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I trekked to Kangchenjunga North and South Base Camps in 2004.

Kangchenjunga 03 02 Jannu North Face Full View Jannu’s North Face was climbed from the left hand ridge in 1977 by a large Japanese expedition. This is how Freshfield saw Jannu’s North Face when descending the valley during his circuit of Kangchenjunga in 1899: “From this point the whole of Jannu was visible, in outline an enormous dome of rock, vast in bulk, symmetrical in form, and crowned by an admirably proportional lantern. ... The view was sensational. We felt the rare rapture of the adventurer who has discovered something worth all the pains.”  - D.W. Freshfield: Round Kangchenjunga.

Kangchenjunga 03 02 Jannu North Face Full View

Kangchenjunga 03 04 Jannu North Face Summit Blazes At Sunset We arrived at Kambachen (4150m), a Tibetan settlement of about a dozen houses. I settled into my tent in cloudy weather. I poked my head out of my tent as evening fell to see that the clouds had lifted and Jannu's North Face turned a fiery red as the sun set. Magical!

Kangchenjunga 03 04 Jannu North Face Summit Blazes At Sunset

Kangchenjunga 04 02 Tent Peak and Nepal Peak  from Lhonak The best view of Tent Peak (7365m, also called Kirat Chuli) to the left and Nepal peak (7168m) to the right are from Lhonak. Further up at Pangpema; a ridge blocks the view.

Kangchenjunga 04 02 Tent Peak and Nepal Peak from Lhonak

Kangchenjunga 04 05 Kangchenjunga North Summit Close Up From Pangpema Here is a close-up of Kangchenjunga’s main 8586m summit from Pangpema, with the Pinnacles showing up clearly just to the right of the summit.

Kangchenjunga 04 05 Kangchenjunga North Summit Close Up From Pangpema

Kangchenjunga 04 07 Kangchenjunga North Face From Above Pangpema We climbed a very steep 230m hill directly behind Pangpema to get a more complete view. In fact, the only extra things you can see are Kambachen and a little more of the Kangchenjunga Glacier. So, it is not necessary. Lots of snow blows off The Twins, Kangchenjunga, Yalung Kang and Kambachen, seen in the early morning from above Pangpema. Freshfield had made a note of the danger on Kangchenjunga: “The whole face of the mountain might be imagined to have been constructed by the Demon of Kanchenjunga for the express purpose of defense against human assault, so skillfully is each comparatively weak spot raked by the ice and rock batteries”.

Kangchenjunga 04 07 Kangchenjunga North Face From Above Pangpema

Kangchenjunga 04 08 Wedge Peak From Above Pangpema The aptly named beautiful ice-fluted Wedge Peak (6750m) shines in the early morning sun from above Pangpema. Frank Smythe wrote in The Kangchenjunga Adventure, “the Wedge peak seen from the north is nothing more or less than a gigantic elemental wedge. It is a brutal mountain … turn to the skyline. There ice, not ordinary ice, sharp-edged and unbroken, but ice hacked and tortured by winds, clings to the ridges; thin flakes of ice through which the sun gleams with a cold fire; pinnacles of fairy-like delicacy, elegant busts, daring minarets, extravagant mushrooms, a strange goblinesque procession, drunken and tottering, frozen in a downward march.”

Kangchenjunga 04 08 Wedge Peak From Above Pangpema

Kangchenjunga 06 02 Jannu South-west Face From Sinion La Jannu's south-west face, as seen from the Sinion La (4663m). The complex and difficult route of first ascent came in from the right glacier, went up the glacier below the face and then up to the right-hand southeast ridge, and followed this ridge to the summit.

Kangchenjunga 06 02 Jannu South-west Face From Sinion La

Kangchenjunga 06 05 Trekking Crew At Sinion La - Suba Sing, guide Gyan Tamang, Pemba Rinji,Jerome Ryan, Purna and Nima Dorje Here is my full trekking crew at Sinion La, from left to right: porter Suba Sing, guide Gyan, porter Pemba Rinji holding Zig-Zag, Jerome Ryan, porter Purna and cook Nima Dorje.

Kangchenjunga 06 05 Trekking Crew At Sinion La - Suba Sing, guide Gyan Tamang, Pemba Rinji,Jerome Ryan, Purna and Nima Dorje

Kangchenjunga 07 01 Kangchenjunga, Talung, Kabru and Ratong From Unnamed Pass Just below the final 4724m pass, called either the Unnamed Pass or the Sinelapche La, on the beginning of the descent to Ramche, a fantastic mountain vista opened up. On the far left is Kangchenjunga’s main (8586m), central (8482m) and south (8476m) summits. After the dip from Kangchenjunga is Talung (7349m), the broad four peaks of Kabru (7738m), and Ratong (6679m). Scouring the valley bottom is the Yalung Glacier. Ramche is just before the turn to the left towards Kangchenjunga.

Kangchenjunga 07 01 Kangchenjunga, Talung, Kabru and Ratong From Unnamed Pass

Kangchenjunga 07 06 Koktang Sunset from Ramche The ice-fluted ridge of Koktang (6147m) shines in the fading sunset from Ramche.

Kangchenjunga 07 06 Koktang Sunset from Ramche

Kangchenjunga 08 03 Kangchenjunga West, Main, Central and South summits from South at Oktang Kangchenjunga’s west (Yalung Kang, 8505m), main (8586m), central (8482m) and south (8476m) summits glisten in the early morning sunshine from Oktang (4800m). Kangchenjunga was first climbed on May 25, 1955 by a British expedition led by Charles Evans who had been John Hunt’s deputy on the successful 1953 Everest team. The team followed the Yalung Glacier to the foot of the southwest face. They climbed to the Great Shelf, a flat low-angled snow basin in the centre of the photo below the central summit. They then crossed the Great Shelf and followed a snow slope, The Gangway, angling up to the west ridge to the left of the main summit, and then on to the summit. The first summit team was Joe Brown and George Band, who was also on Everest in 1953, with the second summit team of Norman Hardie and Tony Streather following the next day.

Kangchenjunga 08 03 Kangchenjunga West, Main, Central and South summits from South at Oktang

Kangchenjunga 09 05 Yamphudin House Family Three Generations I was especially lucky to stay with this family at Yamphudin on a special day, a large Hindu festival called Dasain. School is out, and people go home to visit their parents. The grandfather (centre) of our house is an elder of the village, and the local villagers come to his son's house to have him apply tikka. The mother (right) of the house invited our group to join them in a small party. She put a ceremonial katta scarf around each of our necks, and gave us our favourite drink. Rakshi for Gyan, Coke for me, tea for Pemba Rinji, and chang for Nima and Suba. There were about 30 people there, including babies, children, teenagers and us older people. A teenager with a ghetto blaster played Nepali music, and people danced in ones, twos or threes. Naturally I did a couple of scuffs, one with the daughter (left), trying to imitate their hand gestures and dancing style.

Kangchenjunga 09 05 Yamphudin House Family Three Generations