Of late a few Guided Trek Operators have been trying to position Mt. kanamo as the next big Summit Trek in India. At an elevation of 19,500 feet, it has the easiest approach. With a sound acclimatization, one can hope to wrap the summit to a near Six Thousand meter peak in 3 to 4 days. This is something unheard of.
I remember discussing a list of Himalayan trek-able Peaks while working for a Guided Trek Company. We wanted to find more trek-able Peaks like Stok Kangri in Ladakh. I came up with a list of Peaks in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim. A few of them had a semi-mountaineering approach. We had to learn if they could qualify as a true trek-able summit for non-mountaineers. The list came out as following.
10 Trek-able Peaks in Indian Himalayas
- Mentok-2 (6,172 meters) Rupshu Valley, Ladakh
- Chhamser Kangri (6,622 meters) Rupshu Valley, Ladakh
- Lungsar Kangri (6,666 meters), Rupshu Valley, Ladakh
- Kang Yatse Main (6,400 meters) | Kang Yatse-2 (6,247 meters), Markha Valley, Ladakh
- Friendship Peak (5,289 meters) Beas Kund, Kullu, H.P
- Ladakhi Peak (5,345 meters) Beas Kund, Kullu, H.P
- Shitidhar Peak (5,250 meters) Beas Kund, Kullu, H.P
- Mt. Thingchinkhang (6,010 meters) Khangchendzonga National Park, West Sikkim
- Mt. Jopunu (5,603 Meters) Khangchendzonga National Park, West Sikkim
- Mt. Rudugaira (5,819 meters), Gangotri Valley, Uttarakhand
After a careful scrutiny, Kang Yatse Main, Lungser Kangri, Shitidhar, Mt. Thingchinkhang and Mt. Jopunu had a higher difficulty gradient. Kanamo Peak never made it on the list.
About Kanamo Peak Trek
Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) hosts several small peaks that are approachable in a short time span. Kibber, once the highest inhabited village in the world is the starting point of this trek. The high rising Kanamo Peak has an auspicious significance for the locals. The name “KA-NAMO” consists of two words. Ka means ‘white’, Namo means ‘a lady’. Kanamo implies ‘A White Lady’.
An 18 km hike from the backdrop of Kibber takes you to the base camp. With a sound acclimatized body, one can even think of climbing Kanamo on the second day itself. The peak is climbed from its southwest ridge. The long ridge walk to the summit is non-technical. There is no crevasses or need for fixing a rope. In the late summer months, you will find snow only at the summit.
5 reasons why Kanamo Peak is not an attractive alternative to Stok Kangri
1. Kanamo Peak feels more like a Holiday Trek. The nature of the trek is short with easy gradients all the way to the summit. This is not something one looks in a near 20,000 feet Trek-able Summit. There are no challenges on this trek except the altitude. Those looking for a challenging Himalayan Peak climb will naturally opt for Stok Kangri.
2. Kanamo Peak is too short a trek to be a Himalayan Summit worthy. From Kibber one can do this trek in 3 to 4 days. Those who are acclimatized well can return back to Kibber in 3 days flat. By the time you start to soak in the trek, it is done and dusted. What a Bummer!
3. The monotony of the landscape can be a deal breaker. Chances are you may find this trek fall short of those surprising twists in scenery one look for. There is practically no change in scenery throughout the trek. The Base Camp is perched over an exposed, barren plateau devoid of any life or vibrancy. If you plan to spend an extra day here (for acclimatization purpose) then carry a book or music to kill time.
4. The Summit views are great but not as stunning as Stok Kangri. From its summit you get great views of the Shilla Valley overseeing Mt. Shilla and Mt. Chau Chau Kang Nilda. Towards South East side you can see the fertile plateau of Langia Village. While all this is sweet, it fell short when compared with Stok Kangri summit views.
5. Kanamo does not inspire a feeling of a true Himalayan Peak Climb. Climbing Kanamo feels like taking a short cut. The approach to the summit is way too easy. In fact, standing at the summit of Kanamo appears as standing on a large ridge than a high altitude Himalayan Peak. It cannot compete with an experience of standing at the summit of a steep cornice of Stok Kangri.
Indian Mountaineering Foundation has listed 3 Best Trekking Peaks in India. Evidently, Kanamo Peak does not find its name on their list.
What is so glamorous about Stok Kangri Peak?
Stok Kangri is the most bankable Summit Trek in India for an experienced trekker. The thrills of climbing a 20, 182 feet (6,153) are unparalleled. It carries a rare distinction of one of the highest trek-able mountains in the world. It is a small trailer of how climbing is done. The nature of establishing a high altitude base camp is as real as it gets. The summit day climb starts at midnight and is a 9 to 11-hour ordeal of epic proportion. Stok Kangri is often underestimated for its difficulty level. Even with a non-technical approach to climbing, it has its share of risks.
A few tips for those looking to climb Kanamo Peak
- Kanamo Peak is more suited as a Side Trek. I recommend this as a bonus trek along your other trekking or traveling plans in Spiti. Pin Bhaba Pass, Pin Parvati Pass, Hampta Pass and Parang La are the treks we recommend around this region. Many people who do Hampta Pass, Pin Bhaba Pass, Pin Parvati Pass are seen doing Kanamo Peak as a side trek.
- You do not need to go through a Guided Trek Company to do this trek. Local Guides are available at Kibber village. They can arrange for all the gears, food etc for you. Kanamo Peak makes for a good side trek that can be done solo by experienced backpackers.
- The best trek from Kibber is a week long Parang La. Read more about Parang La Trek Blog by Neelima here
Picture Credits – lead and Mt. kanamo: Bharat Baswani | Follow Bharat Baswani Travel Blog here | Stok Kangri Image courtesy: James Edward Ball | All permissions obtained from respective custodians of the pictures.
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