Kyangjin Gompa in the upper Langtang valley. Credit: Ari Paulin,  Shot on 2009-06-21 Photo taken in , Rasuwa, Nepal.(c) Ari Paulin, licensed under: Copyrighted.
Kyangjin Gompa in the upper Langtang valley. Credit: Ari Paulin, Shot on 2009-06-21 Photo taken in , Rasuwa, Nepal.(c) Ari Paulin, licensed under: Copyrighted.

General

Most of the worlds highest mountains are located in the vast and complex Himalayan range (that means The Land of Snow). It forms over 2000km broad crescent through Northeastern Pakistan (Punjab), Northwestern India, Southern Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim Bhutan and Assam area of India. It is bordered on the north by the plateau of Central Asia and on the south by the fertile plains of the India. Ten of the world's fourteen 8000-meter peaks are located in Himalaya (the remaining are located in Karakoram).

Area structure

Himalaya is a vast mountain system consisting of great number of smaller areas. Himalaya and Karakoram run very close to each other in Northern Pakistan, there are multiple views whether Karakoram is a separate range or part of Himalayan main range. This probably makes not much of a difference to climbers though. For the sake of overview and difference of logistics, here Karakoram is considered a separate range. Considering Karakoram a separate range, Himalaya consists roughly four more or less parallel ranges. Sometimes the ranges run very close to each other and are thus very clearly separated, sometimes the distinction is quite clear.

  • Transhimalaya Transhimalaya is the northernmost chain and almost completely located in Tibet/China. The range has number of important sub ranges, many of which include some very high peaks reaching well above 7000m. The most important sub ranges are:
    • Zanskar range Highest if the Transhimalaya ranges in NW of India where Zanskar is higher and wider than the Himalayan main ridge in many places.
    • Ladakh Range Ladakh range is the northernmost of Himalayan ranges, located to the north of Zanskar range and to the south of Masherbrum, Saltoro and Saser Karakorams.
    • Chang Chenmo range and the Aksai Chin Plateau
    • Gangdise.
    • Nyangchen Tanglha.
  • Greater Himalaya In most places Greater Himalaya, or Himalayan main crest, is the largest and highest of the ranges making up the Himalaya. However, in most part of NW India Zanskar range is both broader and higher than the main chain.
  • Lesser Himalayas Also known as Inner Himalayas, Lower Himalayas or Middle Himalayas. For climbers the two most important subranges, Pir Panjal range and Dhaula Dhar Range are both located in NW India where several peaks above 6000m height are found.
  • Siwalik Range Also known as Outer Himalayas or Siwalik Hills. Southernmkost and the lowest of the chains, not of particular interest to climbers.

As the range is large particularly on East-West direction, it also covers great number of different areas. For the sake of this site, the following division to main areas is used:

