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Updated: October 2011. Click on an image to see the FULL size with a caption.

Kangchenjunga Trekking Guidebooks, Books, External Links, DVDs

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My rating scale: Excellent ; Very Good ; Good ; Fair ; Poor.


Kangchenjunga Trekking Guidebooks


Trekkers looking at Wedge Peak - Kangchenjunga: A Trekker's Guide book cover

Trekkers With Thamserku - Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya (Lonely Planet)

1. Kangchenjunga: A Trekker's Guide

by Kev Reynolds. Kev has written some of my favourite trekking guidebooks, including Annapurna, Manaslu, Everest, and this one on Kangchenjunga.

He describes the routes both in words and photos to both North and South Base Camps, giving good descriptions of the villages along the way. I've even learned that the timings he gives for each trek segment is exactly the time it takes me.

2. Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya (Lonely Planet)

by Stan Armington. A classic trekking book detailing with good maps and route descriptions all of the favourite Nepalese treks, including Gokyo and Everest, Annapurna, Kangchenjunga, Manaslu, and Mustang.


Annapurna South from moraine above Annapurna Base Camp - Trekking And Climbing in Nepal book cover

Kangchenjunga North Face - Trekking And Climbing in Nepal book

3. Trekking And Climbing in Nepal

by Steve Razzetti. This book contains basic information on 25 treks in Nepal, including Humla to Mount Kailash, the Annapurna Sanctuary and Circuit, the Dhaulagiri Circuit, Jomsom to Mustang, Around Manaslu, Rolwaling, Gokyo and Everest, Makalu, and Kangchenjunga. It also contains descriptions of climbing 12 trekking peaks, including Pisang, Chulu, Ramdung, Lobuche East, Imja Tse, and Mera. The front cover is Annapurna South.

The book includes four pages on the Kangchenjunga North and South Base Camps.

The trekking route descriptions and maps are basic. The photos are very good.

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Kangchenjunga First Ascent Books


The Hard Years (Joe Brown) book cover

Kangchenjunga First Ascent route - The Hard Years (Joe Brown) book

Kangchenjunga First Ascent - George Band reaching the summit ridge - The Hard Years (Joe Brown) book

1. The Hard Years

by Joe Brown. Published 1967. One of Michael Chessler's Top 100 Mountaineering Books. This is the story of Joe Brown's climbing life, from the time of his early scrambles in disused mine-shafts, to his more famous exploits of the first ascent of Kangchenjunga on May 25, 1955, and the first ascent of Mustagh Tower on July 6, 1956. There are 28 pages of b/w photos.

A 16-page chapter briefly describes the first ascent of Kangchenjunga on May 25, 1955 by Joe Brown and George Band. There are four pages of b/w photos. "We stood on a rock and the snow comb was only four or five feet higher."

I found the writing very basic, straightforward, and very brief.


Kangchenjunga from southwest - Kangchenjunga The Untrodden Peak book cover

Kangchenjunga First Ascent George Band climbing on May 25 1955 - Kangchenjunga The Untrodden Peak book

Kangchenjunga First Ascent - Joe Brown Climbs The Final Crack To The Summit - Kangchenjunga The Untrodden Peak book

2. Kangchenjunga The Untrodden Peak

by Charles Evans. The leader of the British expedition details at length the logistical challenges of the large-scale siege of the first successful climb of Kangchenjunga, believed to be a sacred mountain by the people of Sikkim. The original Hodder and Stoughton London 1956 edition has 5 pages of colour photos and 32 pages of b/w photos, versus the Travel Book Club edition, which is smaller and only has 6 pages of b/w photos.

Joe Brown on the last rock-wall on May 25, 1955: ... jam his fists in the cracks at their sides; he pulled up and round the bulge, to the right ... A few minutes later, George himself had climbed the crack. Before them rose a cone of snow, about twenty feet away and a few feet higher than the place where they stood; it was the top. George Band: ”I’m glad we left no footmark on the top.” The next day, Norman Hardie and Tony Streather looked for an alternative to the rock-wall, and found a snow-ramp around the corner.

The book is a bit too step by step, often confusing, for me. We don't get to know the climbers and their personal feelings and views. The maps are very good.

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Kangchenjunga Books

I use abebooks.com to look for first editions and out of print books.


Gauri Shankar West Ridge - Sacred Summits book cover

Racing down the Kangchenjunga Summit Pyramid on May 15, 1979 - Sacred Summits book

1. Sacred Summits

by Peter Boardman. Published 1982. This book describes Boardman's climbs between December 1978 and November 1979 including the Carstensz Pyramid in New Guinea (8 pages of colour photos), the impressive first ascent of Kangchenjunga North Ridge (8 pages of colour photos), and the first ascent of the South Summit of Gauri Shankar (8 pages of colour photos). The photos are very good. The cover photo is the west ridge of Gauri Shankar.

Pete uses his diaries to tell his inner feelings, and spins a captivating story of the trek to base camp, his silly accident, and the personalities of Doug, Joe and Georges Bettembourg. Boardman, Joe Tasker and Doug Scott made it to the summit on May 15, 1979.

Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker disappeared in March 1982 climbing the North East Ridge of Everest. The Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature was established in their memory.


