ADVENTURE-PULSE
(The Adventure Management Consultants)

India
Goecha La Trek

Overview

Also known as the Kanchenjunga Trail trek, this is one of the most beautiful trails Sikkim has to offer. The biggest reason to do the Goecha La trek is the grand views of big mountains throughout the trek. Majestic sunrise views over mighty Kangchenjunga, the highest mountain in India, to the beautiful rhododendron forest of Tshoka, this trek holds many wonders for outdoor enthusiasts during this adventure! With a total altitude gain of over 10,000 feet, this trek is not for the faint of heart, but with a little determination and preparation, will allow you to discover the sheer beauty of the North East and in the process, find yourself.

Quick Facts

Best Time : Summer: April to June / Autumn: Mid-September to October end

Duration : 10 nights / 11 days

Max. Altitude : 4600 m

Commences At : Yuksom

Ends At : Yuksom

  • Drive from NJP/Bagdogra to the basecamp – Yuksom
  • Yuksom to Sachen
  • Sachen to Tshokha
  • Tshokha to Dzongri (180 degree panoramic view of the entire Kanchenjunga range)
  • Acclimatisation and Rest Day at Dzongri (buffer day)
  • Dzongri to Thansing
  • Thansing to Lamuney
  • Lamuney to Goecha La, Back to Thansing
  • Thansing to Tshokha
  • Tshokha to Yuksom
  • Yuksom to Bagdogra. Fly out.

Contact

We kick start the excitement of this wonderful trek by catching the remarkable views of the Himalayas while driving from Bagdogra Airport/NJP to Yuksom. The drive will take you along the gushing Teesta River and crossing a bridge in Legship to reach Yuksom. Dinner and overnight stay will be organized in a guesthouse in Yuksom.
Today will be the first trekking day of this incredible journey. After breakfast, we start ascending uphill and follow the gorge of the Rathong river. Trekking through the lush thickets of magnolia and rhododendron, we proceed towards the Paha Khola Bridge. On the way, we take a small lunch break and enjoy our packed lunch to keep ourselves energized for the rest of the trek. Often on this trail, you can spot exotic orchids, colourful flowers and monkeys especially during the Spring and summer! Arriving in Sachen, we settle down of our very first night in tents at the campsite and call it a day.
The trail from Sachen to Tshoka passes through some dense jungle. The trek for today day will take us through the aromatic viburnum plantations, after which we will cross the Prek Chu River and hike uphill for around 2-3 hours to reach Bakhim. The trek becomes steeper sometimes as one has to descend down to the bridge and then again climb up towards Bhakim. After a steep climb till the tea point the trail becomes easier and the rhododendron trees are now much more visible from here. From the tea shop at Bhakim, one can get panoramic views of wide and open valleys as far as the eye can see. From Bhakim it is a gradual ascent for one and half hours to Tshoka. Tshoka is a beautiful small settlement of Tibetan refugees. There are few huts where trekkers can stay as well as a café further along the trail. Tshoka has a small monastery and a beautiful pond right next to it. The place becomes a perfect spot for an evening walk and to experience the serenity of nature.
For most trekkers this day is perhaps the highlight of the Goecha la trail. The walk from Tshoka to Dzongri is one of the longest days of the trek. From Tshoka it is a gradual ascent towards the rhododendron forest. As you enter the forest it is a defined trail made up of wooden logs. The forest becomes denser as you continue climbing the steps. The trail opens up to a flat ground in Phedang where a trekkers hut it located. It is a perfect lunch spot after a tiring walk on the steep trail. From Phedang the trail again becomes steeper and one starts feeling the altitude as we move closer to Dzongri. Dzongri has a trekker’s hut and a good camping ground, surrounded by snowcapped mountain peaks. Considering the altitude gain of approx. 1000m, we usually recommend an additional day to rest & acclimatize in Dzongri.
The day starts with a climb to ‘Dzongri Top’. Dzongri Top at 13,681 feet is the highest point from where you get a 180 degree panoramic view of the mighty peaks of the Singalila and Kanchenjunga ranges. We get a chance to witness a beautiful sunrise, if we can make our way out in time watch the mountains change color with the breaking dawn. This day can also be used as a buffer day if required on account of bad weather.
It’s a beautiful walk through meadows from Dzongri to next campsite at Thansing via Kokchurong. The trail passes through gorgeous meadows with the surrounding mountain peaks visible in the distance through the clouds. The trail again enters a beautiful forest of Rhododendron. It is a good place to spot birds. Kockchurong has a trekker’s hut where we stop for some rest. Prek Chu river flows just a few meters away from the hut. After crossing a small bridge, the trail opens up to a relatively flat area with gradual ascents and at the end of a climb is Thansing. Thansing is a big meadow with a trekker’s hut. The camping ground is literally right in front of Pandim and the left wall of Kangchenjunga.
The trek from Thansing to Lamuney is an easy one. We walk through the meadows heading closer to Goecha la. The trek is inspiring because the mountains come closer and closer. The meadows tend to get rockier as we move ahead. The flat gradient suddenly gives way to an ascending trail and that’s the farthest we can camp. The ascending trail heads to Samiti lake where camping is no longer allowed. We can even exercise the option of an excursion to Samiti Lake at 14,100ft, which is a 45 minute moderate climb and back to Lamuney.
This is the longest day of the trek and so we start the day really early at 3 am to reach Goecha La, to see the first rays of Sunlight on Mt. Kanchenjunga. A 3:00 am start ensures that we reach the view point, right in time to see the magical sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Today, we begin the long descend back down the valley. The day’s trek can be divided into two phases, namely the first being from Thangsing to Phedang which is a direct trail by passing Dzongri; and the second, a trek through the rhododendron forest, from Phedang to Tshoka.
We retrace our way from Tshoka to Yuksom. It’s much faster and easier than our trek up. Sachen comes up quickly, especially being a pure descent. From Sachen the trail goes up and down gradually losing altitude. The last stretch has a few climbs which make you wonder but it’s soon over and you find yourself back in the friendly Yuksom neighborhood. Dinner and overnight stay in guesthouse.

Package Details

TRIP COST INCLUDES

  1. Accommodation: 2 nights stay in a Guest House at Yuksom with breakfast and dinner + 8 nights in Camping on twin sharing basis with all meals.
  2. Food: Dinner and Breakfast in Yuksom as well as all meals during the trek.

  3. Transportation: Group Airport pickup and drop

  4. Trekking permits and forest camping charges.

  5. Trekking Gears: Tents, Sleeping bags, Mattress etc.

  6. Services of an expert Adventure-Pulse trek leader. (*For a group of 8 and above)

  7. Services of an expert trek team (guides, cooks, helpers)

  8. Porters/Mules to carry your personal luggage.

  9. Basic first aid kit and medical assistance.

TRIP COST EXCLUDES

  1. International or domestic flights.
  2. Food during the transit. (To and from Yuksom)
  3. Personal clothing and equipment.
  4. Any items/services not specifically mentioned under inclusions.
  5. Travel insurance.
  6. Any medical costs incurred by you, or costs associated with a medical incident, evacuation charges and damage of any nature.

  7. Optional trips or excursions. Personal expenses of any kind.

  8. Tips for local staff and guides.

  9. Costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.

1. What are the staying arrangements for this Trek?

While in Yuksom, Adventure Pulse will put you up in a comfortable hotel/Guesthouse on double sharing plan with breakfast and dinner included. Once we start the trek to Goecha La, the accommodation is in a camp set up. We would have good quality tents on double sharing basis with a separate dinning tent for meals and a separate toilet tent. Sleeping bags and mats are also provided by Adventure Pulse.

