Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $7595  
Length: 29 days
Arrive: Kathmandu, Nepal
Depart: Kathmandu, Nepal
Lodging: 4 nights hotels, 1 night lodge, 23 nights full-service camping
Meals: All meals included except 2 lunches and 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level: 25-day trek on moderate to steep trails, 4-8 hours a day, altitudes between 3,000-16,850 feet
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Highlights

  • Trek to Kanchenjunga’s spectacular North Base Camp at 16,850 feet
  • Explore classic Limbu and Rai hill villages that see few outsiders
  • Hike remote trails through ancient Himalayan forests, along glacial rivers, and over high mountain passes
  • Kathmandu and its ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Mighty Kanchenjunga (28,169'), the world’s third highest mountain, straddles the border of Nepal and Sikkim. The easternmost of the Himalaya’s great 8000-meter peaks, it is set majestically apart from any other major mountain group, and renowned for its beauty and sheer isolation. Our epic WT Expedition with Hashmat Singh, one of our most loved (and most experienced!) Himalayan Trip Leaders, is a dream trek on a spectacular route to Kanchenjunga. Few trekkers experience the trails of this great massif, and a journey here offers a true sense of Himalayan discovery. You'll trek to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (16,850'), surrounded by amazing mountain scenery, and to Kanchenjunga’s remote southern flanks at Ramche (15,150'), below South Base Camp, a world of knockout Himalayan grandeur. Our trek to and from base camp will bring you through a hidden world of classic Limbu villages and virgin forests, and across some of the most unspoiled Himalayan landscapes imaginable. Join us for this exhilarating adventure!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Kathmandu, Nepal

Explore the bustling bazaars and Hindu and Buddhist monuments of this ancient city.

Days 3-6
Taplejung / Arun Valley / Tamur Kosi Valley

Fly to Taplejung in eastern Nepal, and trek through subtropical terrain, forested hills, and the small villages of the Rai and Limbu people. Following the Tamur Kosi River for a few days, we ascend to the lush forests of the Ghunsa Khola region.

Days 7-11
Ghunsa Khola / Jannu Base Camp

On the southwestern flanks of Kanchenjunga, we hike through oak, rhododendron, and bamboo forest then up into the yak-herding pastures at 10,500 feet in a landscape dotted with Tibetan villages. We explore the Yamatari Glacier 12,500 feet and hike up to Jannu Base Camp (15,600') in a spectacular valley of snowy peaks.

Days 12-15
Kanchenjunga Glacier / Pangpema (North Base Camp)

Our route now climbs gradually through open rocky fields and moraine to the northwest of the Kanchenjunga Glacier, then up to the lone hut at Pangpema (16,850'), North Base Camp, with an impressive array of major summits in every direction. We enjoy an Exploration Day here for day hikes.

Days 16-20
Sinim La / Mirgin La / Ramche

Crossing the Sinim La (14,600') and Mirgin La (15,300'), we reach the southern side of Kanchenjunga at Ramche (15,150'), below Kanchenjunga’s South Base Camp. On our Exploration Days, we are surrounded by Himalayan grandeur in all directions.

Days 21-26
Torton to Suketar

As we descend through rhododendron forests and the Simbua Khola (valley), we hike up and down through lush bamboo and fields of barley and rice. You'll trek down through Rai and Limbu market towns and, if the clouds are kind, enjoy final views of Kanchenjunga from our riverside camps. Our last hiking day brings us to the airstrip at Suketar, near Biratnagar.

Days 27-29
Kathmandu

Fly back to Kathmandu on Day 27. After a final chance to explore this bustling city, we depart on Day 29.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 6, Very Strenuous. Most hiking is between 5,000 and 15,000 feet, and the maximum elevation reached is 16,850 feet. Trip members carry only a daypack with camera, jacket, rain gear, water bottle, and other small necessities. For the most part, you can hike at your own speed; the group will spread out along the trail during the day to cover a normal maximum of 6 to 10 miles per day (4-8 hours of hiking), with a few longer days of approximately 9 hours. There are a number of days on this trek when the walks are shorter, as well as rest days, allowing ample opportunity for day hikes and for exploring the villages, monasteries, and beautiful surroundings near our campsites. Trail conditions can be primitive, and there is a good bit of up-and-down (often 2,000- to 3,000-foot gain or loss in elevation per day). Extremely cold conditions are normally encountered in the highest altitude areas.

