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Those on the group flight from London will arrive in Kathmandu and will be transferred to The Royal Singi Hotel in the early evening. Those not travelling with the group from London will meet us in the hotel this evening. There will be a full trek briefing and equipment check this evening.
Scenic drive to Besisahar; begin trek to Bhulebule.
We leave Kathmandu early in the morning and drive towards Pokhara. After leaving the Kathmandu valley the road snakes its way westwards along the Trisuli Valley. We get superb views of the mountains, particularly the Ganesh Himal and Manaslu as we follow the river to Mugling. We then turn off the main road and continue to Besisahar where we begin our trek. From Besisahar we walk down to the river and cross to the east side to avoid the new road which is currently under construction. Our trail undulates above the river, continuing northwards up the Marsyangdi Valley with Himalchuli and Peak 29 dominating the horizon. The trail takes us on quiet trails through rice paddies and villages for three hours until we meet the main trail at Bhulebule.
Slowly ascend the Marsyangdi Valley; overnight in Jagat.
A fairly long day today as the trail continues up the east bank of the river passing a beautiful waterfall to Ngaddi. Here we cross a suspension bridge and pass a new hydro power project and then begin a steady climb through scrub forest finally arriving at Lampatta, a Manangi village with Tibetan style prayer flags. A final short sharp ascent brings us to the village of Bahundanda at 1,311m. From the ridge we descend to the river at Syange (1,136m). The trail then follows the track to Jagat.
Continue to Dharapani.
An undulating trail leads to Chyamje, after which we cross a suspension bridge and climb through oak forest. The river disappears from view as we climb over a ridge. The trail then emerges into a level valley where Tal, the next village is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (1700m). Crossing the river again the path ascends the narrowing valley, descending to cross the river to the village of Dharapani at 1943m.
Climb to Temang, descend to Chame.
We continue climbing to Chyamje, after which we descend to a cross the river by a suspension bridge. We now start climbing quite steeply through oak forest. The river disappears from view as we climb over a ridge. The trail then emerges into a wide level valley where Tal, the next village is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (1,700m). Crossing the river again the path ascends the narrowing valley, descending to cross the river twice more before reaching the village of Dharapani at 2,073m.
Ascend to Dukherpokhari and further on to the village of Upper Pisang.
We now experience a dramatic change of scenery. Leaving the forests and vegetation of the alpine regions behind we enter the upper district of Manang, known as Nyeshang. At first our trail follows the river closely through a deep canyon, passing a number of waterfalls on the other side of the river before coming to Brathang at 2,919m. The trail then follows the steep narrow valley through deep forest from which there are fine views back to Annapurna II. We cross the river where the impressive curved rock face of Paungda Danda rises nearly 1500m from the riverbank, and climb away from the noise of the water to the village of Dukher Pokhari (3,191m) for lunch. After lunch we leave the main trail and climb steadily up to Upper Pisang (3,369m). From the village there are wonderful views across to Annapurna 2. This afternoon there will be time to visit the village monastery.
Acclimatisation ascend through Gyaru to Ngawal. Afternoon acclimatisation walk.
We have an acclimatisation walk on the high trail through Gyaru to Ngawal (3,657m). This is a trail with amazing views across the valley – we can see Annapurna 2 and 3, Gangapurna and Tilicho. Both Gyaru and Ngawal are traditional Tibetan style villages where the pace of life has not changed for centuries. We should reach Ngawal by lunchtime and in the afternoon there will be an acclimatisation walk onto the hills above the village.
A short day ascending gradually above Julu to Yak Kharka.
A very short day today but important for acclimatisation. Our porters will take the camping gear to Yak Kharka to set up camp. We can have a further acclimatization walk above Ngawal before we leave all the main trails behind and ascend into a side valley high above Julu village. We descend into the valley and pass a small herders settlement before climbing to our camp below a steep hill in a small forest clearing.
Climb steeply up to Base Camp.
A short but hard day today as we ascend the valley to base camp. From our camp the trail climbs very steeply to the crags high above us. The trail zig zags seemingly forever with great views ahead and to our left of a couple of magnificent (often frozen) waterfalls. Behind us across the valley the Annapurnas rear up and provide a wonderful backdrop to our walk. Finally we round a corner and descend to our base camp at 4,890m.
Acclimatisation day at base camp with walk, gear check and climbing practice.
A short day to high camp (5,465m), where there will be time for more acclimatisation and more practice for the climb. From high camp expect views of the Annapurnas with an incredible sunset and sunrise. We will have an early dinner this evening in preparation for tomorrows early start.
A short walk to High Camp. Preparation for tomorrows climb.
We spend most of the morning at base camp, whilst our porters carry the loads and set up high camp. After an early lunch we have a short steep walk up to our high camp. Ahead we can see Chulu Far East with its wonderful curving ridgeline. From high camp expect views of the Annapurnas with an incredible sunset and sunrise. There is not much room at high camp and it will be cold so an early dinner will be served in your tent and we go to bed early in preparation for tomorrow’s early start.
