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Goecha La Trek
Takeover Point: Delhi / Darjeeling
Grade : Moderate/Tough

Maximum Elevation: 4,984 m
Duration: 11 - 12 Days

Standard Trekking Plan

Day 01: Yuksam -1,780 m.
Transfer: Gangtok to Yuksam - Approx 9 hours. Overnight in hotel
We leave early in the morning, on a long drive to Yuksam. The rigours of this 9-hour drive is however offset by the ever-changing scenary along the way. For the first hour, we retrace our route till Singtam after which, we take a right turn heading uphill towards the Temi Tea gardens and then onto Rabongla a small town on a hilltop from where we get our first close up view of the Himalaya. Then finally getting to our destination Yuksam, which is also our trek starting point.

Day 02: Bakkhim - 2744 m.
Trek: Yuksam to Bakkhim - 5 hours. Overnight camping
We walk gently uphill, following the Rathong River's gorge, through dense mixed jungle with magnolia, rhododendron, ferns and several varieties of orchids, brightly colored birds, and the occasional monkey. After an hour or so we cross the Paha Khola bridge, (1,733m./5,685ft.). There is a swimming spot by a waterfall (for those who dare!) after two hours, and we can stop for lunch by a bridge over stream. Passing by sweet smelling viburnum we cross the Prek Chu River and then ascend steeply for two or three hours to arrive at the lodge at Bakhim. We will either stay in the Tourist Hostel, or sleep in our tents. This hostel is often occupied by Himalayan Mountain Institute students on rock-climbing courses. This is a long trekking day and you should expect to be pretty tired by the time you arrive at Bakkhim.

Day 03: Phedang - 3760 m.
Trek: Bakkhim to Phedang - 4 hours. Overnight camping
We begin today’s walk by trekking for about one hour up to the picturesque village of Tshoka. Tshoka is home to a colony of Tibetan refugees who have erected a small monastery by a small lake. A fairly steep climb above Tshoka takes you into beautiful rhododendron forests, and you continue along a well-defined uphill path to Phedang (approx. 2/3 hours from Tshoka). Today we will be doing a shorter trail since we will be gaining much altitude.

Day 04: Dzongri - 4320 m.
Trek: Phedang to Dzongri - 3 hours. Overnight camping
Another short day’s walking today as we are now treading above the 4,000-meter mark. We will be setting up camp by lunchtime and suggest that you spend a relaxed afternoon acclimatizing. A brief climb beyond brings you to a meadow where we can pitch our tents in a campsite with views of Koktang, Rathong, Kabru, Khangchendzonga, Simvo and Pandim. As usual on trek the choice of campsite depends on many variables, one of the most important is the close supply of water.

Day 05: Rest and Acclimatization. Overnight camping
Today we will explore the area, with the chance to climb the small peaks near to the campsite for tremendous views. This is particularly worthwhile in the early morning and the evening. While you can rest if you wish, there will be a short acclimatization walk around the local area to help prepare us for the next few days.

Day 06: Thangshing - 3800 m.
Trek: Dzongri to Thangshing – 5 to 6 hours. Overnight camping
Today we ascend gradually over open hillside for a mile or so to a low ridge visible from the campsite (13,500 ft/4,115m). From here, chortens and prayer flags overlooking fabulous views of Khangchendzonga and Pandim make ideal photocompositions. You then descend, at first traversing down towards Pandim on the far side of the valley, and then dropping steeply down on a good path through rhododendron forest to the Prek Chu River at 12,300 ft/3,749 m. for lunch (3 hours). There is a new trekking lodge here that the crew may use for cooking. We cross the river and ascend gradually for one and-a-half-hour, through pinewoods to reach a grassy campsite, beneath the shapely unclimbed peak of Pandim. A new hut has been built here, which may be available for cooking and even sleeping.

Day 07: Samiti Lake - 4298 m.
Trek: Thangshing to Samiti Lake - 2½ hours. Overnight camping
Today’s walk is fairly short to give you plenty of opportunity to rest before tomorrow’s big day. You begin by continuing your walk parallel to the Prek Chu River. Sacred Samiti is a beautiful emerald green lake nestled in the midst of brightly colored wind-torn prayer flags.

Day 08: Goecha La
Trek to Goecha La (4,984 m.) and return to Samiti. Overnight camping
An early start today to beat the inclement weather conditions that is common during the latter part of the day. Set off in the early morning climbing the hill behind the Lake before traversing the moraine and then descending to the sandy bed of an empty lake. The whole area above Samiti Lake is called the Zemathang Plateau. You cross this under the shadow of Pandim and then ascend moraine to a height of about 15,700 feet where you rest above a glaciated lake mottled with snow and icy pinnacles. The Goecha La Pass is another hour away. We traverse the lake and proceed across a slope, and then on a well-trodden path to our objective, which is festooned with brightly colored prayer flags. The views of the east flank of Khangchendzonga and the mountains and valleys in the distance are stunning. We then return to our campsite at Samiti Lake.

Day 09: Tshoka - 3800 m.
Trek: Samiti to Tshoka – 7 to 8 hours. Overnight camping
It’s worth getting up early to take a short hike to the ridge behind the camp. From here there are fantastic views of Khangchendzonga and one can look back up to the Goecha La. Leaving Thangsing, you take a different route, avoiding the long climb to the Dzongri Plateau. Descending to the Prek Chu, you contour around jungle to emerge at Phedang. Continue to Tshoka along another steep descent. Here there is a new trekking lodge we passed on our way up that we shall hopefully use this time. This, of course, saves a day on the return march, but does involve quite a long day.

Day 10: Yuksam
Trek: Tshoka to Yuksam –5 to 6 hours. Overnight in hotel
Today you descend to the Prek Chu following the route you took up on the first day, and then contour gradually downwards to reach the village of Yuksam our starting point.

Day 11: Departure Transfer
After breakfast drive to your next point of the tour

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