Jamie McGuinness - Project Himalaya owner-guide Bali - Bal Bahadur Lopchan, star guide and organizer

 

Subscribe to our
occasional newsletter



 

Jamie's Flickr photo sets - explore them!

The harvest in Dolpo

On our special route route to Shey; note the people dots in the mid-upper right corner

Pik and Ornella cruise down to Shey (Shelri Sumdo) Gompa, down to our camp already set up

"Snow Leopard Lake" under moonlight

To see the detailed itinerary and more photos use a laptop/desktop browser or tablet in landscape (and hit refresh).

Detailed Itinerary

We trek in the usual route in to Lo Manthang and avoid the four wheel drive track as much as possible. You may notice we get to altitude quickly but then stay at the 3800m level for a number days before heading higher.

Our itinerary is well planned with appropriate time for acclimatization to altitude and the multiple rest days can handle unscheduled delays, and there is a variety in the length of trekking days with some half-days to/from villages, giving time to further wander around locally and enjoy.

Although this is the itinerary we plan, we adapt the itinerary to conditions and to the trekkers along with us.

Prior to your arrival in Kathmandu we send out an email with detailed arrival instructions including the visa procedure, meeting our staff, contact details and changing money etc.

Here is the itinerary for the Upper Mustang section.

Day 0 - early arrival

We suggest arriving today to recover from long flights and have an additional day to recover from the time zone changes, which are particularly brutal if coming from North America. You will be met at the airport by our staff and escorted to the hotel where Jamie will meet you. We book the extra nights hotel nights.

Day 1 - arrive Kathmandu 1350m

If you want to spend the minimum amount if time in Kathmandu then you can arrive today before 2pm so that we can take your passport to finish the permit process.

Our staff meet you at the airport, look for a sign with your name on it and Jamie will meet you at the hotel. Give your passport to the pickup staff for the final permit process. We have a trip briefing in the hotel garden starting 6pm this evening and head out to dinner together.

2 - Fly Pokhara 827m

We fly to Pokhara (less than an hour) sometime after lunch and relax in the warmth near the lake. Check out the World Peace Stupa if your legs need some excercise.

3 - Fly Jomsom, Trek Kagbeni ~2800m

It is an early morning flight to Jomsom, to beat the later morning winds, and after meeting the crew (who came in overland), we stretch the legs with the less than three hour walk to Kagbeni, a delightful village well worth exploring. We are trekking up the massive Kali Gandaki valley with Dhaulagiri and Annapurna towering behind us unseen. It is said that the Kali Gandaki is the deepest gorge in the world, with these monster 8000 metre peaks beside.

4 - Trek Tsaile / Chele 3050m

We leave the busy Annapurna region for the restricted area of Upper Mustang, and enter a culturally unique area.

- Jamie

5 - Trek Syangboche 3850m

... lunch in shady Samar. We have a choice, the easier road route or the more adventurous via Ranchung cave gompa. We get a view of this bridge below but don't cross it.

Spectacular - Jamie

6 - Trek Dhakmar 3820m

Today is perhaps the most colorful and scenic day of what is one of the most scenic treks there is.

The gorgeous colours and formations - Jamie

7 - Trek Lo Manthang 3800m

The last functioning walled city in the world...

8 - Lo Manthang

Those gompas!

- Jamie

9 - stay Lo Manthang 3800m

In addition to exploring the village, there are plenty of other options. People often take a jeep or horses up valley to Chosar. We will discuss options while there.

10 - trek grassy camp 4300m

It is only half a day to our first wilderness camp as we climb 500m in altitude, a prudent gain considering how many nights we have already spent at around 3800m. There is a very special longer route to the camp that we will probably take, and will share it's secrets only on the trail.

11 - rest-explore grassy camp 4300m

This is a somewhat optional rest and acclimatization day, let's see how everyone is feeling.

12 - trek 4850m camp

Heading further up, the water and grass thin, and we camp at the last water source, in a pleasant camp with wonderful views across the valley to Tibet to the north, and across to the Saribung region and where we have previously explored.

Our delightful camp - Jamie

13 - cross Lakyep La ~5600, Ghyung Khola ~5100m

Also called the Kakyep La, we crawl up the stony pass, traversing around and up, and feel the altitude. The panorama is breathtaking for other reasons though, with much of the Annapurna range another peaks piercing the skyline.

The descent down the other side is steep and relentless, and basically we aim simply to get down to the bottom of the valley to a good camp site. The stream we are camping by cannot be climbed up, hence our pass.

Dawa and Da'Kusang discuss the route over the pass; Annapurna I in the background

14 - trek Arniko Chuli BC ~5400m

The terrain opens out as we gently gain altitude in the valley. Let's see how far up the valley we get, but probably we camp by a glacial lake.

Kiang, the wild ass of Tibet, rarely seen in Nepal however we will almost certainly see them.

15 - rest-exploration Arniko Chuli BC ~5400m

There are peaks and passes everywhere here. First we have to work out which peak is the real Arniko Chuli!

16 - rest-exploration Arniko Chuli BC ~5400m

We have another day of exploring, or resting and reading, and preparing for the climb tomorrow.

This is not Arniko Chuli but is indicative of what we might be climbing

18 - climb Arniko Chuli 6039m

The route is probably over rubble first, then onto the snow where with a bit of luck there are no crevasses meaning we can get away without harness; let's see.

19 - trek snow leopard lake 5370m

Retracing our path, we turn up the other main valley to camp by a delightful lake.

20 - cross 5760m pass to camp 5500m

This is a high region and our pass bears this out, stony and without a real trail but the reward is a a descent that opens into a pleasant valley and we camp where ever we reach.

...

35 - depart

You are free to leave Kathmandu today, however it is probably worth planning an evening flight as just occasionally the Jomsom-Pokhara flight is delayed, perhaps a couple of times a month, and so this allows for a delay. Alternatively stay an extra night for some shopping...

Photo galleries of the 2011 trip

We had a classic exploratory adventure, check out Jamie's public Flickr albums.

 

Jamie's Flickr photo sets

Jamie's Flickr sets

The 2011 GHT Mustang and the 2011 GHT to Dolpo are the relevant galleries; the others - eye candy!

Carsten Nebel, an itinerate trekker and one of the 2011 explorers also has a Flicker Nepal Mustang 2011 set.

For more info on the region also check out Paulo Grobel's explorations, his Araniko Chuli page, in particular, and the translated version. Sometimes it feels like I have followed in Paulo's footsteps, across Saribung, and this Arniko Chuli area, and in ideas, such as exploring about Simikot. He is a great explorer; however we have done more than our share of exploring in the east of Nepal too.