Kanchenjunga Circuit trek
Nepal

Kanchenjunga Circuit trek in Nepal
  • TRIP TYPE: Trekking
  • TRIP GRADE: Strenuous
  • TRIP STYLE: Camping
  • TRIP LEADER: International Leader
  • GROUP SIZE: 5 - 14 people
  • NEXT DEPARTURE: 06 Apr 2021

Details

Kanchenjunga Circuit is a trek to North and South Base Camp of Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal.

The Kanchenjunga trek is one of the finest in Nepal Himalaya. The trekking route follows Nepal’s mountainous border with India and Tibet.

Mount Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world at an altitude of 8,586m. The summit was first climbed in 1955 by Joe Brown and George Band in a team of British mountaineers.  In 1977 an Indian Army team made the second ascent on northeast ridge from Sikkim on Indian side.

We designed our Kanchenjunga Circuit itinerary for gradual acclimatisation to high altitude.  The ascent profile works best by first trekking to North Kanchenjunga Base Camp. From Pangpema campsite we return to Ghunsa then cross the Mirgin La. After descending from the pass we visit the yak pastures at Ramche and Oktang. There are impressive views of the south west face of Kanchenjunga and the Yalung glacier.

The vegetation ranges from subtropical jungle through to rhododendron and the alpine zone. Red pandas live in the forests and the elusive snow leopards prowl at higher elevations. You see traditional villages with Rai, Limbu and Tibetan Buddhist ethnic groups.

This is a camping style trekking expedition where you sleep in tents and our cooks provide the meals. Our Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Makalu Base Camp GHT is another trek in this region. For this itinerary we follow a remote section of The Great Himalaya Trail to the Makalu region.

  • 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.
  • The Mountain Company has organised eight successful Kangchenjunga Circuit treks. For more information on how these treks went please take a look at our Trip Reports.
  • Our AITO Traveller Reviews for Kanchenjunga Circuit have a holiday rating of 100%. 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

Arrival in Kathmandu

None

Hotel Tibet

Flying into Kathmandu on a clear day is in itself an unforgettable experience. You will get your first view of Himalayan peaks as you make the descent to Kathmandu airport.
 
After clearing immigration, you will pass to the passenger pick-up area outside. Look out for The Mountain Company signboard and our representative will welcome you. We will drive you to the hotel and at some point in the afternoon your leader will give a full trek briefing.
 
The rest of the day will be yours to explore Kathmandu and to shop for anything that you might need for the trek. You can leave a bag at the hotel with any items not required to take with you on trek.
 
Today you will hear the Nepalese word for hello ‘Namaste’. You will never forget the warmth of the hospitality given by the people of Nepal.

Briefing, kit checks & sightseeing in Kathmandu

Breakfast

Hotel Tibet

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. After the briefing, we organise a one day guided sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu Valley. We visit three out of the seven World Heritage Sites. You visit Patan Durbar Square followed by the Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath. The last stop of the day is at the Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath. The tour is likely to finish around 4pm. 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.

Flight 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.

Walking for 7.5km (5 hours)

Walking ascent 880m

Walking descent 100m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

After leaving Ghunsa we follow a rocky trail through the forest. We ascend a ridge with a short, steep section to Sele La pass at an altitude of 4,290m. The views are fantastic and you can see High Camp which is about half an hour further walking from the pass. High Camp is well positioned in sheltered spot with wooden lodges and a small lake nearby. From here you can also see Mount Makalu in the far distance.

Walking for 17km (8 hours)

Walking ascent 700m

Walking descent 870m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

After an early start from High Camp we follow the trail ascending to our first pass Sinion La at an altitude of 4,440m. From here the trail contours the hillside and after a short steep climb brings you to Mirgin La Pass at 4,480m. The trail then descends before contouring before a short steep climb to the top of Sinelapche La Pass at 4,840m. From the top of every pass today you have magnificent views.
 
From this last pass there is a 1,000m descent to Tseram. The trail descends past a small lake. Tseram is a small settlement located above the Simbua Khola.

Walking for 15km (7 to 8 hours)

Walking ascent 890m

Walking descent 350m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

In the morning we hike up to Ramche for lunch. The trail follows passed the snout of the Yalung glacier into an ablation valley. All the peaks to the East straddle the India-Nepal border. Including Koktang (6,147m), Rathong (6,679m) and the Kabrus over 7,000m. There is a lake and a meadow along with two stone houses at Ramche. There are often blue sheep on the grassy slopes above.
 
In the afternoon we continue to follow the ablation valley to Oktang. This is the view point of the South West face of Mount Kanchenjunga. The three main summits of Kanchenjunga massif are over 8,400m. We can see the climbing route to the summit of Kanchenjunga, first climbed by Joe Brown and George Band in 1955.

