Upper Dolpo & Shey Phoksumdo

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Overview

Upper Dolpo & Shey Phoksumdo
Adventure of a lifetime - Explore with local experts

 

Make a rendezvous with the remote Himalaya mountains of Dolpo, the land of the Oscar nominated Caravan fame, Thinley, a culture nearby Tibet that has survived its originality for centuries. Thanks to the reportage of National Geographic Fame Eric Valli, the Dolpo region of Nepal has been shown in all its integrity and full mystical experience. Along with one of the deepest Himalayan Lakes, the Phokhsundo with beautiful turquoise blue water, watch the yak caravans that maintain the traditional salt trade with Tibet. The region lies further north from the Dhaulagiri Range in the rain shadow of the Himalayas - reflected in the colorful barren slopes of the mountains where the play of light and shadow is a perpetual fascinating spectacle. In summer, the caravans of yaks and sheep run through this valley on a trade route through the Himalayas and allows the exchange not only goods but also of ideas between the Tibetan Plateau and the valleys of Nepal.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrival and transfer to the hotel in kathmandu (1360m)

Upon arrival in Kathmandu,you will be met by our Himalayan Hikers representative and transferred you to the hotel. The drive from the airport to the hotel is around 20 minutes.After your checkin the group leader will set a time for your trek briefing to discuss in regards to the trek. The evening is free but your trek leader will organise a welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant.
 

Day 2 : City Tour
Today, you will visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world and Pashupatinath ,the main temple for the Hindus. Here you will see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the “ghats”. The rest of your afternoon is free. In the late afternoon you will be handed over with your trek pack. Departure information for the next morning will also be given.
Meals included: B

 

Day 3 : Fly Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (152m) and transfer to hotel

After breakfast, we transfer to the domestic airport for the short flight to Nepalgunj, which lies in the westren Nepal, right on the border to India. There are good views from fright side of the plane as we fly close to the Himalayan mountains.Nepalgunj is known for its local bazaars, which have goods with cheap price rates. It is largest city in the Terai with a hot and humid climate. Meals included: B

 

Day 4 : Fly Nepalgunj to Jupal (2,320m) & Trek to Dunai (2,850m)
We take an early morning flight ( 45 minutes) to Jupha main airport of the Dolpa district.On arriving at Juphal you will be introduced with our trekking staffs.Our first day adventure begins with an hour downhill walk through the village below the airstrip, then leading through the terraced fields to the Bheri River and the narrow gorge taking 2-3 hours to camp at Dunai.This is a much larger village or small township, with a new hospital and it is administrate headquarter of the Dolpo region. Here we have ample time for leisure walk around the village. We stay overnight at tented camp. Meals included B, L, D

 

Day 5 : Trek Dunai to Chepka (2,670m)
Today we 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. You 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). You cross to the west bank and trek past numerous goths and horses pastures over a ridge to the rough stone houses of Jyalhasa, a wintering spot for the people of Ringmo. You keep walking upstream to another bridge, cross it to the east bank, and make your way past some crude teashops and a bridge over a side stream, the Ankhe Khola, at 2460m. The trail makes some ups and downs 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 a strange name connection: Parela (parela means eye-lashes), Rahagoan (raha means eyebrow) and Ankhe (ankha is eye). The trail Phoksumdo Lake climbs over a ridge at 2710m then descends on a rocky path to Chepka (2670m).Trekking approx: 6 hours. Meals included B, L, D

 

Day 6 : Trek Chepka to Renje (3,010m) 
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. Trekking approx: 3 - 4 hours. Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 7 : Trek Renje to Phoksundo Lake (3, 500m)
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 Phoksumdo 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. We continue on the route, which switchbacks steeply on a sandy trail through open country to an elevation of 3300m, and 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. Just below Ringmo, we cross a bridge and follow a trail north to the ranger station at Phoksumdo Lake (3730m). We continue to the shores of the lake near the point where the Phoksumdo Khola flows out of the lake. Trekking approx: 4 - 5 hours. Meals included: B, L, D
 
Day 8 : Rest & acclimatization day at Phoksundo Lake
Today we visit the nearby Bonpo Buddhist monastery overlooking Phoksumdo Lakes and then explore Ringmo village. Bonpos circle the  chortens or other religious structures anticlockwise rather than clockwise as done by Buddhists. Meals included: B, L, D
 
