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Monk Chants

Recorded on August 20, 1995, at the Rinchenpung Monastery. Symbolically Vajrayogini’s naval, the gompa houses a statue of Rang Rig Gyapo - the king of self-awareness and the wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava. The monk chants are an invocation to this meditation deity to protect all sentient beings from the consequences of their own misguided behavior.

95 #77 & #78

95 B 40 46 1995 TG Porter Cable Crossing Chimdro

95 B 41 120b 1995 Porter Cable Crossing Chimdro
Porters setting the lines for our cable crossing over the tumultuous Chimdro Chu River.


95 #79

95 B 42 19b 1995 Porters Cable Crossing Chimdro
The odds of surviving a plunge into the river are not good.


95 #80

95 B 49 25a 1995 Gil Cable Crossing Chimdro River
Gil pulls himself across.


95 #81, #82, #83

95 B 43 110b 1995 Todd Clipping into Chimdro Cable Crossing

95 B 44 4 1995 TG Cable Crossing Chimdro River

95 B 45 124b 1995 Todd Sleeping before Chimdro Cable Crossing
Todd Gillenwater makes it safely across and promptly takes a nap. Next to the river is the only place we can escape the relentless heat.


95 #84 & #85

95 B 46 26a 1995 Ian Cable Crossing Chimdro

95 B 47 56b 1995 Ian Cable Crossing Chimdro
Ian Baker makes it across the raging river.


95 #86

95 B 48 57 1995 TG Hamid Chimdro River Crossing
Hamid Sardar gets tied in.


95 #87

95 B 50 59b 1995 Porters Leaving Chimdro
Once across the river, the trail to the PungPung La Pass is almost non-existent.


95 #88

95 B 51 150b 1995 Troy Porters Climbing to PunPungLa
Our trail steepened as we leave the bamboo and rhododendron thickets on our wet climb up to the 15,150 foot high PungPung La Pass.



95 #89

95 B 53 65 1995 TG Gil Landslide Towards PungPung La Pass
We began to lose our light as the group gets separated. The higher we go the more landslides we encountered. The earth is alive.


95 #90

95 B 54 5 1995 TG Bivoak Leech Camp
Finally daylight! Troy Gillenwater stands next to the makeshift camp. Todd Gillenwater, Gil Gillenwater, Troy Gillenwater, Christiaan Kuypers, Oy Kanjanavanit, & Hamid Sardar spend the longest, wettest, most leech infested night of their lives under this crude shelter.


95 #91

95 B 55 10b 1995 Bivoac Camp
Pemba Sherpa can start a fire in an aquarium. These guys are the ultimate outdoorsmen. Left to right - Pemba Sherpa (far left), Oy Kanjanavanit, Troy Gillenwater, Hamid Sardar, Christiaan Kuypers.


95 #92

95 B 56 74b 1995 Todd Log Crossing Raging River
One misstep on the slippery log and it is “game over”.


95 #93

95 B 57 96a 1995 Married Porters w Beefsteak Mushroom
Lobsong and his wife find dinner. Suspicious not to look at the camera, Lobsong carries his “Gau” with him at all times. (A Gau is a portable Buddhist shrine worn as a protection amulet).


95 #94

95 B 58 28b 1995 Chombi Cooking Mushrooms
Pemba Sherpa (far right) sliced the mushroom into the pot. Chombi Sherpa (far left) checks on its progress.


95 #95

95 B 52 69 1995 TG Oy Gil Chistiaan Todd on Hike up PungPung La Pass
Taking a break on the trail. “Is this our trail?”, we wonder as it disappears into the clouds above. Nobody knows for sure.


95 #96

95 B 59 77 1995 TG Gil Looking other Side of PungPungLa
This is Beyul Pemako, “Hidden Land of the Blossoming Lotus”.


95 #97

95 B 60 90a 1995 Troy Todd Porter PungPungLa
Todd Gillenwater (left) and Troy Gillenwater (right) pose with our senior porter – Puntsok (middle). We have another 1,000 feet to climb to gain the PungPung La pass. Punstok’s eyes avoid the camera.


95 #98

95 B 61 74 1995 TG Todd on Ridge w Porters above in Mist
Dropping off the PungPung La pass. Todd Gillenwater is not looking real thrilled about continuing the steep, wet descent ahead. Through the mists on the far ridgeline, porters can be seen beginning their descent.


95 #99

95 B 62 52 1995 TG Troy Todd w 3 Porters Big Packs
Troy and Todd Gillenwater resting with three of our porters. It is an uncharacteristically clear day for Pemako.


95 #100

95 B 63 126b 1995 Big Porter Carries Big Load
Carrying two loads, our “Gentle Giant” porter is enjoying the drier weather and firmer trails.


