Tenzing & Gombu Rock Darjeeling
Tenzing Rock, a gigantic natural rock in Darjeeling is named after Tenzing Norgay, the man who created history by climbing the Everest first time along with Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Opposite to this is the Gombu Rock named after Nawang Gombu, nephew of Tenzing who was the first person to climb the Everest twice, once in 1963 and then in 65. He took over as the Director of Field Training at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute after Tenzing retired in 1976. Both these rocks are used for rock climbing training by HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute)
Tenzing Rock, Darjeeling
(Right face for amateur climbers)
There is a board right on top of the Tenzing Rock that says "HMI Rock Climbing Training Area". While facing the Tenzing Rock, the left side or the left face of the rock is used by the professional rock climbers and the trainees. Most tourists make a mistake of going over to the right side where the approach to the top of another parallel rock is quite shorter. This is because the right face has been commercialized for climbing.
Actually the right face of the rock can be used by amateur climbers or even tourists for climbing. However one needs to take help of guides and pay a climbing fee. The gradient of the right face is gentle and the surface is easier for climbing. There will be guides both at the bottom and top holding the ropes at two ends so that one can climb to the top and come down.
But if you see the left face of Tenzing rock looking over the fence on the road, you will likely to get a shiver in the spine unless you are yourself a professional climber. The steep and almost vertical rock juts up from far below and rises high above the road level.
Left face of Tenzing Rock
(For professional climbers)
Tenzing himself used to practice climbing on this rock. During a visit of erstwhile Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Tenzing demonstrated a climb on this rock without any safety equipment. You really need to have a skill of a lizard to do this.
Every year Indian Army organizes rock climbing competition at the Tenzing Rock. I was told that in 2010, an army rock climber climbed the Tenzing Rock in just 35 seconds. He almost walked it to the summit. While coming down from the top, it seems they can take huge leaps with the help of the ropes and come down in just 5 to 7 seconds.
The Gombu rock on the opposite side is also quite steep and rises above from the road level. However it does not look that menacing as the Tenzing rock.
Gombu Rock Darjeeling
During and after the monsoon, the surface of both the rocks get covered with slippery moss that makes it even more difficult to climb. Often the moss is cleaned up and powders sprayed on the surface to circumvent this problem.
As I mentioned earlier, the right face of the Tenzing Rock is used by amateur climbers and even tourists to experience a climb with the help of guides. So you will find lots of activities on this side and many onlookers. There are many temporary stalls put up by the local Nepali vendors on that side selling tea, momos (dumplings) etc. You can also buy Darjeeling tea packets (usually of poor quality).
Watch the video of Tenzing & Gombu Rocks
Open Hours and Entry
Daily, sunrise to sunset. There is no entry fee. However, if you want to try out rock climbing at Tenzing Rock, you need to pay a fee (Rs. 100 per person) to the guide.
Both Tenzing Rock and Gombu Rocks are located on Lebong Cart Road of Darjeeling, and opposite to each other. If you are coming from Darjeeling town, then it should take about 20 minutes by taxi. The Tenzing Rock will be on your left. Check out North Darjeeling Map
to see the location of the rocks.
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