2. What king of Physical shape do I need to be to undertake this trek?

You need to be in good physical shape to trek to this mountain pass. It’s a challenging trek and does demand good physical fitness and some bit of prior trekking experience. Please refer to our physical fitness document for more details on this topic.

3. What are the entry and exit points for this climb?

One needs to fly to Bagdogra Airport for the Goecha La trek. There are regular flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. On your arrival in Bagdogra, you will be picked up by an Adventure Pulse representative and transferred to Yuksom, the start point of the trek. After the trek, we will arrange for transportation from Yuksom to Bagdogra airport.

4. Do I need any special equipment/climbing gear for this Trek?

Any kind of climbing equipment or gears are not required for this trek. For list of other things and warm clothing to carry, please refer to our link - List of things to carry for the Goecha La trek.

5. What is the communication system available on the way?

Regular phone and data services work in Yuksom. Yuksom has good phone and data connectivity with 3G and 4G services also available on most networks. While on the trek, most days there is no network except at Sachen. One is disconnected on most days during the course of the trek.

6. What about high altitude acclimatization?

We at Adventure Pulse consider acclimatization as one of the most important aspects of trekking / climbing a mountain and spend enough time to do that. We move up the mountain slowly giving enough time to our bodies to acclimatize and one full day is spent at Dzongri to acclimatize and hike around before continuing the trek to Goecha La.

7. What are the food arrangements?

The hotel in Yuksom serves good breakfast (Bread Omelet, Paratha, Puri Bhajii etc) which is included in the meal plan. Dinner is also included in the meal plan which will be a mix of Indian food (Roti-Sabji, Tarkari, Daal Rice etc). While on the trek, all meals are included and the meals are usually a good mix of Indian and continental food. Our cooks are very experienced and will be happy to entertain any particular requests you may have for your meals. All the meals are served in the common dinning tent/in trekkers huts.

8. Will I be able to take a shower or bath during the course of the climb?

Regular shower facilities will be available in the hotel in Yuksom. But while we are higher up on the trek, shower facility is not available for the trekking period.

9. What are the emergency medical precautions available for this trek?

The Adventure Pulse staff and guides carry a fully equipped medical kit with necessary medicines and an Oxygen meter. As a standard practice, we check oxygen levels of all our clients twice a day and take necessary precautions if any irregularity is found in the oxygen reading. In case the problem persists, the client is sent down with a qualified guide. In case of an Injury where the trekker is not in a position to walk down, a Pony is organized to Yuksom where a vehicle and a doctor visit can be organized.

10. What happens in case of bad weather on the mountain?

Adventure Pulse usually plans all it treks during the most favorable season on the mountain, but having said that, weather is always an unpredictable factor. We usually look at weather reports before leaving for the Goecha La Pass. In case the weather is unfavorable, we could delay it to the next day depending upon the Itinerary. A buffer day/s is always built in the itinerary as contingency if we get hit by unfavorable weather conditions. In the worse situation, we may have to turn back midway, but safety is always a priority which cannot be compromised on.

Extreme temperature variations, high altitude, snow glare & proximity to sun are certain factors which necessitate the need to for proper mountaineering equipment. In order to enjoy your experience in the mountains, we have recommended that you carry the following with you.

Apparels

  • Trekking Boots /  Shoes (preferably up to ankle length & Water resistant)
  • Multiple pairs of Cotton and woollen socks (at least 2/3 pairs of each)
  • Track Pants for comfortable trekking, Denims to be avoided. (At least 2)
  • Thermal inners and Sweater/warm sweat shirt (1 each)
  • Cotton T-shirts (2 to 3 minimum)
  • Water proof Jacket / wind cheater
  • Warm thermal jacket / Down jacket
  • 1 Peak Cap + at least 1 Woollen Cap
  • Pair of warm gloves

