Trekking the Lord Baden-Powell Route
Standing at a height of 5,718 meters, and surrounded by a number of magnificent peaks, including Lantang Lirung, Dorje Lakpa and Langtang II, Lord Baden-Powel Peak was named after the founder of the International Scouts Movement, Lord Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell. Located in the Lantang Region of Nepal, the mountain was traditionally known as Urkema Peak, but was renamed by the Government of Nepal in 2007 during the international celebrations marking the centenary of the scout movement. A new trekking route opening up access to the Lord Baden-Powell Peak was launched at the same time, and scouts from Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia were among the first to trek the route and ascend the peak.
Since that historic occasion in 2007, the Lord Baden-Powell trek has been gaining in popularity among adventurous visitors to Nepal. Starting and ending in Kathmandu, the excursion takes a total of sixteen days, with the peak climbing graded as “strenuous”. The trail takes trekkers through spectacular and unspoiled terrain, where villages have no access to the conveniences of modern living and locals live a hand-to-mouth existence. It is, however, anticipated that the local villagers will benefit from an increase in tourism, as has been the case in other isolated parts of this beautiful mountainous country.
The Lord Baden-Powell trek starts with a drive from Kathmandu to Kakani – the home of the Nepal Scouts International Training Center. A bus trip to Trishuli and on to Dhunche is the next stage of the journey. Located at 2,120 meters, Dhunche offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Himalayas, including Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, the Annapurna and the Langtang region’s peaks. A winding road descends to Syabru Besi at 1,460 meters where trekkers spend the nights before departing for Ghopcha Khola. The journey continues through Lantang village – the headquarters for the Lantang National Park – before reaching Kyangjin (3,900 meters) which serves as the base camp for the ascent of Lord Baden-Powel Peak.
The High Camp stands at 4,987 meters and is reached via a trail which passes through a lush rhododendron forest and across a river. The view from the High Camp includes Lantang Lirung to the north and Naya Kanga to the south. The final ascent to the peak takes trekkers up a 30 degree slope to a glacier, and around a glacial bowl and rocks before reaching the top of the ridge at a height of 5,890 meters – a memorable accomplishment indeed! Trekkers can take some time to savor the moment before retracing their steps in the knowledge that they have seen some sights that only intrepid and determined adventurers get to see.