  • Punjab Himalaya Punjab Himal is located in disputed Kashmir area. The area is sensitive due to border conflict between Pakistan and India. It's located north of the city of Islamabad and south of Karakoram, separated from it by the river Indus. The highest and by far the most famous mountain is Nanga Parbat, the westernmost of 8000m peaks, that rises far apart of other 8000m peaks of Himalaya. However, largest part of Punjab Himalaya is located in India. Nun Kun (7135m), located in Zanskar, is also reasonably well-known among climbers. Several ranges making up Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh areas have spectacular peaks, some of rise to above 6000m but of which not many have heard of.
  • India Significant part of Himalays as well as eastern Karakoram are located in India. Himalayas are located both in NW (parts of Punjab Himalaya: Jammu & Kashmir Himalaya and Himalchal Himalaya as well as Uttarakhand Himalaya) and NE (Sikkim, Assam Himalaya) parts of the country. NW part, particularly Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand Himalaya, are the most important areas in terms of mountaineering. Best known climbing objectives are to be found in Gangotri group with several high peaks culminating at Kamet (7756m) but somewhat lower peaks Thalay Sagar (6905m), Shivling (6543m) and stunning Bhagirathi and Arwa groups being the best known objectives. Perhaps the most famous peak of the country though is Nanda Devi (7816m) with several other high peaks surrounding it forming impressive Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Eastern parts are generally very little explored, although there are several high peaks also in that part of the country, e.g. Pauhunri (7128m) and Siniolchu (6887m).
  • Tibet Himalaya Tibetan plateau is the vastest and the highest plateau of the world. It is surrounded by great number of high mountain ranges on all sides. On it's south side rise the northern Himalayan ranges referred to collectively as Transhimalaya. The range rises between Yarlung Tsangpo river in the south and Kunlun Shan and Altyn Tagh in NW and consists of two main chains: lower Transhimalaya. Further south several ranges making up Greater Himalaya extend into Tibet. Most of the highest peaks, including several 8000ers are located in Greater Himalaya chain, in the southernmost part of the Tibet. That being said, Transhimalaya also has several very high peaks. Very little climbing has been done in Yibet Himalaya and correspondingly the information is scarce. Conversely, the area holds great potential for explorative mountaineering.
  • Nepal Nepal is a small independent kingdom, located on the southern slopes of the Central Himalaya. Nepal has an unparalleled concentration of the world's highest mountains, including eight of the world's fourteen 8000 meter peaks. A ninth such peak, Shisha Pangma, is just over the border into Tibet. Nepal Himalaya consists of numerous subranges the most popular of them being Annapurna and Khumbu regions.
  • Eastern Himalaya Eastern Himalaya covers several ranges forming the border between China (Tibet) in the north and Bhutan in south located between Sikkim in west and Assam Himalaya in the east. There are number of high peaks in rising well over 7000m in Nyangchen Tanglha Shan, Sikkim, Bhutan Himalaya and Assam Himalaya with the highest peak being Namche Barwa (also Namjagbarwa, 7782m). None of the areas are well explored by mountaineers, thus generally little information is available and several peaks are yet to be climbed. Bhutan Himalaya is out of reach though due to ban of mountaineering in the country.

Each of these main areas is further divided into smaller areas. The level of classification differs quite a bit between areas. Whenever established classification exists, this site has tried to stick to it. However, if none exists, grouping may have been created for the purpose of this site.

Climbing information

Rules and regulations

Accessibility varies dramatically between different areas; some areas are reasonably accessible while some others are completely inaccessible. This is further explained for specific areas but as a general rule of thumb:

  • Most accessible peaks are the trekking peaks in Nepal Himalaya with reasonable cost and relatively moderate bureuocracy.
  • In most other areas full expeditions permit is necessary. The difficulty of getting one and the other regulations vary between the countries, the summit altitude and sometimes area. The price of the permit varies considerably between the areas and usually also depending on the altitude of the peak.
  • Some areas are only accessible to joint expeditions consisting of both foreign and domestic climbers. Different rules may apply to different countries or to different areas in a single country.
  • Some areas are very difficult or as good as impossible to get a permit to because of political situation. This may apply to areas in Tibet and several areas close to borders, particularly those in Kashmir area. Afghanistan is probably not too high on the list of countries to travel to on most westerners list as well.
  • Some areas are off limits due to natural preservation. Probably most significant off such areas is Nanda Devi sanctuary.
  • Some peaks are considered holy and therefore forbidden. Most famous examples are Macchapuchare and Kailas. The whole of Bhutan falls into this category as well, as mountaineering is banned there.

References

When considering that most of the highest peaks are located in Himalaya, actual climbing guidebooks are surprisingly few. However, lots of good information is to be found in Alpine Journals and other such publications, though usually they cover just the difficult stuff. Also the information in Journals and magazines is scattered around, so some significant research is in order.

Lack of consistent peak names and altitudes can present a burden when trying to gather the information though.

