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A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MT. KANGTEGA

A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MT. KANGTEGA

Kangtega and esatern ridge
Kangtega and eastern ridge leading to Thamserku

Nepal is blessed with countless peaks that welcome all who hunger for adventure. Among the thousands of mountains located in Northern Nepal, Kangtega is the only saddle shaped mountain.

Kangtega the Snow Saddle

Kangteg is also known as the Snow Saddle because it translates to “snow saddle” in the Sherpa language. Kangtenga was named after the slight depression in its peak which, when viewed from Tengboche, resembles a Tibetan saddle.

Location

Mt. Kangtega is one of the main peaks in the Khumbu region of Nepal. However, it is located outside the Sagarmatha National Park. This majestic mountain, just like Mt. Thamserku, sits between the Khumbu and Hinku Valleys. It sits east of Namche and south east of Tengboche.

First View

You can have prominent views of Kangtega from above Namche Village, in Khumjung, and along the Everest Base Camp Trek to Tengboche.

kangtega and Thamserku
Kangtega and Thamserku, from Khumjung monastery

Height

The mountain’s highest point is 6,782 m (22,251 ft) high. If you were to guess its second highest point as 22,250 ft, you would be wrong! Its 22,250.9 ft. all joking aside, the saddle portion of the mountain is lower in elevation. The highest peak is 6,618 m (21,712ft) and its other summit is 6,425 m (21,079 ft).

Climbing

In 1963, Mt. Kangtega was first surmounted by David Dornan, Tom Frost, Michael Gill and Jim Wilson on an expedition preceded over by the famous Edmund Hilary. Ever since this first expedition, mountaineers have come with the sole aim of conquering Kangtega, and many have succeeded.

From 1963 to 2001 there are 28 known successful summits of Kangtega. The most successful attempts have come from the Northern side

Like many of the mountains in its region, Mt. Kangtega peak climbing expeditions are considered technical climbing ventures. It is only suitable for those with adequate experience and experienced guides.

Kangtega peak climbing
Kangtega peak climbing by year. (The list was generated from information from the Alpine Club.)

Best Time to Climb

The best months to go on a Kangtega trip are April and May (during springtime).

Itinerary

After arriving in Kathmandu, you will fly to Lukla. Next, you trek From Lukla to Phakding and then to Namche Bazaar.  You will then acclimate in Khumjung. The following day you trek to Kangtega base camp.

It takes about 1 week to arrive at the south base camp through the Hinku Glaycer route. It is located at the foot of the Kangtega Ice Fall. The Ice fall closely resembles the Khumbu Ice Fall of Everest. This ice fall is very dangerous and extreme safety precautions should be followed.

While the Ice Fall route seems like the most obvious way up this mountain, it is advisable to go for the rock face that leads to the ridge at an elevation of about 6,070 m (19,914 ft). Then descend by rope for some 70 m. This is in order to get to the top of the Ice Fall so that potential hazards are avoided.

Other routes with a high summit to fail ratio have been on the north face, and north west face of the mountain. These are more challenging but safer.

The base camp precedes steep, snowy slopes, constricted crevasses and ice falls. But for those who make it to the top of Kangtega, there is the natural reward of the stunning views of surrounding peaks, including Thamserku, and Kusum Kanguru, and the awesome landscapes of the valleys.

Kangtega and Maneki Neko
I think Kangtega looks like Maneki Neko wishing you good luck on your Trek. (My friends disagree with the comparison)

Time Required

From base camp to base camp the climb takes about 10 days. The whole trip can take up to a month depending on weather conditions.

After summiting the Kangtega, the climbing party can retrace its steps back to the Nepali capital of Kathmandu from where homeward flights can be taken. A well planned Kangtega expedition, including trekking and climbing to the summit, should span about a month.

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