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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.

1995 A

95-A #1

95 A 1 42 1995 TG Todd Gil Christiaan in Hong Kong 2
Todd & Gil on the streets of Hong Kong with their new friend and fellow expedition member - Christiaan Kuypers.

 

95-A #2

95 A 2 40 1995 TG Gil Todd Troy Christiaan Smoking in Top Gun Bar HK
Gil, Todd, Troy & Christiaan having a gay old time in the, “Top Gun” bar. This did wonders for our jet-lag.

 

95-A #3

95 A 3 88b 1995 Buddha Eyes
Buddha eyes on the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu.

 

95-A #4

95 A 4 02b 1994 Buring Body w Feet KathmanduWatching bodies burn at the Pashupatinath Temple funeral pyres in Kathmandu on the edge of the Bagmati River.

 

95-A #5

95 A 5 54b 1995 GTT Chistiaan Oy in Kathmandu Before
Oy Kanjanavanit, Christiaan Kuypers, Troy Gillenwater, Todd Gillenwater, Gil Gillenwater

 

95-A #6

95 A 6 10 1995 TG Bhakha Tulku Puja Ceremony in Kathmandu 1
Bhakha Tulku appeases the Himalayan mountain gods with a two hour Puja Ceremony.

 

95-A #7

95 A 7 Dalai Lama 2
Photo taken in Tucson, Arizona of the Dalai Lama in front of a saguaro cactus. I had 100 copies laminated and smuggled them into Tibet.

 

95-A #8

95 A 8 4b 1995 Todd Chritissn Oy
Todd Gillenwater, Christiaan Kuypers & Oy Kanjanavanit. On our way to Lhasa, Tibet. Little did we know what lay in store.

 

95-A #9

95 A 9 9 1995 TG Ian w Hamid Eating Chicken Foot in Pome
Hamid Sardar pretending to eat a chicken foot while Ian searches for the elusive chicken breast.

 

95-A #10

95 A 10 104a 1995 Muddy Truck Ride
Following a military convoy in the rain, the muddy road led us deeper and deeper into the land of Vajrayogini.

 

95-A #11

95 A 11 45 1994 TG Lumber Town TumbatseSlogging through the logging town of Tumbatse, not much had changed in 13 months.

 

95-A #12

95 A 12 139b 1995 Stuck in Stream Drive In
Passing Pelung (Leaping Rat Lodge) the road conditions deteriorated.

 

95-A #13, 14, 15

95 A 15 72 1995 TG Truck on Landslide Road on Way In

95 A 13 5 1995 Truck in Landslide 2

95 A 14 6 1995 Truck in Landslide 3
“Landslide Alley” a lottery of luck. Some made it. Some didn’t.

 

95-A #16

95 A 16 78a 1995 Bhaka Monestary
Arriving at the 800 year old Bhakha Monastery we entered another dimension.

 

95-A #17

95 A 17 164a 1995 Ian Mr Gunn Monk Porters
At the Bhakha Monastery, Ian Baker and our Chinese travel liaison - Geng Quanru - (AKA Mr. Gunn) negotiate with the monks and local Monpa tribal people to serve as porters on our pilgrimage. A few females were a must to balance the male energy.

 

95-A #18

95 A 18 80a 1995 Basket Making BhakaAt the Bhakha Monastery the local Monpa tribal people weave their own backpacks.

 

95-A #19

95 A 19 76a 1995 Tea Bhaka w Group At the Bhakha Monastery. Left to Right: Todd Gillenwater, Christiaan Kuypers, Mr. Zang (seated in army camouflage), Mr. Gunn, Troy Gillenwater & Oy Kanjanavanit. Note nobody is swallowing the rancid Yak butter tea.

 

95-A #20

95 A 20 42b 1995 Todd Troy Eating Chinese FoodA lukewarm dinner at the “Carnage Cafe”. When we got back to our dumpy room Troy asked Todd, “Did that dinner taste a little weird to you?”

 

95-A #21

95 A 21 71 1995 TG Roller Rink in Pome“Surreal” is the only way to describe a roller skating rink in the squalid frontier town of Pome.

 

95-A #22

95 A 22 24 1995 TG Ian Counting Money when Monk Porters ArrestedThe Communist Chinese forbade the Bhakha Buddhist monks to travel with us. Ian Baker counts the group’s cash. Certainly a bribe will change their minds.