Granite mountains surrounding the Baltoro Glacier - Savage Arena book cover

Doug Scott On Kangchenjunga Summit May 15, 1979 - Savage Arena book

2. Savage Arena

by Joe Tasker. Published 1982. One of Michael Chessler's Top 100 Mountaineering Books. Also available in The Boardman Tasker Omnibus. This book describes Tasker's climbs on the Eiger (1975, 20 pages, 3 pages of b/w photos), Dunagiri (1965, 51 pages, 5 pages of b/w photos), Changabang (1976, 36 pages, 4 pages of b/w photos), K2 (1978 and 1980, 77 pages, 8 pages of b/w photos), and Kangchenjunga (1979, 55 pages, 4 pages of b/w photos).

Joe recounts his view of the impressive first ascent of Kangchenjunga North Ridge with Pete Boardman and Doug Scott. The crux was the climb up the hard, steep ice, and ice-covered rock of the 1000m wall leading to the North Col. "The nearness of the much-longed-for summit inspired a last big effort and we stood all three of us on a prow of rock which jutted out from the snow dome of the summit itself. It was 4:45 p.m.. ... we had climbed Kangchenjunga, we had stood just a few feet short of the third highest mountain in the world and we had done it all ourselves, without a massive pyramid of support ..."

Joe spins a great story of the ups and downs and challenges and personal frustrations and fears of climbing. Joe had trouble acclimatizing and had to descend and got out of touch with the other three climbers, who were repulsed by 140 km./hr winds in their first summit attempt. Joe then rejoined his team, but then Georges Bettembourg decided to descend just before they went for the summit. The photos are only fair.

Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker disappeared in March 1982 climbing the North East Ridge of Everest. The Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature was established in their memory.


The Twins From Kangchen Glacier By Vittorio Sella - Round Kangchenjunga book cover

Kangchenjunga East Face By Vittorio Sella - Round Kangchenjunga book

Jannu North Face From Kangbachen By Vittorio Sella - Round Kangchenjunga book

3. Round Kangchenjunga

by Douglas W. Freshfield. Originally published 1903. This edition is a reprint from 2002. This is an early mountaineering classic describing the 1899 trek around Kangchenjunga, featuring the beautiful, almost poetic, writing of Freshfield and the spectacular photos of Vittorio Sella.

Freshfield: "Its object is not so much to offer another tale of mountaineering adventure as to provide an account of the scenery and glacial features of he Kangchenjunga Group."

The portion on Sikkim makes me want to go back and trek that side of Kangchenjunga. He provides many comparisons to the Alps that are not overly relevant today. "The mists had lifted and revealed to us for the first time the walls of the great amphitheatre at the head of the Zemu Glacier. We were face to face with Kangchenjunga."

In addition to the 39 pages of black and white photos by Vittorio Sella is a large 6-page fold out panorama of Tent Peak, Nepal Gap, The Twins, Kangchenjunga and Wedge Peak. The Appendix includes excerpts of the Kangchenjunga portions from Chandra Das - Journey to Tashilhunpo (1879) and Journey to Lhasa (1881).


Kangchenjunga South Face At Sunrise - Khangchendzonga Sacred Summit book cover

Kangchenjunga First Ascent - George Band Next To The Untrodden Kangchenjunga Summit May 25, 1955 - Khangchendzonga Sacred Summit book

2005 reunion with George Band, Norman Hardie and Col. Narrinder Kumar - Khangchendzonga Sacred Summit book

4. Khangchendzonga: Sacred Summit

by Pema Wangchuk and Mita Zulca. Published 2007. The authors document in photos and text everything Kangchenjunga from a Sikkim perspective. There are about 250 b/w photos, about half full page photos. The book goes through the history of Sikkim and the religions and their association with Kangchenjunga. The mapping and early exploration features Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, Sarat Chandra Das, and Douglas Freshfield. Early mountaineering attempts feature Alexander Kellas, Aleister Crowley, Professor Dyrenfurth, and Paul Bauer. The ascents of Kangchenjunga include the first by the British in 1955, the second by the Indians in 1977, and the third by the British in 1979.

If you want to read only one historical book on Kangchenjunga, this is the one. The photos are very good and include many historical photos from the 1800s and 1900s. I especially liked the photos from Vittorio Sella, the Royal Geographical Society, and the 2005 reunion with George Band, Norman Hardie and Col. Narrinder Kumar. I was disappointed that there were no colour photos. The section on the history of Sikkim and religion association with Kangchenjunga could have been much shorter.


The Proposed Route Up The Great Ice Wall On Kangchenjunga Northwest Face 1930 - The Kangchenjunga Adventure book cover

Jonsong Peak North Face 1930 - Kangchenjunga Adventure book

5. The Kangchenjunga Adventure

by F.S. Smythe. Published 1930. The book describes the 1930 International Expedition, led by George Dyhrenfurth, that failed to scale Kangchenjunga via the extremely dangerous North Face. Smythe: "Huge masses of ice as high as cathedrals, were still toppling to destruction. ... (Sherpa Chettan) was dead, having been carried down at least three hundred feet, and crushed in a torrent of ice blocks." The other 15 climbers and Sherpas were very lucky to have escaped the ice avalanche.

They then briefly tried the North-west ridge, but considered it "utter and complete hopelessness", and abandoned it. They then made the first ascents of Rathong (6678m) and Jongsong Peak (7483m), and also climbed the Southwest peak of Nepal Peak. He describes the trek from Darjeeling via the Kang La and Mirgin La to the Base Camp at Pangpema. They returned via Sikkim.

