The north base camp of Kangchendzonga in the Zemu Valley has been "out of bounds" due a rigid permit system imposed by the Government of India and Sikkim. South Col plans to  trek to Green Lakes in October 2014!


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Day 1: Gangtok to Lachen by road

We leave Gangtok after breakfast and make the six hour drive to Lachen which we should reach by early afternoon. Day walks can be undertaken up the valley. Lachen has a number of carpet weaving centres in the main village and a visit to one of these is recommended. 

  Day 2: Lachen (2700 m) to Zema by vehicle and then onto Tallem (3250 m) (5–6 hours) Level: Easy to Moderate

Follow the main North Sikkim Highway which continues along the right bank of the river to Thangu proceeding north to the junction of the Lachen Chu and the Zemu Chu at Zema. The road to Zema can be covered in a jeep/land rover and would take about half an hour. After crossing the Zemu Chu by the permanent bridge, go westwards up the Zemu valley following a trail through the forest on the right bank of the Zemu Chu.  The going in this section is usually slow as the path travels through water-logged rhododendron thickets and fallen tree trunks rotting in the morass. Tallem is reached by early afternoon and we camp here.  

 Day 3:  Tallem to Jakthang (3430 m) (4-5 hours) Level: Moderate

About 3 km, before Jakthang the path crosses the Lhonak Chu which usually has a bridge though landslides can often wreak havoc in this section of the trail. Jakthang is situated in a small meadow with broken herdsmen's hut that makes a convenient night’s halt.

  Day 4: Jakthang (3430 m) to Yabuk (4040 m) (4-5 hours) Level: Moderate

The path to Yabuk climbs due west through the forest and after about three hours of steady walking you reach the snout of the Zemu glacier.  The glacier forms a deep tongue of ice in the centre of the valley and is almost entirely covered with rocky debris: the main stream issues from a cave near the northern edge and the route to be followed leads past this and along the rocks of the lateral moraine. If there is no snow then the trail is defined.  Yabuk is usually reached by lunchtime and trekkers may be tempted to make it to the Rest Camp on the glacier the same day. This is only suggested if you are properly acclimatized and fit.  It is however safer to stop at Yabuk.

 Day 5: Acclimatization day at Yabuk (4040m)

The rest day can be spent walking up the valley, bird watching or just lazying at camp.   

 

  Day 6: Yabuk (4040 m) to Rest Camp (4500 m) (4-5 hours) Level: Moderate to Difficult

The path continues to travel west and follows the glacier of the Zemu. The single trail is mainly over boulders and difficult on the feet. The Zemu Chu rushes through the glacier and as the valley opens up the great peaks come into view. The Rest Camp is situated right opposite Siniolchu and has a fabulous view of the one of the most beautiful mountains in Sikkim.  Bharal or blue sheep are often sighted on the hill opposite the Rest Camp and this is also snow leopard country. The Himalayan Bearded Vulture or lammergier can be spotted soaring overhead with the thermals.  Walk slowly as the air is getting thinner and acclimatization becomes of essence.

  Day 7: Rest Camp (4500 m) to Green Lakes (5050 m) (3 to 4 hours) Level: Difficult

The trail from Rest Camp climbs gently up the valley in a north westerly direction. The walking pace is usually slow because of the altitude. On a clear morning this is one of the finest walks in the Himalayas rivaling the walk from the Machhapuchare Base Camp to Annapurna Base Camp and from Dugla to Gorak Shep in the Nepal Himalaya. Siniolchu, Simvu, Twins, Nepal Peak and Kangchendzonga are some of the giants that dominate the horizon. The camp is usually on a grassy flat known as the Green Lake Plain, the name being derived from a small tarn at the eastern end where on a clear morning the reflection of Kangchendzonga is seen in the waters.

 Day 8: Rest Day at Green Lakes

Spend the day lazing in the sunshine and watching the peaks. The more intrepid can climb the hill behind the camp for about an hour or so to come to a high point with magnificent views both towards Kangchendzonga as well as down the valley. The Zemu gap that links the Zemu valley to the Talung valley is clearly seen from this high point.

  Day 9: Green Lakes (5050 m) to Yabuk (4040 m) (5-6 hours)

It is possible to make the march from Green Lakes to Yabuk in one day, as the trail is mostly downhill. More intrepid trekkers and porters could try to reach Jakthang on the same day.

