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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Basic Mountaineering Course at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling – Part 6

Manu Khandelwal

Trainees approaching towards Dzongri Pass
Approaching towards Dzongri La

Trek from Tshoka to Dzongri

Our timings were 4, 5 and 6. At 0600 hrs, we got fall in and started our trek to Dzongri. From this day, the terrain started getting tough. The initial trail was mild uphill, then it became steep. The rocky uneven terrain soon turned into wooden one and we were walking through the forest. There were different kinds of trees and flowers such as Rhododendron, etc. We reached Phedang in around 2 hours and there we had some chocolates and after a rest of around 20 minutes, we resumed our trek.

While trekking from Tshoka to Dzongri
While trekking from Tshoka to Dzongri

Wooden trail on the way to Dzongri
Wooden trail on the way to Dzongri
As we were gaining the height, the vegetation tend to decrease. After this forest part, the steep trail started and it continued till the site called Devrali Top. We were tired and eagerly waiting to reach the campsite Devrali. Some trainees even started chanting “Devrali😝”  . When we reached Devrali top, it started snowing so we did not take the rest and continued our trek. We crossed the top and descended through the further trail. After this descent, the further trek was all the way steep. This steep part was tough and it made us tired like hell. By somehow, we completed the trek in the given time and reached our campsite, Dzongri.  

Dzongri is situated at an elevation of 13,220 feet and a known campsite for treks such as Dzongri La, Goecha La, etc. The word Dzongri means “meeting place of man and mountain god”.

Phedang site
Phedang

Prakash, Somu, Manas, Me, Kaushal and Aashiq (Left to Right)

Campsite at Dzongri
Dzongri Campsite




It was our last campsite before reaching the Chaurikhang base camp. We had our lunch at the campsite and then went for an acclimatization walk. During our acclimatization, we trekked up to the Dzongri top and then descended back to our campsite. The views were scenic from the campsite, but we did not stay outside for a long time because the weather was cold. The temperature in the night dipped below zero degrees but we were feeling comfortable inside the sleeping bags.

Trek from Dzongri to Chaurikhang Basecamp via Dzongri La

This was our last trek day and the toughest part of the whole trek. On this day, we had to trek up to Dzongri La, cross the pass, then descend down the 2000 feet valley and then again ascend 2000 feet up to Chaurikhang base camp. We started our trek at 0600 hrs and took the initial route through the Dzongri top. We took a halt before crossing the pass, from where Mt. Pandim and Mt. Tenchen Khang peaks were visible. After this short break, we continued our trek to Dzongri La. The trail to the pass was steep. We reached the pass and the views from there were amazing. We could see the whole Rathong Valley from the pass including peaks such as Rathong, Kabru, etc. Dzongri Pass connects Oklathong Valley to Rathong Valley. We came from Oklathong valley and were going to enter into the Rathong Valley.

Approaching towards Dzongri Pass
Approaching towards Dzongri Pass


Mt. Pandim and Tenching Khang Peaks
Mt. Pandim and Tenching Khang Peaks


Mt. Pandim





View from the Dzongri Pass
View from the Dzongri Pass



Dzongri La is situated at 4600 meters. We crossed the pass and took the downhill route to Beak Bari. We trekked down 2000 feet from the pass into the valley and crossed the Rathong River over a bridge. Then we took a break for a couple of minutes and then continued our trek. The trail after crossing the bridge was almost flat, but it continued only till 1 km. After that, the trail became steep, as we had to gain 2000 feet to reach the base camp.

We got completely drained out while trekking to the base camp and were taking rest again and again. To made us feel motivated, our Instructors were pushing us and saying that "base camp is just 10 minutes far, look your food got ready, walk fast". They also said "look, people at base camp waving hands at you, come fast" and then we started seeing but didn't find them. They were actually making fool of us so that we could walk fast and our mind get distracted so we don't feel tired. We continued our trek and reached base camp at around 3 pm.

Descending towards Beak Bari
Descending towards Beak Bari




Dzongri Pass from Beak Bari
Dzongri Pass from Beak Bari



So finally, we were at base camp. We took some rest and had our lunch. Just after lunch, we got fall in. Our instructors first congratulated us, because it was the first time all the trainees successfully reached the basecamp. Later, they told us about the history of base camp and rules and regulations. The basecamp was good and quite big. There were several huts, temple and a ground for playing football and cricket. The location of basecamp was very scenic. We could see the Rathong valley, Dzongri Pass, and peaks such as Renok, Frey, Kabru South, Kabru Dome, Fork 1, 2, 3, etc. After reaching there, we took some rest and then explored the basecamp. For us (Basic Trainees), there were no camp stays. We stayed in a big hut. There were separate huts for boys and girls. We were quite excited to see the glacier. From the next day, our glacier training was about to be started.

Frey Peak from HMI Base Camp at Chaurikhang
Frey Peak from HMI Base Camp at Chaurikhang

Kabru South, Kabru Dome and BC Roy Peak from HMI Base Camp
Kabru South, Kabru Dome and BC Roy Peak from HMI Base Camp

HMI Base Camp at Chaurikhang
HMI Base Camp at Chaurikhang

Part 7: In this part, I will tell about the life at HMI Base Camp and experience of glacier training. 

Manu Khandelwal / Author

I call myself a traveller more than a travel blogger. Started this blog in 2013. Apart from this I am an Electrical Engineer. Love trekking and doing bike road trips. Like using technology but not addicted to it. A true foodie and love eating burgers.

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