WSR DZONGRI & GOECHA-LA TREK
TREK START FROM 28th OCT TO 07TH NOV 2017
Meeting point: New Jalpaiguri Railway station at 8:30am 28th Oct 2017
***Trekkers need to reach by their own to NJP/Siliguri/Bagdogra by Day 1 morning. Arrange your return from NJP/Siliguri/Bagdogra on Day 11 evening (after 6 pm) or later***
The Trek Highlights:
Length: 11 days; NJP to NJP. 9 days of trekking. Trekking from Yuksom to Goecha La via Dzongri and back to Yuksom, around 95 km.
Highest Point: Dzongri (~4000m/13000 ft) and Goecha La (~4950m/16200 ft).
Grade: Moderate but Strenuous
About Dzongri & Goecha La Trek:
Goecha La (La means a mountain pass in Tibetan), is situated at an altitude of 16200ft in the district of West Sikkim bordering Nepal. The trail climbs steadily to cross a ridge at Dzongri and then proceeds north to the Onglathang Valley to reach Goecha La at its head. It is a traditional trekking route popular both to the Indians and foreigners, which follows a picturesque route past lush vegetation, blooming rhododendron flowers and wonderful mountain views. On a clear day the panorama from Dzongri top is unmatched and offers at least 20 high Himalayan peaks including Black Kabru, Kabru (South/North/Dome), Pandim, Tenzingkhang, Jopuno, Fork (I & II), Rathong, Frey, Kokthang and the gorgeous Kanchendzongha range. The trail entirely lies inside Kanchendzongha National Park which is a biodiversity hotspot. Nature is bountiful through flora and fauna. During sunrise from Goecha La View points(s) any trekker is mesmerized and blessed by the view of golden hue of the mighty Kanchendzongha massif.
Brief Trip Itinerary:
Day 1: Reach Base camp- Yuksom 5643 ft. The pick up is at 9:30 am from NJP. You will reach Yuksom by 4 pm from NJP. Cost of cab per person -Rs.1100/-
Day 2: Yuksom 5643 ft to Bhakim/Sachen 7200 ft; 5 hours
Day 3: Bhakim 7200 ft to Tshoka 9701 ft; 4 hours
Day 4: Tshoka 9701 ft to Dzongri 13024 ft via Phedang 12083 ft; 6 hours
Day 5: Rest day in Dzongri.
Day 6: Dzongri 13024 ft to Thansing 12946 ft via Kockchurang 12152 ft; 6 hours
Day 7: Thansing 12946 ft to Lamuney 13743 ft; 2 hours
Day 8: Lamuney 13743 ft to Goechala 16272 ft, back to Kockchurang 12152 ft; 12 hours
Day 9: Kockchurang 12152 ft to Tshoka 9701 ft, 6-7 hours
Day 10: Tshoka 9701 ft to Yuksom 5643 ft; 6 hours
Day 11: Drive from Yuksom 5643 ft to NJP. You will reach NJP by 6 pm.
*** Arrange your return from NJP late evening or later and accordingly book your tickets***
Depending upon the trek members we can arrange a Jeep pickup from NJP/Bagdogra to Yuksom and back. This will be shared equally by the team members and is approximately Rs 5500-6000 one way.
TREK ROUTE DETAIL:
Day 1: New Jalapiguri to Yuksom(5850ft) 160km(6/7 hour drive)
Pickup from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) in the morning and reach the trek base Yuksom (~ 1780m, 5850ft) which was the first capital of Sikkim. The distance is around 160 Km and may take 7/8 hour including a lunch break. The road goes via Teesta, Malli, Jorethang and Tashiding. Yuksom is a typical small and laid-back Sikkimese town with one strip of Bazaar area in the centre. The village is spread out with the Himalaya and the monastery in the backdrop. The first king of Sikkim, His Holiness Funchook Namgyal was crowned here by His Holiness Gyalwa Latchen Chembo, the same man who brought Buddhism to SIkkim in 1641. There are several hotels and lodges ranging from premium to budget type. Also there are few restaurants offering veg and non veg food in the Bazaar area. All the major mobile networks wok here and has a small internet cafe. Night stay in tourist lodge.
