Kangchenjunga/Khangchendzonga is the third highest mountain the world on the Nepal/India border. We planned a trek in Sikkim to the base camp along the Zemu glacier. The trip coincided with full moon, I hoped for some photos of the mountains in the moonlight.
Sikkim is in the far north of India. To get to where the trek started we had to drive along steep windy roads with many hairpin bends. At one point we stopped to look at the Tista River and the valley we were about to drive up.
The roads north to the mountains are often cut by landslides and are perpetually repaired by road teams. There were times we had to stop and wait while they cleared the road of the landslide. We sat with baited breath hoping another would not occur.
The predominant religion in Sikkim is buddhism. The small village of Lachen, where the trek started, had its own monastery situated high above the colourful houses. The houses in the village were well stocked with wood in preparation for winter.
For the first couple of days we walked through a forest with huge teak trees and large Rhododendrons flowering in a profusion of red and yellow blooms. In this photo you can see the immense scale of the trees compared to one of the supporting porters.
The lowers slopes of the walk proved to be a botanists dream with many strange plants sprouting and masses of wild primula adding colour to the scenery.
Our last camp below the tree line was Yabuk. Here we were surrounded by massive mountains. As we were now moving to more inhospitable camps our porters, once they had carried up the loads, came back to here as there was a supply of wood for a fire.
From Yabuk we headed to a camp called Sonar. As we toiled up the slope we could look back down the valley and see the only flat area at Yabuk were we had camped the previous night.
We continued on our way along the valley that had been caused by the Zemu glacier. In the distance we could see Kangchenjunga, the destination of the trip. On our left was the glacier with a steep climb to get to the edge of the morraine
If you climbed to the edge of the morraine the view down the valley looking over the glacier was spectacular.
On a trip there are always surprises and for me it was that the Siniolcho mountain that we passed as we made our way to the Kangchenjunga base camp was so perfectly formed.
One morning we climbed to up towards a pass on the side of the valley, this was the domain of the snow leopard. From this vantage point you could see the valley and the glacier morrain as we looked towards Kangchenjunga.
My objective on the trip was thwarted as each night the clouds would roll in and it would snow, so there were no shots in the moonlight. However Kangchenjunga at sunrise was well worth the disturbed nights waiting for the moon