 

95-A #23

95 A 23 35a 1995 Prasena Takshim Monastery BomiThe head Lama of the Taksham Monastery bore a remarkable resemblance to Yoda.

 

95-A #24

95 A 24 gillenwater v5 051At the Taksham Monastery (the, “Tiger Skin Monastery”) we found a most unusual mural depicting five tigers devouring a corpse.

 

95-A #25

95 A 25 88a 1995 Old Tibetan woman w Prayer Wheel
Conducting a divination ceremony known as a "prasena" the Buddhist monks manifested a rainbow to guide us to our trailhead. An elderly Ani (Nun) looks on in knowing devotion.

 

95-A #26

95 A 26 Rainbow
The Rainbow of “Divine Guidance”.

 

95-A #27

95 A 27 163b 1995 Communist Chinese Sign
Driving out of Pome we passed this sign claiming the Communist Chinese as the protectors of the Himalayas.

 

95-A #28

95 A 28 113b 1995 Valley Beginning of Hike
The Himalayan scenery from our 1st camp was other-worldly.

 

95-A #29

95 A 29 48 1995 TG Jolly Lama w Attendants
Seemingly out of nowhere a Lama - Kaba Tulku (pronounced Kawa) - and his small entourage arrive. What a gift!

 

95-A #30

95 A 30 75 1995 TG Troy Kaba Tulku Jolly Lama RinchenpungThe enigmatic Kaba Tulku (the “Cloud Lama” ) with his tell-tale Red Hat. This represents his adherence to the Nyingma or “Old School” sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The ethereal Lama was to become an integral part of our pilgrimage and the mystery of our journey.

 

95-A #31

95 A 31 39a 1995 Huge Glacier on DashingLa Pass Hike
We were surrounded by massive Himalayan glaciers.

 

95-A #32

95 A 32 2b 1995 Start Big Porter w Big LoadDouble loads equal double pay. Here our “Gentle Giant” carries over 120 pounds.

 

95-A #33

95 A 33 48b 1995 Tiny Porters Hiking to DashingLaFinally we were hiking! Our group moved as a multi-legged centipede wending its way along and across the glacial spillway.

 

95-A #34

95 A 34 12b 1995 Gil Hiking to DashingLaSoon the climbing began. At first I felt bad – me carrying 25 pounds and the porters carrying from 60 pounds to double that. I soon got over it. That is what they are trained and paid to do.

 

95-A #35

95 A 35 117b 1995 G T T Trail up DashingLa
It was a dream come true. Hiking the Himalayan “Hidden Lands” with the 2 people I could count on the most – my brothers Troy & Todd.

 

95-A #36

95 A 36 143b 1995 Camp before DashingLa
Camping at the base of the Dashing La Pass. At an elevation of 12,850 feet, we had half a mile of vertical climbing to reach the Pass. Then we would descend into the depths of Pemako’s “Hidden Lands”.

 

95-A #37

95 A 37 14 1995 TG Gil Looking Back Down Dashing Valley
Following a dip in the glacial stream, Gil and his “Buddha Eyes” survey the Dashing Valley.

 

 

95-B #1

95 B 1 42a 1995 Jolly Lama w Bear
Finding a dead bear incurred no negative karma. Our food shortage was solved. We would eat like Kings! Kaba Tulku guided the bear’s soul to a better rebirth.

 

95-B #2

95 B 2 155b 1995 Porters Skinning Bear
Gutting the bear in search of the prized gallbladder. Soon we would have meat aplenty.

 

95-B #3

95 B 3 131b 1995 Porters Cooking Bear Meat
Roasting the meat took all night. We had over 200 pounds of bear steaks.

 

95-B #4

95 B 4 118b 1995 Butchering Bear 2
The butchering and tribal incantations went on for hours. The Guardian Spirits were pleased. They’d given us this gift. The porters chanted their gratefulness.

 

95-B #5

95 B 5 61 1995 TG Butchering BearThe porters played with the bear’s head throughout the night hoping to embody its spirit. They kept the head for several days.

 

95-B #6

95 B 6 39 1995 TG Hiking up Dashing Valley
At 14,000 feet in elevation, climbing up and out of the Dashing Valley was a formidable task.

 

 

95-B #7 & #8

95 B 7 66b 1995 Porters Going Up DashingLa

95 B 8 26b 1995 Porters Climbing DashingLa Pass
The Sherpas and porters were super-human.

 

95-B #9 & #10

95 B 9 107 1995 Gil on DashingLa

95 B 10 123b 1995 Troy Looking Glacier on DashingLa
Stopping to soak in the scenery. At times it was overwhelming.

 

95-B #11

95 B 11 40a 1995 Porter on DashingLa Pass Hike
Hiking the ice fields was treacherous. Especially with a 100 pound load.

 

95-B #12

95 B 12 121b 1995 Glacier on DashingLa Hike
One final look back into the Dashing Valley.

 

95-B #13

95 B 13 25b 1995 Todd Atop DashingLa Pass
Todd reaches the Dashing La Pass.

 

95-B #14

95 B 14 18 1995 TG Troy Porter on Dashing La Pass
Troy and Pasang Sherpa reach the Dashing La Pass.

 

95-B #15

95 B 15 8a 1995 Pony Group Dropping into Pemako
A pony caravan emerges from the roiling Pemako abyss.

 

95-B #16

95 B 16 38a 1995 Gil Dalai Lama Photo DashingLa Pass
With Mr. Zang well ahead I offer Dalai Lama photographs.

 

95-B #17

95 B 17 1 1995 TG Gil Hiking Down of Dashing La
Dropping off the Dashing La Pass and negotiating the ice fields at the head of the Chimdro Valley.

 

95-B #18

95 B 18 10a 1995 Pemako Chimdro Vajrayogini Waterfall
Waterfalls have special significance in Pemako. Hundreds were cascading into the Chimdro Valley.

 

95-B #19

95 B 19 24b 1995 Dropping into Chimdro Valley
Staring into the throat of the Chimdro Valley.

 

95-B #20

95 B 20 71b 1995 Todd Tiny Porters Descending DashingLa
A steep descent off the Dashiing La Pass and into the Chimdro Valley.

 

95-B #21

95 B 21 62 1995 TG Gil after Dashing La Pass
This cabin had wall to wall porters chomping on putrefied bear meat.

 

95-B #22

95 B 22 60b 1995 Gil Looking Down Chimdro
Pemako was a Fairy Land.

 

95-B #23

95 B 23 23b 1995 Todd Crossing Cantilevered Bridge
Pemako weather vacillates from pounding rain to scorching sun several times a day. Here Todd crosses a cantilevered bridge.

 

95-B #24

95 B 24 12 1995 TG Sick Camp near Taken
The ground was so saturated with water our tent felt like a waterbed.

 

95-B #25

95 B 25 41 1995 TG Gil w Leech on Stomach
Our dropping elevation took us deep into leech country.

 

95-B #26

95 B 26 30a 1995 Jolly Lama Chinese Policeman Mr. Zang
I love this photo. Here our Lama rests in meditative peace. Next to him, exhausted, is our Communist Chinese military escort – Mr. Zang. Mr. Zang was conflicted. He couldn’t square the spiritual magic of Pemako, he witnessed thru the Lama, with his atheistic Communist beliefs.

 

95-B #27

95 B 27 63 1995 TG Crazy Nun
The Crazy Nun.

 

95-B #28

95 B 28 49a 1995 Crazy Nun w Dalai Lama Photo
Poison witches in Pemako have tattooed tongues. Therefore, local etiquette requires the sticking out of tongues for all female introductions. Here the Crazy Nun is proving to us she is not a poison witch.

 

95-B #29

95 B 29 32a 1995 Gil Hiking Between Opposing Rivers
Two different rivers - 30 feet apart - flowing in opposite directions?

 

95-B #30

95 B 30 73 1995 TG Troy w Leech on Butt
Troy won the “worst place to find a leech” contest.

 

95-B #31

95 B 31 68 1995 TG Troy Drinking w Leech on ArmLeech bites became common occurrences.

 

95-B #32 & #33

95 B 32 36 1995 TG Gil in Chimdro Tiger Jungle

95 B 33 134b 1995 Troy Todd Ian in Rhododendron Forest
The hot and tangled Rhododendron forests became oppressive.

 

95-B #34

95 B 34 146b 1995 Troy on Bamboo Trail
Troy and porters hope they’re on the right trail.

 

95-B #35

95 B 35 67 1995 TG Gil in Chimdro Bamboo Tiger Jungle
The tunneled bamboo thickets were very disorienting. Knowing the area’s large tiger population didn’t help.

 

95-B #36

95 B 36 27a 1995 Gil Porter w Leech Eye Dalai Lama Photo
With Mr. Zang in Ghutan trying to secure our permits, I had free license to hand out Dalai Lama photographs in the village of Samdrup. This man lost the sight in his left eye due to a leech bite.

 

 

95-B #37 & #38

95 B 37 20b 1995 Porter w Dalai Lama Photo2

95 B 38 145b 1995 Portes Tent door w Dalai Lama
The tribal people’s love for the Dalai Lama knew no bounds.

 

95-B #39

95 B 39 28a 1995 Deformed Kids Looking in Tent Chimdro
The local children would stare at us for hours. Inbreeding was taking a toll in these isolated villages.

 

95-B #40 & 41

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-B #42

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

 

95-B #43, #44, & 45

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 makes it safely across and promptly takes a nap. Next to the river was the only place we could escape the relentless heat.

 

95-B #46 & #47

95 B 46 26a 1995 Ian Cable Crossing Chimdro

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

 

95-B #48

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

 

95-B #49

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

 

95-B #50

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

 

95-B #51

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

 

95-B #52

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

 

95-B #53

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

 

95-B #54

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

 

95-B #55

95 B 55 10b 1995 Bivoac Camp
Pemba Sherpa could start a fire in an aquarium. These guys were the ultimate outdoorsmen. Right to Left - Christiaan Kuypers, Hamid Sardar, Troy Gillenwater & Oy Kanjanavanit. Pemba Sherpa is on the far left.

 

95-B #56

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

 

95-B #57

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

 

95-B #58

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-B #59

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

 

95-B #60

95 B 60 90a 1995 Troy Todd Porter PungPungLa
Left to Right: Todd and Troy pose with our senior porter – Puntsok. We had another 1,000 feet to climb to gain the PungPung La pass.

 

95-B #61

95 B 61 74 1995 TG Todd on Ridge w Porters above in Mist
Dropping off the PungPung La pass. Todd is not looking real thrilled about the steep, wet descent ahead.

 

95-B #62

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

 

95-B #63

95 B 63 126b 1995 Big Porter Carries Big Load
Carrying 2 loads, our “Gentle Giant” porter is enjoying the drier weather and firmer trails.

 

95-B #64

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

 

95-B #65

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

 

95-B #66

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

 

95-B #67

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

 

95-B #68

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

 

95-B #69

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-B #70

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

 

95-B #71

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

 

95-B #72

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

 

95-B #73

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

 

95-B #74

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

 

95-B #75

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

 

95-B #76

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

 

95-B #77

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

 

95-C #1

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


95-C #2

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

 

95-C #3

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

 

95-C #4

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

 

95-C #5

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

 

95-C #6

95 C 6 45 1995 TG Gil Sick Todd near Kundu
Todd started feeling a little better. Gil didn’t.

 

95-C #7

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

 

95-C #8

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

 

95-C #9

95 C 9 7a 1995 Troy Todd Chimed Gompa Kundu
Chimed Gompo is carrying 2 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 had a long way to go.

 

95-C #10

95 C 10 197 1995 Kundu
Kundu Dorsempotrang Mountain.

 

95-C #11

95 C 11 80b 1995 Dawa chimed Gompa Back to Help
Chombi Sherpa sent 2 Sherpas back to us with hot water and noodles. Now we had 3 Sherpas to carry our packs and help us down to the day’s camp on the banks of another glacial lake.

 

95-C #12

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

 

95-C #13

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

  

95-C #14

95 C 14 6a 1995 Tiny Porters on Ridgeline
Close examination shows our vanguard porters, like ants, on the ridgeline in the middle left of the photograph. The ice caped peak on the right is the 25,531 foot Namcha Barwa.

 

95-C #15

95 C 15 132b 1995 tiny Porters TT Hiking
Steep climbs up and steep climbs down. This is hiking in the Himalayas.

 

95-C #16

95 C 16 27 1995 TG Oy Looking Plant
With her keen interest in botany, Oy was forever examining trailside plants. We felt that she, Christiaan, Chombi & Chimed Gompo were the only expedition members who had our well-being at heart. It was becoming increasingly obvious that Ian & Hamid had a different agenda that didn’t include us and that they weren’t sharing.

 

95-C #17

95 C 17 9a 1995 Guru Shugstrethang Lake
Guru Shugstrethang Lake. An extremely revered pilgrimage site.

 

95-C #18

95 C 18 20 1995 TG Guru Shugstrethang Lake Porters Circumnambulation
To the porters, theirs was a living landscape.

 

95-C #19

95 C 19 43 1995 TG Kundu DorsemPodrang Mountain
Kundu Dorsempotrang Mountain (Vajrayogini’s heart chakra) was easily recognizable by the anvil shaped stone on its summit. We were getting close.

 

95-C #20

95 C 20 38b 1995 Tiny Porters Leaving Kundu
The climb up to our Kundu Dorsempotrang base camp was severe. Here our lagging
group inches its way up to the holy mountain.

 

95-C #21

95 C 21 9b 1995 Lake on Kundu by Kuypers
Kundu Lha Tsho Lake, “The All Gathering Soul Lake". Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers

 

95-C #22

95 C 22 109b 1995 Lake on Kundu chritiaan
Vajrayogini’s essence manifests as sacred lakes dotting the landscape. Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers

 

95-C #23

95 C 23 37b 1995 BW Lake on Kundu by Christiaan
The porters stare at the cliff face in veneration. Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers

 

95-C #24

95 C 24 152 1995 Jolly Lama on KunduThe Jolly Lama and his young attendant join Scarface at a holy boulder. Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers 

 

95-D #1

95 D 1 168a 1995 Tiny Porters leaving Kundu
Kundu Dorsempotrang offers us one final view as the porters labor below.

 

95-D #2

95 D 2 21 1995 TG Gil Older Porter
Ongel, the old Sherpa with his cheap rubber boots, was a stabilizing influence and a wonderful companion.

 

95-D #3

95 D 3 44 1995 TG Matuk Son Friend w Dalai Lama on ZigChen La Pass
Matuk (on far right) and his companions are stunned at the manifestation of the, “Deities from the sky”.

 

95-D #4

95 D 4 36b 1995 Troy Near Rinchenpung
The Gillenwater brothers can’t shake their dogged illness as evidenced in Troy’s expression.

 

95-D #5

95 D 5 39b 1995 Ian Crossing Stream on Log copyWe finally found a fallen log where we could inch our way across the rushing waters. 

 

95-D #6

95 D 5 61b 1995 Leech on Leg
Back in leech country.

 

95-D #7

95 D 6 169a 1995 Rinchenpung
The Rinchenpung Monastery translates to "Mound of Jewels”. It was a welcome sight.

 

95-D #8

95 D 7 170a 1995 Rinchenpung
The Rinchenpung Monastery. Vajrayogini’s naval chakra is arguably Pemako’s most revered pilgrimage site. Meditation in this power spot generates compounding benefits. 

 

95-D #9

95 D 8 50a 1995 Handless Abott w TroyTroy shares photos from home with an older lama. His left hand and all his fingers had been severed by Mao's "Red Guard".

 

95-D #10

95 D 9 84b 1995 Gil w Padmasambhava Rinchenpung 2Rang Rig Gyapo the "King of Self-Awareness” is a rare wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava.

 

95-D #11

95 D 10 140a 1995 Wrathful Padmasambhava HeadA Garuda, representing the consciously awakened mind, hovers above the "King of Self-Awareness”.

 

95-D #12

95 D 11 58a 1995 BonPo Masks RinchenpungThe Old School of Tibetan Buddhism ingeniously incorporated many animistic traditions of the indigenous Bön religion seamlessly into its theology.

 

95-D #13

95 D 12 7 1995 TG Gil Porters w Dalai Lama RinchenpungWith our military escort, Mr. Zang, gone we could freely hand out our coveted Dalai Lama photographs. Here Gil hands several out to the porters.

 

95-D #14

95 D 13 47a 1995 Porters w Dalai Lama Photo RinchenpungThe love and reverence they have for “His Holiness” is difficult to describe.

 

95-D #15

95 D 14 51 1995 TG Troy w 2 Porters Dalai Lama RinchenpungOur distribution of the Dalai Lama photos gained us great status at Rinchenpung. They truly were “spiritual currency” in this remote frontier - forgotten by time.

 

95-D #16

95 D 15 129b 1995 Troy Giving Football to Boy Rinchenpung
As Todd looks on, Troy presents our foam football to the caretaker’s sons.

 

95-D #17

95 D 16 107b 1995 Dalai Lama Monpa Family
The caretaker family at the Rinchenpung Monestary. Note the brother’s foam football and ball point pen.

 

95-D #18

95 D 17 108b 1995 Leech on Gils Foot
By this time, the leeches didn’t seem to bother us that much. We learned that in Pemako it was just a way of life.

 

95-D #19

95 D 18 18b 1995 Gil Jolly Lama Rinchenpung
It was difficult for us to say goodbye to Kaba Tulku – our “Jolly Lama”. He was such a presence and living example of clear thought. It’s doubtful we could have ever located the magic mountain - Kundu Dorsempotrang - without his knowledge and intuition.

 

95-D #20


95 D 19 46b 1995 Gil in Monpa Home
Visiting with the local villagers as we were leaving the Rinchenpung Monestary was fun. Their homes are perpetually filled with smoke.

 

95-D #21

95 D 20 74a 1995 Monpa Lady Child
Trading beads are a big part of the villagers’ lives.

 

95-D #22

95 D 21 73b 1995 Gil Hiking up Forest Trail
The day’s hike to Medog began with an unexpected 600 foot climb.

 

95-D #23

95 D 22 40b 1995 Todd Hiking Down to Medog
It was a hot and muggy 4,000 foot descent into the military outpost of Medog.

 

95-D #24

95 D 23 66 1995 TG Leech on Gils Arm
At these lower elevations leeches were everywhere.

 

95-D #25

95 D 24 13 1995 TG Gil Beers in Medog
Medog. What a disappointment.

 

95-D #26

95 D 25 33b 1995 Gil Monpa in Medog
Even in this military pigsty with its Mad Max characters - the Dalai Lama photographs carried a huge significance.

 

95-D #27

95 D 26 35 1995 TG Troy in Medog Room
Troy relaxes in our Medog luxury suite.

 

95-D #28

95 D 27 55b 1995 Todd Store for Beer
The Medog General Store. Todd purchases snacks for us and beers for our life-saving Sherpas.

 

95-D #29

95 D 28 6 1995 TG Gil Troy Todd in Medog RoomThough beer and high doses of Flagyl don’t mix – we couldn’t resist. (Flagyl was our drug of choice for treating parasitic infections and amebic dysentery. We were popping the pills like M&M’s.)

 

95-D #30

95 D 29 137b 1995 Troy Todd Out of MedogAt just over 2,000 feet in elevation the jungle heat was stifling. Bepuk lies in the background. Close examination of the photo shows the Doshong River flowing aqua green into the muddy Yarlung Tsangpo. We would cross the Yarlung Tsangpo and follow the Doshong Valley up to the 15,300 foot high Doshong La Pass – our gateway out of Pemako and on to the village of Pei.

 

95-D #31

95 D 30 22b 1995 Monpa Woman Carrying FernsEarly outside of Bepuk we encountered a local Lopa tribal woman carrying ferns.

 

95-D #32

95 D 31 15 1995 TG Doshing R into Tsangpo R Medog BridgeClose examination shows the “Liberation Bridge” and its shadow cast on the river in the left of the photo. The aqua green Doshong River flows in from the right.

 

95-D #33

95 D 32 153b 1995 River Climb out of MedogThe Doshong River.

 

95-D #34

95 D 33 101b 1995 Tiny Porter on TrailOur trail virtually “tunneled” up the side of the canyon.

 

95-D #35

95 D 34 129 1995 Tiny Troy on DoshingLa TrailClose examination of this photo shows Troy on the trail in the far distance with his arms raised high.

 

95-D #36

95 D 35 53 1995 TG Pimative Lopa House 2Our well traveled trail led us by a few Lopa homes. There was a simplicity in their primitiveness we found alluring.

 

95-D #37

95 D 36 127b 1995 Todd Troy on Trail 2Little by little our climbing took us above and out of the stifling heat.

 

95-D #38

95 D 37 32b 1995 Gil Looking Up Misty ValleyPemako is a magic place.

 

95-D #39

95 D 38 97b 1995 Troy Looking up DoshingLaTroy looks up the Doshong Valley. Our pass out of Pemako was a half mile above us.