  • Kürscher, Iris: Himalaya. Gipfel der Götter. Isbn: 9783765439360. Bruckmann, 2002.
  • Bonington, Chris & Salkeld, Audrey: World Mountaineering - The World's Greatest Mountains by the Worlds Greatest Mountaineers. Isbn: 1845331427. Miller's Publications, 2006.
  • Kelsey, Michael R.: Hiker's and Climber's Guide to the World's Mountains and Volcanos, 4 Edition edition. Isbn: 9780944510186. Kelsey Publishing (Utah), 2001.
  • Fanshawe, Andy & Venables, Stephen: Himalaya Alpine Style - The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks. Isbn: 9780898864564. Mountaineers Books, 1996.
  • Neate, Jill: High Asia - An Illustrated History of the 7000 Metre Peaks. Isbn: 9780044404804. Harpercollins Publishers Ltd, 1990.
  • Messner, Reinhold: The Big Walls - From the North Face of the Eiger to the South Face of Dhaulagiri. Isbn: 9780898868449. Mountaineers Books, 2001.
  • Parker, Philip: Himalaya - The Exploration and Conquest of the Greatest Mountains on Earth. Isbn: 9781844862214. Conway, 2013.
  • Wolfe, Frederick L.: High Summits - 370 Famous Peak First Ascents and Other Significant Events in Mountaineering History. Isbn: 9781936449354. Hugo House Publishers, 2013.
  • Hattingh, Garth: Top Climbs of the World (Top Series). Isbn: 9781859740859. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd, 1999.

Punjab Himalaya

This panorama was taken on the way to the base camp of Nanga Parbat, also known as the "killer mountain". At 8,125 metres (26,658 feet), it is the 9th highest peak of the world and the 2nd highest peak in Pakistan. The base camp is about a kilometer's trek from here. One glacier is visible on the right side, another glacier can be seen building on the left side. Credit: Waqas.usman,  Shot on 2012-03-15 Photo taken in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.(c) Waqas.usman, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.
This panorama was taken on the way to the base camp of Nanga Parbat, also known as the "killer mountain". At 8,125 metres (26,658 feet), it is the 9th highest peak of the world and the 2nd highest peak in Pakistan. The base camp is about a kilometer's trek from here. One glacier is visible on the right side, another glacier can be seen building on the left side. Credit: Waqas.usman, Shot on 2012-03-15 Photo taken in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.(c) Waqas.usman, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.

Punjab Himal is located in disputed Kashmir area. The area is sensitive due to border conflict between Pakistan and India. It's located north of the city of Islamabad and south of Karakoram, separated from it by the river Indus. The highest and by far the most famous mountain is Nanga Parbat, the westernmost of 8000m peaks, that rises far apart of other 8000m peaks of Himalaya. However, largest part of Punjab Himalaya is located in India. Nun Kun (7135m), located in Zanskar, is also reasonably well-known among climbers. Several ranges making up Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh areas have spectacular peaks, some of rise to above 6000m but of which not many have heard of.

Area structure

The highest and best known peak of Punjab Himalaya is Nanga Parbat, the sole 8000m peak. It is also the sole independent high peak on Pakistani side. Indian part of the range cover larger area and a lot more peaks. The highest peak on the Indian side in Nun Kun (7135m). While these areas are not as famous as more easternly Uttarakhand, there are several spectacular peaks, particularly in Jammu & Kashmir. Attention to Indian Punjab Himal has increased in recent years. One reason for that is certainly the fact that, the access situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved. On the other hand, Uttaranchal has increased bureocracy and prices.

  • Pakistani Punjab Himal The area completely dominated by Nanga Parbat, which is sole independent high peak on Pakistani side. All other peaks except for those located on the ridges of Nanga Parbat are a lot lower and hardly ever climbed, at least by foreign climbers.
  • Jammu-Kashmir Himalaya Jammu-Kashmir Himalaya is the westernmost of Himalayan areas in NW corner of India. The area is nowhere near as famous among climbers as areas further to the east. The highest and most famous peak of Jammu & Kashmir Hiamalaya is Nun in Nun Kun massif. However, lower peaks of Kishtwar are likely the most spectacular ones. The same general area has also higher peaks in Karakoram. Srinagar is the main convenient center for climbers visiting Jammu & Kashmir areas. Leh in Ladakh region is the other main base.
  • Himachal Himalaya Himachal forms the central part of NW Indian Himalayas. The highest peaks are located in NE part of the state, but there are almost as high peaks (~6500m) on several other ranges. Current metering makes Gya (Gaya, 6794m) the highest peak of the state. Formerly Leo Pargial was quoted to be higher at 6816 but its current height is lower at 6791. Earlier Shilla was quoted to be over 7000m high, but its official altitude is much more modest 6123m. None of the peaks are of international fame. Miyar valley is probably the best known part of Himachal among foreign climbers. Main city of Himachal Pradesh is Shimla, located in SE of the state, to the south of all mountain chains.

