Goecha La Trek - 11 Days
In Sikkim, the Goecha La trek takes the trekker up-close for a spectacular view of the mighty Kanchenjunga amidst a majestic panorama of the other lesser Himalayan giants within its range of mountains.
This is an extension of the Dzongri trek - and trekking beyond the meadows Dzongri is raw adventure at its best where the visitor is taken into the realm of towering mountain peaks directly above and camp is set amidst the view of rumbling avalanches and high mountain glaciers.
Once again, the program described below is designed to offer a leisurely pace for enjoyment, but the total trek period can be reduced for the hardy as well as for those with less time to spare.
Day 01: Yuksam -1,780 m.
Transfer: Gangtok to Yuksam - 6 hours
Overnight in hotel
We leave early in the morning, on a long drive to Yuksam. The rigours
of this 6-hour drive is however offset by the ever-changing scenary
along the way. For the first hour, we retrace our route till Singtam
after which, we take a right turn and head uphill towards the Temi Tea
gardens and then on to Rabongla (a small town below Maenam Hill from where
stop for lunch). Here we get our first close up view of the Himalaya. We then proceed downhill into valley basin of the Rangeet River and cross the bridge at Legship after which we drive uphill again to finally arrive at our destination Yuksam, which is also our trek starting point.
Day 02: Tshoka - 3050 m.
Trek: Yuksam to Tshoka - 7 hours
We walk gently uphill, following the Rathong River gorge, through
dense mixed jungle with magnolia, rhododendron, ferns and several varieties
of orchids, brightly colored birds, and the occasional monkey. After
an hour or so we cross the Paha Khola bridge, (1,733m./5,685ft.). There
is a swimming spot by a waterfall (for those who dare!) after two hours,
and we can stop for lunch by a bridge over stream. Passing by sweet
smelling viburnum we cross the Prek Chu River and then ascend steeply
for two or three hours to arrive at Bakhim. A little higher up is the picturesque Tibetan refugee settlement of Tshoka where we set up camp.
This is a long trekking day and you should expect to be pretty tired
by the time you arrive at the camp.
Day 03: Phedang - 3760 m.
Trek: Tshoka to Phedang - 4 hours
steep climb above Tshoka takes you into beautiful rhododendron forests,
and you continue along a well-defined uphill path to Phedang. Today we will cover a shorter distance in view of the climb to rarefied air.
Day 04: Dzongri - 4320 m.
Trek: Phedang to Dzongri - 3 hours
Another short day’s walking today as we are now treading above
the 4,000-meter mark. We will be setting up camp by lunchtime and suggest
that you spend a relaxed afternoon acclimatizing. A brief climb beyond
brings you to a meadow where we can pitch our tents in a campsite with
views of Koktang, Rathong, Kabru, Khangchendzonga, Simvo and Pandim.
As usual on trek the choice of campsite depends on many variables, one
of the most important is the close supply of water.
Day 05: Rest and Acclimatization
Today we will explore the area, with the chance to climb the small peaks
near to the campsite for tremendous views. This is particularly worthwhile
in the early morning and the evening. While you can rest if you wish,
there will be a short acclimatization walk around the local area to
help prepare us for the next few days.
Day 06: Thangshing - 3800 m.
Trek: Dzongri to Thangshing – 5 to 6 hours
Today we ascend gradually over open hillside for a mile or so to a low
ridge visible from the campsite (13,500 ft/4,115m). From here, chortens
and prayer flags overlooking fabulous views of Khangchendzonga and Pandim
make ideal photocompositions. You then descend, at first traversing
down towards Pandim on the far side of the valley, and then dropping
steeply down on a good path through rhododendron forest to the Prek
Chu River at 12,300 ft/3,749 m. for lunch (3 hours). There is a new
trekking lodge here that the crew may use for cooking. We cross the
river and ascend gradually for one and-a-half-hour, through pinewoods
to reach a grassy campsite, beneath the shapely unclimbed peak of Pandim.
A new hut has been built here, which may be available for cooking and
Day 07: Lamuney (near Samiti Lake) - 4298 m.
Trek: Thangshing to Lamuney - 3 hours
Today’s walk is fairly short to give you plenty of opportunity
to rest before tomorrow’s big day. You begin by continuing your
walk parallel to the Prek Chu River. Sacred Samiti on the opposite side is a beautiful emerald
green lake nestled in the midst of brightly colored wind-torn prayer
Day 08: Goecha La
Trek to Goecha La (4,984 m.) and return to Lamuney
An early start today to beat the inclement weather conditions that is
common during the latter part of the day. Set off in the early morning
climbing the hill behind the Lake before traversing the moraine and
then descending to the sandy bed of an empty lake. The whole area above
Samiti Lake is called the Zemathang Plateau. You cross this under the
shadow of Pandim and then ascend moraine to a height of about 15,700
feet where you rest above a glaciated lake mottled with snow and icy
pinnacles. The Goecha La Pass is another hour away. We traverse the
lake and proceed across a slope, and then on a well-trodden path to
our objective, which is festooned with brightly colored prayer flags.
The views of the east flank of Khangchendzonga and the mountains and
valleys in the distance are stunning. We then return to our campsite
at Samiti Lake.
Day 09: Tshoka - 3800 m.
Trek: Lamuney to Tshoka – 7 to 8 hours
It’s worth getting up early to take a short hike to the
ridge behind the camp. From here there are fantastic views of Khangchendzonga
and one can look back up to the Goecha La. Leaving Thangsing, you take
a different route, avoiding the long climb to the Dzongri Plateau. Descending
to the Prek Chu, you contour around jungle to emerge at Phedang. Continue
to Tshoka along another steep descent. This will save us a day on the return march, but does involve quite
a long day.
Day 10: Yuksam
Trek: Tshoka to Yuksam –5 to 6 hours
Overnight in hotel
Today you descend to the Prek Chu following the route you took up on
the first day, and then contour gradually downwards to reach the village
of Yuksam our starting point.
Day 11: Departure Transfer
After breakfast transfer to airport or proceed next destination