95 #101

95 B 64 29 1995 TG Todd Crossing Mossy Log
Todd Gillenwater negotiates a moss covered log.


95 #102

95 B 65 31a 1995 Jolly Lama Crossing Logs
The “Jolly Lama” is imperturbable.


95 #103

95 B 66 11 1995 TG Young Married Monpa Porters
The young, married porter couple examines bear tracks on the banks of the animal spirit lake.


95 #104

95 B 67 16 1995 TG Kaba Tulku Meditating by Lake
Our “Jolly Lama” often sits by himself in deep thought. This Vajrayogini pilgrimage in the “Year of the Pig” is his life-long dream come true.


95 #105

95 B 68 128b 1995 Todd Waterfall on Lake
Todd Gillenwater admires one of the many waterfalls cascading into the sacred lake.


95 #106

95 B 69 95a 1995 Bridge on Sacred Waters
Little could we have known the dangers that lay in wait in this idyllic spot.


95 #107

95 B 70 54 1995 TG Gil Todd Troy before Waters
Gil, Troy and Todd Gillenwater marvel over the paradisiacal landscape. Who made this place?


95 #108

95 B 71 13b 1995 Gil on Bridge over Sacred Waters
Gil Gillenwater walks through a scene from Hobbit Land.


95 #109

95 B 72 14b 1995 Todd on Bridge over Sacred Waters
Clouds begin to gather in Paradise.


95 #110

95 B 73 94a 1995 Cantileverd Bridge Sacred Waters
The cantilevered bridges are primitive engineering masterpieces.


95 #111

95 B 74 30 1995 TG Cantilevered Bridge over Sacred River
A sure-footed porter crosses the cantilevered bridge.


95 #112

95 B 75 16b 1995 Gil on Bridge over Sacred Waters
The skies become foreboding as Gil Gillenwater says good bye to Paradise.


95 #113

95 B 76 27b 1995 Troy Hiking Wet Forest
The forest is cold and wet as we slog into a ferocious storm.


95 #114

95 B 77 136b 1995 Todd Sick in Tent
Todd Gillenwater deathly ill in the middle. Malevolent water spirits or food poisoning? At his point Todd doesn't care. He just wants to die. It is an excruciatingly long night.


95 #115

95 B 78 98a 1995 Todd Sick in Adrothang Swamp
Ghastly ill, Todd Gillenwater somehow manages the 1,100 foot, rain drenched climb to the dreaded Adrothang swamp.

95 #116

95 B 79 97a 1995 Adrothang Swamp
In a super-human effort Todd Gillenwater continues to move forward. But in his sickened condition we fall farther and farther behind.


95 #117

95 B 80 77b 1995 Gil Going into Adrathang
As brothers we fell horrible for Todd Gillenwater but there is little we can do but try and encourage him onward. Waiting for him is difficult in the glacial cold and rain. We become chilled to the bone and can feel the insidious onset of hypothermia tighten its lethal grip.


95 #118

95 C 4 79 1995 TG Dropping into Lost Sick Night
Looking off the lip of Adrothang into the swirling abyss.


95 #119

95 C 6 45 1995 TG Gil Sick Todd near Kundu
Todd Gillenwater (left) starts feeling a little better. Gil Gillenwater (right) doesn't.


95 #120

95 C 7 62b 1995 Troy Todd Sick on Trail
Todd Gillenwater waits patiently as Troy Gillenwater continues to vomit. The high elevation exacerbates the symptoms of our illness.


95 #121

95 C 5 99b 1995 Chimed Gompo Pack
This photograph is taken at lower elevation of Chimed Gompo, the "Deathless Lord.” We are convinced he saved our lives.


95 #122

95 C 8 69b 1995 Hiking Ridgeline
The climbing continues. Far above timerline, we knew the SangMen La Pass (14,200 feet) has to be close.


95 #123

95 C 9 7a 1995 Troy Todd Chimed Gompa Kundu
Chimed Gompo is carrying two of our packs at once. Our destination, Kundu Dorsempotrang Mountain, the “All Gathering Home of the Vajrasattva Mind”, (Vajrayogini’s heart chakra) reigns prominently on the distant horizon. We have a long way to go.



95 #124

95 C 11 80b 1995 Dawa chimed Gompa Back to Help
Chombi Sherpa sends two Sherpas back to us with hot water and noodles. Now we have three Sherpas to carry our packs and help us down to the day’s camp on the banks of another glacial lake.


95 #125

95 C 12 93a 1995 Tiny Porters Arrive Kundu Lha Tsho Lake
Dropping off of the SangMen La Pass, we can see part of our group approaching the glacial lake.


95 #126

95 C 13 130b 1995 Tiny Porters Gil Lake
As the others surge on, Gil Gillenwater looks for camp near the lake. “What is the hurry?” the Gillenwaters wondered.



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