Kangchenjunga

Photo of Kangchenjunga

Photo by Neeraj Pradhan

Details

Elevation (feet): 28,169
Elevation (meters): 8,586
Continent: Asia
Country: Nepal/India
Range/Region: Sikkim-Eastern Nepal Himalaya
Latitude: 27.7025
Longitude: 88.1483
Difficulty: Major Mountain Expedition
Best months for climbing: Apr, May
Year first climbed: 1955
First successful climber(s): George Band, Joe Brown, (British expedition)
Nearest major airport: Kathmandu, Nepal
Convenient Center: Hille, Nepal via Dharan Bazar

Description

Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world. From 1838 until 1849, it was believed to be the highest. It is an enormous mountain mass, and many satellite peaks rise from its narrow icy ridges. It is located on the border of Nepal and Sikkim, just 46 miles northwest of Darjeeling. It is the most easterly of the great 8,000 meter peaks of the Himalaya. Though not successfully climbed until 1955, it was first attempted in 1905, but four members of that international party were killed in an avalanche. The threat of avalanches and mudslides is omnipresent in the area, which receives very heavy precipitation throughout much of the year. As inspiring as Kangchenjunga's beauty is that at least the first three parties to ascend the mountain never attempted the final few feet to the summit out of voluntary respect for the Sikkimese, who consider the summit sacred. The successful British expedition of 1955 set the standard by stopping a few feet short of the actual summit, in honor of the local religion. The next two ascents were teams led respectively by India's Colonel N. Kumar in 1977, and by British climber Doug Scott in 1979. These parties also honored the tradition. Various origins of the name Kangchenjunga have been debated, but it is often translated as Five Treasuries of the Great Snow, a reference to the five high peaks that rise from the surrounding glaciers.