Sikkim shares a mountainous border with Nepal in the west, with China in the north and the east. All the early (pre-war) expeditions passed through Sikkim to cross over to Tibet on their way to attempt Everest. Francis Young husband’s amours mission of 1904 to Tibet also passed through Sikkim.
Doug Fresh field was one of the early mountaineers to visit this area. His book “Round Kanchenjunga” is a classic record of all the areas in North Sikkim. In West Sikkim, peaks like Kabru (7338m) were climbed in 1935 by C.R. Cook. Others like Kokthang and Rathong were climber much later. Even now some peaks have not been climbed from Sikkim side, though ascents have been made from Nepal. Northern Sikkim consists of Zemu glacier and valleys from which rises the third highest mountain of the world – Kanchenjunga. Pual Baur and his German team repeatedly attempted to climb it via its eastern approaches before the Second World War. Ultimately the Indian Army Team made subsequent repeat ascents. There are many peaks around Kanchenjunga like Simvo and Siniolchu, which are tempting and an open invitation to climbers.
Further North is Pyramid peak, the last 7000er climbed by the Himalayan Association of Japan (HAJ) in 1993. In the vicinity are peaks like Jongsanng and Chorten Nyima. Pauhunri with the pinnacle of Donkhya Ri is one of the chief attractions on the eastern side. There is a lot climbers can do in the Sikkim Himalayas.
Mt. Thingchinkhang (5603 Mts) and Mt. Jopunu (6010m) are situated in western Sikkim and falls under Kanchenjunga National Park which is window to natural beauties, bio- diversity, sacred lakes and snow capped mountains. One can see this peak from Okhlathang Valley while trekking to Goechala (pass).
Mt. Thingchinkhang and Mt. Jopuno can prove just more than a trekking peak for many mountain climbers. From the summit of these peaks one can enjoy a breath taking view of some of the most beautiful mountains of Sikkim Himalayas. Mt. Pandim (6691 mts) stands to the towering heights just in the same range where these trekking peaks rises. Just across Okhlathang Valley one can see peaks like Goecha, Rathong, Kabru sisters, Siniolchu and the mighty Kanchenjunga. Mt. Makalu in Nepal is also seen from here.
The approach trek is one of the most beautiful trails in the Himalayas and takes you through Rhododendron bushes and alpine meadows. Base camp is ideally established in Okhlathang Valley or above on the ridge.
Recently the government has opened some of the peaks to promote mountain tourism in the state vide notification No.25/HOME/2006 dated 20/03/2006 issued by the Home Department, government of Sikkim, the following peaks have been open for mountaineering from the 17th September 2005.
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The permits for the above mentioned peaks will be issued by the Home Department. The amount mentioned below has to be paid in Gangtok, Sikkim, after the permit is granted by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi.
The following royalties are levied for the expeditions.
For foreign expedition teams: US$350 per team of up to four members, US$ 500 per team of up to eight members and US$ 75 for every additional member.
The following minimum insurance coverage is compulsory.
1. Expedition members: Rs. 3 Lakh per member
2. Camp crew: Rs. 1 lakh per person
3. Porters: Rs. 50,000/- per person
4. Animals: Rs. 20,000/- per animal
The best season to climb in Sikkim is from May to October. Foreign expeditions have to book a peak along with a peak fee. The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) is the country's apex body that helps in organizing/ sponsoring mountaineering expeditions. 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 for clearance.
It is advisable to give at least a six months notice before embarking on an expedition. Rescue operations during emergencies and accidents are looked after by the liasion officer.
Chadar trekking was a fantastic experience and adventure... Until the 15th I only saw one tourist, but after 15th more people showed up. The guide Lama looked behind every time danger was near for me or for my equipment. At one point he even risked his own safety by when he jumped to hold me from sliding down from a high frozen waterfall into the Zanskar river.