Day 9 : Trek Phoksundo Lake to Phoksundo Khola (3,510m)
Our journey continues skirting the shore of the lake as it contours on a rocky ledge along the western bank. This unsteady trail suspended on a gangway of wood supported on pegs driven into crevasse in the rocks, signals the remoteness of the area we are about to enter. At the westernmost edge of the lake the path leads through a lush meadow that opens up into the flood plain of the Phoksundo Khola. Then the walk leads through the valley, crossing the river and avoiding the occasional boggy marsh underfoot and then coming on the bank of the river. Trekking approx: 4 - 5 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day 10 : Trek Phoksundo Khola to Phoksundo Bhanjyang (4,405)

From Khongma you climb up all the time having beautiful views of Chhamlang peak 6 (6739m) and peak 7 (6105m). The trail climbs over a ridge to Ghungru La (4050m) and descends to a small lake and then climbs steeply up to Shipton La (4216m). Descending to Keke La (4150m) and making a further descend through a forest of firs you will get to Mumbuk. Trekking approx: 6 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day 11 : Trek Phoksundo Bhanjyang to Shey Gompa (4,390m) via Kang-La pass, (5,360m) 

Morning walk leads up to a steep climb littered with slate towards the pass. The climb is quite strenuous, especially on the slate screed. From the top of Kang-la 5,360m/17,581ft, there are excellent views down upon a large valley which is bisected by a gushing river. On descending steeply to the valley floor, then the path leads a long meandering trek along the banks of the river, crossing and re-crossing it several times. There are mud caves lining the hills overlooking the river and we pass through meadows where hairy yaks, hundreds of sheep and domestic mountain goat (Chengra) can be found grazing as well near the odd nomadic hut of the herders. A red chorten heralds our arrival at Shey Gompa 4,500m/14,760ft where a quaint wooden, log bridge leads up to our destination at Shey Gompa compound for our overnight camp. Trekking approx: 5 - 6 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day 12 : Rest and exploration day at Shey Gompa

Another well earned rest day for local hike around Shey meaning crystal, this monastery is also known as the Crystal Mountain (well described in Peter Matthissen classic novel Snow Leopard). The lama of Shey resides at a red hermitage known as Tsakang gompa which is north of Shey. It is rather a retreat than a monastery. Tsakang had been a meditation centre of many famous lamas from Tibet. Shey Gompa belong to the Chaiba community, followers of great saint Padmasambhava, known as Guru Ringpoche and Kagyu sects. It was the first Kagyupa monastery and its founder was the lama Tenzing Ra-Pa, built during 11th century. Shey is famous for its ancient pre-Buddhist culture the Bon Po. In Dolpo the ancient Tibetan way of life combines animism with the teaching of Buddha. Drutup Yeshe first introduced Buddhism in the Dolpo valley. Shey Gompa stands above the confluence of Kangjunala and Yeju Nala River. Near the confluence there is a group of prayer mills turned by water wheels. Each year people from all over Dolpo region travel great distances to attend the festival at Shey and to complete the circuit of Crystal Mountain. Meals included: B, L, D
 

Day 13 : Trek Shey Gompa to Namduna Gaun (4,430m) via Saldang La (5,200m)

Another pass to cross today, the Shey La, also called Gelu La, of 5000 m. The climb to the pass goes through a narrow valley. From the pass you have a good view to the north of the arid Tibetan Plateau, which is stretching out seemingly endlessly before you. To the east you can see Mustang. After the pass, it's a long descend to the pastures of Namgung. Scattered in the landscape, you will see some fields, many times with a big Tibetan tent, as the fields are too far from the village to go there and go back each day.The people in Namgung are very friendly and open. A friendly Tashi Delek (Tibetan greeting) will always be welcomed with a big smile.. Trekking approx: 6 - 7 hours. Meals included: B, L, D
 

Day 14 : Trek Namduna Gaun to Saldang (3, 620m)

Today's trek begins by following a pleasant trail amidst juniper which descends into a grey, stony canyon. Then the path begins to zig zag over bare rocks and coarse eroded soil until it eventually brings us to the top of Saldang-la 5,200m. The subsequent descent towards the north which is long and tiring but we finally come upon the welcome sight of pastures of grazing yaks and sheep, and nomadic tents made from yak hair. The red and white colors of the gimpy and its stupas are the only color in this stark landscape. The village itself consists of only six stone houses and has terraced fields on both sides of the tributary, which flow down to the Nam Khong valley. The economy of the region is based on agriculture, animal husbandry and trading. In Dolpo only one crop a year can be grown and this is mainly barley. In some village's buckwheat, oil seed, potato and radish are also cultivated. Recently the main cliff temple collapsed and the villagers have now built a beautiful new monastery in the village itself.  Trekking approx: 6 - 7 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day 15 : Trek Saldang to Yangze Gompa (4,960m)

