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Api Himal Exploratory

Looked at from the plains of India, the Nepal Himalaya form an almost unbroken stretch of white snowy peaks for five hundred kilometres from Kanchenjunga in the far east to Kanjiroba, just west of Dhaulagiri. But then for nearly two hundred kilometres there is a distinct lack of high, shining white mountains. Only on the north-western border of Nepal do the mountains rise up again to soar beyond 7000 metres. This is the seldom visited Api-Saipal massif a remote region that has remained little changed while places such as the Annapurnas and Khumbu boast espresso serving internet lounges! For those who have been everywhere else to those who just prefer to get well off the beaten path, this trek promises to offer one of the treks of a lifetime. Sub-tropical valleys, flowering rhododendron covered hillsides, alpine ridge traverses, high valleys below the 7000m peaks of Api and Saipal, glaciated passes and cultures ranging from the Hindu aligned tribes of the foothills to Tibetan aligned Bhotias in the north, this trek offers all the diversity of the classical Himalayan trek - all over ground that has seldom or never seen a foreigner. The only pre-requisite for this trek is that you be reasonably fit and have a love for getting off the beaten track. Typically, as with most exploratory treks we will be following local paths everywhere up to the alpine zone where plants stop growing in profusion - from any such place upwards, the route will be on scree, moraine, snow and rock. There is no scheduled climbing although you are encouraged to bring/hire basic climbing gear such as crampons (and boots to take them), harness and ice axe for possible snowy pass crossings or should any easy smaller peak reveal itself. There may or may not be steep terrain to negotiate on a pass - if there is, rope will be fixed and the pass negotiated in an orderly and safe manner. Indeed we may be turned back at several points by an impasse but we will simply find another way around - there is always another way around, the trick is to find the most interesting one possible! We are unsure of the maximum altitude of the trek but it's very unlikely to be more than 5500m with a possible optional day excursion to a higher point. The nature of the landscape in far western Nepal is not radically different to many other parts of the Himalaya. Like just over the border in Kumaon (Nanda Devi region) and in far eastern Nepal, the foothills are extensive and range southwards for a quite a distance from the crest of the main massifs meaning there are high ridges, forested to 4,400m and deep valleys. Roughly speaking for 22 days we will be walking in a north-easterly direction. We will fly to Dhangadi then take a bus to the Chamlia river near Gokuleshwor. Our trek then starts up the valley of the Chamlia river, a typical medium sized Himalayan glacial river in a sub-tropical setting. Days should be hot with plenty of swimming opportunities. After about four days we will have climbed up the valley to over 3000m, we will establish a base camp then take a foray up to the base of Api Himal. This will serve us well as acclimatisation for the next stage which will be our first pass attempt at 5400 metres that will take us over to the upper Seti valley, crossing an old trading route that leads to the Urai Lagna pass (written about in Spy On the Roof of the World by Sydney Wignall, recommended reading). Time permitting we will gain a high point on this ridge so that we can get good views of Mount Gurla Mandhata which is particularly holy to the Tibetans and Hindus. We will then make our way to the eastern branch of the upper Seti to walk under the north face of Saipal and then over a 5300m pass leading to the upper reaches of the Humla Karnali watershed which eventually leads us to the district administrative centre of Simikot, from where we fly back to Kathmandu.


31 breakfasts, 28 lunches and 28 dinners, including all meals on trek valued at US$1200
airport transfers if arriving on day 1 and 32 or if you booked pre/post tour accommodation at the Radisson through World Expeditions
flight Kathmandu-Dhangadhi and Simikot-Kathmandu valued at US$770
20kgs baggage allowance
restricted area permits
expert bilingual guide
good quality accommodation in Kathmandu
the use of a World Expeditions trek pack which includes a quality sleeping bag, down or fibre fill jacket and insulated mat (valued at over US$500)
the use of a climbing pack including ice axe, crampons & harness (if required)
private transportation
porters to carry all personal and group equipment
site entry fees
souvenir World Expeditions kit bag
accommodation in our fully serviced wilderness campsites
group medical kit
portable high altitude chamber & satellite phone
all park entrance fees and trekking permits
insurance, protective clothing, food and shelter for porters
sightseeing in Kathmandu
Trek in the Api-Saipal massif, a remote region that has changed very little compared to the Annapurnas and Khumbu
Benefit from outstanding leadership and support from our staff who have first-hand experience in this region
Enjoy a fully supported camping based trek with three meals per day prepared by our cooks
Take in the bustle of Kathmandu including Pashupatinath (a major Hindu shrine) and the giant Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath
Challenge yourself on an exploratory trek off the main trekking trails
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
Price From
AUD $7,190
Start Location
Kathmandu, Nepal
End Location
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
6 to 12
Tour Style
Tour Themes
Adventure, Cycling/Trekking, Walking
Physical Rating
Moderate to Challenging
Tour departure dates
22 Apr 201923 May 2019AvailableAUD $7,190
20 Apr 202021 May 2020AvailableAUD $7,390
Day 1
You will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the Radisson hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. A pre-trek briefing will be given around 5pm where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fibrefill jacket. Evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
Day 2
This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, returning to the hotel by 2pm. In the afternoon you may have time to explore Durbar Square, Patan, Swayambhunath or Bhaktapur, and the lesser-known towns that dot the valley on foot, by bicycle or trishaw. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.