I really liked Smythe's writing style, very descriptive. The 48 pages of b/w photos in the original 1930 edition help bring the story to life. The beginning of the book could have been brief, as it took 100 pages for the story to really get started. 


Kangchenjunga East Face Above Green Lake Plain 1929 - Himalayan Campaign book

Kangchenjunga Main Summit From Outpost Peak September 17, 1931 - Himalayan Campaign book

6. Himalayan Campaign: The German Attack on Kangchenjunga

by Paul Bauer. The original 1937 edition has 60 pages of b/w photos and 3 excellent maps to illustrate the story. Expedition leader Paul Bauer tells the story of the 1929 and 1931 German expeditions that failed to scale Kangchenjunga via the Northeast Spur. The expeditions also included Peter Aufschnaiter of later Seven Years In Tibet fame. Their achievement was considered so great that it was awarded the Gold Medal at the Los Angles Olympics.

"On October 7 and 8, 1929, at a height of some 23,000 feet, Kangchenjunga overwhelmed us in huge masses of fresh snow, and forced us to retire before his raging storms."

In 1931 they returned earlier in the summer, but “everything has changed tremendously". There was an unusually "great heat and moisture", which caused an outbreak of disease, impacting some of the climbers and Sherpas and porters. Hermann Schaller and Pasang died on August 9th in a fall from a dangerous steep traverse. This time they got to an area on the ridge they called Outpost Peak, but then decided not to attempt any farther. "On the left is one of the famous fluted snow walls of the Himalaya with countless quite fine ripples, on the right the steep rock-faces of the north ridge can only be reached across overhanging snow masses. … It is useless."


Capt. Kiran Kumar Climbing In The Ice Fall - Kanchenjunga: First Ascent From The North-East Spur book front cover

Kangchenjunga East Face - Kanchenjunga: First Ascent From The North-East Spur book back cover

Major Prem Chand on Kangchenjunga Summit May 31, 1977 - Kanchenjunga: First Ascent From The North-East Spur book

7. Kanchenjunga: First Ascent From the North-East Spur

by Col. Narinder Kumar. Published 1978. The Indian Air Force expedition team leader tells the story of the second ascent of Kangchenjunga in 1977 via the north-east spur, the difficult ridge that defeated the German expeditions in 1929 and 1931. Major Prem Chand and Nima Dorje Sherpa reached the top on May 31, 1977. This is a large 9 x 11 inch book, nicely illustrated with 42 pages of colour photos, 7 pages of b/w photos, and 14 pages with smaller b/w photos. Lord Hunt described this achievement as being "... far greater than the Conquest of Everest as it involved technical climbing and objective hazards of a much higher order than those found on Everest."

"I was visualizing the disappointment of the Germans, who half a century earlier, had stood just a little further on the tooth point and looked despairingly at the face of the North Ridge, ultimately calling off their magnificent attempt. ... they had noticed some windslabs cracking and they had decided not to take any chances. But Prem's party encountered very stable conditions ... From the top of the face, Prem had his first look at the North Ridge ... the mountain which was so sheer on its eastern side, had vast snow-fields on its west, and the ridge looked eminently negotiable."

The story is fairly brief and told in a dispassionate matter of fact manner. The photos are very good and the reason to buy this book.


Reinhold Messner in Leh, Ladakh - 3x8000 Mein grosses Himalaja-Jahr (Reinhold Messner) book cover

Reinhold Messner Climbing Icewall - 3x8000 Mein grosses Himalaja-Jahr (Reinhold Messner) book

Reinhold Messner and Friedl Mutschlechner Next To Kangchenjunga Summit May 6, 1982 - Kangchenjunga Icewall - 3x8000 Mein grosses Himalaja-Jahr (Reinhold Messner) book

8. 3x8000 Mein grosses Himalaja-Jahr: Kangchendzoonga, Gasherbrum II, Broad Peak, Cho Oyu

by Reinhold Messner. Published 1983. This photographic book with text in German details Messner's ascents of Kangchenjunga (May 6, 1982), Gasherbrum II (July 24, 1982), Broad Peak (August 2, 1982) and Cho Oyu (May 5, 1983). Hmm, maybe it should have been called 4x8000?.

The chapter on Kangchenjunga is 35 pages long with 27 pages of colour photos and 8 pages of text with 18 b/w photos. On May 6, 1982 Messner and Friedl Mutschlechner completed the 10th ascent of Kangchenjunga, climbing a variation of the north flank route partly in alpine style, without oxygen and supported by only a few Sherpas.

The photos are very good.


Kangchenjunga From Sandakphu - Kangchenjunga: Imaging A Himalayan Mountain book cover

Kinchinjunga From Darjeeling, 1879, Edward Lear - Kangchenjunga: Imaging A Himalayan Mountain book

Doug Scott On Kangchenjunga Summit May 15, 1979 - Kangchenjunga: Imaging A Himalayan Mountain book

9. Kangchenjunga: Imaging A Himalayan Mountain

by Simon Pierse. Published 2005. This book was created as a catalogue to accompany an exhibition of 56 paintings, prints and photographs of Kangchenjunga, which showed at The Alpine Club in London in May-June 2005 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first ascent of the mountain. There are 18 colour and 41 bw images and photos, including many from the 1800s and early-to-mid 1900s.

