Upper Dolpo Trek
Its remoteness at first has greatly contributed to the uniqueness of this land.
- Duration 25 Days
- Difficulty Level Medium
- Includes Equipment, Drinks, Accommodations, Food
Upper Dolpo is one of those fascinating territories. Its remoteness at first has greatly contributed to the uniqueness of this land. Domestic flights are rare and access by land would take several days. The inhabitants therefore remained isolated for a long time from Nepal and Tibet, being able to communicate only after long walks and passes. You take part in this sobriety of life, your caravan with the Nepalese team that guides you must comply with geographical constraints to access the forgotten villages. This trek completes the upper Dolpo circuit with an almost exhaustive visit of the region. The program includes the passages of the Kangla (5200m) and Gela (5100m) passes and the visit of the 2 most important villages of Dolpo: Saldang and Shey Gumba.
The Dolpo region, through its culture and landscapes, is mistaken for the Mustang. This region directly links Tibet to Nepal. It is on these roads that one can meet the caravans of yaks loaded with salt or wool, coming from Tibetan lands. You will flow harmoniously into the art of living of the high altitude mountain people. You will experience an exciting adventure as you walk past the Chortens, a myriad of prayer flags … In Shey Phoksundo National Park which stretches around a magnificent lake, open your eyes wide to see the blue sheep, the snow leopard, wild rabbits and other groundhogs.
A trek to Dolpo has two stages: Upper and Lower Dolpo. Upper Dolpo is inhabited by an ethnic group called Dolpo-pa (people of Dolpo), Bhotia or nomads called DROKPA and who are of Tibetan origin and practice Buddhism or the Bon religion (religion prior to Buddhism). The Dolpo-pa stands out for their culture and social traditions. They are mainly breeders who exploit large areas and practice an exchange trade between Upper and Lower Dolpo: salt for cereals, meat, wool, medicinal plants, barley, wheat, potatoes…
Lower Dolpo is populated by Brahmin, Chhetri and Magars (local clan) whose culture and traditions are greatly influenced by the Hindu world, not only in their culture and traditions, but also in their accent. They have a reputation for expressing themselves wonderfully by talking with their hands.
Upper and Lower Dolpo belong to those regions protected from rain by the Himalayan range, which creates a micro-climate with rare rains and severe winters. Minimum temperatures can drop to
-10º C. The Upper and Lower Dolpo, due to lack of water, unroll kilometers of sterile tundra which painfully receives 250 mm of rain per year. During the monsoon from June to September, the weather remains stable as long as it does not. Load no water; it is dry, windy and cold even in summer. Due to very cold weather conditions, scarce water and limited irrigation capacity, in most villages, only one harvest is received each year. The best time to trek Dolpo is from April to October.
Temperatures of Nepal:
Temperatures vary with the seasons. Usually between 1200 and 2500m the months of October and November are beautiful and sunny. In the valleys, the nights are cool, from 12 to 15ºC, and the pleasant days up to 25 / 26ºC. Above 3000 m, temperatures gradually decrease. From 5000m, they evolve between -10ºC, at night and 12/13 ° C, during the day.
In spring, around March / April between 1200 and 2500m, it is dry, rather mild to hot. The hills are covered with blooming rhododendrons in the Annapurna, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Langtang regions. The sky is clear in the morning with, generally, a little wind. In the afternoon a few thunderstorms can cool the atmosphere. Expect temperatures of around 15 / 20ºC at night and highs of 28–32ºC during the day. Above 3000m, temperatures will continue to decrease. From 5000m, they oscillate between -5ºC at night, and 15 / 16ºC, during the day. In winter, around December / February, it is dry, the rains are rare, the cold is there, it freezes in altitude and the high passes are likely to find themselves snow-capped.
