This is one of the finest treks in Sikkim famous for its superb mountain views, meadows, rhododendrons in summer and brings you right up to the Himalaya. This trek has been carefully planned by South Col to ensure that the trekker has the minimum discomfort and proper acclimatization which is most important. South Col has immense experience in this trek – Sujoy and our guides have done this route more than twenty times in all seasons. Our trail starts from Yuksam and follows the river valley of the Prek Chu – instead of going east from Dzongri we go west to the training base camp of the HMI Darjeeling surrounded by high peaks like Kabru, Ratong, Koktang and glaciers. From the viewpoint Dzongri top we have views of Kangchenjunga, Pandim, Jobonu and Narsing.
Who should join this trek?
A good choice for regular hill walkers, moderate level of fitness required.
1) Walking times: average 6-7 hours walking per day
2) Altitude: up to 4850m
3) Terrain: for some of the time following well-travelled trails although also likely to encounter rough and rocky conditions which could be across rocky scree slopes and can be snow covered.
4) Remoteness: the trek is in a remote mountain area and mobile phones will not work other than at Yuksam. 5) This is a full support camping trek with tents no lodges are available.
Trek Leader: Sujoy Das assisted by a local Sikkim guide
Day 01 – Bagdogra to Yuksam by jeep 6-7 hours drive.
Day 02: Yuksam 1850m to Tshoka 2950m 5 to 6 hours The trail from Yuksam climbs gently out of the valley and follows the Rathong Chu River which can be heard thundering through the gorge below. The trail meanders through dense forest and crosses four bridges around fifty minute-walks from each other. The last bridge is the longest and there is a camping spot here on the banks of the river. In the monsoon this part of the trail is inundated with leeches and salt is required to shake them off. From the fourth bridge the trail climbs steeply for an hour to the forest rest house at Bakhim which was the old halting point before trekkers huts were built at Tsokha.. From Bakhim, the trail continues to climb steeply through forests of magnolia and rhododendron to Tsokha, which takes an hour to reach. The Trekkers Hut at Tsokha has a large camping ground behind it and groups usually pitch their tents here. There are some private lodges in Tsokha which also provide accommodation.
Day 03: Tshoka 2950m to Dzongri 4000m via Phidang 3650m 6 to 7 hours The trail climbs steeply through forests of rhododendron to the alp of Phidang (3650 m) and it takes around 2.5 hours to 3 hours. This is the steepest part of the trek as there is little respite in the form of descents. The clearing at Phidang is the generally used as a lunch spot and in good weather the peaks can be seen across the valley. During May and June this part of the walk is exceptionally beautiful as rhododendrons in their myriad hues flower of either side of the trail. The trail evens off a bit from Phidang before it climbs again for Mon Lepcha, a pass which is a little higher than the Dzongri Trekkers Hut. On a good day Mon Lepcha commands an exceptional view of Pandim. The trail descends from Mon Lepcha before climbing again and the Dzongri Trekkers Hut soon comes into view. The distance from Phidang to Dzongi should not take more than two hours.
Day 04: Acclimatisation and Rest at Dzongri This day is reserved for you to take a break from the trek. Another purpose that it will accomplish is that it will allow you to acclimatise and get used to high elevations and low oxygen levels, before you climb any higher.
Day 05: Dzongri 4000m to HMI Base Camp 4580 m 6-7 hours The walk from Dzongri to the base camp of HMI swing north west across the Dzongri maidan. It then follows the stream of the Ratong Chu climbing slowly and steadily across the valley with the peaks in the distance. The small clearing of Bikbari provides and convenient lunch stop and two hours from Bikbari is the huts of the Base Camp. Camping is not allowed at the Base Camp by HMI so we stop about 30 minutes below the Base Camp.
Day 06: HMI Base Camp to Dudh Pokhari Lake 4850m and back to Bikbari. 4100m 6-7 hours We start in the morning climbing on the Ratong glacier and heading up to the waters of the emerald green lake of Dudh Pokhari surrounded by the mountains. We should reach in 2 to 3 hours steady walking and then we descend all the way to Bikbari in about 4 hours where we have a late lunch and spend the night.
Day 07: Bikbari to Dzongri 4 hours We retrace our steps back to Dzongri and reach our campsite by lunchtime. If the weather is clear we can make an attempt for Dzongri top in the evening to see the sunset over the peaks.
Day 08: Dzongri to Tsokha 4-5 hours We proceed down the valley to Tshoka which we should reach by lunchtime.
Day 09 Tsokha to Yuksam 5 hours This is the last day of our trek and we can walk down in a relaxed fashion enjoying the mountains and the beautiful forest cover.
Day 10 Yuksam to Bagdogra by road 6-7 hours
Dates to be notified shortly - we are awaiting Sikkim Government SOP for trekking.
For Indian Nationals Indian Rs 55,000 /-
The cost is per person for Bagdogra to Bagdogra (10 days ) as per the itinerary given.
Costs given above are at current rates and may change without notice. Changes if any will be notified 3 months before the trek.
All necessary permits and Kangchendzonga National Park permits as needed in Sikkim.
Transport in a private vehicle Bagdogra to Yuksam and back.
Two nights hotel stay in Yuksam one night on the way in and one night on the way out.
Breakfast in Yuksam on the way in and out.
All meals on the trek are covered.
Cost of porters/guides yaks and other support staff on the trek is covered. Please note that porters will carry one duffel bag or backpack not exceeding 12 kgs in weight for each trekker comprising of personal items, clothing, sleeping bag etc.
