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ABOUT TSHO ROLPA TREK AND LAKE.
Tsho Rolpa trek is a virgin trek to the remote valley of the Gaurishankar Conservation Area. It is a short trek depending on your walking pace and time duration. Very less number of trekkers treks to Tsho Rolpa but is a worthy trek if anyone wants to enjoy the beauty of the Himalayas. Tsho Rolpa trek takes you to the lap of the Himalayas passing through the trails along the Rolwaling River and surrounds you with beautiful Rolwaling Ranges. The trail passes you through various villages of Rolwaling valley. Mt. Melungtse (7,181 m.) is the highest peak of Rolwaling Ranges followed by Mt. Gaurishankar (7,134 m.). The standard time of Nepal is based on the meridian of Mt. Gaurishankar. You can witness various shapes of Rolwaling River and the topography of the place throughout the journey. The trail takes you through the dense forest of varieties of vegetation up to the rocky landscape of the Himalayas. Big hotels and lodges are hard to find along the trails. Only small teahouses with limited accommodation service are available. One can add a day and visit Dudhkunda of Dolakha or can add some days and pass the Tashi Lapcha La (5,755 m.). Passing Tashi Lapcha, trekkers can reach Namche Bazar, the gateway of Everest from such remote and quiet place of Rolwaling Region.
Tsho Rolpa Lake with Rolwaling Ranges!
Tsho Rolpa Lake is the highest glacier lake in Nepal with an altitude of 4,580 m. The lake is surrounded by various beautiful Rolwaling ranges and glaciers. The lake lies in Gaurishankar Conservation Area, Dolakha District. Tsho Rolpa Lake is so huge that whole village can get drown with its water if it overflows that’s why there are sirens along the trails. The sirens were used to aware the people if the water overflows. Once, the lake water was about to burst and break the unstable dam risking the lives of many humans as well as animals around the Upper Tamakoshi River. Locals said that a project was conducted to dig a canal and pass the water from another waterway to reduce the overflow. Water still passes through the dug canal. There are 2 houses around Tsho Rolpa Lake where the machineries and bulldozer are kept. Maybe they were used to make the canal of the lake. The lake is surrounded by Pachermo Himal, Chobutse and other Rolwaling ranges and glaciers.
Tsho Rolpa Trek Features
MY SOLO EXPERIENCE TO TSHO ROLPA.
I’d never been to a solo trek before so I was a little confused. Actually, I and one of my friends planned a trek to Tsho Rolpa and decided to visit there right after Dashain which is a very good trekking season for sceneries and natural beauties. I am very fond of traveling and was very excited about the trip as I wanted to trek Tsho Rolpa since I heard and knew about it. The fact that Tsho Rolpa, being the highest glacier lake of Nepal at an elevation of 4,580 meters, appealed me to experience its environment and made me more curious to explore its surroundings. So, I managed 5 days holiday at my office for the trek.
I was packing my bag the night just before the trek when my friend called me and told me that unfortunately, he couldn’t join the trek because of some reason. I was confused and started thinking of what to do, whether to go or not. Later, I decided to trek on my own as the leave would be a waste if I did not utilize it. I searched about Tsho Rolpa on the internet and watched some YouTube videos of other travelers who visited Tsho Rolpa and posted their video on YouTube which gave me more information about the trek routes, trails, villages, and Tsho Rolpa. I wrote down all the gathered information in a copy, finished packing my backpack and then went to sleep, still being confused about whether to go or not.
Day 1: Kathmandu to Chet Chet (Drive 10 hrs.), Trek to Simi Gau (Trek 1.5 hrs.)
Day 2: Trek Simi Gau to Naa Gau (Trek around 10 hrs.)
Day 3: Trek Naa Gau – Tsho Rolpa to Dongang (Trek 8 hrs.)
Day 4: Trek Dongang to Chet Chet (Trek 4 hrs.), Drive Chet Chet to Charikot (Drive 3 hrs.)
Day 5: Drive Charikot to Kathmandu (Drive 7 hrs.)
Day 1: Kathmandu-Charikot-Chet Chet-Simi Gau (Drive 10 hrs./ Trek 1.5 hrs).
