SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – January 2013

The Path to Shangri-La: Eastern Tibet's Unclimbed Peaks

Climb hiker-friendly 16,000-foot summits--and maybe nab a first ascent--on a shoestring budget, plus get an unchaperoned glimpse of Tibetan culture.

by: Mark Jenkins

Nyambo Konka'a south ridge (Photo by Mark Jenkins)
Photo by JAN13TIBET_Jenkins_135_445X260
Nyambo Konka'a south ridge (Photo by Mark Jenkins)
Unnamed Peaks south of Minya Konka (Photo by Mark Jenkins)
Photo by JAN13TIBET_Jenkins_500_445x260
Unnamed Peaks south of Minya Konka (Photo by Mark Jenkins)

We got a late start the following day, and with loaded packs hiked up Ya La pass again and dropped down into a new watershed. We only met one person along the way, a Tibetan yak herder on a pony so short the man’s legs almost touched the ground. He looked surprised to see us, but spurred his stunted white steed right by without a word.

Joel tried to figure out where we were from our hand-drawn map, but ultimately abandoned the effort. We simply followed the trail downhill. After four hours of hard hiking, we came upon a vast condo complex, unfinished and abandoned. It was snowing again, and I was starting to limp from blisters. Joel was starving. Having expected to find Tibetan camps along the way—yak butter tea, yak meat, yak yogurt—we’d only brought three days’ worth of food, all of which was gone. We kept walking. Near dusk, with snow falling so densely we could hardly see, we reached a highway. We didn’t know where it led, but it didn’t matter. Within seconds, three Tibetans on two small motorcycles roared up and offered us a ride. Nothing short of a miracle. Joel climbed onto the motorbike with just a driver, his pack hanging out over the rear wheel. I squeezed in between the two men on the other motorcycle, the man behind me obligingly hanging my heavy backpack on his shoulders. And we were off. Tibetans are cowboys by nature and upbringing. They’re fast and fearless riders. In the past decade, they’ve exchanged horses for motorcycles, and are just as wild on their motorized mounts. At first, it seems they’re reckless, but they know exactly what they’re doing. We flew through the snowstorm, through the mountains, through the mud. In the next few days we would visit more monasteries and mountains before shooting back to Chengdu for our flight home—but for thrill-a-minute adventure, nothing, nothing at all, would compare to this ride. I was reminded of why we seek adventure in far-flung countries in the first place. After all, you can find plenty of peaks worth climbing in North America. But your maps will be too good. You won’t dance with Buddhist monks on the way up. And on the way home, the journey won’t be as exciting as the climb itself.

Zooming along side by side, I saw that Joel couldn’t stop grinning. His driver was whooping and kicking his motorcycle as if we were in a horse race. My driver, the long sleeves of his Tibetan chuba curled over the handlebars, gunned his engine.

Snowflakes were shooting at us like a spray of tiny white parachutes. Then my motorcycle driver began to sing in a loud, high-pitched voice. The Tibetan behind me joined him and together they crooned a sweet, melancholy song. I listened to the duet in stereo, the words unknown but the meaning clear. They sang with full-throated passion, for themselves, for me, and for the joy of being free in the mountains.

Mark Jenkins wrote about surviving repeated attempts on Nyambo Konka in the October issue (backpacker.com/risk).




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Kanchenjunga Trek 2000$
Jun 16, 2014



Kanchenjunga Trek (North & South Base Camp) - 24 days
• Details
Highlights:
30 minutes flight to Biratnagar or Bhadrapur with stunning view of Himalaya ranges including Mt. Everest
Ilam Tea garden on the way drive to Taplejung
Close interaction with local people
Stunning view of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the World's 3rd highest mountain
Visit of North and South base camp of Mt. Kanchenjunga
Warm hospitality of Sherpa, Rai & Limbu people
High mountain passes of Sele La & Mirgingla
Spectacular forest of rhododendron & Pine
• Kanchenjunga Trek (North & South Base Camp) - 24 days
from US$ 2820.00
Overview:
The Kanchenjunga Trek - 24 Days of pure raw adventure. this trip will, most probably, help you get rid of your demons, if any
Description:
Eastern Nepal is wonderfully known by its greater diversity on many accounts; ethnic groups such as the Rai, Limbu & Magar communities, a fertile range of flora due to the higher summer rainfall in the region, and some of the most breath-stopping mountain vistas anywhere in the Himalaya. By following the glacial torrent of the Tamur and Ghunsa Rivers to their source on the North West side of the Kanchenjunga Himal, we enter into a lesser known world where the beauty of the landscapes is downright rugged…but simply beautiful…& breathtakingly awesome.
Dwarfed by an alpine opulence in almost every direction, peaks such as Pyramid Peak, Jannu, the Twins and of course Kanchenjunga (8586m) dominate the regal skylines of this region. It is no less dramatic on our southern traverse of the mountain on the return journey by way of the Mirgin La Pass at (4500m). This is a challenging traverse through a region seldom frequented in recent years…this adds up to the uniqueness of this area…where its just ‘us & the mountains & everything else it has to offer.

