Kangchenjunga, Nepal, detailed information (with Map & Photos)

Kangchenjunga is a mountain range in the Himalayas, the main peak of which, with a height of 8586 m above sea level, is the third highest eight-thousander in the world. The mountain is located on the border of India and Nepal, is the highest point in India. For a long time, the Kangchenjunga mountain range was considered the highest in the world, but only in 1856 accurate measurements gave reason to consider it the third highest.


Basic Moments

The name of the peak Kangchenjunga literally translated from the Tibetan language (Kang-chen-dze-nga) means "treasury of the five great snows" or "five storehouses of great snows."

By "great snows" locals mean five large glaciers that stretch along the slopes of the five separate peaks of Kangchenjunga.

Four peaks of the mountain range - Kangchenjunga Main, Kangchenjunga South, Kangchenjunga Middle (on the border of the northern part of Sikkim and Nepal) and Kangchenjunga West (Yalung-Kang) in the Nepalese zone of Swords - rise above 8000 m.

The Kangchenjunga massif is composed of hard rocks: gneisses, granites, crystalline schists, aged from half a million to a billion years.


In the snows and glaciers of Kangchenjunga, the large river of eastern Nepal, the Tamur, originates, known to all lovers of extreme water tourism. It flows down the slopes of Kangchenjunga in south and southwest directions.

Due to the great length of Kangchenjunga, three natural zones are represented on its slopes: savannahs and meadows of Terai-Duara, Eastern Himalayan broadleaf and coniferous forests (up to a height of 3650 m), as well as Eastern Himalayan alpine meadows, shrubs and high mountain deserts (above 3650 m ). Spruce, fir, juniper, maple grow in the forests; at the foot there lives a small panda, a musk deer (musk deer), above - a snow leopard-leopard, a Himalayan goat-tar and a leopard (Bengal) cat.

To protect the fragile nature of Kangchenjunga, several reserves and national parks have been created, the most famous of which is the Kangchenjunga Biosphere Reserve in the Indian state of Sikkim.


The population of the areas adjacent to Kangchenjunga revere this mountain range as sacred. The Lepcha, an indigenous people of the Indian state of Sikkim, have kept the legends of Kangchenjunga for thousands of years. In their mythology, Kangchenjunga is presented as a mountain not earthly, but rather heavenly, where the souls of deceased people move. For the Lepchas, the peaks of Kangchenjunga are the birthplace of the first Himalayans, and the glaciers of Kangchenjunga, according to local legends, gave the god Tasheting the material for the creation of the first male Furongthing and the first female Nazongnya.

Ancient legends warn: Kangchenjunga is not to be trifled with. As evidence, a legend is given about how the Lepcha ancestors decided to build a tower at the foot of Kangchenjunga, which would pierce the sky with its top. As a building material, they used something that Lepcha always had in abundance - clay pots. But when the tower overtook Kangchenjunga in height, people quarreled, broke the pots at the base of the tower, and it collapsed, crushing many. The survivors fled to the valleys of the Himalayas.


The Kangchenjunga mountain range is located in the Eastern Himalage Mountains, in the southern spur of the Main Himalayan Range, on the border of Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim.

Mountain of Increased Danger

The list of conquerors of Kangchenjunga is small: the slopes of the mountain are extremely difficult to climb. Not all climbers who dared to go on a trip were able to return back.

The history of Kangchenjunga exploration began in the 19th century. The first sketches of the slopes of Kangchenjunga and the adjacent valleys were made by the Tibetan explorer Rinzin Namgyal in the mid-1880s.

The first serious attempt to climb the summit of Kangchenjunga was made in 1905 by an expedition led by the Englishman Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). The climbers reached a height of 6500 m, although Crowley himself, a man known for his eccentricity, claimed that his team climbed to 7600 m. However, the expedition members could not reach the summit of Kangchenjunga due to the serious danger of an avalanche.


