From Andre Souvignet Accompagnateur en Montagne et Instructeur au Club Alpin Français,
Kangchenjunga is a very wild, rather unknown trek that explores remote valleys near the border of China and India (Sikkim) at the extreme east of Nepal. It leads you to the north and south base camp of Kangchenjunga. During this trek, you are sure to visit every uncrowded area and cross typical Tibetan villages that carry you a long time before the beginning of the previous century. This trek is rather difficult because some tracks are not very used, the weather which can be a little bit rainy or snowy in high areas, the cold when you are at altitude, and also everywhere, you are rather isolated and remote, so in case of rescue, it can be difficult.
So in brief, trekking in the Kangchenjunga area is not so easy as a standard trek as Annapurna Tour, but you are sure to do something unusual and wild, far away from the crowded routes.
About this unusual trek, I chose to do the complete routes, the north, and the south ones, beginning at Basantapur and finishing at Tapeljung after having gone up to Pangpema, the north Kangchenjunga BC and Oktang BC, at the foot of the huge south face of this giant. This 8,586m peak is the second-highest one in Nepal after Everest 8,848m and the third one in the world after the K2 8,611m (Pakistan).
Kangchenjunga in Nepali means “five snow treasures” with reference to the five summits more than 8000m (south, central, north, Yalung, ….) which compose this huge barrier on the Sikkim border.
For this trek, in autumn 2013, we were 9 people (5 men and 4 women), all members of the French Alpine Club.
We left Kathmandu early in the morning on October 10 to go to Basantapur by bus, along a 19h bus trip and we arrived in Basantapur at 1:00 AM the day after.
27 days after (camping trek), we arrived in Tapeljung and again a very long 22h bus trip led us back to Kathmandu where we arrived on November 6 early in the morning 5:00 AM
This long trek can be summarized in some words and numbers :
French 9 people group with 5 men and 4 women
Nepali team composed at the beginning of 21 porters, 6 people cook staff, 2 sherpas, 1 guide.
After 11 days at Ghunsa, 12 porters left us and went back to Basantapur
27 days camping trek from Basantapur to Tapeljung including one rest day at Ghunsa
to visit the 2 Kangchenjunga BC (north and south). The view from Oktang south BC is incredible with the huge Kangchenjunga south face and also with west faces of Kabru 7400m and Rathong 6680m
about the weather, it has been rather good but often it was cloudy in the afternoon from 2:00 or 3:00 PM and we have had 2 very rainy days from Gupha Pokhari to Dobhan and also a snowy half day when we arrived in Ramche, but the day after was shiny so it was incredibly beautiful without any people and any trails when we went to Oktang BC.
About 15 000m up and quite the same down