Day 2: Yuksom to Sachen(7200ft) 8km 4 to 5 hour
We start our 8 days of strenuous but astonishingly beautiful trek from today. To start with an easy day, while spending time and gaining some height on the mountain for Sachen (~ 2200m, 7200ft). We straightway take the left trail from the main road in Bazaar area and after crossing Forest Huts and Check post, see a sign stating “Satellite phones are not allowed in this route”. From here we leave the village and get into the trek trail. After leaving few last houses and a nursery we finally depart from Yuksom. The trail is typically a narrow river valley while the river is running in the gorge. We slowly ascent going through the thick vegetation of sub alpine evergreen forest of Sikkim. It runs through moss-laden forests of Oak, Spruce, Chestnut, Fir, Pines, giant Magnolias and wide variety of orchids. Shades of Green change seasonally. Our trail now enters into Kanchedzongha National Park. This Biosphere reserve is a Botanist’s paradise and rich with exotic birds, butterflies and mammals. We have to cross 3 bridges on the river today, referred as 1st, 2nd and 3rd bridge. We continue our gradual ascent to a clearing we reach, which is our campsite of Sachen for the day. There is a Kitchen Hut built by the Forest Department on the left of the trail and the camping ground is above the trail on the right. The site is full of different bird species including Thrushes and Laughing Thrushes. It may take around 4 hours and we cover a distance of 8 Km. Camp for the night.
Day 3:Sachen to Tshokha(9500ft, 7km 6 to 7 hour)
We start gradually for first half an hour and then descend to the 4th bridge on the river Prek Chu (Chu means River in Nepali), the last of the four but most significant. After crossing the bridge, the trail turns to left and spirals up. This is the first half of climb for today and continuous one with steady height gain. We climb through the often misty forest and slowly the valley widens up on our left. Slowly climbing for an hour and half we reach at the top of this ridge and suddenly turning to right we see the Forest Bungalow of Bakhim at our left and house with a coffee shop on the right. The Bungalow with concrete exterior and wooden interior suffered during the earthquake in 2011 but still serves the night halt for the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute students. A cup of tea or coffee looking at the valley down under should not be missed. On a clear day one can see Yuksom and the hill station of Pelling from this viewpoint. We start our second phase of climb for the day after our break. The trail continues to zigzag and the first noticeable Rhododendron trees appear. During spring we can see the red and the white flowers particularly in abundance. There is a short cut on the right of the main trail but it is better to stay on the well defined track. We turn right and reach a clearing in the forest. From here we continue our climb and until we reach our destination Tsokha (~ 2900m, 9500ft) a table top on top of the hill. The camping ground of Tsokha is on the right of the trail and is a delight. The wooden Trekkers Hut is adjacent to the camping ground and well equipped with rooms and a big dinning hall. We get the first view of the snow capped mountains behind the Trekkers Hut. Magnificent Mount Pandim is standing straight along with Jopunu and Tenzingkhang. Tsokha used to be a settlement for the Tibetan refugees but recently the people are rehabilitated at Yuksom. There are few private guest houses and a shop still operating. Also there is a monastery few turns up on the left of the trail with a shallow pond in front of it. In the afternoon it is worth to visit the monastery and the lone shop which serves tea, coffee and sells woolen clothes, gloves and shawl. Tsokha has mobile networks working and you can talk with your near and dear ones for the last time on this trail. Total distance we cover is 7 Km and may take upto 4 hours. Night stay in Trekkers hut or tent.
