Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 19th February 2015, 15:05   #31
BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Chennai
Posts: 33
Thanked: 22 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Awesome writing and photography! I just returned from a trip to Bhutan and I can't wait to go back up the Himalayas.
Srikji is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 19th February 2015, 22:02   #32
BHPian
 
sayakc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Calcutta
Posts: 112
Thanked: 639 Times
Default The Fourth Day

Today is a very bright, sunny day and the snow on the ground sparkles off the rays and dazzles my eyes. And I couldn’t have felt happier. The sun makes us all joyous. It’s a colourful contrast of colours. The yak men in their yellow gumboots. The shrubs green, partially or completely coated with snow. Snow on the ground. Bright coloured jackets of the trekkers. The water from the creek flows merrily. The snow has started to thaw.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-1_bw.jpg

I have ginger tea in the morning and some roti and alu subzi for breakfast.The tents are being wound up. Everyone is preparing for a long walk over the hill tops to go to Thansing. Dzongri is a valley that is surrounded by mountain ridges along all its sides, which means from Dzongri itself, you won’t get a proper view of what lies beyond the mountains. One of the ridges leads towards Dzongri La, where we went yesterday. But today we will climb over a separate ridge.

The ascent is nothing spectacular. But, once I reach the top of the mountain, the sight is jaw dropping.
At my rear is the Dzongri valley and further behind are blue hills, topped with snow. But it is what lies ahead that is of staggering beauty. A vast meadow of green and yellow shrubs, with mules grazing on it, extends till as far as the eyes can see. And it ends in black, rocky, endless spires and peaks that seem to rise from the bottom the ocean and pierce into the sky. The hooded face of Mt Jopuno lies in the center. Towards its left lies Thin Chen Khang and even more left lies the sweeping,broad face of Mt Pandim, our companion for the next 3 days. Skies so blue and clouds so thick and the sun so dazzling and the peaks magnanimous. A lone trekker stands at the edge of the meadow looking at the towering mountains, which makes us feel how small man is compared to the rest of the world. The peaks, cages of rock and ice, bask in the bright sunrays. I sip a drop from my water bottle and rest on the trekking pole, overlooking this powerful landscape.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints1.jpg

Today is a gift. The story of incessant snow fall, overcast skies feels like a thing of the past. And it was this feeling of being denied that – NOW appears to be the moment. Three days…..For three days, we walked in pain, slept on a cold floor, woke up with a throbbing headache ..and just when things looked down, there comes a moment like this, which sweeps everything away. Only that it came after a long time.

Yet, I strongly feel that you can never, ever take out the journey from the destination. This is a much valued moment for me, and even though none of the photos that I clicked are a part of this travelogue(I lost most of them due to a hard disk crash as mentioned above), but it was a defining moment of the trek.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints2.jpg

Beyond the Dzongri meadows, the snow has made the path very muddy. The entire day involves walking along rhododendron trees, which supposedly flower during May. And views of Pandim, that resembles the cone of an ice cream. There is Black Kabru, a 5500 m peak that rises sharply into the sky. It sees very little precipitation. The “black” comes from the colour of the rock.


The descent is steep and fast as we make way for the yaks and horses that are returning back from Goecha La. At Kokchurang, we cross a wooden bridge and continue to climb amidst rocks and snow and coniferous trees. But it is afternoon now and the clouds have started to rush in. The sea of rocks and boulders doesn’t end and the ascent again makes you realize the difficulty. Its slow, but we are not in a hurry. And finally, it is afternoon when I spot a trekkers hut, with a massive valley beyond it, in the foothills of Pandim. We have reached Thansing finally. In the evening there is slight precipitation, early dinner and then off to sleep.At the tent I realize that it was the best walk of my life and nature has been gracious!

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints3.jpg

Last edited by sayakc : 19th February 2015 at 22:04.
sayakc is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 20th February 2015, 12:26   #33
BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 266
Thanked: 327 Times
Default Re: The Third Day

Quote:
Originally Posted by sayakc View Post
I could have stayed at the trekkers hut. But there couldn't have been a better way to experience tent life than this. After all, its only 7 days in a year that we have this wild, wild life! .I step gingerly onto the snow and walk back to my tent. Have dinner and go to sleep.

