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.
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 Swayambhunath, Durbar Square, Patan 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.
Bhadrapur is situated in the terai, south east of Lukla. The flight from Kathmandu takes approx. 50 minutes and affords views of the entire trek and the Himalaya from Kanchenjunga to Langtang. Overnight hotel.
We plan to drive to Taplejung. Flights can sometimes be delayed due to mountain weather and so flexibility and patience may be required. The Kanchenjunga region is home to Sherpa, Limbu, Rai and Gurung people, and Taplejung is the gateway to the region and a lively place, especially for the Saturday market.
The trails throughout the lower sections of the Kanchenjunga region pass through fertile valleys that typically produce up to three crops per year. We pass by crops of rice, millet, potats, cauliflower and green vegetables. Gradually heading in a northerly direction the trail steepens after a few hours before a final descent of 350 metres on a muddy trail to Mitlung. Overnight camp.
The trail ascends and descends steadily for approx. 4 hours as we make our way towards the Tamor Khola and the valley floor at Nagadin.This area is significant to the history of Nepal and is where the first Kirati warriors originate from. The Kirati were the first who attempted to unite all the Himalayan Kingdoms into a single sovereign state.There is a final ascent into Chiruwa, a village tucked away between a steep hillside and the river. Overnight camp.
The stage from Chiruwa to Sukathum passes through varied landscapes such as cardamom fields and dense forests. This area ds experience landslides and we will need to check in with the National Park check post before Taplechok before proceeding, if there have been recent landslides we may need to take an alternative trail.
The stage from Sukathum to Amjilosa is a challenging day. After crossing the suspension bridge outside Sukathum we enter dense forest once again until the valley narrows into steep gorge country.The sound of the river is deafening and waterfalls cascade down either side of the gorge.Great care needs to be taken on this section of the trek. Our final approach to Amjilosa is a series of steep switchbacks which ease after a few hours with another hour of easier gradient before reaching Amjilosa.
The valley begins to widen on the stage to Gyabla, and rather than climbing up and down it is a more gradual and steady ascent until we reach the outskirts of the pretty village of Gyabla.
The stage to Ghunsa marks a change in the scenery with rhododendron, camellias and azaleas along the trail. We pass by the village of Phale, a Tibetan refugee settlement where it is possible to purchase handicrafts and homemade rugs from the locals - please mind your luggage allowance!
The final approaches to Ghunsa travel along pretty trails through conifer and pine forest. Ghunsa sits within the valley in a striking setting of steep cliffs and waterfalls above. Day 11 is our first rest day of the trek and may be spent at your leisure.
The stage to Kangpachen is arguably the most spectacular day on trek. We pass through meadows full with wildflowers in the spring time, and we will pass through forests of rhododendron and pine with a backdrop of impressive mountain scenery. We are early in the season, and so conditions should be expected to be cold and there will most likely be snow on the ground, depending on the winter, there may be substantial snow cover when we are at higher altitudes and this may slow our progress over the coming days. Once we reach the terminal moraine of the Kanchenjunga glacier we traverse a hillside and descend to Kangpachen.
Today will be another challenging day and an early start is needed. We climb lateral moraine for an hour before reaching a landslide section with large boulders which we must pass through at a steady pace. The trail then climbs steeply to the top of a section of lateral moraine and then eases off before arriving in Lhonak.
The mountain views on this stage of our trek are stunning as we make our way along the lateral moraine to base camp. Climbing gently for 2 hours we then cross a steep section of loose rock for another hour before a further gentle climb of another hour before arriving in base camp. For those feeling enthusiastic there may be options for side walks in the area.
We follow a trail which contours around hillsides until we reach a stream at Ghachaur. Here we begin a climb to the pass which should take approximately 3.5 hours, from the top it is an easy descent to a pretty campsite by a stream. There is a teashop close by which is 15 minutes before reaching Jogimara.
We cross the suspension bridge from Karnali and climb a steep, rocky trail, trending left until we crest a ridge at 2180 metres. We descend to a small river and then another climb brings us through fields and pine forest to a ridge and then a traverse to Bam village.
Leaving our idyllic rest stop at Rara Lake we descend to Gamgadhi, taking a left turn in the bazaar before continuing another 40 minutes to the Karnali bridge. Another 4 hours brings us to Bala and then a further 1.5 hours to Karnali.