Day 4: Tsokha to Dzongri( 13000ft ,12 km 7 to 8 hour)
f the weather is clear we can see the sunrise on the backdrop of Mt. Pandim, standing from the camping ground. Being on the mountain for 3 days, our body is supposed to get acclimatised by this time. Today we gain significant height while most of the climb is moderately steep. The walk can be divided into 3 parts, climb till Phedang (~ 3650m, 12000 ft), then further ascent to Deorali Top (~ 4100m, 13500ft) and finally a gradual descent to our destination for the day Dzongri (~ 3950m, 13000ft). We leave Tsokha after crossing the monastery and turn right as the trail to start the steep climb for about half an hour. Then the trail is eases with paved wooden logs as rain turns it pretty muddy by the movements of Yaks and Horses. This trail is surrounded by dense Rhododendrons trees bloomed in different colour ( flowering season is mid April to mid May) and conifers. This is perhaps one of the best jungle trails on the Himalaya and takes away the tiredness of body. Often cloudy, the misty scent of the trail is unforgettable. After climbing another hour we reach to a small clearing where we take a rest and enjoy the silence of the jungle. From this point climbing for little more than an hour we reach the top of this hill, a wide open area of Phedang. There is a Kitchen hut and small sitting arrangement for the tired trekkers. The area remains cloudy mostly after midday and can be damp and cold. The trail splits from this place as the straight one goes to Dzongri and the trail on the right leads to Kokchurang. After a much needed replenishment we start for the 2nd half of our climb. The trail climbs steadily again zigzagging while we climb slowly as can can feel the altitude resulting into headache. Here the Rhododendron trees have turned it bushes aligning more horizontally. Climbing for two hours we reach the top of Deorali, a sacred place having a Chorten and prayer flags. There are spectacular views of the Sikkim mountains and its peaks from here. We start descending from this point and after crossing a clearing on a meadow we climb a small hump. From this hump we gently descend and traverse to the meadows of Dzongri. Walking around an hour we reach the Trekkers Hut and the camping side. The wooden hut consists of four rooms, a dinning hall and a separate setup for kitchen. The camping ground is on the left side of the hut along the narrow stream which flows in front of the hut. We camp or stay in the hut. Total distance is 12 Km and may take 6/7 hours. Night stay either in hut or tent.
Day 5: Rest day in Dzongri.
This day is dedicated for rest. Your body needs to recoup. The altitude gained all this while needs some adjustment in the systems of the body. Move around nearby and drink in the beauty of the nature and convert it to celluloid.
Day 6: Dzongri 12,980 ft to Dzongri top 13,675 ft , then to Thansing 12,900 ft via Kokchurang (12,000 ft)
We wake up very early in the morning around 4 am and prepare to go to the top of Dzongri which is the sunrise point and offers majestic views. It is essential to reach this point as the hill straight in front of the hut restricts the view. It is a 45 minutes to an hour climb gaining a height around 700ft/210m, to take us to the top. The panorama from Dzongri Top is simply breathtaking during sunrise when peaks are tinted in the softest of hues. It is almost an 150 degree panorama, from right Jopunu, Mt. Pandim to our left the Kabru group of peaks. Straight ahead is Kanchendzongha, the third highest peak in the world standing with massive glory. Local people offer prayers and incense of cryptomaria Japonica shrubs to the Chorten at the top. After clicking photographs we descend to the base and prepare to start our trek for the day. We take the trail on the right from the trekkers hut and it gently climbs on the top of the ridge. Take a left from the top and walk on the level ground of Dzongri meadow. We encircle and traverse the meadow while gently descending. The walk on this rolling meadow, dotted with red pygmy shrubs, wildflowers , Yaks grazing on both sides of the trail is a delight in itself. After an hour on the meadow, we start descending to the river bed through the dense forest. This trail is famous for Blood Pheasant, Sikkim’s state bird. Descending on the rock and gravel for about 45 mins we reach a level ground, Kokchurang (~ 3650 m, 12000ft). The place is a lovely camping ground with a Trekkers Hut and Prek Chu river flowing beside. From the hut we take a right turn to follow the main trail and cross a log bridge over a side stream. Then we turn left and go along the Prek for a while until we cross the bridge. From this point Prek is on our left and will remain till Samity lake ( though not visible most of the time). After walking along the river for a while we gradually climb a ridge covered with moist fern and moss laden trees and walking for another hour and half we enter into the the wide Thansing valley (~ 3930m, 12900ft), our destination for the day. Total distance is around 10 Km and can take 5/6 hours. The valley is at the base of Jopunu peak and a clear view of Pandim is awe-inspiring. Pandim is considered sacred by the Sikkimese and mountaineers are not allowed to attempt it. Straight in front is the sheer ridge of Kanchendzongha all white, without any protruding a rock spur! Prek river slicing through the valley on our left. Thansing Trekkers Hut is renovated few years back and can host 40 trekkers easily. We stay the night inside the hut.