Attachment 1341128
I am completely awestruck by your pictures and narration. This is an inspiration to many as was for you. The trail just got added to my growing list.
Great Going! Love it!
LoneRidder is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 20th February 2015, 23:11   #34
BHPian
 
justwheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 228
Thanked: 66 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

I have without words. The travelogue/photologue was so captivating that it took me while to reply to this thread. Just AMAZING !
The pics, the narration, the poetic tone just immersed me in the story. Those mesmerizing views of the massive mountains and calm lakes made my day.
Many thanks for sharing this wonderful travelogue with us and with such a beautiful narrative. The place goes into my "to visit" list immediately.
justwheels is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st February 2015, 02:18   #35
Newbie
 
Fly8843's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 13
Thanked: 7 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Sayak - You are a gifted man!!. Your narrative can be compared to Satyajit Ray;'s style of writting - Poetic and rhythmic lingo.
The pictures look surreal and it grows on you with every frame.
Keep the flow coming brother.
Fly8843 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st February 2015, 13:33   #36
BHPian
 
sayakc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Calcutta
Posts: 112
Thanked: 639 Times
Default The Fifth Day

Excepting for the winds that blow intermittently, everything in the morning lay silent and peaceful. The Thansing campsite marks the onset of a long valley bordered by mountains on its either side. Far ahead, as far as the eyes can see, lies sharp edged morraines, probably caused by years of wind and glacial erosion. And higher than that is an immensely steep wall of packed, blue ice. That wall blocks our vision and what lies beyond that is the unknown. The trail to Goecha La, cuts through this valley, rises sharply and then veers off towards the right and finally climbs right behind the Pandim.

The wall of ice at the head of the valley.
The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-32.jpg

The fifth day is a couple of hours walk over almost flat lands to Lamuney. The camp site at Lamuney was originally located at the Samiti Lake, but that was torn down by the Government due to fears of pollution caused by the trekkers. When we reach Lamuney it is almost afternoon and the clouds have started to rush in.

Samiti Lake.
The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-w-rotate_set235.jpg

The weather had a strange consistency. Mornings were bright, sunny and skies were blue. Whereas the afternoons were humid, cloudy and dark. Sometimes, the evenings had precipitation in the form of rain or snow. And then, the nights used to be starkly clear.

Goecha Peak in the moon light. The peak, higher and beyond it (clouded) is Kanchenjunga.Only the tip is seen.
The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-wo-rotate8.jpg

After lunch, I sleep off in my tent and it is freezing when I wake up. A cold, frigid wind is blowing outside when I step out(of the tent). But, the sky is surprisingly clear and blue. The sun rays have started to "lift off" from the valley and there are traces of golden hue over the snow covered peaks now. A cup of tea in my one hand and the camera in the other, I wander till the sun disappears. At sometime in the evening Justin enters my tent.

When will you have your dinner sir?
When you wish to serve
7
Done.


Kabru North
The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints03.jpg

I peep out of the tent after he leaves and see that moon light has filled the entire valley and Pandim is basking in its glow.Dinner is served in the tent that night. It is way too cold to head out in the open. In the cold, wearing the shoe is quite an exercise. The amount of lethargy is unthinkable.

I go off to sleep later and when I wake up (reprise from the beginning):

Pandim at night.
The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print_set3-10.jpg

"The snow pounds on my tent. It sounds like the rain on the tin sheds.
And the winds from the Northern edges hurtle down its surface. They create a fluttering sound.
And the cold earth has turned colder and frozen.Thick with snow. White.........And then, as everything lay quiet, I could see a thick wall of cloud, from the far end of Thansing that ripped apart the valley. They gathered fast and obscured everything in sight. The moon was gone, and it took the stars along with it. And they left behind a trail of wetness and cold and a sodden smell.Everything hung heavy and the snow continued to pour unabated.

In no time, it had turned into a crusade.
A crusade against the cold. The terrain. The ferocity of the mountain. The harshness of life.
A life that is primitive. But again one with so much depth in its meaning.
"

Kabru range. On the way to Goecha La view point 1
The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints18.jpg

Samiti Lake. Another view.
The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-wo-rotate_set217.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-wo-rotate_set218.jpg  

sayakc is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th February 2015, 15:38   #37
BHPian
 
Baddychat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Noida
Posts: 283
Thanked: 116 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Brilliant pics Sayak. Duly rating your thread a well deserved 5 stars.

I had done this trek way back in 2005 when during college. The treks weren't organized back then, so we mustered whatever information we could back and then and reached Youksom for the start of the trek.
That was my first trek and for first timers, it is challenging.

