Goecha La: In Search Of Kangchenjunga | Documentary

by George Thengummoottil

Goecha La : In Search of Kangchenjunga. A film on a winter Goecha La trek in Sikkimm, India in the Himalaya range.

In December 2011, ZY and I went on a little trekking trip to Goecha La. It was an unusually cold December and the snow has set in early. It was off peak season due to the cold and we were mostly by ourselves up in the mountains. Before heading up, the weather was really bad and 2 teams actually dropped out. However with a little bit of luck, we had pretty good weather along the way and great views.

The night was still bitterly cold, especially for a tropic animal. Winds were strong and on certain nights temperature went around -10C to -15C. It certainly didnt help when the tent I shared with George practically ripped off in the middle of the night. Well at least the stars were awesome. A great trip I'll always remember. Happy Days. ..Lucas Tan

This film is a journey to the Himalayas, on Goecha La trek. The film portraits his journey from Kolkatta to Yuksam and his trekking from Yuksam to Goechala pass via Tshoka, Lamuney. Trekking over ice and the fantastic view at the end of the journey.

The trekking lasted for 8 days, and the film was shot on Canon EOS 500D Camera. The crew was equipped with solar panels and heavy lenses. The film also gives a 10 minute description on Sikkim -- the people, life and culture.

He was accompanied with three of my friends: Lucas, Chew and Joe and the trip was organized by red panda tours and travels, Yuksam.

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Jan 22, 2013
filmmaking equipment list
by: Desktop Documentaries

Thanks George for submitting your documentary. Looks like an amazing project. Would you mind sharing your equipment list and any special challenges you had to deal with for shooting in such extreme conditions? We're intrigued by your use of solar panels and how exactly that worked.

Feb 08, 2013
by: George Thengummoottil

Thanks for accepting my film and your appreciation.


Canon EOS 500D
Nikon D600 (My friend Lucas shot photographs in this camera)

Canon 10 22mm
Tamron 90mm
Sigma 150 500mm
Canon 18 55mm

Solar Panels
12V 250mA *3

Multimeter, Charging Circuits and toolkit, Tripod

I designed and made a circuit to convert the 12V to 8.2 V to charge my camera battery. There was no other option to power cameras, as I could not afford to carry heavy batteries or generators.

I used a normal LPe5 (Battery for 500D) charger and used the input as the power from solar panels.

I exposed the panels to sunlight whenever we had breaks, and it used to get charged. We were trekking most of the time, and had only little time every days to shoot.

I took two extra cameras for time-lapse shooting, but unfortunately the NI-MH battery could not withstand the extreme low temperature and drained out fast.


* Reaching there with all the equipment was a big challenge.

* Batteries drained very fast.

* Using the equipment, and moving heavy tripod was really difficult at that altitude due to low oxygen levels and low pressure.

* Fortunately solar panels worked very well.

This is my first experience with filming in extreme conditions: but this is where I love to specialize.

I understand that there are a lot of pitfalls with this film. If possible I want to shoot this film again, in a real better way. A dream, I want to full fill in another 2 years.

George Thengummoottil

Feb 08, 2013
Solar Panels
by: Desktop Documentaries

Thanks George. It's fascinating to hear the details of your filming. Thank you for sharing.

We added links to your equipment list to help guide filmmakers in case they want to use the same gear. Did we get the links right? Especially the solar panels.

Please do stay in touch. We'd love to hear a follow-up if you do end up going back to re-film.

Thanks again George!

Feb 10, 2013
Amazing Documentary
by: Tom Jose

Dear George Thengummoottil,

I have done Goecha la trek during this november, and its amazing to find that, you did a film on it.

My camera batteries died during the second day, and we were limiting our shots to preserve our batteries to shoot a group photo at Goecha la.

We were lucky to get a few shots at the final point. I am really happy to know that, you used solar panels.

I should say: this is a great achievement. Good luck for all your future works.

Mar 18, 2013
by: Khanna Kalyan Kumar

Dear webmaster,

I am looking to download/ get the DVDs of this film. Found a few torrents but no seeds. It will be helpful if you provide a link to download the film.

Apr 04, 2013
Good One
by: Soumya george

Dear Mr Thengummootil

You have done a great job, This is the first time I find a youtube video so well made.congrats.Soumya

Apr 18, 2013
Quiet Impressed
by: Dominic Xavier

loved watching it. Felt little slow in the first part. views are breath-taking..like watching a national geographic film. This should definitely win awards.

Malleeshwaram Jungle Lodge
Attappady, Kerala, India

Oct 20, 2015
by: George

We are sorry to say that, we have made an update to the link.

Here is the new link

Thank you

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