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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.

1997 A

 

97-A #1

97 A 1 38 1997 TG Hamid Mohawk BarbershopIn the military town of Bayi, Hamid emerges hairless from the Noble Lady Beauty Shop.

 

97-A #2

97 A 2 139 1997 Gil Troy Bunny PorterLeft to Right: Troy, Bunny, Pasang and Gil with his newly acquired mojo Mohawk. (Bunny would rarely look at the camera.) The fading double rainbow in the background burned brilliant a few moments before indicating the passing of a high Buddhist lama.

 

97-A #3

97 A 3 102 1997 Leech Troys AnkleInjecting an anticoagulant, leech bites can bleed for hours.

 

97-A #4

97 A 4 200 1997 Truck in Landslide“Landslide Alley” The geologic instability of the Great Bend area rendered vehicular travel extremely dangerous.

 

97-A #5

97 A 5 146 1997 Gil in Bhaka Showing Photos to MonksThe monks were spellbound by the photos of our 1995 Dorje Phagmo pilgrimage. Ani Rigsang, the tantric Tibetan nun, looks at the camera on the right.

 

97-A #6

97 A 6 198 1997 Ian Talking w Bhaka Porter MonksIan negotiating porter selections and daily wages with the head Bhakha Lama.

 

97-A #7

97 A 7 2 1997 Bhaka MonestaryAt the Bhakha Monastery, Ian becomes frustrated with the porters’ increasing wage demands.

 

97-A #8

97 A 8 7 1997 Group Bhaka MonestaryLining up at the Bhakha Monastery for a departing photo, many would not look at the camera. Standing in the back row on the right, Gil and Troy in white shirts, then Ian and the head Bhakha Lama (with yellow sleeves). Ani Rigsang, the tantric Tibetan nun, is on the far right of the back row.

 

97-A #9

97 A 9 145 1997 Troy Hiking JungleEntering the jungles of Pemako brought back many painful memories.

 

97-A #10

97 A 10 153 1997 Troy Hiking SulaTroy hiking the ice fields up to Su La Pass.

 

97-A #11

97 A 11 12 1997 Gil Troy Sula PassLeft to Right: Pasang, Gil, Troy & Ani Rigsang on top of the Su La Pass. According to Ian, we were the first Westerners to hike this Pass.

 

97-A #12

97 A 12 28 1997 Troy Crossing WaterfallThere was water everywhere. Here Troy negotiates a slick two log bridge over a tumbling cascade. A slip would have been disastrous.

 

97-A #13

97 A 13 60 1995 TG 2 Porters Drink Yak Butter Tea w Crazy Nun or Ani LaArriving at the end of the day we found two porters and Ani Rigsang enjoying a cup of tea at Cabin Camp. It had been a long day with over 4,000 feet of climbing. Soon the others staggered in and the cabin was stuffed with bodies. Nobody minded – at least it was dry.

 

97-A #14

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-A #15

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-A #16

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-A #17

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-A #18

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-A #19

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

 

97-A #20

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-A #21

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-A #22

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-A #23

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

 

97-A #24

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-A #25

97 A 22 90 1997 TG Troy Gil Chimed Gompa Lobsong Porter in TerrassaA surprise visit from 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 & porter friend (avoiding the camera).

 

97-A #26

97 A 23 151 1997 Gil Dawa Interview Chimed Gompa in Terrasa copyDawa translates as Gil records the conversation..

 

97-A #27

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

 

1997 B

 

97-B #1

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

 

97-B #2

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-B #3

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-B #4

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

 

97-B #5

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-B #6

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-B #7

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-B #8

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-B #9

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-B #10

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

 

97-B #11

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

 

97-B #12

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-B #13

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-B #14

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-B #15

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-B #16

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-B #17

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-B #18

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-B #19

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-B #20

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

 

97-B #21

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-B #22

97 B 21 149 1997 Porter Cable Crossing TsangPo

 

97-B #23

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-B #24

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

 

97-B #25

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

 

97-B #26

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-B #27

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-B #28

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-B #29

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-B #30

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-B #31

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-B #32

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

 

97-B #33

97 B 33 206 1997 LandslideConstant landslides kept us on edge and often erased our trail.

 

97-B #34

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

 

97-B #35

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-B #36

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-B #37

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.