Over the next five decades, at least six expeditionary groups set out to travel the slopes of Kangchenjunga. However, the real breakthrough was made on May 25, 1955 by members of the British expedition, George Band and Joe Brown. They were the first to climb Kangchenjunga, and they chose exactly the route that Aleister Crowley had climbed half a century before them. The expedition almost died under a powerful icefall. However, they did not set foot on the highest point of the mountain, stopping several tens of meters below, so as not to disturb the peace of the peak. This was the condition that Tashi Namgyal (1893-1963), the Chogyal (King) of Sikkim of the Namgyal Dynasty, gave them permission to climb the mountain, sacred to Buddhists and Hindus. Since then, all the conquerors of Kangchenjunga have followed this rule.

In 1989, the participants of the Second Soviet Himalayan Expedition for the first time in history managed to cross the four eight-thousandth peaks of Kangchenjunga. To complete the route, they were divided into two groups, each of which passed two peaks.

The Nepalese know the old legend that Kangchenjunga has the character of a woman and, in order to get rid of rivals, takes the lives of all climbers who are trying to climb to its top. The first climber who managed to climb Kangchenjunga and stay alive was the Englishwoman Ginette Harrison in 1998. Thanks to her, Kangchenjunga lost its sad glory as the only eight-thousander that was not conquered by female climbers. Jeannette's fate is tragic: a year and a half later, she died while climbing the Himalayan peak Dhaulagiri. Nevertheless, other climbers followed her example: since 1998, three more women have managed to conquer Kangchenjunga.

Due to the fact that climbing Kangchenjunga is associated with a serious risk, this mountain range has not yet been fully explored, which is why the possibility of unforeseen situations during the trip remains. The last victims of the mysterious mountain are five members of the international expedition, who disappeared on it during the ascent in 2013.


Interesting Facts

  • The Englishman Aleister Crowley, who made the first desperate attempt to climb Kangchenjunga, was a famous adventurer and mystic, a talented poet. He dedicated his life to the study of the occult and the Kabbalah.
  • Kangchenjunga is depicted on many canvases by the Russian humanist, thinker, philosopher and painter Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947).
  • In 2012, an automatic camera recorded the appearance of a leopard cat on Kangchenjunga at an altitude of 4500 m, which is a record for the Himalayan mammals.
  • The Nepalese temple of Pathibhara Devi stands at an altitude of 3794 m. from where you can see the northern slopes of Kangchenjunga. According to legend, it was built by shepherds who lost a large flock of sheep here. At night they had a dream: the goddess Pathibhara demanded to build a temple in her honor on the mountain. After the completion of the construction of the temple, the sheep returned, and the custom of sacrificing animals by pilgrims, both Buddhists and Hindus, has been preserved in the temple to this day.
  • Permission to climb is more often given by the Nepalese side, while Sikkim, where the mountain is considered sacred, issues such permissions extremely rarely.
  • Due to the difference in pronunciation in different dialects of the Tibetan language, the name of the mountain sounds like Kangchen Jong, Khanchenjong, Kangchenjunga, Kachenjong, Kangchenjunga, Kangchanfang. The name of the mountain in the Limbu language and the language of the Rai people is "Kanchandyanga" and means "the mountain we worship".


  • Natural: Kangchenjunga National Park (1977), Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (1997).
  • Iconic: Pathibhara Devi temple.
  • Gangtok (Sikkim): Statue of Guru Padmasambhava (2004), Enchey (1849), Tharpa Choling (1937), Tongsa and Rumtek Monasteries, Tsuklakang Royal Palace, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Do Drul Stupa Chorten, Thakurbari Hindu Temple (1935), Flower Exhibition Center, Himalayan Zoo.


  • Altitude: Kangchenjunga Main (8585m), Kangchenjunga South (8491m), Kangchenjunga Middle (8478m), Kangchenjunga West (8505m) and Kangbachen (7902m).
  • The length of the mountain range: 125 km to the east.
  • Kangchenjunga National Park: height - from 1829 to 8585 m, area - 849.5 km².
  • Depressions: North saddle (6500 m) and Talung saddle (6685 m).

Kangchenjunga Map