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Routes in the West

Classic Dolpo:

Dolpo, the Himalayan trekker's forbidden Shangri-La, has long been one of the most remote, secretive, and restricted areas of northwestern Nepal. This region includes extensive areas of high arid Tibetan -type terrain, undisturbed Buddhist cultures and an extensive natural history quite different from that of the Himalayas to the east. The few western travelers permitted into Dolpo were primarily scholars and researchers before it was opened to trekkers recently. This is where you find the stunning Phoksundo Lake, celebrated as the jewel of Dolpo. The people here trace their origins to Tibet, and their culture is a window of the tradition as practiced on the roof of the world centuries ago. The delusive snow leopard is a famous denizen of Dolpo and the rare cat has acquired the status of a mere legend. Thus, it is not only the scenery that attracts trekkers to Dolpo; it is the chance to see a corner of Nepal that very few visitors will ever experience.

The trek begins at Juphal and follows the trail to Dunai, the first camp. Then proceeds to Tarakot, way up to Shering Gompa passing through the Tarap valley. We ascend further to Langmo Che (4900m) and continue our trek the following days taking the Shibu - Saldang - Ching La - Shey gompa - Sehuld Bhanjayang and cross the Kang La (5,270m). Now on we start descending to Juphal via Ringmo, Sepka and Roha Gaon villages. From Juphal we fly back to Nepalgunj & then to Kathmandu.

Highlights:
Tarap valley
Dho
Cross Khyung La (5,160m)
Shey gompa
Cross Kang La (5,270m)
Poksundo Lake



Dolpo - Mustang:


The northern part of Dolpo is usually called inner Dolpo and has as aura of mysticism. The high valleys of Dolpo are some sign of the most remarkable in the Himalaya with sweeping views stretching to the arid Tibetan plateau. Trekking here offers a real adventure, in a remote, unspoiled part of Nepal that has remained largely untracked and unexplored. Our trek begins with a flight to Jumla via Nepalgunj. The first part of trek is not difficult and provides delightful walking before joining ancient trade routes and the steep ascent to cross the Kagmara La (5,225m, our entrance to upper Dolpo. The scenery begins to change with the hills becoming shades of red, brown and gray. Eventually you can hear prayer flag fluttering at the top of the pass, and the view opens up dramatically looking east towards the snow peaks of the Kanjiroba Himal and the five peaks of Dhaulagiri. We soon walk through the pleasant green pastures to the beautiful Phoksundo (Rigmo) lake. The scenery is outstanding with the deep blue waters of the lake contrasting with the weathered red and brown hills.

We cross over two high passes, the Bag La (5,182m) and the Numa La (5,148m). From the Numa La descend into the Tarap valley to the village of Dho Tarap. Our adventurous journey finally comes to and end at Juphal with an easy two days walk following the Bheri River to the small airstrip at Juphal and we fly back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.

RARA LAKE:


Rara Lake lies in the remote far northwest of Nepal. Surrounded by verdant alpine meadows and steep densely forested ridges abundant with wildlife. The lake is stunningly beautiful, with unbelievably tranquility, a paradise untouched. The region around Jumla and Rara Lake is still relatively unexplored. The area gives a taste of natural wilderness and silence.

Our trek starts from Jumla, the largest upland hill town in the west Nepal. Climbing gradually through forests of mixed oak, conifer, pine, broad-leafed chestnut, white birch and rhododendron. We cross the lush alpine meadows with herds of sheep and goat herders. Rara is Nepal's largest lake and lies at an altitude of 3050 meters. An outstanding snowcapped panorama of Dolpo and Tibetan mountains overshadows the scene across the deep clear waters of the lake. The National park consists of Himalayan black bear, leopard, Black Panther, thar, musk deer, red panda, goral, wild boar, rhesus and languor monkeys and numerous species of birds.

The final four days of the trek offers superb views over Mugu, the southern mountains of Humla and the border ranges of Tibet, the trail takes us through grassy alpine pastures and remote villages, before descending steeply off the second pass to Jumla. From here we fly back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.

Mustang:


Mustang, or Lo as the inhabitants know it, is a mysterious high plateau tucked behind the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Massifs in north central Nepal. The area is actually the top of a watershed, the headwaters of what becomes the mighty Kali Gandaki River, which then runs southward through the world's deepest gorge. In the rain shadow of the huge Himalayan peaks, though, this area is dry and windswept, ruggedly sculpted and mostly devoid of vegetation. The region offers dramatic and unique geography for those who only have seen the more familiar green, forested landscape of the rest of Nepal.

