Mountaineering in Sikkim
Mountaineering in Sikkim
The first priority to
mountaineering in Sikkim there arranged the plastic boots and Crampons with
front Points, Mountaineering harness, mountaineering ice-axe, climbing sling and
two locking carabineers, telescopic ski-sticks, Prussik loops, Climbing helmet
are some of the essential equipment needed for mountaineering. Equipment can be
hired, either from clubs, or purchased from one of the agencies selling it.
Mountaineering expeditions, unlike trekking, require more planning and paperwork
as clearance is required from Ladian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi. Local
Government also imposes royalty on some peaks.
The Sikkim Himalayas, the
epitome of the world's mountains, encompass a wonderland, which for sheer beauty
and magnificence remains unbeaten elsewhere in the globe. In the southwestern
part of Sikkim, in the main Himalayan range, lies the majestic Khangchendzonga
or Kanchenjunga, rising to a staggering height of 8,585 m (28,169 ft) above sea
level. Beside this third largest peaks.
Khangchendzonga (8585 mtrs/
28,146 ft) is considered the Guardian Deity of Sikkim. For sentimental,
religious and other environmental reasons, permission is not granted by the
Sikkim government is to scale the peak. Rathong (22,000 ft.) has some of the
open peaks though they require special permits. The best known peaks in Sikkim -
Talung, Jonsong and Tent are all above 24,000 feet.
Mountaineering Peaks in Sikkim
Kanchenjunga, Kabru, Kirat
Chulior Tent Peak (7,365 m) and Sinolchu (6,887 m).
Best Time for
It is mandatory for Expeditions
in Sikkim to take a liason officer from the Sikkim Mountaineering Association
along with the liason officer from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation. IMF
functions as a clearing house for foreign expeditions and deputes a liasion
officer to accompany foreign climbers. All requests have to be forwarded to IMF
It is advisable to give atleast
a six month's notice before embarking on an expedition. All emergencies and
accidents are looked after by the liasion officer who helps to get rescue from
the Indian Air Force.
Sikkim is a
small region wedged in between the eastern border of Nepal and Bhutan.
Until India annexed it in 1975 it was an independent kingdom. This move
was undoubtedly motivated by India's fear of the growing Chinese
influence in the Himalayas. Sikkim is culturally linked to its neighbors
Nepal and Bhutan, and Tibet to the north. Because of its remoteness it
does have a specific flavor of its own. Although the larger part of the
approximately 480.000 inhabitants are Hindus of Nepali origin the land
has many Buddhist influences as well. The ancient monasteries of Sikkim
and beautiful Mount Kangchenjunga are the most important attractions
when visiting the region. A former
kingdom , Sikkim is now the 22nd State of India . It is rooted to the
Himalayan Massif like a scale on the neck of a Dragon. The various
ethnic groups have their own nomenclature - the Nepalese call it
“Sukhim” or “New Home”, to the Tibetans it is known as “Denzong” or “the
Valley of Rice”, and to the Lepchas, Sikkim’s original inhabitants , it
means “Nye-Mal-Ale” or “Heaven”.
been easy to visit Sikkim and even now you need a special permit to
enter. The region close to the Tibetan border remains tightly
restricted. The enchanting hill station of Darjeeling, which lies in the
Indian State of West Bengal, is the starting point for a trip into
Sikkim. You can reach Darjeeling by a nights train ride from Calcutta.
Surrounded by Tibet in
the N, Nepal in the W, Bhutan in the E, and by plains of India in the S,
Sikkim has many high peaks, though mostly situated on its western border
range, called Singalila Range. Near the top of this stands
Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest in the
world. Many other notable summits rise on this range, N and S of
Kangchenjunga, among them Kirat Chuli or Tent Peak (7365m.) Talung
(7349m) and Kabu (7317m). Among spurs branching E into Sikkim from this
range in the one carrying the much admired Siniolchu (6887m) practical
passes across the Singalila range from Nepal to Sikkim include the
Singalila (3142 m), Khang La (5054 m), Ratong La (5197 m) and in the far
N, Kongra La (5133m).
Tistsa River in Sikkim
rising from the slopes of Kangra La in the far N, is the main river that
divides Sikkim almost in half; it is called Lachen Chhu until it is
joined by Lachchung Chu at Chuntang. Zemu Chhu, which originates from
the Zemu Glacier on the eastern slopes of Kangchenjunga, is a tributary
of Lachung and meets it at Zemu Naram, a few Km. North of Lachen
monastery. Talung Chhu, with numerous sources in the Talung, South Simvo
and Umaram Khaong glaciers further S, meet the Teesta much further S,
near Melli Bazaar. The Tista then flows into the plains of India. Most
of the important glaciers are along the Singalila Range and include
Lhonak, Upper Zemu, Changsang, South Simvo, Talung and East Ratong.
Glaciers are longer on the W (Nepal) side of the Range.
How to Reach
The busiest route in
and out of Sikkim is the road between Gangtok and Siliguri. The town of
Bagdogra at a distance of 124 km from Gangtok (Capital of Sikkim) has
the nearest airport. Flights from Bagdogra can be booked at the Indian
Airlines office on Tibet Road in Gangtok (Phone 03592-23099). There are
regular flights to Guwahati, Calcutta, and Delhi from Bagdogra.
The nearest railway
stations from Gangtok are New Jalpaiguri (125 km) and Siliguri (144 km)
connected to Delhi, Calcutta, Guwahati, and other important cities in
Gangtok is connected by
road to Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Siliguri. Cars, luxury coaches and
jeeps are available for hire in the town. There are also regular bus
services run by the Sikkim Nationalized Transport.
Kangchenjunga National Park
Kangchenjunga itself (
28,179 ft/ 8589 meters ). Access to the heart of Kangchenjunga National
Park, including the vast Zemu Glacier, is generally only permitted to
mountaineering expeditions or experienced trekking parties using the
service of a recognized travel agency. The park has an impressive range
of animals and birds, leopards, clouded leopards, tahr, musk deer,
bharal, scrow, snow leopard, red panda and binturong.
The capital of Sikkim,
Gangtok (which means 'hilltop'), sprawl down the west side of a long
ridge flanking the Ranipul River. The scenery is spectacular and there
are excellent views of the entire Kangchenjunga range. Gangtok its
captivating architectural beauty radiates with pagoda-like wooden
houses, painted turquoise roofs and gay bazaars. Undoubtedly modern
times have wound their way into this picturesque town, but the gently
swaying and elegant costumes of the Sikkimese people, their smiling
faces, the unhurried pace of their life-style.
M o r e I n f o.
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