SHISHAPANGMA EXPEDITION

SHISHAPANGMA EXPEDITION

SHISHAPANGMA EXPEDITION

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The Shishapangma expedition is counted among the somewhat simpler eight-thousanders expedition. Nevertheless, strong winds often thwart cold temperatures or deep snow, ensuring a successful ascent. The only eight-thousander lying in Chinese territory, the Shishapangma expedition will bless you with the scenic views of Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Lhotse.

At the height of 8027 m, Shishapangma is the smallest of the 14 eight-thousanders worldwide and thus the fourteenth highest mountain on earth. The summit was first conquered in 1964 by a Chinese expedition as the last eight-thousander. The Tibetan name “Shi Sha Sbang Ma” means “The ridge above the grassy plain” and accurately describes the view that is offered to the viewer when approaching from the north. The Indian name (Sanskrit) “Gosainthan” is also common, which means something like “place of the saints.” 

The main summit, 8027 m, separated from the central summit, 8013 m, by a long exposed and often heavily overshadowed ridge, is rarely reached. The Shishapangma is located in the Langtang Himal (Himalayas), 30 km north of the China-Nepalese border. Its peak is roughly halfway (about 90 km) between Kathmandu and the Tsangpo River.

The exploration begins with a drive from Kathmandu to Timure. You will arrive at Shishapangma Chinese Base Camp in Tibet (China) after a 5-day overland journey from Kathmandu with periodic acclimatization. After acclimatization at Chinese Base Camp and 1 overnight stop at Shishapangma Intermediate Camp, you will arrive at Shishapangma Advanced Base Camp (5500m); here, you will spend about 20-25 days on your climbing period.

The professional Sherpa guide will help you set up camps I, II, III to open the route. This involves fixing the rope and equipping the camps with food and gear before attempting the summit. From Shishapangma Advanced Base Camp 5600m to camp one at 6400m, it takes about 5 hours. Camp one to camp two at 7,100m takes about 4 hours. Camp two to camp three at 7500m takes about 4 hours. Trek to the main summit and back to Camp Two takes about 15 hours. The next day you will descend to the base camp. You will then clear the base camp and return overland to Kathmandu. 

Shishapangma Expedition Cost

The overall cost for the Shishapangma expedition is around $25,000-$30,000 per person, including Visa and permit cost, climbing Sherpa fare, and accommodation and meal expenses. 

You will be expediting the peak above 8000 m height, so spare at least 30 days for your journey. A Nepal tourist visa permit per person for a 30 day period will charge you $50. If you want to stay longer, you can issue a 90 day Nepal tourist Visa at $125 per person. 

This incredible journey will begin after 2 days of your arrival in Kathmandu, so for 2 days, you can spend your days on an excursion around the city. Your agency will take care of your Tibet Permit Visa in the meantime. 2 to 3 all-night-long stays at any homely lodging in Kathmandu will cost you anywhere between $20-$25 per night. A 3 times finest meal of your choice at Kathmandu restaurants will cost you anywhere between $25-$30 per person.

Tibet being part of China, you need a Visa permit to enter Tibet. The Visa fee differs according to nationality, but on average, you have to pay between $70-$200 per person, valid for 3 months. The additional cost of $1000 per person will be charged as a rubbish collection fee.

Though Shishapangma is considered one of the easiest eight-thousanders, it still is a difficult trek challenging you with high altitude ascension. So it is advisable and mandatory to issue travel and medical insurance at a mere cost of $150-$200 per person for a 30 day time period.

Throughout the journey, you will be accommodated in the welcoming hotels of Nepal and Tibet. As you ascend the journey and reach the base camp, you will have to stay in a tent set up by the climbing Sherpas and staff. The climbing Sherpa will charge you anywhere between $800 per day.

The accommodation and meal expenses in the tent is included in the tour package, so you will not have to pay an extra fare. However, your stay at the hotel on the way will cost you on average $15-$25 per night. 

The climb to Shishapangma is not possible without Yaks. Each yak will carry 70 kg of luggage and cost you $300. 

The climb to any eight-thousander or above peak requires you to carry some gears and equipment, which you can rent in Kathmandu at $200 to $500. 

Your success in ascension depends on your health, so to avoid altitude sickness, carry an oxygen bottle at the cost of $500 for 4 bottles. 

Which is the best season for climbing Shishapangma ?

The best season to climb Shishapangma would be autumn ( from September to early December) and spring (March to May). The statistics of expeditions that have crowned the Shishapangma reveal that this is the best time as the weather, particularly windy conditions, are favorable on these relatively low mountains both in spring and in autumn. 

However, you can trek in winter and summer as well, but these are not considered the ideal time as hot temperatures in summer from June to August cause snowmelt with the company of frequent rainfall and landslides on the way. The winter season from late December to February can be characterized by an avalanche, the major cause of fatality among the climbers. 

Is Shisapangma hard to climb?

shisapangma altitude profile

The Shishapangma is not a very technical and difficult mountain, but we must not forget that it is an eight thousand, with all the risks and harshness that this entails. It is important to have good practice in progression with crampons on all types of slopes up to 50 degrees on glacial and mixed terrain, good handling of ropes and techniques of security, as well as extensive experience in winter and high altitude mountaineering. The participant must meet both physical and mental conditions to undertake this type of expedition since otherwise, they can see all his expectations frustrated.

How long does it take to climb Shishapangma ?

Your climb to the summit begins from Shishapangma Advanced Base Camp, situated at the height of 5600m. From the base camp, you will hike for 5 hours to camp I, located at the height of 6400 m. From Camp I, you can trek to camp II (7100 m) within 4 hours and to camp III (7500m) within 4 hours. Trek to the summit from Camp III and return takes approximately 15 hours, depending on the physical condition and the stamina of a climber. 

Permits needed for Shisapangma

You need two types of permits for the Shishapangma expedition. 

The first is the Expedition royalty fee that has been modified since 2015 to promote mountaineering by the Nepal government. The tariff depends on the season you are traveling. For the spring season expedition, $1800 per person is charged while exploring during the autumn season, you have to pay $900 per person. As for winter and summer excursions, the price will be half $450 per person. 

The second permit you require is the permit of the Chinese Government (CMA / TMA). The Chinese government has raised the cost of these permits applicable till the end of 2022. The permit fee is based on the route you take to climb Shishapangma. If you take the normal route through the North face, you have to pay $9300 per person, and trekking via the South face will cost you $9400 per person. 


Trip Details

  Outline Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
  • Day 2: Tibet Visa Preparation
  • Day 3: Visa Issue and Preparation
  • Day 4: Drive from Kathmandu to Timure
  • Day 5: Drive to Kerung
  • Day 6: Drive from Kerung to Old Tingri
  • Day 7: Preparation day in Old Tingri
  • Day 8: Drive to Shishapangma Chinese base camp
  • Day 9: Rest day In Chinese base camp
  • Day 10: Trek to Advance Base Camp
  • Day 11 to Day 30: Ascent of Shisha Pangma (8,027 m)
  • Day 31: Descend to Chinese base camp
  • Day 32: Drive to Tingri
  • Day 33: From Thingri to Kerung
  • Day 34: Drive to Kathmandu
  • Day 35: Rest Day in Kathmandu
  • Day 36: Final Departure

Itinerary

    • Arrive at the Tribhuvan International airport of Kathmandu and transfer to a hotel. Rest day with a probability of sightseeing and visiting the three cities of cultural heritage: Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur.

    • Process to obtain Tibet Visa and expedition briefing

       

    • Tibet Visa will be issued and final preparation for the journey to Shishapangma.

    • Beginning of the expedition with an early morning drive from Kathmandu to Timure and overnight stay.

    • Early morning drive from Timure to Kerung, which is currently the best road connection between Tibet and Nepal. Overnight stay at the hotel.

    • The first ascent to a greater height of 4300 m of Old Tingri and nightlong stay at the hotel.

    • Spending the day for acclimatization and trip preparation. Short time walking, sightseeing for altitude adaptation.

    • The journey continues over the Lalung La Pass (4,990 m) to Dopzang La at 5,150 m. Here you leave the road and drive across the country to the Chinese base camp at 4,980 m. 

    • The altitude of 4,990 m is ideal for further acclimatization, which is why you stay here for a full day and don’t get into the ABC too quickly. Spend the day with short acclimatization hikes to the surrounding peaks while preparing for a further approach.

    • With the yaks, it’s a long and strenuous journey to the Advanced Basecamp with a stopover at the Intermediate Camp. 

    • Building and setting up the Advanced Basecamp. At the depot camp at 5,900 m, deposit your equipment and go to camp I at 6,200 m. The path leads over the Jebokangjale glacier and a moraine valley. 

       

      From here follows an approximately 35-degree steep slope that leads into the glacier basin below the ShishaPangma north face—setting up camp II at approximately 6,900 m.

      The following part of the ascent route cannot be seen from below and leads flat to the ski depot at 7,100 m. The following 40 degree steep flank leads to the connecting ridge of the ShishaPangma to Camp III at an altitude of 7,350 m.

      Depending on the conditions, climb either the pyramid or the central peak of the ShishaPangma on the summit day. Reach the ridge again via a left traverse to the flank of the summit. The most difficult passages have to be mastered on the following part of the ascent. Combined terrain and the 45-degree steep flank require full concentration. 

      From the summit of the Shisha Pangma, enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the eight-thousanders Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Lothse if the conditions are good. Descent via the ascent route.

       

    • The day to return to the Shishapangma Chinese base camp and rest day.

    • Return to Tingri and rest day at the hotel.

    • Early morning drive from Tingri to Kerung and stay in a hotel.

    • Drive to Kathmandu after early morning breakfast and return to the city.

    • A rest day to enjoy the quaint views of the city.

    • Transfer to Tribhuvan International airport and return home. 

       

Inclusion & exclusion

      FAQ's

        • The Chinese government has officially closed Everest, Cho Oyu, and Shishapangma expeditions from 2017. According to the China Tibet Mountaineering Association, this measure was taken because of a series of problems that the mountain community has created. Specifically, they referred to the Polish mountaineer Adam Adamski, who climbed the Tibetan North Face to the top of Everest, illegally descending the Nepalese South Face, traversing the mountain. However, it does not seem that this is the main reason why the Chinese authorities have made the decision. The appearance of a photo of the top of Everest by a group of Ladakhi Buddhists with the Tibetan flag and the photo of the Dalai Lama seems to be more important. And curiously, another of the activities that seem to worry the Chinese authorities is the double summit on Everest by Kilian Jornet. It seems that they consider that, with a permit, only one summit can be made, not two.

        • Shishapangma is considered one of the easiest 8000m mountains to climb to its Central Summit (8013m), although the main summit (8027m) is quite technical and has not been climbed after 2014. The reason is said to be the unacceptable risk while ascending the Shisha Pangma. The most obvious route is from the north face that leads to the Central summit and requires a delicate journey along a sharp edge like a knife that must be straddled. For that reason, many Shishapangma ascents stay at the Central Summit and do not continue to the main summit, even some claiming to have summited the highest peak. The mountain has registered 31 deaths in its climbing history. The worst tragedy occurred in May 1991, when four German climbers disappeared in an avalanche. The most notorious disappearances were those of the Americans Alex Lowe and David Bridges in 1999. The deaths of Sebastian Haag and Andrea Zambaldi in 2014 due to an avalanche also raised a lot of dust. The last victim of the Shishapangma dates back to the spring of 2018, when the experienced Bulgarian alpinist Boyan Petrov disappeared. The cracks in the glacier at the bottom of the route and the avalanches on the slopes around camp III are the hotspots of the objective risk in the Shishapangma, in addition to the aforementioned summit ridge.

           

        • Shishapangma lies in the Asia continent in the Langtang Himal region (Tibet, China) and belongs to the tremendous Himalayan system.