Dho-Tarap - Schaller trail - Phoksundo - Kagmara La
Dolpo is a kaleidoscope of colours and textures, sculpted gorges and ochre gompas, yak herders and villages blended prefectly into the landscape. Our innovative trek route is simply glorious trekking, an adventurous trekking journey where we explore a few geographical mysteries of the area.
Why Middle Dolpo? The name relates to exploring an area that is not true Upper Dolpo as it is just south of the administrative border, an area where few trekkers have dared, and none have explored comprehensively, but is above the normal Lower Dolpo trek routes. Second, I simply love Dolpo, the whole experience, reinforced by last year's 42 day trek and would rather explore here than elsewhere, for 2020, anyway.
One of the highest inhabited areas on the planet, Dolpo is
also still a stronghold of the pre-Buddhist, shamanistic Bon-po religion as well
as Tibetan Buddhism. It is a rugged, mountainous region of fortified villages, some with their own dzong or fort, turquoise lakes, sacred mountains and high passes.
For our previous Dolpo trekkers, our route is new to you and avoids trails we have previously trekked, except for a day around Phuksundo Lake, and there is a new trail under construction there too. We begin with a
spectacular flight along the Himalayan range to Juphal then trek (or partly drive?) to our horsemans' village, passing through rustic Dunai hopefully without staying. The next few days to the villages of Dho-Tarap are in a rough and deep gorge that will become a road in a few years. Then we venture off the beaten trail for our wonderful exploration of the passes that lead to Upper Dolpo and head the long way around Phoksundo, including a few additional days for exploring. Briefly back on familiar terrain, after staying at the lake shore, we take the traditional winter herding route over the Kagmara La to Kaigaon with some exploration of a "Dolpo Sanctuary" and then back to Juphal for our flight out.
All in all, our trek is a unique, fabulous Dolpo camping journey with two bouts of trademark exploration.
+ timeless Dolpo villages
+ Tibetan Buddhist gompas (monasteries)
+ stunning turquoise Phoksundo Lake
+ stunning panoramas, big sky trekking
+ snow capped mountain views
+ peaceful, scenic wilderness camps
+ Dho-Tarap movie scenes from 'Himalaya' & 'Seven Years in Tibet'
2/3 star hotel in Kathmandu, single with breakfast
1 night Nepalgunj hotel, twinshare
domestic flights as per the itinerary
group transportation by private vehicle
entrance fees and permits as needed
Kathmandu group dinner
Expedition-style trek includes
all meals, afternoon tea and hot drinks
roomy single tent / large double for couples
thin mat to protect your air mattress
our special comfy dining tent
and more Project Himalaya comforts
very experienced crew
Nice touches included
fresh filtered coffee for breakfast
filtered drinking water at camp
Our service excludes
insurance, Nepal visa, other meals in Kathmandu
additional hotel nights due to delays
international flights, equipment rental, alcohol, bottled water and soft drinks, laundry,
tipping and other items of a personal nature
Tips & extra cash
allow approx $50 per day for Kathmandu meals
allow more if you are a shopaholic
we suggest 5% of the trip cost per trekker for the crew tips pool
Day 0 - early arrival
Arrive early to recover from long flights, and to sightsee.
Day 1 - arrive Kathmandu 1350m (permits)
2 - fly Nepalgunj 150m
We arrange permits in the morning ready for an afternoon flight.
3 - fly Juphal 2490m, drive/trek Dunai (or Lawan)
4 - trek Lawan
This gives us an a float/weather day if we reached Lawan yesterday.
5 - trek Laina Odar 2875m 6-7 hours
6 - trek Pibuk Cave 3200m 7 hours
7 - trek Langa Camp
8 - trek Dho-Tarap 3944m 7 hours
9 - Dho-Tarap 3944m
Rest, explore and essential acclimatization.
10-17 - trek the Schaller Trail
We explore various routes and trek around Phoksundo partly on the Schaller trail wilderness route.
18 - trek lake camp
19 trek Ringmo-Phoksundo Lake 3725m
Perhaps the new lower trail will be open?
20 - trek Pungmo
22 - trek Lasa
Intriguingly, the Pungmo Khola is the same colour as the Phuksundo Khola, if we have time, let's find out why.
22 - trek Kagmara Phedi via Kagmara La 5115m
23 - trek Toijum
24-26 - exploring
There is a mountain sanctuary that I am intrigued by.
27 - trek Kaigaon
27 - trek Ghodakhor
27 - trek-drive Juphal
30 - fly Juphal-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu
Day 31 - trip ends
Day 32 - optional departure
We recommend either an evening departure on Day 31 or allowing an extra day post-trek in Kathmandu in case of flight delays out of Juphal. Alternatively, extend your holiday with a Bardia safari, please ask for more details.
David and the startlingly coloured Phoksundo Lake. The Schaller Trail crosses the left grassy hillside for stunning lake views - Jamie
Whetting your appetite with some of my planning pins - Google Earth
Saving data; use your phone in landscape to see the detailed itinerary and more photos.
Here are a few inspiring photos.
Nice smile from a Dolpo woman collecting fire wood - Jamie
A yak shepherds a nak (female yak) amid the autumn colours near Namgung - Jamie
Traditional chuba-clad girls of Dho-Tarap - Jamie
Don't believe "It never rains in Dolpo" - it might be rain shadow but it can still rain! - Jamie