Dolpo, a land beyond the Himalaya, conjures up visions of mysterious monasteries, snow leopards and blue sheep. It is situated in the western part of the country, and is one of the most remote regions in Nepal. Our route follows much of the route taken by Peter Mathiessen and George Shaller as described in â€œThe Snow Leopardâ€?. It is only by special permit that we are able to offer this trek through Upper Dolpo. (Permits are $710 per person for 10 days, $910 per person for 13 days and $70 per day thereafter). Participants must be in good shape, for we are at high elevation much of the time on this trip. Five passes over 5,015m/16,500ft are crossed, and steep climbs and descents are made.
Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu airport transfer to hotel
Fly to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International airport and be met by a member of our crew. We will be driven to our hotel and later go on a familiarization walk with one of our guides.
Day 02 Rest day at Kathmandu
Spend the early part of the day on a guided tour of sacred Tibetan stupas and monasteries.
Overnight in Hotel
Day 03 Flight from Kathmandu to Nepaljung
Fly to Nepalgung (1 Â½ hour flight), a small town near the Indian border in the Terai region of Nepal, and stay overnight in this transit city. Overnight in Hotel
Day 04 Flight from Nepaljung to Dunai (2,796m/9,200ft)
We will leave early in the morning on the only flight out to Juphal. It is a short flight (35 min's) with wonderful views of the precipitous hillsides and river valleys. The airstrip at Juphal is at an altitude of 2,354m/7,745ft, so we will have a relatively easy trek (9km/3.5hrs) as we walk along the Thuli Bheri River to Dunai. Overnight in teahouse
Day 05 Trek Tarakot (2,550m/8,366ft)
The route continues along the south bank of the river heading upstream on a good trail. Upper Dunai is seen perched high above on the right as our route drops to the left crossing over the river on a wooden bridge. This 18km (5hrs) trek has many bridge and meadow crossings with views of snow clad peaks.
Day 06 Trek Khanigoan (2,500m/8,202ft)
The 6km (3.5hrs) trek to Khanigoan goes alongside terraced fields following the Barbung Khola (river) and crosses to the western bank just below its confluence with Tarap Khola. As the trail rolls over the flank of high hills, views of villages atop the ridges appear brilliant. 15 minutes after crossing the suspension bridge, we arrive at Khanigoan. The trek can easily be extended by going two hours further to a splendid campsite.
Day 07 Trek Chukore (3,550m /11,647ft)
The Tarap Valley narrows up in a tight V shape ahead. Climbing through the deciduous forest with walnuts, nettles and cannabis, it opens up in Lahini which is a rough grass slope. Beyond this the trail passes through grassy meadows, graveled river beds and one can see waterfalls spraying from the rock walls. (13km/5.5hrs)
Day 08 Trek Kamok Kharka (4,000m/13,123ft)
Today we will trek 16km/6hrs across an unstable section of trail that is constantly changing due to floods and landslides. The trail swings to the either bank of the Tarap Khola passing through the narrow gorge, the wall of which is sometimes 15m apart. Kamok Kharka is a large yak pasture which will be reached after subsequent crossing of the river over locally made log bridges.
Day 09 Trek Dho (4,130m/13,550ft)
The trail to Dho from Kamok Kharka is a short and easy one without too much height gain. The trail comes across meadows and crosses several streams to come to the river bed. Dho stands at a junction of two valleys providing plenty of camping ground. (9km/3hrs)
Day 10 Rest day for acclimatization
Visit monasteries during day trip
Day 11 Trek Numa La Camp (Shering Gompa) (4,350m/14,272ft)
As the trail rises gently, the mountains appear small and shapeless. After passing the village of Tok Khyu the valley forks and we follow it as it veers a little to the left. The trail then ascends to the monastery, where we will be camp. (11km/3.5hrs)
Day 12 Trek Baga La Camp (4,500m/14,928ft)
We will trek 13km/7.5 hrs and cross the Num La Pass (5,360m/17,585ft), which is regularly crossed by the Dolpo-pa traders with their yak trains. Though the trail is frequently used, it can still be confusing under fresh snow. The pass can be reached in four hours and the trail then descends down to the narrow gorge of Chhadka Khola before climbing again to Baga La Camp.
Day 13 Trek Sanu Bheri (3,800m/12,503 ft)
The 11km (5.5 hr) trek begins with a descent to the stream before climbing to reach the Baga La pass (5,090m/16,746ft). It takes about 3 hrs to reach the pass marked by prayer flags and cairns. From the pass one can see several snow clad peaks including the Kanjiroba massif. After taking in the view we will make a rather straightforward descent into the deep Sano Bheri Valley.
Day 14 Trek Phoksundo Lake (3,627m/11,900ft)
The trail today remains on the right bank of the Sanu Bheri. It is a magnificent trek (8km/3hrs) with wonderful views every step of the way. In some places there are broad meadows and in others the valley teeters along steep hillside. Along the trail we will see Norbu Kang (6,005m/19,756ft), Kagmara peak and other peaks of Kanjelaruwa.
Day 15 Trek Lasa Meadow (4,300m /14,108ft)
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 (2,918m/9,600ft), to the base of Kagmara Pass. Since crossing the last pass we have entered the verdant side of the Himalayas. Beautiful forests of pine, spruce, hemlock and birch are common in this region. (29km/7 hrs)
Day 16 Kagmara Phedi (4,000m/13,123ft)
Climb 3,000ft to the summit of Kagmara Pass (5,106m/16,800ft), than descend the same along Kagmara Glacier to Kagmara Phedi camp. (13km/5hrs)
Day 17 Trek Mauriya Phedi (3,100m/10,200ft)
Today's 32km/7hr trek begins with a descent along Garpung Khola to Hurikot and the park boundary. We continue our descent to the Bheri River (2,614m/8,600 ft) and then through villages and apple orchards past potato and corn fields before climbing to camp at Mauriya Phedi.
Day 18 Trek Chotra (3,009m/9,900ft)
A steep 700m/2,300ft ascent through forests of pine and oak and across avalanche tracks takes us to Mauriya Pass (3,799m/12,500ft). Views of the snowy peaks to the north and east are exceptional. From here we make a steep descent (790m/2,600 ft) through birch, oak and rhododendron forests to Chotra. (11km/5 hrs)
Day 19 Trek Jumla (2300m/7,546ft)
The trail descends the Tila Valley through spruce forests, past barely fields and rice terraces, irrigation works and water driven mills to Jumla, the administrative centre for the region. (32km/6 hrs)
Day 20 Flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu
From Jumla we fly back to Nepalgunj and then fly to Kathmandu.
Day 21 Rest day at Kathmandu
Spend the day sightseeing in Kathmandu or take a free day to rest or go shopping.
Day 22 Departure your destination