Day 7: Thansing to Lamuney(137000ft, 4km 3hour)
Today is the easiest day while we trek to Lamuney (~ 4180m, 13700ft) on an almost level ground to a distance of 4 Km. Lamuney is on the same valley further north. Tree line ends in this valley with occasional bushes and shrubs. Prek chu flows on our left and the peaks of Jopunu, Tenzing Khang and Pandim on our right. This valley is very rich for avifauna including various species of Finch, Assentor, Laughingthrush etc. It will take around 2 hours to cover the distance and we camp beside the Prek. There is a small kitchen hut built on the left side of trail. There is no Trekkers Hut at Lamuney and hence camping is mandatory. For post lunch session it is a good idea to walk further and visit the Samity lake (~ 4200m, 14100ft). From the campsite we head further north along the trail and slowly start ascending on the rocky terrain. After walking for an hour the terrain levels out and we see the turquoise water of the lake. This is a medium size lake with an inlet and outlet. The outlet contributes to the Prek. Mt. Pandim is towering on the right side of the lake and stagnant water gives its reflection on the water. After spending some time we trace back our path to Lamuney. The round trip may take around 3 hours and holds the basic principle of mountain, “Walk high and sleep low”. It is a must that we go to sleep early today as tomorrow we need to start after midnight and will be indeed a long and strenuous day.
Day 8: Lamuney 13743 ft to Goechala 16272 ft, back to Kockchurang 12152 ft; 12 hours
Our start for the day depends on two major points. First and most important till how far we want to go? Secondly, when do we wish to reach and get back? Goecha La, as by the name is essentially a pass (La means Pass in Tibetan) between Oglanthang and Talung valley. There are 3 significant points for Goecha La, (a) View point 1, which is a the sunrise point, offers stunning view of the high peaks during sunrise (b) View Point 2 – A glacial lake,which can be seen from the moraine ridge and (c) View Point 3 – which is the pass in itself. We need to start by 2 am if we want to visit the View point 3 and return to Kokchurang camp by afternoon.Start with the torch (head lamp is preferred) and reach Samity lake. After that we head straight on the ridge above the lake and then traversing to View point 1 (~ 4600m, 15100ft). It takes around 2 hours to reach. From here looming Kanchendzongha dominates the vista and a vast panorama of peak sweeping towards the south which are on our left. Several glaciers, streams, lateral and median moraine ridges can be seen on the left while a sheer ice fall sweeping from Pandim on our right. We continue further while descending on a loose scree zone and enter into the a kilometer long flat sand bed, named as Zemathang (~ 4500m, 14750ft). The porous bed is soft and water runs underneath. There is a sharp ridge on our left which also offers spectacular view from its top. From Zemathang the pass is another 5 Km. Crossing this zone enters into a boulder strewn terrain and we climb a moraine ridge which is like a semicircular arc. We continue on the last patches of grass and finally a steep climb on scree to reach 2nd View Point. There is a lake below the ridge on our left and named Goecha lake. View Point 2 is marked with prayer flags and a tablet in memory of a trekker. It takes another 3 hours to reach here. The Goecha La pass (~ 4950m, 16200ft) or 3rd View Point can be seen straight a kilometer ahead and half hour from here over boulders covered with snow and occasional ups and downs. The pass is a wide open one, almost ~ 300m/1000ft. From the pass Goecha peak is on our left and a rocky cliff to the right . Kanchendzongha looms in front and SImvo to its right. Another turquoise lake is on the other side of the pass called sometimes “Emerald Lake” and seen below. The return will also take a considerable time over this terrain. On our way back we trace back the trail to Lamuney and further down to reach the campsite of Kokchurang (~ 3650m, 12000ft) via Thansing. We camp or stay in the Trekkers Hut for the night. Total distance is 22 Km and can take 12 to 14 hours.
