Cut off from the outside world by high passes, the Dolpo region of western Nepal is an ethereal corner of the Himalayan world that few trekkers have ever visited. With our extraodinary Trip Leaders, we set off for an incredible 22-day trekking expedition deep into this rare world. We follow ancient trails to remote high-altitude villages where people still live as barley farmers or semi-nomadic yak herders, as their ancestors did, wearing traditional homespun wool robes and Tibetan boots. Many Dolpo villages still practice Bon, the pre-Buddhist religion that all but disappeared from Nepal in the 7th century. This is a rugged and remote trek that brings many rewards, including an exploration day to visit Shey Gompa (15,500'), the fabled monastery that Peter Matthiessen described so beautifully in The Snow Leopard. Our journey crosses several high passes (our highest at 18,040'!) and we camp at 13,000 feet or higher for an extended period of time, but know that we’ve designed a route that offers gradual acclimatization, with the highest pass coming near the end of the adventure. Another big bonus is that the entire region is still so remote that it’s likely we'll rarely see other trekkers. This is one of the few places in the world where treks of this remoteness and scope are still possible. Join us!
What an adventure and what a privilege to be able to trek through this remote and beautiful area of Nepal. The scenery was incredible—it really did feel like we were on top of the world! Great opportunities to visit local villages, meet local people, and experience local culture. The design of the trip was excellent, with plenty of time to acclimatise and well paced rest days.
— Robyn F., Epping, Australia
Days 1-9, Sep 16-24, 2017
Kathmandu / Juphal / Begin Trek / Dho Tarap
From Kathmandu, we fly to Juphal and trek through juniper forests into the Tarap Valley, home to highland people known as the Kham Magars. We enjoy an Exploration Day in the Tibetan village of Dho Tarap (13,251').
Days 10-17, Sep 25-Oct 2, 2017
Panzang Valley / Shimen / Saldang
Passing trailside chortens and walls of beautifully carved mani stones (Buddhist prayer stones), we make our way into Panzang, one of Dolpo’s four major valleys. We trek farther to lovely Shimen, nestled amid terraced buckwheat fields, then to Saldang (15,250'), with its maze of ancient alleys and amchi (Tibetan medicine) hospital. Caravans of yaks may pass us on the trail—a photogenic sight! The ancient monasteries here practice Bon-po, the oldest spiritual tradition in Tibet.
Days 18-19, Oct 3- 4, 2017
Shey Gompa (16,237') / Crystal Mountain
Being at fabled Shey Gompa, a revered pilgrim destination, is a trek highlight. We’ll join pilgrims on the kora (sacred circuit) encircling the monastery, hike to remote hermitages, and enjoy the rarified air and light that makes Shey Gompa like no other place on earth. Next to the gompa is the Crystal Mountain, Dolpo’s sacred peak.
Days 20-22, Oct 5- 7, 2017
Kang La / Phoksundo Lake
Crossing our highest pass, the Kang La (18,830'), we come to the otherworldly setting of Phoksundo Lake (11,808'), a vast body of water encircled by peaks. We visit the Ringmo Gompa, a Bon-po monastery on the shores.
Days 23-28, Oct 8-13, 2017
Sepka / Juphal / Kathmandu
Descend into the lowlands for our flight to Kathmandu on Day 26 and a final day in the city. Depart on Day 28.