Jamie McGuinness, Project Himalaya owner-guide
Leader Jamie McGuinness

 

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Crossing the Larkya La

Crossing the Larkya La is some slightly unusual November snow - Jamie

Bimtang with its mountain backdrop

After crossing the pass, we finish the day at Bimtang, with its huge mountain backdrop - Jamie

Saving data; use your phone in landscape to see the detailed itinerary and more photos.

Previous trek photo albums

In 2010 we trekked around Manaslu in reverse (as the end segment of our Upper Mustang via Saribung and Nar-Phu):

2010 GHT3 Manaslu

Mouse over for controls and none of these photos are repeated below.

For our 2007 Manaslu trek start, we couldn't drive as far as we hoped due to deep mud on the road so we started walking before Arughat during the main Dashain festival which was really special, and hence the festival portraits beginning:

2007 Manaslu start

The second part and second album is our fantastic Tsum Valley exploration:

2007 Manaslu Tsum

And the third part is our continuation of the Manaslu Circuit after Tsum, including our explorations and 6000m climb above Samdo:

2007 Manaslu 3 Wild

Detailed itinerary

Here are photos taken from the albums above. Later, I might add some more detail to each day.

Day 0 - early arrival

Arrive early to recover from long flights, shop for those last minute gear items and to sightsee. Arriving today also gives time to recover with a day in Kathmandu before we head out.

Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu before 12 noon

Our trip start is minimalist so either arrive on Day 0, ie early, or arrive before midday today so as the office can pick up the various permits. We apply in advance however officials sight your passport to actually issue them...

Let's see if we can walk a few koras around Bauddha and have dinner out there.

The rooftop dinner view at Bauddha on a stormy evening - Jamie

2 - drive Soti Khola 730m

We rise early but still with time for a hearty breakfast at the hotel before hitting the road in our bus packed with us and the crew. We climb up and over the rim of the Kathmandu Valley then descend on the windy main road. After lunch the blacktop ends and the road gets rougher. It will be a relief when we finally get there, we deserve a beer!

A great low country camp - Jamie

3 - trek Machha Khola 890m

The low altitude is steamy but with the usual haze, shouldn't feel too hot. We are trekking in the classic middle hills following the Budhi Gandaki (river). This evening will definitely require a cold one for some recovery!

The terraces are so green! And, yes, she has a large load of firewood - Jamie

4 - trek Jagat 1350m

We are into the swing of this middle hills trekking, and slowly gaining altitude. We camp at Jagat where the Manaslu restricted area begins, so our permits are processed here ready for crossing tomorrow.

More green terraces with a stone trail up through them - Jamie

5 - trek Lokpa 2240m

As we squeeze between the Manaslu range on our left/west and the Ganesh range on our right/east, the gorge, the waterfalls, and steep hillsides leave us in awe. We might catch a glimpse of the striking Shringi Himal up valley too.

Check out the steepness of that drop! We are trekking through the main Himalayan chain here - Jamie

6 - trek Ripchet / Chumling 2400m

At a bridge we leave the main Manaslu Circuit trail to branch off and up the Tsum Valley, passing through Lkpa first and then we have a choice of routes although it is more normal now to stay at Chumling.

Above the steep hills are steep mountains - Jamie

7 - trek Chhokang Paro 3030m

An unusual chorten - Jamie

8 - trek Nile 3350m

All flat ground is used - Jamie

9 - trek Mu Gompa 3700m

Trekking at its finest - Jamie

10 - rest-explore Mu Gompa 3700m

Larry and Owen (in the shade) with students (tawas) at Mu Gompa - Jamie

11 - trek Chandip ~4100m

We leave the villages of the valley behind, heading up on the bulldozed track that reaches as far as here from Tibet. Howevre, at the valley T, the rough road takes a right and we take a left and back on to local grazing trails. We camp early with the altitude gain in mind and can explore around, admire the huge mountains around.

We will likely have mules rather than porters - Jamie

12 - trek Yanje Kharka ~4350m

Again, following grazing trails, we trek for the morning for a "lunch camp" to find that perfect base for some exploring this afternoon and tomorrow. Below, the picture looks to roughly where we will be going, but the valley base is hidden.