Trek from here diverts further far north to the least unexplored area by westerners or by any other commercial adventure trekking companies. The trail follows the Nang Chu river most of the way on this wild barren windswept terrain. Walk begins along the fairly gradual path with few ups and downs slope and then passing through the small settlement of Tiling and Lurigaon till we reach to our overnight camp at Yangze also known as Yangtsher, just before Yangze near Lurigaon. Here we cross the tributary Panzang River, a short walk from here brings us to an unexplored region of Yangze 4,960m/16,267ft and its very old Bon-Po Monastery for the overnight halt with time for exploration around the villages and the Monastery. Trekking approx: 4 - 5 hours. Meals included: B, L, D 
 

Day 16 : Trek Yangze Gompa to Sibu (4, 560m)

The trail heads due west passing through the very remote villages of Nishalgaon and further past Shimengaon. To save time and energy we will retrace the path back towards Saldang village which will be much easier and shorter than the other north western route. From Saldang the trail following the river bed we pass through terraced fields, stupas, chortens, heaps of Mani stones and a Chaiba monastery, then passing through the Namdo village which is also prosperous with about sixty houses having nearly 400 inhabitants. It stretches for more than 5 km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong Khola. The Namdo monastery is located near the river bed. Our journey continues further down the river for another two hours to camp near the small settlement of Sibu. Trekking approx: 6 - 7 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day 17 : Trek Sibu to Jeng-la Phedi, (4,900 m)

From here the trail follows the Nam Khong Khola for a while on the morning walk coming across caravan of laden yaks that are on their way towards Tibet border. After days of following the same river, finally we part turning east till we arrive at the confluence of two small tributaries, from here our walk leads to a steep climb to the bottom of Jeng la (4,900m/16,072ft), where we stay for the overnight on a nice meadow. Trekking approx: 5 - 6 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day 18 :Trek Jeng-la Phedi to Tokyu Gaon (5, 090m)

Morning trek leads to two hours climb towards the top of the Jeng La (5,090). An excellent view of snow ranges emerges to the south. The north face of the Dhaualgiri massif shines in the morning light. After a wonderful moment here at the pass, our walk leads to descend on the rough path towards Tarap valley. By afternoon we come to the green valley which leads us on the pleasant track down towards Tarap Chu. Tarap is a fascinating valley with vast plains in high mountains. It extends twenty kilo meters along the river. Tarap Chu is having ten villages with its cultivated fields and many gompas, chortens of both sects. We stop for the night at Tokyu monastery. Trekking approx: 5 - 6 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day19 & 20 : Rest and Exploration day at Dho Tarap

This day, we have a full rest day or exploration of local areas. During the visit you will have an opportunity to make friends with the people from Dolpo. They wear home spun clothing that is sometimes dyed maroon and they prefer Tibetan style somba (boots with upturned toes) for footwear. Men and women often wear both religious amulets and strings of coral and turquoise. The villagers are both Bon Po and Buddhist of Nyingmapa sect. The Buddhist gompa is the nearest one to the campsite, the Bon Gompa is further 40 minutes walk. Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 21 :Trek Dho Tarap to Tarap Khola (3, 800m)

Unlike other days, the day, we will have quite long walk. We will descend towards a wide valley which eventually narrows into a gorge. We will trek along the beautiful juniper bush and wild rose. After we reach the confluence of the Tarap Chu and the Lang Khola to meet Tarap Khola, we will set our camp there and stay overnight. In fact, this place is also known as Kamakharka. Trekking approx: 7 - 8 hours. Meals included: B, L, D
 

Day 22 : Trek Tarap Khola to Khanigaon (3, 150m)

After a long day trek for a day, we will take short trek for the day. Early in the morning we will head towards Khanigaon continuing down through the gorge of Tarap River. This will probably the exciting days of this trip walk, as we will walk through such narrow spaces that in some places we have to jump from one side to another side. Also from between the bushes and stones, if there is path traced. With unexpected adventure and thrills we will get to Khanigaon. Trekking approx: 4 - 5 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day 23 : Trek Khanigaon to Tarakot, (2, 640m)

The trial goes through quite distinct trial than of previous day. We will follow a new track to the village of Lalberi. Then passing through an area of impressive forest, before getting into another gorge our walk continue following the river again downstream to reach Tarakot. Trekking approx: 5 - 6 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day 24 : Trek Tarakot to Dunai (2, 850m)

The walk continues beside the Bheri River in a tremendous gorge with pine trees and an ingenious path built about seven meters above the river. On reaching Dunai (2,140m) after completing the circuit with time for celebration, particularly as bottled beers is available in Dunai or else try the local brew. Trekking approx: 4 - 5 hours. Meals included: B, L, D