Sigh I don't have those pictures anymore. Keep the pictures coming

Last edited by Baddychat : 24th February 2015 at 15:40. Reason: Add a line
Baddychat is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th February 2015, 18:32   #38
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Chennai
Posts: 16
Thanked: 8 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Hi Sayakc,
Most of these pictures look surreal. I've seen these location pics through the Himalayan drive stories, but these ones really takes it to the next level.
A treak in those conditions should have been much more demanding but I am sure the awesome locale kept you going.
Great work man.
Rags Rocks is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th February 2015, 17:51   #39
Awaiting Email Confirmation
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Chennai, Mumbai
Posts: 45
Thanked: 26 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

SayaKC wow takes me back to my own memories of going to Dzongri and seeing the Devi flanked by north and south Kabru and clouds stretching out to the horizon in the sunrise. :-)
Taffy is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th February 2015, 21:46   #40
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: B'lore-Manipal
Posts: 21,294
Thanked: 11,674 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Quote:
Originally Posted by sayakc View Post
[i]"The snow pounds on my tent. It sounds like the rain on the tin sheds.
I am surprised you went trekking during snow season. I went in Oct and it was chillingly cold. But the photos and the views justify your decision. They are simply out of this world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baddychat View Post
I had done this trek way back in 2005 when during college. The treks weren't organized back then, so we mustered whatever information we could back and then and reached Youksom for the start of the trek.
What do you mean treks were not organized? I trekked Yoksum-Dzongri in 2005, and we got superb organization from the travel company we used. We did all the arrangement/planning over email.
Samurai is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 11th March 2015, 21:46   #41
BHPian
 
sayakc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Calcutta
Posts: 112
Thanked: 639 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Thank you Samurai. April isn't exactly snow season. There is unseasonal snow fall however, which we experienced!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I am surprised you went trekking during snow season. I went in Oct and it was chillingly cold. But the photos and the views justify your decision. They are simply out of this world.
Thank You!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taffy View Post
SayaKC wow takes me back to my own memories of going to Dzongri and seeing the Devi flanked by north and south Kabru and clouds stretching out to the horizon in the sunrise. :-)
Thank You!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rags Rocks View Post
Hi Sayakc,
Most of these pictures look surreal. I've seen these location pics through the Himalayan drive stories, but these ones really takes it to the next level.
A treak in those conditions should have been much more demanding but I am sure the awesome locale kept you going.
Great work man.
Thank You!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baddychat View Post
Brilliant pics Sayak. Duly rating your thread a well deserved 5 stars.

I had done this trek way back in 2005 when during college. The treks weren't organized back then, so we mustered whatever information we could back and then and reached Youksom for the start of the trek.
That was my first trek and for first timers, it is challenging.

Sigh I don't have those pictures anymore. Keep the pictures coming
sayakc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th March 2015, 21:56   #42
BHPian
 
sayakc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Calcutta
Posts: 112
Thanked: 639 Times
Default The Last Post and the Last Two Days

It is another early call that wakes me up. The watch dial glows in the darkness of the tent - 3.30 AM.
Justin has brought a plate of hot halwa.
Looking at my facial reaction to the halwa at such an unearthly hour, he says. “Sir you need to have this. It’s a very long day today. You won’t get any food until 9 – 9.30 AM”
Most of the men from the other tents had already started for the final climb. Some started as early as 2 o clock in the night.
I mop up the plate and very soon I find myself walking through the valley.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints05.jpg

The full moon night makes the visibility of the surroundings better. The stars glitter in the clear sky. The snow from yesterday looks scattered and white. Up ahead, I can spot puddles of head lamps making their through the mountain. Some lie idle, giving into the extremely rarefied air. Whereas there are others that trudge their way up the mountain. The walk itself is cold and breathless. And the air is frosty. The wind is static. The Prek Chu gurgles somewhere below, on my left, hidden from view. We are treading into a territory where this river had probably originated.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints07.jpg

By the time we reach the shores of the Samiti Lake, the darkness has started to give way to a clear pre-dawn sky. A couple of small streams emerge from the edges of the lake and disappear behind the mega structures of rock and ice. I pause and sip some water from the water bottle. But, the water has partially frozen cold into ice due to the exposure to the cold water bottle. If the walk till the Samiti Lake was difficult, then the walk further ahead looks daunting.It is a steady scramble over boulders as far as the eyes. It is the final climb and I ready myself for the last push.

“Go, go march ahead and beat the sun” shouts the voice inside my head.
Justin, too, eggs me on to proceed further.But what comes out is a whimper.

The rush of adrenaline seems to have been vanished and the blood in the veins seems to have frozen. For many, a trek to Goecha La might be a walk in the park. But for some like me, the difficulty is genuine. It depends on the physical fitness, experience and our physical reaction to high altitudes. And moments like these become overwhelming for the trekker. I see immobile figures gasping onto their breath, up ahead and cross quite a few of them as the race against the sun hots up.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints10.jpg

The climb is illusionary - much like the other day. The top, which appears at the distance, is actually not the end. It is the prelude to a further, higher climb.

