Kyajo Ri Alpine Style

kyajo ri2

I spotted Kyajo Ri (6186m) back in the 2008.  This attractive peak is close to the village of Machermo and has only recently been added to the approved list of trekking peaks.  Despite this it's not easy, and makes an ideal alpine style objective climbing at PD+ via the North West Ridge for the suitably experienced...


The Mountain

Kyajo Ri is an attractive peak that lies just above the village of Machermo in the popular Gokyo Valley.  Only having been recently added to the Nepalease Mountaineering Associations list of approved trekking peaks, the mountain has only seen a handful of authorised ascents.  These have mainly occurred from the west side apart from one notable route on the north face by Italian Guide Enrico Bonino.  More details on Kyajo Ri via Summit Post.

As a team, our objective will be the North West Ridge accessed from the hanging valley of Kyajo Drangka.  The ascent usually involves the use of two camps, one just below the ridge and a second high camp allowing access to the main ridge.  From here the “voie normal” gives a fine climb on steep snow of II/III or PD+/AD.  For the most part the harder sections can be equipped with fixed rope, but it is equally possible to climb alpine style for the suitably experienced.

However, it is important to note that Kyajo Ri isn’t another trekking peak, and will feel quite different to the likes of Mera or Island Peak. You need a good head for exposure/heights and need to be self reliant on the mountain.  Please note the section ‘Guiding in the Himalaya’ below, and feel free to contact me to discuss your experience.


James Thacker Mountaineering and Kyajo Ri

In 2008 I walked through the Khumbu on my way to Pharilapcha in the Gokyo Valley.  My eye was inevitably drawn to the pointed summit of Kyajo Ri and the aim of creating an expedition to climb the mountain with clients has been on the radar ever since. Again this peak was also clearly visible from Ama Dablam in 2012, and the fact that it has started to receive some ascents adds weight to the speculation that it's a logical objective.  Ultimately, my aim is to facilitate you with a safe, enjoyable and successful expedition to Nepal.  To do so we will be using the logistic support in country agency Himalayan Guides Nepal (Iswari Paudel).


The plan

  • The trip will be led by James Thacker.  As an expedition we have a good support network
  • Maximum IFMGA Mountain Guide to client ratio of 1:6.
  • Climbing sherpas are highly experienced and we will be on a 1:2 ratio with climbing Sherpas or myself.
  • Good base camp support crew and some big spacious tents.


18th October 2014 - 14th November 2014


£3,200 per person (Joining in Kathmandu)

The Kyajo Ri Itinerary

Note: It’s an expedition to Nepal, so expect this to change…

Day 1: Fly to Kathmandu.

Day 2: Arrive in Kathmandu.
Arrive in KTM and transfer to Hotel in Thamel.

Day 3: Rest day in Kathmandu.
Rest or last minute equipment purchases at Shona’s etc. Check out the lively Thamel area or just catch up on some sleep after your in bound flight.

Day 4: Fly to Lukla.
Flying from Kathmandu to Lukla is one of the most famous flights in the world, don’t put it in YouTube if you are a nervous traveller.  Everybody says “sit on the left” but it’s perhaps best not to see one of the shortest STOL airstrips prior to arriving there.  We will meet our camp and cook crew her in and start walking immediately trekking from Lukla 2800m to Phakding 2652m. Loosing altitude to aid aclimatisation.

Day 5: Walk to Namche Bazaar.

Longish day to Namche at 3445m.  A great opportunity to check out the Tibetan market and the now numerous bakeries, use the internet or change US$ etc.

Day 6: Aclimatisation Day.
This day is essential to give a steady ascent profile.  Assuming everybody is feeling well we will walk up to the Everest View Hotel 3,900m before dropping back down for a second night in Namche or Khumjung.

Day 7: Walk to Dole.
On this day we leave the popular Everest Base Camp trail and climb up towards the Gokyo Valley and the village of Dole.

Day 8: Walk to Machermo. 
A relatively short day to the village of Machermo, but again essential for a good aclimatisation schedule.  This short day should leave us time in the afternoon to rest or visit the medical post in Machermo village to learn about altitude illness -  there are brief lectures most afternoons.

Day 9: Walk to Gokyo

Trek to Gokyo and the impressive Gokyo Lakes.  On the left we will walk under the large north face of Pharilapcha which I attempted in 2008 with Andy Turner.

Day 10: Ascent of Goyko Ri (5,357m)

Acclimatisation day in Gokyo with an ascent of Goyko Ri.  This small summit allows us to gain more vital height before descending back to Gokyo.  An early start here is well worth it to see the sun come up over Everest, Lhotse and Nupste, arguably one of the finest views in the Khumbu.  This should see us down with plenty of time to have a lazy day.