With a cultural history that is as intriguing as the landscape, Mustang has piqued the curiosity of many Himalayan adventurers, and only recently was it opened for limited visitation. Historically a vital trading route between Tibet and India, the trail into Mustang is lined with the fascinating remains of forts that served as tax collection out posts. Settlements in Mustang were fortified, a testament to its turbulent history. More recently, in the late 1950s and 60s, the area was a center for Khampas, guerrilla's who were trained and armed by the US C.I.A. to resist the Chinese Army's occupation of Tibet.

There are records that outline events stretching back to the eighth century, and from the writings of the Tibetan poet Milarepa it is known that the unique form of Buddhism called Sakyapa has been practiced here since 1073. This form of Buddhism lacks the more familiar metaphysical aspect; it is more worldly and practical, perhaps in response to the unforgiving environmental pressures in this area.

Throughout recent decades, the Nepalese Government had maintained total restriction on visitation to this area. The democratic change of government of 1990 and the increasing international pressures for a more open Nepal have coincided to remove these restrictions. Since 1991, limited visitation has been allowed, providing the trekking party meets strict environmental requirements and pays a substantial amount for the entry permit. These conditions limit the number of visitors, minimize their impact, and generate revenues needed for future conservation efforts in this region. The trekking route stays mostly on the valley floor, though it may traverse the ridge during the occasional rainy period, which raises the level of the river. The horses provide uphill assistance, but must be dismounted for descending. Without substantially high passes (nothing over 5.000 meters) this is not too physically demanding as a trek, and it has the added advantage of a very long season, due to the lack of monsoon rains or high pass crossings.

Mustang's capital "city" is Lo Manthang, a magical place imbibed with centuries of rugged history. Set on a broad plateau, the town deserves its name, which translates from Tibetan as "plain of inspiration". The Raja, or King, lives in his palace in the center, while the four major temples form the corners of town. Lo Manthang and the surrounding area are usually savored for a day or two before heading back down toward Jomsom.



Round Dhaulagiri:


Many believe DHAULAGIRI Himal, west of Annapurna, is the most impressive range in Nepal. More than 8,000m at its summit and including several 7,000m shoulder peaks, the massif is almost 100km long. The southern slopes receive an intense monsoon in summer and are covered in rich, verdant forest. To the south, the thick jungles of the foothills and the hot plains of India stretch out before you. The isolated valleys to the north of DHAULAGIRI are one of the driest regions of Nepal. The remoteness of the area offers a diversity of cultural, scenery, and natural history as varied as the mountain itself.

Dhaulagiri is rarely visited and the valleys and villages surrounding it are unspoiled and unchanged .Our trek takes us across the kali Gandaki River and then north into the heart of the massif; from the base camp we come to the high point of our trek, the traverse of French Pass (5,360 m), the hidden Valley and Dhampus Pass (5,182 m), a high level; route which brings us back to the upper Kali Gandaki Valley in Jomsom. From here we, either, fly back to Kathmandu via Pokhara or we can continue from Jomsom until Birethanti or to Pokhara.



Manaslu:


Trekking around Manaslu offers a unique opportunity to experience relatively "untouched" region of Nepal. Opened for trekking only since 1991, it provides spectacular beauty along the border of Nepal and China and is now a controlled trekking route which allows organized trekking groups special permits to venture round its spectacular circuit. Located in west-central Nepal, the 177-km trek around Manaslu provides strong walkers the best that Nepal has to offer: fantastic mountain scenery, spanning altitudes from 375 m to 5.300 m. a diverse range of ecosystems and ethnic cultures, and a trail that puts one physically closer to Tibet than any other trek in Nepal.

The standard 21 -day hike usually begins in Gorkha but for those preferring a longer trek, the winding road to Trisuli becomes the preface to this exciting walk Because of its isolation and newness to tourism, this trip must be done as a full service trek through an official trekking company. All supplies necessary for the trip (including food and kerosene) must be carried in and all rubbish must be portered out. A Nepalese Liaison Officer must accompany each group to assure protection of both the fragile environment and cultures there.

Highlights:
Panorama on Ganesh Himal, Lapsang Karbo, Manaslu, Himalchuli etc.
Cross Larkya-La (5,135m)
Tibetan villages and culture
Gurung villages Buri River
Marsyangdi River