After completing the acclimatization walk, we had to move towards Dzongri on the next day. We were already told by our instructors that the trek is going to be difficult. In case you haven’t read the previous blogs of this series, Basic Mountaineering Course at HMI, then scroll down to find all the links.
Trek from Tshoka to Dzongri – Basic Mountaineering Course at HMI
Our timings were 4, 5, and 6 and by 6 am, we got to fall in and then began our trek to Dzongri. The terrain started getting tough from the very first km. It was uphill and the steepness increased as we moved further. The rocky uneven terrain soon turned into a wooden one that was passing through the forest having rhododendron trees. We reached Phedang in around 2 hours and there we had some chocolates and after a halt of around 20 minutes, we resumed our trek.
As we were gaining height, the vegetation began decreasing. After the forest, the steep trail started and it continued till the site called Devrali Top. There were several steep patches that made us tired and because of that, we were eagerly waiting to reach the campsite, Devrali. When we reached Devrali top, it started snowing, and unfortunately, we were not able to take the rest. We continued the trek due to the bad weather and crossed Devrali top. The wind was freezing due to the snowfall. The further trail was a short descent and then again a long stretch of steep ascent which was quite tiring. Fortunately, 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 trail to Goecha La also bifurcates from here. The word Dzongri means “meeting place of man and mountain god”.
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 on the same day. During the acclimatization walk, we trekked up to the Dzongri top and then descended back to the campsite. The views were scenic, 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 slept comfortably as the sleeping bags were well insulated and quite warm.
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 were supposed 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 passing through the Dzongri top. We took a halt before crossing the pass, from where Mt. Pandim and Mt. Tenchenkhang peaks were visible.
After this short break, we continued our trek to Dzongri La. The trail to the pass was steep and it had snow on it. We reached the pass and the views were amazing from there. We could see the entire 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 now we were going to enter the Rathong Valley.
Dzongri La (pass) is situated at 4400 meters. We crossed the pass and took the downhill route going towards Beak Bari. We descended 2000 feet from the pass into the Rathong valley to cross the Rathong River over a bridge. The further trail included the ascent hence we took a break for a couple of minutes and then continued our trek towards the base camp. The trail after crossing the bridge was flat for the next km and then the ascent began. We ascended 2000 feet and finally reached the base camp by late noon.
Everyone in the batch got completely drained out by the time we were about to reach the base camp. Our Instructors were pushing us continuously by saying that “base camp is just 10 minutes far, look your food is getting ready, walk fast, you almost reached”. They were just trying to distract us so that we could walk fast without taking any halts.
After reaching the base camp, everyone was congratulating each other but I was in a no mood to celebrate as my body was completely discharged. I threw my backpack, took a rest for a couple of minutes, and had lunch. Now I was feeling better, filled with energy, and to refresh my body I looked at the surroundings, the view was excellent. It was a 360-degree view full of towering mountains and valleys. Later, we got to fall-in and our instructors first congratulated the whole batch, because it was the first time that all the trainees successfully reached the basecamp. Then, they told us about the history of the base camp and rules & regulations to follow.
The basecamp was good and quite big having several huts, a temple, and a ground for playing football and cricket. They also told about the surrounding peaks which were clearly visible from the base camp such as Renok, Frey, Kabru South, Kabru Dome, Fork 1, 2, 3, etc. Our stay was arranged in the huts. There were separate huts for boys and girls. In the evening, the instructors told us about the next day schedule which included the trek to the glacier and ice-craft training.
The next blog explains the life at HMI Base Camp and the ice-craft training.
Here are all the blogs regarding my Basic Mountaineering Course at HMI.
- Part 1 – How I came to know about this course?
- Part 2 – Exploring Darjeeling
- Part 3 – Life & Training at HMI Darjeeling
- Part 4 – Rock Craft Training at HMI Darjeeling
- Part 5 – Trek to HMI Base Camp in West Sikkim
- Part 6 – Reaching Chaurikhang Base Camp
- Part 7 – Life & Training at HMI Base Camp
- Part 8 – Peak Climbing, Snow Craft & Glacier Training at HMI Base Camp
- Part 9 – Last Days and Graduation Ceremony
Hope you enjoyed reading the blog. In case of any suggestions, improvements, or any queries, please let me know in the comments. 🙂