Sikkim on world map.
Map showing overview of Sikkim and Zachu trekking area.
Detailled route of Zachu trekking.
We start in Gangtok; from a perfect viewpoint we see the sunrise on Narsing; Pandim; Kangchenjunga and Soniolchu.
The capital is quite busy; but on the surrounding hillsides are just isolated houses with green terraced rice fields.
Between Gangtok and Lachen; the large amount of rain leads to dense green jungle that grows high up.
In Lachen at 3'500 meters the evergreen jungle gives way to other trees.
Stunning foliage in the Lachen valley.
A day north of Sikkim we get close to the mountains that rise above the silhouettes of trees.
A range separates the valleys of Lachen and Lachung.
Fog moves up to Thanggu in the evening.
It is rather cold in the middle of November once the sun disappears. The creeks freeze quickly.
Last dinner in a reasonably warm kitchen for the next ten days.
Above Thanggu lies the summer settlements where people grow potatoe and keep their yaks and sheep.
Our cook Dawa waits on the trail; Kangchengyao rises in the background.
Our camp for the next two days in Chanu; where people spend the summer with their herds.
Jigme knows the area very well; but unfortunately gets sick and has to leave.
Panorama of Gyao Kang; Chombo and the Zachu creek in the evening.
Siniolchu's east face rises above the mist of the Thanggu valley.
One of the few evenings without fog let's us watch the sunset on Chombo peak.
Temperatures drop and usually we're already in the tent when the moon rises.
Sonam; Jigme; xxx and me during an excursion up to Chombo glacier.
Unnamed pond above Chuna with reflections of Chumuyulmo Kang.
Chumuyulmo Kang is said to be the queen mountain; Gyao Kang the king mountain.
Chombo reflects in a small pond.
From the foot of Chombo we enjoy great views of the Kangchenjunga chain; here the south summit.
A herd of blue sheep walks up the moraine.
Blue sheep are attentative but not very shy.
Late afternoon colours on Chombo's west face.
Zachu river gives the area its name; and meanders at the valley's floor in confusing curves.
From Chuna we continue up the valley to Phalung; another summer settlement with half a dozen simple wooden huts.
Sunrise on Siniolchu; a stunning morning.
We walk up to a viewpoint above Phalung; the entire chain from Narzing; Pandim; Siniolchu; Simvu; Talung; Kabru North; Kangchenjunga; Tent Peak; xxx; xxx; Jonsong Peak rises at the horizon.
Close-up panorama of the dozen prominent peaks that form the border between Sikkim and Nepal.
Panorama of Kangchengyao with its green glacial lake and Chombo.
Minor peak with steep flanks and falling glaciers.
Panorama from Yülsekangsa; a grazing area.
After the long morning walk it's great to get back to camp and rest for some hours after a great lunch.
Pema Gyatso is a local farmer; great guide and incredibly strong porter. He usually carries double loads.
On the way to camp at Metokshingsa along the creek.
Large herd of blue sheep grazes along the hillside.
Female blue sheep.
Male blue sheep with their large horns.
Young blue sheep lick lichen of the rocks.
Two huts form the summer settlement of Metokshingdong; further up lie the ruins of a bungalo built the British a hundred years ago.
Chombo's icy flanks behind a prayerflag.
Steep flank of the Gyao Kang massiv.
Glaciers build a nice contrast between the yellow grass and the blue sky; in the background is Gurudongmar peak. The holy lake lies behind the range and is out of sight.
Crow's lake gets few visitors, even locals visit it only when searching for lost cattle.
At noon the thin ice crust breaks.
On the way to Eagle Lake we enjoy the fine panorama.
Dusk sets in and above the dark grey fog the sun illuminates the fine flanks of Gyao Kang's satellites.
Walking along Tsachu river back to Chuna; from where we will cross over into the Deuthang valley.
Wind is too strong to use gas burner.
Getting ready for a very welcome dinner.
Early morning everything is frozen; even the fast running rivulets.
Another lake above Tsado.
xxx reflects in the icy pond.
In spring and summer the area is the most beautiful; with rhododrendrons and flowers blooming.
Somewhere between the cragged points lies the pass to Deuthang; but foges moves in already.
Enjoying the few moments without white-out.
Tired and confused? There were some arguments about the right trail.
Pema Gyaotso climbing the steep part towards the pass.
Finally; we've reached Tsaru La. Take the hat off; murmur a few prayers and then Pema descends.
The planned camp-site would be too rough; we continue further down and camp on a little plateau above the Deuthang valley.
A beautiful forest covered the valley once; most trees were cut-down and it takes awhile to get used to it.
Large number of different birds can be heard - rarely seen - in the intact parts of the forest.
On the flat valley floor of Deuthang.
A large mountain indicates the turn of the valley; probably it is Chungukang (and not Chombo).
The shrinking glacier of Chungukang.
We walk up the valley for 4 hours to reach its end; supposedly there are passes here but one must be properly equipped to cross them.
Last day of walking from Deuthang down to the road; just a short walk of an hour.
Back in Gangtok where it is more comfortable to watch the sunrise on the southeast face of the 3rd highest peak on earth; Kangchenjunga (8'585 m)
From Samdruptse; a hill in southern Sikkim; the views of the distant snows are excellent.
Guru Padmasambhava; protector of Sikkim.
The tea gardens of Sikkim at Temi are small compared to Darjeeling; but in a better condition and much more picturesque.
From Darjeeling's Tiger Hill the sunrises are spectacular and draw lots of tourists; some of them Indians.
Darjeeling town lies in the shade while the highest peaks of the massif have already caught the light.
Panorama from Darjeeling; from Jannu to Narsing the peaks glow orange from the rising sun.