Kanchenjunga (8,586m) is the third highest mountain on the planet. It is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. The foothills of this spectacular mountain provide an ideal trekking opportunity for trekkers of all skill levels. This stunning trek in the remote landscapes of the Northeastern provinces of Nepal is an incredible adventure.
The remote trails of this off the beaten trek will enchant you. You will pass through the hilly landscapes, high mountain passes, alpine forests, and other natural beauty of the region. Besides that, you can also observe the serene waterfalls, Himalayan glaciers, and pristine rivers in your journey.
While this adventurous trek is moderately challenging, the Kanchenjunga trek difficulty level also depends upon the trekker’s fitness. A good training routine that includes physical and mental exercises will build stamina and endurance required for the trek. You should start training two to three months before the start of the trek.
Furthermore, the various factors that affect the trek’s difficulty include altitude, remote landscapes, weather, accommodations and food facilities, harsh terrains, among others. You can also use various preventive measures to reduce the level of difficulty to some extent.
Read further to know more about the Kanchenjunga trek difficulty in detail. You can also learn about the factors affecting the difficulty level, and the tips to reduce the complexity of the trek.
How Difficult is the Kanchenjunga Trek?
The Kanchenjunga trek is moderately challenging. The trek might not be the most physically challenging trek out there, but it does test your strength and stamina to the core. The significant factors that make this trek difficult are altitude, unpredictable weather, and long duration, among others.
The off-the-beaten trails have steep ascents and descents, which makes the trek even more challenging. With proper preparation and training, the spectacular trek gets completed without any hassle. A good training routine will help you gain physical endurance and stamina. Overall, the Kanchenjunga trek is physically demanding and tests your mental stability.
Factors Affecting the Kanchenjunga Trek Difficulty
Weather and temperature
The high altitude Kanchenjunga region has unpredictable weather. You should choose the best time to trek in the area to reduce the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek difficulty level significantly. The autumn and spring season are the favourable time to trek in the region. The stable weather conditions and the moderate temperatures make the trek in these seasons relatively easy.
Furthermore, the offseason treks in the monsoon and the winter season come with its set of challenges. You will get avalanches and landslides in the region, and the trails get slippery as well as packed with muds due to heavy rainfalls. There are also high chances of delays in the flight schedules due to bad weather.
In winters, the temperatures drop around -12 degrees Celsius. The region has temperatures of 5-8 degrees in the daytime, but it drops dramatically after sundown. The heavy winds and freezing temperatures make the trek challenging and risky in winters.
Moreover, the heavy snowfall makes the trek in the high passes, including Sele Pass and the Pang Pema, very challenging. The trails get covered in thick snow, making them impossible to cross. Hence, you should always choose the best time to trek for an incredible trekking adventure in the mountains.
The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is a high altitude trek and reaches the maximum altitude of 5200m. This factor causes major problems during the journey. Altitude sickness is one such problem in the high altitude region. It is a condition that occurs when there is less amount of oxygen in the atmosphere than required by a human body.
Moreover, high altitude region has thin air, low air pressure, and low oxygen levels. Hence, the preventive measures to tackle altitude sickness is essential during the trek. Proper acclimatization and regular hydration is a must and therefore all trekkers should include acclimatization breaks in their trek itinerary.
Besides that, you should only gain 600m on an average trekking day to lessen the risk of altitude sickness. These sudden altitude changes increase the risk of altitude sickness among trekkers.
This spectacular trek passes through the remote trails of the Himalayas. The off the beaten paths are quiet and have relatively fewer accommodations compared to other popular treks. The accommodations in the lower elevations are not well maintained. In the higher altitude region, you might need to camp and cook yourself.
Moreover, you will only find local shepherds and some trekkers in the region. The solitary trails are dangerous, and you might get lost. Hence, the government has issued a notice to only allow trekking in a group of at least two trekkers along with a professional guide.
The Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek has a long-distance trekking itinerary. Therefore, it requires incredible physical and mental strength. The trek is around 200 km long and requires 6-7 hours (9-11 km) of continuous walk every day.
You can take your time to rest and acclimatize during the treks as well. If you have a basic level of fitness and stamina, this trek won’t be a trouble for you. However, for beginners who have not travelled in high altitude conditions before, this trek might be a challenge.
Moreover, there are two routes in this trek, including the Northern and the Eastside. The northern side has a longer route and with higher altitude gain. The bright side is that it provides a breathtaking view from Pang Pema (5200 meters).
Hence, these were the various factors contributing to the Kanchenjunga trek difficulty. You can keep them in mind while trekking the beautiful landscapes of the region.
How To Reduce the Kanchenjunga Trek Difficulty?
There are many difficulties and challenges during this incredible trek. Hence, you should work in preventing or reducing these difficult factors by taking various measures. You can take these simple steps to reduce the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek difficulty by a significant amount.
You should acclimatize well during this incredible trek as there is a high risk of altitude sickness. Adequate acclimatization and regular hydration reduce the threat of altitude sickness among trekkers.
Moreover, acclimatizing helps to increase the level of oxygen in the trekker’s body. Another thing you must consider is that you should rush during the trek as it can lead to severe forms of altitude sickness, including HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) and HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema).
Furthermore, you should acclimatize at least 2-3 days during the trek to significantly reduce the chances of altitude sickness. You can also carry Diamox tablets to tackle altitude sickness. However, if you feel the symptoms of altitude sickness even after taking all the necessary precautions, you should descend until you feel better.
Hire a guide and a porter
Hiring a guide or a porter is essential in this remote trek. The government has imposed a strict rule for all foreign trekkers to trek in a group of at least two and hire a professional guide. Hence, solo travel is impossible in the Kanchenjunga trek.
