becomes ever more spectacular. The north face of Jannu towering above is dramatic. Be careful when crossing the landslide before Khambachen as there is a risk of rockfall. The trail contours the hillside then descends to Khambachen. This is a Tibetan settlement with houses nestled in a grassy plain with mountains all around.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We spend two nights at Khambachen at an altitude of 4,100m for essential acclimatisation. In the morning you can join a walk. This helps your body adapt to the high altitude by following "climb high, sleep low". The walk up Nupchu Khola from Khambachen is well worth doing for the impressive views of Mount Jannu. For a longer walk you can head up to the Jannu shrine at 4,400m. This is a 5 to 6 hour walk there and back.

Walking for 10.5km (4 to 5 hours)

Walking ascent 820m

Walking descent 150m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Khambachen the trail is along a lateral moraine. We pass through a seasonal yak herder’s camp at Ramtang at an altitude of 4,370m. The vegetation is azalea, juniper and rhododendron. After an hour or so the trail becomes rockier and we pass under a landslide area. Keep moving at a steady pace and to keep alert for any rockfall. We walk through rocky areas and cross moraines North West of the Kanchenjunga Glacier. The campsite at Lhonak is near some stone huts. There are superb views of Wedge Peak (6,750m), Mera (6,344m), Nepal Peak (6,910m), Twins (7,351m) among others.

Walking for 18km (6 to 7 hours)

Walking ascent 700m

Walking descent 700m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Lhonak we follow the trail on the lateral moraine of Kanchenjunga Glacier for two hours. We pass through several sections of loose rock and landslide area. The trail climbs to reach the stone huts in a grassy area at Pangpema in a further two hours. The view of the vast north face of Kanchenjunga from Pangpema is very impressive. After eating our pack lunch we start the return walk back to Lhonak, taking about 3 hours.

Walking for 22km (8 hours)

Walking ascent 500m

Walking descent 1,600m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We walk back along the same trail through Kambachen back to Ghunsa village.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

After a tough few days at altitude and a long walk from Lhonak yesterday most groups enjoy their first real rest day of the trek so far. In the morning you can do some washing and have a chance to sort out your bags as well as recharge batteries in the lodge. You can also explore the village as it is well worth visiting the school and the gompa across the bridge.

Walking 8km (6 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We descend the main trail from Ghunsa and turn off at the junction before Phole village. We follow a smaller trail up the side valley following the Yangma Samba khola. We hike through pine forest until reaching the camp located in a kharka (pasture).

Walking 13km (7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

It takes about two to three hours depending on conditions to reach the top of the Nango La pass. From the top we can see Lopsang Peak and also Mirgin La trail over to the south side of Kanchenjunga. We descend into a valley where further down there is a stone shelter. From here we keep to the North bank of Thasa Khola. We walk through a forest before entering Yangma Khola valley. The trail goes North up this valley before you cross the bridge to the camp.

Walking 10km (7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From camp we descend the West bank of Yangma khola until the confluence with Tamur khola. We follow the North bank of Tamor khola up to Olangchungola. This is a prosperous village that trades with Tibet. After lunch we continue our walk up Tamor khola for further four hours to River Camp. This place is in a grassy area at the confluence with Dingsamba Khola.

Walking 6km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From River Camp we walk through pine forest along the Dingsamba Khola. Higher up there are rhododendrons in a broad valley. We continue to the North-West into a wide and flat floodplain. At the end of this valley we walk up over a black rock band into a higher valley. We camp here for the night before crossing Lumba Sumba pass tomorrow.

Walking 10km (7 to 8 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

After an early start we head to the West on a rocky trail. It is quite steep in places until we gain a plateau with views of a lake. From here we see Lumba Sumba pass. From leaving camp it takes 4 hours to gain the first pass at 5,050m. After descending then contouring it takes a further hour to the second pass higher at 5,100m. There are tremendous views from both passes of Kanchenjunga and Jannu to the East and Makalu to the West. From Lumba Sumba we descend into Lapsi Khola valley. After 3 ½ hours we reach the camp in a good spot next to the river.

Walking 6km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

The view of Mount Makalu in the morning from camp is superb and it dominates the view to the West. We follow Lapsi khola through rhododendrons and a forest. After 4 hours we arrive at the Tibetan village of Thudam. We camp in a grassy area opposite the village over a bridge.

