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Old 6th February 2015, 23:41   #1
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Default The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

My legs feel shaky under the altitude as I peer down at the sheer vertical drop of a several hundred feet.

A hoarse, cold wind descends from the peaks above.
Thin, grey clouds rise against the turquoise blue sky.
Sometimes you would feel the crack of a thunder.
And sometimes you would feel the pounding of the snow.

By the time, I have reached the place where I stand now, incidents of turbulence and tranquility haunt me.

The fierceness of a snow blizzard.
The warmth of the camp fire.
The treachery of the unforgiving blue ice.
The slow rumble of the mountain stream.
Sips of the hot chang.
Isolation of the lone tent.
Endless, rocky spires that seemed to rise from the bottom of the ocean.
And endless meadows that were burnt yellow.

A very paradoxical world indeed. An experience through heaven. And the roasting of hell.

In the climb of over 2 hours that stretched from the darkness of the night, into the light of the early dawn, the white glow of Pandim and Kanchenjunga in the moonlit night gave away to massive snow fields, icy cliffs and crystal heights that blind the eyes. Those peaks that were pearly white have turned into fields of a golden hue. The beauty is surreal, and even though I feel that I have lost all strength to go further, it pulls me towards it.

Sometime back I had argued that God does not exist. But this sheer beauty in the calmness of things where everything is so turbulent makes me believe that I was wrong. And, as I take another step closer to the pass,I feel like I am marveling at the gateway to the mountain Gods - Goecha La.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-_dsc3311.jpg

Last edited by sayakc : 12th February 2015 at 23:25.
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Old 11th February 2015, 21:39   #2
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

We saw evenings of the rain.
Of the fading twilight.
Of clouds that were racing against the hill tops.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-1-2.jpg

And the hooded face of Mt Jupno baring its fangs like a Cobra, from meadows that stretched into the horizon.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-2-2.jpg

This is a story of the stony, ice wall that contrasted the bluest blue that I had ever seen.

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

Peaks that stood against the swirling clouds.
Against the test of time.
Some, which rose like spires from the bottom of the ocean.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-10.jpg

Rocky faces, vertical and steep, that defined the scale of enormity.
And sometimes, exclusivity.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-33.jpg

And lakes that appeared vibrant blue, in a world where shades were only brown and yellow

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-w-rotate_set231.jpg

We saw dawns of delight!
Brightness of the light and darkness of the shadow. A moment, where time stood still.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints01.jpg

A land of eternity.One that belonged to the Five Treasures of Snow - The Kanchenjunga.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints6.jpg

Last edited by sayakc : 13th February 2015 at 12:11.
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Old 11th February 2015, 21:45   #3
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Here roses dont grow.
Not even its thorns.
Here lies peaks and passes, where the snow and wind cuts deep to the bone.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-4.jpg

I had longed to see Kanchenjunga.
But, its smaller neighbours welcomed us with open arms.
Himalayan hospitality!

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-6_lr.jpg

The peaks rose against the sky.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-19.jpg

And they rose, vignetted by the clouds

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-25.jpg

This is a story of the knowns. And a few steps into the unknown.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-38_lr.jpg

It had its share of glory.And a few moments of pain.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-40_lr.jpg

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-41.jpg

Here were evenings that were buried into the aloofness of the cold.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-44.jpg

Where mornings that were breathing fire into the snow.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-wo-rotate_set204.jpg

This was a journey of hope.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-13.jpg

Last edited by sayakc : 12th February 2015 at 23:24.
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Old 11th February 2015, 21:53   #4
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Lamuney, ~13000 ft

"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.

But sometime back, everything lay warm.
You could hear the crackling of the burning wood.
They carried a few red, charred ashes that seem to flicker within the flames.
The night was still young and the moon shone on the valley.
The stars came out in the open and they left behind their trails on the view finder.

There were crescent mountain slopes that overlooked the valley.
Some silent.
Some stand out. Austere.
Others...unnamed.

But the moon looked so peaceful.
And so did the stars.They glittered.
Nature that conversed. But doesn't utter a word.

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."

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-22.jpg

We climbed over the ridges.
And walked through the valleys.
Breathed in the fresh air.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-2_lr.jpg

Valleys of red and gold and Streams of ice.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-46_lr.jpg

Lakes that carried with them, the frosty ice of the previous winter.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-w-rotate_set233_lr.jpg

So, calm that the reflections never swayed

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-w-rotate_set236_lr.jpg

And nights, when everything appeared to be dark, the brightness of the mountain dawned.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-wo-rotate7_lr.jpg

A story of contrasts. Of peaks and the mighty passes

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints4.jpg

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints09.jpg

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-42.jpg

Last edited by sayakc : 13th February 2015 at 13:11.
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Old 11th February 2015, 22:03   #5
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

We had our share of the sun.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-14.jpg

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-18.jpg

And we had our share of the storm.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-12.jpg

Still the wall of ice tried to hide us

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-21.jpg

But we managed to peep beyond its periphery.