Day 11: Cross Renjo La (5,417m)

Leaving Gokyo early we will make our way up past the nearest of the Gokyo Lakes, crossing the Renjo La before descending towards Lungdung.

Day 12: Walk to Thame (3,800m)

Today we will be walking south down the Thame Valley, effectively having circumnavigated Kyajo Ri before turning back to the north and east.

Day 13: Walk to Mende

A final short day on the established trail before we leave the valley to climb to the hidden valley which will be home to our Base Camp for the rest of the expedition.

Day 14: Establish Base Camp

Climbing steeply out of the valley we will eventually reach the flat hanging valley of the Kyajo Drangka.  It's here where we will establish our Base Camp, between the steep sided valley walls giving an isolated and remote feel.

Day 15: Rest Day

A day of 'constructive rest' with an opportunity for technical training, familarisation with medical kit and radios etc.  We will also have a 'Puja' on this day - effectively a blessing for the expedition.

Day 16-22: Ascent of Kyajo Ri 
It gets a bit more freestyle from now on.  Depending on how the team are acclimatising we will make progress on the mountain with a minimum of a nights stay at Camp 1 before making the summit push.  People will acclimatise at different rates and might want to climb in different styles.  The ascent to Camp 2 is involves some scrambling and progress on blocky scree and we might choose to fix small sections of rope here.  From Camp 2 we gain the main ridge of Kyajo Ri, with a long ascent on Scottish II terrain in good conditions.  We will most likely fix rope on this section to facilitate our descent.

Day 23: Walk to Namche

A short walk out to Namche an an opportunity to enjoy a "Yak Sizzler".

Day: 24 Walk to Phakding

Trek out to Phakding.

Day 25: Walk to Lukla

We retrace our steps climbing back up to Lukla today, and substantial ascent but an opportunity to make use of a well acclimatised body.

Day 26: Fly Lukla to Kathmandu

Early flight to Kathmandu, with an afternoon to take it easy or shop for gifts etc in Thamel.  In the evening we will enjoy an evening meal together in one of Kathmandu's famous restaurants, combined with the opportunity to savour a few beers.

Day 27: Rest day in Kathmandu

More shopping or rest day in Kathmandu.  A tour of the city can also be arranged on this day for a small extra charge.

Day 28: Fly from Kathmandu to start location


IFMGA Guiding in the Himalaya

Over the years there has been much discussion over the ability of folk to guide at altitude and indeed whether it is ethical to do so.

An expedition to climb Kyajo Ri cannot be a “guided” ascent in the same way we might use the term on Mont Blanc.  Ultimately, to climb Kyajo Ri you need to be aware of the risks inherent in undertaking such an ascent, understand the risks of altitude and cold injury as well as being suitably experienced and self reliant (allowing you to move between camps independently if required).  

This professional expedition meets the criteria of the IFMGA High Altitude Expeditions Sub Commission and as such is referred to here as 'IFMGA Led'.  For full details of the IFMGA Guidelines on Trekking and Expeditions please visit the BMG website - Expeditions section.


What’s included and how much will it cost?

  • Kyajo Ri Peak Fees
  • Climbing Sherpas
  • Trekking Sherpas/Porters
  • Cook Crew
  • Administration fee for agent in Nepal – Iswari has been acting as an agent for a long time and has a proven track record in the Khumbu.
  • Camping trek to/from Kyajo Ri Base Camp, breakfast and evening meal.
  • BC services and meals.
  • Single tent at BC
  • Food and Fuel above BC
  • Porterage of equipment to ABC/Camp 1
  • Medical supplies/First Aid Kit
  • Insurance for Nepalease crew
  • Internal Flights KTM-Lukla-KTM
  • Departure Tax Lukla-KTM
  • Airport Transfers KTM
  • National Park Entrance Fee
  • Hotel in KTM (Twin shared basis)


What’s not included?

  • International Flights to Kathmandu
  • Entry visa (approx £40)
  • Personal climbing equipment
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips for the crew (allow ~£75)
  • Climbing Sherpa summit bonus (approx £100)
  • Any cost incurred if leaving early.
  • Lukla excess baggage charges (Rs100/kg) – the limit is 15kg total as of autumn 2013. If you are over then it makes sense to cover this individually.
  • Personal expenses e.g. phone calls and laundry bills in Kathmandu.


Foreign Office Travel Advice

Please check the Foreign Office website for the latest advice


View Larger Map