16 Oct 2021 Peak Climbing Nepal
Nepal is a trekkers’ heaven with scenery to blow the mind, great sites to explore, and selected places to spend overnight. It boasts a wide range of walks from grassy plains to mountains and valleys that provide an incredible experience.
One of such famous and impressive mountains to ascend is Baruntse. It’s arguably the most intriguing climb in Khumbu, with a mix of wilderness, remote slopes, and highlands. The mountain offers a stunning view of diverse landscapes, shimmering snow peaks, and fascinating moraines.
Baruntse lies in the south of Hunku Glacier between Makalu and Lhotse. It’s roughly 164 km afar from Kathmandu, so trekkers can have open access after flying to Lukla. The hike is challenging with unending snow-covered trails, crevasses, and glaciers.
Climbers need to pave their way from high hills and into the forest with frequent descent into the valley. Baruntse trek begins from Chhuthang in the run-up of a scenic flight to Lukla. The months-long walking route follows rocky hills and glacial moraines, crossing several suspension bridges.
The trail alone passes through many villages and runs beside the moraine to arrive at a base camp. Climbing the mountain is the most challenging part of all Baruntse Climbing routes with a steep and snowy ridge. The high glacier with a deep crevasse elevates the challenge even more and makes it hard to reach the summit.
Be careful of the low atmospheric pressure on the way to the summit, as it’ll make you suffer from altitude sickness. The best bit of the Baruntse Climbing route is its incredible view with breathtaking landscapes, glistening mountains, and sweeping hills with lush terrains.
Walking the village is amazing as you get to go closer with the people and learn about their customs. Ancient monasteries, colorful mani walls, stone monuments, and chortens in the village say a lot about the history and culture of people living in the region. You can also partake in the local festivals and celebrations if visited during Spring and Autumn.
The Baruntse Climbing Route and Itinerary
Day 01: Fly to Lukla, Trek to Chhuthang (3,020m)
We’ll leave for Tribhuvan International Airport early in the morning to get a flight for Lukla. After 20-30 minutes of a direct flight, we’ll arrive at Sherpa town. On our way, you’ll be enjoying the magnificent view of lush meadows, rolling hills, and farms. We’ll make a quick stop at a teahouse to grab lunch and then start walking to Chhuthang.
The trail has us advancing through verdant meadows and wild forests before scrambling from just below Kalo Himal. Passing several small hamlets and remote settlements, we’ll arrive at Chhuthang. Overnight stay in a tea house.
Day 02: Trek to Tuli Kharka via Zatrawala Pass (4,600m)
After breakfast, we’ll set off for a trek to Tuli Kharka, which takes anywhere between 5-6 hours. The trek involves a steep ascent and a series of paths with ups and downs until Zatrawala Pass reaches 15,088 ft.
From there, we’ll make a long climb over the rugged terrain with steep rocks up to the hilltop. During the whole way, we’ll get a fantastic view of shimmering snow peaks, including Karyolang Peak, Kong Ri, and Numbur Himal.
Once reached the acme, the trail walks a level ground for almost two hours. It then starts plummeting the hills and finally ends in Tuli Kharka. It’s a small settlement with a few teahouses and lodges, built to accommodate trekkers. You can see colorful mani walls and Tibetan chortens during the stop at the village.
Day 03: Trek to Kothe
Leaving Tuli Kharka, the trail runs into the wild forest filled with oak, rhododendron, pine, and juniper. During the journey, we’ll get a spectacular view of Mera Peak along with the surrounding mountains. Soon after, we’ll gently climb down the trail, heading to the Hinku River, which comes with lovely scenery.
From the other side of the bridge, the trail makes its final ascent to Kothe. The village is in the west of Hinku Valley at 4,182 meters altitude. After arriving here, you’ll get to taste the magnificent beauty of Khumbu Valley along with its sweeping hills and lush terrains. Tonight, we’ll stay in a teahouse.
Day 04: Trek to Thangnak
From Kothe, the trek begins with a steep and tiring walk along the crease of Hinku River that heads toward Gondishung. Passing the Lungsumgba Gompa away from the village, we’ll climb down the trail to the river. The trek rewards us with an impressive view of Kusum Kanguru Peak, Mega Peak, and other surrounding peaks.
After an hour or two-level easy walking that takes us to a grassy meadow, we’ll reach Thangnak. The village is perched in a remote location, but it still has many local shops and teahouses, which accommodate hikers.
Day 05: Hike to Khare
On this day, we traverse the Baruntse climbing route to Khare. The journey from Thangnak to Khare should take us between 5-6 hours. It kicks off by crossing the Hinku River using an old wooden bridge and then walking over to Shar Glacier. The tiring scramble over rocky hills and steep moraine will lead us to the wide valley. The trek progresses with a vertical ascent till Khare, which offers a close shot of the north face of Mera Peak. After gently walking a few more miles, we’ll get to Khare, which has many hidden places and landmarks to explore. We’ll spend the night in a camp.