Walking 9km (7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Shortly after leaving Thudam we cross a landslide area. Medokchheje khola is an impressive valley with steep sides. Today the trail is narrow and overgrown in places so route finding can be tricky. We continue through a dense forest and pass several waterfalls. We cross several streams on log bridges. We climb to a minor pass and then descend through bamboo until the first kharka. There is a stone shelter here used by local villagers. It takes another 1 ¼ hour to walk onto the second kharka where we camp for the night.

Walking 16km (6 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From camp, the trail becomes indistinct in places through bamboo and dense forest. After climbing to another minor pass there is a long and often muddy descent to the Arun river at 1,850m. After lunch near the bridge over the Arun river it is a further hour to walk to Hongon village.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We use it as a rest day or keep as a contingency day in case needed for later in the trek.

Walking 6km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Hongon the trail ascends on a steep trail to a ridge and further onto a minor pass at 2,710m. After the pass we take the right fork at a junction. We traverse then climb to another small ridge before reaching Tojo khola. You stay on the East bank of this river and follow a trail through rhododendron forest covered in moss.

Walking 3km (3 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We continue walking through rhododendron then higher up the trail becomes rocky. There are good views of the Arun valley to the South. Before reaching the plateau we scramble up a rocky section  to several chortens. Not far from here we walk past the beautiful lake of Molun Pokhari. The camp is an hour further in a valley to the West.

Walking 4km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From camp we follow a small trail ascending up a ridge to the South. We head heading South-East then East to a minor pass at 4,200m. We descend on a trail along a ridge to the left. At a small lake we descend next to a stream to the valley bottom. We cross Dhunge khola to a large kharka on the other side and continue down the valley to a drier camp site.

Walking 10.5km (6 to 7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We follow a small trail through dense forest on the West bank of Dhunge khola. After 1 ½ hour we contour a ridge that draws you away from the main valley. The trail forks beneath cliffs in the middle of a small clearing. We cross Kolakharka khola on a log bridge then follow an overgrown trail to Saldim Khola. We pass through sheep herder's camp and then ascend to Cave Camp. This is a small area under a cliff face and there is not much space for tents. 

Walking 5km (6 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Cave camp we continue walking up the gulley before exiting on the left on a small trail. This ascends a steep trail to the left of a cascade. We continue climbing between two streams before the gradient begins to ease up. We pass a small lake and ascend to a ridge. We follow this before descending to a kharka facing to the East. We climb a craggy trail around a ridge to a minor pass. We dip through a shallow valley and climb to another ridge. We arrive at a black water lake (called Kalo Pokhari) where we camp tonight.

7km (5 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From camp we climb the next ridge to a pass before a steep, rocky descent. From the valley bottom the trail climbs another ridge to a minor pass. We can see our camp in the valley below. It takes 1 ½ hours to descend through dense rhododendron shrubs to the kharka.

Walking 6km (5 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From the trail below camp we see the tea houses at Mumbuk on the far side of the valley. We enter a forest of fir, pine and rhododendron. The trail descends past a cave and then cross several streams.  We reach the Barun khola and arrive  at the valley floor. We follow Barun khola along a trail through several landslides to Yangla Kharka. There is a cluster of lodges here as we are now on the main Makalu Base Camp trekking route.

Walking 7.5km (4 hours)

Today we pass several yak pastures (kharkas) and herder huts. These have different names and altitudes depending on the map or guidebook. We camp at Langmale Kharka where there is a lodge and terraces cleared for camping.

Walking 17km (7 hours+)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

On approaching Sherson the impressive South-East ridge of Mount Makalu comes into view. As we approach Base Camp we see the immense south face of the mountain. After having lunch at Makalu Base Camp we walk back down to Langmale for another night.

Walking 15km (6 to 7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We descend on the same trail to Yangle Kharka. We cross the bridge over Barun khola then walk along the river until crossing a landslide area. There is a steady climb up to a lodge at Debotay where we camp before crossing Shipton La tomorrow.

Walking 7km (7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Debotay we climb to Keke La (4,150m). We descend to Kalo Pokhari lake followed by another climb Shipton La at an altitude of 4,216m. On a clear day there are superb views to the North of Makalu and Chamlang. We descend on a switchback trail through rhododendrons to Khongma where we camp for the night.