But wait. What do I see?
A contour of dark rocks resembling a wave, guards a view of ice-cream cone shaped peaks. The light and shadow of the peaks, a midst a dark blue sky is a wonder. See the pictures. Its 5.18 in the morning when I shoot my first photo.


The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints12.jpg

To be a part of the phenomenon is an experience in itself. I had never seen the sun shine on peaks so near. These peaks, which are actually at a distance, are so massive and imposing that they appear to be at an arms length. Reaching the first view point is a little tricky - Of the sheer drop that I had mentioned in the first post. But beyond that it is bliss. Its heaven. And when I think about our country and its micro climates - It is hard to imagine, that when the plains of India are breathing fire, I am shivering in a cold that is freezing my senses. A prayer with some cashew nuts and chocolate that I was carrying is offered to the Gods.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints16.jpg

The first view point is not the pass. You need to descend and then climb further to reach the second view point. It is the start of the ridge that leads to Goecha La. Permits of Goecha La are not issued normally. From a geographical standpoint, the Goecha La is the start of massive glacial zone dominated by the Talung and the Tonshyong systems. It ends at the Zemu gap, which is the watershed between the West and North Sikkim valleys. Previous expeditions to Kanchenjunga used to cross through North Sikkim. Even, when Nepal was closed for mountaineering expeditions, the Everest expedition parties used to travel to the Tibetan side of Everest by crossing the passes between Tibet and North Sikkim.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints17.jpg

Epilogue:
I returned back to Kokchurang that day. And completed the Kokchurang to Yuksom journey the next day. Justin and the porters were happy about the extra day of rest (since ours’ last days walk is normally done in two days). Actually, a sense of urgency had developed and it took over me. I tend to believe that the monsters of difficulty are a state of the mind. And it was good that we overcame them.

Back at the Yuksom hotel I took a good bath of warm water for around an hour. Called back home. Had a lot of beer and an excellent meal of rice, chicken curry, dal and alu bhaja and a blissful sleep of over 10 hrs.it In short, it was a feast. Also, it was time to conclude this journey and plan for a new one. But now I hardly remember the difficulties. What remains are only the fascinating memories. Really, human memory is so short lived!

If you have jumped directly to this post and reading this, I would request you to read the entire log. And, if you have read the entire thread, then a special thanks to you!

Good Night!
sayakc is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12th March 2015, 01:33   #43
Newbie
 
grand@rao's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Mumbai-Udupi
Posts: 17
Thanked: 17 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

SAYAKC Hats off to you. I was completely in dilemma and was wondering how you all did this breath taking adventurous task.

You are really blessed, I was completely lost in your narration and really enjoyed the photos, and you framed it so well that I got more immersed in to the story. KEEP IT ON

Thanks for the details and costing for the itinerary.
grand@rao is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th October 2016, 16:33   #44
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1
Thanked: 0 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Fantastic pictures and write up. Was in Yuksom last week and planning a trip this March to do the Goecha La trek. As a side note, how fit were you if I may ask. I Looked at a couple of sites that said you would need to be able to run 5 kms under 30 minutes to do this trek. Not much of a runner but I can walk 15 kms easily. So hoping that I would be able to do this trek. Also, close to being 40 I would need some positive assurances

Last edited by sentra26 : 14th October 2016 at 16:35.
sentra26 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th October 2016, 18:33   #45
BHPian
 
DriveTrain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 131
Thanked: 281 Times
Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Thank you sayakc for keeping us spellbound and taking us through a sublime and ethereal journey through your eyes.

Your narration and craftsmanship with the camera is scintillating indeed, leaves us yearning for more.
DriveTrain is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Possible to climb over HUGE sand dunes ? '72 Bullet 4x4 Technical 13 24th June 2010 16:40
Cold,Nippy,Frosty,Chilly Escapade to Himachal Pradesh !!!! mobike008 Travelogues 53 23rd January 2009 18:02
Esteem refused to Climb Shashank.A Technical Stuff 49 22nd May 2008 13:42
One drive you'll love - Coimbatore - Asanur Hill Climb Harrie The Team-BHP Meet Section 18 31st March 2008 21:32
Mysore Hill Climb - PICS ADDED: Pg 2 onwards! shailu Indian Motorsport 89 11th March 2008 12:13


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 15:23.

Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks