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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.

97 #16

97 A 14 11 1997 Porters Crossing StreamHiking in the rain we descended from alpine glacier country to the tropics. We had Gore-Tex while our porters had simple sheets of plastic.

 

97 #17

97 A 15 150 1997 Monpa Boy w Chicken FootA severed chicken foot is a simple Lopa tribal toy. The young boy showed us with great amusement how pulling a tendon would cause the claw to contract.

 

97 #18

97 A 16 160a 1997 Troy Porters Crossing StreamIt was a very steep descent with water everywhere. Here Troy and the porters cross a makeshift bridge.

 

97 #19

97 A 17 180 1997 Troy Hiking in JungleHere Troy negotiates the tricky jungle slopes. Even though the village of Charasa was 2,000 feet below us, this portion of the trail headed steadily upwards.

 

97 #20

97 A 18 25 1997 Porter Girl FlowerThe tribal women of Pemako were remarkable. In addition to their natural beauty, their strength and sure-footedness as porters was phenomenal. And their calm and even demeanor helped balance out the aggressive energy of the male porters.

 

97 #21

97 A 19 105 1997 TG Seductive Porter Girl Eating FlowerThe tribal women of Pemako could also be extremely seductive and beguiling.

 

97 #22

97 A 20 119 1997 Tiny Porter Below WaterfallThis was Pemako in all its immensity and magic. Note the tiny porter crossing the stream at the bottom of the waterfall.

 

97 #23

97 A 19 56 1997 TG River View from LongLipOur first glimpse of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. Even from 2,000 feet above it looked daunting.

 

97 #24

97 A 20 20 1997 Gil HunterGil and a Lopa takin hunter pose with flintlocks. These smooth-bore rifles looked like they were right out of the American Revolutionary War.

 

97 #25

97 A 21 39 1997 TG Troy Looking Back on GandenTroy scopes out our evenings camp – Charasa – 1,000 feet below. 

 

97 #26

97 A 24 83 1997 TG CharasaAt an elevation of only 4,100’ the barrack grounds of Charasa were sweltering hot and crawling with bugs and leeches.

 

97 #27

97 A 22 90 1997 TG Troy Gil Chimed Gompa Lobsong Porter in TerrassaA surprise visit from three of our 1995 porters. We are convinced Chimed Gompo saved our lives on that fateful expedition. Left to Right: Chimed Gompo (avoiding the camera), Troy, Lobsang, Gil & Sonam Chimbe (avoiding the camera).

 

97 #28

97 A 23 151 1997 Gil Dawa Interview Chimed Gompa in Terrasa copyDawa (in green shirt) translates as Gil records the conversation. Left to Right: Chimed Gompo, Lobsang, & Sonam Chimbe laugh as they recount the trials and tribulations of our 1995 Kundu Dorsempotrang expedition.

 

97 #29

97 A 24 16 1997 Leech on CandleLike moths drawn to light, the heat seeking leeches would slither into the flame and die.

 

97 #30

97 B 1 147 1997 Gil Troy Hike out of GandenThe day’s climbing was hot – real hot.

 

97 #31

97 B 2 2 1997 TG Ken Storm on Way to LongLipKen Storm decides to also split from the expedition and join us on our unpermitted dash to Pelung. His study and knowledge of the Pemako area would be key to our extraction and exploration efforts.

 

97 #32

97 B 3 13 1997 TG Gil Ken Hiking to LongLipTroy and Ken Storm cross a cliff face over a primitive scaffolding on their way to Longlep.

 

97 #33

97 B 4 58 1997 TG Gil Troy on Hike to LongLipGil and Ken Storm get their first view of Longlep.

 

97 #34

97 B 5 75 1997 TG Monpa Father 2 Boys near LongLipArriving in Longlep late in the day, the few villagers welcomed us as family.

 

97 #35

97 B 6 19 1997 Troy Ken in LongLipWe were graciously offered a place to stay in Longlep. While waiting for dinner Troy & Ken Storm discuss possible escape routes out of Pemako. Our wet clothes can be seen drying in the background.

 

97 #36

97 B 7 23 1997 Communist Posters GandenIn addition to Stalin & Lenin, our host cabin sported a poster of the Kalachakra. In Vajrayana Buddhism this symbol represents the “wheel(s) of time” and is one of many of the tantric teachings and esoteric practices.

 

97 #37

97 B 8 20 1997 TG Valley View from LongLipThe view from our cabin’s glassless window was spectacular. The mighty Yarlung Tsangpo churns through the serpentine valley below.

 

97 #38

97 B 9 26 1997 Troy Ganden to RiverInitially, cloudless skies escorted us on the trail back down to the river and the village of Gande.

 

97 #39

97 B 10 65 1997 CloseUp Konla KarpoA telephoto view of Kangla Karpo.

 

97 #40

97 B 11 19 1997 TG Monpa Boys KonlaKarpoTwo Gande boys with Kangla Karpo in the background.

 

97 #41

97 B 12 4 1997 TG Matuk Giving Troy ZuchiniOur “coincidental” 2nd encounter with Matuk was the key that unlocked the guarded entrance to Pemako’s forbidden inner gorge for our clandestine expedition.

