Bhutan’s Snowman Trek: Day 15 – Tarina To Green lake Via Woche

Previous Post: Day 14 – Narethang To Tarina

  • calendar date: October 12, 2019.
  • time: 7  hours including lunch and rest breaks
  • distance: 16 km.
  • start point altitude: Tarina 3880m
  • endpoint campsite: Green Lake 4400m
  • high pass crossing: none this day
  • Maps: Bart Jordans’ Trekking In Bhutan has some useful overview maps of the many possible variations of the Snowman, as well as other treks.
  • See here for a Google Earth view of the day’s walk. It helps to use the Google Chrome browser!
  • I used a Sony RX100 III to frame most of the images you’ll see below; a fellow trekker’s Huawei P30 captured the others. (Thanks again, O, for letting me use them!)

Apple Map’s 3D Satellite View –

Apple Maps satellite-view-snowman-trek-Tarina-to-green-lake-east-of-Woche

Google Earth 3D View:

Google Earth satellite view – Tarina to Green Lake above Woche (3880 m)

The satellite image of our day’s walk is the first clue that the vistas on this day would not be as dramatic as the ones from the day before. We’d walk down the trail on the east side of the Pho Chhu (Tang Chhu) for a couple of hours, sometimes through heavily treed sections complete with mud. At the point indicated with a red dot, an initially steep curling ascent towards our first settlement since Laya – that of Woche, on the south side of that massif framed by the Pho and the Woche Chhu coming down from the northeast. At 3880 meters, Woche is at the same elevation as Tarina, the campsite we had left three hours before.

We lunched at Woche and then continued up the west side of the river – the Woche Chhu-  until we came to the bridge. Once on the other side, it was an easy ascent to a meadow above the river where trekking parties sometimes stop for the day and set up camp. Our goal was a campsite 300 meters higher. It would turn out to be one of my favourites of the trip and provided us with a WOW view at the end of a relatively easy day’s walk.

Tarina camp – early morning view looking northwest

looking back at our Tarina campsite on the left bank of the Po Chhu (West Branch)

We left our Tarina camp around 8:30 and spent two hours on a trail down the left side of the Pho Chhu to the beginning of our easy uphill climb to Woche. As was often the case, the forested sections of the trail got quite muddy in spots. We did cross a bridge or two over side streams coming down to the Pho Chhu and saw a few waterfalls on the west side of the river.

a side stream coming down to the west branch of the Pho Chhu (aka Tang Chhu)

bridge over a side stream flowing into the Pho Chhu (West Branch)

a stony section of trail along the Pho River’s west branch to Woche

The importance of this trail to locals was brought home by this stone staircase on our upward hike to Woche. We arrived so early that there was a bit of a wait until the lunch crew arrived! Luckily it was a warm and sunny day, and we stretched out in the flat area in front of some Woche houses. [There are about a dozen houses in the settlement. See the satellite view below.]

stone steps on the trail to Woche from Tarina

Woche has traditionally been the dividing line between the districts of Laya and Lunana. It was here that Laya yaks were exchanged for Lunana yaks – and vice versa. We stopped for lunch in the meadow below the houses; my Garmin-generated altitude read 3888 m.

the “yak highway” through Woche, the first settlement on the Snowman trek since Laya

trekkers’ lunch in an open space at Woche

Woche group shot – Angel’s  Canon SX60

After lunch, we walked the trail northeast out of Woche and, after an hour, started to lose altitude as we headed down to the river.

approaching the bridge across the Woche Chhu above Woche

Once on the bridge, I pointed my camera lens up and down the river to capture some of the glacial stream’s energy. A brief video would have done this much better!

the Woche Chhu tumbling down to the bridge crossing

the Woche Chhu heading downstream from the wood bridge

We had a short break at a meadow just above the river; it is apparently used by some trekking groups as an alternative to camping in Woche, given that the locals there are not keen on trekking pack animals decreasing their already scarce grazing. The shot below was taken from this location – but we would be moving on and up!

looking northeast up the Woche Chhu

300 meters up and 1 1/2 hours later, we came to this beautiful site above Green Lake (4440m). I wish I had made more of an effort to capture the entire scene, including all of the long narrow lake, only the end of which you can see in the sun-streaked image below. Luckily, the following post has some of my favourite shots of the entire trek – and they capture Green lake in the early morning – and the smaller lake just above it!

Green Lake campsite – above the Woche Chhu

gentian on the slopes of Green Lake above Woche

In the photo below, the lake is on the right-hand side, some of our horses are in the foreground, and others are on the side and in the background. In the middle is the blue cook tent, and behind it is a bit of the green dining tent with room for 16 trekkers!

Supper was usually around 6:00 to 6:30 p.m.; by 8:15, we had all retired to our tents for the warmth that the agency-supplied expedition sleeping bags provided. The temperatures would plummet once the sun disappeared behind the wall of rock below which we often camped. However, I am happy to report that only once did I crawl out of my tent at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. with a bottle of frozen pee!

Green Lake Camp – early morning shot

Next Post: Day 16 – Green Lake To Chozo

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