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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.