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-31.jpg

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-day-5-43.jpg

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-print-w-rotate_set234.jpg

For me, it was a first. A solotrek to Goecha La. The anxiety and excitement, everything was there.And it was a enormous experience - a way, to reclaim life!

The Frosty Climb to Goecha La-prints5.jpg

Last edited by sayakc : 13th February 2015 at 13:10.
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Old 13th February 2015, 12:27   #6
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Default The First Day

I crouch under a fallen wooden log that is dripping wet with the rain. But it barely protects me. The rain continues to fall loud and clear against the dense forest growth and it brings with it a sharp chill. We had thought about the rain right from the morning, considering the unusually hot and humid mountain air, but back then, the clouds hung thick and heavy, refusing to come down.

I like the rain, prefer to watch it from a distance, but hate getting wet in it. Unfortunate, today I am left with no choice.

A few hours ago when we had started from Yuksom, it was hot. The sweat against the backpack would get dried cold. Sometimes I would rest against the trekking pole to beat the fatigue, which came a little too early. The walk was slow, boring. The tropical vegetation that filled up the mountains was interspaced with white magnolia blossoms. Primulas grow on the side of the track. Apart from that, it was mostly dirty and smelt of the yak dung that lay along the tracks.

Trekkers returning back taunted us, “It’s all the way downhill to Goecha La”.
And I would curse them with muted breathe.

If you heard bells, it belonged to the returning Dzos. A few of them would grunt and shake their heads violently in protest of going any further. The mules, in comparison appeared to be swifter. The horseman, who manned them needed to be far more agile than the yak men. All the porters, horsemen and yak men relied more on gumboots, rather than the mountain shoes, which we wore.
“If it rains here, then it is going to snow in Dzongri”, says Justin, my guide, who, like me, is also crouched under the log, waiting for the pouring rain to subside. The rain finally relents and we start the walk towards Tsokha.

Last edited by sayakc : 13th February 2015 at 12:29.
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Old 14th February 2015, 11:11   #7
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 14th February 2015, 11:51   #8
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

This one is on my bucket list. Lovely pics.
It would be great if you could post details of the costs involved in going solo, including guide and porters etc.
Thanks for sharing.
Cheers
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Old 14th February 2015, 12:29   #9
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Great photos sayakc, reminded me of the trek my wife and I took in 2005. We didn't have the legs to go all the way to Goecha la, we returned back from Dzongri.

I was not much into photography then and only had a 5MP P&S camera, so my shots are nowhere close to yours.

You can see my travelogue here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ngri-trek.html (Few days close to Heaven: The Dzongri Trek)
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Old 14th February 2015, 12:56   #10
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

You write extremely well Beautiful pictures. Such travelogues make me miss my treks in the Himalayas even more..

-Bhargav
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Old 15th February 2015, 12:04   #11
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Surely Jay. I shall post the details of the trek from a costs/itinerary perspective in the next few posts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
This one is on my bucket list. Lovely pics.
It would be great if you could post details of the costs involved in going solo, including guide and porters etc.
Thanks for sharing.
Cheers
Samurai,
I checked out the link and it, in fact has some great photos even though you used a P&S. The trek till Dzongri is the toughest. The onwards trek towards Goecha La (excepting the final day) is actually a lot more easier!
And I did check your smugmug - great "food" photography stuff there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Great photos sayakc, reminded me of the trek my wife and I took in 2005. We didn't have the legs to go all the way to Goecha la, we returned back from Dzongri.

I was not much into photography then and only had a 5MP P&S camera, so my shots are nowhere close to yours.

You can see my travelogue here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ngri-trek.html (Few days close to Heaven: The Dzongri Trek)
Thank you Bhargav. A trek a year keeps us mentally spirited and physically fit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane_Power View Post
You write extremely well Beautiful pictures. Such travelogues make me miss my treks in the Himalayas even more..

-Bhargav
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Old 16th February 2015, 11:22   #12
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

with Octane_Power. This is a very well written photologue. The beautiful pictures of the snow-capped peaks only add to the wonderful narration. Looking forward to more travelogues by you

Last edited by S2!!! : 16th February 2015 at 11:24.
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Old 16th February 2015, 12:36   #13
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

What an Incredible set of pictures you have managed to capture.
Full marks for your photography skills. Keep them coming.

Have added to my bucket-list
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Old 16th February 2015, 13:03   #14
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

That was an amazing photo shoot. Each & every snap is worth being a background image in the devices. Tasteful narration as well. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 16th February 2015, 16:06   #15
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Default Re: The Frosty Climb to Goecha La

Yummy! Those pictures are nice appetizers to what looks like a big and delicious main course. Getting really hungry for more.

This reminds me so much of tsk1979's amazing Iceland travelogue.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-ice-fire.html (Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire)

Every word of this below sentence is true.
Quote:
Sometime back I had argued that God does not exist. But this sheer beauty in the calmness of things where everything is so turbulent makes me believe that I was wrong. And, as I take another step closer to the pass,I feel like I am marveling at the gateway to the mountain Gods - Goecha La.
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