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Upper Dolpo Trek

Trip Type: Nepal Challenging Treks

Maximum Altitude: 5916m

Durations: 22 Days

Trip Starts: Kathmandu

Trip Ends: Kathmandu

Accomodation: Camping

Best Time For Travel: May to October

Trip Overview

Dolpa or Dolpo is the one of most isolated, remote and least developed corners of Nepal – situated in the Trans Himalayan region of mid-west Nepal. It lies in the remote Shey-Phoksundo National Park, behind the Dhaulagiri massif. Geographically, Upper Dolpo is a part of the Tibetan Plateau and is generally dry, cold and sparsely vegetated; unlike most other parts of the Nepal Himalayas.

Dolpo has fascinating villages and is still a land of mystery, scenery and peace. Time has stood still here in Dolpo for centuries as the inhabitants of Tibetan stock continue to live, cultivate and trade the way they have done since time immemorial. The Dolpo eco system encompasses a wild and wonderful variety of plants and wildlife, including the blue sheep and snow leopard. As the most remote and least developed district in Nepal, the Dolpo trek is reserved for those with a true sense of adventure.

Day 01: Kathmandu – Nepalgunj

We take a flight to Nepalgunj in the far west of Nepal. This one-hour flight is quite remarkable as it traverses the entire length of the Nepali Himalayan west of Kathmandu with superb views of Langtang, Manaslu, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and finally Dolpo. Nepalgunj is close to the Indian border and is quite warm in comparison with Kathmandu. We check into the Hotel which is fifteen minutes drive from the airport.

 

Day 02: Nepalgunj – Jumla

We have to be at the airport early as we take the first flight to Jumla where we meet the crew who has walked in from the road head ten days earlier.

 

Day 03: Jumla – Gothi Chaur (2800m)

Today we start the trek. The first day is always a bit slow as the porters get into the swing of things, but a rhythm soon develops. We follow the bank of Tila River and reach Garjankot for lunch. A slightly longer walk in the afternoon passes a few houses and an Irrigation channel on the right. From here there is a lovely view across the rolling hills behind. The camp is 200m below at a sheep pasture known as Gothi Chaur (2800m).

 

Day 04: Gothi Chaur – Naphuknona (3100m)

We walk through alpine forests and cross clear streams. Two hours after leaving the camp we reach the village of Munigaon. From here the trail continues south east to Jajarkot and the Bheri River. After lunch, a short afternoon’s walk leads us to the village of Naphuknona with a large Tibetan Choten. Our camp site is 10 minutes farther on below the Gompa at Chorteng.

 

Day 05: Naphuknona – Bheri River Valley (3100m)

Today we will follow the river through some of the most superb forest encountered so farand have lunch after only two hours before we start the climb to the Maure La (3,927m). The climb from the lunch spot takes around 45 minutes and is rewarded with some very fine views of the Bheri River Valley and the Peaks of Ghyuthumba and Matathumba. In the distance a hundred miles away, the huge bulk of Api is the dominating peak to the west. The excursion to the cairn at the top of the hill above the pass is well worth it for a superb view of the Dhaulagiri Massif and Annapurna II clearing in the forest.

 

Day 06: Bheri River Valley – Hurikot (2650m)

After lunch, we continue by the streamon the trail and the villages called Rimi and Kaigaon are soon clearly visible. The trail drops down through Rimi, which is quite rough, to the more picturesque Kaigaon. We stay on the left side of the river, as the campsite is 20 minutes farther on below the village of Hurikot (2650m). Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to visit the monastery of Hurikot. Today, we will have an extremely enjoyable walk, at first through forest, which yields the first view of the Kagmara Lekh and the Bheri River itself. The path can be seen contouring across the hillside through the village of Chaurkot, after which it descends to a stream and climbs again to another saddle.

 

Day 07: Hurikot – Garpung Khola

We follow the stream to the village, which is very Tibetan in character. The path then climbs gradually for two hours, staying high above the Garpung Khola until it reaches the Jagdula Khola. We have a lunch stop at the army post on the opposite side (2,950m). A steep climb for half an hour leads to a clearing with an excellent view of Kagmara V. We continue along the left bank to camp by a bridge crossing the Garpung Khola.

 

Day 08: We start the trek following the river upstream

Today is a short morning’s walk and then an afternoon at rest. We cross the bridge and follow the river for two hours to reach a fine vantage point of the route ahead, including the campsite, which is an hour farther. This is our first night above 4000 meters.

 

Day 09: A big day crossing the Kagmara La (5100m)

Prepare for the toughest day as we have to cross Kagmara La pass. The pass is marked in the traditional Tibetan way with hundreds of prayer flags and the view is quite stunning. The short climb to the summit of Kagmara RI (5,370m) takes no more than half an hour, but the extra view is well worth it. The mountains of Tibet and Mount Everest in the distance form just part of this impressive panorama, which is dominated by the Dhaulagiri massif and the Annapurnas. The view to the south and west of the Kagmara Lekh and the Kanjiroba Himal is equally impressive. There is no need to leave in a hurry as the campsite is a mere hour below the pass on a flat grassy clearing by the river (3450m).