Rara is Nepal's largest lake and is surrounded by the protected forests of Rara National Park in the Karnali district. There is an abundance of wildlife in this area including musk deer, leopard, ghoral, tahr, Himalayan black bear, and the rare red panda. The water of the lake is crystal clear and the area is a stunning place of natural beauty. We will spend a rest and acclimatisation day here. The Great Himalaya Trail has 2 options in the far west - 1) From Gamgadhi to Simikot and the Yari Valley 2) Cross country from Rara Lake to Kolti and Chainpur and on to the Mahakali Nadi (river) in India. We will travel the Gamgadhi to Simikot and Yari route, as this route travels closer to the centre of the Great Himalaya Range. There is yet to be a crossing found to the Mahakali Nadi, which is further to the west, therefore our finishing point for the GHT is currently Simikot after trekking north to Yari.
Today we will reach Jumla and join with the Rara Lake & Yari Valley trek group who are arriving from Kathmandu. Due to flight problems for the groups that will join us and a much needed rest day for us, we will have a full day's rest. We will continue towards Khaligaon and Bulbule before we reach Rara Lake. We are now nearing the main monsoon season, and so rain fall and wet conditions should be expected on this section of our journey.
Taking two days we retrace our steps back to Ghunsa. The return journey offers a different perspective of the mountain views and stunning surrounds.
Today we gain magnificent views of the Lumbha Sambha as we climb to the crest of a saddle, the trail here is faint and often undefined due to snow.We traverse below a peak and to another saddle and then make our crossing of the Lumbha Sambha (5159m). From here there are views of Jannu and Makalu to the east. From the pass we descend to the northwest.
Commence Sanku link of the GHT from Olangchun Gola to Pass Camp (4453m). The Great Himalaya Trail crosses the rugged wilderness of the Lumbha Sambha to the Makalu region. From Olangchun Gola we head in a northerly direction, crossing the Tamor Khola and travelling up the Dingsamba Khola. The trail then ascends through rhododendron forest to a valley and then another smaller valley beyond gained by climbing over a rock band.
An early start this morning will give us the best opportunity for clear views during our crossing of the Nango La. Once over the pass we descend to a bowl shaped valley. We stay on the northern side of the river and enter thick forest to Yangma Kola and our camp for the night.
Day 19 - A relatively short day to Olangchun Gola. Olangchun Gola is one of the most important centres for trade between Nepal and Tibet in this region. Most commonly exports to Tibet include grain, sugar, cigarettes and cotton thread which are exchanged for Tibetan salt, carpets and wool.
Day 20 - Rest Day in Olangchun Gola.
From Ghunsa we descend the main trail alongside the Ghunsa Kola until we meet a junction in the trail, from here we ascend to a series of summer grazing pastures (Khaka) where we will camp for the night.
We make an easy short ascent from Jogimara to a ridge at 3120 metres before a longer descent of 500 metres to a small stream before climbing again, crossing a landslide area. From here we have views of the lower valley and the village of Rimi. We make a long traverse to Deuri, passing by a school before descending to Darma village. Continuing through the village we drop down through a series of steep switchbacks to the main trail by the riverside, and then crossing a suspension bridge over the Humla Karnali and finally a short climb to Piplan.
We are literally 25 days from the finish of the Nepal section of the Great Himalaya Trail. We traverse towards Rara National Park, and the views here are stunning as we pass side valleys and make our way closer to the last stage of this epic trek.
We continue trekking through the traditional villages of Nimagaon and Korka climbing a series of switchbacks and crossing a basin between ridges before halting at a stream for our lunch break. Climbing once again to the village of Puma we take a right fork and and ascend more switchbacks in pine forest to Apsia Lekh.
The trail to Chyamtang is at times hard to follow due to thick overgrowth. We descend to the Medokchheje Khola before the trail climbs and we follow the west fork. The trail is scrambly in places as we contour around ridges to a small pass before descending through forest to a small kharka where we make an overnight camp.The following day we cross another minor pass and finally descend and cross the Arun Nadi to arrive in the friendly Lhomi village of Chyamtang where we will spend a welcome rest day.
