Kanchenjunga - The Five Treasures of Snows
Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world; in third place at 28,169 feet or 8,586 meters is Kanchenjunga (or Kangchenjunga), which means "The five Treasures of Snows". A number of climbers and hikers have had the privilege to explore and climb the mountain peaks where they are dazzled by the picturesque views surrounding them from different viewing points. Of all the mountain ranges Kanchenjunga is one of the least explored because of its remoteness and the difficulties in getting permission and access from the Indian side.
Kanchenjunga is made up of five peaks, three of which are found in India and the other two in Nepal. Another interesting fact is that four of the five peaks reach or go over 8,450 meters. Kangbachen is the lowest peak reaching a height of 7,903 meters, next is Kanchenjunga South at 8,494 meters. Then there is Kanchenjunga Central, which stands at 8,482, Kanchenjunga West at 8,505 and the highest Kangchenjunga Main at 8,586.
George Band and Joe Brown were the first two men from the United Kingdom to ascend Kanchenjunga in 1955 with their team of helpers. Since then there have been many expeditions completed by various teams of climbers representing their country. In 1983 Pierre Beghin attempted a climb up Kanchenjunga without bringing extra oxygen and done solely by himself without a team. 1998 was the year Ginette Harrison became the first and only woman to have successfully climbed to the top and made it down alive.
The local Sikkimese people found in India believe that the summit of the mountains of Kanchenjunga are sacred and not to be trodden on. In an attempt to show respect for the beliefs of the Sikkimese, the few who have successfully made it near the top of the summit stop a few meters before they get there.
In Nepal there is certain part of Kanchenjunga that has been made a conservation area run by the World Wildlife Fund, protecting, among other things, the Red Panda. Similarly, parts of Kanchenjunga found in India have been made protected areas in an attempt to provide sanctuary to both flora and fauna.