Walking 11km (6 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From camp there is a steep descent through rhododendron forest until we reach the huts at Chipla. We descend further through forest and bamboo to Tashigaon village. We continue down through farmland with terraced fields lower to Seduwa village. The checkpoint for Makalu-Barun National Park is in this village.

Walking 4km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Seduwa we descend on a steep trail through fields and jungle to the Arun river at an altitude of 650m. We cross the suspension bridge over the fast flowing river. There is a steep climb up to the village of Num on the other side of the valley to Seduwa.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

This is a day used as a rest day or kept as a contingency day at some point during the trek.

Drive to Tumlingtar (5 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Teahouse lodge

We take jeeps along a rough road to Chichila and to the busy market town of Khandbari. We continue driving along the jeep track passing terraced fields to Tumlingtar.

Fly to Kathmandu

Breakfast

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

We take a mid-morning flight to Kathmandu. After arrival we meet our vehicle for the drive back to our hotel for the last night of the trip.

Fly home

Breakfast

Transfer from hotel to Kathmandu airport for your flight back home. End of trip. 

Dates & Prices

We provide an early bird discount for the first people paying their deposits to make up our minimum group size

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2021

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 25 Sep 2021 to 05 Nov 2021 Trip Leader Adrian Summers Price US$6,295pp
US$6,150pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$550pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
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What's Included

  • All internal transport and transfers including airport collections.
  • Internal flights. The flights are Kathmandu to Bhadrapur and Tumlingtar to Kathmandu. The weight allowance is 18kg for your main bag checked into the hold and 5kg for your day pack.
  • Twin share rooms at Hotel Tibet or Ambassador in Kathmandu.
  • Breakfast only in Kathmandu, all meals included while on trek.   
  • Twin share tents while on trek using our Western branded tents. These are three person domed tents with plenty of space for two people sharing plus gear.
  • Trekking arrangements. Including permits and fees, tents, International and Sherpa guides, porters and cooks.
  • Porterage. The allowance for your main bag is 18kg.
  • Weather forecasts from EverestWeather.com.
  • Thuraya satellite phone for organising logistics and medical evacuations. It can also be also used for personal calls at extra cost.
  • GPS tracking on Google Maps. Your friends and family can track your progress during the trek.
  • Trekking map given to you on arrival to Kathmandu.
  • Rubberised luggage tag posted to you before departure.
  • Full financial protection. Our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) number is 10921. Our Association of Bonded Travel Operators Trust (ABTOT) membership number is 5365).
  • Pre departure support and advice from The Mountain Company. We are available by email, phone or face to face meetings.

What's Not Included

  • International flight to/from Kathmandu.
  • Travel & trekking insurance.
  • Nepal visa for 30 days.
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu.
  • Personal clothing & equipment, please see the Appendix for suggested kit list.
  • Tips. Each trekker should budget for giving tips into the group fund. This should be in region of 21,000 Nepalese rupees (£135, US$175 or €150)
  • Other items not listed in “What is included”.

Accommodation

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

Hotel Tibet is in Lazimpat next to the Radisson. This is our usual hotel for our standard trips in Nepal.

We have used Hotel Tibet for over 15 years and our clients have enjoyed staying at this property. It has a good location, comfortable rooms and high level of service. There is a garden terrace next to the restaurant on the ground floor. On the fifth floor there is a roof terrace with the Yeti Bar overlooking the city.


Camping in Nepal

We use both Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1s and Quechua tents for our camping treks in Nepal.

Practical Information

Typical Day On Camping Trek in Nepal

We provide a comfortable experience on our camping style treks. Our team works hard to support you so that you can relax and enjoy trekking in Nepal. We provide personal tents, mess tent, kitchen tent and toilet tent(s). The camp will be set up and dismantled by the trek crew. We bring along a cook and kitchen helpers to provide the meals.

The day starts with an early morning mug of tea brought to your tent by one of the trek crew. Before heading for breakfast you pack your overnight gear into your duffel bag. During breakfast the trek crew pack away the tents. The porters arrange their loads and set off on the trail in the cool of the morning. After breakfast, between 7am and 8am, we start walking.

The pace of the trek is moderate as there is plenty of time in the itinerary to reach the camp for tonight. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, take photos and explore the local villages. Lunch will be around midday at a spot by the side of the trail. Our cooks prepare lunch for us and the food is usually ready by the time the group arrives.

