Get in touchThamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
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The word conjures up visions of mysterious monasteries of snow leopards and blue sheep (Ghoral). A land beyond the Himalaya. Laying in western Nepal, Dolpo is one of the most remote of Nepal’s regions. By special permit, we are able to offer these-days trek through upper and lower Dolpo .Our route follows much of the route taken by Peter Mathiessen and George Shaller as described in ( The snow Leopard” . We trek 200 miles , averaging 10 miles a day. We spend 6-8 hours a day trekking . Several layover days are planned . Porters carry a day pack with the things you need for the day. Participants should be in good shape. We are at high elevation much of the time on this trip. Five passes, over 16,500 feet, are crossed . Steep climbs and descents are made.
Dolpo region preserved Eco-system encompasses a wild and wonderful variety of flora and fauna, including Blue sheep, Mountain Goat, Jackal, Wolf and the legendary Snow Leopard. Dolpo is remains a truly isolated corner of Nepal, time has stood still here for centuries as inhabitants of Tibetan stock continues to live, cultivate and trade the way they have done for hundreds of years. The east and south of it is bordered by the Dhaulagiri and Churen Himal ranges and to the west by Jumla district. Trekking in Lower Dolpo offers you the remarkable and worthwhile experience of lifetime and altitude ranges from 2500m to 5,190m. Dolpo region has given birth of Peter Matthiessen's masterpiece and best selling book' Snow Leopards' and Eric Valli's Oscar nominated movie CARAVAN (also known HIMALAYA) was featured in this isolated Himalayan sanctuary.
· Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu at (1'365m. 4'478ft.)
It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel.
· Day 02: City Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. Patan and Bhaktapur, its two major neighboring cities bear immense historical, cultural and religious significances. There will be a half day guided tour to the famous and biggest Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath, the 15th century Palace of 55 windows and Swoyambhunath.
· Day 03: We fly to Nepalganj
We fly from Kathmandu to Nepalganj, which lies in the southwest part of the Terai, right on the border to India. After checking into our hotel we might visit the Bageshwari Mandir, a temple to honour Goddess Kali. Nepalganj is known for its local bazaars, which have goods with cheap price rates. Here, not only do we see people from all over Nepal, but also people from Tibet and India; they all come here for trade.
· Day 04: We fly to Juphal at (2'500m. 8'202ft.) and to Dunai at (2'100m. 6'889ft.) about 6 hours Trek
We take an early morning flight to Juphal. Dolpo flights are always scheduled early in the morning. This is because high winds in the Thulo Bheri Valley begin around 10 am, making later flights impossible. Once we arrive at Juphal at (2'500m. 8'202ft.) we start out on the short walk from Juphal to Dunai. We walk downhill through meadows and past a few houses to the small hotels at Kala Gaura (2'090m). From here we follow the river trail upstream to Dunai. We camp near Dunai and explore this bustling little hill town for the rest of the afternoon.
· Day 05: Dunai - Chepka at (2'670m. 8'759ft.) about 7 hours Trek
We start trekking from Dunai, cross the big steel suspension bridge and turn west, following the trail past the hospital, and then it's a level walk along the bank of the Thulo Bheri to its confluence with the Suli Gaad at 2070m. We follow the new trail north up the east bank of the Suli Gaad to a collection of teashops run by the wives of army personnel in Dunai. Another hour of walking takes us to Kal Rupi and then on to Raktang (2260m). We cross to the west bank and trek past numerous goths and horse pastures, over a ridge to the rough stone houses of Jyalhasa, a wintering spot for the people of Ringmo. We keep walking upstream to another bridge, cross it to the east bank, and make our way past some crude teashops and a bridge over a side stream, the Ankhe Khola, at 2460m. The trail moves up and down through grass and ferns to a trail junction. The fork is the old trail leading to the army and national park post at Ankhe, and on to the old trail that passes the villages of Rahagoan and Parela, high on the ridge above. These three villages have a strange name connection: Parela (parela means eye-lashes), Rahagoan (raha means eyebrow) and Ankhe (ankha is eye). The trail Phoksundo Lake climbs over a ridge at 2710m then descends on a rocky path to Chhepka (2670m), which is inhabited by three brothers and consists of collection of interconnected shops, rakshi stalls and lodges. We camp here or at another good spot beside a huge rock in walnut grove about 20 minutes beyond Chhepka.