Makalu Base Camp affords stunning views of its south face, with the south buttress of Makalu offering views of Baruntse (7220m), Everest and Lhotse. The Hillary and French base camps are far up the glacier, past Barun Pokhari, and these are now the traditional base camps used by climbing parties to Makalu. An optional walk from BC is a spectacular climb up grassy slopes to the top of the ridge. At the 5250m mark there is an outstanding view of Everest, Lhotse and Lhotse Shar as well as both the south-east and north ridges of Everest, along with the Kangshung Face and the South Col. Makalu looms above the ridge to the north.
It is a short trekking day to Langmale Kharka to aid acclimatisation,we take in the impressive mountain scenery found in this area.Great rock walls tower above as we make our way through the enormous U-shaped valley. Snowy peaks are the stunning backdrop to this valley often referred to as the Yosemite of the Himalaya, and it is a magnificent place to spend a well deserved rest day.
Eventually we emerge into the valley bottom and continue along the easier main trail to Makalu base camp and Yangla Kharka.Great rock walls tower above as we make our way through the enormous U-shaped valley. Snowy peaks are the stunning backdrop to this valley often referred to as the Yosemite of the Himalaya, this is a magnificent and exciting place to be and it is here that we will meet up with the Everest & Makalu via Sherpani Col group who have trekked in from Tumlingtar.
For five further days we continue towards the Makalu Barun National Park. At times the trail will be steep and rocky with some scrambling sections and challenging climbs. We will skirt around the picturesque Molun Pokhari (lake) and head south and south east crossing rivers, sometimes via logs, and penetrating thick rhododendron forest. These days on the trail are challenging as this area is not often travelled and there may be very limited space for camp sites.
A short but challenging day with some steep ridge climbs and a minor pass crossing (2710m).
Back on the main trail it is an easy walk to Hongon. Here we will leave the Kanchenjunga region and enter the next region and GHT stage which is Makalu.
Some challenging days ahead as we branch off from the main trail and shortcut to Rara. We cross the 5115 metre Kagmara La, a splendid pass crossing with stunning panoramic views.On our approach the valley narrows and we pass a series of waterfalls before we climb onto the moraine. We make a high camp before crossing over and down to Mauriya Phedi and Chotra.
Today we have magnificent views of Saipal and surrounding valleys as we follow a contouring trail to Kallas. From here we descend to the river and then climb an easy trail to a ridge and descend once more to the Rodikot Khola.A further climb of 1.5 hours brings us to our campsite beside the Punkha Khola.
We now have a 6 day trek to reach Jumla where we will meet up with the Rara Lake group travelling in from Kathmandu.We are in Nepal's far west region, where the tourism infrastructure is in its infancy and services very basic.
The second half of trek to Swisse BC is tricky and involves boulder hopping as we follow the Barun Glacier directly beneath Makalu enormous west face.
Swisse Base Camp is situated amongst the moraine in a sandy spot directly opposite the mighty West Pillar on Makalu. Very few campsites a this close to one of these 8000m giants. We have a full day set aside to rest and acclimatise and will aim to reach a vantage point above camp with a (weather permitting) great view of Everest and the fabled Kangshung Face.
Heading west from Chharka Bhot we descend to the Chharka Tulsi Khola. Whilst travelling alongside the river we are forced to make a few crossings back and forth. We then make a short climb before descending to a minor tributary and crossing on stepping stones. Another climb of 45 minutes brings us to Chap Chu and our camp for the night. Our trekking day to Maran sees us crossing the Chan La (5378m), it is an easy gradient to the pass and we are now fit and acclimatised. From the top the views are stunning and we get a sense of the scale of the dramatic mountain scenery around us. From the pass we descend a series of switch backs to the valley before ascending to a ridge that sits above the Sheru Khola to our south. Once we reach a chorten we head down to the Tarpi Khola valley and on to Maran. An hour from Maran is the large trading village of Dho Tarap. Above the village is the Ribum Gompa nunnery and Regu Chorten, and time permitting we will make a visit. Today's trek is relatively easy going to our campsite at a roofless Nungmala Base Camp at 4440m.