General

Usual access to climbs in Pakistani part of Punjab Himal, as well as western Karakoram (K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum) and eastern part of Kunlun Shan (Kongur, Muztagh Ata), is to take an international flight to Islamabad. From there Karakoram Highway heads north to Kashgar (China). Gilgit, lying close to highway, is the most commonly used base for climbs in Punjab Himal. Drive from Islamabad takes about 24 hours. It is also possible to fly from Islamabad (~1h). Skardu, located closer to Karakoram, to the east of Gilgit, is another convenient center in the area (accessible by car from Gilgit).

  • Islamabad33.71666773.066667490
  • Gilgit35.92186474.2892081494
  • Skardu35.375.6166672226

Climbing information

Season and climate

Due to its location far further in the west compared to Central part of Himalaya (Nepal), the climbing season is similar to Karakoram, meaning it usually lasts from June to early August.

Rules and regulations

Generally Pakistan does not attract nearly as many climbers as Nepal. One reason for that is without a doubt political situation of some of the Pakistani's mountain areas. Pakistan has tried to attract more climbing tourism though lowering summit fees and also otherwise lessening the requirement bureaucracy. For rules and regulation applicable on the Indian areas, refer to Indian Himalaya.

Mountains

Nanga Parbat group

Indian Himalayas

Thalay Sagar from Kedar valley. North face facing directly at the camera. NE ridge is the ridge on the left (not skyline) and West ridge forms the right skyline. Credit: Kailas98,  Shot on 2015-06-27 Photo taken in Gangotri, Uttarakhand, India.(c) Kailas98, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.
Thalay Sagar from Kedar valley. North face facing directly at the camera. NE ridge is the ridge on the left (not skyline) and West ridge forms the right skyline. Credit: Kailas98, Shot on 2015-06-27 Photo taken in Gangotri, Uttarakhand, India.(c) Kailas98, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.

Significant part of Himalays as well as eastern Karakoram are located in India. Himalayas are located both in NW (parts of Punjab Himalaya: Jammu & Kashmir Himalaya and Himalchal Himalaya as well as Uttarakhand Himalaya) and NE (Sikkim, Assam Himalaya) parts of the country. NW part, particularly Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand Himalaya, are the most important areas in terms of mountaineering. Best known climbing objectives are to be found in Gangotri group with several high peaks culminating at Kamet (7756m) but somewhat lower peaks Thalay Sagar (6905m), Shivling (6543m) and stunning Bhagirathi and Arwa groups being the best known objectives. Perhaps the most famous peak of the country though is Nanda Devi (7816m) with several other high peaks surrounding it forming impressive Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Eastern parts are generally very little explored, although there are several high peaks also in that part of the country, e.g. Pauhunri (7128m) and Siniolchu (6887m). <<more>>.

Tibet Himalaya

Tibetan plateau is the vastest and the highest plateau of the world. It is surrounded by great number of high mountain ranges on all sides. On it's south side rise the northern Himalayan ranges referred to collectively as Transhimalaya. The range rises between Yarlung Tsangpo river in the south and Kunlun Shan and Altyn Tagh in NW and consists of two main chains: lower Transhimalaya. Further south several ranges making up Greater Himalaya extend into Tibet. Most of the highest peaks, including several 8000ers are located in Greater Himalaya chain, in the southernmost part of the Tibet. That being said, Transhimalaya also has several very high peaks. Very little climbing has been done in Yibet Himalaya and correspondingly the information is scarce. Conversely, the area holds great potential for explorative mountaineering.

