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Nagarjun Forest Reserve (aka Balaju)

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Nagarjun Forest Reserve (aka Balaju) Rock Climbing 

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Administrator: Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Frances Fierst on Jan 24, 2011

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Nagarjun Forest Reserve is in northwest Kathmandu, just outside of the ring road. The main entrance to the reserve, Phulbari gate, is about 2km north of Balaju, which is about 5 kms from the center of the city. There is a fee to enter the reserve and like everything in Nepal, foreigners pay a premium. Foreigners pay 250 NR, whereas locals pay 10 NR. There is also a charge to bring in a car/motorcycle/bicycle 100/30/10NR. You will have to pay and register with the attendant before you are allowed to enter the park. The park is open 7am-7pm during summer and 7am-5pm in winter.

nagarjun, also known as the Rani Ban (Queen's Forest), which is home to pheasants, deer, monkeys and a couple of military posts. It is one of the last significant areas of untouched forest in the valley.

In addition to rock climbing, many people visit the park to hike to the summit for the great views of the valley. A winding unpaved road and a much more direct footpath lead to the summit (2095m), which is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site (the reserve is named after the Buddhist saint Nagarjuna). There's a small shrine at the summit to Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche in Tibetan) and a viewing tower offers one of the valley's widest mountain panoramas, stretching on a clear day all the way from the Annapurnas to Langtang Lirung, via Machhapuchhare, Manaslu and the Ganesh Himal (a plaque at the bottom of the tower identifies all the peaks). There are also grand views of Kathmandu and its valley laid at your feet to the south, assuming you can see through the smog and pollution. It's possible to make an enjoyable two-hour cardio-hike up to the summit from near the main gate.

The climbing consists of about 20 routes on a limestone cliff. Routes range from about 50 to 80 feet high. Most can be top-roped or lead on bolts. There were chain anchors at the top. The cliff is broken up into 4 separate faces. Most of the climbing is slightly slabby to vertical, and the routes would be considered moderate difficulty.

You can easily get by with a 50m rope and 2 quick draws to set your rope. You might want to bring something to place under your rope since it often goes over the rock edge if you are top roping. Routes can be lead but the bolts were of varying age, quality, and condition.

Getting There 

Since there are few recognized street names in Kathmandu, it is hard to give directions. Make your way to Balaju, and head out of town on the Trisuli highway. Follow the road uphill about 2 kms past Balaju. On the left hand side of the road at the first police checkpoint is the main entrance.

Once inside the park, follow the "road". It is a road by Nepali standards, but most of us would call it a rough trail. When you hit a fork in the road, take the road on the left that traverses the hill rather than going up. There is a sign reads "Balaju". Roughly 2 kms after entering, you will see a small pull-out on the right side. The cliff will be easily visible from here.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.0 miles from here

5 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For Nagarjun Forest Reserve (aka Balaju)
Rock Climbing Photo: Route 8. Nagarjun Forest Kathmandu Nepal

Route 8 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b  Asia : Nepal : Nagarjun Forest Reserve (ak...

Photos of Nagarjun Forest Reserve (aka Balaju) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: route 11
route 11
Rock Climbing Photo: Right side of face
Right side of face
Rock Climbing Photo: Standing on right looking left
Standing on right looking left
Rock Climbing Photo: Payment info
Payment info
Rock Climbing Photo: Routes are labeled with... If you can find a guide...
Routes are labeled with... If you can find a guide...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rockface actual location
Rockface actual location
Rock Climbing Photo: Rules of the park
Rules of the park
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbs on the left most side of the cliff.
BETA PHOTO: Climbs on the left most side of the cliff.
Rock Climbing Photo: Despite the fact that we were in a protected fores...
Despite the fact that we were in a protected fores...
Rock Climbing Photo: The gang at the pullout.
The gang at the pullout.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking toward the right hand side of the cliff.  ...
BETA PHOTO: Looking toward the right hand side of the cliff. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Left hand side of the cliff.
BETA PHOTO: Left hand side of the cliff.

Comments on Nagarjun Forest Reserve (aka Balaju) Add Comment
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By Ken H
From: Granite, UT
Jun 13, 2011
The directions above we helpful but had errors. The big one: You can only enter the park before 2 pm, if it is later they will tell you to come back tomorrow.

These are the directions for a CLIMBER WITH ROPE AND DRAWS who wants to climb. A guide will cost you about $30 US if you want. If not this is my beta.

Cost to bike out there: 2 bike rentals (500x2) 1,000, 2 entrance fees (250x2) 500, 2 bike entrance fees (300-800x2) 600-1600 = 2,100-3,100 rupees you might get lost but you get to bike the dirt road. Travel time to rent bike and bike out about 90 minutes.
Cost of taxi= taxi each way for 4 (300-350x2) 600-700, 2 entrance fees (2x250) 500=1,100-1,200 Will require about an hour approach. Travel time for taxi and to walk approach about 90 minutes.

For me the taxi is the way to go because you don't want to bike the 3 km out there.

Tell the taxi LOWER Gates of Nag-Are-Zune. From Thamel you basically drive straight north (couple twists and a round-about), you will start to drive uphill and then get a distinct sense of leaving town up a dirt road. The lower gates are the first guard station on the left. Once you pay your fees (they wanted a cell phone number or id from us) walk down the dirt road for about 10 minutes to a fork. You are not allowed up the right fork so go left. You will walk on this for about 40-50 minutes until you CLEARLY see a well traveled climbing area above you on the right. If after around 1 hour you have reached a set of building it is back down the road 200 ft.

The bolts are fine to lead on and in good shape.
By Hardcore Nepal
Sep 24, 2012
Hey, so there is a new rule that all climbers need a special permit to climb in Nagarjun. You can get this permit at the Headoffice of the Shivapuri and Nagarjun National Park near Buddhanilkantha or you can go through a Nepali Climbing Company. Check this Rock Climbing in Nepal
By Mike osborne
Jun 3, 2014
There is trad on site. Some routes you start trad and transition to a bolted route.
By Parker WEbb
From: Bozeman, MT
Apr 29, 2016
Nagarjun is an interesting venue for sure.

Getting there takes some adventure, but if you're a westerner you should be looking more for adventure than for cragging. Take a taxi from wherever you are through Balaju and Macha Pokhari. Should be ~500 Nrs, no more. Or if you get lost just ask for nagarjun national park and walk there. Just try and figure out getting there through common sense. It worked for me, so obviously it should work for you. Hardcore Nepal is also a great source and great people to work with/go with.

The fee is pretty lame but ke garne. Still cool that the army let's you climb there so have fun with it and be respectful. Let them know you're climbing, they aren't happy if you try to sneak through as just a hiker.

Oddly, I felt all the routes were 5.7 when I was there. I wasn't in shape for climbing, but yeah. Basically all felt 5.7. And I don't climb hard. Maybe there are some they are harder, but it's super moderate climbing. Still fun though, there are monkeys around you and if you're lucky you get to witness the paratroopers of the Nepali army train there. Static ropes, chest harnesses only, figure 8 belay devices and army boots. Was sure I would have to rescue one of them, but we left before it got too chaotic.

Overall I would say it's worth going once, but not really a place to go frequently. It's cheaper to climb at Astrek or Lakpa's gym in Balaju.

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