Arrival day in Yuksom
The day 1 is the day before the start of the trek. We will meet in the village to get to know each other and for the expedition breafing. It will be mainly a preparation day in Yuksom, a chance for resting before the trek. You can visit the beautiful monastery around the village or simply enjoy the peaceful environment at the lake or at central bazaar
YUKSOM to THSOKA
Altitude: 5,643 ft (1,720 m) to 9,701 ft (2,957 m)
The first day of trek is possibly one of the hardest in terms of physical commitment. That’s why it is possible also to split it in two days.We start from Yuksom and we quickly enter the Kanchenjunga National park, just in time to spot some beautiful waterfalls. The first few hours, the walk up is demanding but really pleasant: rhododendron forests, tibetan bridges to cross, thick and green forests. Wild horses and monkeys roam through the jungle.
At Sachen we can have some rest and eat our lunch. Some groups stop here for the night, but we always suggest to walk other 3 hours to Thsoka.
Around Sachen you can still see a couple of houses. This is the last human settlement we’ll see.You keep going until you reach a nice tea house, a place with a nice view of the Yuksom Valley: Bakhim.
THSOKA to DZONGRI
Altitude: 9,701 ft (2,957 m) to 12,083 ft (3,683 m)
Leave Tshoka and start walking up. After a while the pond with the monastery will be far behind. The trail is quite steep, but the magical forest of rhododendron will make it easier.
During the first two weeks of May the view over the pinky colored forest is stunning.
For the first time, we overcome the 3000 meters barrier and the trekkers start feeling it.
After two to three hours you should be able to reach a big clearing, with one hut and some small benches. This is Phedang, and it seems a great place for a deserved rest. The endless sound of the river is a perfect background during the pause.
There is also a spring for clear water 10 mins away from the path.
Across the clearing, take the trails the leads you to Dzongri. You will be amazed when from time to time Mount Pandim will appear in front of you.You’ll find two big huts along your trail. There’s a small stream going in between them. The Kanchenjunga range is all around. This place is Dzongri.
There are more than 30 places in the huts. We advise to stay inside for this cold night!
DZONGRI TOP and REST IN DZONGRI
You don’t want to miss the sunrise from the top of Dzongri, definitely. This day the best we can do is to enjoy the two wonderful mountain ranges of Kanchenjunga and Singalila from up the top we see from our shelters. Dzongri is a two hill climb, which takes 45-60 minutes. You arrive at almost 4100 meters. Locals buddhist will probably light up a small fire on top. The view from up there is overwhelming and looking at the changing colours of Kanchenjunga during the sunrise is a priceless experience. Let's chill the rest of the day and recover the energies for the following days. If you are doing the Dzongri Trek, you are done. Otherwise, keep walking!
DZONGRI to THANSINGAltitude: 13,024 ft (3,970 m) to 12,152 ft (3,704 m) to 12,946 ft (3,946 m)
You will start the day with a gentle descent first, amidst rhododendron forests again. Then the path is getting a little steeper through the forest. This should be one of the best place to spot birds and local fauna.
You will arrive in Kokchurang, deserving for me to be one of the most beautiful spots for resting and camping. We can evaluate to spend the night here. The place though is quite small: There is space for no more than 6-7 tents. Falling asleep with the strong water sound, camping few meters from it is really a brilliant experience.
We are two kilometers from Thansing: cross the bridge and enjoy the breeze on it. The water that flows in the river was part of the glacier until few minutes before.
Path is going up again, but in a gentle way. This last part you’ll have the Kanchenjunga range in front of you, motivating you for the last steps. You are almost at 4000 meters when you reach the settlement, populated only by humans with boots and professional backpack.
Thansing is pretty big with four wooden huts and an astonishing view at Kanchenjunga and Pandim mountains at sunset. You start to feel closer to the giants now.
THANSING to LAMUNEY
Altitude: 12,946 ft (3,946 m) to 13,743 ft (4,189 m)
Today the walking time is really short. We’ll take no more than 3 hours to reach Lamuney, our last stop before Goechala viewpoint. Just in time to overcome the 4000 meters barrier and go until the 4189 meters of the Lamuney hut. The trail is relatively easy and there are no remarkable points.
Since there’s probably lots of time to spend in Lamuney, or suggestion is to for a visit to the beautiful Samiti Lake, 45 minutes further. You will cross it anyway the next day on the way to Goechala, but our recommendation is to go there the day before to enjoy the mystical moment more quietly and peacefully.
Blue birds and royal eagles are living around and you are likely to spot them.
LAMUNEY to GOECHALA and back to THANSINGAltitude: 13,743 feet (4,189 m) to 15,100 ft (4,602 m) back to 12,152 ft (3,704 m)
This is the epic day.
The day when you will wake up when it’s still dark (around 3am) to start the ascent from Lamuney to Goechala. Hardly you will forget this day. The goal is to reach the first viewpoint of Goechala before the sunrise, before the first ray of sun hits the slopes of the range.
A step by step legendary walk up to Samiti lake -a gorgeous creation of the himalayan gods- and then through a steep path up till the Goechala first viewpoint.
It appears as to be in the moon. White, grey and black shades formed by snow, ice and rocks.
That’s it. Glaciers, lakes, and seven to eight thousands meters peak surrounding you. It’s completely silent up there. Goechala has 3 main viewpoints. The highest one at 4950m is reachable in one hour from the first, which is 4650 meters high.
Enjoy the moment, it will not come back anytime soon.
THANSING (or KOKCHRUNG) O THSOKAAltitude: 9,701 ft (2,957 m) to 8,654 ft (2,638 m) to 5,643 ft (1,720 m)
After a cold but recovering night in Thansing or Kokchrung, we are ready for our trekking day to Thsoka. It will take about 6-7 hours and we go from 3700 to 2900 meters.
Until Phedang you maintain a relatively flat altitude (12000 feet), going a little up and a little down along the trail, going from one side to the mountain to the next.
A beautiful but little tiring exercise. You will be rewarded by once again the rhododendron forest.
Then there will be a 3-4 hours descent all the way to Tshoka.
How familiar the pond with the monastery will be!
THSOKA to YUKSOMAltitude: 9,701 ft (2,957 m) to 8,654 ft (2,638 m) to 5,643 ft (1,720 m)
It will be a pure descent of about 6 hours, and it will be much easier than the way up.
Only note: if you are on time, feel free to stop for a refreshing ”shower” in one of the beautiful natural pool a couple of km from the entrance of the National Park. There is a way down of a Tibetan bridge which leads you to the pool. You can definitely have a bath in the cold water… unless you want to wait to reach your guest house in Yuksom two hours later :)
WELCOME BACK TO YUKSOM! and to a sort of… civilization :)