Trek to Yuksom-Dzongri-Goecha La

One of the amazing place to visit in Sikkim is Goecha La. La in Tibetean means “Pass”. From this vantage point, one can see Kanchendzonga massif .

Duration            :  11 days, 112 Kms. Trek starts from Yuksom.
Grade                :  Strenuous
Highest Point      :  Dzongri (Dabla Khang) 13,220 feet and Goecha La : 16,210 feet
Best time to visit  :  April – June ; Sept-Nov
Permits               :  Foreigners require permits and for Indians, they pay charges for Kanchendzonga National Park.

For Itinerary, click here

Route to Goechala

Trekking route to Goechala

Goechala round trek

Map showing Goechala round trek

 Day 1 : After landing in Bagdogra Airport, the car was ready for the pickup. After taking care of our luggage and equipment, proceeded to Yuksom, which was the erstwhile capital of Sikkim. After 5 hours of drive, we reached Yuksom at 9:00 pm and rested for next day trek.

Day 2: Early in the morning, it was time to meet up with my friend and tour organizer Surendra Pradhan, who had organized all the requirements in terms of equipments, yaks, guides and porters. Sanjay Limboo was our guide, a lean 26 year old Bhutia.

Me and Surendra-Yuksom

With Surendra at Hotel Pemathang, Yuksom

Team having breakfast before trek

Team at breakfast before trek

Packing before trek

Final packing before start of trek at Yuksom

After breakfast, it was time to start towards Sachen which was to be our first stop for the day. En-route, we had to pickup our permits at the below office.

At Checkpost for permits

At Checkpost for permits

After obtaining the permits, we started our climb into Sachen and in an hours time, it started raining heavily and had to take shelter. After an hour time, it was time to start our trek in a wet but fun environment. We had never experienced anything like this before.

Team starting trek at Yuksom

Team starting trek at Yuksom

Starting towards Sachen

Starting towards Sachen

Team at Shelter on way to Sachen

Team at Shelter on way to Sachen

Team taking break for photo

Team taking break for photo

Yaks carrying our luggage

Yaks carrying our luggage

Yaks

Yaks moving with our luggage on way to Sachen

Team on way to Sachen

Team on way to Sachen

 After a nice climb, by afternoon we reached Sachen a small hut was waiting for us. We were informed that the hut has been booked by ladies and hence we had to stay in tents at an elevation and it was a thrilling experience.

Sachen hut

Sachen hut

Unpacking at Sachen

Unpacking at Sachen

Preparing the tents

Preparing the tents

Evening in Sachen

Evening in Sachen

After dinner, was time to unpack luggage’s and lazy ourselves for the night and  have a star gazing experience and unwind ourselves into a nice sleep.

Day 3:

We started walking uphill after breakfast, following the Rathong River gorge, through dense mixed jungle with magnolia, rhododendron, ferns and several varieties of orchids, brightly colored birds.  We crossed  Paha Khola bridge, (1,733m./5,685ft.). After a breathtaking walk we crossed Prek Chu River and then ascend steeply for couple of hours to and arrived at Bakhim where we stopped to take rest and also to see the Basic Mountaineering course training conducted by HMI.

After sometime, we started walking again over a steep ascent to reach Tshoka where the huts were ready to receive us. By the time we reached, it started raining and clouds started to gather. Our idea was to use mobile phones since this is the last place where mobile works, but then rains and fog ensured that mobile connectivity not being there.

Start Trek to Tshoka

Next day morning, started trek to Tshoka

Trek to Tshoka

Trek to Tshoka

Guiding ourselves

Guiding ourselves

Team on hanging bridge

Team on hanging bridge

After crossing the bridge

Team members on bridge

Team on bridge

Team on bridge

Team pose for photo

Team pose for photo

Elevation after crossing

Elevation after crossing

Walking towards Bakhim

Walking towards Bakhim

Bakhim

Bakhim

HMI training at Bakhim

HMI training at Bakhim

Tshoka

Tshoka

Beds at Tshoka

Beds at Tshoka

We clicked some photos towards evening and then time to have dinner and sleep.