The book features brief summaries of: explorers like Joseph Hooker in 1848-9 and Douglas Freshfield and Vittorio Sella in 1899; painters like Edward Lear and Marianne Worth and T. Howard Semervell; and mountaineering expeditions like Aleister Crowley in 1905, the Dyhrenfurth International Expedition in 1930, the Kangchenjunga First Ascent by Joe Brown and George Band in 1955, and the first ascent of the Kangchenjunga North Face by Doug Scott, Joe tasker and Pete Boardman in 1979.

The images are very good. I especially liked the paintings. The text is basic.

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Kangchenjunga Miscellaneous Books


Alex MacIntyre on the ridge between the Shishapangma Main Summit and the Central Summit May 28, 1982 - Climbing The Worlds 14 Highest Mountains book cover

Kangchenjunga Northwest Face Above Pangpema - Climbing The Worlds 14 Highest Mountains book

Kangchenjunga Southwest Face at sunset from Oktang - Climbing The Worlds 14 Highest Mountains book

1. Climbing the World's 14 Highest Mountains: The History Of The 8000-Meter Peaks

by Richard Sale, John Cleare ((Photographer). Published 2000. Highly recommended! The book details the exploration, first ascent, and other major ascents of all 14 8000m peaks, including spectacular photos.


Doug Scott - Doug Scott: Himalayan Climber book cover

Upper: Kangchenjunga upper slopes from the Great terrace. Lower: Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker heading across the upper snow bands to the Pinnacles on May 15, 1979 - Doug Scott: Himalayan Climber book

Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker Next To Kangchenjunga Summit May 15, 1979 - Doug Scott: Himalayan Climber book

2. Doug Scott: Himalayan Climber: A Lifetime's Quest to the World's Greater Ranges

by Doug Scott Published 1997. One of Michael Chessler's Best Mountain Photo Books. Scott details his many climbs over the years.

He dedicates 18 pages to the May 15, 1979 impressive first ascent of the Kangchenjunga North Ridge with Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman. The photos are spectacular, including Joe and Pete beside the pinnacles and just a few metres from the summit in the lengthening shadows of late afternoon.


Dhaulagiri South Face - Over the Himalaya book cover

Kangchenjunga  Southwest Face above Yalung Glacier - Over the Himalaya book

Jannu Southwest Face above Yamatari Glacier - Over the Himalaya book

3. Over the Himalaya

by Koichiro Ohmori. Published 1998. One of Michael Chessler's Best Mountain Photo Books. This book features 44 spectacular 2-page aerial photos of the 8000m Nepalese mountains - Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest and Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri (cover) - and several others, including Jannu, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam.. Route diagrams and some basic history of the first few ascents are also included.

There are six 2-page photos of the Kangchenjunga region - three of Kangchenjunga, two of Jannu, and one of Jongsang Peak.


Just a few metres to the Mount Everest summit from the Everest North Face - 8000 Metri Di Vita, 8000 Metres To Live For book front cover

Kangchenjunga East Face - 8000 Metri Di Vita, 8000 Metres To Live For book back cover

Kangchenjunga West Face - 8000 Metri Di Vita, 8000 Metres To Live For book

4. 8000 Metri Di Vita, 8000 Metres To Live For

by Simone Moro. Published 2008. In Italian and English. This coffee-table size book features excellent photos from all 14 8000m peaks. Each 8000m peak has a brief history, a photo of each face showing the climbing routes, and lots of excellent photos.

There are 13 pages on Kangchenjunga. Simone Moro's attempt on Kangchenjunga in 1995 was stopped at 7600m. The expedition found the body of Wanda Rutkiewicz who had died in 1992.

The photos and route diagrams are excellent.


Looking down from the Northeast Ridge of Kangchenjunga - All Fourteen 8000ers (Reinhold Messner) book cover

Reinhold Messner and Friedl Mutschlechner on Kangchenjunga summit May 6, 1982 - All Fourteen 8000ers (Reinhold Messner) book

Critically Ill and hallucinating, Reinhold Messner ropes down the Kangchenjunga North Face after going to the summit - All Fourteen 8000ers (Reinhold Messner) book

5. All Fourteen 8,000ers

by Reinhold Messner. Published 1999. One of Michael Chessler's Top 100 Mountaineering Books. Messner briefly details his ascents of all 14 8000m peaks, documented with his photos. He also includes route diagrams and some basic history of the first few ascents.

On May 6, 1982 Messner and Friedl Mutschlechner completed the 10th ascent of Kangchenjunga, climbing a variation of the north flank route partly in alpine style, without oxygen and supported by only a few Sherpas.


Kangchenjunga Southwest Face from Jannu - Himalaya Alpine Style: The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks book cover

Kangchenjunga North Face - Himalaya Alpine Style: The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks book

Jannu North Face, Sobithonge and Phole - Himalaya Alpine Style: The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks book

6. Himalaya Alpine Style: The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks

by Andy Fanshawe, Stephen Venables. Published 1996. This book briefly details 40 of the world's finest climbs on mountains in Pakistan (including Broad Peak, K2 and Nanga Parbat), India, Nepal and Tibet (including Annapurna, Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Everest, Makalu and Kangchenjunga). Each climb is illustrated with many great photos, climbing routes, and summary statistics and information. Each area has an excellent overview map.

