Discover The World's Highest Virgin Peak: Bhutan

2024 Gangkhar Puensum Trek | Whistling Arrow

October 23 to November 9, 2025 | USD 7250 pp

Originally conceived while cooped up in the eye of the Covid-19 storm, this expedition to explore some of Bhutan's most precious, and largely unexplored lands was run for the first time in 2023. And we can't wait to head back; to venture far beyond the reach of the goretex-clad crowds. Thankfully, even in an increasingly filled in map of our planet, there are still countless places of mystery, and for us here at Whistling Arrow, the remote, spiritually-charged 'White Peak of the Three Bodhisattvas', and it's surrounding striated valleys, have always been uniquely enchanting.
And so, this year, we will once again embark on this epic high-altitude adventure, to journey up through forested-valleys, and past the ruins of age-old dzong, to emerge into the remote southern and eastern flanks of Gangkhar Puensum; the highest unclimbed peak (7541m) on earth, which straddles the remote borderlands of northern Bhutan and southern Tibet. And there, based on our reconnaisance in 2023, we will explore more of this hidden mountain sanctuary, with it's extraordinarily panoramic ridge-lines and impossibly azure lakes. In short, if you dream of escaping into one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Asia, then look no further than joining our small, like-minded team of intrepid trekkers.
** More images from our 2023 trip can be viewed here **


Why Join Our Team?

Participate in our second exploratory expedition to explore one of the last hidden corners of the mighty Himalayan range.
Experience two spectacular Tibetan Buddhist festivals in Bumthang; the Jambay Lhakhang Drup & Prakhar Duchhoed (both on Nov 6).
Forge a seldom-trekked route to unearth a spritually charged mountain sanctuary, shrouded in time-honoured mystery.
2024 Gangkhar Puensum Expedition  | Whistling Arrow

Expedition Plan

This is a seldom-trekked route through a remote region of the Himalayas that will require a considerable amount of flexibility and self-reliance from all members of the team. The following is only the outline daily plan. The average time hiking on the trail will be between 6 and 7 hours per day.

October 23, 2025 ­

Fly to Paro (IATA: PBH). You will be met at the airport and transferred (3 hours drive) to our local farmstay in the Punakha Valley. Visit the local dzong, and enjoy a hot stone bath before dinner and drinks.­

October 24, 2025­

After breakfast, we will enjoy some archery, before driving to the beautiful district of Bumthang (via Trongsa), home to several ancient temples and dzong. Here we will overnight in a local heritage farmhouse.­

October 25, 2025 ­

A short drive to the trailhead to meet our expedition team­, before setting of on the trek up through a valley, scattered with old temples. Set up camp (2865m) near a small chorten.­

October 26, 2025 ­

Follow the raging river up through a densely forested (and narrowing) valley of rhododendron, pine and fir. Set up camp (3240m) by the river, and overlooked by a small monastery.­

October 27, 2025 ­

Trek up through the tree line, before breaking out into the junction of two open valleys.­ Head up the left-sided valley and set up camp (3710m) overlooking the confluence of two rivers.­

October 28, 2025 ­

Gradually ascend through the beautiful valley, past a number of yak herder huts (yak butter tea anyone), before setting up camp (4200m) by the river.­ This will be our basecamp for the next 3 nights, overlooking Melunghi Kang (6902m).­

October 29, 2025 ­

On our first exploratory hike from camp, we will ascend a large ridge with stupendous views of the Gangkhar Puensum Massif, and out over 'Jumbo Jet Valley'.

October 30, 2025

Today we will explore this spectacular mountain sanctuary, by climbing up a small ridge, and then exploring the Margangphu Valley, and the lake that lies in it's furthest reaches.­

October 31, 2025 ­

Today we will break camp and return down the valley to Tsampa, the stunning campsite­ we also will use on the second night. Visit the small monastery and receive blessings from the local lama.­

November 1, 2025

Trek up steeply from the campsite, through a lightly forested area of rocky crags and cliffs, before topping out with stunning views towards the Thole La.­ Head into the next side valley and camp (4470m) by a small lake. Here we will halt for 2 nights.­

November 2, 2025 ­

Set off to explore the spectacular peaks, and stunning rocky outcrops to the north of the campsite. In 2023 we spotted several blue sheep, as well as fresh snow leopard scat, in this beautifully pristine area. Return to camp.­

November 3, 2025 ­

Trek gradually up to the Thole La with more awe-inspiring views, before embarking on a lengthy descent down to the floor of the next deep valley. Set up camp (4090m).­