This trek approaches the North Face Base Camp of the world's third highest peak, Kanchenjunga (8598m) which lies in the eastern frontier of Nepal. Mt. Kanchenjunga, one of the world's most challenging peaks to climb, geographically lies on the Nepal-Sikkim (India) border. The trek gets into gear right after arriving in Taplejung and goes through captivating green, crop growing villages and immaculate forests to the awe-inspiring North Face Base Camp at Pangpema (5065m), before crossing to Oktang – 4370m) the South Base Camp of Kanchenjunga via 3 PASSES OF SINION LA (4440m), MIRGIN LA (4480m) and SINELAPCHE BHANJYANG (4646m).

Day 01: Arrival day in Kathmandu, pickup assistance and transfer to hotel.

Day 02: Trek permit preparation and guided city tour of Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Swoyambhu & Kathmandu Durbar Square. Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Flight Kathmandu – Bhadrapur or Biratnagar and drive to Phidim (6-7 hours drive). Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Drive Phidim – Taplejung (1820 m)- 3-4 hours drive; trek to Mitlung (920m) for 3 hours. Overnight at local tea house.

Day 05: Trek to Chirwa (1300m)- 4-5 hours.
Overnight at local tea house.

Day 06: Trek to Sekathum (1670m) - 5 - 6 hours.
Overnight at local tea house.

Day 07: Trek to Amjilosa (2520m) - 5 - 6 hours. Overnight at local tea house.

Day 08: Trek to Gyabla (2730 m) - 5 - 6 hours.
Overnight at local tea house.

Day 09: Trek to Ghunsa (3595 m) - 4 - 5 hours.
Overnight in a guest house.

Day 10: Acclimatisation day in Ghunsa
Hike upto 4200m on the way to Dudhkunda (milky lake). 4 - 5 hours.
Overnight in a guest house.

Day 11: Trek to Kambachen (4050 m) - 5 - 6 hours
Overnight at local tea house.

Day 12: Trek to Lhonak (4780 m) - 4 - 5 hours
Overnight at local tea house.

Day 13: Day hiking to Pangpema (5065 m) to view the Mt. Kanchenjunga and return to Lhonak for overnight stay at local tea house. 5 - 6 hours.

Day 14: Trek back to Ghunsa (3595 m)
Overnight in a local guest house.

Day 15: Trek to Selele (4300 m) - 5 - 6 hours
Overnight in a basic tea house.

Day 16: Trek Sele La – Sinion La Pass (4460 m) – Mirgin La Pass (4480 m) – Sinelapcha La Pass (4646 m) – Tseram (3870 m) - 7 - 8 hours.
Overnight at local tea house.

Day 17: Day hiking to Oktang Base Camp - 5 - 6 hours.
We go for day hiking to Oktang to observe the Kanchenjunga South and return to Tseram for Overnight stay at local tea house.

Day 18: Trek to Torangden (2995m) - 3 - 4 hours
Overnight at a local tea house.

Day 19: Trek to Yamphudin (2080m) - 5 - 6 hours
Overnight at a local tea house.

Day 20: Trek to Khebang (1910m). - 4 - 5 hours.
Overnight at a local tea house.

Day 21: Trek to Khandembe (1420 m) - 5 - 6 hours



Day 22: Trek to Medibung (1510 m) - 3 hours and drive to Ilam (2150m) - 4 - 5 hours.
Overnight in a guest house.