Day 3
This morning we take a flight to Dhangadhi then drive around and then drive to Dadeldhura where we will stay in basic accommodation.
Day 4
Today we drive to Lamabagar via Gokuleshwar which is where we will commence our trek from. Overnight Wilderness camp.
Days 5-29
Our inaugural trip, led by Tim Macartney-Snape in 2016 undertook the following route; bear in mind this is a guide only and will almost certainly differ, given the exploratory nature of the trip. Commence trek to just below Makarigadh at 1400m following the river then to near Thala, crossing the river and climbing high out of the gorge to camp on terraces high above the gorge at around 2000m. Continue to Khayekot, the last village then a high level traverse passing by the villages of Ghunsa and Siti and camp by the river immediately after crossing it at 2036m. Trek to Rokhab keeping close to the true left bank of river and continue all day through the forest, camping at 2990 m at the junction of the Chamalaya and Rokab Kholas. Possible side trip up the upper Chamalaya to camp below Thuda daya near Api for two nights at around 3765m and a day trip up to ridge opposite the south face of Api and Nampa, before returning to Rokhab. Trek up the Rokhab valley and camp in fold of the steep valley wall of Lamakhaye Dhar at 3800 before a steep climb and traverse up to high camp below pass at 4800m. We will then climb on steepening snow to unnamed pass at 5300m, before then descending on a lower angled neve down the other side to camp by lake at 4800m on side of Bayeli glacier. Crossing a glacial moraine, we'll descend an ablation valley to junction with the Salimor Khola at 4239m. An adventurous day follows, down the Salimor gorge, with two side-river crossings, steep traverses using fixed ropes and many tricky sections over steep ground. We will cross the river via snow-bridge half way between Kapchuli and Gaisar valleys and trek down to junction of Salimor and Seti rivers at Dahachaur. The old trade route to Tibet is joined here and in the summer there is a shepherds camp that sells basic foodstuffs - some of it brought over from Tibet via the Urai La. We will trek up the Seti gorge on well built track to Garaphu and up the Seti valley in more open country to Saipal chaur at around 3950m. Rest days are included, with a planned excursion to two lakes in the upper Rakse Urai valley. Our route then takes us towards the Urai la and then off main trail up to high camp below the 'Chaupha Tuppa" pass at around 4850m. There may (depending on conditions) be an optional climb to Thadodunga Tuppa 5638m on Tibetan border for fantastic views of Tibetan plateau to Taklakot, Gurla Mandata and upper Karnali valley. We'll head down the Thado Khola valley for four to five km before crossing the river (no bridge) then climbing very steeply up to 4500m to cross a spur (following small shepherds track) before dropping steeply into Syangbang Khola and then up again to junction with Phirankoph Khola. We will trek up the Syangbang Khola then east towards the Karang La, camping in the fold of the moraine around 2km below the pass. We plan to cross over the Karang La at 5300m then trek diagonally left to find a track which descends very steeply down a spur to Karang Khola below north Saipal glacier. We may camp in a forest at Sumjung Khola after crossing the river on natural stone bridge. There is a long descent followed by a long hill up then down to near the village of Chala. Turning south, we cross a river on bridge then trek up towards the junction with Ghugure khola camping at a meadow at around 3700m. The main trail takes us east to a junction before turning east to cross the Chhote la 4700m, then descending northwards past Librang tal. We will descend past Choila tal to near Kholsi and camp on side stream before crossing the Karnali and joining the main trail towards Simikot.
Day 30
Today is the final day, before returning to Kathmandu, of our magnificent traverse which has taken us on a journey through some of the most remote and untrodden trails in the Nepal Himalaya.
Day 31
Fly to Kathmandu. On arrival to Kathmandu, we transfer to the Radisson Hotel for overnight accommodation.
Day 32
After breakfast arrangements cease unless further ones have been made. Those people departing by aircraft will be transferred to the airport.