Costs not included
Flight Cost/Train costs to reach Bagdogra/New Jalpaiguri
Lunch and dinner in Yuksam and en route to Yuksam from Bagdogra.
Client travel and medical insurance of any kind. Emergency evacuation costs if needed.
Personal clothing and equipment; sleeping bag; down/ goretek jacket, medicines for personal use etc.
Air fare from residence country to India and back
Tips to porters and guide at the end of trek – we will give a guideline on this before the trek.
|Duffle Bag||All 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 porters in the morning. In case you cannot get a duffle bag in your home country these are available very cheap in Kathmandu and I can help you with this. The duffle bag should not weight more than 10 kgs!|
|1||Sleeping Bag||Warm sleeping bag is needed at least three season rated to 15F|
|2||Daypack 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.|
|3||Boots or Trekking Shoes||one pair|
|4||Slippers or Sandals for camp||lightweight to wear in the evenings|
|5||warm Socks||2 pairs to carry and one pair to wear|
|7||Underwear||1 to wear and 2 to carry|
|8||Warm Cap||one- Wool or fleece is usually good|
|9||Heavy jacket||the warmest you can get as nights and early mornings are cold - down is usually preferred otherwise a warm synthetic filled jacket.|
|10||Thermal Underwear ( top and bottom) - long johns||inner layer to wear at night and early morning ;|
|11||Mid Layer||Usually a jacket of fleece or wool which can be worn over a thermal layer or by itself while walking|
|12||T shirts for walking||one to wear and 2 to carry - if the sun is hot you can walk in a T shirt|
|13||Trousers /tights etc||one to wear and one to carry light weight preferred|
|14||One Rain Jacket /Wind Jacket/Soft Shell jacket||useful in case of wind ... you may need it in light rain though we would usually take shelter and wait for the rain to stop. Our trek is not in the rainy season though some light rain/snow in the late afternoon evenings cannot be ruled out.|
|15||Torch or headlamp||one small needed carry one set spare batteries|
|16||Sun bloc||one small tube should be ok spf 30 or 50|
|17||some essential medicines||vitamins, headache, fever, pain killers, diamox for altitude, your own specific medicines etc|
|18||Hiking poles||if you have bad knees then this is recommended especially on the down hills!!|
|19||Water bottle||one no 500 ml or 1 litre is ok you can use the 500 or 600 ml empty coke or pepis bottles|
|20||Sun glasses||the sun is strong in the day|
|21||Cap for the sun||ditto!|
|22||small towel||for baths and wash up in case you can use the hot shower|
|23||toothbrush, paste, soap, shampoo, vaseline, comb||and any other toilet items you may need!|
|24||wet tissues - wet ones for bathroom||called wet ones in India|
|25||some washing powder surf etc small||to wash clothes en route if needed|
|26||Nuts, raisins etc all mixed up||can be divided into small packets for daily use|
|27||Chocolates /Energy Bars/Amul cheese slices/tea bags||Carry 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!|
|29||Volini gel/ Bengay etc for aches and pains||or any other equivalent|
|30||Iodine or chlorine tablets for water purification||available in Kathmandu- this is important as mineral water bottles are expensive; for overseas visitors you can get iodine tablets in REI and other large outdoor outlets|
|31||Electral or any other rehydating salts||Carry a few small packets of electrolyte - useful to have mixed with water if dehydrated|
|32||some spare plastic bags to pack wet stuff, dirty clothes etc|
|33||Book in case you want to read on the way and IPOd for music optional!|
|34||Two small locks one for your duffle bag and one for your room in case the lodge does not have a lock|
|35||Clothes line with hooks on either side in case you want to hang up your wet clothes to dry outside!!|
|36||Super Glue||To patch up boots that may give way!|
|37||Face mask||For dust, cold winds etc available in kathmandu|
|38||Extra shoe laces||one pair|
The cancellation policy and refunds available are given below:
0-7 days before the start of the trek =75%
8 -15 days before the start of the trek = 50%
16-30 days before the start of the trek = 35%
31-45 days before the start of the trek = 30%
46 days and above = 20%
IN CASE OF LEAVING THE GROUP
If due to illness or any other reason a client has to leave the group and go down or wait at a lodge for the group to pick him/her up on the way back, all expenses including lodging, fooding and any porter/guide related expenses if any are to be borne by the individual client over and above the trek fees paid for the trek. There are also no refunds for leaving a trek before completion.
HIRING OF PONIES ETC
In the eventuality of a client needed the services of a pony to come down to lower altitudes, the cost of hiring the pony will be paid by the client.
EVACUATION BY HELICOPTER
In the eventuality of not being covered by emergency helicopter evacuation insurance and an evacuation is considered necessary, the cost of the evacuation will be paid by the client in advance to the helicopter company/travel agent etc as deemed necessary.
LODGES/CAMPING SITES ON THE TREK
The choice of lodges/camping sites to be used on the trek will be decided by South Col and clients will have to stay at these designated lodges/camps. Clients are not permitted to choose their own lodges on the route.
The trek route and day wise schedule will be fixed by South Col and will have to be followed by the client.
RISKS AND LIABILITY
The trek is in a remote mountain area and has certain additional dangers and risks, some of which include: physical exertion for which the client should be prepared; weather extremes subject to sudden and unexpected changes; remoteness from normal medical services; evacuation difficulties.
In the event of injury or illness South Col Expeditions (Sujoy Das) or its Staff can, at the clients cost arrange any medical treatment and emergency evacuation service as it or they deem necessary for the health and safety of the client.