Taplejung - Olangchung Gola - Yangma exploration - Kanchenjunga north BC
Wild! This is an alternative take on the adventurous best of the Kanchenjunga region. We head up a remote valley to the Tibet border then backtrack and cross to the main Kanchenjunga North Base Camp trek, and with an optional double-wild extension, head to the south side as well.
This is a trek of variety, from jungle to the alpine. We begin in the sweaty, green middle hills but soon enter wild forest and cooler country as we gain altitude towards the remote and unusual village of Olangchung Gola, which was once a major trading post with Tibet. Rather than continue to the Tibetan border closest to them (as we did on a past trek), we continue north to even more isolated Yangma village, and head up to the border from there, to the top of a now little-used 5746m trading pass. This is a real snow leopard area, so plenty of blue sheep and other wildlife and a series of stunning turquoise lakes, which we have time to explore.
We briefly backtrack, glittering peaks either side, and cross the stunning Nango La (pass) over to friendly Ghunsa, the main village on the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp route. Now well acclimatized, we trek north and from Khambachen have the options of staying in the lodges and taking a day trip to Jannu Base camp for that in your face view of its sheer pink granite face, or if you are game, we sleep out rough there, and last time we did that, we saw two snow leopards and cubs!
From Lhonak we can either visit Pangpema in a day trip or stay overnight then scramble a delightful, familiar 6000m viewpoint for an even higher view of the Kanchenjunga massif. Seeing is believing.
We head down on the standard village trekking route to Chirwa and Taplejung, a quicker exit than it used to be.
Alternatively, if you have more time and energy, from Ghunsa we cross the rolling passes of Selele to the south side of Kanchenjunga and have a poke up to the Indian border at the Khang La, which is an alternative start for the Nepal section of the Great Himalaya Trail and a little unfinished business for Jamie. Our route back is south down to the road to Tharpu, skipping Taplejung.
This 30 day/36 day trek is a little shorter than our previous 7 x 42 day treks exploring up there (!!!), but incredible trekking all the same, and is our first hybrid trek. We start with a full expedition-style crew, a cook team and kitchen, and our comfy dining tent system, perfect for the super-remote first half of the trek, then once back on the main trail, most of the crew return, only a few porters staying with us. Then we stay and eat in the local lodges that are rapidly improving, and we will perhaps move a little faster.
We know and love this region, join us for what is truly the trek of a lifetime!