Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Trip report for Naar to Upper Mustang GHT trek led by Tom Lawson and Gopal Tamang in October/ November 2015

Photo: Naar village
In late October, we organised our Naar to Upper Mustangtrek along The Great Himalaya Trail. This trek was led by Tom Lawson and Gopal Tamang. The group arrived in Kathmandu on October 30th and next morning Tom gave his trek briefing to the group and I also attended.

On November 1st the group drove to Bhulebule to start the trek. The weather was cloudy with some precipitation as the group ascended Marsyangdi valley following a quieter trail opposite the Annapurna Circuit jeep track. Over the last few years trails have been improved away from the road so Tom made sure the group took advantage of these whenever possible. Many trekking groups now take jeeps all the way to Dharapani, however the feedback from this group was they were happy to walk from Bhulebule as the trails away from the road are scenic and varied and are much better than a long, dusty and bumpy jeep ride.

Photo: trail to Yak Kharka above Naar village
On November 6th the fourth day of the trek this itinerary heads north up the deep gorge of the Naar Phu Khola (river) and away from the more popular Annapurna Circuit. After one night at Dharmasala camp in the pine and bamboo forests at an altitude of 3,250m they walked up to Naar village at 4,100m where they spent two nights for acclimatisation. During this day the weather cleared and was sunny for rest of the trip. On the spare day Tom and Gopal organised a day walk up in the valley leading to Kang La pass and the group got impressive views of Kangaru Peak and blue sheep

On November 8th the group left Naar village to start the approach to Teri La pass by following the Lapse Khola (river) valley, staying the first night at a Yak Kharka camp at an altitude of 4,400m. This section of the trail is narrow and steep but everyone made good progress to camp.

On November 9th they continued to a higher camp in the Lapse Khola valley at an altitude of 4,600m, planning the next day to walk up to High Camp below the Teri La pass at an altitude of 4,900m. The trail ascends on northerly facing slopes and soft snow from storms a couple of weeks earlier made the trail difficult for group and crew. There was about 10cm of unconsolidated snow on scree slopes and Tom and Gopal decided it was too risky to continue. It was not possible to protect this section of the trail with fixed rope and the decision was made to turn back from crossing Teri La pass. At the highest point reached, Himalayan Griffon were seen circling in the valley and a trail of fresh snow leopard prints were spotted in the snow

On returning to camp Tom and Gopal discussed the options and explained these to the group; everyone was happy to divert the trek to cross the Kang La pass over to Manang and then continue to Tilicho Lake and cross Mesokantha La over to Jomsom in the Kali Gandaki valley. On November 13th they had a sunny and clear day for crossing Kang La and walked down to the Ngawal village. On the next day they walked along the spectacular high trail then down into Braga village with wonderful views of the Annapurnas before going on to Manang village.

Photo: climbing up to Kang La pass
Photo: summit of Kang La pass
On November 15th they walked through Khangsar village before camping for the night at Tilicho Base Camp. During the course of the trek we received weather forecasts from everestweather.com and we sent these through to Tom on his satellite phone. For 15th and 16th we received forecasts with warnings of strong winds for Annapurna and also affecting our group on Mera Peak as well.

The next day they ascended along the spectacular trail to Tilicho Lake and camped near the lake. Tom made sure our Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1 tents were well anchored in the event of a windy night but the forecasts for winds to drop proved accurate and it was a calm night, although the temperature dropped to near minus 20 degrees Celsius during the night.  On November 17th Tom and the group crossed the Mesokantha La and everyone safely arrived to another Yak Kharka camp above the Kali Gandaki valley. I heard from Tom this pass is very steep on descent and fixed rope was used as a handrail for group and crew.

The Mountain Company plans to organise our next Naar to Upper Mustang GHT trek in late September 2016 as I think the conditions on Teri La should be less snowy at this time of year. For most treks it is possible to cross high passes in November however given the steep trail on rocky scree up to High Camp it would better to attempt this trek when temperatures are warmer and snowline higher. Please get in touch with us soon if you like to join our Naar to Upper Mustang GHT trek in September/ October 2016.

For more testimonials on Naar to Upper Mustang GHT and our other trips please take a look at AITO review section of their website

Roland Hunter

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Our Ladakh Sky Trail GHT trek in August/ September 2015 is now guaranteed to run

Photo: on way to Zangla Sumdo
The Mountain Company's Ladakh Sky Trail GHT trek in India during August/ September 2015 led by Almas Khan is now guaranteed to run and there is currently availability.

The Mountain Company organised our Ladakh Sky Trail GHT for first time in 2014 and it went very well with very positive feedback received from the group: please click here to read the Trip Report from Ladakh Sky Trail 2014

Please get in contact with us soon if you would like to join our Lunana Snowman group in 2015.

