Don’t climb Kanchenjunga

Kanchenjunga (8586m)

10 reasons for not climbing Kanchenjunga;-)

1 It’s not high or famous enough. It lacks the fame of Everest and the ‘prestige’ of K2. As an Everest summiteer you’ll be the hero of your neighbourhood. As a K2 summiteer you’ll gain respect from fellow climbers. But if you mention back at the office that you’ve spent 12 weeks “climbing a peak called K-A-N-C-H-E-N-J-U-N-G-A’, you’ll get a ‘whaaaat???”

2 It’s too remote. Just to het to BC requires a long (around 15 days) difficult approach. The Kanchenjunga trek to SW side is one of the less frequented in Nepal. There are no logdes and no roads. You’l spend the last four days on a hudge glacier, which can be very difficult in bad weather. Approaching from India is not easy either.

3 It’s located in an area were you can not find Sherpa porters or climbers because it is too far away from the Khumbu valley. In 2011 is was Maoïst territory.

4 There is no easy way to the summit. No matter what side or route you choose: climbers must find their way through difficult terrain; each step will be more and more difficult to the very top. First ascent was completed through the SW face. Sikkim face was first climbed through the North East Spur by an Indian Army team in 1977.

5 It can’t be easy ‘tamed’ with fixed ropes. Only some passages can be fixed by the usually small teams, and climbers must be prepared to progress self-sufficiently without roes.

6 Commercial outfitters usually don’t offer expeditions to Kanchenjunga. Logistics are too complicated and it would be difficult to find guides who had previously summited the mountain – and willing to repeat the experience.

7 Media may not be interested in covering an expedition to a mountain they can’t even spell properly. BC would be too quiet for journalists and filming on higher attitudes could be too hard for almost any cameramen.

8 Even if you do climb it, there are too many possibilities of not reaching the summit. Too long, too high, too cold, too hard.

9 Even if you do reach the summit, there are too many possibilities of not getting back safely. Exhaustion, confusing sections in bad weather and avalanches have taken the life of more than a few climbers.
Less than 220 klimmers have summited Kanchenjunga and 42 have died. The overall summit/fatality rate is about 22%. According to statistics, K2 and Nanga Parbat are more dangerous. But while the death toll is decreasing on both these mountains, recent statistics shows that Kanchenjunga’s rate actually has increased slightly over the last decade. Only deadly Annapurna is still on top of the danger list.

10 It’s expensive. Stats on failed attempts and moral accidents are so scary that few sponsors are keen to invest money in the adventure. The entire history of the mountain is spilled with blood. And Nepal climbing permits for 8000ers cost more than US$10000.