West of the Khumhu, directly on the Tibetan frontier there is a wild, lonely high valley the “Rolwaling” which is called simply “the grave” by the indigenous Sherpa’s on account of its location – buried down between steep ice-giants. Many mysterious stories have been passed on about this valley. through which the forefathers of the present-day Sherpa’s once came. It is here that the notorious and celebrated Yeti is supposed to make his home. Entire research expeditions have, so far unsuccessfully, attempted to find him.
There are three factors which have helped to preserve this splendid valley from the ravaging onslaught of tourists. First of all it is relatively arduous to get there at all, secondly there are neither lodgings nor food to buy, and third you need a special permit to be allowed to hike into Rolwaling. You must purchase – pro-forma – a climbing permit for the Ramdung Peak (5,925 m) regardless of whether or not you want to climb the mountain. Those who aren’t scared away by these inconveniences will he richly rewarded for their efforts. Just the approaches to the Rolwaling Valley are worth your money: The trail leads you through a wealth of variety on one hand through Tamang and Chetri villages with their typical ter raced fields, on the other through dense, gloomy primeval forests and over broad ridgebacks with wonderful views.
Two variations are possible: The first is a four day hike from Jiri (1,860 m) over the Chordung Ridge (3,698 m), Suri (1,890 m) and Gonger (1,040 m): the other is a six day hike starting from Barabisi (819 m) via Tinsang La (3,319 m), Bigu Gompa (2,519 m), Chilangka and Gonger.
You finally set foot into the Rolwaling through the village of Simigaon (2,000 m) located high above the Bhote Kosi. Above the Shapka Meadow (2,600 m) the path divides. Here the right branch is recommended, for while it is certainly more arduous it is also decidedly the more rewarding. After a four-hour ascent you reach the Daldung La (3,976 m) which has a fantastic view of the 7.146 meter high Gaurishankar opposite. According to old Sherpa mythology, this is the seat of the goddess “Tashi Tserringma,” who is the guarantor of a long life. Gaurishankar is also holy for the Hindus: Shankar, the name of the northem peak, is a designation for Shiva in their everyday spoken language The southern summit, Gauri (literally: “the white”) is a synonym for the feminine manifestation of the god.
From Daldung La you climb down for four or five hours on a really adventurous path through the densest rain forest to the Rolwaling River, which you then cross. There you meet up again with the other path, which certainly also has a beautiful landscape, but doesn’t snake down to Simigaon quite as spectacularly.
After about 2 1/2 hours’ walking time up-river you reach the Sherpa village of Beding (3,693 m) – the only noteworthy settlement in Rolwaling. If it should happen that the monk belonging to the Gompa is in the village at the moment, you can ask him to show you round it himself, 150 meters higher a rocky hermitage is visible, where Padmasambhava is supposed to have meditated some 1,200 years ago.
The last human lodgings of the valley you can find in Na, which is located about three hours’ distance from Beding. From here you have an overwhelming view of the mountain-giants Chekigo (6,735 m), Bamongo (6,400 m), Kang Nachugo (6,735 m), and above all, Tsoboje (6,689 m).
Over the Yalung La (5,310 m) you reach the Kare Kola Valley and the Bbote Kosi in 21/2 days.
Over the Trashi Labtsa (5,755 m) you come into the Khumbu in four days. This is a difficult and fatiguing tour, which requires ice-climbing equipment.
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