In the coming days we make two challenging pass crossings above 5000 metres. From the top of the Jungben La we gain magnificent views to the south of Hidden Valley and Dhaulagiri can be seen. The following day we cross the Niwas La and make an easy descent to Nulungsumda Kharka where we camp at the confluence of the Malun and Thasan Kholas. The trek to Chharka Bhot is a relatively easy day and we will spend a rest day here. Chharka Bhot is a centuries old fortified village and a great place to spend another well earned rest day.
The crossing of the Renjo La Pass will be exciting and relatively straight forward. The landscape is progressively that of the Tibetan Valleys beyond the border. There is a chance we will meet Tibetan Traders descending from the Nangpa La pass that leads through the Himalayas from Tibet with their caravans of woolly yaks laden with goods. Overnight camp at Taranga.
We trek around Gokyo Lake to set up our wilderness camp below the Renjo La pass ready for our crossing tomorrow.
The steady and unrelenting ascent of Gokyo Ri will take around two hours. You will be elated when you reach the summit with its spectacular view. Probably the most comprehensive view of 8,000 metre peaks in Nepal, many people consider it to be Nepal's best. Surrounding us are Cho Oyu (8153m), (a mountain that defeated a British Expedition of climbers, including Hillary, in their lead-up to their successful assault of Everest), Gyangchung Kang (7922m), Lhotse (8501m), Makalu (8475m), Cholatse (6440m), Taweche (6542m), Kantega (6685m), Thamserku (6808m), Lobuche (6145m) and Mt Everest (8848m). Hundreds of other unnamed peaks fill the scene, whilst below us the Ngozumba Glacier, the largest in Nepal, stretches through the valley. The striking colour of the lakes below completes the picture. The only way to get a better view of the entire Everest region would be to climb an 8,000 metre peak! Although further from Everest than Kala Pattar, the traditional viewing point, here we see more of the mountain and enjoy a more relaxed environment to view the peak.
The views today are magnificent as we leave the Everest watershed and enter that of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. The crossing involves a steep scramble up rock boulders and then a walk across the gently ascending, snow-covered glacier that caps the pass, the views of the route ahead, and of the glacier itself, are breathtaking. We descend steep boulder strewn slopes to the Gokyo valley below. This is a valley of turquoise lakes and great glaciers. For the first part of the descent there are discernible paths that zigzag down the mountainside slippery in snow! The ground then levels out and the path all but disappears as we hop across a field of boulders. Finally we climb a gentle slope to the top, from where it's all downhill, following a narrow river valley all the way to its base at Dragnag, a small Sherpa settlement nestled beneath great rock walls, just a stone's throw from the Ngozumba Glacier. Continuing on we reach Gokyo in the late afternoon.
Day 23 brings us to Dingboche and our comfortable private permanent campsite. Over the past week we have made crossings of some of the most challenging terrain found in the Himalaya. From our camp we have excellent views of Nuptse, Lhotse, Chukung Peak and Imja Tse (6189m) are had from both in the valley or from the ridge above the camp. Massive glaciers drape beneath cliffs that soar up to 3,500 metres in this dramatic valley. The following day we proceed to Dzongla, another spectacularly situated camp, on our way to our next pass, the Cho La.
An alpine start for our pass crossing. Ferrying across all our loads together with all party members, crew, porters and members takes time. The approach to the pass from the Honku is deceptive. Facing east and southward there is much more sun and little snow, just a collection of rocks that gradually lead up to the gap we travel through. On the north facing side we find steep slopes of snow that we must take care to descend by fixed ropes to the snow basins below and subsequent moraine and alpine valley beyond. The views from this 5845m pass crossing to the peaks of Khumbu are unmatched. Any spare moment whilst we are climbing and descending will allow us to appreciate the spectacle of the peaks of the region.
After our crossings are completed we descend into the Honku valley nearby five large glacial lakes which sprawl out before us. They are known as Panch Pokhari (five lakes). The Amphu Labsta pass is situated immediately at the head of the valley to our right and is basically the low point on the ridge between the Honku and the Imja valleys. For this day or so we are in the Honku. A new vista of peaks span out before us including Ama Dablam to the distant west, and many unnamed peaks. Amphu Labsta Base Camp is set close to the rocks that lead up to the pass. On these stages we ask that members be flexible and co-operative. Camps will be set where conditions allow, and your leader will keep you advised as to each days plan.
We have allowed 2 days to position ourselves for the crossing of the Sherpani & West Cols. Depending on our group movement and progress we may need to be flexible on our approach. As we near the Sherpani Col base camp the trail is much less defined and with more boulder hopping, and now that we are climbing high cloud may obscure the trail. We camp high at the snout of the glacier at 5688m with the Sherpani Col 3 hours above us. If conditions are favourable and the group are moving at a good pace we may attempt to make the crossing of both Cols in a day, but in all likelihood we'll be camping at Baruntse C1 on the West Col @ 6100m on the first night and descending the Col to the Honku valley the next day. Although these are the most demanding days of our trek, we are deep in the Himalaya and the massive scale of the mountains around us are an awesome sight to behold. There will be sections of roped up travel and abseiling, and our Sherpa guides and mountaineering leader will manage the coming days as snow and weather conditions dictate.
We start with a big climb of 500 metres through steep switchbacks to a kharka at 3512 metres. From here we continue climbing, gaining views north to Simikot and also to the south. We climb to over 4000 metres today before a very steep descent to the Yanchu Khola. We have a few camping options, and there will more than likely be some livestock grazing in the valley.
Leaving the dharamsala we are now well on our way to Ringmo and the stunning Phoksumdo Lake. We travel over the Numala La to a picturesque campsite at Danigar. This area is dominated by Norbung Kang (6085m). The following day will find us descending to Temche, a large grassy kharka, where animals are often kept. The trek to Ringmo is a stunning day and we enter pine forest before arriving at Ringmo. Phoksumdo Lake is a few minutes beyond Ringmo and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the Himalaya.
Depending on weather conditions today may be hot and dusty as there is little shade along the trail. We descend for 15 minutes or so alongside the river before an easy gradient climb to Durpa village and a further descent to the pilgrimage site of Kharpunath. Continuing on another 30 minutes we turn into the Kudila Kola valley. From here we ascend to some teashops and cross a metal bridge before the final set of switchbacks which lead us to Simikot.
We turn south and down valley towards Lukla for our return to Kathmandu. There are Sherpa villages to be explored as we descend the gorge. We will spend the night at the pretty village of Thame with its spectacular monastery. We will bid farewell to the Makalu team as we continue on with the Rolwaling team.
We transfer from Bigu Gompa by road back to Kathmandu and the Radisson Hotel for 3 days of rest and relaxation. Although we have built in ample acclimatization and intermittent rest days into the GHT itinerary, a trek involving 145 days of almost continuous trekking is an extremely challenging undertaking and punishing to the body. Accordingly these days should be taken as a recuperation period and key to completing the GHT. These days are based on single accommodation with breakfast only included.
We follow the trail through two gullies before reaching a series of switchbacks to Jhansye (4195m).The trail now levels out as we cross a hillside and then make a descent to Kyalunpa Khola where we cross a wooden bridge and head west to a narrow gully. Our campsite set in juniper trees is gained by climbing up a steep gully.
We will spend two days on our approach to the Tashi Labsta. Our first night will be spent by the lake (Parchemuche Tsho) in a picturesque setting. We will be monitoring the weather conditions at this stage to be prepared for our pass crossing. Cave camp is set high and puts us in a good position to asses conditions for our Tashi Labsta crossing.
Panch Pokhari is named after 5 holy ponds and thousands of pilgrims climb to the sacred Panch Pokhari Lakes during the monsoon. There is a Mahadev Temple located here and from the top of Panch Pokhari we gain views of the Jugal Himal and Rolwaling. Next day we will take a rest.
We continue along the ridge climb with fabulous views east and west of a chain of mountains that form a natural border with Tibet. W.H. Tilman was the first European to explore this region in 1949, and very few have ever retraced his footsteps.
We have two big days of descent ahead on our trek to Balephi Khola, before beginning our ascent to Hille Bhanjyang and on to Panch Pokhari where we will meet our Langtang & Tilman Pass group who will be entering via Chautara.
The coming days are quite challenging as the trail continues to climb for a further 3 days with a total altitude gain of 2900 metres. Bhairav Kund is one of the most sacred lakes in Nepal and is an old pilgrim trail. We will camp by the lake at an old dharamsala.
Leaving the Last Resort we trek to Listi. The trail climbs a steep hillside as we ascend to Baldun and then continue on to Listi where there is a Hindu Temple on the ridge above.
The weather, snow and glacier conditions will play a large part in how difficult the route will be. We climb up steadily through several rock and ice gullies to reach the pass where we are treated with a superb new vista of mountains. Few of these peaks have been climbed, nor do they have a formal name, and they are not open to foreigners. It is one of the least accessible parts of the Nepal Himalaya. Tengi Ragi Tau and Pharchamo tower above and mark the gap to the pass; both are captivating in their form with their sheer ice and rock faces. We need to make a long, steady trek along the rock/snow and descend crevassed snow slopes to the Trakarding glacier. There are several sections that usually require some scrambling on rock and ice, and if necessary we will fix a rope as a handrail. Our staff will work closely with team members to make a safe passage for all. The pass achieved, we enjoy the thrill of where we are, sandwiched between two fabulous regions and mountain ranges. Overnight camp on the Trakarding glacier.
Bigu Gompa is the exit point for our Rolwaling GHT stage. Bigu is a Sherpa village, and Bigu Gompa is a nunnery dedicated to Avalokiteshwara, the all seeing, all knowing remover of obstacles. If visiting the nunnery, please note that a small donation is considered appropriate.
As we descend into warmer conditions and lush surrounds the walking becomes much easier now that we are fit and fully acclimatised. We will overnight in Dokhang where there is a spacious campsite by a small stream.
The following day we continue through forest and pass by waterfalls on our way to Simigaon. Simigaon village is rich with terraces of wheat, barley and millet; and people busily tending fields and livestock to make a living for themselves. It is a pleasant camp on a sharp ridge at the top of the village offering superb sunset and sunrise views of Gauri Shankar.
The stages to Beding are pleasant,and we will trek through rhododendron, pine and juniper forest whilst travelling by the riverside. There is also an abundance of bird-life. Day 21 - At Bedding we enjoy a rest day; this is a good opportunity to catch up on clothes washing.
Today is a challenging day and we must cross two passes on our way to Santa. We set out early and climb a hillside where the gradient increases as we enter a gully and pass by some caves before reaching a watercourse. We meet the main trail once again from Phalyak and make our first pass crossing at 4306m. Continuing west we contour through basins before crossig the Bhima Lojun La (4460m). Traversing for 1 -2 hours we reach a spur where we descend into a large ravine and cross a scree slope to Santa.
We retrace our steps back to Simikot, and the end of our epic trek across the Nepal Great Himalaya Trail.There are sure to be big celebrations with our crew tonight, and some well deserved pats on the back after completing a very long walk in the Himalaya!
We pass below the Gompa and through orchards and fields before gaining a ridge, dropping into a ravine and climbing up the other side. There are good views of the upper valley from here. We continue on descending and crossing ridges until we make a final climb to Yari. Yari is a compact settlement with a police post, which is the last in Nepal, and customs office.The main crops of this area are millet,barley, wheat, buchwheat, potats and radishes.To the west of Yari is the Sarpa La, a route into Tibet. This is the final destination of our trek in the far west of Nepal, and marks the end of our traverse of the Nepal Himalaya.
We travel through many villages and fields of buckwheat and potats, cross rivers and climb ridges. It is a particularly pretty area with many small communities dotted along our trail. The gradient levels out before Dharapori and we finally pass through walnut and apricot groves before arriving at our camp for the night.
Leaving Dharapori we cross over the river and trek along the north side towards Muchu. We pass by waterfalls and shepard camps and although reasonably challenging it is a pleasant and interesting trek.
We are now well above the treeline as we make a short climb from Panch Pokhari to the ridgeline and continue north crossing spurs and basins until we descend into a valley and a final climb to Tin Pokhari.
There are two routes through the lower rocky section of the pass and it will depend on conditions as to which one we choose to ascend. This is quite a challenging pass and there will be loose rock and scree to negotiate. Once we reach a steep rock face after the initial climb we traverse to the left and climb directly onto the snowfield of the pass. The pass is to the northwest of the snowfield. We then descend a steep snow slope and rocky gullies,care should be take here as the gullies can be icy. We may fix a handline and your leader will advise the plan after assessing the conditions. The pass crossing will be a long day of approx. 7-9 hours. We camp at the northern shore of a lake.