 

97-B #38

97 B 38 41 1997 BW Matuk TseBunMatuk ceremoniously offers three full prostrations and then beckons us to follow.

 

97-B #39

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

 

97-B #40

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

 

97-B #41

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

 

97-B #42

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

97-B #43

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

 

97-B #44

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-B #45

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

 

1997 C

 

97-C #1

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

 

97-C #2

97 C 2 142 1997 Porters Hiking up Misty RidgeOur porters were anxious. Entrapment by monsoon clouds was a constant threat.

 

97-C #3

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

 

97-C #4

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

 

97-C #5

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

 

97-C #6

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

 

97-C #7

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

 

97-C #8

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

 

97-C #9

97 C 9 61 1997 Gil HikingThe higher we climbed the more spectacular the Himalayan views. Gil in photo.

 

97-C #10

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

 

97-C #11

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-C #12

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

 

97-C #13

97 C 13 89 1997 TG Troy Ken in Rhododendron Tiny Porters BehindWhen the clouds lifted we saw our porters scattered all over. Note Troy and Ken in foreground and some of our porters in the top left on the distant ridge.

 

97-C #14

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

 

97-C #15

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

 

97-C #16

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

 

97-C #17

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

 

97-C #18

97 C 18 120 1997 Konla KarpaKonlakarpo - 23,733 feet

 

97-C #19

97 C 19 121 1997 Gyala PeriGyala Peri - 23,891 feet

 

97-C #20

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

97-C #21

97 C 21 22 1997 TG Gil Troy w KonlaKarpoWe were miraculously granted clear weather and unprecedented views.

 

97-C #22

97 C 22 68 1997 Troy Traksen Gyala PeriWith the 23,891 foot Gyala Peri in the center, Troy scopes out the guardian protector’s Dorje Traktsen Mountain on the left. This would be our gateway into the Inner Gorge.

 

97-C #23

97 C 23 69 1997 Porter Revolt TraksenMesmerized by the mountain, our porters revolted and refused to continue. They understood that this was the guardian protector’s gateway into the Inner Gorge. To take Westerners into this most sacred place would incur the wrath of the local spirits. In this photograph Gil attempts to convince the porters to continue. His pleas, offers of more money and cajoling fell on deaf ears.

 

97-C #24

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 could continue up and over the sacred mountain without incurring the guardian protector’s wrath. This would be our gateway into the Inner Gorge. In this photograph Matuk and the others debate the surest route of ascent.

 

97-C #25

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

 

97-C #26

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

 

97-C #27

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

 

97-C #28

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

 

97-C #29

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

 

97-C #30

97 C 28 75 1997 Porters Atop TraksenOn top of Dorje Traktsen our porters got a “bird’s-eye-view” of the region they lived in but had 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-C #31

97 C 31 155 1997 Gyala PeriWe were in awe at the views revealed to us.

 

97-C #32

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

 

97-C #33

97 C 33 76 1997 Porters Pointing Inner GorgeThe porters were ecstatic to be on top of the mountain. In this photograph Matuk points our way down and into the long-sought Inner Gorge.

 

97-C #34

97 C 34 82 1997 TG Porters Scouting Way into GorgeWe were provided an unprecedented view into the Inner Gorge. In this photograph a porter marvels over the use of Troy’s binoculars. Bhim is looking at the camera.

 

97-C #35

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

 

97-C #36

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

 

97-C #37

97 C 37 96 1997 TG Porter w Gun Tiny Porters in Rhododendron BackgroundOur porters were rock solid as they descended into unknown territory.

 

97-C #38

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

  

97-C #39

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

 

97-C #40


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

 

97-C #41


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

 

97-C #42

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

 

97-C #43

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

 

97-C #44

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

 

97-C #45

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

 

97-C #46

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

 

97-C #47

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

 

97-C #48

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

 

97-C #49

97 C 49 34 1997 TG Troy w tiny Porters on Way to SentionLaThe clouds briefly lift and we see our porters scattered in the background. With JamYang’s help we had located the elusive Sechen La Pass. Here, Ken, JamYang and Troy (on the right side of the photograph) celebrate reaching this long-sought landmark.