· Day 06: Chhepka - Renje at (3'010m. 9'875ft.) anout 6 hours Trek
We continue on the new trail, which stays near the river, climbing over a small ridge ,then crossing to the west side to avoid a large ridge and returning to the east side an hour later near a national park camping ground. Alongside the river at 2900m, the trail becomes a collection of rocks and sticks forming a dyke along the river bank. The trail makes several more ups and downs through forests of firs and larches as it continues upstream to a bridge that leads to nine houses comprising the village of Renje on the opposite side of the river at 3010m. We camp at a good camp site here or another about five minutes further on.
· Day 07: Renje - Ringmo at (2'650m. 8'694ft.) about 7 hours Trek
We follow the Suli Gaad valley, which turns eastward and becomes even steeper and narrower. We then climb over a ridge and descends to a wooden bridge then continue along the ups and downs along the valley floor to the confluence of the Suli Gaad with the Pungmo Khola. From here the trail to Phoksundo Lake and Shey gompa follows the west bank of the river. We climb through a forest of big cedar to a good camp site and then on to Palam (3710m), a winter settlement used by the people of Ringmo village. The houses are almost buried in the sandy soil. The entrance station for Shey Phoksundo National Park is at the south end of the village. After our park entrance ticket is examined, we may be subjected to a baggage inspection-ostensibly for drugs and stolen art objects. It's very peculiar formality in this remote locale. We continue on the route, which switchbacks steeply on a sandy trail through open country to an elevation of 3300m, then we start up another steep set of dusty switchbacks to a ridge at 3780m. From the ridge there are distant views of a spectacular 200m -high waterfall, the highest in Nepal. The trail makes a steep descent in birch forests to the upper reaches of the brilliantly clear, rushing waters of the Phoksundo Khola. Then we climb gently to Ringmo village, a picturesque settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with lots of mud -plastered chortens and maniwalls. Just below Ringmo, we cross a bridge and follow a trail north to the ranger station at Phoksundo Lake (3730). We continue to the shores of the lake near the point where the Phoksundo Khola flows out of the lake. There are national park camping grounds on both sides of the river on the south-east shore of the lake. Park rules prohibit us from camping in other places.
· Day 08: Rest day at Ringmo for exploration
A trail leads from the lakeside through juniper trees to the white Pal Sentan Thasoon Chholing gompa, a ramshackle Bon-po gompa overlooking the lake that is said to have been built 60 generations ago. There are five other private gompas in various houses of small monastic community near the lake. The insides of the temples contain dusty Buddhist paintings and statues, but the trappings also reflect the animistic elements of the Bon-po religion, so some of the chapels are reminiscent of an ancient witch's cavern. A donation to the ragtag collection of dirty monks will gain us entrance to the gompas; our Sherpas will be equally fascinated by the strange iconography and practice of the Bon-po religion.
· Day 09: Ringmo - Chunemba at (3'630m. 11'909ft.) about 7 hours Trek
From our campsite near Ringmo on the southern end of Phoksundo Lake, the trail contours on a rocky ledge as it skirts the western lip of the lake. In places it's precariously suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs driven into crevices in the rocks. As we cross a stream, look up at the glacier descending from the upper slopes of Kanjeralwa (6612m). We then climb to a crest at 4060m for a spectacular view of the lake with the snowy peaks of Sonam Kang in the background. The trail makes a step and dusty descent through birches and blue pines to the westernmost edge of the lake at 3630m where the Phoksundo Khola enters. The route now heads west, up along a wide valley. We follow an indistinct trail through thorn bushes and scrub trees, crisscrossing boggy marshes and tributaries of Phoksundo Khola. We camp in a forest of blue pines at Chunemba, an undeveloped national park camping ground at 3630m.
