Uttrey to the Base Camp of Kanchenjunga is one of the hidden treks in the Himalayas, not many people know yet.My top Himalayan trek.
Hidden valley trek-Sikkim
Trek to Kanchenjunga from Uttrey.
The high mountains of the Himalayas have their own charm and when you talk about Mt. Kanchenjunga 3rd highest mountain in the world, it will definitely come in the top list. But still away from commercial tourists. Not many people visit as compared to Everest and Annapurna. Not because it is less beautiful, because it is not commercialized yet. No hotels with beers and Pizza along the route. People do visit and trek in this route, mostly Indian domestic trekkers, less professional trekkers I would say, or less western adventures, compare to other parts of the Himalayas. I was born in Sikkim and trek to Kanchenjunga base camp more the 50 times so far. But favourite my route, not the one everyone goes through yuksum and return and do party, etc. Part and celebration are great after return but my main aim for my clients is always to show them stunning Himalayan views and nature around first.
Although there are many different trails that take you closer to this third highest mountain in the World, there is a lesser-known trail, full of adventure & beauty starts from Uttarey village just an hour’s drive from the birthplace, which takes you to very close to this mountain. This is an ancient trek route used by the Yak herders and only for those who are looking for areal an authentic high altitude Himalayan trek full of adventure, beauty. The best part of this trek is that when you start this trek you see Kanchenjunga from a very far distance but as the trek continues you get closer to the mountain and at Goechala (4980 m) you see this mountain just in front of you. Also, the view of Everest, Makalu, Lhotse is very captivating during this trek. This is the reason this route is mainly my favourite. I have done trek to Dzongri, Gochela, Kanchenjunga base camp from Yuksum but to be honest, my favourite is Uttery (2012m) starting point. This route allows trekkers to have proper acclimatization and less worry of high altitude sickness.
Let me guide you here to Kanchenjunga..
On the first day, Trek starts with a gradient walk through a small settlement village. After that it becomes steep and we enter into a dense forest. As we climb up you can see Rhododendron trees and other alpine trees which make the walk so beautiful, April and May is the best time to explore this area. You can see Rhododendron flowers blooming in the trees and it looks spectacular. walk today will be up to 5hours, slow-paced. Today our stop will be at Chewabhanjyang Pass (3142 m) this the border between Nepal and India, after reaching to camp we can actually to Nepal and have Nepali tea and come for dinner in India. Enjoy the evening here.
Acclimatise is important so I suggest that on 2nd day at Phokteydara
We spend this day as a rest day to give your body the needful time to acclimatize to this high altitude before we move further. But that doesn’t mean that you should do nothing. You can go for an acclimatization walk to a nearby hill called Phokteydara from where you can see the beautiful panoramic view of the greater Himalayas.One of the few places on Earth from where you can see four of the five highest mountains in the World. That’s also the main reason I prefer this route compared to Yuksum. When the weather is clear here your day will be like heaven Overnight stay in a tent.
A little bit of height to climb
Chewabhanjyang to Dhor (3749 m), walk approx 5 hrs
It will be a beautiful walk today. Don’t forget to have breakfast and pack your day bag accordingly, and ask lunchtime your guide, today you will be reaching up to (3749 m). The most exciting thing about today’s walk is that sometimes you walk in Nepal and sometimes in India. Yes, this trail is just on the Indo-Nepal border. This zigzag walk along with a beautiful mountain view makes this walk one of the stunning high Himalayas trek. Lots of meeting and across Yak-herder huts today which is only evidence of human civilization in this region.Beautiful birds in the Rhododendron forests singing away. After the great hike, you will be at your camp already set up by your trekking team, have a cup of tea and popcorn before they offer you fresh cooked yummy dinner at the dining tent. yes, they do have all you need. Overnight stay in tent.