Day 4:

A fairly steep climb above Tshoka took us into beautiful rhododendron forests, and it had just snowed and the weather was classic. We started walking towards  Phethang which was reasonably uphill on a well treded path. After reaching Phethang, we stopped towards the view point to see the mighty Kanchendzonga, Kabru and Pandim mountains, but then the weather changed drastically virtually closing the view point with fog.

From Phethang Viewpoint

From Phethang Viewpoint

Team at Phethang Viewpoint

Team at Phethang Viewpoint

Phethang

Phethang

 After another uphill trek, we reached Dzongri and relaxed the evening in the tents which were pitched for us.

Pradeep taking pics uphill to Dzongri

Pradeep taking pics uphill to Dzongri

Adjusting my camera

Adjusting my camera on way to Dzongri

Reaching Dzongri

Reaching Dzongri

Our tents at Dzongri

Our tents at Dzongri

Himalayan ranges from Dzongri

Himalayan ranges from Dzongri

 Day 5: Today, was more to do with lazing and acclimatization for our journey next day to Goecha La. Early morning at around 4 AM, we left to see Mt.Kanchendzonga, Mt.Pandim, Kabru, Mt.Simvo at the view point called Dabla Khang. It was indeed an amazing experience.

Ranges on way to Dablakhang

Ranges on way to Dablakhang

Final steps to Dzongri Top

Final steps to Dzongri Top

On way to Dablakhang

On way to Dablakhang

After walk of around 1 hour, we reached the Dabla Khang top. The sight from there was amazing. Eventhough, the temperature was freezing and sun just opening up, we could not stop ourselves from removing the gloves to take the photograph. Was challenging but also exciting.

At Dzongri Top

Photo session at Dzongri Top

Kanchendzonga

Kanchendzonga massif from Dzongri Top

Kanchendzonga

Kanchendzonga view from Dzongri top

Kanchendzonga

Kanchendzonga another view

Kanchendzonga

Kanchendzonga from Dzongri top

Team at Dzongri

Team at Dzongri

Team with guide

Team with guide at Dzongri Top

Hut from Dzongri top

Hut from Dzongri top

Valley from Dzongri Top

Valley from Dzongri Top

Tea after return

Tea after return from Dzongri Top

 

In the afternoon, we played with snow ski and then discussed our strategy for next day where we were to start to Kokchuring early in the morning. As the day broke, we were informed that due to ice formation in Thangsing, we cannot take that route. Thus, we chose to go near Pandim mountain via Kabru dome and reach HMI hut at Bikbari.

Fun on snow

Fun on snow

Snow Ski

Snow Ski

Snow Ski

Snow Ski

Fun in evening

Fun in evening

Day 6 : We started the day with ascent to Bikbari. Took us around 3 hours to reach the top of the ridge where Mt.Pandim becomes visible. It was an amazing view.

Starting to Bikbari

Ranges at start to Bikbari

On way to Bikbari

On way to Bikbari

Nearing Bikbari Top

Nearing Bikbari Top with Mt.Pandim in background

Mt.Pandim from Bikbari Top

Mt.Pandim from Bikbari Top

Posing with Mt.Pandim in background

Posing with Mt.Pandim in background

Mt.Pandim

Team relaxing with Mt.Pandim

Staff relaxing at Bikbari top

Staff relaxing at Bikbari top

Staff and Guide at Bikbari top

Staff and Guide at Bikbari top

Starting to valley

Starting to valley

Kabru Dome

Kabru Dome

Valley backdrop to Bikbari

Valley backdrop to Bikbari another view

Valley backdrop to Bikbari

Valley backdrop to Bikbari with dog following us

Valley backdrop to Bikbari

Valley backdrop to Bikbari

By late afternoon, we reached Bikbari and the stream was a wonderful sight.