High country trekking, I love the spaciousness - Jamie

13 - explore Yanje Kharka ~4350m

Lets head to the top of the pass to Tibet, but as usual, we don't cross. This is a less used trading pass with Tibet.

High altitude exploring on the trail to Tibet where there is now a small road - Jamie

14 - trek Yamdro 4510m via 5066m pass

The quicker route to our next exploratory base is up a side valley and over a pass into another main valley. This route should be possible however we will seek local advice first. If this route isn't possible, then we can retrace our steps, taking the main valley to get there.

15 - explore Yamdro 4510m

Lets also explore up this valley, up another pass that leads to Tibet.

This is the Gyala La - will we find an official concrete border post at our different pass? Let's see! - Jamie

16 - additional weather day

We have this day in hand just in case and can take at any stage of the trek.

17 - trek Kalung 3850m

After a morning of further exploring, we trek back down to the T, to a camp we are already familiar with.

The little lamas (tawas) at Mu Gompa - Jamie

18 - trek Lamagaon 3300m

Now that we are heading down, we stretch our legs and cover some distance today, probably staying in a village that we didn't on the way up.

The old stone roofs have probably been replaced with tin, post-earthquake - Jamie

19 - trek Chumling or further

We position ourselves for tomorrow, camping at the last good camping with water before tomorrow's tricky traverse around.

20 - trek Dorjan Kharka?

Spectacular small trail trekking but will be a tough day. There is real exposure today and some tricky trails but with huge rewards.

I wonder if we can catch this view when it is fine? - Jamie

21 - trek Bihi 2130m

We make it back onto the normal Manaslu Circuit today.

A young mother with her child - Jamie

22 - trek Namrung 2630m

Now that we are getting through the main range, the valley opens up slightly.

Fields spread down - Jamie

23 - trek Hinang Gompa ~3300m

We head off the main trail for fantastic views of Himal Chuli and other mountains, staying at a camp that few ever go to (thanks, Richard, for the hint!).

We experience many gompas in the Buddhist high country - Jamie

24 - trek Lho 3180m

Explore or soak up the panorama in the morning and in the afernoon we head to Lho.

Round-faces snotty kids! - Jamie

25 - trek Pung Gyen Gompa ~4000m

Heading off the main circuit, we head up a side valley for more unbeatable views!

Manaslu - Jamie

26 - trek Sama 3520m

A half day walk so more time to explore.

27 - trek Samdo 3875m

Between Sama and Samdo - Jamie

28 - rest Samdo 3875m

The locals are big traders and from the village there are no less than four passes possible to cross for trading with Tibet. We can explore one of them.

Samdo is a small village - Jamie

29 - trek Dharmasala 4460m/ near

Leaving Samdo, the trekking is alpine. We stay either at Dharmasala or more probably nearby at the last good camping before the pass.

Samdo Peak in the background - Jamie

30 - trek Bimtang 3590m via Larkya La 5135m

A big pass-crossing day. We will start smartly and lets see how conditions are. To the top, the trail gains gradually but down the other side is far steeper. It is a relief to turn the corner into Bimtang.

Approaching the Larkya La, spectacular trekking - Jamie

Climbing the last section to the top of the spectacular pass - Jamie

31 - trek Tilje

Heading down is so easy! We pass through some pretty forest and kharkas.

Like the stream, we descend today - Jamie

Autumn colours and the mountains - Jamie

32 - trek Tal

A little way below Tilje, we cross a bridge out of the restricted area and onto the main Annapurna Circuit at Dharapani. There is a rough jeep road from here however the terrain is so spectacular that it is worth walking on the trail on the opposite side of the valley to admire the area, soak up the warmth of this middle hills area. We will probably stay at Tal or perhaps a little below, meeting jeeps there ready for a road trip tomorrow.

The steep country of this part of the Annapurna Circuit - Jamie

33 - drive Bandipur

34 - drive Kathmandu

We should arrive mid-afternoon.

Day 35 - depart

Namaste!