Wondering about the most popular climbing peaks in Nepal? Thinking about the right peak to scale among a myriad of choices that suits your taste and experience? Well, look no further, for this list is specifically designed to answer your curiosity and help you pick out the peak you are looking for. Even if you will just be trekking in the Nepalese Himalayas, this article will still be a useful read as most of the peaks mentioned below fall in the vicinity of the trekking routes that you will be traversing in your Nepal trip.
Also known as “trekking peaks”, as classified by Nepal Mountaineering Association, climbing peaks generally fall between 5,000m to 7,000m altitude range. As the name implies, these peaks can be attempted as part of a normal trekking trip, leading up to the intended summit. To scale the peak, a separate permit is required along with associated permit fee. Although most of these peaks are non-technical from mountaineering point of view, you are mostly expected to be rather fit, and of course with a keen sense of adventure for high altitude. Below we present ten of the most popular of those peaks of Nepal.
1. Island Peak (6,189m/20,305ft)
Arguably the first choice among the trekking peaks in Nepal, Island Peak has carved a niche of its own. Prepare to enter the heart of the Himalayan Khumbu region where Sherpa traditions have been the way of life. You will be greeted with some of the highest mountains in the world including of course Mt. Everest, not to mention the nearby 8000ers like Lhotse, Cho-Oyu and Makalu.
Island Peak is one of the most frequently climbed peak in the Himalayas, and can be combined with a trek to the Everest Base Camp as well as nearby ascent to Kala Patthar Peak. It has a non-technical (alpine PD+) grading and managing to the summit is not so difficult except for the 100 meters steep ascent just before the summit.
2. Mera Peak (6,476m/21,247ft)
Another very popular climb in the Everest region, Mera can be an excellent choice for those who need introduction to mountaineering. Also the highest trekking peak in Nepal, yet surprisingly one of the easier to conquer, thanks to its relatively non steep slope.
Mera Peak actually consists of three summits: Mera North, Mera Central, and Mera South. When we speak of Mera Peak, we are talking about Mera Central. It is pretty much a straightforward ascent to the summit, and usually you will not encounter any issues except may be proper acclimatization and perhaps bad weather if you are attempting on off-season. From atop the mountain, you will be offered one of the best views of the entire Everest region.
3. Lobuche East (6,119m/20,070ft)
Compared to its neighbouring Mera and Island Peaks, this is one of the more challenging peaks to scale in the Everest region. Although classed as Grade PD+ (Peu Difficile+) on the Alpine Grading system, same grade as the Island Peak, Lobuche East certainly has a more technical feel to it, and some previous mountaineering experience is expected. Actually this peak consists of two separate peaks: Lobuche Far EastandLobuche East. Lobuche East can also be combined with island peak climb in a single expedition. After a challenging ascent to the summit, of course an entire view of the Himalayas, including Everest is there to relish.
4. Yala Peak (5,700m/18,700ft)
On our list, Yala Peak is located the nearest from Kathmandu, and offers one of the easiest climb. It can be accomplished even if you have limited trekking experience, provided you are in a reasonably fit condition.
On offers are picturesque Langtang valley with its distinct Tibetan culture, famous Kyanjin Gompa village, and an excellent view of the entire Langtang range. Mount Shishapangma (8,013m), the highest mountain in Tibet, is also on sight from atop Yala. Additionally you can also trek to Gosainkunda Lake and take a trip to Helambu, famous for its apple orchards and monasteries.
5. Pisang (6,091m / 19,978ft)
Rising above the village of Pisang, this peak lies on the northern fringes of the Manang valley on the eastern part of the Annapurna range. The ascent to the mountain can be included with the famed Annapurna circuit trek. Along the route lies the famous Thorong La Pass, one of the highest passes in the world at 5416m. The trek rises steadily along a relatively well-defined ridge to the summit pyramid. The climb is somewhat technical in nature and some previous mountaineering experience is recommended. The peak offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the entire Annapurna range: Himlung (7126m) and the trans-Himalayan Tibetan plateau to the north; Manaslu, (8163m) to the north east; Annapurna II (7937m) and IV (7525m) to the south; Gangapurna (7454m) and Annapurna III (7555m) to the west.
