Nepal Geology Trek in the Mustang Valley

Dates to be confirmed

Estimated cost £1865

Day 1. Arrive in Kathmandu. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 2. Free day in Kathmandu while we proceed for restricted area permit, Optional sightseeing.

Day 3. Drive for about 5 hours to Pokhara, Overnight at Hotel. Upper Mustang Trek itinerary Introduction Upper Mustang is located north of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri and at an average of 4000m is geologically and culturally part of the Tibetan plateau. The valleys are arid and dry with colourful rock formations often containing many thousands of cave dwellings high up in the cliffs. The first trekking parties were allowed into Upper Mustang in 1992. Now the Nepalese government requires a special entry permit with surcharge to enter Upper Mustang. Very few people (about 700 trekkers each year) visiting the Kingdom and as a result it is one of the few places left where one can see undisturbed Tibetan culture. Mustang is a remote semi-independent Tibetan Kingdom with a fantastic walled capital called Lo Manthang. Upper Mustang was once part of Tibet and was used by the salt caravans crossing the Himalaya into Nepal. It became an independent kingdom in 1380 and the current royal family traces their lineage back to this time. In 1960’s Mustang was a strong hold for Tibetan Khampa guerrillas fighting the occupying Chinese forces. The CIA supported these fighters and secretly trained some of them in the US. Detailed itinerary It is our intention to keep to the day by day itinerary detailed below, although there might be some flexibility due to local conditions or other factors beyond our control. If this is the case the trek leader will do everything possible to work out the changes to the itinerary in order to minimize your inconvenience.

Day 4: AM flight from Pokhara to Jomsom (2713m). Commence the trek through an almost treeless barren landscape, over which strong afternoon winds howl. In the ‘rain shadow’ of the Himalaya, there is hardly any rain through it is usually cloudy during the monsoons. In the winter there may be between 30 and 40 cms of snow. There are endless Villages are far apart and constructions are generally of sun-baked mud brick and some stone. Even the 4-story places of Mustang are constructed of the same material. Overnight at Kagbeni (2810m).

Day 5: Trek to Chele (3030m). The trail follows the east bank of the Kaligandaki heading north passing Gompa Kang, unusually for Mustang, a monastery of the Nyingmapa sect. Passing through the trio of chortens that marks Tangbe reach Chhuksang at the confluence of the Kaligandaki and Narshang Khola. Note the spectacular red organ pipe cliffs across the river. North the Kali Gandaki becomes impossible for those on foot through sometimes the Lobas travel it on horseback. Caves dot the high fluted cliffs. The trail now leaves the Kali gandaki valley and ascends steeply up a rock gully to Chele for overnight.

Day 6: Trek to Geling (3600m). After camp at Chele, the trail climbs steeply to a cairn at 3130m with a view of Gyager’s mud walls. Continues steeply along the side of the spectacular canyon wall to a pass at 3540m then gradually descend to Samar at 3290- a major stopping place for caravans. Climb past Samar to a ridge, descending past a gaily painted chorten into a large gorge into another valley filled with juniper. Up and down through Shyangmochen. A trail off here leads to a cave where leads to a cave where statues of Padmasambhava supposedly self-emanated: a part broken off grows back on its own accord ! A gentle climb out of Shyangmochen and into a large valley where the right trail descends to the extensive barley fields of Geling at 3600m.

Day 7: Trek to Charang (3500m). Breaking camp, follow the trail through fields up the center of the valley to Tama Gung’s impossible chorten then commence an unrelenting climb to the Nyi La at 3950m on the southern boundary of Lo. Descent is gentle; follow the right trail to Charang - a maze of fields, willow trees and homes separated by stonewalls atop the large Charang Chu canyon. The huge dzong and gompa perch at the east end of the village and house a collection of statue, thankas and large paintings of seated Buddhas. Overnight at Charang.

Day 8: Trek to Lo-Manthang (3700m). Begin the day by descending to cross the river, climbing steeply up the far shores to a ridge at 3580m. Enter the Tholung valley and follow the trails to the boundaries with Lo, marked by a chorten. Across a stream, the trail turns into a grand thoroughfare crossing a desert-like landscape to a ridge where the walls of Lo-Manthang appear. Descend to the ‘plain of aspiration’, cross a stream and ascend to the plateau of Lo Mangthang. One has to circumambulation to the northeast gate. The city itself is closely packed, the temple and palaces being in the lower portion.

Day 9: Excursion to Lo-Manthang. The next day for exploring Lo Manthang: Champa Lakhang dates from 1420 and houses a statue of Maitreya, Budha of the Future. The centrally located Thugchen Gompa has a massive assembly hall and dates from the same period as the Champa Lakhang but is in a state of deterioration. The main temple is the Choydi Gompa with its dozons, brass and copper statues.

Day 10: Trek to Ghami (3290m) via Lo Gekar (Ghar Gompa). Trek eastwards along little used trails to a pass then across a rifge and into a large desolate valley across the floor of which the trail continues to the right up its center. Across a ridge and into a large desolate valley across the floor of which the trails continues to the right up its center. Across two more valley then a rocky descent to a ravine where Lo Gekar nestles in a grove of trees beside a stream. Visit the Ghar Gompa, structured like a house and legendary connected through Padmasambhava with Samye, Tibet’s 8th century monastery, suggesting it is one of the oldest active gompa in Nepal ! Over a few ridges through alpine meadow and eroded gullies to Tahmar where a large stream meanders through a particularly pretty valley, the pastel yellows and grays contrasted by the huge red cliffs then over yet another ridge to descend into Ghami at 3440m.

Day 11: Trek to Samar (3290m). After resting the night at Ghami follow the direct route to the Nyi La to meet the trail from Charang then retrace to Samar.

Day 12: Trek to Chusang (2,920m).

Day 13: Trek to Muktinath (3600m). Ascent slowly to Muktinath, an important Vishnu shrine sacred to both Hindu and Buddhists for overnight.

Day 14: Trek to Jomsom. After exploring the temple and the nearby Monastery, take the shorter descent to Jomsom for overnight.

Day 15: AM fly to Pokhara and onto Kathmandu. Overnight at Hotel. Day 16: Free till departure transfer.