Dolpo! The word conjures up visions of mysterious monasteries of snow leopards and blue sheep. A land beyond the Himalaya. Laying in western Nepal, Dolpo is one of the most remote of Nepal's regions. By special permit, through our Nepalese tour operator, we are able to offer this-day trek through upper and lower Dolpo. In addition to trekking we will spend a day rafting on the Trisuli River, three days in remote Bardia National Park (looking for rhinos and tigers) and 4 days in Kathmandu visiting Buddhist & Hindu shrines and temples. 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 daypack 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. We use a reputable, local, trekking agency that is licensed by the Nepalese government and is environmentally friendly. Their guides are some of the best in Nepal. Ron Yarnell, the owner of Wilderness: Alaska/ Mexico, accompanies the trip as your leader.
Facts of the Trek
Minimum Group size: 02
Season: March to November
Departure Date: As per Request
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu. You will be met at the airport and transported to our hotel. The afternoon will be spent visiting the Hindu shrines of Durbar Square. Meals the first two days in Kathmandu are not included in the price of the trip.
Day 02: Tour the Buddhist sites of Swayambhunath and Bodhanath on the edge of the city.
Day 03: After breakfast we travel by van 3 hours to the Trisuli River. Following a safety lecture we spend the afternoon paddle rafting a section of the Trisuli. Previous experience is not required . It is a fun run with class III rapids. Following the raft trip we continue , by van, to our hotel at Pokhara, on Phewa lake, with the Annapurna Range rising to 26,000 feet north of us. Breakfast and dinner this day are not include in the price of the trip.
Day 04: Today we fly from Pokhara to Jomsom (elevation 8900 feet), the administrative centre for the Mustang district to Nepal. En-route we fly between Annapurna I ( 26500 feet) ad Dhaulagiri ( 26,800 feet) . It is a spectacular flight. We meet our porters in Jomsom. From here we trek up the wide, Kali Gandaki Valley to the Fortress- like town of Kagbeni (9200 feet) . The scenery around us is spectacular . To our south are the galciated peaks of the Himalaya. To our north is the drier, dessert - like countryside of the Tibetan plateau , a maze of barren high mountains . ( 8 miles).
Day 05-06: Climbing 3000 feet out the Kali Gandaki Valley, we have excellent views of the Annapurna Range, Muktinath and Mustang. We traverse into the spectacular Chalung Khola, climbing and descending side canyons along the way, to the village of Sangdak, elevation 12,500 feet. (15 miles)
Day 07-09: We ascend the convoluted Chalung gorge, then climb 400 feet, to 16,800- foot, Sangdak Pass, the eastern entrance to Dolpo. The scenery is magnificent. This has got to be one of the grandest viewpoints in the world. Descending the pass we follow the Thajang Khola to the village of Chharka, 13,500 feet elevation. (25 miles)
Day 10-13: From Chharka we climb 3000 feet to Chharka Pass (16,500), then descend into the Keheng Khola. This is one of the most remote regions in Nepal, an area where there could still be the magnificent Marco Polo sheep or the Tibetan wild yak. The landscape is Arctic desert , barren in places with alpine meadows in others. We hike past the very Tibetan villages of Tinje, Shimengaon and Saldang. (50 miles)
Day 14-15: Entering Phoksundo National Park, we climb 3000 feet over a 17,300 - foot pass and descend , to famous Shey Gomba, elevation 13,950 feet. We spend a layover day here watching blue sheep, looking for snow leopards and wolves and touring the monastery. (10 miles).
Day 16-18: Leaving Shey Gomba we climb 3200 feet over a 17200- foot pass. Views of the 22,000-foot peaks of the Kanjiroba Range are excellent . We descend 5000 feet into the Phoksundo River drainage and work our way along beautiful Phosksudo Lake (12,000 feet). We find ourselves perched on cliffs, high above the lake. If you don't like heights you won't enjoy this section. A layover day is planned at the lake. (16 miles)
Day 19-20: From Phoksundo lake we descend past the spectacular waterfall draining the lake. Leaving the main route we follow the Durjam Khola through the village of Pungmo (9600 feet), to the base of Kagmara Pass. Since crossing the last pass we have entered the lusher side of the Himalayas . Beautiful forests of pine, spruce, hemlock and birch are common.(18 miles)
Day 21-22: Climb 3000 feet to the summit of Kagmara Pass( 16,800) . Descend along Kagmara Glacier , 3000 feet to Kagmara Phedi camp. (8 miles)
Day 23-24: Descend Garpung Khola 8 miles to Hurikot and the park boundary . Continue down 2 miles to the Bheri River, at 8600 feet elevation . Contour through villages and apple orchards past potato and corn fields, climbing to camp at Mauriya Phedi , elevation 10,200. (20 miles)
Day 25: Ascend steeply, 2300 feet, through forests of pine and oak, across avalanche tracks to Mauriya Pass (elevation 12,500). Views of the snowy peaks to our north and east are exceptional. Descend steeply , 2600 feet, through birch, oak and rhododendron forests to Chotra, elevation 9900 feet (7 miles).
Day 26: For the next two days we descend the Tila valley through spruce forests, past barely fields and rice terraces, irrigation works and water driven mills, to Jumla, elevation 7700 feet, the administrative centre for the region. (20 miles)
Day 27: From Jumla we fly to Nepalgunj , then drive to Bardia National Park, a remote national park in the lowerlands of western Nepal. Here we go o elephant rides and jungle walks looking for tiger, rhinos and other wildlife.
Day 28: Drive back to Nepalgunj and fly to Kathmandu . Dinner is not included today.
Day 29: Today is a layover day in Kathmandu for shopping . Meals are not included.
Day 30: The end of the trip. You are free to return home today.