October 1st, 2018
I woke up early in the morning and was still confused, so, I made an alternative destination; Kalinchowk if I changed my mind. I told my father that I was going on a college tour to Dolakha; I did not mention him the exact destination and the fact that I was going alone. Kalinchowk and Tsho Rolpa both lie in Dolakha district. I collected GoPro and some money from Salim (the friend who was unable to join) and Susan Dai (one of my job colleagues). My father dropped me at Koteshwor and he headed towards his work. I went to the bus station and waited for the bus still being confused about whether to go or not. The counter officer told me that there was only one local bus to Lamabagar and aware me not to miss the bus. So, I decided I will go Kalinchowk if I missed the bus to Lamabagar as an alternative. At around 7.15 am, the bus of Lamabagar arrived and I got off without thinking anything. It was an old local bus with very few passengers. Most of the passengers were locals from Dolakha.
Drive Kathmandu to Charikot (Drive 7hrs)
The bus went through the Prithivi highway and passed the busy roads of Bhaktapur and BanepaBajar. It passed Dhulikhel, crossed DolalghatBridge and drove along the Bhote Koshi River till Khadichaur. The bus then drove uphill on the rough and bumpy trail to Mude. At around 11 am, the bus stopped for lunch at Mude. Until lunch, I was still in confusion about whether to go Kalinchowk or Tsho Rolpa. The bus again continued its journey after the lunch. I started collecting further information of Tsho Rolpa with an old man who sat beside me from Mude. He asked me about my friends and I replied that I was traveling alone. “Why did you come alone? Traveling in a group is better than traveling alone. The trail is hard and walking alone in the forest is risky. What if you get lost in the forest?”- He replied. I was more confused after listening to this old man. The bus reached Charikot and stopped at the local bus station for half an hour. The old man got off and wished me good luck.
Drive Charikot to Chet Chet (Drive 3 hrs.)
Charikotis the headquarter of Dolakha district and was the last place where I have to decide my destination as jeep for Kalinchowk is booked from here. I was thinking of what to do when a person came to talk with me and casually asked me where I was heading and I told him my plan. He was surprised and told me that it will be fun and the place is worth it to travel. I asked him if it was risky to travel alone. He replied that few people travel Tsho Rolpa but it is a great destination to witness the Himalayas and natural beauty. He said he went to Tsho Rolpa with his friends and had a very nice experience up to the lake. The trails are not confusing but are somehow hard and asked me to maintain my walking pace while elevating high altitude. He also warned me about Altitude Sickness and suggested me to carry some cloves of garlic with myself. After listening to him, I felt more encouraged and made my final decision to Tsho Rolpa. I called my father and told him that I was heading to Tsho Rolpa with my college mates. The bus then headed towards Singati. I talked with the person and he told me his name was Roshan and was working in a hydropower project of Upper TamakoshiRiver as a supervisor and said various small and large hydro projects is being established around Upper Tamakoshi River. We shared our past travel experiences with each other. He told me to stay overnight at Simi Gau and wished me good luck. He got off from the bus at his project camp around Gongar Khola. The bus then continued its journey.
BHORLE waterfall just after crossing Singhati on the way to Tsho Rolpa!
Bhorle fall is the most beautiful waterfall on the way to Lamabagarwhich falls from a big hill straight down the motor road. Just after passing Singati, the view of Bhorle looked exciting and alluring to see. The bus passed through the waterfall and got a nice wash with the spring’s water. The locals said that the amount of water will be more and will look more alluring than now during monsoon season.
It was getting dark so I told the driver to stop the vehicle at the starting point of Tsho Rolpa trek because the place was unknown to me but I knew there was a big waterfall at the starting point of the trek; I noticed it on a YouTube video. After driving for around 1.5 hours, the bus driver stopped the bus and pointed toward a narrow trail and told me that is the way I must walk through and pointed at the waterfall saying that’s the one I was talking about earlier.
Trek Chet chet to Simi Gau (Trek 1.5 hrs.)
Chet Chet Waterfall from the starting point of Tsho Rolpa trek!
