|Jhomolhari 7314m (left), Jhomolhari 2 6942m (middle) and Jichu Drakye 6989m (right)|
On a typically beautiful, clear winter day, we headed up to Cheli La from Paro with my visiting brother and sister in law on the way to Haa for New Year's Eve. Fears of ice on the road had our driver feeling a little reluctant to take the Cheli La road, but despite a few thin icy patches the road was fine when driven carefully. Our friend Heather Robertson had told about a great hike up the northern ridge line from Cheli La and on such a clear and sunny day, we were keen to check it out. Luckily Heather passed on great details of her trip so we knew where we were going. You can see her account here.
|Manidhar prayer flags carry prayers for Chenresig, Boddhisattva of Compassion|
From the pass at 3810m, we headed up the northern ridge beyond a large gathering of white manidhar prayer flags and dwarf rhododendrons burnt limp by the frost. We continued climbing for three km or so to the radio tower at 4144m, about one hour from the pass. The views of Jhomolhari and Jichu Drakye were so spectacular that I think we managed about 200m for every photo stop. I don't know whether it was a combination of the altitude, wind, cool air or spectacular scenery, but in my exhilarated state, every new angle presented a unique photography opportunity that needed to be taken.
|Chris and Amy get their mountain pose on|
From the radio tower a path continues along the northern ridgeline towards a sky burial site and onwards to the beautiful Kila Nunnery (just visible in the bottom right hand corner of the photo below). Friends who have walked to the nunnery say that it is about a six hour walk from Cheli La to the nunnery and then back to the Paro-Cheli La road - including lunch and plenty of photo stops. You can see Brick's account of this trip here.
|Kila Nunnery (bottom right) seen from the ridge above Cheli La. Jhomolhari and Jichu Drakye are in the distance.|
|Sky burial site with Jhomolhari in the back ground|
|The peaceful Haa Valley watched over by Chhundu Kang|
aka Kangchenjunga - third highest mountain in the world.
|Coming up the ridge - Pangalabtsa and Geynika Valley in the top right|
|Ruining the view...|
|A few portraits with the mountains.|
|Moving past the firs and rhododendrons|
|The common leopard or jungle cat|