 

Day 10: Descend to Pungmo Village

A big descent, over 1200 meters, leads through an idyllic valley to the village of Pungmo. There are chances to see Himalayan blue sheep and other birds of prey. Camp is made by the Chotenat the entrance to the village.

 

Day 11: A spare day for leisurely visits

We have a spare day for a leisurely visit to the important Gompa above Pungmo. There are in fact two Gompas as we are in a region where both ‘Bon’ and ‘traditional’ Buddhism are practiced. Chortens become very confusing as a Buddhist does clockwise circumambulation and the bons anti- clockwise. However, the lamas of both Gompas are willing to show you around for a small donation.

 

Day 12: Trek to the village of Ringmo by the beautiful Phuksumdo Tal (lake)

Keeping to the left side of the river, we descend for one hour to a military camp (3,150m) at the junction of the Pungmo and Phuksumdo Rivers. Turn left immediately after the camp and follow a delightful path by the Phuksumdo River to a grassy clearing where we will have lunch and walk up to Ringmo which is very rewarding. Equally impressive is the huge waterfall falling down from the Phuksumdo River. From the prayer flags, a pleasant half an hour’s walk leads to the village of Ringmo and camp is made on the opposite side of the village (3700m). Crossing the bridge in the village, we turn left to reach the lake.

 

Day 13: A rest day in Ringmo

The nearby monastery is worth a visit.

 

Day 14: Trek to the camp below Kang Taiga

An easy day involving a couple of hours walk in the morning to a Yak grazing pasture by the Manduwa Khola. The path skirts along lodges hacked out of cliffs for the Yak caravans from Dolpo. The views down the Suli Gad and across to the Kagmara Lekh are particularly impressive. The campsite is in a lovely spot (3,900m) below Kang Taiga (5916m).

 

Day 15: Cross Bagar La (5200m)

Today, you will have the toughest day of the trek, yet this is the most fascinating part of the trek. We cross the watershed of the main Himalayan onto the dry Tibetan plateaus. Following the river to begin with, the path turns north up the first obvious side valley and climbs steeply to the pass, which marked by a chorten and the usual prayer flags. The views to the east and north are one of complete contrast to those of the previous two weeks trekking. The mountain is orange and brown stretching out into Tibet to the north. The pass is often windy and the descent is rapid to the river below and our camp (4,650m). The road to Shey and Saldang, the lifeline of Dolpo, is clearly etched out of the landscape by the tracks of thousands of Yaks that have made the journey south over the centuries. At this point, we are only three hours from the village of Shey but access is not permitted.

 

Day 16: Cross Numa La (5350m) and trek to the Tarap Valley

The walk into this beautiful and wild Tibetan landscape is one of the highlights of the trek. A four to five hours climb leads to the pass and the view is indeed stunning. Dhaulagiri I is the prominent feature with the rolling Tibetan hills and the Kanjiroba Himal to the west equally impressive. For an excellent 360 degree panorama, climb the small peak to the left of the pass. The path descends gradually into the Tarap Valley. In two to three hours the Champa Gompa is passed on the left and camp is made a little further down the valley in the first village (4300m).

 

Day 17: Trek to Serkam

The morning’s walk passes through the villages off Clumaga and Kakar, both extremely interesting with many Chortens, again both Bon- the ancient pre-Buddhist religion and Choba -orthodox Buddhist. There are two Gompas (monasteries) in Dho, Guru Bumba (Chob) and above the village Scipcha Gompa (Bon). Leaving Dho – the last village, we follow the the Tarap Khola River for two hours, at first on its left bank, to a bridge where lunch is taken. This is the last flat ground for three to four hours as the valley becomes narrow with deep gorges crossed by innumerable small bridges. However, it is an extremely well made path, one of the finest gorge paths in the Himalayas, offering an entertaining afternoon’s walk. We establish a small campsite by a big cave.

 

Day 18: Trek to Khanigaon

Today we switching from the riverbank to way up the cliff side via some amazing trail constructions! After a long morning’s walk (looking out for Musk Deer), we reach a large clearing by the river. This is Lahini and marks the end of the gorge. The path to Kanigaon (2700m) is where we camp.

 

Day 19: Trek to Tarakot

We head east for a few hundred yards to a well-made bridge which crosses to the left bank of the Barbung Khola (river), into which the Trap Khola now flows. We follow this river for three hours to the village of Tarakot where we stop and take a rest for the remainder of the day.

 

Day 20: To Dunai

Another easy day – we continue along the Barbung Khola through a beautiful alpine valley to the Hindu village of Dunai. We will walk fo Four hours after which we will camp by the new ‘Blue Sheep lodge’.

 

Day 21: To Juphal

The final day’s walk continues along the river to a tea shop by the side of the path which marks the start of the climb to the Juphal airstrip. The path climbs steadily, passing through the village of Juphal.

 

Day 22: Flight to Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.

We take the flight to Nepalgunj and then get connected to your same day flight to Kathmandu.

  • Special Permits.
  • Flight to Nepalgunj to Juphal.
  • All camping gears, kitchen gears and supplies.
  • 3 meals a day.
  • English speaking Trekking Guide.
  • Porters, Sherpas and Pack animals.
  • Trekking crew insurance.
  • Drinks, tip and expenses of personal nature.
  • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
  • Travel Insurance.