There are 5 pages on Kangchenjunga North-West Face/North Ridge, and 7 pages of Jannu South-East Ridge.


Matterhorn summit ridge with Monte Rosa beyond - World Mountaineering: The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers book cover 

Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker Resting At The Pinnacles Just Below The Kangchenjunga Summit May 15, 1979 - World Mountaineering: The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers book

7. World Mountaineering: The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers

by Audrey Salkeld. Publised 1998. The book briefly details 52 of the world's finest climbs, including Kangchenjunga, documented with photos, excellent aerial-type maps, and a basic climbing history.


Ed Viesturs high on Manaslu - Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants book cover

Kangchenjunga West Summit At Sunrise, Pyramid Peak is on the right - Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants book

Ed Viesturs First 8000er Next To Kangchenjunga Summit May 21, 1989 - Craig Van Hoy Belays Phil Erschler - Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants book

8. Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs on the 8,000-Meter Giants

photographs by Ed Viesturs, text with Peter Potterfield. Released in early 2003, this book presents photographs with some basic text descriptions of Viestur's ascents of 11 of the 14 8000ers. After this book was published he reached the summit of Nanga Parbat in June 2003, Broad Peak in July 2003, and on May 12, 2005 he reached the summit of Annapurna, becoming the first American to reach the summit of all 14 8000ers, all without oxygen.

Ed Viesturs, Craig Van Hoy, and  Phil Erschler reached the summit of Kangchenjunga via the Northwest face on May 21, 1989. There are 10 pages on Kangchenjunga. Kangchenjunga was Ed's first 800er.

Ed's photos are excellent.


Camp 2 on Gasherbum II - Wanda Rutkiewicz: A Caravan of Dreams book cover

The K2 Snow Shoulder Is So Expansive That Orientation Becomes Impossible In Bad Weather - Wanda Rutkiewicz: A Caravan Of Dreams book

Wanda Rutkiewicz On Kangchenjunga 1992 - Wanda Rutkiewicz: A Caravan Of Dreams book

Wanda Rutkiewicz In Her High Camp On Kangchenjunga May 1992 - Wanda Rutkiewicz: A Caravan Of Dreams book

Wanda Rutkiewicz At Her High Camp In The Shelter Of An Ice Cleft On Kangchenjunga May 1992 - Wanda Rutkiewicz: A Caravan Of Dreams book

9. Wanda Rutkiewicz - A Caravan Of Dreams

by Gertrude Reinisch. Published in English in 2000. This book traces the career of Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz. It includes brief reports of Trollryggen in Norway in 1968, Pik Lenin 1970, the Eiger North Face 1973, the Matterhorn North Face 1978, Aconcagua South Face 1985, and Cerro Torre 1988. The book focuses mainly on her climbs in the Himalaya and Karakoram, including: the first ascent of the then highest unclimbed peak 7952m Gasherbrum III August 11, 1975 (4 pages); Mount Everest summit October 16, 1978 (10 pages); Nanga Parbat attempt 1976 and summit July 15, 1985 (5 pages); K2 expedition leader 1982, attempt 1984, and becoming the first female to summit K2 June 23, 1986 (35 pages); Makalu attempts 1986 and 1990 (10 pages); Shishapangma Main Summit September 18, 1987 (4 pages); Gasherbrum II summit July 12, 1989 (14 pages); Gasherbrum I summit July 16, 1990 (19 pages); Cho Oyu summit September 26, 1991 solo (2 pages); Annapurna winter attempt 1987 and south face summit October 22, 1991 solo (15 pages); Dhaulagiri aborted attempt 1991 (3 pages); Yalung Kang (8505m) winter 1988/89 attempt, and Kangchenjunga attempts in 1991 and 1992 (24 pages); Wanda Rutkiewicz died May 12 or 13, 1992 on Kangchenjunga. There are transcripts of many of her personal letters from expeditions across the world. There are many photos.

After being stopped by bad weather at 7000m on Yalung Kang in winter 1988/89 and the expedition leader aborting her attempt in 1991 at about 7500m because of the death of two climbers, Wanda returned on an expedition led by Carlo Carsolio in March 1992. Of the six members, four had to drop out because of illness or injury. Only Wanda and Carlos were left to make a final attempt on the summit. Carlos Carsolio: 'Wanda and I started out from Camp I on 9 May and made good progress. We reached Camp II that day and Camp III - which we found in ruins - the next day. .. Wanda bivouacked whereas I went on to the ice cave where we had Camp IV. The weather was so bad the next morning that I had to sit out the day. A very tired Wanda joined me ... At 3:30 the next day, 12 May, the weather was fine and we set out again. ... Above the ice pinnacles the snow was even deeper and I soon lost sight of Wanda. I got to the summit at 5 in the afternoon and I saw Wanda again on the way down. She was sitting under an overhanging rock, and she said she would wait until the next day to go for the summit. ... I didn't simply abandon her after I had met her at 8300m. She was cold, but in full command of her faculties, and she was determined to go on to the summit. I couldn't dissuade her, even though she was very tired and had no sleeping bag, no cooker, no water and no food. We don't know whether she died in her bivouac cave or on her way up to the summit or on her way down; all we know is that she is gone forever.'

The book is written in a straightforward manner, factual and to the point. We do get some insights into Wanda as a person through her relationship with the author and her letters. The photos are very good.


