|The Kanchenjunga Circuit trek visits both the north and south base camps of Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world at 8,586m. Due to the fact this is a remote area trek, a good level of fitness and some trekking experience is desirable. Yet despite of its remoteness, trekkers gain an insight into peoples’ way of life, and can visit Ramtang and Oktang Monasteries. On the way, the landscape is filled with rivers; waterfalls; green meadows; rhododendron, birch and pine forests; the Yalung Glacier, and of course, visitors are accompanied on the route by the majestic mountains.
Kanchenjunga itself lies on the far eastern side of Nepal, near the border with Sikkim, a tiny Himalayan state in the north-eastern part of India. Until the mid 1800, it was thought Kanchenjunga was the highest peak in the world. This area was closed to trekkers until the mid 1980. Today the region is protected by the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area and a special trekking permit is required. With these restrictions the beautiful and unique flora and fauna of this area is still in pristine condition today.
With regards to the mountains themselves, in addition to the main peak of Kanchenjunga, there are four subsidiary summits exceeding 8,000m, the most important being Kanchenjunga West, also known as Yalung Kang (8,505m). Also found in this area are approximately twenty peaks exceeding 7,000m, the highest being Kambachen (7,903m), Janu (7,710m), Jongsong (7,483m), Kabru (7,353m), Tent Peak (7,365m) and the Twins (7,350m). In addition there are numerous peaks over 6,000m. Amongst this impressive cluster of peaks are five major glacial systems. Of these, Zumu, Talung and Rathong flow into Sikkim while to the west, the Kanchenjunga and Yalung glaciers flow into the mighty Tamor River of Nepal.
This just adds to the fact trekking in Kanchenjunga is an unforgettable experience where trekkers get right into the heart of the remote, less trekked, Himalaya mountains and valleys. With the recent addition to the trekking map of the Great Himalayan Trail, tourism is being promoted in this, as well as other, remote areas so there is the opening up of more teahouses on the route. While this is a positive for the local communities, now would be a good time to go to Kanchenjunga before more trekkers ‘discover’ the area!