Day 25 : Trek Dunai to Jupal (2,320m)

We retrace the journey back to Jhuphal, which is a short distance walk along the Bheri River to the small airstrip for the last overnight camp of this great memorable adventure. Trekking approx: 3 hours. Meals included: B, L, D
 

Day 26 : Fly from Juphal to Nepalgunge to Kathmandu 

Today an early morning  scenic flight for thirty five minutes to Nepalgunj, over the Himalayan foothills overlooking stunning views of the main peaks including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to the north. On arrival at Nepalgunj depending upon the connecting flight schedule to Kathmandu.Your day is free, however in the evening  you will be taken to a well known Nepali kitchen for a delicious farewell dinner. Meals included: B
 

Day 27 : Final Departure

Your trip comes to an end today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand toadvise and assist with your onward travel arrangements. Departure transfer to theairport is included. Meals included: B

 

 

Includes / Excludes

 

Includes

  • All arrival and departure transfer
  • 3 nights in Kathmandu with bed & breakfast
  • 1 night in Nepalgunj with bed & breakfast
  • Standard guest house/lodges in mountain
  • All accommodation and meals during the trek
  • A half day sightseeing tour in Kathmandu valley including tour guide and monumental fees
  • Domestic flights and airport departure taxes
  • An experienced English-speaking trek leader (trekking guide) assistant guide also known as Sherpa, porters to carry luggage (2 trekkers:1 porter)
  • Down jacket, four seasonal sleeping bag, Himalayan Hikers Trekking duffel bag, t-shirt, and trekking map (down jacket and sleeping bag, cottonliner are to be returned after trip completion)
  • A comprehensive medical kit, with medical oxygen on high altitude trips and PAC BAG (Portable Altitude Chamber)
  • All necessary paper work and permits (National park permit, TIMS and insurance of the staff)

 

Excludes

  • Nepal Visa fee (bring accurate USD cash and two passport photographs)
  • International airfare to and from Kathmandu
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Extra night accommodation/s in Kathmandu because of early arrival, late departure or early return from the mountain (due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu (and also in the case you return early from the mountain than the scheduled itinerary)
  • Travel and rescue insurance
  • Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, shower etc)
  • Tips for guides and porters

 

Gear List

 

SUGGESTED CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT LIST
 

Head:

  • Sun hat or scarf
  • Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
  • Sunglasses with UV protection

Lower Body:

  • Under Garments
  • Hiking shorts
  • Lightweight cotton long pants
  • Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
  • Fleece or wool pants (seasonal)
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants

Feet:

  • Thin, lightweight inner socks
  • Thick, warm wool hiking socks
  • Hiking boots with spare laces
  • Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals)
  • Gaiters for hiking in winter to the base camp

Upper Body:

  • T-shirts
  • Light and expedition weight thermal tops
  • Fleece jacket or pullover
  • Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
  • Down vest and/or jacket *

Hands:

  • Lightweight gloves
  • Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer (seasonal)

Accessories:

  • Sleeping bag  *
  • Headlamp (e.g. Petzl Zoom) with spare bulbs and batteries
  • Trekking Bags/Duffel bag *
  • Basic First Aid Kit
  • Large plastic bags - for keeping items dry 
  • Daypack (approximately 2500 to 3000 cubic inches)
  • Trekking Poles
  • Water bottle (2) or camel bag
  • Toiletries (Small wash towel, Toilet papers etc)
  • Ear Plug (who know some people on group are snoring)

Toiletries:

  • 1 medium sized quick drying towel
  • Tooth brush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
  • Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
  • Deodorants
  • Nail clippers
  • Face and body moisturizer
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Small mirror

Personal Hygiene:

  • Wet wipes (baby wipes)
  • Tissue /toilet roll
  • Anti bacterial hands wash

Extras/Luxuries:

  • Binoculars
  • Reading book
  • Trail Map/Guide book
  • Journal & Pen
  • Gadgets - music and communication
  • Pencils and small notebooks
  • Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble, cards etc

Swimming costume (for Kathmandu & Pokhara)

Please note:

The gears  with an asterisk (*) sign are handed out  by Himalayan Hikers as a part of service 

You can use your personal gears if you prefer to do so i.e. sleeping bag, liner, down jacket

We would like to inform you that the weight limitation for Everest treks is  33 pounds or 15 kg approximately

 

 

Departure Dates

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Duration 27 Days

Grade Hard

Max-Altitude 5360m

Accommodation
Camping

Country Nepal

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Affiliations

  • Russell and Janine Washusen.
  • Russell and Janine Washusen.
  • Russell and Janine Washusen.
  • Russell and Janine Washusen.

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Email: info@himalayanhikers.com

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