Pharey Megu (3905 m) 6 hrs
Why not start your day with a bit of meditation, breathing, and some yoga, have a yummy breakfast, pack, and be ready to hike. Today you trek to Pharey Megu (3905 m) this is my favourite day of the hike, not much to climb just follow the ridge, and the view of Greater Himalayan peaks is a prime attraction today.3rd highest Kanchenjunga, Kabru, Talung peaks will dominate the view. apart from mountains, you may be lucky today to see rare Himalayan blue sheep today. It will be around 6 hrs trek to reach our Pharey Megu campsite. And again relax and check your photos and write your day experience and have a bit of banter with your trekking crew and rest.
Lampokhri (4297 m), 6 hrs
It will be an exciting day as you go from Pharey Megu to Lampokhri. Today will be a little bit less oxygen for you, and the walk will be much slower but the distance is not much. The first one hour will be an easy walk. As there is almost no vegetation you can get an uninterrupted view, but prepare the suncream and hats and plenty of water, maybe up to 3 litres today. Today you cross some difficult patches that might be loose scree in some patches. After crossing this area you will reach a beautiful valley from where you can see Himalayan peaks Kabru, Pandim, etc. From here your campsite Lampokhri (4297 m) is just 2 hrs walk. In the afternoon ask your guide permission for a short walk and experience the sunset. Your colder nights are started and you will be getting less oxygen and closer at night. Your trekking crew will look after you well with hot water bags, warm sleeping bags, boil water and you will have pleasant sleep. Good sleep and good food, enough water are very important at high altitudes.
Gomathang (3800) 6 hrs
Today you will experiance high passes to the river it’s going to be a crazy adventurous day! The first mountain pass, Danphey Bhir La (4530 m), will be a test of your stamina and patience. Danphey Bhir La in local means The pass of Pheasant. Once you reach here you will get an amazing view of the entire Kanchenjunga and surroundings. On a clear day, you can also see the mountains of Bhutan and Tibet from here. From here the next pass is Kag Bhir La or The pass of crow is an hour’s distance. From Kag bhir La you will get a beautiful view of Kanchenjunga, Kabru, Pandim, and other mountains. After two passes you will start steep descent to Gomathang (3800 m) for your night. camp beside the glacier river and view of the surrounding mountain will keep your eyes open until dark if you are here in the full moon, it will be stunning. Today adventurous day but sleeping will be much better because you are now at a low altitude with plenty of oxygen to breathe.
Pangding (4268 m), 5 hrs
As every day your trekking crew will come in the morning with hot tea and hot water for your morning wash. have a good breakfast and enjoy your morning at Gomathang. a little bit of meditation beside the river would make more joy in your heart, that’s what I do. after your morning around 9 am trek start with a meadow walk then you enter Rhododendron and silver fir forest. It will be an easy walk today before you reach Pangding camp (4268 m) where we take a steep trail to reach our campsite. This campsite also offers an amazing view of the big Himalayan mountains.
Dzongri (4170 m)
Today’s trek starts with a descent. You walk down for about an hour and then climb up again. We cross two rivers Tikep Chhu and Rathong Chhu on our way to Dzongri. Dzongri is more like a junction point where various trails go in a different direction, some trekkers only trek up to Dzongri and return after viewing of Kanchenjunga. That is why Dzongri is always a busy campsite, but there is not a busy area you can choose to camp in. In the afternoon go for an excursion to Dzongri Top for a stunning view, you can also hike around yak headers camp. Overnight stay in tent.
Thankgsing (3858 m), via Kokchurong.
We start in the dark to reach the Dzongri top to experience spectacular sunrise over Kanchenjunga and other peaks, golden colours mountain you have never seen before, this is your opportunity. It will take around 1 hour to reach the top. Experiencing this beauty you will return to the campsite and after breakfast, you start for Kokchurong, a riverside camp lunch. It will be a lovely walk today as the view of Kanchenjunga, Pandim and other Himalayan peaks will be with you all the time. It will be around 6 hrs to reach your Thangsing campsite. At the height of 3858 m.Thangsing is a greenfield campsite looking towards Kanchenjunga and just above white peak mt. Pandim, is a beautiful place to explore. With Prek chu (River) is flowing just beside the campsite, its gurgling sound is so amazing and you can spend your hours just watching at the flowing river. Overnight stay in the tent, hopefully, the sky will be clear so you can see stars very close.