Crossing Stream

Crossing Stream at Bikbari

Stream at Bikbari

Stream at Bikbari

 Day 7 : This day, we were to acclimatise as the altitude was 14,500 feet. After breakfast, we were to hike to HMI when the clouds started to fill the horizon. In no time, the sky was overcast and with that, we started our trek. It became hard to navigate but then was fun to walk. The oxygen level being low, we took break before going on top.

Getting ready

Getting ready in morning

Breakfast at Bikbari

Breakfast at Bikbari before start to HMI camp

Team taking rest

Team taking rest on way to HMI Camp

On way to HMI camp

Clouds fill on way to HMI camp

Team walking back

Team walking back to tents due to bad weather

Walking back

Walking back due to bad weather

 

Total bad weather

Total bad weather at Bikbari

Everything turn to Ice

Everything turn to Ice

Team enjoying zero visibility

Team enjoying zero visibility

Day 8: This day, we were to reach back to Tshoka through Dzongri. The weather did not change a bit and we were to start back. As you can see the whole ground was covered with ice and made it very slippery. Infact, most of us slipped couple of times and was very scary indeed. To complicate further, there was almost zero visibility and very less oxygen. That means, we are going to get tired very easily and need to be hydrating a lot. The tents were filled up with ice and thus we decided to proceed and the baggage on animals would come once the weather clears. Since the ground was slippery we had a real tough time negotiating the valley deep below and making our journey back to Dzongri in time. The team did extremely well in keeping up the pace until Dzongri and to Tshoka to reach by 4:00 pm.

Getting ready to leave

Getting ready to leave

Ground turned to ice

Ground turned to ice

Zero visibility

Zero visibility on starting back

Ice on tents

Ice on tents

Discussing strategy

Discussing strategy on how to navigate

Walking on snow

Walking on snow

Descending to Dzongri

Descending to Dzongri

Resting at Dzongri Hut

Resting at Dzongri Hut

After lunch, we started our way back to Tshoka and spent time in discussing about the experience we had.

Back to Tshoka

Back to Tshoka

Back to Tshoka

Back to Tshoka

Back to Tshoka

Back to Tshoka

 

Reached Tshoka

Reached Tshoka

Day 9: This day was more of relaxation in terms of walking down to Yuksom Via Bakhim and Sachen. Reached Yuksom by evening and checked into Pemathang hotel.

Start to Yuksom

Packing for starting to Yuksom

On top of world at Bakhim

On top of world at Bakhim

 

Tea break at Bakhim

Tea break at Bakhim

Enjoying falls on way back to Yuksom

Enjoying falls on way back to Yuksom

Back in Yuksom

Back in Yuksom

Enjoying beer

Enjoying beer

Day 10-11: We spent the day in sightseeing at Yuksom by visiting Dubdi Monastery and trek to Khechuperi Lake which is considered as sacred by both Hindus and Buddhist. From the top view it looks like a footstep and legend says that Lord Shiva put a step here and from Buddhist point of view, Guru Padmasambhava blessed the place. Whatever it is, the lake provides a panoramic view of mountains with the lake flowing provides a soul stirring effect.

At Khickiperi Lake

At Khickiperi Lake

Khichiperi Lake

Khichiperi Lake

Trek celebration

Trek celebration

 

Team at Norbugang Coronation

Team at Norbugang Coronation

Dubdi Monastery

Dubdi Monastery

At Dubdi monastery

At Dubdi monastery

At Pharmong Falls

At Pharmong Falls

At Phamrong Falls

At Phamrong Falls

At Phamrong Falls

At Phamrong Falls

Bro

Border Roads Organization

Sign board

Distance Sign board

At Coronation Bridge

Team at Coronation Bridge, Sivok

It was time to start our journey back to Bangalore via Bagdogra airport.

Thank you very much for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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