Day 9: Kokchurang to Tsokha(14km, 7/8 hour)
From Kokchurang Trekkers Hut on the way back the trail bifurcates. We take the trail on our left to bypass Dzongri and reach directly to Phedang. The trail is on the level ground traversing one after another mountain keeping almost a constant height. The jungle is dense, serene, full with different types of Rhododendrons. The trail is ideal for bird watching as human movement is very sparse. At times it is only couple of feet wide and covered with fallen leaves. The 12 Km long trail takes 4 to 5 hours of traversing and leading into the opening at Phedang. From here we turn left and descend to Tsokha by the same way we came. Total distance is 18 Km and can take 6 to 7 hours. Camp or hut stay at night.
Day 10: Tsokha to Yuksom(15km, 6/7 hour)
Today is our last day on trail and we descend via Bakhim and 4th bridge. From here we climb for half an hour and then almost straight to Sachen. Then we continue retracing our path back to the town of Yuksom. It will take around 5/6 hours for a distance of 15 Km. Night stay in tourist lodge.
Day 11: Yuksom to New Jalpaiguri
Back to NJP/Bagdogra by 6 pm.
P.S.: Distances and altitudes are approximate and may not be exact.
Cost & Services for Fixed Departure Treks:
Cost: 14500 (INR) pp WSR Member or 14900(INR) pp + 9% Service Tax
(Yuksom to Yuksom)
To Confirm your Seats please deposit Rs. 5000 /- in the bank details mentioned below.
ICICI Bank Account No: 363401000047
Name: Harshal Modi
IFS code: ICIC0003634
Once payment is done, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Transaction ID, Participant Name, Email ID, Cell Numbe
2 nights stay at Yuksom (Day 1 & Day 10) in tourist rest house/lodge on sharing basis.
The trek fee.
All meals during the trek. Regular Indian style nutritious vegetarian food during the trek (including eggs), breakfast packed/hot lunch (depending upon the time you reach a campsite), snacks, dinner along with coffee/tea/soup.
Excellent Mountain Guide, who will be a local to this particular area and has profound knowledge of the trekking trails around.
Specialised Cook, Support staffs, Porters/Packed Animals for carrying the central logistics of the trek.
Any permit fee, camping charges, Forest levy required for the trek.
Stay at rest house/forest hut/tent as required in the trek.
Sleeping Mattress and Sleeping Bag (Bring your own sleeping bag for hygienic reason, if you have a high altitude specific Sleeping Bag)
We assume that you will carry your personal Rucksack/Backpack with all your personal belongings. If you want to offload your Rucksack and carried by our Pack Animal/Porter then you need to pay additional Rs 2000 for the entire duration of the trek. The Rucksack should not weigh more than 10Kg.
Food during the journey from NJP to Yuksom and Back. Also during the stay at Yuksom, (Day 1 & Day 9). Variety of option is available from Indian, Chinese, and Continental with choice of Veg & Non Veg food.
Still/Video Camera charges inside the National Park.
Any kind of insurance during the trek or transit.
Any cost which is not mentioned in the “inclusions” or personal in nature.
HARSHAL MODI: 9173664008 / 9967899156
DEEPAK : 9699648285
How to Reach NJP:
Access: New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is well connected by train from New Delhi and Kolkata. Nearest airport is Bagdogra, 10 Km from Siliguri. Connecting flights to New Delhi and Kolkata are available. Drive to Yuksom, West Sikkim around 160km.
For the treks in Sikkim and Darjeeling , one has to reach the city of Siliguri (considered the corridor to the North-East) in West Bengal.
You can fly or by train reach Siliguri from Kolkata ( good for the trekkers coming from South/central or Western India) or Delhi as per your convenience from any part within India.