Day 23: Drive to Bhadrapur / Biratnagar and fly to Kathmandu

Day 24: Departure. Fly back home or onward journey. ***End of Tour***
What's Included:
Airport pick up / drop off by car. Guided city tour as per above program. 3 nights accommodation with breakfast at tourist class hotel in Kathmandu. An experience Guide (trained by Ministry of tourism), 1 porter between 2 members Transfer to and from Biratnagar / Bhadrapur on jeep. Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner with tea / coffee) during the trek. Accommodation at tea houses on the trek (best available) Kanchenjunga special trek permit & Conservation permit. Domestic flights (Kathmandu / Biratnagar or Bhadrapur / Kathmandu) Satelite phone for emergency uses Government taxes and office service fee
What's Not Included:
Any meals in Kathmandu other than breakfast.
Travel insurance
International air fare to and from Nepal.
Nepal Tourist Visa fee US$ 25 or equivalent foreign currency with multiple entry for 15 days, US$ 40 or equivalent foreign currency with multiple entry for 30 days. You may easily issue the visa upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport - Kathmandu.
Items of a personal nature
Any kind of alcoholic drinks, hot water, hot shower, cold drinks, laundry, phone call, internet.
Trekking Equipments (down sleeping bag and down jackets are available to hire or buy in Kathmandu, which would cost approximately US$ 1 per day per item to hire and US$ 60 to US$ 100 per item to buy).
Tips for guide, porters, driver.

http://nepalguideinfo.com/kanchanjunga-trek/
http://nepalguideinfo.com/
http://www.hikehimalayas.com
Email-:sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com
Mobile+9779841613822

Star Star Star Star Star
Nepal guide info Trekking guide
Jun 16, 2014


I just wrote a recommendation about this Indeandent trekking Mr Sanjib which was the one i chose to do Everest Base Camp and Gokyo, I went to Nepal in Feb-March 2014 and I would totally recommend them. Check it out and read below what i also wrote about them. Enjoy yur time in Nepal :)

http://www.nepalguideinfo.com
sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com

I did Everest Base camp and Gokyo with the Independent trekking guide Mr. Sanjib and after such a nice trek I can only recommend the service that Sanjib and his team provided it. Experienced guide, a clear itinerary with lots of room for your own personal pace, a personalized approach: you go to him as a client and you leave as a friend. All this and more make the service of this trek, out of the rest. Prices are very good and the quality of all the services, were excellent. We got only great rooms and they always make sure, we have a nice view from our room (probably this is not always possible, but I like that Sanjib and Raj. were taking time in such a details to make his clients happy) He also advise you in all the matters of the trek and more importantly he was very clear about what you get. Many companies will promise you all kind of things even if they know is not possible (flying to Lukla for example is one of them or how many days you can reach certain altitude being safe from AMS) There’s a lot of companies in Kathmandu and I know how difficult and overwhelming the search for the right one can be, but if you’re reading this and looking for a person who can make your treks in Nepal smooth and a very enjoyable experience… go to Sanjib and he’ll handle the rest ☺ Thanks a lot Sanjib, for organizing my trek in Nepal and if I come back someday I definitely know where to go for treks!!

Star Star Star Star Star
Jason
Jan 21, 2014

Great article. What I want to know is how they found out about this area and the monastery in the first place. I would love to do more trips like this but I wouldn't know how to find such a remote area on my own. Anyone have suggestions?

Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Mar 01, 2013

Acute Trek Pvt Ltd http://www.trekshimalaya.com an indoor outdoor trekking and tours operative takes you that further way to guarantee you has an unforgettable http://www.adventurestrekking.com adventure that you have been dream of. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable http://www.hikingsinnepal.blogspot.com outing with a family or an exciting nature adventure. We offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements. Acute trek is an attempt to encourage Nepal to the exterior world while striving to defend an aged tradition as well as conserve the surroundings for generation to come.

Star Star Star Star Star
portorro
Jan 16, 2013

Very good article! Makes one up the training and save some $$$ to get there.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Mid-Atlantic
Coopers Rock, West Virginia (8/30/2014)
Posted On: Sep 02, 2014
Submitted By: hikingFF77
Trailhead Register
Coffee
Posted On: Sep 02, 2014
Submitted By: hikingFF77
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions