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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 #67

97 B 38 41 1997 BW Matuk TseBunAt Tsebung Rock, Matuk ceremoniously offers three full prostrations and then beckons us to follow.


97 #68

97 B 39 33 1997 TG Troy w Takin Skulls Tsebum1Takin skulls adorn mossy grottos along the shrine site.


97 #69

97 B 40 66 1997 TG B W Troy in Tsebom TunnelAn unnoticed crack in the stone leads us to the inner sanctum of Tsebung - “Million Lives.”


97 #70

97 B 41 43 1997 BW Gil Matuk w 1000 Lives SticksGil Gillenwater and Matuk. The Tsebung “Long Life” ceremony includes carving a notch in a stick for each year you have been alive.


97 #71

97 B 42 65 1997 TG B W Troy Emerging from Tsebum TunnelTroy Gillenwater emerges from the birth canal of Mother Earth. 


97 #72

97 B 43 46 1997 Clear Skies to IndiaAs we emerge from the womb of Mother Earth the storm abates and the skies miraculously clears - affording us unique views all the way into India.


97 #73

97 B 44 53 1997 TG Gyala Peri Above GorgeOur telephoto lens captures a distant peak manifesting from the clouds (see top of photo).


97 #74

97 B 45 47 1997 BW Dorje Phagmo MtnDorje Phagmo Mountain – our guidepost into the Inner Gorge.


97 #75

97 C 1 48 1997 Off Trail Up to Inner GorgeLeaving the trail, we climb up into the unknown.


97 #76

97 C 2 142 1997 Porters Hiking up Misty RidgeThe climbing is difficult, but the porters don’t slow down, even though they are anxious. Entrapment by monsoon clouds is a constant threat.


97 #77

97 C 3 49 1997 Troy Porters Making TrailHacking our way through the entangled rhododendron thickets slows our progress and zaps our energy.


97 #78

97 C 4 143 1997 Troy Porters Hiking up Exposed RidgeThe geologic exposure is frightening. See Troy Gillenwater in the foreground on the bottom-right and the porters are dotting the top of the hill in the upper-left.


97 #79

97 C 5 186 1997 Troy Portes on Hidden Falls ScoutHiking on the edge of the rhododendron thickets is easier going. But the risk of a landslide and an endless fall is also heightened.


97 #80

97 C 6 144 1997 Porters Hiking Exposed RidgeOur porters gain the ridgeline.


97 #81

97 C 7 50 1997 Porters on RidgelineFresh evidence of landslides and earth fissuring are everywhere.


97 #82

97 C 8 52 1997 Climbing Trail on PeakOn the steeper sections we are reduced to crawling on our hands and knees.


97 #83

97 C 9 61 1997 Gil HikingThe higher we climb, the more spectacular the Himalayan views. Gil Gillenwater in the forefront.


97 #84

97 C 10 54 1997 Hiking up to Pass in MistAs the mists get thicker and thicker our group spread out.


97 #85

97 C 11 53 1997 Porters on Ridge in MistEvery now and then the clouds would part and we would, with relief, see our porters traversing the same ridgeline.


97 #86

97 C 12 55 1997 Hunter in Appears in MistWho is this apparition manifesting from the clouds? With no pack he isn't one of ours.


97 #87

97 C 13 89 1997 TG Troy Ken in Rhododendron Tiny Porters BehindWhen the clouds lift, we see our porters scattered all over. Note Troy Gillenwater and Ken Storm are in the foreground and some of our porters are in the top-left on the distant ridge.


97 #88

97 C 14 156 1997 1st Hunter Running GilSuddenly the apparition, with his flintlock, charges us.


97 #89

97 C 15 56 1997 Hunter from Mists“Mystical Warrior from the Mists” - our guide for the next leg of our journey.


97 #90

97 C 16 54 1997 TG Poerter Lunch in GorgeOur porters are breakfasting after a long rainy night. Their plastic rain cover lies nearby. They are truly people of the earth.


97 #91

97 C 17 64 1997 Mtn near Namche BarwaNamcha Barwa - 25,531 feet


97 #92

97 C 18 120 1997 Konla KarpaKangla Karpo - 23,891 feet


97 #93

97 C 19 121 1997 Gyala PeriGyala Pelri - 23,733 feet


97 #94

97 C 20 195 1997 NamcheBarwa Traksen Gyala PeriThe Kangla Karpo peak (Sanglung) on the Indian sub-continent, looms large on the left of the photograph. The Namcha Barwa peak, also on the Indian sub-continent, is the pyramidical peak just to the right of Kangla Karpo. The Gyala Pelri peak, on the Asian continent, is situated on the far right of the photograph. Between Namcha Barwa and Gyala Pelri lies the deepest gorge in the world. With these landmarks revealed we know how to find our destination. The uncharacteristically clear weather allows these to be the first photographs ever taken from this vantage point. The spirit of Pemako is with us.


97 #95

60 1997 Gil Troy Konla KarpoWe are miraculously granted clear skies and unprecedented views. Troy Gillenwater and Gil Gillenwater know a divine guidance is at play in revealing this once in a lifetime experience. Luminous Kangla Karpo is in the background.


97 #96

97 C 22 68 1997 Troy Traksen Gyala PeriWith the 23,733-foot Gyala Pelri in the center, Troy Gillenwater scopes out the Guardian Protector’s Dorje Traktsen Mountain on the left. This will be our gateway into the Inner Gorge.