Area structure

  • Gangdise Shan Lower western part of Transhimalaya is known as Gangdise Shan (or Kailas Range). It is is located to the north of Uttarakhand and Nepal. By far the best known mountain of the range is Mount Kailash (or Gang Rimpoche, 6714m/6656m), the sacred mountain. It isn't the highest peak of Gangdise though as Loinbo Kangri (7095m) is significantly higher.
  • Nyangchen Tanglha Shan Nyangchen Tanglha Shan is the higher of Tibetan Transhimalayan ranges. It is located in eastern Tibet to the north of Sikkim, Bhutan and Assam Himalaya and east of Gangdise, north from the city of Lhasa. The highest peak of the range is Nyenchen Tanglha Feng (7147m). Also Sepu Kangri (6950m) in the eastern part of the range, is among the best-known among the climbers. Not a lot is known about climbing in Nyangchen Tanglha. Most of the peaks have never been climbed and those that have, usually only a handful of times by one or two routes. That is to say that the range is full of potential for first ascents and explorative climbing.
  • Greater Himalaya Greater Himalaya main chain acts as a natural border between Tibet in the north and Nepal, India and Bhutan in the south. Most ranges on Himalayan main crest extend partially to Tibet, but majority of climbers access those areas from the south. Therefore also the Chinese parts of the ranges are covered on the same section. This applies particularly to: Rolwaling Himal and Mahalangur/Khumbu areas of Nepal and Bhutan Himalaya.

Climbing information

About climbing in Tibet

The highest peak located wholly in Tibet is Cho Ouy. Of other Himalayan 8000 peaks, also Shisha Pangma and Everest are regularly climbed from Tibet. Transhimalaya also has several very high peaks, culminating at Nyenchen Tanglha (7147m), Sepu Kangri (6950m), Loinbo Kangri (7095m) and Kailash (Gang Rimpoche, 6714).

Main center for accessing peaks in Tibet is Lhasa.

Seasons and climate

Since Tibetan part of Himalaya covers quite a distance in west-east direction and, more importantly, in south-north direction which also marks the distance from the Himalayan main crest, typical weather pattern and the seasons vary a fair bit between the areas. Typically though, Tibetan part if the Himalaya is drier and less affected by the moonsoon that the areas located to the south of the main crest.

Rules and regulations

Politically Tibet is autonomous region of China, which makes it subject to rules and regulations regarding climbing in China as well as special rules and regulation regarding to tourism in Tibet. To further complicate things, many of the highest peaks are located immediately on the border or within border zone.

Greater Himalaya

General

Greater Himalaya main chain acts as a natural border between Tibet in the north and Nepal, India and Bhutan in the south. Most ranges on Himalayan main crest extend partially to Tibet, but majority of climbers access those areas from the south. Therefore also the Chinese parts of the ranges are covered on the same section. This applies particularly to: Rolwaling Himal and Mahalangur/Khumbu areas of Nepal and Bhutan Himalaya.

Tatungsakhu Himal

Baiku Himalaya/Baka Kangri/Phupiphu Himal

Baiku Himalaya is located NW of Langtang and Jugal groups. The highest peaks of the range are found on main chain which runs generally NW to SE where it joins Jugal Himal at Langtang Ri (7205m), not far NW from Shisha Pangma (8012m). The highest mountain of the group is Kangpenqing (Gang Beng Chen, 7281m). There are several peaks further west of the main chain with peaks mainly between 5000 and 6000m but the highest rising above the 6000m mark.

Mountains

Baiku Himalaya

Gaurishankar Himal

Gaurishankar Himal is the northernmost group of Rolwaling Himal and contains Himalayan main chain section: Gauri Shankar (7145m) - Chekigo (6257m) - Kang Nachugo (6735m) - Kang Korob (6705m) - Pangbug Ri (6716m) along which runs Nepal-Tibet border. Of the peaks located on the ridge, at least Gaurishankar has been climbed from Tibet side. The highest peak of Rolwaling is Melungtse (7181m) which lies to the north of the ridge, entirely in Tibet.

Labuche Himalaya

Labuche Himalaya range is located NW of Rolwaling and NE of Cho Oyu, in the Xizang province of China. The range is also known as Pamari Himal or Lapchi Kang and extends from the valley of the Tamakosi River in the west to the valley of the Sun Kosi and Nyalam Tong La in the east. Arniko-Friendship Highway cross the Himalaya through Nyalam Tong La.

