Elevation: 28,169 feet (8,586 meters)
Location: Nepal/India, Asia
First Ascent: George Band, Joe Brown (UK), May 25, 1955
- The name translates “Five Treasures of Snow,” referring to Kangchenjunga’s five peaks. The Tibetan words are: Kang (Snow) chen (Big) dzö (Treasury) nga (Five). The five treasures are Gold, Silver, Precious Stones, Grain, and Holy Scriptures.
- Four of Kangchenjunga’s five summits top 8,000 meters.
- Kangchenjunga is the highest mountain in India and second highest in Nepal and is the easternmost 8,000-meter peak.
- The first attempt to climb Kangchenjunga was in 1905 by a party led by Aleister Crowley and Dr. Jules Jacot-Guillarmod on the southwest side of the mountain.
- The 1955 first ascent party included famed British rock ace Joe Brown, who climbed a 5.8 rock section on the ridge just below the summit.
- The first ascent party and most subsequent parties stop just below the summit to respect the Sikkemese belief that the top is sacred space.
- The 2nd ascent was by an Indian Army team up the difficult northeast spur in 1977.
- In 1998 Ginette Harrison became the first woman to summit. Kangchenjunga was the last 8,000-meter peak to be climbed by a woman.
- Mark Twain traveled to Darjeeling in 1896 and later wrote in Following the Equator: “I was told by a resident that the summit of Kinchinjunga is often hidden in the clouds, and that sometimes a tourist has waited twenty-two days and then been obliged to go away without a sight of it. And yet was not disappointed; for when he got his hotel bill he recognized that he was now seeing the highest thing in the Himalayas.”