Hans Kammerlander climbs upper seracs on Annapurna Northwest Face - The Big Walls book cover

Kangchenjunga North Face - The Big Walls book

Jannu East Face - The Big Walls book

10. The Big Walls: From the North Face of the Eiger to the South Face of Dhaulagiri

by Reinhold Messner. Revised in 2001. Messner briefly details the big mountain walls in the world in the Himalayas, the Karakorum, the Alps, South America, Alaska and the Caucasus.

It includes a photo of Kangchenjunga and Jannu, two pages on Kangchenjunga's North Face, two pages on Kangchenjunga's South Summit / Southwest Buttress, and two pages on Jannu East Summit / East Face.

I like this as a reference book. The photos are very good.


Juanito Oiarzabal - Los 14 Ochomiles de Juanito Oiarzabal book cover

Kangchenjunga North Face Near Summit - Los 14 Ochomiles de Juanito Oiarzabal book

11. Los 14 Ochomiles de Juanito Oiarzabal

by Kiko Betelu. Published 1999. Text in Spanish. Spaniard Juanito Oiarzabal became the sixth mountaineer to summit all 14 8000m peaks when he reached the summit of Annapurna on April 29, 1999. This book reviews each of his 14 ascents with text, photos, and a route map. There are 65 colour photos and 42 b/w photos. With his ascent of Annapurna on April 27, 2010, Juanito holds the record for the most ascents of 8000m peaks with 24.

A 12-page chapter with 6 colour photos and 4 b/w photos describes Oiarzabal's ascent of Kangchenjunga via the North Face on May 6, 1996, on his third attempt.

The photos are very good, especially near the summit.


Rob Hall and Gary Ball After Their First Guided Ascent Of Everest 1992 - Hall and Ball book cover

Gary Ball tackling the start of the rock band high on Kangchenjunga's North Face - Hall and Ball book

12. Hall and Ball: Kiwi Mountaineers from Mount Cook to Everest

by Colin Monteath. Published 1997. Introduction: "They will perhaps be best remembered for leading 40 climbers to the top of Everest during five expeditions before the 1996 tragedy on the mountain. ... Friends say Ball was flamboyant, Hall was more serious, private. Ball provided the spark, Hall the vision."

In addition to the big climbs on Everest, K2, Dhaulagiri, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Makalu, the book also profiles their climbs on Mount Cook, Antarctica, Pik Kommunizma, and Ama Dablam. After their first ascent on Everest they climbed the 7 summits in only 7 months.

The chapter on Kangchenjunga is 10 pages with some great photos. Kangchenjunga was Gary’s first Himalayan experience, part of a 4-person team to attempt the 1980 Japanese route up the ice cliffs directly. They reached a high point of 8200m. From Gary's diary: I stand in front of the North Face at the end of the expedition – defeated. Wind brushes the North Ridge sending up great curtains of spindrift. I feel humble in the face of such greatness.

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Kangchenjunga Photo Books


Mount Everest North and Southwest faces at sunset from Kala Pattar - Nepal Himalaya by Shiro Shirahata book cover

Kangchenjunga Southwest Face At Sunset From Yalung Glacier - Nepal Himalaya by Shiro Shirahata book

Jannu Northwest Face - Nepal Himalaya by Shiro Shirahata book

1. Nepal Himalaya

by Shiro Shirahata. Published 1983. One of Michael Chessler's Best Mountain Photo Books. A large, heavy quality paper, coffee-table type book featuring 115 spectacular photos, over half double-pages, of the 8000m Nepalese mountains - Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest and Lhotse (cover), Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri - and many others, including Jannu, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam.

There are 23 pages with 15 photos of the Kangchenjunga region - two double-page photos of Kangchenjunga's Northwest face and one double-page of the Southwest face.

There are two double-page photos of Jannu's Northwest face, one double-page of the East face, and one page photo of the South face.


Gocha Peak and Kangchenjunga South Face At Sunrise - Kangchenjunga: Guardian of the Eastern Himalaya book cover

Oktang And Kangchenjunga Southwest Face - Kangchenjunga: Guardian of the Eastern Himalaya book

The Twins, Kangchenjunga North Face, Wedge Peak - Kangchenjunga: Guardian of the Eastern Himalaya book

2. Kangchenjunga: Guardian of the Eastern Himalaya

by Tim Hauf (Photographer), Conger Beasley, Jr. (Author). Published 2006. Using his diary and excellent photos, Tim documents his 2005 trek day-by-day to Kangchenjunga.

Conger provides a good history of the attempts up to 1930, and good descriptions of Darjeeling and Gangtok: "I came to look at it, to view it in all its baffling majesty, to ponder its side and daunting shape."

First, Tim left Darjeeling and trekked from Yuksom in Sikkim to Dzongri and Goecha La (cover photo of Kangchennunga south face leading to South Summit). Second, he traveled to Nepal and trekked from Taplejung to both South and North Base Camps.

This is a perfect companion book to A Trekkers Guide, enabling you to visualize what you will experience on the trek.