Mountains

Labuche Himal

Khumbu Himal

Khumbu Himal main chain runs west from Rolwaling Himal and forms the border between Nepal and Tibet. The ridge contains several high peaks including 8000m giants Cho Oyu, Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. All of these are located on the border, although the highest point of Cho Oyu is located in Tibet. Of these Cho Ouy and Everest are often climbed from the Tibetan side. Kharta Himal (Everest NE ridge) as well as Changtse Ridge (branching north from Everest NE ridge) are located entirely in Tibet. Changtse (7543m) is the highest really independent peak located entirely in Tibet in Everest area. Further to the east, immediately north of Makalu and completely on the Tibetan side lies Chomolonxo (7790m).

Nagarze Himalaya/Lhagoi Kangri

Nagarze Himalaya is located on the Tibetan side north of Tongshanjiabu (Bhutan). The range is also known as Lhagoi Kangri. The range is accessed from Lhasa using Nagartse – Gyantse road near the 5036m Karo La pass.

Mountains

Nagarze Himalaya

Nepal

Mount Everest is the peak with the clouds to the left. Ama Dablam is the peak to the far right. Credit: Dnor,  Shot on 2012-03-15 Photo taken in Namche Bazar, Nepal.(c) Dnor, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.
Mount Everest is the peak with the clouds to the left. Ama Dablam is the peak to the far right. Credit: Dnor, Shot on 2012-03-15 Photo taken in Namche Bazar, Nepal.(c) Dnor, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.

Nepal is a small independent kingdom, located on the southern slopes of the Central Himalaya. Nepal has an unparalleled concentration of the world's highest mountains, including eight of the world's fourteen 8000 meter peaks. A ninth such peak, Shisha Pangma, is just over the border into Tibet. Nepal Himalaya consists of numerous subranges the most popular of them being Annapurna and Khumbu regions. <<more>>.

Eastern Himalaya

Morning sunlight hits the summit of Kangchenjunga in the Indian Himalayas. This shot was taken from a popular scenic spot outside Darjeeling in West Bengal. Credit: Aaron Ostrovsky,  Shot on 2012-03-15 Photo taken in India.(c) Aaron Ostrovsky, licensed under: CC BY-SA 2.0.
Morning sunlight hits the summit of Kangchenjunga in the Indian Himalayas. This shot was taken from a popular scenic spot outside Darjeeling in West Bengal. Credit: Aaron Ostrovsky, Shot on 2012-03-15 Photo taken in India.(c) Aaron Ostrovsky, licensed under: CC BY-SA 2.0.

General

Eastern Himalaya covers several ranges forming the border between China (Tibet) in the north and Bhutan in south located between Sikkim in west and Assam Himalaya in the east. There are number of high peaks in rising well over 7000m in Nyangchen Tanglha Shan, Sikkim, Bhutan Himalaya and Assam Himalaya with the highest peak being Namche Barwa (also Namjagbarwa, 7782m). None of the areas are well explored by mountaineers, thus generally little information is available and several peaks are yet to be climbed. Bhutan Himalaya is out of reach though due to ban of mountaineering in the country.

  • Nyangchen Tanglha Shan Nyangchen Tanglha Shan is the higher of Tibetan Transhimalayan ranges. It is located in eastern Tibet to the north of Sikkim, Bhutan and Assam Himalaya and east of Gangdise, north from the city of Lhasa. The highest peak of the range is Nyenchen Tanglha Feng (7147m). Also Sepu Kangri (6950m) in the eastern part of the range, is among the best-known among the climbers. Not a lot is known about climbing in Nyangchen Tanglha. Most of the peaks have never been climbed and those that have, usually only a handful of times by one or two routes. That is to say that the range is full of potential for first ascents and explorative climbing.
  • Sikkim Himalaya Sikkim is Indian district located between Nepal in west, China (Tibet) in north and Bhutan in east. Generally poor weather and frequent snowfall produce spectacular flutings and corniced crests much more akin with Peruvian mountains than those of the Himalaya. The range is dominated by massive Kangchenjunga (8586m), the easternmost 8000m peak. There are several high peaks, including several unclimbed 7000m peaks.
  • Bhutan Himalaya Bhutan has some high peaks scattered all over most of the country. As climbing is banned in Bhutan it shouldn't be a great surprise that information about the peaks and routes is scarce. That being said, some of the peaks located in Bhutan Himalaya range but on the Chinese side or on border could be climbed from China, although arranging a permit is surely not straight-forward. The highest peaks are located in NW part of the country, on the border between Tibet and Bhutan. Main peaks are Chomolhari (7314m) furthest to the west, Tongshanjiabu (7207m), Kangphu Kang (7204m) and several other 7000ers located in Lunana Himalaya in NW part of the country and Kula Kangri (7554m) and Gankar Punsum (7541m) located in Kula Kangri Himalaya in the northernmost part.
  • Assam Himalaya Assam Himalaya is the easternmost part of Himalaya. The area is partly located in Indian states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh while other parts lie in southeastern Tibet. The area is generally least known part of the Himalays despite there being several very high peaks culminating at Namche Barwa (also Namjagbarwa, 7782m), Gyala Peri (7293m) and Kangto (7090m).

