Kanchenjunga Expedition- Trek though Ramche: Meet Sherpas etc (Day 17)

Bird’s eye view of our camps, the glacial lake and the Ramche Valley

6th Sep: Trek through Ramche: Meet Sherpas etc.
Among the bit of picuresque beauty I described yesterday I did not mention the lake. In fact it is this lake, fed by small rivulets flowing down the glaciers surrounding the Ramche Valley, that makes Ramche such a beauty.
It is emerald blue and the water shallow and not too cold. It is as cold as Pabbar river in Hatkoti, any time of the year. It is where I discover most of us , like to perform our ablutions, thought Kazi has erected two tents for the express purpose.

JCO Neel Chand looks at the peaks around Ramche with his binoculars. Neel Chand was inchard of all the gadgets like laptop, VCD’s, Cameras, Rolls and he enjoyed indulging himself on them once in a while.

The weather had been a spoil sport for much of the day, drizzling lightly all through the day. I venture forth armed with my camera, towards the lake after lunch and am elated to see the natural beauty of the lake. I skirt around the marshy edge of this lake, taking it in. There are hoove marks in its shallow waters and I know Yaks wade through it.

JCO C. N. Bodh was incharge of the mountaineering gear and made sure everyone knew how important his job was.

I climb the ridge fording the stream that feeds into the lake. The hill-side is steep and a narrow path leads one to the top. I assume the local Yak herder and the trekkers find this part of the rivulet as the beast ford and ascent to the top, taking the path, I now take. The hill side is thick with an aromatic shrub, which the sherpas, I meet soon after climbing tell me is called `sunpati’ in Nepali and Masur in Sherpa parlace. Much later in the evening the doctor informs me it is the bonsai version of the rhododendron tree, which does not grown beyond the shrub it is and does not flower. The locals here including the Sherpas use it as incense for worship. The Sherpas are Bhuddhists and near our camp there is an irregular conical stone structure where they burn the `sunpati’ plant and worship-particularly in the evenings and mornings.

The yaks don’t feed on the leaves of this plant-perhaps due to its aromatic properties, they nibble up the short grass wherever they can find it. During the day, I see them perched all over the mountain side grazing. In the evening –around 6 they come back to the lake-side aided by a herder boys and snort and grunt. The calves feed on their mothers milk before, I am told they are herded in , the rest of the Yaks loll about listlessly. There are over 80 yaks I am told with the herder who has the stone-hut nearby. Three of them are bulls and they snort powerfully. They probably want to mate, but none of the female Yaks are in heat, all have calves and Balwant tells me, when they wallow in the lake-they do so to cool off their sexual heat.

Pempa Sherpa (left) with with the young Da Janbu Sherpa whom i meet and befriend on my trek around the hills of Ramche.

I visit the stone-hut where the herder lives with some other herders and some children-all incharge of yaks. I am told, they look after the yaks of the owner of Mount View hotel in Shukhtar. One female Yak yields one kilo milk a day and has a value of over 8,000 Nepalese rupees. All this information is given to me with great nodding of the head and broken english and Hindi by a Nepali Pampa-Sherpa I met on my trek up the hill on the afternoon. He says he had done Everst five times and that there is a man in the camp who has summitted 8 times. Pampa is 30 yrs old and a resident of Solu Khumbu-in the Everest region where he has his family -wife and three children. He smiles and his gold canine teeth gleams in the evening sun. He says he got it done because that  particular canine was crooked. Da Janbu- a 27 yr old sherpa is with Pempa and unlike Pampa who studied till class 3 has studied till class 8 and can speak reasonably good English. I get much information about Kazi’s package, Sherpa’s and much more from him.

Pempa has a beaming smile and when he smiled his golden tooth gleamed in the sunlight. He was one of the stockiest of Sherpas and had climed Everest 5 times.

In the evening the army guys put on the lap-top in the  dining hall and play remix videos . The tent is fully occupied.

2 Responses to “Kanchenjunga Expedition- Trek though Ramche: Meet Sherpas etc (Day 17)”

  1. Himanshu says:

    hello!i met sub major neel chand(was with you in kanchenjunga) in dec january @ N.I.M,uttarkashi..i want his some photos..if you have then plz mail me..
    by the way your site is one of the best private blog site i’have seen!!
    & also you write very good..keep writing..:)

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