After lunch we continue the walk and on most days we arrive to camp by mid afternoon. Some of the trek crew would have gone ahead of the group to set up camp and to put up the tents. On arrival to camp you will get a hot drink and biscuits. In the evening our cook will provide a three course meal in the mess tent around 6pm.

After supper the leaders will discuss the plan for the next day. Afterwards people might stay in the mess tent chatting about the day’s events or playing cards. After a tiring day most people head to their tent quite early for the night. Tomorrow is likely to be very similar as today! The only difference is that if we are crossing a high pass or climbing to a summit we leave camp earlier in the morning.

You can read more about our Camping Treks in Nepal on our Blog. This article explains the advantages of camping versus teahouse lodge treks. It also describes what the campsite set up is like and more about the food provided by our cooks.

Food provided on Camping Trek in Nepal

While on a camping style trek in Nepal we provide tasty and nutritional food. We make sure there is more than enough quantity to go around as trekkers will be hungry after a long day on the trail. Over the years we have worked on increasing the variety of the menus. We have expanded the list of ingredients provided to the cooks so they have more to work with. Also in 2015 we purchased two food dehydrators with a vacuum sealing machine. We dehydrate a large number of different vegetables in Kathmandu before departure. This has transformed the quality of food especially on longer treks to remote areas.

For breakfast we provide porridge or cereal, toast or chapatis and eggs. There will be hot drinks including tea, herbal teas, hot chocolate and coffee. We provide fresh coffee from our Bialetti Moka coffee machine.

For lunch we stop at a convenient spot with water at the side of the trail. The cook and kitchen walk ahead of the group in the morning and lunch should be ready shortly after our arrival. After lunch we have time to relax before starting to walk again in the afternoon.

On arrival at camp in the afternoon you have biscuits and a hot drink such as tea or coffee. Around 6pm we serve a three course meal in the mess tent. The starter is often soup with popcorn or poppadoms. We have a range of main dishes and carbohydrates including rice, potatoes or pasta.

We cater for a variety of dietary requirements. Our meals are suitable for vegetarians. If there is a meat dish then we also provide vegetarian options as standard. During booking we find out if you have any dietary needs and agree upon meal plans before departure. If you have any questions about the food provided please get in touch with us to discuss further.

Communications

We bring a Thuraya satellite phone for logistical, safety and personal use. Personal calls charged at £4 (US$5 or €4.50) per minute and £2 (US$3 €4.50) to send and receive SMS text.

Kit List for Kanchenjunga GHT trek

This is the mandatory kit list for the safety of everyone in the group and to ensure a successful trek. You must have the following items tailored for Kanchenjunga to Makalu GHT trek. The group leader will check your gear in Kathmandu before departure for the trek.

As a reminder, the weather on this trek will vary season to season and day to day as you ascend to higher elevations. At the start of the trek you will experience hot conditions with temperatures up to 25 Celsius. You experience the coldest temperatures in Lhonak at an altitude of 4,785m. Overnight lows here will be down to around -15 Celsius.

You should bring a rucsac or backpack for gear required during the day. Your pack should contain items such as warm clothes, jacket, camera, water bottles, personal first aid kit and snacks. The weight limit is 5kg. A porter will carry the rest of your personal equipment packed in a duffel or kit bag. The weight limit for your duffel bag is 18kg. Please mark your bag on the outside for easy identification.

Print the kit list and tick items off as you pack them then weigh your kit bag before you come on trek.

Footwear

  • Walking Boots. A pair of water repellent boots with ankle support. Boots must be in good condition, the best approach is to get new boots and break in before the trek. Over the years we have had several boots fall apart so you should also bring trail shoes as a backup.
  • Trail shoes. Used around camp and as a replacement if your walking boots fall apart!
  • Sandals. Enclosed sandals are best to protect your feet during river crossings. Required for river crossings as well as two trekking poles.
  • Walking socks.

