If you ever decide to explore the wonderful marvels found throughout South Asia, be sure to visit the intimidating site that holds Mount Sandakphu. Situated in West Bengal, a state of India, Sandakphu is the highest natural point in the region. It is conveniently located near the Singalila National Park. For enthusiastic climbers, it is a definite go-to if one is into a bit of a challenge. Its peak rests approximately 11,941 ft. (3,665 m) above sea level. To reach the top, you would have to pass through the forest neighboring the mountain. Further on from that point, the path of your ascent is relatively simple.
From the early hours of your journey, the path becomes intense, with uneven trails and nature extending in every direction. The snow-covered ground will meet your footsteps around halfway in your journey, making the climb much more exciting. Due to its near 12,000 ft height, the temperature would be chillingly cold. The air can be difficult to breathe in for beginners or people with breathing issues. You would undoubtedly need to be well-prepared beforehand. Once you do reach the top, you would be welcomed by an unparalleled view of four of the five highest mountains in the world, including Everest and Kanchenjunga! Below is the guide for beginners attempting to surmount the majestic peak of Sandakphu.
It is mandatory for any person trekking through the mountain to have a registered tour guide. You can either arrange one online or get a local guide near the base of the mountain.
Starting from Manebhanjan, you would need to walk a few kilometers through the Sangalila National Park. The entry to this park requires a permit, which can be handled by your tour guide.
Once you reach Meghma, you have two options; either take a shorter trail that passes Nepal’s territory or go through a longer one that is part of India’s. There is no visa required for the former, although you’ll have to pass through several inspection points. Overall, the walk to Sandakphu requires covering a distance of 20 or so miles.
Once at Sandakphu, reaching up to the highest peak, Phalut, consists of another 13 miles walk upward. The terrain is relatively simple and uncomplicated, but it requires continuous walking unless you plan on making multiple camps.
The trails are well-marked and easy to follow. While it isn’t very steep, be prepared for sharp ascents and descents that you will approach frequently.
How Long Does the Climb Take?
For novices, the trek can last up to a whole week, depending on your rate of movement. The trek through the lower forest usually takes 4 – 6 hours. From there on to Sandakphu, based on which route you take, there is at most 25 miles of ground to be covered. If you are able to walk for about 9 hours a day, it will take you two days to reach Sandakphu. Any slower and it can take you up to 4 days.
From Sandakphu to Phalut, it is generally a 1 – 2 days ascent. During winter, when the snowfall is at its peak, the walk can be even more arduous and may take up more time. Generally, most tour guides can help you reach the peak in 5 – 6 days.
- Warm and waterproof layers of clothing
- First aid kit
- Food (small meals with high proteins and carbs)
- Boonie hats
- Extra batteries
For camping, you will need,
- Sleeping bag
- Tenting gear
- Cooking gear
Best Season to Trek
There are two ideals times of the year when you should begin your journey. Firstly, during the spring season (March to April), when the weather is pleasant, and the temperature is around 10°C. The flowers are ready to bloom, and the environment is charmingly fragrant. The sky is clear, and the view from the peak looks astounding.
Besides spring, near the winter season, the temperatures are lower but still agreeable and the time is perfect for a long trek up the mountain. The main reason is that the visibility is superb and as you reach the top, you can observe a majestic view of giant mountain peaks on the horizon, fully wrapped in fresh snow. Any later than November, the weather can drop down too much and prove a mild hindrance.