6. Chulu West (6,419m / 21,055ft)
Like Pisang, Chulu West is located just off the Annapurna circuit trail in Manang valley, in close proximity to the Thorong La Pass.Technically a bit more demanding and longer hike, the ascent to the summit usually involves setting up two high camps before the final climb. Generally speaking, Chulu West is recommended for trekkers with excellent physical condition and some previous climbing experience to their name. But the rewards are immense once you get to the top: a panoramic view of the entire Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, along with a close up view of Tibet and China to the north. Definitely a mountain to scale if you are that adventurous type who loves to savour a hard-earned success!
7. Dhampus Peak (6,012m / 19,719ft)
Located north-east of the Dhaulagiri massif along the Dhaulagiri circuit, the trail to the peak includes crossing of French Pass at 5360 meters and Dhampus Pass at 5240 meters. Just add a few more days to your Dhaulagiri circuit trail, and you could very well scale Dhampus Peak, as no climbing experience, except for acclimatization, is needed.
You will trek through the mountainous terrain of rural western Nepal, greeted along the way by beautiful valleys and villages of Kaligandaki region. The summit view is no less stunning: over thirty different peaks between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges with the close view of Tukuche and Dhaulagiri. Something to think about if you want to go for peak climbing in Nepal, and do want to scale a peak located somewhere other than Everest and Annapurna regions.
8. Pokalde Peak (5,806m / 19,049ft)
Lying 12 km south-west of Mt. Everest, Pokalde Peak, also known as Dolma Ri, is one of the easier and shorter trekking peaks in our list. Just a 650-meter hike from its base camp will take you to the summit, and in most cases without the use of ice axes and crampons. Other than Everest itself, some notable peaks visible from its summit include Makalu, Ama Dablam and Pumori. Pokalde is fast becoming a popular commercial tourist peak because of its relative ease of ascent and offering all the benefits of a classical Everest trek. Interestingly, some trekking companies combine Pokalde Peak climbing with nearby ascent to Island Peak and Lobuche East.
9. Pharchamo Peak (6,187m / 20,298ft)
If you want to get a taste similar to that of ethnic Sherpa culture of Everest region, but without all the crowds that Everest region draws, then a trek to Pharchamo Peak might just be for you. Even in peak trekking seasons, you will hardly encounter other trekkers while on this route. On this trek, you will be passing through the beautiful Rolwaling valley with its exceptionally rich biodiversity and ethnic culture, and lies west of the well-known Khumbu region.
Pharchamo Peak has a well-defined north by northwest ridge, which makes the ascent all the more achievable. From atop the peak, you will have a majestic view of nearby Mt. Gauri Shankar, along with other known peaks from Langtang and Everest regions. On a side note, this region also harbors tales of the legendary “Yeti”, or “abominable snowman”, as known in the west. Over the years, trekkers and climbers alike have reported sightings of this mysterious creature, and it still continues to haunt the imagination of locals as well as tourists visiting the region.
10. Tent Peak (5,663m / 18,575ft)
Tent Peak, otherwise known as Tharpu Chuli locally, lies in the midst of the Annapurna range, and offers a commanding view of the entire Annapurna Sanctuary, surrounded by some of the highest mountains on earth. Prominent among the nearby peaks in close view from atop Tent Peak are Annapurna I (8091m), along with Annapurna South and Annapurna III.
It is a no surprise that this peak is the most climbed one in the Annapurna region, and ranks third among Nepalese trekking peaks, after Island and Mera. Due to its comparatively low altitude and ease of ascent all the way to the summit, it is best suited for those who are ready to try their hand from trekking to amateur mountaineering. As a part of this trip, you will trek to the Annapurna Base Camp, followed by a few days of the peak climbing.
So there goes our list. Hopefully it has given you some perspectives on climbing peaks in this country, and will get you started sorting the right one. This list was just a brief overview, and you may have to find additional information. Good luck with your next climbing trip in Nepal next season!