Walking for 16.5km (8 hours)

Walking ascent 75m

Walking descent 1,520m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We follow the trail back to Tseram. We continue walking along the river through rhododendron forest to Tortong. We camp here for the night.

Walking for 13.5km (7 to 8 hours)

Walking ascent 820m

Walking descent 1,760m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Tortong the trail ascends through forest and through a landslide zone. It takes about 3 hours to lunch spot at Lamite Bhanjang. After lunch the trail descends on a good path for about 2 hours before crossing Imja Khola. The trail then contours round the hillside before dropping into Yamphudin. This village has a mixed community of Sherpas, Rais, Limbus and Gurungs. There is also the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area office.
 

Walking for 9km (5 hours)

Walking ascent 490m

Walking descent 735m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

After leaving Yamphudin we take an undulating path high above the river to Mamankhe.

Walking for 13.5km (8 hours)

Walking ascent 1,100m

Walking descent 744m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Mamanke the trail enters a side canyon and crosses a stream on a long suspension bridge. We walk up to Ponphe village and up to two tea shops on the ridge above. We traverse through a series of valleys past several villages. The trail continues up to Kande Bhanjyang where we camp for the night.

Walking for 11km (6 hours)

Walking ascent 900m

Walking descent 750m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

The trail traverses a ridge to the village of Khunjari and then descends to Pha Khola. The path ascends through Pokhara and Shimu villages to Thenbewa. We continue through forest to Lali Kharka where we camp for the night.

Walking for 10.5km (3 hours)

Walking ascent 300m

Walking descent 275m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodge in Suketar

From Lali Kharka we ascend to a ridge and then walk down to the airfield at Suketar. We have completed an amazing journey around the Nepalese side of Mount Kanchenjunga.

Bus to Bhadrapur (10 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Hotel in Bhadrapur

We drive to Bhadrapur following the same road as on the way in passing through Ilam. 

Flight to Kathmandu

Breakfast and Lunch

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

We take the flight from Bhadrapur back to Kathmandu.

Flight home

Breakfast

We arrange transfers to Kathmandu airport for your flight back home.

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 06 Apr 2021 to 02 May 2021 Trip Leader Ben Walker Price US$4,175pp
US$4,075pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$375pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
Book Now
Dates 02 Nov 2021 to 28 Nov 2021 Trip Leader Natalie Wilson Price US$4,175pp
US$4,075pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$375pp
Availability 4 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
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2022

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 05 Apr 2022 to 01 May 2022 Trip Leader International Leader Price US$4,175pp
US$4,075pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$375pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
Book Now
Dates 01 Nov 2022 to 27 Nov 2022 Trip Leader International Leader Price US$4,175pp
US$4,075pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$375pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
Book Now

For private and bespoke trip, please contact us

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What's Included

  • All internal transport and transfers including airport collections.
  • Internal flights. The flights are to/from  Kathmandu and Bhadrapur. The weight allowance is 15kg for your main bag checked into the hold and 5kg for your day pack.
  • One day sightseeing in Kathmandu with Nepalese cultural guide and private vehicle.
  • 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 15kg.
  • 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 in Nepal. Our team works hard to support you so that you can relax and enjoy the trek. 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.

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 poppadums. 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 Circuit 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 the Kangchenjunga Circuit 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 15kg. 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.

Heads and Gloves

  • Fleece gloves.
  • Warms mittens and/or gloves.
  • Wool or fleece hat.
  • Sun hat.
  • Bandana or scarf. (eg. Buff Headwear or buy a #myTMCbuff).
  • 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

  • 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 drybags 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

  • Duffle bag for your personal gear on the trek (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 Circuit trek

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 Kangchenjunga Circuit 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 eg. crossing Mirgin La pass in whiteout.
  • Severe bad weather and conditions when camping eg. Mirgin La High Camp.
  • Climatic injuries (dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion, hypothermia or heat stroke). Please note it will be very hot and humid for the first three days of the trek.
  • Crossing a river with no bridge resulting in drowning and/ or a fall.
  • Rock fall and landslides.
  • Snow and ice avalanches e.g. crossing passes.
  • 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.

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 Circuit trek

Kangchenjunga Circuit trek has a wide range of temperatures. This depends on the season, altitude and time of day. In the mountains between 1,000m and 3,500m the nights will be cool around 5 Celsius. During the day temperatures sometimes rise to 25 Celsius. At higher altitudes temperatures range from about 15 Celsius to -15 Celsius.

The trekking season in Nepal is late September to May. October and November is generally recognised as having the best weather. Spring is a popular time of year with warmer weather than in Autumn. Also there is the advantage of seeing spring flowers and rhododendrons in bloom.

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 Circuit 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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