We are now travelling along the clearly marked main trail of the Langtang trek. Following the river we wind through many teahouses and small villages to Syabru Besi where we will spend a rest day.
We are now travelling on the Ganesh link of the GHT on our way to the Manaslu and Annapurna regions.
Leaving Gatlang we enter pine and rhododendron forest until we reach 3100 metres where there is a large kharka and campsite, we continue on from here where we meet up with a road which we follow whilst traversing a steep hillside to another kharka. Here we take a small trail which leads us over the Khurpu Dada Pass (3710m) before heading west and descending to Somdang. The following day we continue our descent through rhododendron forest and terraced fields to Tipling.
For the following three days we trek through dense forest climbing to minor ridge tops and descending into open basins. In four days time we reach a milestone - day 90 and we will meet with the Manaslu & Annapurna group at Jagat.
Today is a relatively long day and we will combine with our GHT Manaslu & Annapurna trek at Jagat. We are now two thirds of the way through the Full Traverse and our cooks may prepare a special meal tonight to celebrate the occasion!
A day of relatively easy ups and downs as we follow the river upstream. We cross a number of tributaries before arriving at our camp beside the river at Philim.
This morning we fly to Kathmandu, a thrilling flight over forests, fields and villages, with the Himalaya in the background. On arrival, we transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. There are many fine restaurants in Kathmandu, and there will be a final group dinner organised tonight to celebrate our trek along the Great Himalaya Trail.
We climb initially and then descend to cross a suspension bridge to the opposite bank. There are more riverside undulations and mani walls and chortens may be seen, signs of the distinctly Tibetan territory into which we are entering. The valley trail keeps to the northern bank below the village of Bih. Bih is known for its family of master stone carvers and along the trail today we see flat stones carved with intricate figures and stupas. Just past Bih we catch glimpses of the Shringi Himal and continue along the northern bank of the Buri Gandakhi until we reach the dominantly Tibetan village of Ghap for lunch. We then continue up through the forest densely vegetated with pine and birch to our jungle camp amongst the trees just before Namrung.
We are now approaching the main Langtang Trail to Kyangjin Gompa where there are many teahouses. There is a nearby cheese factory that is well worth a visit and of course a visit to the Gompa. There is a viewpoint on a hill to the north of Kyangjin Gompa with prayer flags adorning the summit, and time permitting this is a great vantage point also worth the effort.
Continuing on, we occasionally have to trek high above the river to skirt around narrow gorges that prohibit a path. The trail takes us through pine forest scattered with rhododendron. We make our way to the lower trail which again follows the Buri Gandakhi below the Gurung village of Ngak and camp an hour's walk past Deng.
After a couple of stream crossings, the Larkye Glacier appears on the opposite bank. We steadily climb, skirting around the Sarka Khola to camp at a small brick hut at the base of the Larkye La (pass).
Soon after setting off today the unique shape of Larkye Peak becomes visible. The trail upwards is very gradual but at this altitude we take our time. It takes us approximately 5 hours to reach the pass, with the last section becoming quite steep but it is well worth the effort. The mountain vista to the west is incredible - Himlung Himal (7126m), Chap Himal, Gyaji Kang, Kang Guru (6981m) and Annapurna II (7937m). The descent from the pass is very steep across ice and scree as we follow the glacier. Progress is slow and careful but eventually we enter the valley of the Burdin Khola and continue to Bimtang and our camp for the night.
The trail now basically follows the Marsyangdi downstream, before entering a pristine forest of pine and rhododendron which during the spring months puts on a brilliant display of colour. This is another day to ensure you have plenty of film in your day packs as the views of the Himlung and Manaslu Himal are again spectacular. Today we reach a milestone - day 100!
We have now crossed from the Manaslu region into the Annapurna region. The trail we follow today climbs over steep forest ridges and crosses the river before reaching Chame, the administrative headquarters of the Manang District. We pass many mani walls with Mayu Prayer wheels - typical of villages in this region. The trail continues through the forest and after rounding a bend, we will view Paungda Danda rock face, a tremendous curved slab of rock rising more than 1500m from the river. We also gain excellent views of Annapurna 2 to the south and Pisang Peak to the north east. After crossing a suspension bridge we climb over a ridge and descend to the valley floor.
