Spectacular Himalayan Scenery and Natural History


Day 1: Kathmandu to Basantapur by bus Day 2: Basantapur - Chauki From Basantapur the start of the trek is a major trade route to Chainpur and the Arun valley, Taplejung and the upper Tamur valley. You will be trekking alongside droves of porters who will gradually tail off as you reach Tude Deorali and then Door Pani (2780m). There will be superb views on both sides of the wide trail. To the north is Makalu and below the Arun Kosi river and Tamur Kosi drainages. The trail ascends slowly through mossy rhododendron forests. There is a tea shop at Panch Pokhari and from there you will drop down to Tinjuri Danda and climb up again to Phedi where there is a good camp site for the night at Chauki (2700m). Day 3: Chauki – Gupa Pokhari On this day you hike through pretty meadows along the Milke Danda ridge. There are views of Mera, Makalu, Chhamlang and Kanchenjunga. The ridge takes you up and down as you pass through Manglebare, Srimani and Balukop to two small lakes at Lamo Pokhari. From here it is mostly downhill to more lakes at Gupa Pokhari (2930m) where there are several lodges, food and drinks shops (including beer and rum!). The locals are Tibetans. The women of the village weave carpets and scarves by the sides of the trail. Violent windstorms are known in this area. Day 4: Gupa Pokhari - Nesum You will now be leaving the Milke Danda ridge as you head out to another ridge above the Tamur Kosi. The trail meanders uphill along the ridge again through rhododendron forests to Akhar Deorali (3200m) then ascends and descends along the way to Buje Deorali, Mul Pokhari and down to Gurja (2000m) where the vegetation changes to hazel and chestnut forests. The countryside is now well cultivated as you descend to Chartrapati and on to Nesum (1620m). Day 5: Nesum - Thumma Leaving Thumma you take a zig zig descent to the Maihwa Khola where there is a police check post. Then cross the suspension bridge to reach Doban (640m). From here you will trek up both sides of the Tamur Kosi river. It is difficult terrain and subject to landslides. You will cross over a number of bridges, some in good order, others being repaired or improved. When you reach Siwa you will be on the East side of the river. The people of the Tamur valley are mostly Limbus. There are a few Chhetris in the lower regions and Sherpas at higher elevations. Thumma is two hours beyond Doban after crossing to the east side via a suspension bridge. Day 6: Thumma - Chirwa The trek on this day will take you over an undulating route alongside the river across landslides and through rocky fields to arrive at the Chhetri bazaar of Mitlung (800m). You will then climb over a ridge to Sisnu then cross the river possibly switching between east and west banks depending on the state of the terrain. There are three settlements – Siwa, Tawa and Porke to pass through then the valley narrows and you will be climbing across landslides and the boulder strewn river deposits to Chirwa (1190m) The water supply here is a set up of bamboo chutes, pipes and channels – very Heath Robinson likeYou will be camping or staying in a tea house for the night???? Day 7: Chirwa - Sakathum The trek today continues over large boulders to Tapethok where you will cross the river with the trail going up and down a few times then traversing a landslide before crossing the Tamua Khola by suspension bridge, below Helok. You will bypass Helok climbing over a spur and descend to the Simbua Khola river. This river originates from the Yalung Glacier on the south side of Kanchenjunga. When you reach the river there is a short climb over another ridge to the narrow and steep Gunsa Khola valley. You will cross here and camp near the Tibetan village of Sakathum (1640m) by the river. You may get your first sight of Jannu up the Gunsa Khola valley. Sakathum has a helipad. Day 8: Sakathum - Amjilassa There is a narrow, steep trail up the north bank of the Gunsa Khola out of Sakathum, which then climbs steeply 100m before dropping back to the river. The trail follows the river bed for a kilometer then ascends by a succession of stone steps leading to a waterfall and Ghaiya Bari. You will then enjoy a gentler ascent following an exposed but exhilarating trail through arid country to a crest at 2530m. There is a short descent then to the Tibetan settlement of Amjilassa (2490m) Day 9: Amjilassa - Kyapra