 

97 #42

97 B 13 22 1997 Troy Kids in GandenWe were such a curiosity in the sequestered world of Gande that the children followed us everywhere.

 

97 #43

97 B 14 133 1997 Gil Troy in Ganden w Local Porters copyOur 2 young Tibetan Sherpas, Dawa & Bhim, hired local porters to assist in our escape from Pemako. We were a motley looking crew. Pictured: Back row left, Bhim, Troy and Dawa (hands in the air) with Gil on the far right. Many were wearing the scarves Gil passed out.

 

97 #44

97 B 15 27 1997 TseBun in DistanceMatuk pointed out a tiny rock spire situated high on a cross-valley mountain shoulder (as seen in the top right of the photograph). This stone outcropping would play a pivotal role in our upcoming journey and in our lives.

 

97 #45

97 B 16 46 1997 TG Trail to Yarlung w KonlaKarpoWith an average annual rainfall of around 25 feet, these uncharacteristically clear Pemako skies were a true blessing. Gil hikes down a grassy shoulder in the bottom right of the photograph. 

 

97 #46

97 B 17 29 1997 Gil Near RapidWhile Dawa was negotiating with the porters we hiked down and explored the river. Here we were 8,000’ lower in elevation than we were when we rafted this same river three years prior - in 1994. Even at these lower elevations the “Everest of Whitewater” was earning its name.

 

97 #47

97 B 18 18 1997 TG Cable Crossing YarlungWith our porter dispute settled everyone jumped into action to set the lines and get us across the Yarlung Tsangpo River in the fading day’s light.

 

97 #48

97 B 19 86 1997 TG Porter Cable Crossing YarlungThe immensity of the Yarlung Tsangpo River gorge made this late afternoon cable crossing a daunting task.

 

97 #49

97 B 19 16 1997 TG Yarlung Cable CrossingWe had 12 people and a lot of gear to cross in the fading daylight.

 

97 #50

97 B 20 31 1997 Porter on Cable Crossing 2The heights and churning waters below were daunting. See the lone porter at the top of the photo.

 

97 #51

97 B 21 149 1997 Porter Cable Crossing TsangPo

 

97 #52

97 B 22 60 1997 TG Troy Strapped in for Cable Crossing YarlungMatuk looks on as Troy gets lashed to the pully for his cable crossing of the Yarlung Tsangpo river.

 

97 #53

97 B 23 34 1997 Photo from Cable CrossingPhoto taken in the middle of the crossing.

 

97 #54

97 B 24 29 1997 TG Cable Crossing YarlungTroy is half way across.

 

97 #55

97 B 25 7 1997 TG Night Hike up to GogdenThis night hike brought us together as a group. The extreme circumstances allowed us to better recognized our shared human condition. This bond would grow tighter as our journey continued.

 

97 #56

97 B 26 78 1997 TG Lopa Father Son w Florescent Pen LuguIn Lugu we peeked inside a small home. It was filthy. A Lopa man and his son lived there and Gil gave the boy a glow-in-the-dark pen. He hung it proudly from his neck.

 

97 #57

97 B 27 38 1997 Troy in Lugu w White TaraIn Gogden we were offered a shrine room as a place to sleep. Here a thangka of the goddess White Tara was displayed prominently.

 

97 #58

97 B 28 14 1997 TG Monpa Boys in Room in GogdenTwo boys from Gogden. The locals were always so happy to see us.

 

97 #59

97 B 29 37 1997 Porters Yak Butter TeaOur porters Matuk, Brad Watts & Trashi Padi load up on yak butter tea in preparation of the day’s grueling hike ahead.

 

97 #60

24 1997 Communist Poster GandenIn Gogden we spied a propaganda poster tacked to a wall purportedly representing the harmony between the Communist Chinese military and the Tibetan people. To see this brain washing propaganda in a cabin this remote was absurd.

 

97 #61

97 B 30 36 1997 Lugu HunterIn Gogden the village chieftain proudly shows us his flintlock rifle. There were three such rifles in the village.

 

97 #62

97 B 31 39 1997 Troy Marajuana in LuguUncharacteristically clear skies shine on Troy and the chieftain’s flourishing marijuana crop.

 

97 #63

97 B 34 40a 1997 TG Landslide AreaThe ongoing collision of two continents created seismic geologic instability and constant landslides.

 

97 #64

97 B 35 25 1997 TG Porters Dangerous Crossing of Landslide Negotiating the many landslide areas was hard on your body as well as your nerves.

 

97 #65

97 B 35 40 1997 BW HIke up to TseBunLaThe steep climb out of the Yarlung Tsangpo gorge to the Tsebung La Pass was two vertical miles in elevation.

 

97 #66

97 B 36 110 1997 Gyla PeriCresting the Tsebung La Pass we had our first view of the 23,891 foot high Gyala Peri Mountain. Standing on the Asian continent, it was only 13 miles away from the 25,531 foot high Namcha Barwa Mountain situated on the Indian continent.

 

 

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