Clothing

  • Waterproof and Windproof jacket (with hood) and trousers (goretex or similar). For use if it rains or snows during the trek and in windy conditions.
  • Trekking trousers. (eg. Mountain Hardwear Mesa V2 or The North Face Paramount Peak).
  • Soft Shell Trousers.
  • Long sleeve tops or shirts (not cotton).
  • Micro fleece.
  • Mid to heavyweight fleece or synthetic/ primaloft top.
  • Sleeveless/ gilet or body warmer type fleece / synthetic top. This will help keep your core warm while not bulking when layering up. Gilet used in combination with base layers, other fleeces and down jacket. This provides the most warmth and insulation.
  • Thermals or base layer for top & bottom (merino wool or synthetic).
  • Fleece or synthetic leggings. Worn around the camp or added as a layer when the temperatures start to drop higher up.
  • Medium weight down jacket.

Head and Gloves

  • Fleece gloves.
  • Warms mittens and/or gloves.
  • Wool or fleece hat.
  • Sun hat.
  • Bandana or scarf (eg. Buff Headwear).
  • Head torch. Bring extra batteries.
  • Sunglasses. The lenses need to be Category 4 rated. They should have side protection or wraparound design.

For crossing the passes

  • Mountaineering ice axe and leash.
  • Trekking poles (Black Diamond with “Flick Lock” are best). Two poles are mandatory for your safety. These will be helpful on steep sections of the trail and river crossings. Also for walking on snow or ice higher up.
  • Kahtoola Microspikes or YakTrax Summits. These are for your security when descending passes with snowy or icy conditions. They fit onto your walking boots.
  • Gaiters. A pair of knee high gaiters used to keep boots dry if walking through snow or on wet ground.

Personal equipment

  • Sleeping bag. Overnight lows down to -15 Celsius. It is possible to rent a bag from Shonas Rental in Kathmandu.
  • Fleece or silk liner for your sleeping bag. A liner protects your sleeping bag from getting dirty. Also helps by adding extra insulation to keep you warm at night.
  • Sleeping mat (eg.Thermarest). On trek we provide everyone with a foam mat. We recommend two layers for insulation and comfort. We also provide everyone with a pillow.
  • Day pack. Recommended size is around 40 litres. You need to have enough space to carry water bottles, camera, snacks and extra clothing and climbing gear. The pack should have a good waist belt. It is also a good idea to bring a rain cover to keep the contents dry.
  • Stuff sacks for keeping your gear dry and organised. Or even better are fold dry bags such as from Exped.
  • Two water bottles. Nalgene wide mouth bottles are the best. You may use a hydration pack lower down but the tube will freeze in the cold so ensure you still have two water bottles.
  • Pee bottle. Recommended as means you do not have to get up to find the toilet tent at night! For men you can use an old water bottle. For women take a look at SheWee.
  • Sunscreen and lip salve with a high SPF.
  • Water purification tablets (Pristine, Biox Aqua or Aqua Mira).
  • Favourite snack food.
  • Books and cards etc.
  • Camera with spare batteries and memory cards.
  • Insurance certificate.
  • Earplugs (optional).
  • Baby wipes (optional).
  • Hand sanitizer. Keep this in your day pack for use after a toilet break during the trek or before eating any snacks. We provide sanitizer for use before meals.

Travelling

  • Duffel bag for your personal gear on the trek. Will be carried by a porter. Rugged and waterproof made of a plastic material. Size 100-120 litres. Eg. Mountain Equipment 100l or Rab 120l. Bring a small combination padlock to secure the bag.
  • Travel clothes. You will need casual clothing for air travel days and time spent in Kathmandu.
  • Toiletry bag with soap, travel towel, toothbrush etc. We provide toilet paper while on trek.

Personal first aid kit

We provide a comprehensive group first aid kit.  Please bring personal medications and other items you might use such as:

  • Any personal medications.
  • Blister treatment (Compeed patches are the best)
  • Rehydration powder (eg Dioralyte).
  • Analgesics (paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin).
  • Plasters and zinc oxide tape.
  • Throat lozenges.
  • Diamox (helps with acclimatisation).

Risk assessment for Kanchenjunga GHT

You should be aware trekking in a developing country involves a risk of personal injury or death. You must accept these risks and be responsible for your own actions and involvement. Adventure travel requires an open and flexible attitude. You may experience extreme conditions and unpredictable weather. There could be last minute changes to the itinerary beyond our control. The ability to work in a team is an important aspect of our trips.