 

97-C #50

97 C 50 81 1997 Porters Dropping into Inner Gorge 2With JamYang’s guidance we were finally able to reach the Sechen La ridge which led to the pass. With the constant severe and unstable weather conditions, the porters wanted to descend into the gorge as quickly as possible.

 

97-C #51

97 C 51 67 1997 Glacier on MtnWith the swirling could movement the massive Himalayan landscape was displaying itself like an I-Max movie.

 

97-C #52

97 C 52 174 1997Troy Souting Inner GorgeFrom this vantage, Troy could had a bird’s eye view of the deepest canyon in the world. The perpetually cloaked Inner Gorge was beginning to reveal itself as the veils of clouds were lifted.

 

97-C #53

97 C 53 84 1997 1st View of Inner GorgeAs the mists lifted we could clearly see the Yarlung Tsangpo River left but what was going on down on the right?

 

97-C #54

97 C 54 37 1997 TG Ken Videoing Yarlung Tsangpo RiverKen Storm films the Yarlung Tsangpo River as it flows between Namcha Barwa Mountain situated on the Indian continent and Gyala Peri Mountain on the Asian continent. Ken had dreamed of this moment for years.

 

97-C #55

97 C 55 83 1997 Lifting Mists over Inner GorgeIt looked like an “S” turn on the bottom right. Was the river flowing back on itself?

 

97-C #56

97 C 56 173 1997 Hidden FallsWere we looking at the “Lost Falls of the Brahmaputra”?

 

97-C #57

97 C 57 80 1997 Climbing into Inner GrogeThe sun was blazing hot as we relocated our porters in the seemingly impenetrable rhododendron thickets. Earth fissures posed a constant threat, well concealed under the thick underbrush. In the photograph Troy is in the foreground and the porters are on the ridge in the middle.

 

97-C #58

97 C 58 85 1997 1st View of Hidden FallsIn the waning light we had a magnificent view of what Ken Storm convinced us was the “The Lost Falls of the Brahmaputra”.

 

97-C #59

97 C 59 86 1997 1st Close Up of Hidden FallsWith our camera’s telephoto lenses we could clearly see the pleated geography of two colliding continents. It was this unique twisted formation that kept the Falls hidden for so many years.

 

97-C #60

97 C 60 69 1997 TG B W Porter Cave Under Falls CampThe porters camp nestled under the overhang of a giant boulder.

 

97-C #61

97 C 61 103 1997 TG Gorge Rock CampOur tents were set on the most level area available – the top of a house-sized boulder. Our porters camped below.

 

 

1997 D 

 

97-D #1

97 D 1 44 1997 TG Troy Ken Rock Camp in GorgeAwaking early, we knew we had an exciting day ahead. The views from our perch were mystical. Magic was afoot.

 

97-D #2

97 D 2 140 1997 Gil Looking up Inner GorgeAs we worked our way further and further down into the gorge we could mark our progress by eyeing the slopes on the opposite side of the river. Here Gil looks upriver.

 

97-D #3

97 D 3 89 1997 Ken Viewing Hidden FallsWith a clear view of the Falls, Ken Storm insisted we proceed north for another view angle.

 

97-D #4

97 D 4 90 1997 Rainbow Hidden FallsAs we worked our way horizontally down the gorge we got an unobstructed view of Rainbow Falls (center) with the Hidden Falls just around the corner.

 

97-D #5

97 D 5 91 1997 Close Up Rainbow Hidden FallsKen Storm could recognize Rainbow Falls by the large boulder at the Fall’s pour-over on river right (bottom left of the photograph). It was the same boulder as featured in Kingdon Ward’s 1924 photo of Rainbow Falls. Ward and Lord Cawdor got to within – what they estimated at – 2,600 feet upstream from the Falls and photographed their discovery.

 

97-D #6

97 D 6 92 1997 Close Up Hidden Falls 2Convinced we had located the “Lost Falls of the Brahmaputra”, we estimated the Falls height at 110 feet.

 

97-D #7

97 D 7 52 1997 TG Sleeping PorterOur porters were exhausted. But we still had a dangerous 3,000 foot climb back up to camp.