Direct flights are available from New Delhi and Kolkata. All the flights to Bagdogra reaches late in the morning or early afternoon. It becomes difficult to reach the trek base like Yuksom/Hilley/Uttarey on the same day unless a car is booked (takes around 8 hours to reach). One can stay the night in Siliguri and start the travel to the trek base next morning. It is better to reach Siliguri by flight/train to Kolkata and then take an overnight train to NJP unless you are coming from northern India.
There are several overnight trains running between Kolkata (Howrah or Sealdah) to NJP. Day trains are also available.
From airport (Dumdum, CCU) , Sealdah railway station is 15 Km and may take 1 to 2 hours depending upon the time you travel. Howrah is 17 Km and may take up to 2 hours during the heavy traffic in the rush hours. Howrah and Sealdah are only 5 Km apart, though it may take an hour to travel. Pre Paid taxi booths are available.
DARJEELING MAIL – Train No. – 12343 (Very good option to reach NJP in the morning. Starts around 10 pm in the night and reaches NJP 8 am in the morning.)
PADATIK EXPRESS – Train No. – 12377 (Very good option to reach NJP in the morning. Starts around 10 pm in the night and reaches NJP 9 am in the morning.)
KANCHANKANYA EXPRESS – Train No. – 13149 (Starts at 8:30 pm in the evening and reaches NJP 7:30 am in the morning)
SHATABDI EXPRESS – Train No. – 12041 (Day train, starts 2:15 pm in the afternoon and reaches NP at 10:20 pm in the night. There are hotels/lodges outside the railway station at a walking distance of 5 minutes. Otherwise book an auto rickshaw/taxi to Siliguri, which takes around 15 minutes. There are several hotels around Siliguri Junction/Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus/S.N.T (Sikkim Nationalised Transport stand).
There are other trains also of which some run daily and some on particular days of week.
Avoid booking wait listed (WL) tickets in AC classes (1A/2A/3A) or Chair Car (CC). Book Sleeper class (SL)/Second Sitting class (2S) tickets which have normally more seats/berths and hence much better chance to get confirmed.
From Kolkata(CCU) take a flight to Bagdogra (IXB). From airport book a taxi to reach Siliguri which is 10 Km away.
Following trains are good to reach NJP and run daily.
DIBRUGARH RAJDHANI – Train No. 12424 (arrives NJP late in the morning @ 10:45 am)
NORTH EAST EXP – Train No. 12506 (arrives NJP @ 8:20 am in the morning)
BRAHMAPUTRA MAIL – Train No. 12424 (arrives NJP at 5 am in the morning. But this train runs late frequently.
Always avoid booking waitlisted (WL) tickets in AC classes (1A/2A/3A) or Chair Car (CC). Book Sleeper class (SL)/Second Sitting class (2S) tickets which have normally more seats/berth and hence much better chance to get confirmed.
From Delhi (DEL)/ Mumbai (BOM) take a flight to Bagdogra (IXB). From airport book a taxi to reach Siliguri which is 10 Km away.
For night stay in NJP/SIliguri:
Trekkers reaching on the previous day before the journey to the actual trek base need to stay the night in Siliguri/NJP. There are several options in Siliguri for spending a night while staying in Standard or Budget accommodation. It is better to reach to the centre of SIliguri called Siliguri Junction (adjacent to Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus and Sikkim nationalised Transport/S.N.T stand). It takes 30 minutes from Bagdogra or 15 minutes from NJP. There are hotels 5 minutes walking from NJP also.
Normally you reach NJP/Bagdogra from any trek base by 5/6 pm in the evening. You can take any train after 7 pm to Kolkata safely, which reach early in the morning. Accordingly arrange your homeward journey from Kolkata onwards.
GUWAHATI EXPRES – Train No.15647 (arrives NJP at 03:30am Sunday) (Only Friday From Mumbai LTT at 08:30am)
GUWAHATI EXPRES – Train No.15645 (arrives NJP at 01:00am Friday & Monday) (Only Wed & Sat From Mumbai LTT at 08:05am)
KARMABHOOMI EXPRES – Train No.22511 (arrives NJP at 11:30pm Friday) (Only Wed & Sat From Mumbai LTT at 11:30am)