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UPPER DOLPO TREK AND THE CRYSTAL MONASTERY OF SHEY
29 days: Crystal Mountain Kora - Shey Gompa - Lake Phoksumdo
Re-tracing the steps of Peter Matthiessen and 'The Snow Leopard'

trekking icon Click Here to Request a Detailed Trip Itinerary

choten-in-dolpoThirty-eight years ago, Peter Matthiessen wrote The Snow Leopard, one of the most acclaimed nature travel books ever written, a peaceful, spiritual account of Matthiessen and zoologist George Schaller's search for the elusive snow leopard of the Himalaya. This is a unique opportunity to travel in the footsteps of 'The Snow Leopard'...

On September 9, 2017 fans and followers of Matthiessen and his snow leopard experience will once again have the opportunity to embark on a reconnaissance journey mirroring the steps Matthiessen and Schaller took during their 1973 expedition into the remote Dolpo region of the Himalaya. The trek is both a cultural journey and Himalayan exploration ripe with pristine mountain vistas, high pass crossings and adventurous, challenging territory. For 22 days, travelers walk through “the last enclave of pure Tibetan culture on earth” into the heart of the least developed district in Nepal. This committing and physically demanding trek crosses four 5000-meter (17,000 foot) passes and maintains camp primarily above 10,000 feet. It provides access to centuries-old monasteries and gompas rarely seen by Western eyes, some that even predate the Buddhism religion so devoutly celebrated throughout the region.

Beginning at the village of Juphal, our trek goes north through Rohagoan, and to the waters of Phoksumdo Lake. From Phoksumdo we journey over the great Kanga La, the first of Matthiessen's major obstacles, crossing the pass a towering 17,630 feet above the sea. The trail continues toward Shey and cuts west for a two-day circuit around the Crystal Mountain Kora that ends in the village of Shey, where Matthiessen and Schaller spent several weeks tracking the snow leopard footsteps that appeared outside the Shey Gompa. From Shey we follow Matthiessen's trail to Saldang - where he and Schaller parted ways - and detour north for a visit to the Yangjer Gompa. Head south then along the Nagon Khola to the village of Rakyo, where Matthiessen left the main trekking trail for an exploration into the Nagon Khola Valley and Chhula Lek, en route to Maduwa. The trek follows Matthiessen's tracks through this remote region as closely as current maps will allow and brings us back to the waters of Phoksumdo, then south to our starting point in Juphal.

In addition to exposure to some of the Himalaya's most isolated peaks, oldest monasteries, and difficult mountain terrain, the trek travels through the Shey Phoksumdo National Park, known for having one of the highest snow leopard populations on earth. Trekkers are treated to the possibility of seeing one of the most majestic, elusive mountain animals in the world.

The Dolpo Snow Leopard Trek (Camping Trip) is part of our Epic Himalayan Journey Series! These trips are led by one of our experienced trekking guides and represent the gourmet trekking offerings of the great Himalayan Range. Please contact us with any questions or to receive a detailed day to day Trip Itinerary.

2017 GROUP TRIP DEPARTURE DATE:
September 9 to October 7, 2017
(the trip date indicates the day you need to arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal and the day you can schedule to depart)

2017 LAND ONLY PER PERSON TRIP PRICE:
2 to 3 People: $5550.00
4 to 10 People: $5070.00
Upper Dolpo Restricted Area Permit Fee is already included in your trip price.
Single tent and hotel room supplement: $585.00 per person

TRIP SNIPPETS:
Hotels: 6 nights hotels
Camping: 22 nights of full service tented camping
Trek Grade: 22 days STRENUOUS trekking
Maximum altitude: 16,895 feet / 5,151 meters at the Kang La pass

TRIP OUTLINE:
Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu. Met upon arrival. Transfer to group hotel.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu. Hotel.
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalganj. Hotel.
Day 4: Fly to Juphal (7,872ft/2,400m) and trek to Dunai (7,052ft/2,150m). 2-3 hours.
Day 5: Trek to Rohagaon (9,545ft/2,910m). 6-7 hours.
Day 6: Trek to Reji (10,005ft/3,050m). 7 hours.
Day 7: Trek to Phoksumdo Lake (11,808ft/3,600m). 6-7 hours.
Day 8: Exploration day at Phoksumdo Lake.
Day 9: Trek to Phoksumdo Khola (11,575ft/3,507m). 5-6 hours.
Day 10: Trek to Phoksumdo Bhanjyang. (14,528ft/4,402m). 7-8 hours.
Day 11: Cross the Kang La pass (17,630ft/5,375m) and trek to Shey Village. 6-7 hours.
Day 12: Crystal Mountain Kora and return to Shey Village. (13,620ft/4,126m). 8-9 hours.
Day 13: Exploration day at Shey Gompa.
Day 14: Cross the Saldang La pass (15,790ft/4,815m). Trek to Namduna Gaon (14,432ft/4,400m). 7 hours.
Day 15: Trek to Saldang (12,881ft/3,903m). 3 hours.
Day 16: Excursion to Yangjer Gompa and return to Saldang. 6-8 hours.
Day 17: Trek to Raka. 5-7 hours.

We now enter the true exploratory part of our trek. On days 18 to 23 (weather and group fitness permitting), we will attempt to follow ‘The Snow Leopard' route across the high passes and uninhabited regions of Inner Dolpo. We will leave these days without a fixed itinerary as we will need to be flexible and allow for any unexpected eventualities. In the case where this route is not possible, we will follow an alternative route south into Dho Tarap Valley (details on this route are below).

Days 18 to 23: Trek to Darsumna Dhobhan and exploration over Langmuse and Baga La passes.
Day 24: Exploration hike to Rohagaon. (10,560ft/3,200m). 7-8 hours.
Day 25: Trek to Juphal ( 7,872ft/2,400m ). 6 hours.
Day 26: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalganj. Hotel.
Days 27 & 28: Free days in Kathmandu. Hotel.
Day 29: Transfer to the airport for your return flight.

If the high mountain passes between Raka to Maduwa prove impassable, we will continue to travel on the southern route and enter the Tarap Valley on the following itinerary:  

Day 18: Trek to Jengla Phedi at the foot of the Jeng La pass (14,420ft/4,369m). 4-5 hours.
Day 19: Cross the Jeng La (15,990ft/4,845m) and trek to Tokyu Gaon (13,907ft/4,240m). 6-7 hours.
Day 20: Trek to Dho Tarap (13,418ft/4,090m). Afternoon is free for exploring the area. 4-5 hours.
Day 21: Free day to explore Dho Tarap village.
Day 22: Trek to Tarap Khola (Kamakharka) (12,465ft/3,800m). 7 hours.
Day 23: Trek to Khani Gaon (10,330ft/3,150m). 5-6 hours.
Day 24: Trek to Tarakot (8,320ft/2,535m). 4-5 hours.
Day 25: Trek to Juphal via Dunai. 6-7 hours.
Day 26: Fly to Kathmandu via Nepalganj. Hotel.
Days 27 & 28: Free days in Kathmandu. Hotel.
Day 29: Transfer to the airport for your return flight.