Trekking along the traditional Annapurna Circuit we make our way to Pisang, a cluster of houses with the main village about 150m uphill. Day 104 sees us gradually ascend about 200m towards Manang's airstrip at Hongde. Our campsite is about 40 min walk from here. This is one of the most beautiful camping sites of the trip facing towards Annapurna 4 and 3.
A superb day! After breakfast, we head off winding around contours gaining ever more impressive views of Annapurna 3 and Gangapurna before we reach the Josang Valley and the camp site at Yak Kharka.
A short but strenuous day as we continue up the valley and cross the Jorsang Khola on a small cantilevered bridge before edging our way around loose scree slopes to finally reach a couple of ramshackle tea-shops at the foot of the awesome Thorong La. An early night is advised as we have a big day tomorrow.
The trail takes us into wilder territory as we skirt around some glacial moraine then descend to the riverbed. Excellent views of the peak of Manaslu today. We soon reach the Tibetan Refugee village of Samdo, a wild place with a substantial village of some 200 permanent residents.
We descend to cross the Damonan Khola then ascend again along a narrow path through the forest to Namrung with its check post then continue through the forest path past small Tibetan villages towards Ligaon. It is likely that we will encounter our first yak today and there is also a troop of monkeys who often come down to the river here to drink. We have uninterrupted views behind us of Ganesh III and IV and Baudha Peak and to our right the Kutang Himal stands high as the natural border between Nepal and Tibet. Before us our first real mountain panorama opens up with the peaks of Himalchuli (7893m), Peak 29 (7871m) and finally Manaslu (8163m).
A long, arduous day rewarded with unsurpassed views. We set out from Phedi before daybreak in order to reach the top of the pass before late morning and avoid the notorious Thorong winds. The first section up the pass is steep and it's slow going. The trail winds around seemingly endless switchbacks with each "false top" leading on to another ridge. Finally we see the massive prayer-flag-covered cairn which marks the top. From here the views back over the entire Annapurna Range and across to Mustang and western Tibet are unbelievable. The cold up here soon has us heading down to Muktinath. It is a very weary group of trekkers who hit the sack that night. A day of Himalayan highs in every sense of the word! We will meet the group of GHT Upper Dolpo Traverse in Muktinath.
Entering the main Kali Gandaki valley we take a short cut that avoids the road to Kagbeni. Kagbeni once marked the Nepal / Tibet border and it is the official entry to the Mustang region. Within the village is the old Gompa, and at the northern edge of the village lies the remains of the old fort. We will take a rest day here, and then proceed to Kharka and into the Dolpo region, whilst those on the Manaslu & Annapurna Traverse will proceed to Jomsom and back to Kathmandu via Pokhara. From Kagbeni we head south through the village and cross a suspension bridge to a series of steep switch backs that lead to a grassy plateau. From here we follow the main trail leading to a Kharka. Dolpo People - "West of the upper Kali Gandaki, at around 4000 metres, lies the remote area of Dolpo. Surrounded by mountains over 6000m, this landscape can only be successfully inhabited by tough, hardy people. The people of Dolpo do not have a tribal name, like Sherpas, or a district name, like Lopa. There are 25 or 30 villages spread over an area of about 1300 square kilometres. The Dolpo people are very hospitable and kind, and grow most of the crops they need, as well as keeping yaks, sheep and goats for meat, wool and milk products, or to be sold or traded. Their houses are built of rough stone and all huddled together, as though trying to gain warmth and comfort from each other. This often makes the villages look like forts. Their traditional 'fancy' dress for women includes a striking headdress made of two rectangular brass plates with edges that turn up over the top and back of the head. These headdresses are adorned with coral and turquoise and often represent the wealth of the family. They marry by choice or arrangement, and follow Buddhism and Bon. The 1998 movie 'Caravan' (also called 'Himalaya') was shot here and told the tale of the now defunct salt caravans. You can still find locals in villages such as Saldang who appeared in the film." - from the guide book "Nepal Trekking & The Great Himalaya Trail" by Robin Boustead.
After breakfast arrangements cease unless further ones have been made. Those people departing by aircraft will be transferred to the airport and assisted with check-in procedures.