Map showing the location of Sikkim; nested between Nepal and Bhutan.
Map overview of Sikkim and Dzongri trek in West Sikkim.
Detailled map of Dzongri Goecha La trekking route.
Flying from Kathmandu to Badrapur takes us along the Himalayan chain with Everst and Makalu as the most prominent members. From east Nepal we take a jeep to Gangtok; Sikkim's capital.
Makalu rises above the late-monsoon clouds that build over the hot plains of India.
Welcome to Sikkim
Sikkim is known for its rich flora; and especially the variety of orchids.
The Red Panda is the national animal of Sikkim but very hard to find; this picture was taken under controlled conditions.
Kangchenjunga; 3rd highest peak and holy mountain.
Every Saturday the market in Gangtok draws farmers who sell their produce.
People in Sikkim are a little more reserved than in the rest of India or Nepal; but very friendly.
Friendly faces at the market.
At the market.
Natives of Sikkim are now a minority; Nepalese and Indian immigrants numerous.
Curry at Lal Bazaar
Red chillies offered at the market; probably the hottest chilly on earth (definitely the hottest I have eaten...)
Beans and lentils are staple diet together with rice that grows all over the hillsides...
On the way to Rumtek monastery it's easy to forget the busy life of Gangtok.
... the valley of Martham features picturesque rice terraces.
Rice paddies cascade down the gentle hillside.
Rice terraces cover the steep hill sides.
Unusually late monsoon rain hits India this year; and the mountains hide in clouds at the beginning of the trek.
Owl sitting in a tree near Tangshing enjoys the warm morning sun.
Waterfalls and colourful plants are dominant features on the first day of walking.
Dense forest at the foothills of the snowy ranges.
The trail from Yuksom to Tshoka runs high above the rivers through lush forests.
Sunrise over the low hills of south Sikkim and Darjeeling.
After a terrible afternoon the previous day it is impossible to describe the dramatic sunrise the next morning.
Tshoka is the only settlement in the area.
Kokthang forms the border of Nepal.
On the way from Tshoka to Dzongri the steep face of Pandim rises between the silhouettes of trees.
Enjoying dinner at the lodge in Dzongri.
Getting up at 4.30 and climbing up to Dzongri Peak for half an hour is rewarded by a stunning sunrise; the steep flanks of Kabru north awaking to life.
5.39; first morning sun hits the south-eastern face of Kangchenjunga.
5.43; the entire face is illuminated.
6.06; end of sunrise on Kangchenjunga.6.10;
Kabru south peak (7'317m) and Kabru north peak (7'338 m) .
Rathong Kabru and Kangchenjunga
Pandim (6'691m) rises over the ridge on a beautiful morning.
Walking from Dzongri towards Tangshing with Himalayan giants in background
View towards Goecha La through rhododrendron trees.
Dinner below Pandim in a luxurious dining tent (not mine)...
... I enjoy a hot soup in my tent.
From Tangshing "only" the lower part of the mountains are visible; nevertheless a stunning sight.
Way from Tangshing to Lameney along the creek.
Foothills of Kangchenjunga with the south summit at the far right.
Great panoramic views reward the steep climb of the high route.
Fog moves in at midday while I take the high route from Tangshing to Lameney.
At the bottom of the valley lies our camp in Lamaney.
A well-deserved rest at the foot of Kangchenjunga.
The rocky pyramid of Kangchenjunga's summit rises above the glaciers and peaks.
The very last seconds of the setting sun hit the eastern spur of Kangchenjunga.
By the time we pass Simiti lake and have climbed up the moraine wall the sun has already hit Forked Peak.
Tibetan snowcocks are hard to spot and even harder to follow.
One of the many 6'000 meter peaks that surround the massif.
From Simiti Lake the snowy range ha
A turquoise lake has formed at the bottom of the glaciers.
Our companions during the three hour walk to Goeche La.
Siniolchu from Goecha La; less elegant than from the north but an impressive peak nevertheless.
Finally we reach Goecha La where prayerflags mark the pass.
Another view from Goecha La.
We rest at the first of the two passes for some pictures.
Buda resting at top of Goecha La and enjoying the views down the xxx glacier.
Forest of rhododendron on the way south.
We take the south-east route back to civilization; a route that is seldom taken by trekkers.
Goecha La seems a distant past already; and the proportions of the 3rd highest peak become clear only from far away.
South-eastern face on the way to Lampokhari.
On the way to Khungme we pass several small lakes.
Another stunning sunrise; this time from Khungme.
The dark blue lake of Lam Pokhari sees few trekkers.
Walking days are short and leave enough time for relaxing afternoons at the campsite.
The dark blue lake and the ranges in the background.
Kabru above the clouds that move in during the day.
The crew enjoying the rest.
Dawa prepares dinner at the best spot we could find
Sunset at Lampokhari while fog moves in.
Getting ready for a beautiful but freezing cold night near the lake.
Reflection of Rathong and Kabru in the still waters of the lake.
Kabru in the early morning.
The nights are freezing cold; and bizarre ice figures appear in the morning.
Panorama of the turqoise (female) lake and the blue (male) lakes of Lampokhari with Kabru at the far right.
After a steep climb we take a break.
Taking a well-deserved rest.
Resting and enjoying the last views of the mountains; soon the fog hits and we will turn around the corner and descend to Kastari.
Walking down towards the rhododendron forests.
Setting sun turn Narsing peak into orange light; seen through leaves of rhododendron.
From Kastari the setting sun illuminates the border between Sikkim and Bhutan with Chomolhari as the most prominent peak at the left.
On the walk to Labdang we see the south of Sikkim with Khechipheri lake.
Rathong peak rises high above as we descend into the forest.
Colourful trees are a welcome sight after a week in the barren high-altitude landscape of western Sikkim.
View of Narzing (5'825) through foliage.
Finally we find water after more than a day without getting a single drop.
The last steps before reaching camp.
Group picture at the end of the trek.
Back in Gangtok from Emchi Gompa another view of Kangchenjunga; remembering the wonderful time I spent in western Sikkim and the foot of the "Five Treasures of the Great Snow".
Wheel of Life at Sera monastery in Gangtok.