97 #97

97 C 23 69 1997 Porter Revolt TraksenMesmerized by the mountain, our porters revolt and refuse to continue. They understand that this is the Guardian Protector’s gateway into the Inner Gorge. To take Westerners into this most sacred place could incur the wrath of the local spirits. In this photograph Gil Gillenwater attempts to convince the porters to continue. His pleas, offers of more money and cajoling fall on deaf ears.


97 #98

97 C 24 94 1997 TG Porters Scouting Route Dorje DraksenOur Buddhist-shaman guide’s mystical dream the night before assured the porters that we can continue up and over the sacred mountain without incurring the Fuardian Protector’s wrath, so Matuk and the others debate the surest route of ascent. This will be our gateway into the Inner Gorge.


97 #99

97 C 25 32 1997 TG Tiny Porters Base of Dorje DraksenThe porters can be seen as tiny specs on the ridge approaching the formidable Dorje Traktsen Mountain.


97 #100

97 C 24 92 1997 TG Troy Starting Dorje Draksen ClimbTroy Gillenwater readies to ascend the almost vertical slope up Dorje Traktsen. Porters can be seen inching their ways skyward.


97 #101

97 C 25 72 1997 Climbing TraksenWithout ropes the exposure of this climb is daunting. Here we stop and take a break. Dawa is in the green shirt.


97 #102

97 C 26 73 1997 Gil Reaching Summit TraksenGil Gillenwater approaches the summit of Dorje Traktsen.


97 #103

97 C 27 74 1997 Hunter Reaching Summit TraksenOur Buddhist-shaman guide reaches the summit of Dorje Traktsen.


97 #104

97 C 28 75 1997 Porters Atop TraksenOn top of Dorje Traktsen our porters get a “bird’s-eye-view” of the region they live in but have never seen from this vantage. Dawa is in the green shirt with our Buddhist-shaman guide to his left in the photo and Bhim to his right. Matuk points from the tip of the hill.


97 #105

78 1997 Matuk socks Hunter Atop TraksenRock solid Matuk on the left with a pair of socks I gave him, and our hunter/shaman guide who appeared from the mists on the right. Nobody can believe how clear the skies are. They tell us the Pemako Guardian Protectors are pleased!      


97 #106 

77 1997 Porter w Gun on Summit TraksenWe are truly on top of the world.


97 #107

97 C 32 101 1997 TG Troy Dwared by GorgeThe sheer grandeur of Pemako is an acute lesson in the transiency of continual process. Troy Gillenwater is in the left-hand-bottom-comer.


97 #108

50 1997 TG Troy GilTroy Gillenwater and Gil Gillenwater realize this experience is a mystical gift. Pemako is revealing herself.


97 #109

97 C 33 76 1997 Porters Pointing Inner GorgeMatuk points our way down and into the long-sought Inner Gorge. The porters are ecstatic to be on top of the mountain. 

97 #110

97 C 34 82 1997 TG Porters Scouting Way into GorgeA porter marvels over the use of Troy Gillenwater’s binoculars. Bhim is looking at the camera. We are provided an unprecedented view into the Inner Gorge.


97 #111

97 C 35 79 1997 Troy Hunter Pointing Inner GorgeReadying to descend into the Inner Gorge, Troy Gillenwater confers with our Buddhist-shaman guide as to which route to take. Unfortunately, our hunter guide from the mists have never been this far out of his territory and can offer no advice. We would have to proceed on intuition alone.


97 #112

97 C 36 58 1997 Hiking Ridge in MistWith the clouds moving in, we begin our long descent down Dorje Traktsen.


97 #113

97 C 37 96 1997 TG Porter w Gun Tiny Porters in Rhododendron BackgroundOur porters are rock solid as they descend into unknown territory. Note the line of porters tracing down the mountain in the upper-right.


97 #114

97 C 38 59 1997 Porters w Gun in MistSooner than expected our Buddhist-shaman guide calls a halt to the day’s march. He says the weather is too unstable to continue that late in the day.


97 #115

97 C 39 183 1997 Troy Setting Camp in Inner GorgeWe pitch our tent on the platform constructed by one of our Gogden porters. The porters' camp is below.


97 #116

97 C 40 82 1997 Troy Tent Over Inner GorgeTroy Gillenwater surveys the scene from the tent porch of our platform perch.


97 #117

97 C 41 97 1997 TG 1st Camp in GorgeOur setting affords us miraculous views into the upper portion of the Great Bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo. The gorge is so steep we can't yet see the river.


97 #118

97 C 42 109 1997 TG 1st Nights Camp in GorgeOur porters’ camp. There is magic afoot as we all know we are on the adventure of a lifetime.


97 #119

97 C 43 95 1997 TG Tiny Porters in Rhododendron FieldsWith clouds moving in and out we proceed to climb. In this photograph our porters can been seen in a tiny line on the left.


97 #120

97 C 44 81 1997 TG Gil Ken Porters Dig CrystalsGil Gillenwater and Ken Storm look on as the porters gather crystals. They called the stones, “Vajrayogini’s tears”.


97 #121

97 C 45 57 1997 Pilgrim Markings on Ridge TrailWe are startled to find that Buddhist pilgrims traveled this way many years before.


97 #122

97 C 46 88 1997 Jamyang Hunter GuideAnother hunter manifests from the mists.


97 #123

97 C 47 8 1997 TG Jamyang w 2 dogsThe hunter’s name is JamYang. We nick-named him the Gentleman Hunter.


97 #124

97 C 48 91 1997 TG Hunter Jamyang 2 DogsJamYang knows the way to a large waterfall. We negotiated a price and he agrees to guide us.


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