Accessories

  1. Air bag / Duffel bag (No Suitcases)
  2. Day Back Pack in case you do not want to carry your own rucksack
  3. Drinking Water Bottle 1 Litre
  4. Torch + Batteries
  5. Camera + Batteries
  6. Knee / Ankle / Wrist Guards (if required)
  7. Nail Cutter / Pocket / Pen Knife
  8. Cold cream
  9. Hand sanitizer
  10. Chap-stick / Vaseline
  11. Personal toiletries (Tooth Paste / Toilet Paper / Wet Wipes or Baby Wipes etc)
  12. Medical kit (with basic medicines for headache , Water purification tablets- drops, upset stomach , Band aids , Painkillers & Moov/ Iodex , Sour throat, Vix Vapour Rub , D-Cold)
  13. Any personal medication (Individual specific)
  14. High energy snacks like Dry fruits, Bars of chocolate, Tang, glucose etc
  15. Good Quality Sun shades
  16. Sun block (SPF40+)
The Trek to the Goecha La is one of the most beautiful treks in India and requires participants to be in good physical shape to be able to do the trek comfortably. Even though the trek into the Sikkim region can be steep & strenuous at some places, it does not require that you have any previous trekking or mountaineering experience neither does it require any technical experience; only that you be in good physical conditioning and be able to hike at a comfortable pace for 4-6 hours over hilly terrain with a light day pack. Good cardio-vascular conditioning and muscles that are used to hiking will make your trip much more enjoyable. Our goal is to trek to Goecha La Pass at 16,200 feet. You will spend nine days in a land where life is simple, trails are steep and the air is thin. We recommend the following schedule to the participants.
We recommend the following schedule to the participants
  1. Week One: The participants should develop the habit of being able to get up in the morning and run / brisk walk for a minimum of 3-4 Km atleast 3-4 days a week.  This would represent atleast 20-25 minutes of cardio exercise. Though difficult at first, keep at it.  You can stop and take breaks as well.  During the day, you should get into the habit of avoiding elevators and taking the steps.  You should be able to climb at least 4/5 flights of steps daily.  (Avoid going down steps too fast as this could result in some knee injuries). If you Don’t enjoy running and are into some other sport like cycling or swimming , Spend about 45 mins cycling or about 600 – 800 mts of swimming for atleast 4 days a week .
  2. Week Two: Assuming you have successfully survived week one and are consistent with your exercise, you can take up the pace a notch. Increase your distance to 5/6 kms per day and 5 times a week, you can additionally go to a gym.  Avoid heavy weight training.  Focus more on a core workout. These are your muscle groups that run along the length of your body and helps maintain your posture and sustains you during your long hours of working.
  3. Week Three: In addition to the week Two exercise, one additional feature you should add in Week three is walking for half an hour during the evenings with a backpack on carrying 3-4 kgs.  This could be 2lts of water, some snacks, a jacket etc. This will help strengthen your back and shoulders thus preparing you for the long hours of trekking. If you don’t want to just simply walk, also try increasing your time on climbing flight of steps. As compared to week One, you should aim to be able to climb 10-12 flight of stairs comfortably.
  4. Week Four: Sustenance. Keep up the tempo, sustain the workout. Try avoiding doing anything very rigorous but be consistent with morning and evening walks / runs and climbing flight of stairs.
  5. Week Five: Sustain the workout. Increase only if you feel comfortable.  Start doing an additional 10-15 mins of climbing stairs in the morning / evening with a daypack of 2-3 kg’s, about 20-25 floors once a day should help increase the stamina and Endurance considerably.

Please remember Consistency is the Key here. Do not do anything to exert yourself or something that will increase chances of Injury. Running / brisk walking 4-5 kms for 5 days in a week is far better than running a 20 km on one day of the week and injuring your Knee / Ligaments in the process. If you can be consistent with above mentioned schedule, Goecha La trek though physically challenging, will become a pleasant and enjoyable experience for you. Feel free to call us or mail us in case you want more details on how to prepare for this trek!

Contact: info@adventure-pulse.com

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