· Day 10: Chunemba - Lar Tsa at (4'120m. 13'517ft.) about 6 hours Trek
We begin the day along the level path that now heads north through a glacial valley. We then cross to the east bank of Phoksundo Khola. We follow the main valley for another hour to Kang Gompa. We climb steeply from Kang Gompa and stay on the grassy ridge. It's a long climb up the ridge past a few groves of birch trees. There are spectacular mountain views with Shey Shikar (6'139m. 20'141ft.) and Kang Chunne (6'443m. 21'138ft.) dominating the skyline to the west. We continue on a crest at 4200m then the route descends gently on a rocky trail to Lar Tsa, a camp site besides the river at (4'120m. 13'517ft.). It's possible to continue walking, but we have now ascended more than 500m in a day and should spend the night at Lar tsa for acclimatisation.
· Day 11: Lar Tsa - Mendok Din at (4'610m. 15'124ft.) 5 hours Trek
We cross a new bridge and climb to the top of a scree slope at (4'490m. 14'730ft.) then make our way up a grassy ridge to a crest at (4'640m. 15'223ft.) We contour and then drop gently into Mendok Ding (flower valley). We again climb alongside a stream to a campsite at 4610m. You are almost certain to spot a herd of blue sheep on the slopes above the camp.
· Day 12: Mendok Din - Shey Gompa at (4'390m. 14'402ft.) about 9 hours Trek
We continue on the route that follows the upper reaches of the Phoksundo Khola, then we turn north towards the peak of Riwo Drugdra (Crystal Mountain). There is a choice of trails here; we follow the more scenic pilgrim route across the Sehu La to the west of Crystal Mountain, making a kora (circumambulation) of this sacred peak. The Dolma trail turns north soon after camp while the pilgrim trail starts up a steep scree slope on the opposite side of a stream that flows from the north. After a long pull to Sehu La (also known as Mendok Ding La) at (5'160m. 16'929ft.) the trail descends a scree slope to a grassy meadow besides a stream valley and begins a series of long ascents and descends across ridges in and out of side valleys as it traverses around Crystal Mountain. After a steep, rough climb to a crest at (5'010m. 16'437ft.) and another at (4'860m. 15'944ft.) we begin the descent to the Tar valley. Soon after the route reaches grassy slopes, a side trail leads to Tsakang, a gompa said to be 800years that is perched dramatically on the side of a cliff. The final descent is on a wide trail to a campsite in a large meadow near a few huts of nomads at (4'310.14'140ft.) just below Shey gompa.
· Day 13 Rest day in shey Gompa for exploration
Cross the river on a log bridge and climb past a big Chorten and a huge field of mani stones to the Shey gompa compound at (4'390m.14'402ft.) The gompa itself is not large, and there are no artifacts or paintings of note inside. Although the building is said to be 800years old, the wall paintings are relatively recent, probably done in 1970s. The statues on the altar are of Guru Rinpoche, Sakyamuni and Milarepa. The gompa also houses an ancient Tibetan scroll that describes the myth of Crystal Mountain and Shey gompa. According to the inscription, there is a holy lake in a crater among the mountains that surrounds Shey. When a pilgrim makes nine circumambulations of this lake the water turns milky. A sip of this milk and the pilgrim can see Mt Kailash in the distance. The ones, who don’t need a day of rest, can try to find this lake.
· Day 14: Shey Gompa - Namgung at (4'430m. 14'534ft.) about 8 hours Trek
We trek east from Shey gompa and across the 5'010m. 16'437ft.) Shey La. Here we turn north and descend before climbing again to Namgung at (4'430m. 14'534ft.)
· Day 15: Namgung - Karang at (4'050m. 13'287ft.) about 7 hours Trek
We traverse high above the Namgung Khola to Karang at (4'050m. 13'287ft.) It's also possible to descend to Saldang on the banks of the river, but this village is of little interest.
· Day 16: Karang - Mugaon at (4'100m. 13'451ft.) about 8 hours Trek
We descend to Torak Sumdo at (3'670m. 12'040ft.) the confluence of the Namgung and Polang kholas, and cross to the northern bank. We then climb to Yanger gompa at 3750m and trek along the river side valley. We camp at one of the campsites along the side of the stream at about (4'100m. 13'451ft) before Mugaon.
