As Recommended by Lonely Planet

Dolpo – Rara and The Crystal Mountain – Snow Leopard Trek

Trip Title: Dolpo – Rara and The Crystal Mountain – Snow Leopard Trek

Trip Length: 50 Days

Trip Grade: C       [Grading Overview]

Country: Nepal

Area: Dolpo

National Park: Rara / Shey Phoksundo       [Parks Overview]

Activity: Snow Leopards

Activity Grade: 5+       [Grading Overview]

Special Focus: Lake Rara, Mugu, Shey Phoksundo, Shey Gompa, The Crystal Mountain

Months: June, July, August, September,

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Please view our Maps Page to see if this trip has a map.

Description:

A huge trekking expedition, circumnavigating and cutting through the wild Tibetan landscape of Dolpo and Shey Phoksundo National Park. No roads or anywhere near to one, makes this an unforgettable journey into the heart of the Himalayas. (Click the National Park links above for full information on this area). One of the last bastions in Nepal for the snow leopard and wolf, this long trek has been paced for maximum pleasure to appreciate the changing and vast landscapes and the life its sustains and protects. We then trek North to the little visited Lake Rara National Park before following the Mugu Karnali north east into Upper Dolpo and the wild Himalayas. Arriving at Shey Gompa monastery we spend some time in the very center of Dolpo. Dolpo has two holy mountains – Black Mother Mountain and The Crystal Mountain. Black Mother Mountain mythology tells of nomads searching for a missing black goat, found it suckling a boy who had descended from heaven on a rainbow – they called him The Black Goat King and he fathered the inhabitants of the Nang Khong valley; The Crystal Mountain mythology tells of a Lama, who had come to Dolpo to spread Buddhism, found a wild people who's supreme god was a fierce mountain spirit. The Lama meditated on the mountain, found enlightenment, and flew into the mountain on a snow lion to do battle, but the mountain responed with snakes and the snow lion repoduced itself 108 times and finally conqured the mountain of Shey, whose contorted cliffs are laced with quartz. Every 7th Dolpo lunar month, and before the barley harvest, the local inhabitants circumnavigate this holy mountain in a piglimage – something we can do if the timing and weather permit. This expedition is a huge undertaking and is self sufficient; the nature of the landscape is vast and you will always get the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere. The area around Dolphu was the site of Jacksons famous snow leopard research in the mid 1980s, and George Schaller researched snow leopards around Shey Gompa in 1973 (his book Stones of Silence documents his journey). Shey Phoksundo National Park and Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, which lie close to each other, can potentially support an estimated 246 animals (WWF and ICIMOD 2001), based on a density of 5 animals per 100 sq km from prime habitat (Fox 1994). This trek, with an added snow leopard data element, is an adventure with a worthwhile reason.

Itinerary:

I flew through the sky on a snow lion,
and there among the clouds, I performed miracles
but not even the greatest of celestial feats
can equal once rounding on foot this Crystal Mountain.

See our Snow Leopard Research Page.
Led by The Blue Space Ben Gilbert and overseen by zoologist Tessa McGregor – Meet the Team

There are two different routes for this expedition depending on weather and local conditions.

Day 01:
Fly Kathmandu/ Nepalgunj. O/N Hotel

Day 02:
Fly Nepalgunj/Jumla (2,370m.) Organise supplies.

Day 03:
Jumla – Padmora

Day 04:
Padmora – Khari La Pass – Tharamara

Day 05:
Tharamara – Bhumra

Day 06:
Bhumra – Bhulbule

Day 07:
Bhulbule – Pina

Day 08:
Pina – Lake Rara National Park (2990m.)

Day 09:
Walk around lake Rara or visit the summits of Ruma Kand (3731m.) or Malika Kand (3444m.) for stunning views.

Day 10:
Rara – Gamghadi (2095m.)

Day 11:
Mangri (2200m.)following the Mugu Karnali river

Day 12:
Trek to Tiyar and camp by river side (2300m.) The river divides and –

Route 1.
Day 13:
follow the Mugu Nadi river North East and camp on river side (2600m.)

Day 14:
Follow the Chham Khola east after crossing the Mugu Nadi, cross Chham Khola and camp river side (2600m.)

