Kangchenjunga is the third-highest mountain in the world and the second-highest in Nepal. The mountain rises to an elevation of 8,586 meters (28,169 feet) above sea level. The name “Kanchenjunga” originates from the Tibetan words 'Kanchen' and ‘Dzonga’ which means "The Five Treasures of the Great Snows", as the mountain has five peaks.
Kanchenjunga is situated all the way to the eastern corner of Nepal at the Indian border. So remote and beautiful! Kangchenjunga is a challenging and technical mountain to climb.
BC to C4
This base camp BC (5,475 meter) is one of the most rugged there is. It looked like a bird cliff where the tents were clinging to the rock wall, and I wondered if it was possible to fit in the heli somewhere.
My friend, our helicopter pilot Horacio, just dived right down .
And the landing was just as crazy quick as the four last days: descending from camp 2 on Dhaulagiri, bus breakdown on our way to Pokhara, few hours of sleep before travel to Kathmandu and only few hours and many cups of coffee in Kathmandu before takeoff again.
The weather was good so no time to waste: the day after arriving I climbed directly to camp 2 (C2) at 6,200 meters. When I reached the ridge above camp 1, the weather changed from nice sunshine to snow showers and wind. I climbed down to the glacier where we established C2.
The next morning, I continued across the glacier up to Camp 3 at 6,900 meters. It was a beautiful climb through ice sculptures and crevasses.
After a good night’s sleep I continued the scenic climb to camp 4 (C4) at 7,300 meter.
I reached C4 (7,300 meter) and got into the tent; hydrated, ate, repacked, and organized for the summit push. Not getting more than 30 minutes of rest before we kicked off at 6 pm.
We were climbing into the sunset surrounded by all the beautiful colors. Embracing the last rays of light before it was getting dark and cold.
After five hours climbing, Cheppal (the Sherpa I climbed with) got news on the radio from the fixing team; they didn’t manage to reach the summit. They had been climbing for more than 24 hours and they had no more ropes left…
We continued upwards.
After two more hours of climbing, we met the rope fixing team on their way down.
We continued upwards.
The night was long, but it was an amazing night full of stars, with little wind and good temperatures (minus 15-20°C).
The start of the climb was steep snow slopes which ended up in boulders and rock walls. The climb was very technical and that keeps me focused which helps me to stay awake and alerted in these dangerous situations. When we were at the last rock wall, very close to the summit, the rope ended.
Cheppal had another rope, got it out and started fixing.
He is the hero of the day!
Without him and his brave decision to fix the last part, it is unknown if any would have made the summit on this day. It was amazing to climb the last bit and have a view of all the mountains around us.
I summited at 07:45 am the 25th of May. Exact 48 years since the first ascend by a team of British climbers, led by Joe Brown and George Band.
I enjoyed the summit and the view for 30 minutes before I started the difficult climb down.
I descended and reached camp 4 at 13:00; there I took a short break to eat and hydrate before I continued down to camp 3. I reached the camp after a 24 hours climb.
The morning after, I woke up to Flor at the radio.
Luis, a German mountaineer, was still not back in camp 4 after the summit. The last time we heard from him was at 22:00 the night before, when he reported on the radio that he was on his way down from the summit.
We were all very worried!
We were told that a rescue team was on its way, so we continued our descend. The weather was getting worse, and helicopters could not fly. The rescue team was delayed.
I reached base camp, and we were still waiting for Luis and for the rescue team.
The team found him two days later not far below the summit, unfortunately not alive.
Dear Luis, thank you for all the good talks and the laughs. Rest in peace.
The advance basecamp (5,475 m/ 17,963 ft)
Camp 2 at (6,200 m/ 20,241 ft)
Camp 3 at (6,900 m/ 22,638 ft)
Camp 4 (7,400 m/ 24,278 ft)
Summit (8,586 m/ 28,169 ft)