  Day 10: Yabuk (4040 m) – Tallem

The march down to Tallem would take about five hours and drop in altitude is welcome

 Day 11: Tallem to – Lachen (2700 m) (3 hours) to Gangtok by road

The way down from Yabuk follows the trail through the forest. Zema, which is the road head, can be reached by afternoon and from here it is a short drive back to Lachen. After lunch at Lachen we head back to Gangtok the same day and reach in time for dinner.

 

DATES 

October 27th to November 6th 2014 Gangtok to Gangtok

COSTS

Rs 85,000 for Indian citizens and USD $ 1500 for foreigners. 

 ITEMS REMARKS
 Duffle BagAll the equipment listed below other than what you need for the day should be packed into a duffle bag, locked and handed over to the ponies in the morning.  The duffle bag should not weight more than 10 kgs! 
1Sleeping BagWarm sleeping bag is needed at least three season rated to 15F
2Daypack or Hipbelt To carry water, one jacket some nuts, chocolates, cap, camera to keep with you in the day, maybe gloves and cap as well, hiking poles etc. - 25 to 30 litre size should be sufficient
3Boots or  Trekking Shoesone pair  
4Slippers or Sandals for camplightweight to wear in the evenings
5warm Socks2 pairs to carry  and one pair to wear
6Glovesone pair 
7Underwear1 to wear and 2 to carry
8Warm Capone- Wool or fleece is usually good
9Heavy jacket the warmest you can get as nights and early mornings are cold - down is usually preferred otherwise a warm synthetic filled jacket.
10Thermal Underwear ( top and bottom) - long johnsinner layer to wear at night and early morning ;  
11Mid LayerUsually a jacket of fleece or wool which can be worn over a thermal layer or by itself while walking 
12T shirts for walkingone to wear and 2 to carry - if the sun is hot you can walk in a T shirt
13Trousers /tights etcone to wear and one to carry light weight preferred
14One Rain Jacket /Wind Jacket/Soft Shell jacket / Rain Ponchouseful in case of wind ... you may need it in light rain though we would usually take shelter and wait for the rain to stop. Ladakh is in the rain shadow so we do not expect heavy rain.  
15Torch or headlampone small needed  carry one set spare batteries Petzl is one of the best
16Sun blocone small tube should be ok spf  50
17some essential medicinesvitamins, headache,  fever,  pain killers, diamox for altitude, your own specific medicines  etc
18Hiking polesif you have bad knees then this is recommended especially on the down hills!!
19Water bottle one no 500 ml  or 1 litre is ok you can use the 500 or 600 ml empty coke or pepis bottles
20Sun glassesthe sun is strong in the day
21Cap for the sunditto!
22small towelfor baths and wash up in case you can use the hot shower
23toothbrush, paste, soap, shampoo, vaseline, comband any other toilet items you may need!
24wet tissues - wet ones for bathroomcalled wet ones in India
25some washing powder surf etc smallto wash clothes en route if needed
26Nuts, raisins etc all mixed upcan be divided into small packets for daily use
27Chocolates /Energy Bars/Amul cheese slices/tea bagsCarry some chocolates or energy bars to have on the way. Amul cheese slices are very useful and can be had as snacks when you are tired of sweets!
28Sweetsfor energy
29Volini  gel/ Bengay etc for aches and  painsor any other equivalent
30Iodine or chlorine tablets  for water purificationPotable Aqua is one of the available brands fr iodine
31Electral or any other rehydating saltsCarry a few small packets  of electrolyte - useful to have mixed with water if dehydrated
32some spare plastic bags to pack  wet stuff, dirty clothes etc  
33Book in case you want to read on the way and IPOd for music optional!
34Two  small locks one for your duffle bag and one as backup
35Clothes line with hooks on either side in case you want to hang up your wet clothes to dry outside!!
36Super Glue To patch up boots that may give way!
37Face mask For dust, cold winds etc available in kathmandu
38Extra shoe laces one pair
39Small mug for tea coffee hot chocolateIn case you want to use your own mug for this and not the trekking supply!
   
   

India

Sujoy Das +91 9831054569; Nepal +977 9818037020

sujoyrdas@gmail.com