New 'Northern Treasures' Trek: Eastern Nepal
November 10 to 29, 2017 | USD 4450 PP
First things first. This is a trekking adventure that you just won't find anywhere else. It is only made possible by our relationship with the villagers of Olanchung Gola, a traditional weaving community in the wild Tibetan borderlands of northeastern Nepal, tucked away between the world's two most easterly 8000m+ peaks, Kanchenjunga and Makalu.
The trip is also not for everyone. The unique expedition will cross the exposed 5160m Lumbasumba La, explore one of the most remote historical gateways into southern Tibet and traverse back to the lush cardomom-coated Tamor Valley via the seldom-trekked Thang La. It is a wilderness adventure designed for relatively intrepid trekkers who are keen to avoid the crowds that clog the well-trodden routes to Everest and Annapurna.
But that's just the half of it. The village and surrounding peaks shelter a number of cultural gems. Foremost among them is Deki Chholing, a 450 year old Nyingma-sect monastery that houses a treasure trove of ancient Buddhist texts and hosts an annual Tibetan Buddhist festival, in the Dzogchen 'Northern Treasures' tradition. Fully immersing ourselves in the festivities, we will participate in fascinating tantric rituals, experience fierce-looking masked deities and witness the secretive 'Black Hat' Cham dance, usually only performed by monks, but here, because of the small size of the gompa, lay people are also involved.
Last but not least, we also have special permission to trek up to the snowy abode of the snow leopard (where up to eight cats are believed to roam) around Singjengma Pokhari, a sacred lake never before visited by outsiders, and where those of strong faith are believed to see their future karmic path reflected in it's crystal clear waters.
- Traverse the wild and remote Lumbasumba Pass and discover a seldom-trekked route connecting the giant, majestic peaks of Kanchenjunga and Makalu.
- Witness a seldom-seen Tibetan Buddhist festival and immerse yourself in the esoteric tantric culture.
- Join the first group to be granted exclusive permission from the local community to explore their sacred lake, hidden away in the high Himalaya and home to the elusive snow leopard.
Below is a brief daily summary. If you are interested in more detailed information about this new route please email us privately.
|Dates||Route Description||Additional Information|
|Day 1: November 10, 2017 ||Fly to Kathmandu. Transfer to our garden lodge in Boudhanath and explore the lovely Tibetan enclave. ||Welcome drinks and dinner.|
|Day 2: November 11, 2017 ||Circumambulate Boudhanath stupa and visit the nearby 5th Century Hindu temple at Pashupatinath. || Apply for the restricted area |
|Day 3: November 12, 2017 ||Early morning flight across eastern Nepal by prop plane to Suketar. Views of Everest en route. ||Bumpy 4 hour drive to Tewa village, followed by a short hike to Chhiruwa. Camping.|
|Day 4: November 13, 2017 ||Trek to Gowatar (1800m) following the Tamor River through beautiful cardamom forest. || 5 hours trekking. Camp in large field below Lungthung Gompa. |
|Day 5: November 14, 2017 ||Hike up to gompa, visit the local head lama (a friend of ours) and have tea in his house. Trek to Illadanda (2300m) || Short 2 hour trek after lunch. |
Overnight in local lodge run by hospitable young Tibetan family.
|Day 6: November 15, 2017 ||Trek past cascading waterfalls and stunning rhododendron/bamboo forest to Olanchung Gola village (3100m) || 8 hours trekking. Our first challenging day. Camp adjacent to our friend's family home. |
|Day 7: November 16, 2017 ||Trek up to a meditation cave reputedly used by Padmasambhava and witness the local Tibetan Buddhist festival. || Short acclimatization hike, followed by immersive access to local tantric ceremonies. Camping. |
|Day 8: November 17, 2017 ||Trek to a sacred site on the far side of the valley. Witness a second day of arcane rituals and Cham dancing. ||Another short acclimatization hike and a personal blessing in Deki Chholing Gompa.Camping.|
|Day 9: November 18, 2017 ||Trek through fresh pine and rhododendron-covered hills to the lovely Singjengma Khola. || 6 hours trekking. |
Camping for the first time at 4000m in a beautiful remote valley.