Day 06: Rest at Khare
After the strenuous walk of Khare, we believe the rest day at Khare is well-deserved. So, instead of trekking any further, we’ll take a break and stay in the village. After taking breakfast and a quick stroll through the village, we’ll climb the trail to Mera Glacier for acclimation.
The trail is rugged and inclined upwards, so it’ll help us adapt to the weather and temperature at high altitudes. After trekking for almost 3 hours, we’ll arrive at the base foot of the glacier.
Standing at the hilltop, you’ll get a clear shot of the north face of Mera Peak, unique topography, and shimmering glaciers. After the sightseeing, we’ll descend the trail back to Khare and wrap up the day.
Day 07: Trek to Mera La Pass
Today’s trek is short but extremely difficult with a boulder-stern path that has to be ascended slowly. Its 3-miles long trail takes a steep incline over the western ridge of Mera Glacier and tracks it until the pass.
From here, most of the section is rugged and continuous uphill so, we might see a decrease in the pace. After slowly climbing the trail, we’ll finally wind up the trek at Mera La Pass, which offers a splendid view of the Himalayan range.
Day 08: Trek to Seto Pokhari
Since the journey from Mera La Pass to Seto Pokhari takes 5-6 hours, we’ll start navigating the Baruntse climbing route very early in the morning. As the trail ahead is covered in snow so we’ll use crampons to walk it. We’ll spend most of the day climbing the steep hills and onto the meadow of the remote valley.
Walking along the way, we can see endless glistening mountains, high alpine valleys, and clifftops. After a short walk away, the trail ends at Seto Pokhari where you can witness a series of tranquil lakes including the Hongu basin and windswept mountains. Tonight we’ll stay in a tented camp.
Day 09:Trek to Baruntse Base Camp
Finally, here’s the day when we’ll be walking the trail to Baruntse Base Camp. The trek surely doesn’t get easy with a constant 5 hours walk over the jagged trails and a wide rocky valley. At this altitude, our body starts to notice a decrease in the level of oxygen.
As a result, the trek becomes intense and more exhausting. Chances of altitude sickness are also high from here, so; we’ll take the hike a bit slow until getting to the Base Camp. To spend the night here, our crew member will set up a camp.
Day 10-21: Summit Mt. Baruntse and return to Base Camp
Trek from Baruntse base camp to the summit is the most difficult of all climbs. There are many technical climbs above the camp, so we’ll have to be careful and not rush things.
The trek to Baruntse Summit starts after we offer prayers and perform rituals at the base camp. Following the local Sherpas and trek guides, we’ll find our way from the remained steep snow slope and Hunku Glacier. As the trail runs over the crevasse, we’ll use a ladder and fixed rope.
Several times, we’ll ascend and descend the trail from the snowy ridge. To prevent altitude sickness, we’ll make stops at various camps before making a final ascent to the summit. Due to extreme exposure to cold, you might suffer from frostbite and have breathing difficulties, so be careful.
After ascending the summit, you can catch a glimpse of surrounding mountains and landscapes. Shortly after sightseeing, we’ll race down the trails and to the base camp. We’ll keep using trekking poles and crampons to descend the trail. Overnight stay in the camp.
Day 22: Return to Seto Pokhari
After having breakfast and enjoying the scenic view, we’ll clean the base camp and get rid of the garbage. Shortly after that, you must be packing your bags so that we can leave for the trek immediately. The journey to Seto Pokhari begins with a short descent through the Hinku Valley.
The trek is easier until the trail slopes downward. But, once the course starts ascending upward, it gets more rigid, and the trekking speed becomes less. After hiking for nearly 3-4 hours, we’ll arrive at the campsite and wind up our excursion. We’ll spend the night in a camp set up by our crew members.
Day 23: Trek to Mera La Pass
As soon as you’re done having breakfast, we’ll get on to the trail, which is a little steeper. It has us passing the remotest region, where the trails are rugged with loose rocks and boulders. There isn’t much human settlement on this part of the trail, but you’ll get to relish the stunning view of lofty hills and mountains.
After finding our way through the windswept alpine valley, we’ll make a slow and steep walk up to the Mera La Pass. Upon our arrival at the crest, you’ll witness an impressive view of rolling hills, diverse landscapes, and a beautiful valley. Overnight stay in a tent
Day 24: Trek to Thangnak
We’ll start the morning with a warm breakfast, then head to the trail, which comes with a mesmerizing view. After a straight uphill walk via Mera La Pass that provided a breathtaking view of Baruntse, Makalu, and Haling, we’ll make a descent from just above the pass and through the lovely village of Khare until arriving at Thangnak.
