Kanchenjunga in monsoon time

This is brave! The Kanchenjunga region is the first big mountain region that the monsoon hits as it moves up from the plains to the south and consequently receives a huge amount of precipitation this time of year. You can see from Philippe Gatta’s photo below at base camp the amount of snow that is around.

kanchenjunga basecamp snow

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Day 12 – 13th July – Base Camp

Like often in expeditions, things never go quite as planned. We reached K2 base camp (BC) on the 7th and normally we should have spent a few days to rest and acclimatise. Since we had a couple of days of decent weather and we were already late, we immediately left for a first rotation to Camp 1. A rotation is a round trip to a higher camp, where we carry food, gear, kit, spend one or several nights, before going back down to BC to rest and recover.

If you want to get a better idea of who this looks, check the video from their 2011 expedition.

So we left BC at around 6am under a cloudy sky. We reached the Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 5300m, in 2h after having crossed a short icefall. ABC is not a nice place, squeezed between the glacier and the slopes of K2, it is not a place where you want to stay. In fact, it is more a depot, where we leave some gear.

kangchenjunga abruzzi route

Abruzzi Route

This sounds like very hard work. See the route of the Abruzzi route to the right.

So we didn’t stay there and kept going toward C1 along the Abruzzi route. The route to C1 is a snow/ice slope starting at 30 degrees and getting progressively steeper up to 60 degrees below the camp. It is more or less sheltered from rock and ice falls but still very exposed. It was snowing and it was windy when we reached C1, after 5hr from BC. There were around 6 tents there from various expeditions on a VERY tiny spot. Two were set on a rock shelf not larger than the tents themselves. Ours were on snow shelves dug on the slope with 700m drops right underneath.

The Kanchenjunga trek-in, in Monsoon

Not an easy time of year to trek to be honest. This comment at the start of the Gatta’s trek in, perhaps slightly overdramatised.

Unfortunately the 40 porters who were supposed to carry our gear up to the base camp are not there. Some of them were coming from Taplejung but the road is closed due to a major land slide. A few others actually arrived, but ended up at the hospital or in jail after a knife fight. So we spend a day here, hoping that some porters will arrive later in the day.

Read their day by day account here:


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