Climb Chulu Far East. Descend to Base Camp.
Summit day will start very early (usually around 2am in the dark – make sure you have spare head torch batteries). From high camp we ascend for about an hour to crampon point where we will fix our crampons. From here we will rope up and it’s a steep one hour climb up to a col at approx 5,600m. We can see the wonderful summit ridge ahead. From the col the route is a mix of climbing on a fixed rope with a jumar and walking roped up. Sometimes the ropes are fixed already, at other times we have to wait whilst our climbing sherpas fix the ropes. From the col it will take four to five hours to the summit. The final summit ridge is very narrow and sharp but finally we see the small line of prayer flags which mark the top. The hard work is rewarded with incredible views from the top – in front of us is Gangapurna, the Annapurnas and Herzog’s ‘Great Barrier’, to our left is Manaslu and behind us lies Tibet. After a quick photo stop on the summit we descend carefully down the fixed ropes to high camp, where we will have a short break and a snack and a drink before descending to base camp.
Descend to Braga.
Today we retrace our steps down the hillside past the Yak Kharka camp and further down to Julu village. We will stop here for a packed lunch before continuing on down through the forest to meet the main trail at Munji. From here it is an easy half hours walk to Braga and the comforts of a lodge.
Short walk to Manang. Free time to explore.
An easy day today to recover from the exertions of the climb. This morning we have time to visit the interesting village of Braga with its ancient monastery towering high above the village. Braga is also home to a small tree nursery which is a project we have been supporting for the last 11 years. A short one hour walk brings us to Manang with its many tea houses and bakeries. We will have the afternoon in Manang with the chance to trek to the glacial lake below Gangapurna for close up views of the magnificent glacier.
Leave the Manang Valley and head towards the Thorong La. Stay at Phedi at the base of the pass.
A fairly long day today as we trek to the base of the Thorong La pass. We climb out of the Marsyangdi valley and turn northwest up the valley of the Jarsang Khola. Passing through Tengi village the views behind us are amazing – the Annapurnas and Gangapurna rise high up above the valley. We are above the forests now and pass through dry, alpine country, with scrub juniper and occasional clumps of birch. We have lunch at the cluster of lodges at Yak Kharka and the trail then climbs further up the valley. At one point we descend to cross the Jarsang Khola and a final traverse across a landslide area brings us to the lone teahouses at Thorong Phedi which is surrounded by high cliffs at the foot of the Thorong La (4,535m). Look out for Blue Sheep scrambling around the hills today and Lammergeyers soaring above on the thermals.
Cross the Thorong La to Muktinath, a place of pilgrimage.
A long day as we leave Phedi very early (about 5am) for the climb to the pass. The first part of the ascent is steep, but it becomes easier as we approach the top, although the altitude still makes the going tough. Eventually, after numerous false summits, we reach the pass itself at 5,416m. Ahead there is a magnificent panorama of snow-capped peaks extending northwards into Tibet, and looking back we can see several of the main peaks of Annapurna. Directly in front of us is the great chasm of the Kali Gandaki, 2,500m below. After a welcome cup of hot chocolate at the tea house on the top we start the long descent. The descent starts gently but becomes steeper as it reaches a cluster of tea houses, where we have lunch. A gentler trail takes us further down the valley to the temples above Muktinath, which we can visit before we reach our lodge in the centre of the village (3,600m).
Trek via Lupra village and descend to the Kali Gandaki Valley and on to Jomsom.
From Muktinath we pass through a landscape of bare, eroded hills with a backdrop of snow-capped high peaks. At the end of Muktinath we veer to the left and leave the main trail for a short climb of just over an hour to the Lupra Pass at 3,814m. Contouring round the hillside we are greeted by a wonderful view ahead of Dhaulagiri. A very steep descent brings us into a spectacular gorge in an array of beautiful colours. Ahead we can see the remote village of Lupra with its Bon monastery. After lunch in the village we descend to the rocky valley bottom and join the main Kali Gandaki Valley. From here we follow the main trail for the last one and a half hours into Jomosom.
Fly to Pokhara. Overnight in Pokhara.
The flights from Jomsom to Pokhara are usually in the early morning due to the high winds which blow up the Kali Gandaki Valley later in the day. The short but very spectacular flight takes us all the way down the Kali Gandaki Valley with great views of on the left side of the plane of the Annapurnas and Niligiri and from the right side of Dhaulagiri. We fly to Pokhara, where we transfer tour hotel and have the rest of the day to relax in the lovely lakeside resort. The hotels, shops and restaurants are mostly set on the shores of Phewa Lake and it is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the lake and mountain views. You may want to hire a bike and cycle along the lakeshore or rent a boat for an hour or so on the lake or you can simply relax in one of the many lakeside cafes.
Fly to Kathmandu and enjoy a free day to explore the capital.
Today is free for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The whole area is a maze of temples and images. Alternatively you may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. For more details of optional activities please refer to the Optional Excursions section.
The trip ends after breakfast. Those not on the group flight will leave us after breakfast.