Siniolchu Summit From Zemu Glacier 1899 - Summit Vittorio Sella book cover

Kangchenjunga South Face From Jongri - Summit Vittorio Sella book

Jannu Southwest Face - Summit Vittorio Sella book

3. Summit Vittorio Sella: Pioneer Mountaineering Photographer, 1879-1909

by Vittorio Sella. Published 1999. Spectacular b/w photos in a coffee table sized book. The chapters are the Alps, the Caucasus in Russia (includes a 4-page fold-out panorama from Elbrus), Mount Saint Elias in Alaska, Ruwenzori in Uganda, K2 and area (includes a 4-page fold-out panorama of K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum IV, Chogolisa, Mitre Peak).

The book includes 20 pages on Kangchenjunga from Sikkim and Nepal. The photos of Jannu are especially spectacular. The cover photo is Siniolchu seen from the Zemu Glacier, Sikkim.


Footsteps In The Clouds book cover

Kangchenjunga South Face And Darjeeling - Footsteps In The Clouds book

Kangchenjunga East Face At Sunrise - Footsteps In The Clouds book

4. Footsteps in the Clouds: Kangchenjunga a Century Later

by Pat and Baiba Morrow. Published 1999. The authors lead a team of climbers to replicate the historic trek around Kangchenjunga made in 1899 by British adventurer Douglas Freshfield and Italian mountain photographer Vittorio Sella.

In April 1998 they started from Darjeeling, drive to Lachen and trek up the Zemu Glacier to attempt Siniolchu and then trek to the Nepal Gap. In November 1998 they trekked from Taplejung to North and South Base Camps. In December 1988 they completed their circuit with a trek from Darjeeling to Dzongri in Sikkim.

The book was well written by Baiba, providing background information and history, and following the team on their climbing and trekking. Pat's colour photos are excellent. There's also a few b/w photos from Vittorio Sella.


Drummond Peak in New Zealand - Climb Every Mountain book cover

Kangchenjunga  North Face - Climb Every Mountain book

5. Climb Every Mountain

by Colin Monteath. Published 2006. Details 12 of Colin's treks over the years - Greenland, climbing Chongtar near K2 North Face, New Zealand Alps, Everest Kangshung East Face, Mount Kailash and Gurla Mandhata, northern Bhutan. Mongolia's Altai mountains, South Georgia on Shackleton's route, Tibet's Kangri Garpo mountain, ski traverse of Mount McKinley, Nepalese side of Kangchenjunga, and Tiera del Fuego and Patagonia.

There is a 14-page chapter on the trek via Walungchunggola and Yangma to Kangchenjunga North Base Camp.

Colin's photos are excellent.


K2 Sunset From Concordia - Himalayan Trails (Sentiers de l'Himalaya) book cover

Kangchenjunga Southwest Face from Oktang - Himalayan Trails (Sentiers de l'Himalaya) book

Jannu North Face - Himalayan Trails (Sentiers de l'Himalaya) book

6. Himalayan Trails (Sentiers de l'Himalaya)

by Laurent Doldi. Published 2006. In French and English. A large soft-cover photo book detailing 10 Himalayan treks: K2 Base Camp (12 pages. 23 photos), Ladakh to Zanskar (16 pages, 38 photos), Jeep tour in Kinnaur Spiti and Ladakh (12 pages, 32 photos), the Sources of the Ganges in India (14 pages, 30 photos), Dolpo (18 pages, 36 photos), Around Annapurna (22 pages, 45 photos), Helambu and the sacred lakes of Gosainkund (16 pages, 29 photos), Rolwaling Valley in winter (18 pages, 37 photos), Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes (20 pages, 41 photos), and Kangchenjunga Base Camps in Nepal (21 pages, 44 photos). Each chapter starts with a very brief overview including a map and altitude profile. There are 360 colour photos.

This is very good companion book to a trekking guide, enabling you to visualize what you will experience on a trek. The photos are very good.


Muktinath Himal - Heart Of The Himalaya Everest book cover

Kangchenjunga North Face from Pangpema - Heart Of The Himalaya Everest book

Jannu Southwest Face - Heart Of The Himalaya Everest book

7. Heart Of The Himalaya

by David Paterson. First published 1997. Medium-sized soft cover book features the author’s treks to Kangchenjunga and Jannu in 1992, Kali Gandaki Valley and the Thulobugin Ridge between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna in 1996. This book also features the treks from Nepal: The Mountains Of Heaven, with some new photos and some photos the same.

You can see some of David Paterson's photos at his website wildcountry.uk.com.

The photos are very good, especially Jannu, Wedge Peak, and Kabru and Rathong Peak.

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Jannu Books

In addition to being featured in books on Kangchenjunga, Jannu is featured in other books as well.


The final pitch of the ridge below Camp IVBelow Camp IV 1962 - At Grips With Jannu book cover

Jannu First Ascent - Top: On The final ridge to Jannu Summit. Bottom: Four metres from the Jannu Summit. - At Grips With Jannu book

Jannu First Ascent - Top: The last couple of steps to the Jannu Summit. Bottom: On The Jannu Summit April 27, 1962. - At Grips With Jannu book

1. At Grips with Jannu

by Jean Franco and Lionel Terray. Published in English in 1967. Contains 46 pages of b/w photos and 5 maps. Jean Franco wrote the first half of this book describing the 1959 attempt, with Lionel Terray writing the second half, the successful ascent in 1962. On April 27, 1962 Robert Paragot, Paul Keller, Rene Desmaison, Gyaltzen Mitchung reached the summit. The following day Lionel Terray, Jean Ravier, Jean Bouvier, Pierre Leroux, Andre Bertrand, Yves Pollet-Villard and Wongdi made it to the summit.

