ApproachSee the main page for getting to base camp at Pangpema. The "one to two days" time required for this route is round trip from Pangpema and back. As noted the entire time required for the trek is 3-4 weeks.
Route DescriptionThe peak is located in the basin directly above and to the north of Pangpema.
Climb up the grassy slope, which eventually becomes a field of large boulders until you reach the snout of a small glacier flowing from the peaks surrounding the basin. We chose this location, at about 5500 meters (~18,200 feet), for the site of our high camp.
Our night here was spent in an epic windstorm, with real concern that our tents would be torn apart, forcing several trips out during the night to adjust the rocks anchoring the tents. The wind calmed as the sun rose and our climb progressed in relative comfort, although we kept an eye on the jet-stream plume coming off Kangchenjunga's summit.
From this camp scramble on loose rock for a few hundred feet along the left (west) side of the glacier's tongue. Enter the snow-filled basin, which is ringed by numerous attractive peaks ranging from 5900 to 6300 meters in elevation (19,500 - 21,000'). Peak 5950 sits on the south edge of the west arm of this basin.
Walk west on the glacier towards the peak, the base of which is less than 1/2 mile from where you entered the basin. There are several crevasses along the way, so take care. A shallow couloir or ramp descends from the north side of the summit, and the entire climb can be done on snow. The angle starts out gradually, but quickly steepens to 40 degrees. The final 200 feet is at least 50 degrees. Just before the steep section is a convenient bulge to rest on. The climb from the basin gains about 1000 feet of elevation.
The summit was just big enough for our group of ten people. The Sherpas set up a fixed rope for us to rappel the steeper section, then we downclimbed the remainder.
We left the high camp by 8:00 AM, returned about 1:00 PM, and were back down to Pangpema in time for mid afternoon tea.