Adventure Treks, Mountain Passes and Glaciers in Sikkim

Goecha La

Goecha La (el. 4940 m.) is a high mountain pass in Sikkim, India in the Himalaya range. The southeast face of Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain, is viewable from the pass, which is also a base camp for those aspiring to scale the mountain(Kangchenjunga is considered to be holy and the mountaineers halted a few meters before the peak). The trek to Goecha La starts in Yuksom, where the motorable road ends at an altitude of 1770 meters. It takes approximately seven and a half days to reach Goecha la and return to Yuksom. Key halting points are Sachen, Bakkhim, Tshoka, Phedang, Dzongri, Kokchurong,Thansing and Lamuney. The initial days of the trek proceeds through dense forest cover, enters bugyals, and ends in rocky terrain. The trek is highlighted by the presence of rhododendrons of various colors during the month of May.


Dzongri

Dzongri Trek is one the the most popular short high altitude trekking destination in Sikkim. Dzongri trek is a shorter version of the Goechala Trek. This particular trek starts from Yuksom and ends up at Yuksom in 5 days. Dzongri trek is specially suitable and designed for the trekkers who wanted to explore more in shorter period of time. In fact Dzongri and Dzongri La (view point) is the best spot for a view of the mountains and its ranges in the Sikkim Himalayas. Along with Mighty Mt. Kanchendzonga 8585m - The third highest mountains in the world, some of the most well know peaks seen during this trek from Dzongri View Points are Mt. Pandim 6691m, Mt. Kabur north 7338m, Mt. Kabur south 7317m, Mt. Kumbhakarna (Janoo) 7710m, Mt. Simvo 6811m, Mt. Kabru Forked 6108m, Mt, Frey Peak 5830m, Mt. Rathong 6679m, Mt. Kokthang 6147m and Mt. Goecha Peak 5127m. The total Trek distance is approximately 42kms up and down.


Nathu La

Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m (14,140 ft) above mean sea level, forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. Nathu means "listening ears" and La means "pass" in Tibetan. On the Indian side, the pass is 54 km (34 mi) east of Gangtok, the capital of Indian state of Sikkim. Only citizens of India can visit the pass, and then only after obtaining a permit in Gangtok.Nathu La is one of the two open trading border posts between China and India; the others being Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh (or Lipulech) in Nepal. Sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, Nathu La was re-opened in 2006 following numerous bilateral trade agreements. The opening of the pass was expected to bolster the economy of the region and play a key role in the growing Sino-Indian trade, but that has not happened. Currently, agreements between the two nations limit trade across the pass to 29 types of goods from India and 15 from the Chinese side. The opening, however, shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region.It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the Indian Army and People's Liberation Army ofChina for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies, which helps in defusing face-offs. The four BPM are: Chushul in Ladakh, Nathu La in Sikkim, Bum La Pass in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, and Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand, 35 kilometres (22 mi) from the Chinese town of Burang. The pass is 54 km (34 mi) east of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim and 430 km (270 mi) from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. In the winter, the pass is blocked by heavy snowfall. Because there is no meteorological centre in Nathu La, systematic measurements of meteorological data (such as temperature and rainfall) are not available for the region. However, it is known that in the higher reaches of the Himalayas around the region, summer temperature never exceeds 15 °C (59 °F). Nathu La has moderately shallow, excessively drained, coarse, and loamy soil on a steep slope (30–50%) with gravelly loamy surface, moderate erosion, and moderate stoniness. It has several sinking zones and parts of it are prone to landslides. To preserve the fragile environment of Nathu La on the Indian side, the government of India regulates the flow of tourists. Road maintenance is entrusted to Border Roads Organisation, a wing of the Indian Army. On the Chinese side the pass leads to the Chumbi Valley of the Tibetan Plateau. On the Tibetan side two highways - from Kangmar to Yadong and from Yadong to Nathu La - were listed in the 2006 construction plans. Plans are also underway to extend the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Yadong over the next decade. The nearest railheads are New Jalpaiguri (Siliguri) in India and Xigazê in China. The Chinese government is planning to extend its rail service to Yadong, barely a few kilometers (miles) from Nathu La. In addition, the Government of India is planning an extension of rail services from Sevoke in Darjeeling district to Sikkim's capital Gangtok, just 38 miles (61 km) from Nathu La


Jelep La

Jelep La (also spelled Jelepla) (el. 4,267 m or 13,999 ft) is a high mountain pass between India and Tibet in East Sikkim District of Sikkim. The famousMenmecho Lake lies below the Jelep La Pass. Jelep-la, a Tibetan name, means 'The lovely level pass, so called because it is the easiest and most level of all the passes between Tibet and Sikkim.' (from theBengal District Gazetteers Darjeeling, 1907, by L.S.S.O'Malley, Indian Civil Service.) The pass is in Sikkim and the route connects Lhasa to India. The pass is 46 metres (151 ft) in length. On the Indian side there are two routes to Jelep La, one through Gangtok and the other through Kalimpong. The Kalimpong route is an ancient one which was responsible for the boost in the local economy due to the trading of wool and furs early last century. The pass was closed after the Sino-Indian War in 1962. It passes through the towns of Pedong in northern West Bengal, Rhenok, and Kupup. The route from Gangtok passes through the towns of Sherathang, nearbyChangu lake and alongside Nathu La and through Kupup. The route is scenic with forests of rhododendrons blooming in spring. Numerous hamlets dot the bucolic surroundings which give a traveller a sybaritic experience. On the Tibetan side the pass leads to the Chumbi Valley of the Tibetan Plateau.


Rathong Glacier

The Rathong Glacier is an important glacier of West Sikkim. The source of Rathong River flows from the snout of Rathong Glacier. This glacier is extended from Rathong La in the north and to the top of chowrikiang valley in the South.It is feeded by the Rathong (6678m) and Kabru Ice falls. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling has set up their permanent Base Camp at Chowrikiang to teach ice crafting to their trainees in Rathong Glacier from the inception of the institute and thus the glacier is well known to the mountaineers all over the world.At present due to global warming the glacier is receding rapidly and number of glacial lakes have been formed.


Zemu Glacier

Zemu Glacier is the largest glacier in the Eastern Himalaya.It is about 26 kilometers (16 mi) in length and found at the base of the Kanchenjunga in the Sikkim Himalaya, India. The importance of the glacier is that it is a key water source for the Teetsa River. The glacier acts as a natural reservoir releasing water due to melting.


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