Franco: The whole south-west face of Jannu lay before us, so huge that the eye could not take in the whole of it at one time. Tenzing (Norgay) had said that this was no mere mountain, and he had been right.

Terray: Then, at last, at 6:30 p.m. a thin blue shape appeared, standing upright, on the summit. We had done it! Jannu was ours! ... This (summit) is a blade of ice so slender that it is impossible for two to stand on it.

Both authors are excellent writers, keeping the preparations to a minimum and keeping the story very tight. The photos and maps help you visualize the writing. I especially liked Franco's opening chapters, describing the changes in mountaineering from the highest peaks to the more difficult peaks, and the constant improvements in equipment and technique.


Annapurna III Southeast Buttress - High Asia by Jill Neate book cover

100m below the summit ridge on the first alpine ascent of Jannu in 1978 - High Asia: An Illustrated History of the 7000 Metre Peaks book

2. High Asia: An Illustrated History of the 7000 Metre Peaks

by Jill Neate. Published 1990. Documents the climbing history, including first ascents, of all the 7000m peaks in the world, their various faces and subsidiary peaks, including good photos and maps.

There are 14 pages on the peaks in Eastern Nepal, including Jannu, Kangbachen, Kabru, Talung, Tent Peak, and The Twins.

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Kangchenjunga External Links

For news on Kangchenjunga expeditions, I check the following regularly:

For general information on Kangchenjunga, I check the following:

There are many trekking websites, with my favourites being:

I thoroughly enjoy reading other people's travelogues and looking through their photos. Here are my favourites:

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Kangchenjunga DVDs

In addition to youtube.com videos, I found the following DVDs.


Climbing team below Kangchenjunga North Face - 80 Metres Below The Summit DVD cover

Playing Guitar At Base Camp At Pangpema Below Kangchenjunga North Face - 80 Metres Below The Summit DVD

Upper Climbing Route From Camp3 at 6900m On Kangchenjunga North Face At Sunset - 80 Metres Below The Summit DVD

1. 80 Metres Below The Summit

by Pavol Barabas. In Slovak with English subtitles. Released 1998. 51 minutes. Extras include background on Pavol (10 minutes) and his films. This film documents the 1997 11-member Slovak expedition attempt to climb Kangchenjunga by the difficult 1981 North Wall Czechoslovak Route.

The film opens with the team's arrival in Kathmandu and their trek to base camp at Pang Pema. The normal life at base camp is portrayed with people shaving, washing themselves and their clothes, cooking and eating and drinking coffee, playing guitar and singing, and talking on walkie-talkies to the climbers on the mountain. With additional high-altitude filming by Jindro Martis and Tibor Hromadaka, we follow them as they cross the glacier and climb the mountain, setting up fixed ropes on the rock wall and putting in three camps. "Two days of good weather and the summit will be ours."

The first attempt by Juraj Kardhordo, Vladimir Plulik and Jaroslav Vondercik reached 7700m on May 5 but they decided to retreat because of thick snow and strong winds. The second attempt by Jindro Martis, Martin Gablik and Stano Glejdura reached 8300m on May 8 but they were stopped by very cold temperatures and waist-deep snow. With wind so strong it is "like hitting a wall with your head", the third attempt by Kardhordo and Vondercik reached 8500m (just 80 metres below the summit) on May 13 at 17:00. But, they stopped because they did not want to risk a bivouac near the summit. The film ends with the team singing a rousing rendition of I Can't Get No Satisfaction. Later in 1997 Kardhordo summitted GI and GII, but died near the summit of Manaslu.

There are spectacular views of Kangchenjunga in all weather conditions, especially strong wind. The film is well paced and perfect in length. I especially liked the comments by the climbers, and the scenes of everyday base camp life and the guitar playing and singing. The subtitles are very good.


Mustang (Pavol Barabas) DVD cover

Yaks at Pangpema below Kangchenjunga North Face - Their Home Is Below Kangchenjunga DVD

Prayer Flags and Puja Sticks at Pangpema Frame Kangchenjunga North Face Summit Area - Their Home Is Below Kangchenjunga DVD

2. Their Home Is Below Kangchenjunga

by Pavol Barabas. This DVD has three documentary films in Slovak and English. The other two are Mustang (2001, 27 minutes) and Buddhism On The Roof Of The World (1998, 23 minutes). Released 1998. 25 minutes. The film illustrates how Tibetan culture crossed the Himalayas, and today how it is better preserved outside of Chinese controlled Tibet. It follows a Tibetan caravan crossing over the Jongsang La (6115m) from Tibet to Nepal, passing by Pangpema and the north face of Kangchenjunga and Jannu, to trade at Ghunsa. It shows the daily life of the caravan and the Tibetan people of Ghunsa. We see the people making carpets, planting and plowing crops, cooking over an open fire, and washing and combing their hair. We learn that the women take care of households and fields, and that the families have a deep respect for children. Buddhism is woven into everyday life and is illustrated with chortens, prayer wheels, prayer flags, and monks playing music. Some basic Buddhist teachings, like everything is interconnected, are discussed.

The narration is excellent. It is well filmed with perfect pacing and length. The mountains scenes are very good. I really liked the portrayal of the people, dealing with the basics of life. Some of the scenes near Pangpema are from the 80 Metres Below The Summit DVD.

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