We have performed a threat and risk assessment for our Kanchenjunga GHT trek. Our trips have a degree of risk. This is part of the attraction of adventure travel and why so many people choose to join this type of holiday. By identifying the hazards we assess the level of risk. We have control measures in places to reduce this happening or to reduce the impact.

Our risk assessment is available to clients on request. We have listed below a summary of the significant risks and hazards identified by us:

  • Falls and trips resulting in physical injury eg. slipping on ice or falling off the path.
  • Altitude illness including but not limited to AMS, HACE and HAPE.
  • Getting lost or becoming separated from group.
  • Severe bad weather and conditions when camping.
  • Climatic injuries (dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion, hypothermia or heat stroke). Please note at the start of the trek it will be very hot and humid for the earlier days.
  • Crossing a river with no bridge resulting in drowning and/ or a fall.
  • Rock fall and landslides.
  • Snow and ice avalanches.
  • Lightning strike.
  • Wildlife, pack animals (e.g. donkeys or horses) or stray dogs. Pack animals can knock people off the path. Dogs can attack and bite. Discuss rabies vaccination with your doctor.
  • Earthquake.
  • Risk of fire in the hotel or lodge.
  • Endemic local diseases. Discuss vaccinations with your doctor before departure.
  • Physiological injury. Such as heart attack, appendicitis, hernia, toothache etc. in a remote area.
  • Road traffic or flight accidents. Read paragraph “Internal flight".
  • Contaminated food and/ or water.

This trip visits a remote area. You are away from the usual emergency services and medical facilities. Evacuation for a serious injury requiring hospitalisation could take up to several days. This delay could impede your ensuing recovery. Helicopters are the usual means of evacuation. They are not always available or hindered by poor weather and flying conditions.

You should be aware trekking in a developing country involves a risk of personal injury or death. You must accept these risks and be responsible for your own actions and involvement. Adventure travel requires an open and flexible attitude. You may experience extreme conditions and unpredictable weather. There could be last minute changes to the itinerary beyond our control. The ability to work in a team is an important aspect of our trips.

Internal Flights in Nepal

Flights from Nepal’s Short Take-Off & Landing (“STOL”) airstrips are dependent on weather. Delays often happen if there is poor visibility or high winds.For our itineraries with flights to or from STOL we include one extra day in Kathmandu at the end of the trip. This is in case of delays flying back. If the delays are longer we will help reschedule your international flights. There is likely to be a fee charged by the airline for this. You also have to pay for costs incurred in Kathmandu as a result of the delay such as accommodation and meals.

You should read the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (“FCDO”) travel advice to Nepal. For their latest advice take a look at their Safety & Security section under Air TravelThere have been some recent air accidents in Nepal. The European Union has banned Nepalese airlines from flying to Europe. For more information on Nepal’s air safety profile take a look at Aviation Safety Network.

Weather and conditions for Kanchenjunga GHT trek

We have chosen the dates for optimal conditions on the high passes. This is based on experience learnt from our Kanchenjunga GHT treks in October 2013 and 2014. The best time in Autumn season is to start towards the end of September. The monsoon should be winding down although the exact date varies year to year. In some years there is monsoonal rain during the start of the trek. The key reason for starting earlier in Autumn season is to place the group in Makalu around mid October. This means we can cross the passes into and out of this remote region before the winter snows block the trail.

We have written a blog article When is the best time to go trekking in Nepal Himalaya? This has information about the weather and conditions in Spring and Autumn seasons. It also explains the differences between the trekking regions of Nepal.

Suggested reading and maps for Kanchenjunga trek

Maps

Kanchenjunga by Himalayan Maphouse Trekking Maps of Nepal. Scale: 1:100,000. We include this map in your welcome pack when you arrive in Nepal.

Nepal Trekking Map Himalayan Maphouse Scale: 1:900,000

Books

Kanchenjunga the Untrodden Peak by Charles Evans.

The Hard Years by Joe Brown

The Kanchenjunga Adventure by Frank Smythe

Round Kanchenjunga by Douglas Freshfield

Living on the Edge: The Winter Ascent of Kanchenjungaby Cherie Bremer-Kamp

Kanchenjunga; First Ascent from the North-East Spur by Col Narinder Kumar

Kangchenjunga Himal and Kumbhakana by Jan Kielkowski

The Ascent of Rum Doodle by WE Bowman

Nepali Phrasebook by Lonely Planet

 

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