Roland Hunter
www.themountaincompany.co.uk

Our Upper Dolpo GHT trek in May/ June 2015 is now guaranteed to run

Photo: view from LarTsa camp on Upper Dolpo GHT
The Mountain Company's Upper Dolpo to Jomsom GHT trek in Nepal during May/ June 2015 led by Ade Summers is now guaranteed to run and there is currently availability.

The Mountain Company has organised two successful Upper Dolpo treks in the past please click here to read the Trip Reports from our previous treks

Please get in contact with us soon if you would like to join our Upper Dolpo GHT group in 2015.

Roland Hunter
www.themountaincompany.co.uk

Friday, 4 July 2014

Trip Report for Upper Dolpo to Jomsom GHT trek in May 2014

Our Upper Dolpo to Jomsom GHT group arrived back to Kathmandu a week ago having successfully completed the traverse from Juphal through Upper Dolpo to Jomsom in the Kali Gandaki valley. This trek visits a very remote region of Nepal and as a result requires detailed logistical planning and organisation.

Photo: approaching Chharka La
For our Upper Dolpo trek in 2014 we had on board a strong leadership team with good knowledge of this region having trekked here on several previous occasions. Ade Summers was the western leader, Chandra Rai was our Nepali Sirdar and Saila Tamang was cook and all of them had joined our recce with me back in 2010. We also decided to recruit a guide from Dolpo region as having this local knowledge would be invaluable as well as helping to co-ordinate with local villagers and explaining more about the Dolpo-pa culture to the group.

One of the group, Harry, summed up his experience of the trip as follows: "Trip met and exceeded my expectations. Before the trip I knew Upper Dolpo was special but its more than that. The cook and his assistants were exceptional. Ade is a top guy, faultless. Worse part of the trip was leaving Dolpo, the best part was viewing Shey Gompa for the first time (gave me goosebumps), The Dolpo pa. Every day was great!"

For the full trip report of our Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek in 2014

The Mountain Company is organising Upper Dolpo trek next year with same leadership including Ade Summers so please get in touch soon if you would like to join this group.

Roland Hunter

Friday, 29 March 2013

Kanchenjunga to Makalu GHT trek in October/ November 2013 is now guaranteed to run

Photo: North Face of Mount Kanchenjunga
The Mountain Company's trek along section one of The Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) from Mount Kanchenjunga to Mount Makalu in October and November 2013 is now guaranteed to run. Please get in touch with us soon if you would like to join this group.

Roland Hunter
www.themountaincompany.co.uk

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Makalu Base Camp: Section 1 of The Great Himalaya Trail

North face of Mount Kanchenjunga
In October 2013 The Mountain Company is organising Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Makalu Base Camp trek along Section 1 of The Great Himalaya Trail ("GHT"). This is an epic 35 day trek from Kanchenjunga Base Camp passing through a remote region on border with Tibet to Makalu Base Camp. Mount Kanchenjunga at an altitude of 8,586m is the third highest mountain in the world and Mount Makalu at 8,481m is the fifth highest mountain.

If this trek is too long take a look at the shorter version at 23 days where you visit Kanchenjunga Base Camp and then walk out to Tumlingtar airstrip. Both of these treks follow the first section of The Great Himalaya Trail ("GHT") where very few other trekking groups have completed this adventurous mountain journey.

After visiting Kanchenjunga Base Camp (North) we will cross Nango La pass at 4,820m into the remote Yangma valley and to the small hamlet of Olangchunngola. From here we cross Lumba Sumba at 5,160m and walk out to Chyantang. At Chyantang village our group will split with the people booked onto shorter Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Tumlingtar trek walking south to this airstrip whereas the Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Makalu Base Camp walkers will continue traversing westwards towards Makalu. After visiting Makalu Base Camp we will descend the Barun Valley then cross Shipton la at 4,125m followed by the walk out to Tumlingtar airstrip for flight back to Kathmandu.

Roland Hunter, the owner and founder of the Mountain Company, will lead our Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Makalu Base Camp trek along with a team of experienced Sherpa guides. Please get in touch with us soon if you would like to join this trek.

Roland Hunter
www.themountaincompany.co.uk

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek following Section 7 of GHT in April '12 now a guaranteed departure

Photo: chorten near Yangur

Photo: ploughing with yaks near Tinje village

Photo: ladies from Shimen village

The Mountain Company is organising Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek along Section 7 of The Great Himalaya Trail ("GHT") in April 2012.

We ran a successful Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek in 2010 and feedback from group was very good with comments such as “Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek is arguably one of the best treks in Nepal” and “better than Lunana Snowman trek in Bhutan!” For more information I suggest you read our Trip Report for Upper Dolpo to Jomsom published on TMC blog.

There is already enough people signed up for Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek in April 2012 so this trip is now guaranteed to run and there is currently availability, please get in touch soon if you would like to join this group.