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!
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.
October 27th to November 6th 2014 Gangtok to Gangtok
Rs 85,000 for Indian citizens and USD $ 1500 for foreigners.
|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 ponies in the morning. 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. - 25 to 30 litre size should be sufficient|
|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 / Rain Poncho||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. Ladakh is in the rain shadow so we do not expect heavy rain.|
|15||Torch or headlamp||one small needed carry one set spare batteries Petzl is one of the best|
|16||Sun bloc||one small tube should be ok spf 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||Potable Aqua is one of the available brands fr iodine|
|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 as backup|
|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|
|39||Small mug for tea coffee hot chocolate||In case you want to use your own mug for this and not the trekking supply!|
Sujoy Das +91 9831054569; Nepal +977 9818037020