 

97-D #8

97 D 8 97 1997 BW Gil Troy PortersHaving completed the “The Rainbow Traverse of the Great Bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River” we were on an explorer’s high. We had penetrated Pemako’s fabled Inner Gorge and photographed our discovery of the “Lost Falls of the Brahmaputra". A visceral sense of interconnectedness pervaded our group. We were family. Here Trashipati (far right) clicks the auto shutter release for this photo. Next to him is Gil (kneeling) then Troy with the Buddhist hunter shaman kneeling to his left. Behind Troy is Matuk with Jamyang looking over Matuk’s shoulder.

 

97-D #9

97 D 9 94 1997 Troy Porters GlobeTroy gives our porters a geography lesson. (Left to Right) the Buddhist hunter shaman, Troy, Matuk and Trashipati.

 

97-D #10

97 D 10 96 1997 BW Porters LaughingIt was an afternoon of camaraderie and joy as Hominid Man and Matuk laugh out loud at the other porters’ antics.

 

97-D #11

97 D 11 77 1997 TG Play Day 1st Hunter Looking Photo AlbumThe porters were transfixed by Troy’s small book of photographs from home. Here our Buddhist hunter shaman is looking at the Kentucky State Capitol building. Our guide JamYang is on the far right.

 

97-D #12

97 D 12 95 1997 Matuk BinocularsWhile our Buddhist hunter shaman held the photo book, Matuk used Troy’s binoculars to see who was inside the building. Their innocence was priceless. It was an afternoon we will never forget.

 

97-D #13

97 D 13 87 1997 Camp in Inner GorgeWe watched the fading light in the world’s deepest canyon.

 

97-D #14 

97 D 14 99 1997 Gil Hike Out 2We hiked the ridgeline for hours. The trail improved and we began seeing prayer flags as we neared Payu.

 

97-D #15

97 D 15 100 1997 BW Troy PortersOur hike along the ridge seemed to go on forever. By this time everyone was ready to go home.

 

97-D #16

97 D 16 49 1997 TG Gil in Mist on Hike from PayuThe misty forests seemed surreal.

 

97-D #17

97 D 17 1 1997 TG Sengchen VillageFinally our long-sought hamlet of Payu.

 

97-D #18

97 D 18 101 1997 Gil in Payu Tibetan WritingAfter a long day of hiking Gil takes a rest while the others prepare for pay-day.

 

97-D #19

Photo 97-D #19 (Photo ? need to find photo)
Paying our porters turned into a complicated and often times frantic process.

 

97-D #20

97 D 20 21 1997 TG gil w LeechesWe were squarely back in leech country.

 

97-D #21

97 D 21 103 1997 Gil Leeches Payu WaterfallWhen the clouds lifted we could see waterfalls like sky-born ribbons cascading into the Yarlung Tsangpo.

 

97-D #22

97 D 22 27 1997 TG View of Sengchen from PayuSeeing Zachu on the other side of the canyon gave us our bearings. We had been there in 1994.

 

97-D #23

97 D 23 3 1997 TG View of Bridge Below PayuDropping into the gorge we could see our bridge far below (bottom left of the photo) and our trail traversing up the other side. Zachu is in the saddle on the top third right of the photo with the earth slide next to it. We had a lot of climbing ahead.

 

97-D #24

97 D 24 93 1997 TG Gil on Bridge Payu to ZachuOur bridge crossing of the Yarlung Tsangpo River.

 

97-D #25

97 D 25 6 1997 TG Bridge on Side of Po TsangpoThe hanging bridge on the Po Tsangpo River.

 

97-D #26

97 D 26 105 1997 BW Gil In PylungBack at the Leaping Rat Lodge we had a great feeling of accomplishment. Little did we know there was plenty of adventure still to come.

 

97-D #27

97 D 27 17 1997 TG Gil Dawa Troy Reunited w Porters in Bayi
We were greatly relieved to be released from house arrest with our 2,900 photographs miraculously intact. Some of our companions weren’t so lucky. Most importantly, we had over 300 photos of Hidden Falls documenting its long-sought existence. Here we reunited with Dawa and the porters from Ian’s and Hamid’s group. We knew several from past expeditions.

  

 

 

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