Kangchendzonga From Goecha La

Sunset over Kangchendzonga. As viewed from Goecha La During the Yuksom -Dzongrila - Goecha La trek over the Singilila Ridge.

Kangchenjunga (also called Kangchenjunga, Kangchen Dzö-nga, Kachendzonga, or Kangchanfanga) is the third highest mountain in the world

Kanchenjunga is translated along the lines of "Five Treasures of the Snow" as it contains five peaks over 8,000 metres. Up until 1852, Kangchenjunga was believed to be the highest mountain in the world. Calculations made from the British 1849 Great Trigonometric Survey made Mount Everest the highest mountain on Earth (as measured from sea level) and relegating Kangchenjunga to third highest.

Climbing History: 1st attempt & 1st ascent

1899: British climber and explorer Douglas Freshfield and famous Italian photographer Vittorio Sella are the first to circumnavigate the mountain. Illegally traveling through Eastern Nepal, they are the first mountaineers to view the great Western Face of Kangchenjunga.

* 1905 First Attempt
Alistair Crowley(soon to be infamous British Occultist) sets up a camp at the head of the Yalung Glacier in Nepal. He establishes a high camp at 21,325 feet (6500 meters) when disaster strikes. A party of porters and climbers, including climbers Alexis Pache and Dr Jacot-Guillarmod, insist on descending in the afternoon to Camp 7 at 20,500 feet (6250 meters).

The inadequately supplied porters - reportedly climbing barefooted! - repeatedly slip on the icy slopes, and eventually on a traverse a fall triggers an avalanche. The sad result is that Pache and three porters are killed. Hearing their shouts, Crowley reportedly refuses to descend and help, remaining in his tent drinking tea. He is quoted in a newspaper as saying he was "not over-anxious in the circumstances...to render help. A mountain accident of this sort is one of the things for which I have no sympathy whatever".

In his book The Confessions of Alister Crowley he devoted 3 Chapters to his version of the expedition.
Photograph of Crowley on his horse on way to Kangchenjunga
Crowley's Mountaineering Career from Strange and Dangerous Dreams By Geoff Powter

* 1955 First ascent on May 25.
Kangchenjunga was first climbed on May 25May 25 1955 by George Band (the youngest member of the 1953 Everest Expedition) and the legendary Joe Brown . The team was lead by Charles Evans (who was also the deputy leader of the successful 1953 Everest Expedition). This was also the first expedition financed by the Mount Everest Committee The British expedition honored the beliefs of the Sikkimese who believe the summit sacred, by stopping a few feet short of the actual summit. Most successful summit parties since then have followed this tradition.

* 1978 A Polish team makes the first successful ascent of the south summit (Kangchenjunga II).

See Kangchenjunga History for a more detailed account.


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