Bhutan Himalaya

Bhutan has some high peaks scattered all over most of the country. As climbing is banned in Bhutan it shouldn't be a great surprise that information about the peaks and routes is scarce. That being said, some of the peaks located in Bhutan Himalaya range but on the Chinese side or on border could be climbed from China, although arranging a permit is surely not straight-forward. The highest peaks are located in NW part of the country, on the border between Tibet and Bhutan. Main peaks are Chomolhari (7314m) furthest to the west, Tongshanjiabu (7207m), Kangphu Kang (7204m) and several other 7000ers located in Lunana Himalaya in NW part of the country and Kula Kangri (7554m) and Gankar Punsum (7541m) located in Kula Kangri Himalaya in the northernmost part.

General

To get to Bhutan mountains, one would normally fly to Thimpu. However, those interested in climbing in Bhutan Himalaya would need to approach from Tibet.

Climbing in Bhutan

All mountaineering in Bhutan is currently prohibited since 2003. It was allowed in 80's until 1994, when the ban prohibited climbing above 6000. During that that era, some of the peaks were climbed from Bhutan side. Additionally some of the peaks located in Bhutan Himalaya range (including Kula Kangri) can (and have been) climbed from China, although arranging a permit is surely not straight-forward. Most famous climb in Bhutan Himalaya is likely NW ridge of Chomolhari by Marko Prezelj & Boris Lorencic which was awarded prestigeous Piolet d'Or 2006. As there are loads of other high peaks, most of which have not been climbed, Bhutan will certainly attract a lot of climbers should they lift mountaineering ban.

Rules and regulations

All mountaineering in Bhutan is currently prohibited since 2003. There are also restrictions to tourism which also affects trekkers.

References

As climbing is banned in Bhutan it shouldn't be a great surprise that information about the peaks and routes is scarce.

  • Jordans, Bart: Bhutan - A Trekker's Guide (Cicerone Guide). Isbn: 9781852843984. Cicerone Press, 2006.

Jomolhari Himalaya

Jomolhari Hiamalaya (Chomolhari) is located in the western part of Bhutan, straddling the border between Yadong County of Tibet and the Thimphu district of Bhutan. The group is very compact and well visible from from the old trade route between India and Tibet's Pagri Valley. The route crosses Chumbi valley located on the western slopes of Chomolhari.

Despite of this, there has been little climbing activity, likely caused mainly by access restrictions on the Bhutanese and the difficulty. First ascent of Chomolhari in 1937 was an epic struggle. Standout feature of the group is NW ridge of Chomolhari which wax climbed in 2006 by Marko Prezelj & Boris Lorencic who won Piolet d'Or for the ascent.

Lunana Himalaya

Group of several low 7000m-peaks in the NW part of the country between Jomolhari group in SW and Kula Kangri group in NEt. Forms the border between China and Bhutan.

Kula Kangri Himal/Bumthang Range

Kula Kangri group is located in the northernmost part of Bhutan. There appears to be unclarity both about which is higher Gankhar Puensum or Kula Kangri as well as about the exact location of the border. China considers Kula Kangri to be located in the Chinese side and grants permissions to climb it from the north.

Mountains

Jomolhari Himalaya

Laya Himalaya

Lunana Himalaya

Kula Kangri Himalaya

Karjiang
Kula Kangri
Gangkhar Puensum