|P. denticulata, a common species near Lachen, Sikkim|
|Joseph Dalton Hooker (public domain)|
Hooker wrote a two part book called the Himalayan Journals about his travels in this area. Unfortunately this isn't a day-by-day account and so we have to piece together his route by reading several pages starting at pg 47 in Volume 2. We find that he was in the Zemu Valley, and camped at the junction of the Zemu and Thlonok rivers at a place we now call Tallem 27°46'50.48"N 88°29'31.50"E which is at an elevation of approximately 10,700ft - still not high enough to be the collection site. On page 50, Hooker tells us that he repeatedly ascended the north flank of Tukcham mountain (now called Lamo Angdang), but that he also went up the Zemu valley, either of which could get him to the correct elevation of 12,000ft.
|Looking from Lachen to the head of the Zemu Valley (L side)|
Photo: Abhinaba Basu (Flickr, CC)
"I went up to nearly 14,000ft by a steep torrent, snowed the whole way up i.e. from 11,000ft up to perpetual snow at 13,500ft, which was there continuous and flanked by lofty black precipes wholly inaccessible. The fatigue of the ascent was very great from the snow, slipperiness, and enormous rocks which are constantly tumbling from above."
There is a gully rising up the mountain from Hooker's camp spot and there is no doubt in my mind that this is where Hooker went. There is an image of this gully
on a website detailing a trip up the Zemu. This a dangerous place to ascend and it is a testament to Hooker that he was able to do it without being injured, especially considering the rock fall. It is likely that Primula pulchra will be found in the nearby Kishong La or up the Zemu valley towards Green Lake, so I have hopes that someone will soon take images of this elusive species.