But trekking with a guide decreases the risk of getting lost and other cases along the Kanchenjunga trail. You can’t get lost with an experienced guide, and thus navigation won’t be a problem. Besides that, you can also learn about the local culture as the guide also works as an interpreter.
Furthermore, guides are an incredible help in case of any emergencies, including altitude sickness, injuries, delays, and others. They will also help you in case of an emergency evacuation if necessary. The decision of hiring a porter depends upon the trekker. Porters are quite useful if you have heavy luggage with you.
Moreover, they carry around 15-20 kgs of weight with ease. Therefore, hiring a guide and a porter comes with great benefits. Guides charge around 20-25 USD, and the cost of a porter is around 15-20 USD. You can also tip them at the end of the journey.
Trekking Gear and equipment
Trekking Gear and equipment is an essential part of any trek. You will face difficulty finding even the basic stuff in this remote trek. Therefore, your packing should include an adequate amount of gears and equipment for trekking.
Moreover, you should carry all the necessary items, including clothing, toiletries, first aid kit, essential documents, and others. You might have to carry extra stuff, including sleeping bags, tents, food items, and others.
Increase physical strength and stamina
An excellent physical strength through training will help you a lot during the trek. You will gain endurance and stamina as well. You should focus on exercises that directly impact your physical endurance and strength. This step helps you during the long walks in the trek.
Moreover, you can also perform yoga and other aerobic exercises. These exercises increase your flexibility, which in turn helps you to reduce muscle strain and injuries during the ascent. Simple activities like hiking, jogging, skipping, running, swimming, cycling, and others will help you immensely during the trek.
Trek in favourable seasons
Trekking in the favourable seasons provides you with the best views of the mountains and reduces the difficulty level significantly. Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek is ideal during the autumn and spring seasons. The stable weather conditions and the minimal precipitation is the highlight of the trek in these seasons.
Furthermore, the offseason treks come with various risks and challenges. Heavy rainfalls, snowfalls, landslides, avalanches, and freezing temperatures make the trek difficult in the offseason. Therefore, it is wise to trek the Kanchenjunga region in the peak season of autumn and spring.
Get a travel insurance
This high altitude trek comes with the risks of injuries, delays, and other emergencies. Proper travel insurance that covers the altitude above 4000m will help you immensely along the trail.
Moreover, travel insurance covers the cost of these unwanted circumstances along the trail. You should not worry about the delayed flights, oxygen, evacuation costs, and other medical emergencies. Therefore, you should get an excellent travel insurance package before the trek.
Hence, these were the various factors that will help you to reduce the Kanchenjunga trek difficulty.
How To Train for the Kanchenjunga Trek Difficulty?
The Kanchenjunga trek requires a proper training two to three months or at least two weeks before the trek. These exercises help you to build endurance and stamina and reduce muscle strain.
Moreover, you will increase your physical and mental strength. The training routine should start two-three months before you go on the training adventure. You should start the training regime at least two weeks before the trek.
Strength, stamina and endurance training
Strength, stamina and endurance are another critical part of the training regime. These exercises will help you increase the fitness levels by a significant amount. You can start by hiking for 5-6 hours daily at high altitude and hilly landscapes. Besides that, you should also train for a steep uphill climb during the trek.
Moreover, this exercise will increase your muscles in the shoulder, arm, and back. You should maintain a regular diet and hydrate regularly to complete the trek with ease. You should focus on carbohydrates and protein-rich diet. Overall, the strength and endurance training will save your energy during the high altitude trek.
This trek requires proper Cardiovascular training that should include running, jogging, cycling, hiking, and such activities. These exercises will help you in breathing by supplying oxygen to your body.
Moreover, the high altitude region also brings the risk of altitude sickness. Therefore, you should perform these cardiovascular exercises to tackle altitude sickness with ease.
Mental and psychological training
Mental preparation is an essential aspect of the trek. You will get to prepare for the trek in advance. You can take one-day hikes to get an overall idea of the trek as you will have to trek for a long duration. Therefore, mental preparation is essential for this stunning trek.
Hence, these were the various training measures to reduce the Kanchenjunga trek difficulty.
Some Essential Tips to Overcome the Kanchenjunga Trek Difficulty
- Carry water purifying tablets to purify water during the trek
- Check the weather forecast before starting on the trek
- Start on your trek early
- Hire a guide and porter along the trail
- Book early for the food and accommodation
- Prepare well for the trek including adequate gear and equipment
- Carry insect repellents creams during the trek
- Proper acclimatization and regular hydration is essential
- Get yourself the travel permits required for the trek
- Carry snacks including protein bars, granola bars, and snickers during the trek
- Carry anti-nausea tablets like Diamox tablets
- Get a good travel insurance coverage
Packing List for the Kanchenjunga Trek
- Woollen cap
- Thermals underwear
- Trekking boots
- Insulating down jackets
- Long-sleeved Trekking shirts
- Trekking pants and jackets
- Short-sleeved Trekking shirts
- Trekking Gloves
- Diamox tablets
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet Paper
- Mosquito and insect repellents
- Anti-nausea Medicines
- Solar Chargers
- Power Banks
- Extra Batteries
- Water Bottle
- Sleeping bag
- Hot water Thermos
- Travel Permits
The Final Say
The beautiful Kanchenjunga trek is incredibly challenging as well. The difficulty level of the trek depends upon the fitness level of the trekker. A good training regime will increase your physical endurance and stamina.
Moreover, you can learn about the essential tips to reduce the Kanchenjunga trek difficulty by a significant amount. Therefore, with proper packing and preparation, you can complete the Kanchenjunga trek with ease.