Getting in Shape
Every participant must understand that this trek is truly challenging—you should be in excellent physical condition. We recommend you make a special effort to get in top physical shape for the trip. Even though trip members carry only a daypack (with camera, jacket, rain gear, water bottle, and other small necessities you may need during the day), we recommend you make a special effort to get in top physical shape for the trip by hiking, running, swimming, bicycling, or engaging in other forms of aerobic exercise well beyond your normal routine. Many activities get the heart and lungs into shape, but the most effective way of getting fit for hiking is to hike! Walking up and down flights of stairs is also an effective way to train for the steep ascents and descents in the Himalaya. Bending your knees as you go down stairs will help strengthen your quad muscles. At least two months prior to your trek, we urge you to go on weekend day hikes that involve long uphill and downhill walking.

There are also dangers inherent in any expedition traveling to remote wilderness regions, especially when they involve travel to high altitude. These dangers include everything from rock falls to the possibility of a serious fall, accident or sickness without access to the means of rapid evacuation. The availability of medical supplies or the adequacy of medical attention, once provided, cannot be guaranteed and cannot be expected to measure up to western standards. Each trek is an expedition. Although we are accompanied by a support crew staffed by experienced veterans of the Nepal Himalaya, it takes cooperation and flexibility from each participant to ensure a successful trek.

Please also note that individuals vary widely in both their physical response to high altitude and the ability to acclimatize and, since physical fitness does not confer any protection or facilitate acclimatization, it is impossible to predict how you will adapt to the altitude. The greatest protection is avoiding rapid ascents and allowing time for acclimatization. Your body can adapt to altitude if given time. We feel this itinerary specifically provides that option, but you must individually pace yourself to go slowly and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Do not push too hard regardless of how physically fit you may be or feel.

A Typical Trekking Day
Hiking distances on trek are normally measured in hours, not miles, since maps aren’t really accurate enough to assess how far we walk up and down winding mountain trails. On a typical trek day, wake-up is around 7:00 am, when a cup of hot tea or coffee and a basin of warm washing water are brought to your tent by one of the camp crew. After packing up our duffels and having breakfast, we set off on the trail while the crew strikes camp and the porters or pack animals shoulder their loads. The crew usually passes us by midmorning to get ahead and prepare our lunch.

There is always a guide in the lead and a “sweeper” who trails behind the slowest hiker to ensure that no one is lost on the trail. We ask you not to hike ahead of the leader because trails are often not well-marked.

We typically walk for three to four hours in the morning, then stop for a leisurely lunch of an hour or more at a scenic spot on the trail. After lunch, we walk for another three hours or so until we reach our next night’s camp. Upon arrival in camp, we have late afternoon tea and a snack. On our exploration days we occasionally have more time in the morning or afternoon near the lodge or camp to rest or for further individual exploration. Temperatures drop quickly as the sun falls behind the peaks, and it’s easy to get chilled after exerting yourself for several hours, so have an extra layer of clothing ready. Dinner is served to us in a dining tent with table and chairs. After dinner, we usually chat away the evening in the dining tent or read by flashlight until bedtime.

Eating Well on Trek
The variety and quality of meals our professionally trained camp cooks turn out from the kitchen tent is remarkable—nourishing, plentiful, and a blend of Nepalese and Western dishes.

Breakfast is normally a light meal of porridge or granola, with hot milk, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, biscuits, or cookies. This gives us a quick morning start for the best walking hours. When we have a short hiking day ahead, eggs, pancakes, or French toast may be served.

We stop for a full hot meal at lunch, including potatoes, eggs, curried vegetables, cheese, local-style breads, fruit, tea, hot chocolate, or fruit drink (exception: on two of our longest hiking days, we will carry a packed lunch). When we arrive at camp, our afternoon tea may include popcorn, peanut butter, crackers, hot chocolate, and tea.

For dinner we enjoy soup, a main course—a tasty noodle dish, Nepali mixed vegetables, lentils and rice, meat, vegetables and potatoes, or stew, beverages, and dessert. On most treks, meat (chicken, mutton, water buffalo, or yak) is served every few days, depending on availability in local villages. Tinned meat, salmon, or sardines are occasionally served. Dessert on trek is usually canned or fresh fruit, and some of our more enterprising cooks will occasionally produce a delicious cake. In the villages you may purchase sweets, cookies, chocolate, fruit, soft drinks, and beer, depending on availability.

Our camp crew is well trained in hygienic practices. Our drinking water is always boiled and the food served to you is safe. Treated washing water is put out before every meal so you can wash your hands before eating.