Day 25: Trek to Kothe
The trek from Thangnak to Kothe is relatively easy than the previous day. The trail descends the hill and walks into the subtropical forest, heading to Kothe out of the village. En-route, we may encounter different wild animals and birds.
After climbing down the alpine region, we’ll trek a few more miles and eventually arrive at the village. Roughly 48 km far from Kathmandu, Kothe is a small settlement in the central region. The village is stunning with surrounding hills, diverse landscapes, and valleys, which look spectacular.
Day 26: Trek to Tuli Kharka
After taking a proper rest at Kothe, we’ll be fully ready to tackle the Baruntse Climbing Route. As soon as we come out of the village, the trail gently scales upward and runs into the forest. Not before long, we’ll turn to the west of Hinku Valley and steer the course. After trekking for about an hour or so, we’ll make it to Tuli Kharka and spend the night there.
Day 27: Hike to Lukla
We’ll navigate the Baruntse Climbing route for one last time. Today will be an easy but long ride to Lukla. From Tuli Kharka, our trail is a mixture of ups and downs through Zatrawala Pass. In the beginning, we’ll ascend a steep ridge and cross the pass, which demands a little bit more physical strength.
After that, the trail continuously slopes downward via Chutanga and passes through the dense forest. After walking past the lofty hills and chortens, we’ll finally arrive at Lukla. Overnight stay in a lodge.
Day 28: Fly back to Kathmandu
After having our last breakfast in Khumbu, we’ll take an easy walk to the Lukla airstrip. Within a few minutes, we’ll board the flight and head back to Kathmandu. Throughout the entire journey, you can enjoy yourself with a stunning view of lush green hills, cascading waterfalls, and mountains. After landing at Tribhuvan Airport, our staff will transfer you to the hotel where you can ease off.
Difficulties of Baruntse climbing route
1. Long and steep trails
With more than 55 miles long trail, Baruntse Climbing is pretty demanding and strenuous. It’s challenging with an extremely high altitude condition, rocky hills, and inclined snow slopes, demanding extreme physical strength.
Therefore, trekkers of the Baruntse expedition have to train themselves ahead of the hike. They’ll have to stay fit and follow a proper fitness regimen to improve their current physical stamina and endurance power.
Climbers will have to bring the needed trekking essentials to navigate the extended course. Just getting equipment won’t help beat the path; hikers must also know how to use them. Hence, they have to spend some time on the technique and use of hiking gear.
2. Altitude sickness
Another challenging aspect of the Baruntse Climbing route is altitude sickness. It occurs due to the continuous and steep ascent at high altitudes where there is low atmospheric pressure. As the trail ascends higher, the airflow reduces and causes trekkers to suffer from severe medical conditions.
Those who have got no experience of climbing the mountainous terrains previously will have even greater difficulty climbing the snow peaks. A lot of trekkers walking the Baruntse climbing route suffer from this trouble due to insufficient preparation.
So, they are required to acclimatize before climbing the mountain. Trekkers are accompanied by the local guide to climb mountain ridge, back and forth to avoid altitude sickness.
Some of the most common symptoms of altitude sickness witness by Baruntse climbers are dizziness, nausea, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia. These health issues often become serious when ignored or not taken preventive measures.
Exhaustion is the result of extreme tiredness and continuous walk for several hours. Trekkers of the Baruntse expedition often struggle with fatigue as they have to walk the winding course.
Most of its sections are a mix of steep and rugged trails filled with loose rocks. There are sheer glaciers and crevasse high above the base camp, which must be traversed using ladders. The technical climbs are extreme for a trekker who hasn’t trekked the mountain before.
Carrying a heavy backpack with all supplies and equipment is also brutal for hikers. The trekking may take a toll on mountaineers, so it’s important that they go easy on their trek. Hydrating and having nutritious food during the walk is equally essential; it helps prevent sickness.
Hiring a porter provides great relief to hikers as they carry the load for them. They take off the burden from hikers by helping them with the luggage. As a result, trekkers can ascend the mountain with less difficulty and strain.
4. Freezing Temperature
The climate at Baruntse varies depending on the season and altitude. Temperatures at high altitudes are typically low as compared to valleys due to low barometric pressure. Winters are arctic cold in Baruntse, with temperatures dropping up to -20 Degree Celsius.
There is heavy snowfall with storm winds and blizzards in the mountain, which impedes visibility. Monsoon weather is equally harsh, following continuous downpours and cold weather. It’s frigid cold at the top with icy wind and light snowfall.
Therefore, if possible, avoid ascending Baruntse in this season as the weather is really harsh. Spring and Autumn are also chilly in the mountain, but they are relatively endurable. The climate below the base camp is moderate with warm sunshine, clear sky, and long days.
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