In April 1995 I returned to the Himalayas to do another trek, this time in Sikkim. The trek was organised by The Trekking Company, based in Canberra. After flying to Calcutta, our group travelled by train and jeep to Darjeeling. We spent a few days walking around the city visiting various sights such as the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Snow Leopard Breeding Centre, Tibetan Self Help Centre, Planter's Club, Dali Monastery and the Toy Train. We then did a 10 day trek in western Sikkim from Yuksom to the Goecha-La pass just below Kanchenjunga - the world's third highest mountain. The trek went from 6800' to 16500', passing from thick jungle type forest, rhododendron forest and conifers up to the glaciers and scree slopes of the alpine zone. The weather was usually cloudy and it snowed on most afternoons. The best views were in the mornings before the cloud came up the valleys. The views of the south face of Kanchenjunga from the pass were awesome. Sikkim is more a wilderness area compared to Nepal, with only one small village on the trek, yet the trails, bridges and trekking huts were very well built. After the trek we spent a few days in Kathmandu, then flew back to India to do the Delhi / Agra / Jaipur circuit. A few photographs from the trek are contained below. Click on the thumbnails to see larger images:

Road to Darjeeling
The road from the Indian plains up to Darjeeling climbs 7000' and follows the railway line used by the Toy Train. The railway often zig-zags its way up the mountains and crosses the road many times.

Darjeeling - situated on a ridge at 7000' in the eastern Himalayas. On a clear day Kangchenjunga would be visible, but the thick haze of April meant we never saw the mountains from Darjeeling in all our time there. The mixture of British, Tibetan and mountaineering history make this an interesting place to visit.

Trekkers Huts at Yuksom
Trekker's Huts at Yuksom - where the walk begins. Huts are found at each campsite on the trek, and provided good shelter on the snowy afternoons higher up. From here the trail contours high above the Prek Chu River before beginning the steep ascent to the Dzongri plateau.

Tshoka village
Tshoka village at 10000', the only village on the trek. This is where the first views of the large mountains are seen. There are excellent forests in this area. Magnolias and rhododendrons were flowering when we were there.

View from Dzongri
View of the Himalayas from a hill above our campsite at Dzongri. Kanchenjunga is at the back right of the photo. This area provides great views of the surrounding mountains and there are many herds of large yak grazing nearby.

Breakfast at Thangsing village
Having breakfast at Thangsing village. Mt Pandim in the background. From Dzongri we descended to the Prek Chu river and headed north up the valley towards Kanchenjunga. We stayed overnight at Thangsing enroute. The impressive Mt Pandim rises above the valley and dominates the whole trek.

Samithi Lake Samithi Lake and trekkers hut. This was our highest campsite at 13500' and was the last stop before the Goecha La pass the next day.

Goecha Peak and Kanchenjunga. We left our campsite at Samithi Lake before dawn and climbed onto the glacial moraine above us to be confronted with the fantastic view of Kanchenjunga. Then we spent another 2 hours walking to the Goecha-La pass.

Goecha La pass
The south face of Kanchenjunga and the Goecha-La pass (16500'). The peak is almost 12000' higher than the pass. We reached the pass about 9 am, took our photographs, then the weather clouded in and it snowed for the remainder of the day.

Walking through forest Walking through the forest on the return to Yuksom. The rhododendrons were a highlight of the forest. Whereas in Nepal one often see villages, people and terraced hillsides when trekking, this was a more natural, untouched area by comparison.

Yuksom village Yuksom village, after we had completed the trek. The trek goes up the forested valley in the centre of the picture then climbs up the steep ridge in the distance to Dzongri and beyond.

Swayambunath temple Swayambunath temple in Kathmandu. After the trek our group returned to Darjeeling for a day then travelled west into Nepal. We stayed in Kathmandu for three days exploring the city and surrounding valley. This is one of my favourite places.

Taj Mahal Click on the photo to go to another page with my photos of the Delhi/Agra/Jaipur region. From Kathmandu we flew back into India and spent the next four days on a guided tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

Contact "alanlevy at pcug dot org dot au" for more information.

View my other pages: [Home] [Nepal] [Kashmir] [Patagonia] [Peru] [Cordillera Huayhuash] [Delhi, Agra & Jaipur] [Antarctica] [Antarctic Flight] [Shackleton Odyssey] [South Georgia] [Southern Africa] [Easter Island] [Galapagos Islands] [US National Parks] [Inca Trail] [Egypt] [China] [US & Canada National Parks] [Hawaii] [Cross Country Skiing Photographs]

Related Links: [Himalayan Explorer's Club] [Shangri-La Home Page] [Bill Wood's Darjeeling Page] [Story of a trek in Sikkim & Darjeeling]

Page last modified on Monday 6 January 2014