Approaching Kanchenjunga Basecamp; Nepal or India?

The massive and captivating Kanchenjunga 8,586 m (28,169 ft) situated on the border between Nepal and India is the world’s third tallest mountain. The peak lies in a larger portion of the Himalayas known as the The Kangchenjunga Himal that includes 16 peaks over 7,000m (23,000 ft). Most of the region is protected as part of a large national park that spans both India and Nepal and protects the natural beauty of the region and cultural traditions of a diverse range of ethnic groups. The mountain consists of 5 separate peaks and in Tibetan Kanchenjunga means the “Five Treasures of the Snow.” The peak is considered holy by the people of Sikkim and climbers have always stopped just short of the summit out of respect for the mountain.   Four giant glaciers cover the bulk of the terrain above 5000m/16000ft and encompass a vast area that measures over 315 km / 125 square miles. The glaciers, Zemu, Talung, Yalung and Kangchen radiate out from the mountain at nearly ninety degree angles while the main ridges of the mountain run almost north to south and east to west forming a giant cross. On the eastern point of this cross one finds […]

Categories: Eastern Nepal, Sikkim

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The 5 Best Treks of Himachal Pradesh

The Indian state of Himachal Pradesh lies in the heart of the Himalayas nestled between Ladakh one side and Uttarakhand on the other. It’s a land of contrast between the lush and rainy southern portion which encompasses, the districts of Chamba, Kangra, Kullu and Kinnar and the much drier northern region of Lahaul and Spiti which lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. It’s a fantastic region for trekking with a handful of well trodden routes and numerous peaks between 6000 and 7000 meters. Access is via the hill stations of Shimla, Manali and Dharamsala. Flights from New Delhi can take you to either Manali or Dharamsala and all three are accessible by overnight bus. One of the most amazing treks in the region is Pin Parvati a 10 day journey that traverses the Himalayan Range from south to north and encompasses the full range of environments from arid landscapes and glacial traverses to towering pine forests. Here is a look at what might be the 5 best hikes in Himachal Pradesh. Pin Parvati is a challenging 10 trek across the Himalayas that covers nearly 100km (60 miles) and tops out at the pass of the same name (17,457 […]

Categories: Himachal Pradesh

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The Greatest 7 Treks of Uttarakhand

Often called the “Land of the Gods” the Indian state of Uttarakhand lies just west of Nepal and is the geographic center of the greater Himalayas. Hindus have long made pilgrimages to the source of the Ganga which starts from the Gangotri Glacier glaciers high in the Himalayas. Home to Nanda Devi (7,816 m / 25,643 ft) the second tallest peak in India as well as a host of other 7000m+ peaks Uttarakhand is a fantastic destination for trekkers. Known as the Garhwal Himalayas it is further divided into the western Garhwal division and eastern Kumaon division. Daily flights can be taken to Dehradun from Delhi but it still a few days of travel to get into the mountains via rugged mountains.  The small town of Rishikesh along the banks of the Ganges and at the base of the Himalayas can make a good resting point for those on their way into the mountains. The best trekking season is between April and Early June and then again during October and November. Here is a look at some of the best treks in the region. Gomukh Tapovan or Gangotri Glacier Trek : This is a short 4 or 5 day trek […]

Categories: Uttarakhand

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The 4 Greatest Treks of Sikkim

Sikkim is one of the far northeastern states of India surrounded by the north and east by China and Nepal to the west. Kanchenchunga, the world’s third tallest mountain, defines the border between Nepal and Sikkim and many of the treks in the region skirt the lower portions of this giant mountain. The weather in Sikkim is much wetter than in the other regions of the Himalaya due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal and a direct flow of moisture during the monsoon months from May to early October. Dense rainforests are common in the lower elevation portion of treks giving away to beautiful Rhododenhdron forests that peak in bloom in early May and light the hills red with fire. The upper elevation feature beautiful alpine lakes as well as numerous glaciers and ice falls. Access to Sikkim is either by rail or plane to Siligiri and then onward either by helicopter (reasonably priced) or half day taxi ride. Foreign visitors need to be properly registered and should plan at least a few days in advance. Here is a look at 4 of the great treks in Sikkim. Goecha La Trek This might be the most exciting trek […]

Categories: Sikkim

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Lidder Valley and Kolahoi Glacier Trek

One of the best short treks in Kashmir is the Lidder Valley trek to Kolahoi Glacier. My wife Ann and I made this trek in July of 2014 and here is little bit about the experience. This is a great first trek in Kashmir although if you have a little more time the Great Lakes Trek is perhaps the better option. Having spent a few days in Srinigar exploring the old town we decided it was time to get out of the relative heat of Srinigar and hit the mountains. The snows were particularly heavy this year so the Great Lake Trek was still in snow despite it being early July so we decided to make the journey to Kolahoi Glacier. We left Srinagar around 8am and headed by private vehicle to Pahalgam where many locals were preparing for the Amarnath Yatra. This is an amazing pilgrimage taken by more than 100,000 pilgrims every year. It is itself a spectacular 5 day trek to a holy ice cave where an ice stalagmite thought to represent the Linga of Shiva forms every year. Legend says this is the cave where Shiva explained the secret of life and the universe to his […]

Categories: Kashmir

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