November 4, 2025 ­

Trek down to our final campsite set on a hill overlokking the forested valley. I was here that we spotted tiger prints in 2023! Settle down for our final night's camping.­

November 5, 2025­

Descend through rhododendron forest before following the bank of a river to arrive at a small dirt track that leads to a local village. Meet our transport, and drive back to Bumthang. Overnight in a comfortable mountain lodge.­­

November 6, 2025

Today we will enjoy two wonderful local festivals; firstly ­the Jambay Lhakhang Drup, followed by the Prakhar Duchhoed at Chumni, before driving to Gangtey Valley where we will stay in a comfortable local lodge.

November 7, 2025

After a visit to the Black Crane Centre (or Gantey Gompa we will drive back to Paro, to arrive at our boutique local lodge nestled in the pine forest.­ Relax, have a few cold beers, and­ enjoy a hearty dinner in the cozy surroundings.

November 8, 2025­

­After breakfast, we will take a short drive to the trailhead, and climb up to the fabled 'Tiger's Nest­', stopping at the viewpoint cafe to sip their surprisingly good coffee.­ Enjoy some souvenir shopping before a final dinner, and anovernight once again at the boutique lodge.

November 9, 2025

­Drive to Paro airport, to catch our outgoing flights. Big hugs all around, and hope to see you next time! ­­­

Expedition Location

Practical Information

Rest assured we will be here to advise you on all aspects of preparing for, and participating in, this trip. Here are a few obvious places to start.


Accomodation ­

Will be in boutique lodges and/or farmhouses in Punakha, Bumthang, Gangtey and Paro. On the trek itself we will obviously be camping in tents.­ ­


The maximum altitude en route will be approximately 5490m atop one of the spectacular ridge lines. We have included one extra day that can be used as as a spare acclimatization day as needed.­


On the trek there will be no phone coverage but we will carry a two-way satellite email and texting device for communication, and a satellite phone for emergencies.­


The trek will be fairly challenging so everyone will need to be properly prepared both mentally and physically.­

Equipment ­

We will supply all camping equipment, although we recommend that you bring your own sleeping bag (comfort rated to minus 10 degress Celsius). Please refer to our typical kit list for a guide to what else to bring.­

First Aid ­

We carry a comprehensive medical kit, including Diamox and Dexamethazone to treat any signs of altitude sickness. ­

Food ­

Mainly local and western food prepared by our expedition cook. We also will include plenty of snacks, and try our best to accommodate all dietary requests.­

Flights ­

The trip begins and ends in Paro (IATA: PBH). All guests must arrive in Paro by the morning of October 23.­ Please note that we can help to book flights to/from Paro (typically via Delhi or Bangkok), but these are not included in the price.­


All guests must have a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes emergency medical evacuation, and covers trekking up to 5500m (World Nomads is a good option).

Support ­

Your large rucksacks, or expedition duffell bags, will be transported by horses, so you will only need to carry your day pack while hiking. ­


Typically will range between 5 to 20 degrees Celsius during the day but may fall to as low as minus 5 degrees at night. ­Please note that we will have hot water bottles to help keep you warm at night.­

Toilets & Washing­

On the trek itself we will be camping, so washing and toilet facilities will be wild and quite basic­, although we will carry a toilet tent, a small portable shower., and a port-a-loo.­

Visas ­

Bhutanese visas will be required for this trip and will be arranged by Whistling Arrow. ­The cost of the visa (and accompanying SDF) is included in the trip.­
Price USD 7250 PP

All inclusive except local tips and international flights. To book we will require a 30% deposit with the balance payable 30 days before the departure date. 

Availability: 3 Places Left

The group size for this adventure will be limited to 5 relatively experienced trekkers, due to the exploratory nature of this trip.

Payment & Preparations

We will provide all the information you need to book and prepare for the trip including payment instructions, advice on flights, what to bring and all safety considerations.

Expeditionary Trek 2020 | Bhutan | Whistling Arrow
One of several spectacular glaciated valleys; largely unexplored, and dotted with extraordinarily turquoise-hued lakes­.

 A Final Word On This Expedition

We have learnt never to judge a book by its cover; making assumptions about any of our clients on the basis of age, or previous outdoor experience, has always been a fools game. We know, from many years of experience, that what really counts, is a determined and flexible mental approach to any adventure, and so, as usual, this expedition is open to all-comers. Please do bear in mind though, that it will be remote, challenging, and relatively high-altitude.