If you are partial to special snacks (energy bars, trail mix, and so on), please bring your own supply with you for the trek. A variety of sweets, nuts, and dried fruit can be purchased in Kathmandu.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2015
Oct 11-Nov 8, 2015  Hashmat Singh

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$7595 (10-11 members)
$8395 (8-9 members)
$8895 (6-7 members)
Single supplement: $760
Forced single supplement: $560
Internal airfare: $850-$1250 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • All accommodations
  • All meals included except 2 lunches and 2 dinners
  • Sherpa staff, camp staff and cooks
  • All group camping and cooking equipment including dining, sleeping and toilet tents, sleeping bags and pads
  • Entrance fees for activities as noted
  • Land transportation and airport transfers as noted

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare to/from Kathmandu, flights within Nepal (see separate cost above), airport departure taxes, any meals not specified after each itinerary day, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, hotels en route to/ from Kathmandu, any additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by international airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations, Nepal visa fees, travel and evacuation insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25.0% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Hashmat Singh

Hashmat Singh has led over 100 journeys on three continents for us since 1990. He holds a BA in History from Delhi University and is a noted photographer. His book, Trekking in the Himalaya (Roli Books), features photographic essays from Ladakh to Bhutan. Born an army brat, Hashmat traveled extensively as his father was posted in various remote regions of India. His first big Himalayan trek was at age 12, with his school group, and during college, he headed into the Himalaya to take mountaineering courses. “Big mountains of the world, whether they are in the Himalaya, Alps, or the Andes, hold a special fascination for me, as do the people living amongst them, holding on to their ancient cultures in a world where everything is rapidly changing.” A passionate traveler, Hashmat has been instrumental in designing new adventures for us throughout Asia. The profession of Trip Leader combines several of his interests—hiking, exploring the mountains, photography, and meeting new people. Hashmat lives in Delhi with his wife and two children.

Upcoming Trips:

Treasures of South India, January 6-19, 2015
The Arc of the Sacred Symposium: Ancient Cities and Monuments of the Deccan Plateau, January 25-February 7, 2015
Hidden Rajasthan and the Holi Festival, February 21-March 11, 2015
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan, March 19-April 1, 2015
Himalayan Mountain Kingdoms, April 13-27, 2015
Journey to Ladakh, June 9-20, 2015
Tour du Mont Blanc, July 5-12, 2015
Hiking the Haute Route, July 14-25, 2015
Great Alpine Traverse, July 28-August 11, 2015
Kanchenjunga!, October 11-November 8, 2015
Royal Rajasthan, November 13-23, 2015
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan, December 2-15, 2015

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Client Testimonials:


This is my fifth trip with Hashmat. He is affable and unflappable. Lisa C., Seattle WA Hashmat was terrific. He is so knowledgeable and proud of his country. He made India come alive for all of us. We loved his enthusiasm and encouragement. Barbara C., Toronto, Canada This is our second trip with Hashmat–he’s a great leader. Betty R., Lexington MA
Royal Rajasthan
This is my fourth WT trip and second with Hashmat. He is the best! Matthew H., Ukiah CA
Treasures of South India
Again, Wilderness Travel exceeded my expectations! Hashmat and Ang Tsering took extra care to locate beautiful, quiet, set-apart campsites off the main trail. Amy S., Denver CO
Ultimate Evereset
We couldn’t have asked for a better trip leader than Hashmat Singh. This trip raised our standards to a new high! Ann and Fred S., Wyoming OH
Royal Rajasthan
Hashmat is simply the best! Mary C. Farnsworth, Fort Mills SC
Royal Rajasthan
I can’t tell you how comfortable I feel traveling with Hashmat. The experiences he provided for us were unforgettable. Melinda M., Berkeley CA
Treasures of South India
As always Hashmat organized a rich and full trip experience. Not only was he, as usual, an incredibly well organized and knowledgeable leader, but added to our experience by keeping away from the usual tourist crowds and arranging special events to entertain, relax, and teach us. He remains an ideal leader who deserves his superb reputation. Michel and Deborah W.
Hidden Rajasthan
Hashmat Singh is without question the best leader, hiker, and friend any WT client could hope to have. His enthusiasm and curiosity is contagious. Stephanie B., Cambridge, MA Hashmat Singh’s knowledge, experience, and professionalism are of the highest order. Philip and Sally M., Wersham, Wrexham Hashmat Singh is a remarkably effective leader. I think I have joined the Hashmat Fan Club. John N., Monarch Beach, CA Hashmat is always on task, behind the scenes as well as during events. Nancy W., Prescott AZ
Himalayan Mountain Kingdoms Photo Expedition
What can I say? He’s the best! Fulton W., Prescott AZ
Himalayan Mountain Kingdoms Photo Expedition
I understand why Hashmat has a committed group of fans who will follow him anywhere, who choose trips according to his leadership. He is knowledgeable, passionate, wonderful. Andrea L., Brooklyn NY
Annapurna Adventure
Hashmat is simply the best. Knowledge, communication, attention to detail, adding special experiences, and he’s a really fun person to be with. William N., Long Beach CA
Treasures of South India
I cannot imagine a better guide...always helpful and knowledgeable about the history and culture of the trip! Craig K., Sewickley, PA
Royal Rajasthan - Pushkar Fair
Hashmat is an inspiring trip leader, extremely knowledgeable, both in terms of cultural and historical aspects and the area traveled, and very supportive of staff and trekkers. It was a real privilege to trek with him and I hope I have the opportunity to do so again. Henry P., Boston, MA
Around Manaslu
Hashmat is truly one of your 'stars!' Jeff P., Paradise Valley, AZ
Hidden Kingdom of Mustang
Hash is a terrific guide in every way, the consummate professional, concerned with individual's needs. His passion for India is palpable and contagious, and his leadership is an integral part of what makes this trip so special. Kristin E., Morristown, NJ
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Wow—best trip leader I've ever encountered! Always personable, informative, organized yet spontaneous, thorough, pro-active. A real treasure. Elizabeth L., Santa Barbara, CA
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Eleven trips with Hashmat so far. What more is there to say? Jack H., Cockeysville, MD
Hiking the Haute Route
Once again Hashmat knocked one out of the park! So many wonderful sights and new experiences all brought to life with his brilliant leadership. Can hardly wait to travel with him again. Peter F., Cambria, CA
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan
This man is an amazing treasure! He made the trip so memorable, and made us crave more. Abbe L., Melbourne Beach, FL
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Hashmat was simply the very best. He has great knowledge, knows how to share it to the group, interacts with us on a personal basis, is considerate of our needs, and has personality second to none. Mark L., Melbourne Beach, FL
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Hashmat always brings all his heart to his trips, teaching history, culture, the sense of India. Debra B., Jackson, WY
Expedition to Hampi and Ajanta
Hashmat is a treasure. He knows the country, loves it, makes everyone around him enthusiastic and comfortable, and gets along with an incredible variety of personalities. Lisa T., Hamden, CT
Treasures of South India
I get why so many people go on journey after journey with Hashmat. He is knowledgeable, professional, and always knows just what to do. Mary M., Superstition Mtn, AZ
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan
Twelve trips with Hashmat so far. Need I say more? Jack H., Cockeysville, MD
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan
One could not ask for a better guide than Hashmat: knowledgable, kind, funny, resourceful. Priscilla H., Cockeysville, MD
Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan
My fifth trip with Hashmat, all of which have been outstanding. His knowledge and experience are unsurpassed, and he is a great trip companion. I'm looking forward to the next trip! Marilyn H., Barnstable, MA
Snow Leopard Trek to Shey Gompa
Hashmat is a great trip leader—there are very few individuals who are as knowledgeable about culture and natural history of the region. Henry P., Boston, MA
Snow Leopard Trek to Shey Gompa
Just a consummate professional. Would rate him at the top of his field. Incredible enthusiasm, energy and knowledge. Most importantly, the man cares about his people and clients. Karen W., Greenwich, CT
Ladakh: The Tso Moriri Trek
Hashmat is an incredibly talented leader and it's no wonder clients follow wherever he goes. We are now Hashmat groupies! Ann & Jon S., Orlando, FL
Royal Rajasthan - Pushkar Fair
Cannot say enough about what an excellent leader Hashmat is. That a number of our group had been with him on several other trips is a testament to his guiding prowess. Ed F., Annapolis, MD
Tribal India
Hashmat is an exceptional leader. His love and knowledge of Indian history, culture, religions, current events, etc. gave me a deeper appreciation of the country. His warmth, high spirits and wit made the journey all the more delightful. Sandi H., New York, NY
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Hashmat is a wonderfully knowledgeable and enthusiastic leader. James S., Washington, DC
Royal Rajasthan - Nagaur Fair
Hashmat remains one of your "superstars." His helpfulness and knowledge are unsurpassed and I'd recommend him as a guide to anyone. Jeff P., Paradise Valley, AZ
Treasures of South India
Hashmat is the best trip leader we have had on our 10 trips with WT. He knows culture, religions, food, nature—you name it. He is simply outstanding. Tom A., Urbana, IL
Treasures of South India