Many trekkers come by plane from Nepalgunj to Juphal (2400m) to admire the grandiose landscapes. It is the most beautiful gateway to start a trek in Dolpo. During the monsoon, flights can be suspended due to weather conditions and lack of visibility. From mid-June to the end of September, the monsoon rages in the Lower Dolpo and in the subtropical region. The flights are therefore organized according to the weather. Another option can be considered by paying additional expenses: rent a helicopter if you have a group of 16 people.
Trekking and hiking in the Himalayan Mountains, progressing at high altitude requires excellent physical condition to overcome 5 to 7 hours of walking per day. Crossing altitude passes should not pose any technical difficulty for trekkers except ascent of technical peaks. Each day, the course is studied both to allow the discovery of the region and to save time… and breath… in order to fully experience the encounters with the different Nepalese ethnic groups.
Our itineraries are studied according to the level of difficulty and the walking time to be observed daily. The programs presented correspond to possible routes that may change from one year to the next according to certain criteria such as having water at the location planned for the camp or lodge and other specific circumstances that require rethinking the route to perform.
Accommodation will be of a standard hotel type (International Guest House) or similar hotel, or of a higher category according to your choice, such as the Siddhartha hotel in Nepalgunj. All accommodation is offered in double rooms. It is possible to book a single room subject to paying an additional charge.
During the camping trek: meals will be prepared by our cook, of good quality,
Day 03: Depart for Nepalgunj and overnight at hotel One hour flight over the Himalayan ranges to western Nepal to Nepalgunj, offers superb views of Langtang, Manaslu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Nepalgunj is a town close to the border with India. The temperature is less favorable there than in Kathmandu.
Our team will be there when you land to welcome you (organization of loads with porters and Sherpa) after you start your trek to Dunai. Descent to the Bheri river, then walk along the same river to Dunai, the capital of Dolpo where the first police checkpoint is located to check permits. Camp near the village, on the banks of the Bheri.
The trek begins from Dunai we follow the river on a path which gradually rises. After reaching a small summit, we cross a forest of rhododendrons and bamboos. In the evening, we camp in Chapke near a river.
We leave Chapke and we follow the path towards Sumdo. Along the way, we pass through a forest of pines and bamboos, which are the two most common tree species in the region. On this route, we will have the opportunity to see some wild animals from afar. Camp in Sumdo, near the river
We climb up the side of a mountain while admiring a forest of conifers and junipers. We will also see waterfalls. We continue walking towards the lake of Phoksundo. The blue color of the lake is admirable and the cliffs astonishing. There is no doubt that you will be charmed by the large waterfall that springs from the lake
We visit the Ringmo monastery and discover its beautiful surroundings.
At the start, the cliff path presents some difficulties along the Shey Phoksundo Lake. We leave this trail very quickly as soon as we move away from the lake. The way to Sallaghari becomes easier and we set up camp in the forest.
Today we start to follow the course of the river on a flat path. Halfway through, we start to climb to reach the base camp.
We leave in the direction of Shey Gumba. In the evening we will visit Chakang gumba. We will cross the Kangla pass (5500m). At the end of the descent, after taking a flat path, we will reach Shey Gumba. We will visit the gumba and walk around the village where we are staying for the night.
We visit the monastery built in a cave near the river. From the river, we have a view of the surroundings which evokes, for informed eyes, time immemorial. Under your gaze, everything is intact; nothing has changed since the dawn of time.
We start from Shey gumba towards Namgung gumba. The climb is easy, the path can be narrow in some places and then widen in others. We cross the Gela La pass pass (5100m) before descending to Namgung gumba. We will visit the cave called Chamthang and continue the descent to Saldang. On our arrival, in Saldang, a village inhabited by Tibetans, we will visit the monastery.
We start the day with a descent of about 3h towards Tribeni. We will have lunch on the bank where we will stay for the night. After lunch, we will visit the Yangser monastery and then return to the camp (Tribeni). There is a small village near the monastery which dominates our camp; you can visit it at your convenience.
We climb quietly along the river towards the village of Cha. We can see sheep and yaks in the pastures.