Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Kangchenjunga North Base Camp Trek Pangpema | Route and Timings Part II

Jannu and Sobidonge at sunset from above Kangbachen
A South Col team trekked to Kangchenjunga North Base Camp Pangpema in November 2019.
For details of the first part of our journey do visit  https://sujoyrdas.blogspot.com/2019/12/kangchenjung-north-base-camp-pangpema.html
This is the second and final part.

November 16 2019 Ghunsa to Kangbachen 11.5 km
We left Ghunsa at 7.30 am on a cold morning with the temperatures well below zero Celsius. Ghunsa must be one of the coldest places in the Himalaya with an altitude of only 3415 metres primarily due to the limited sunshine hours just five and a half hours in November. The trail travelled north past the hospital and in around 45 minutes reached a log bench with prayer flags.  For most of the way the trail meandered through rhododendron forests which would be a riot of flowers in the spring season April - May. It then dropped to a landslide section in 15 minutes and then skirted the river. Looking up due east in about an hour and a half we could see the peak of Khabur above us. The trail then crossed a second landslide section in about 2 hours with a log bridge across a stream.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Kangchenjunga North Base Camp Pangpema Trek | Route and Timings Part I

A South Col Team trekked the North Pangpema Base Camp of Kangchenjunga in November 2019. The details of the trek with day wise itinerary and timings are below.

  • The start of both the north base camp trek and south base camp trek had rough jeepable roads for fair weather use. For our detailed post of these roads do visit  http://sujoyrdas.blogspot.com/2019/12/kangchenjunga-trek-nepal-north-and.html
  • Lodges are available on the trek but these are basic below Ghunsa and also have few beds. In case you are a large group (8-10 persons) during season time April and October  you may be better off camping. Above Ghunsa the quality of the lodges improve dramatically and is some of them you can get attached toilets. There are also many more lodges.
  • Phone connectivity is there in some of the locations – only Nepal Telecom not Ncell.
  • There is no wifi available on the route excepting at Ghunsa Hospital.
  • The trekking numbers are also  low – from the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Project records for 2019 I found that the spring season March to May 2019 had 202 trekkers while the autumn season September until 20th November 2019 had 634 trekkers out of which October alone had 407 trekkers. In comparison the Everest route has around 45,000-50,000 trekkers in a year!
  • The approach from Kathmandu is usually through Bhadrapur airport a 45 min flight and then a long drive from Bhadrapur to Taplejung. There is an airport at Suketar but the thrice a week Nepal Airlines flight is not very regular and is often cancelled.
  • There has been a lot of changes in the routes mentioned in the guide books some due to landslides and some new trails being developed and the guide books need updation e.g. Lelep often mentioned as a night stop is not required to be visited any more there is a direct trail now to Sekathum so do not follow the guide books blindly.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Kangchenjunga Trek Nepal | North and South | Road Construction

The Kangchenjunga group including Jannnu on the left and Kabru in front seen from a ridge above Ilam on the drive to Taplejung
A South Col team recently did the Kangchenjunga trek in Nepal in November 2019. A detailed day by day schedule and route will follow on this blog but in this post we deal with the roads now being used  on the approach to the Kangchenjunga trek.

We found that dirt track roads suitable for four wheel drive vehicles have been built on the approach to both treks north and south. These roads  are fair weather - hence it is doubtful if during heavy rain in the monsoon months they would be clear for traffic. However, we were informed by our jeep drivers that from middle October to middle May these roads are operating and can be used by trekkers to shorten their treks by 2-3 days. The journey, of course, like most Nepal dirt track roads is bone rattling but it does shorten 2 days walking into a four hour jeep journey.


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