 

95-D #40

95 D 39 83b 1995 Troy in Camp below DoshingLaSetting camp for our last night in Pemako.

 

95-D #41

95 D 40 130 1995 Camp Base of DoshingLaWet and cold at the “Doshong La Base-Camp”, we were ready to leave Pemako.

 

95-D #42

95 D 41 92a 1995 Porters Climb to PungPungLaHere the climbing to the Doshong La Pass began in earnest.

 

95-D #43

95 D 42 151b 1995 Mist Climb to DoshingLaTodd moves on ahead.

 

95-D #44

95 D 43 135b 1995 Todd Filtering Water DoshingLaTodd filters water as we climb higher into the mists.

 

95-D #45

95 D 44 152b 1995 Chombi Porter on DoshingLaChombi (shirtless) and fellow Sherpa climb on by. These guys were tough!

 

95-D #46 & #47

95 D 45 167a 1995 Tired Porter Huge Load
95 D 46 171a 1995 Small Porter w Huge LoadOur porters were unfathomably strong.

 

95-D #48

95 D 47 141b 1995 Porters on Way to DoshingLaPorters inching their way up the Doshong La Pass.

 

95-D #49

95 D 48 144b 1995 Gil Todd Climbing DoshingLaGil & Todd working their way up to the Doshong La Pass.

 

95-D #50

95 D 49 95b 1995 Gil Hiking DoshingLaThere was too much water in the streams to be close to the Pass?

 

95-D #51

95 D 50 51b 1995 Todd in MistVisibility was difficult as Todd disappeared into the clouds.

 

95-D #52

95 D 51 50b 1995 Porter Hiking up DoshingLaPrecarious hiking in the ice fields.

 

95-D #53

95 D 52 34a 1995 Porters Hiking DoshingLaThe porters push on. It was near here that we saw the dead man.

 

95-D #54

95 D 53 19 1995 TG Troy on Doshing La PassTroy poses for a quick picture on the Doshong La Pass.

 

95-D #55

95 D 54 106b 1995 Gil Todd Backside DoshingLa to PeiLeaving Pemako was just as dramatic as entering it three weeks earlier.

 

95-D #56

95 D 55 89b 1995 Todd Troy Road PeiThe road! Todd & Troy relish in the moment.

 

95-D #57

95 D 56 32 1995 TG Over Doshing Road to PeThe end of the Pemako trail.

 

95-D #58

95 D 57 104b 1995 G T T in PeiTodd, Gil & Troy. The outpost of Pei. Finally civilization!

 

95-D #59

95 D 58 92b 1995 Chimed Gompa Chombi in PeiIn the village of Pei, Chombi Sherpa (right) had the thankless job of calculating porter wages. When nobody was around, Troy, Todd & I gave Chimed Gompo (middle) a large tip. He literally saved our lives.

 

95-D #60

95 D 59 56 1995 TG Christiaan Juggling in MedogAs we ready for the long drive back to Lhasa, Christiaan has a celebratory smoke and entertains the residents of Pei with a juggling act.

 

95-D #61

95 D 60 133b 1995 Gil Happy PeiGil can’t stop smiling. “We made it. We made it. We’re finally out of Pemako!”

 

95-D #62

95 D 61 85b 1995 Cliffside Monestary Drive OutHigh on a hill just outside the town of Tsethang, sits Tibet’s oldest fortress/castle - Yumbulakhar.

 

95-D #63, #64, #65

95 D 62 86a 1995 Tibetan Kids
95 D 63 63b 1995 Begging Children Drive In
95 D 64 85a 1995 Tibetan BoySome of the interesting Tibetans we passed on our long drive back to Lhasa.

 

95-D #66

95 D 65 gillenwater v7 162Left: Raktayamari & Vajravetali - Yab (father)-Yum (mother), Middle: (to follow), Right: White Tara

 

95-D #67

95 D 66 64b 1995 Group Eating End of TripEating in an actual restaurant. We were all smiles.

 

95-D #68

95 D 67 67b 1995 Group Eating at Roys KathmanduKnown for serving American style food, we dreamed of eating at Mike’s for a month. Our breakfast lasted for two hours and ended with hot fudge brownie sundaes.

 

95-D #69

95 D 68 158b 1995 Todd Rooftop KathmanduStill not feeling that well, Todd gets some fresh air atop our Hotel Marshyangdi overlooking Kathmandu. Later that evening he would have a severe intestinal relapse.

 

95-D #70

95 D 69 87b 1995 G T T Chokyi Rinpoche Atop JokhangChokyi Nyima Rinpoche and an unforgettable lesson in Buddhist Dependent Origination & Emptiness.

 

95-D #71 & #72

95 D 70 111 1995 Sadhu Hugging Gil
95 D 71 131 1995 Gil Troy Todd BarkhorA final fun night in Kathmandu.

 

95-D #73

95 D 72 93b 1995 G T T Tequila Shooters LAXThree very strong shots of tequila were in order upon landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. We were home!

 

 

 

 

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