|Day 10: November 19, 2017 ||Trek up to a sacred (and never before visited) lake framed by snow-capped peaks (4700m) ||Approximately 2-3 hours climb up to the lake. Explore the lake and return to our campsite.|
|Day 11: November 20, 2017 ||Trek back to Tamor Bridge, before heading north west up to to Sanjung (4150m) || 5 hours trekking. Camp in a beautiful high altitude yak meadow. |
|Day 12: November 21, 2017 ||Trek up through rhododendron swathes and snowy wilderness to the stunningly-situated Pass Camp. ||7 hours of challenging trekking. Camp at 4650m on more rocky ground.|
|Day 13: November 22, 2017 ||Trek over the wild and spectacular Lumba Sumba Pass (5160m) to the upper reaches of the Arun Valley. ||Early start to trek over the frozen snow. 7-8 hours of challenging trekking. Camp in meadow at 4000m.|
|Day 14: November 23, 2017 ||Exploratory trek along Modek Chheju Khola to the remote Umbak La. Beautiful views down into Tibet. || 6 to 7 hour return trek to the Tibetan border. Return to our beautiful campsite at Miduxchhre. |
|Day 15: November 24, 2017 ||Trek down through rhododendron forest to the tiny village of Thudam. Head south into Syanging Khola. || 5 to 6 hours trekking. |
Camp in a remote valley near the foot of the Thang La.
|Day 16: November 25, 2017 ||Trek over the Thang La Pass (4900m) and down to the village of Topkegola (3720m). Visit local lake-side shrine. || 6 to 7 hours of challenging, remote wilderness trekking. Camp in the small village of Topkegola. |
|Day 17: November 26, 2017 ||Trek down through the wild Mewa Khola Valley to the village of Dunggin (2600m). ||6 to 7 hour trek down through a remote forested valley. Camping.|
|Day 18: November 27, 2017 ||Jeep transport through beautiful Himalayan foothills to the town of Taplejung. || Lovely 3 to 4 hour drive. Overnight in the best hotel in town. |
|Day 19: November 28, 2017 ||Fly back to Kathmandu from the nearby Suketar Airport. ||Fly back to the capital. Overnight in our comfortable garden lodge in Boudanhath. Pizza and beers on us!|
|Day 20: November 29, 2017 ||Transfer to the airport. Fly home. || |
Safe travels and see you next time.
You can also enjoy a birds-eye view of the region using this latest Google Earth update by clicking on the image below (only works in Chrome for now)
- Altitude: the maximum altitude on the trek is 5160m when we cross the Lumbasumba Pass on day 13 of the trip.
- Temperatures: typically range from 5 to 20 degrees Celsius during the day and can fall to below freezing at night at higher altitudes.
- Duration: the trip is 20 days in total with 14 days of actual trekking (including two short acclimatization hikes at the festival in Olanchung Gola).
- Difficulty: the trip is challenging and we will be trekking in remote mountain wilderness - so you need to be physically fit and mentally strong.
- Support: relatively high-level support so little or no tent-work required. All luggage and equipment will be carried by porters.
- Food: mainly Western/Asian prepared by our expedition cook and including some old Nepali favourites like Dal Bhat.
- Vegetarians: we can accomodate vegetarians no problem and have done so many times before.
- Accomodation: is in boutique lodges, rustic farmhouses and camping in tents.
- Wash: we can either wash in the rivers and streams when the sun is out or use our small portable shower (with shower tent).
- Toilet: we can either nip behind a bush or use the toilet tent.
- Communication: for most of the trek there is no phone signal but we carry a two-way satellite email and texting device.
- First Aid: we carry a comprehensive medical kit including Diamox and Dexamethazone for the treatment of altitude sickness.
- Equipment: we will provide all camping equipment. Please refer to our typical kit list for a guide to suitable trekking gear.
- Insurance: all guests must have a comprehensive travel iinsurance policy that includes emergency medical evacuation up to 4000m.
- Flights: the trip begins and ends in Kathmandu (IATA: KTM). All guests must arrive in Kathmandu by the evening of November 10.