It was 5.30 pm and was about to get dark. I got off from the bus and then went to a nearby shop to buy torchlight. The bus continued its drive to Lamabagar. I met a group of people in the shop who were also traveling Tsho Rolpa and staying the night at Simi Gau. They asked me to call my friends and join them. I agreed to their offer, told them I was alone. They glanced at my face with a surprise and then asked me to come together. I headed Simi Gau with 6 unknown travelers talking about one another’s past experience to various destinations. We crossed a long suspension bridge in the darkness and ascended the stone steps. We talked about each other and knew some of them were project assistants, sub engineers and some had hardware shops. They were all very friendly. After walking for 1.5 hours, we reached Simi Gau when suddenly I realized I dropped my jacket somewhere on the way. Sushil, a guy from the group, came along with me retracing the trail in search of my jacket but we were not able to find it so we returned back to the hotel.
We took some rest. One of the group’s members had a birthday and they were about to celebrate his bday. They invited me to join a friend’s birthday celebration. I also joined them and have a wonderful time with them. We talked with the hotel owner, Mr. Pema Sherpa, and he gave us some route information and about the place. He told us that the trails along the Rolwaling River will take us to Tsho Rolpa. Then, we had our dinner and went to our bed to sleep.
Day 2: Simi Gau-Surmuche-Dongang-Beding-Naa Gau (Trek 10 hrs)
October 2nd, 2018
I woke up at around 6 am with the sound of boots and shoes, coming out from the dining. I went outside the room and saw the group was getting ready to start the day’s trek. We paid the hotel’s bill and then they headed toward the destination while I got ready and again went down to search my jacket which I misplaced the day before. I went very far but didn’t find my jacket. I returned back to the hotel, carried my bag and started my journey of the day at 6.45 am.
Simi Gau to Surmuche (Trek 1 hrs. 45 mins.)It was a warm and sunny morning. I walked through the trails that pass along the village and then ascended me to a rest point where I took some rest. The view of the hills looked great from the rest point. One can see the motor road of Lamabagar from the point. I took rest for some time and continued my journey. The trail passed me from dense forest with the Sound of Rolwaling River flowing at its own pace. I passed a dangerous trail that was just supported by some ropes and metal blocks.
Second Cantilever bridge after Simi Gaun, Tsho Rolpa trek!
After a short ascend from there, I reached a small settlement at around 8.30 am. I saw the same group and joined them in the teahouse where they were having tea. I took a short rest and drank tea. They named me “VettakoManxe”; meaning the found one. The place’s name was Surmuche which had only one hotel and is at an elevation of 2,470 meters. After some rest, I continued my journey with them.
Surmuche-Kyalche-Dongang (Trek 2 hrs. 15 mins.)
We walked for a while and then descended to cross the river through a small wooden bridge. The environment was so nice and admirable. The scene of the flowing river and the forest with the mountain background looked more mesmerizing and appealing. The forest was reflecting its beauty with different colored leaves of green, brown, yellow and red. Ascending from the place, we reached Kyalche at about 10.15 am. I noticed only one small lodge with food and accommodation facility. We passed the lodge and then reached a certain point from where we could see a beautiful settlement at the bank of the Rolwaling River.
Selfie with waterfall!
We decided to have our lunch there and descended through the forest trail. We met a small and beautiful waterfall which caught our eyes and stayed some times for photo and enjoyment. A small wooden bridge was built to cross the waterways of the fall. Some of us headed towards the village while some still stayed there for some time. We found out that the name of the village was Dongang at an elevation of 2,790 m. It was a nice and peaceful place with the sound of the flowing water. There were only 2 hotels which provide food and accommodation facility. I enjoyed playing football with the owner’s children and the guys had some rest. We had our lunch and talked with the owner of the hotel to know the further trail. He told me that if we maintain the same pace then we can reach Naa Gau and then hike to Tsho Rolpa tomorrow morning. We listened to him and then decided to overnight at Naa Gau.
Beautiful Dongang Village at the bank of Rolwaling river!
At about 12 noon, we left Dongang and continued our journey. The trail first ascended us and then the trail led us along the Rolwaling River which was easy and joyous to walk through. The blue water flowing in its pace can be enjoyed from the trail. Walking about 30 minutes, we crossed a suspension bridge and ascended through a steep trail. Local peoples were repairing the step stone and managing the trails. We reached a small hotel where we had some tea. The place was known as Thandding and was at an elevation of 3,343 m.