Leaving Amjilassa you will ascend 100m then through lush oak, bamboo and rhododendron forests. The Kanchenjunga massif to the south-west is in sight. By short descents and passing several waterfalls and pastures you will reach a large waterfall in the Gunsa Khola itself and then start climbing steeply to Kyapra (2730m) and a camp site there. Day 10: Kyapra - Gunsa You will leave Kyapra by a steep descent into a ravine then along the river through rhododendron and fir trees. You will travel all morning to Killa and the yak pastures and potato fields of Phere. Tibetans live in these two villages. The valley widens through the fields and larch forests to the Gunsa Khola with a bridge leading to Gunsa village (3430). There is a police check post here. It is here that the high route via Lapsang La to Kanchenjunga base camp starts. Day 11: Gunsa – Acclimatisation Day Up to this point the trek has been in the lowlands and you will now start trekking into the high country. For this reason your body needs to acclimatise for the higher altitude. The people of Gunsa move their yaks to the high country south of Kanchenjunga in the summer and down to Phere in the winter. If you are feeling fit you could trek to a small lake using the route over the Lapsang La. This lake is at the foot of Yamatari Glacier. Day 12: Gunsa - Khambachen On this day you will be gradually ascending along the south bank of the Gunsa Khola to a boulder strewn flood plain. The trail then crosses back to Rambuk Kharka on the north side of the river and continues on past a waterfall then descends on a short steep route to a scree slope. This can be very unstable and you will need to be sure-footed as you make your way across the slide (there is a steep fall to the river with lots of tumbling large rocks). Once beyond the slide the trail drops down to the Khambachen (4040m). Day 13: Khambachen - Lhonak The trail takes you along open rocky fields to Ramtang (4240) then across moraines north-west of the Kanchenjunga Glacier. Lhonak lies on the open, sandy plain of a dry lake bed. There is a camp area among the large boulders a little sheltered from the wind. You will be surrounded by wonderful views. However, Kanchenjunga will not be in view from here. Day 14: Lhonak – Pang Pema The trail from Lhonak ascends gradually out of the plain then a little more steeply across the moraine. It is possible to leave the moraine and take the trail across the bottom of the valley to avoid the steeper section. The views are still dramatic but it is not until you approach Pang Pema that Kanchenjunga and Wedge Peak come into site. You will then see the fabulous main peak of Kanchenjunga amongst the panorama of other peaks – one of the largest mountain masses in the world. Day 15: Pang Pema - Khambachen After a good nights sleep in the camp, a morning hike up the ridge north of Pang Pema can be enjoyed, to reach a vantage point for views of Kanchenjunga, Wedge Peak (6750m), the Twins (7350m), Pyramid Peak (7168m) and Tent Peak (7365m). This will entail a climb of 200-300 metres. The rest of the day will be trekking back down to Khambachen. Day 16: Khambachen – Gunsa (see Day 11 in reverse???) Day 17: Gunsa to Amjilassa Day 18: Amjilassa – Chirwa Leaving Amjilassa descend to Helok and head for the south side of Kanchenjunga by climbing the stone stairs in Helok and along the ridge to Yamphudin. Climb on further to the Lamite Bhanjyang to re-enter the Simbua valley from the south. Day 19: Chirwa to Linkhim There are two ways out of Chirwa. One trail avoids the steep climb from Doban by circumnavigating up the side of the valley. The other way is following the Tamur Kosi river to Taplejung. Leave Chirwa by climbing uphill to Diwa then further up over a landslide before dropping down to a large side canyon and climbing back to the ridge and on to Linkhim. Day 20: Linkhim – Suketar The trek to Suketar will be through side canyons passing through small Limbu villages of Helate, Pumbur and Phurba. You will reach a ridge overlooking an enormous slide area. The trail leads above the slide area to the Sherpa villages of Bung Kulung and Lakchun. From here you can trek directly to the airport at Suketar, above Taplejung. Day 21: Fly to Kathmandu

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Kathmandu - Basantapur - Kanchenjunga North Base Camp - Kathmandu
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