Thangsing- Mt. Pandim base camp.
Today is a very relaxing day, as you will only walk about 2 hours to another camp called Lamuney, it is also called Mt Pandim base camp. But we can use this day for visiting the glacier lake called Milky lake (dud Pokhari). after a day hike to the lake, we will walk a flat walk to Lamuney campsite. You enjoy every moment of this walk as the astounding view of the Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Tenzing Khang peaks will keep you enchanted all the time. It is one of the most beautiful campsites here and the sunset view over gigantic Pandim is spectacular from here. It will be a colder night, but your support team will keep you warm with hot water bottles.
Summit Day – 5000mtr
You have to start around 3 am today for Goecha La. This journey is something that you will cherish forever. Trek amidst dark nights in freezing weather is so adventurous. It will take around 3.5 hrs to reach the Goecha La (4980-5000 m), its something similar we do in Everest base camp as well, from Lobuche to base camp and return, we start there at dark too. While standing at the Goecha La you can see the gigantic view of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak at stone throwing distance. from Everest base camp it’s very hard to see Everest but here you will see nearly the whole Kanchenjunga standing in front of you. Mt. Pandim (6691 m) also looks so massive from here. On your way down to the camp, the view of Kabru and other peaks will make you speechless. After returning to the campsite we have our lunch and move towards Thansing (3865 m). It will take 1.5 hr to reach there. We spend the afternoon just reaching our legs, checking photos, eating warm meals. It will be great to sleep here with the sound of the river.
Tshokha (2957 m)
Back to civilization
Today will be an easy downhill walk all the way to Tshokha 1200mtr decent in one day. On the way return when you look back at the mighty Kanchenjunga, you are amazed to think about the Goecha La summit! We take the same trail up to Kokchurong but from here we will take another trail to reach Tshokha. The trail goes through dense Rhododendron forest. During spring this trail looks so beautiful. This will be your celebrating evening with teammates and crew. Overnight stay in tent.
Today is your last day hike after almost 2 full weeks of walking in the Himalayas, I am sure you will be delighted to be back for a real hot shower and soft bed in a hotel room. We start in the morning for Yuksom it will take up to 5 hours walk, many people end their trek in yuksum and get a jeep from here next day, but I suggest you drive 2 hours today to Pelling and get the best hotel for your well-deserved rest. It’s a day for teasing other trekkers going uphill and you are running down. Upon arrival at Yuksom your transport will be waiting for you with some refreshments and they will drive to spelling for the night and good sleep, you will get all your storage bags and extra clothes you left before trek…
Travel to capital
Today after an easy morning you will be departing to Gangtok via Ravangla and their beautiful Himalayan town offers a beautiful view of the Himalayas. Stop for lunch and go to witness one of the biggest buddha stupas in India, its called buddha park. Then slowly drive to Gangtok for your night stay at the hotel. Evening dinner with the group would be great ideas, explore the town in the evening for some bits and pieces.
Last day in the Himalayas
Spend your day exploring Gangtok, nearby monastery, flower show, or you can even go visit state animal Zoo to see Red panda and snow leopard. You can visit Enchay monastery and Ganesh tok to view the whole Gangtok valley. Evening explores the town and experiences nightlife in Sikkim.
Fly to Delhi
Sikkim have a new Airport and is only 2 hours drive from Gangtok, bak the early flight to Delhi will take 2 hours approx to Delhi. check in to hotel in Delhi and afternoon explore street of Delhi and pick up your gift for family and friends and last night in India.
At the last, we all have to go home safe to our family with lots of experience to share with the amazing story of hike in the Himalayas.
This is how you can End your trek to Kanchenjunga, there are many itineraries and offers I can see online offer by lots of travel agent and some hardily have trekking experience in this route. I am lucky to be born in the Himalayas and have done enough trek on this route to recommend you. Always Start from Utterey and End in Yuksum.
Thank you for reading, hope you can join one of my treks as well someday.- Mohan
Hidden Path- Kanchenjunga