Suspension bridge on the way to Beding!
Then, we headed towards Beding. We noticed a sudden change in the landscape. Till Thandding, there were dense forests and a large variety of vegetation but now, the trail was surrounded with rocky hills from one side and a slow-flowing river from another side. The hills were covered with bushes and we could see a nice view of the mountains from the trail. There were many yaks around the trails. They were left freely for grazing. Some of them were very scary with sharp horns. We crossed certain suspension bridges, small settlements, and various small chortens along the way. Finally, after a long walk, we reached Beding at around 4.45 pm.
Beding Gaun, Tsho Rolpa Trek!
Beding was a beautiful settlement with a lot of houses and hotels in comparison to other villages but most of them were closed. The village is situated just below Mt. Gaurishankar (7,134 m.) and I’d heard many Sherpa from Beding village have climbed Mt. Everest. We searched for an open hotel where we had some noodle soup. We asked the hotel owner how much time will it take to reach Naa Gau, she told us that we will reach in 2.5 hours. So, we started walking towards Naa Gau.
Beding to Naa Gau (Trek 2 hrs.) – The trail to Naa Gau was not so difficult and steep but it was a long trail. Slowly, it began to get dark. We saw something on the far hills and discussed what that was. First, we thought they were some landslide areas but later found out they were various small waterfalls that were frozen due to cold. They were noticeable through the trails.
We walked a long time along the Rolwaling River with torchlight in our hands as it was already dark. Walking that night was one of my great experiences of the trek. I looked at the sky and noticed the stars were bigger and more visible. The moon looked brighter and sparkling its light in the dark night. It was a very cold but clear night. After walking for more than 2 hours, we reached Naa Gau at around 8pm. The hotel owner assigned us our room and then began to cook dinner for us. After having dinner, we sat around the fire to warm ourselves. There was another group of friends at the hotel. We had some casual talk at the campfire and then decided to go Tsho Rolpa together tomorrow morning. We spent some quality time around the campfire and then went to sleep.
Day 3: Naa Gau-Tsho Rolpa-Naa Gau-Dongang(Trek 8 hrs.)
October 3rd, 2018
It was a long walk to Naa gau yesterday and we have a good sleep at the hotel. I woke at around 6 am and freshen up. I went outside brushing my teeth and got amazed to witness the mountain peaks that were surrounding the village. It was late night when we reached Naa Gau the day before and we had no idea about the mountains peaks that surround the village. It is situated at an elevation of 3,943 m.
Tsho Rolpa Lake with Pachermo Himal!
Naa Gau-Tsho Rolpa (Trek 2 hrs.)
I along with the 2 groups started hiking to Tsho Rolpa at 6.30 am. It was a 2 hours hike as told by the locals so we were walking at a normal pace. We passed the junction trail to Chukima from where trekkers pass the Tashi Lapcha pass and then reach Solukhumbu in 3 days. We walked along the Rolwaling River admiring the stunning views of the Himalayas. The surrounding around the trail was very cold and it gave me a feeling of highlands with rocky landscapes. It was a foggy morning and some parts of the river were frozen. We noticed various sirens along the trails and wondered what it was. After walking for an hour and half we reached the foot of a small hill from where we started ascending the stone steps and trails to the top of the hill. It was a very steep trail but the last one. Just after I ascended the hill to the top, I was very mesmerized by the magnificent view of the mountain peaks and Tsho Rolpa Lake which was right in front of my eyes; sparkling their beauty with the kiss of morning sun rays. The moment was magical and we all started shouting with joy that we reached our final destination of the trek, Tsho Rolpa lake!
We stayed around the lake and had our breakfast together. We captured some photos and then decided to hike around the lake. We went up to a small hill around the lake and then returned back.
Tsho Rolpa-Naa Gau-Dongang (Trek 6 hrs.)
Trails from Naa Gau as seen from Tsho Rolpa!