Day 15:
Acclimatisation day – hike high (3500m)and camp low (3000m.)

Day 16:
Acclimatisation day – hike 4000m and camp at Day 15 high point.

Day 17:
Cross Babai Khola and camp (4000m.)

Day 18:
Cross Chyargok pass (5100m.) and camp by the Chimimara Khola (4300m.)

Day 19:
Cross Takla Khola and camp by the Chyadi Khola (4000m.)

Day 20:
Yala Base Camp (4700m.)

Day 21:
Yala (5400m.), camp Swaksa Khola (4800m.)

Day 22:
Trek along Swaksa Khola and camp (4500m.)

Day 23:
Yanla Lek Base Camp (5000m.)

Day 24:
Yanla Lek ridge (5564m.5454m.5345m.5045m.) Camp Phophagau village (4000m.)

Day 25:
Rest day

Day 26:
Camp Lan Khola (4450m.)

Day 27:
Bhijer

Day 28:
Taro

Day 29:
Dan Khola (4800m. pass) and camp river side (4500m.)

Day 30:
Trek to Shey Gompa (4500m.)

Day 31:
Rest day

Day 32:
Trek around The Crystal Mountain (12-13 hours)

Day 33:
Rest day

Day 34:
trek to Samling Gompa (3800m.)

Day 35:
Explore area.

Day 36:
Ramanan (4600m.)

Day 37:
Karang (4100m.)

Day 38:
Yang Tsser village (4300m.)

Day 39:
Saldang (4100m.)

Day 40:
Explore Area.

Day 41:
Chibu Kharka (3915m.)

Day 42:
Chutung Dang (3967m.)

Day 43:
Numla base camp (5190m.)

Day 44:
Baga La (5090m.)

Day 45:
Phoksundo Lake (3600m.)

Day 46:
Rest at Phoksundo Lake – day hike

Day 47:
Samduwa

Day 48:
Hanke (2660m.)

Days 49:
Juhpal and fly to Nepalgunj.

Day 50:
Fly Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.

Route 2
Day13:
Follow the Namlan Khola from Tinyar to Dolphu (3400m.)

Day 14:
Around Dolphu

Day15:
Cross the Namlan Khola and camp river side (3000m.)

Day16:
Trek along Namlan Khola and camp.

Day 17:
Trek up into forest and camp (3600m.)

Day 18:
Explore forest and ridges.

Day 19:
Cross Jhonpa la (4800m.) and camp on the banks of the Namlan Khola (3000m.)

Day 20:
Explore Area.

Day 21:
Cross the Tara Khola and camp in Forest (3800m.)

Day 22:
Explore area.

Day 23:
Cross Ghyallo Rawa Lek (5100m.) camp (4000m.)

Day 24:
Phophagau (4000m.)

Day 25:
Explore Area.

Day 26:
Camp Lan Khola (4450m.)

Day 27:
Bhijer

Day 28:
Taro

Day 29:
Dan Khola (4800m. pass) and camp river side (4500m.)

Day 30:
Trek to Shey Gompa (4500m.)

Day 31:
Rest day

Day 32:
Trek around The Crystal Mountain (12-13 hours)

Day 33:
Rest day

We join Route 1. here and continue to day 50.

Price:

This is a full camping trek: prices are per person based on 2 sharing a tent.

Group size and Pricing:

Minimum 2 Pax: 8326

(3-6) Pax: 7400

Includes:

Trekking Permit (Upper Dolpo restricted area, Lower Dolpo Trekking permit, National Park entry fees – Rara and Shey Phoksundo )

Nepal Internal Flights ( KTM – Nepalgunj – Jumla + Juhpal – Nepalgunj – KTM )

For a group size of more than 10 persons, the group leader will be offered the trek for free, but not the Upper Dolpo Permit or flight.

The Price includes:
Camping accommodation in two man tents, All food (except bar bill), staff (Special Guide, Sherpas, cook, kitchen boys, porters) and their all expenses including insurance, Yak, Local monasteries entry fees, ground transportation and governmental taxes.

The Price doesn’t include:
Personal nature expenses like telephone, laundry, bar bill etc, hotel in Kathmandu, personal trekking gear ( crampons, boots etc )

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Books by
The Bluespace Founder
Ben Gilbert

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