· Day 17: Mugaon - Shimen at (4'010m. 13'156ft.) about 9 hours Trek
We continue up the valley to Mugaon and climb towards the Mushi La at (5'030m. 16'502ft.) Then we descend towards Shimen village, we end the day at a good campsite in pastures above the village at (4'010m.13'156ft.)
· Day 18: Shimen -Tinje at (4'150m. 13'615ft.) about 8 hours Trek
We drop down to Shimen village at (3'870m. 12'696ft.) and make a long trek upriver through Pha at (4'090m. 13'418ft.) to Tinje at ('4150m.13'615ft.)
· Day 19: Tinje - Rakpa at (4'530m. 14'862ft.) about 8 hours Trek
We trek past the runway of mysterious Tinje airport to a trail junction at (4'130m. 13'549ft.) where a high route leads to Tarap. We continue southward to a campsite on the banks of the river at (4'530m. 14'862ft.)
· Day 20: Rakpa - Chharka at (4'120m. 13'517ft.) about 8 hours Trek
We begin our day with a long climb to the Chharka La at (4'920m.16'141ft) We continue on the trail descending along the side of the valley, then make a big drop into a side valley at (4'290m.14'074ft.) We then make a long traverse down to the picturesque village of Chharka on the banks of Barbung Kola at (4'120m.13'517ft.)
· Day 21: Chharka - Norbulung at (4'750m. 15'583ft.) about 7 hours Trek
Another Climb to a crest at (4'380m. 14'370ft) begins this day. We then descend again to a river. We follow the right fork southward, climbing in and out of side valleys on a rough trail. The valley narrows, we then emerge into a big meadow and climb to our campsite at Norbulung at (4'750m. 15'583ft.)
· Day 22: Norbulung - Sangda Phedi at (5'460m. 17'913ft.) about 8 hours Trek
We begin the day climbing to a yak pasture at Molum Sumna at (4'860m. 15'944ft.) and on to a crest at (5'130m.16'830ft.) We then make a long traverse across meadows to the foot of the Sangda La, then a long, steep final climb to the pass at (5'460m.17'913ft.) Switchbacks descend down to our camp site by a stream at (5'100m. 16'732ft.)
· Day 23: Sangda Phedi - Sangda at (3'700m. 12'139ft.) about 8 hours Trek
We climb to a lower Sangda La at (4'990m. 16'371ft.) then descend through loose shale towards the village of Sangda Ghunsa at (4'190m. 13'746ft) We drop to the Chalung Khola, crossing it at 3750m, and then climb steeply up the opposite bank. a long high traverse leads to a cairn at (4'090m. 13'418ft.) we then come to a set of steep switchbacks descends to a stream at (3'580m.11'745ft.) We do another climb to the compact settlement of Sangda, were we end a long day at (3'700m.12'139ft.)
· Day 24: Sangda - Dhagarjun at (3'290m. 10'793ft.) about 8 hours Trek
We climb the hill behind Sangda and spend most of the day making a high traverse, crossing nine ridges to a final crest at (4'280m. 14'041ft.)We then descend into the Kali Gandaki valley, traversing under high cliffs and descending to the large village of Dhagarjun (3290m).
· Day 25: Dhagarjun - Jhomson at (2'670m. 8'759ft.) about 3 hours and fly to Pokhara.
We climb to a ridge at (3'360m. 11'023ft.)and make a final descent on a challenging trail of loose rocks to Jomsom at (2'670m.8'759ft.) We take an early flight from Jomsom to Pokhara - a fantastic way to round off the trek, flying right along the Kali Gandaki Gorge between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. In Pokhara we check into the Hotel, get the dust of the last three weeks washed off and head out for a nice dinner.
· Day 26: Drive or Fly Kathmandu
We either take a 35 minutes flight or a six hour drive to Kathmandu. After reaching Kathmandu, you can indulge in independent activities of your choice.
· Day 27: Depart Kathmandu
Our Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home.
Duration 27 Days