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Kangchenjunga

Kangchenjunga

Kangchenjunga
View of Kangchenjunga from India

Kangchenjunga is the 2nd tallest mountain in Nepal and the 3rd tallest mountain above sea level in the world. It reaches a height of 28,169 feet above sea level. It is in the far east region of Nepal and borders the Sikkim region of India. This location puts it 78 miles south east of Mt. Everest (link to blog post). In this article I review the 3rd tallest mountain in the world including its history, climbing routes, and inhabitants. I hope you enjoy it.

History

The first recorded summit of Kangchenjunga was documented on May 25th, 1955. A British team of climbers and mountaineers made it to the top, but did not summit, because they made a promise to the monarchs of Sikkim to leave the top untouched. Joe Brown and George Band left set a good example for future climber, who have followed the tradition ever since.

Up intel 1852, it was believed that Kangchenjunga was the tallest mountain in the world. As a result of the Great Tigonometrical Survey in 1849, which I’m assuming took about 3 years to record and process the data, Mt. Everest was identified to be 860 feet taller than Kangchenjunga. The survey crew wanted to be sure of their calculations and measurements, so they spent the next 4 years conducting more surveys. In 1856, their conclusion was officially announced.

Climbing routes

The main peak is the highest peak of the Kangchenjunga Himal range and is on the border of nepal and India along with the middle and south peaks. The other 2 peaks lie wholly within Nepal’s Taplejung District.

There are 4 known climbing routes to the summit of Kanchenjunga. Nepal has 3 of the routes, and India has 1. In Nepal the routes start from the southwest, and northwest. In India the route starts from the north east, however this route was closed in 2,000 by the Indian government.

Fatality summit rate

Kangchenjunga is not a popular destination for climbers. As a result, it has seen far less summit attempts than Mt. Everest. Unfortunately, it has a fatality to summit ratio of 20%, which is greatly higher than that of Everest’s (link to Everest fatality summit rate). Because of its high fatality rate, Kangchenjunga has only been summited about 246 times since 1955.

Kangchenjunga is the 2nd least summited mountain in the 8,000-meter club due to its difficulty. The only other mountain less climbed is Annapurna I.

People of the area

The two main indigenous groups that inhabit the area. They are the bhote and Limbu peoples. Both groups have their own traditions, language, and customs. The people of Darjeeling and Sikkim, which includes bhote and Limbu people revere the Kangchenjunga as sacred.

Limbu

There are about 350,000 Limbu people living in Nepal.  They live by the lunar calendar, which guides their agricultural season, and festivals. Chasok Tangnam is most celebrated festival of Limbu. The Nepali government declared Chasok Tangnam a national holiday for Limbu people, awarding them 3 days to celebrate. They have a dance called the yalang that is sometimes performed during the festival.