We descended down from the lake at around 11 am and then retraced the trail up to Naa Gau. We had some noodles soup in the hotel and then checked out from the hotel. I, along with the friends of the 2 groups decided to spend the night together at Dongang. I noticed some praying flags and an image of Guru Rinpoche in a big rock. We followed the same trails along the Rolwaling River and then reached Beding. I noticed some sirens like Naa Gau in Beding too. We did not stop at Beding and walked furthermore.
On the way, back from Tsho Rolpa!
Beautiful Gaurisankar Himal with Buddhist prayer flags, Tsho Rolpa!
There was a monastery school at Beding where there were small kids in monk dress. They told us there was a Gumba and Guru Rinpoche cave but it was a bit far so we did not visit them. We passed various suspension bridges, witness various waterfalls and reached Thandding. We took a short tea break at the same hotel and then descended the trails. It was dark when we reached Dongang. The hotel owner assigned us the room and then went to prepare our dinner. We took some rest and stayed outside to enjoy the beautiful night stars. We had our dinner and again stayed outside for some time. We talked about our next day destination. Then, we wished goodnight and went to bed.
Day 4: Dongang-Simigau-Chet Chet-Charikot
October 4th, 2018
Dongang-Simi Gau (Trek 3.5 hrs.)
We woke up early in the morning, paid money and checked out from the hotel. The 2nd group friends stayed there and told us they will come later. We passed the same small waterfall again and entered the dense forest. After 30 mins walk, we reached Kyalche where we ordered tea and had breakfast. We continued our journey. We reached a giant waterfall which was very stunning and magnificent. We captured some photos in the waterfall. I nearly fell down from the waterfall while ascending a big rock but my friends pulled me with a human chain.
Giant waterfall on the way to Tsho Rolpa!
Then, we retraced the trail up to Simi Gau. We reached Simi Gau at around 11 am and ordered our lunch. We sat on the sunny ground and planned what to do next. They were saying to stay a night around Singati but I refused and told them I have to attend my office. So, I and one of the friends decided to go to Charikot while others decided to stay at Singati.
Simi Gau-ChetChet-Charikot (Trek 1 hrs. / Drive 3 hrs).
We had our lunch and descended up to Chet Chet. We walked on the long suspension bridge crossing the Upper Tamakoshi River and reached Chet Chet.
Suspension bridge in Chet Chet, way to Tsho Rolpa!
There was no bus along the road so we hiked and planned to stop a vehicle if we see any. Finally, a jeep arrived which gave us lift up to Singati. We took a local bus from Singati. We met our same friends who planned to stay Singati on the same bus. They said-“Let’s go Charikot and celebrate together as it is our last day, VettakoManxe. ” I agreed to them and decided to spend the night with the group together. We reached Charikot at around 5.30 pm and searched for a hotel for the night. We checked in to a hotel and took some rest. We had some chill times and enjoyed the night. We planned to visit Dolakha Bhimsen temple the following morning and asked the hotel owner if he could manage a vehicle. He managed a vehicle for the following morning and we went to bed.
Day 5: Drive Charikot-Kathmandu (drive 7 hrs.)
October 5th, 2018
We woke up in the morning with a loud knock on the door. It was the hotel owner and he told us to get ready, the vehicle has already arrived. So, we hurried, freshen up and then went to the vehicle. The driver took us to Dolakha Bhimsen Temple. He stopped the vehicle, told us to visit the temple and meet him at the back door. We did the same and went around the Temple.
Then, we came back to the hotel and packed our bag. We went to a nearby ticket counter and asked for a bus to Kathmandu. The officer pointed at a bus and told us that one was going Kathmandu at 10 am. We returned Kathmandu at around 5 pm following the Prithivi Highway.
My trek to Tsho Rolpa was one of my best decision and the most exciting trek because of various reasons. It took me to the lap of the Himalayas surrounded by 360° mountains peaks with a huge glacier lake. It was worth it trek with various memories, experiences, as well as I, learned many new things about the place and the region. I met many good people during my journey who are still in touch with me via social sites. I had a very great and amazing time with the new friends; both groups from Simi Gau and Naa Gau. Without them, there would be no good photograph or picture of the lake and myself too because I did not have any camera kits. Travelling has always been keen for me and satisfying my inner soul from every aspect.
-STORY BY- SANTOSH BLON