Nestled amidst Nepal’s most diverse and scenic Himalyan region – the Annapurna Region, summiting Chulu West is an expedition that moderately challenges your physical ability and consequently helps you conquer your heart and soul. First ascended in 1953 by a Japanese Expedition, Chulu West has been alluring trekkers and mountaineers alike.
Starting from the beautiful subtropical Pokhara valley we pursue the Annapurna circuit trail up to Manang Valley. En route we cross lush green paddy fields through the villages of Jagat and Chame. Notice the landscape change to an arid valley as we cross the 3000 metres mark from Pisang onwards. Once in Manang, listen to the winds howl and observe panoramic views of the majestic Himalayas, including peaks of Annapurna II, III and IV. After Manang, we head towards our mission – atop Chulu West and take in a heavenly view of Gangapurna, Glacier Dome, and Himalayan peaks like the Annapurnas, Manaslu, Tilicho peak, and Dhaulagiri.
After descending, we cross through Thorang La Pass (5416m), another highlight and reach Mustang, take in the valley, stay a night in Jomsom before flying to Pokhara and onto to Kathmandu the next day, thus ending a once in a lifetime expedition.
Day 01: Arrival
Arrive at TIA, Kathmandu, meet representatives and be transferred to the hotel. Guests welcomed with a welcome drink and rooms duly assigned. Free to visit local attractions the remainder of the day.
Day 02: AM: Sightseeing PM: Preparation
The day is required for us to procure necessary permits and other legal documentations to grant guests permission to climb a peak in Nepal.
In the meantime:
AM: Tour Kathmandu valley and travel through time as you visit UNESCO Heritage sites like the Durbar Squares and Swayambhu Temple.
PM: Briefing about the trek and allow time for last minute purchases of necessary equipments.
Day 03: Kathmandu / Besisahar / Bhulbhule (820 m)
Early breakfast and a 5-6 hour scenic drive along the banks of Trishuli and Marshyangdi Rivers to Besisahar. Lunch en route. Reach Besisahar (823 m) (known as Besigaon prior), the main town of Lamjung District and have your TIMS card examined.
An hour drive away we reach Bhulbhule, have our trekking permits checked at the ACAP office. Proceed to cross the river on a ‘suspension bridge’, the first of many, and check into a lodge to retire for the night.
Overnight at Lodge. Drive duration: 7 hours
Day 04: Trek: Bhulbhule to Jagat (1,340m)
Trek formally begins – a pleasant early morning walk through fields of wheat, barley and maize to reach Nagdi (890 m) – a small picturesque village. Proceed through the trail consisting of terraced farms and
small villages. Trail becomes steeper as we approach Bahundanda (Brahmin’s Village) (1314 m). Stop for lunch while enjoying the view of Mt. Phungi (6379m).
After lunch, we descend toward Besi, cross a small stream; pass through a few villages to cross the Marshyangdi River via a suspension bridge. Turn right and start an ascent to reach atop a hill. The trail widens and we reach Jagat, a village along a mountain ridge (1340 m), our stop for the night.
Overnight: Lodge Trek duration: 5-½ hrs – 6 hrs
Day 05: Trek: Jagat to Dharapani (1,943m)
Walk up hill for approximately 2 hours to reach Chamje (1433m). From Chamje, downhill to Marshyangdi River, cross another suspension bridge and walk up hill to reach Sathtalle (‘top of the hill’ in Tibetan). The trail becomes fairly gradual up till Tal Phedi. A 45 minute walk later we reach Tal (1600m), the gateway to Manang. Stop for lunch.
Following lunch, we head north along the river, cross a 60 metre long suspension bridge. As we proceed, some parts of the trail are exposed to a vertical cliff, which calls for caution. Reach Dharapani (1943 m). Dharapani means ‘a stream of water’.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 5 ½ hours
Day 06: Trek: Dharapani to Chame (2, 713 m)
Log our entries at an ACAP check point. Reach Bagarchap (the river bank) (2164 m) in 45 minutes. Bagarchap marks where the point of contrast in topography begins – lush green fields in the south and arid dry lands in the north. Reach Donaque. Ascent to Timang along beautiful pine and rhododendron forests and be rewarded with stunning views of the Annapurna range atop. Lunch at Thanchowk with a back drop of Mt. Manaslu.
After lunch we walk towards Kodo which means ‘millet’ and then to Kyupar (2600 m). A police check post guards access to Nar Phu Khola Valley which leads to Tibet. Show our permits again and proceed to Chame (2713 m) – the District Headquarters of Manang.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration (5 – 5 ½ hours)
Day 07: Trek: Chame to Pisang (3,185m)
Consistently gradual with an occasional climbs along the river through pine forests, in two hours we reach Bhartang (2919 m), a small village with mostly Tibetans. Reach Dhukur Pokhari in 1 ½ hours and have lunch. Enjoy splendid views of the Annapurna range en route.
Walk for about an hour through a pine forest to Pisang after lunch. Pisang is divided into two villages – upper and lower. Upper Pisang is the main town; however the recent construction of the main highway to Manang has resulted into residents migrating to Lower Pisang.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 5 – 5 ½ hours
Day 08: Trek: Pisang to Manang (3,530 m)
A relatively short however an equally interesting hike. We reach Humde after two hours of a fairly easy walk. Humde has a small domestic airport which connects Manang to Pokhara and subsequently Kathmandu. We cross the village, log our entries at another checkpoint and proceed to Barkha – our lunch destination. We explore the village with its thatched houses and visit the Gompa (the largest in the region with a beautiful collection of Thankas) while we wait for lunch.
After lunch, reach Manang in a short while which sits atop a plateau.
Overnight: Lodge Trek Duration: 4 – 4 ½ hours
Day 09: Rest Day: Manang (3530 m)
Manang at an elevation of 3530 meters serves as a perfect place to rest and acclimatize before proceeding to summit the peak.
Plenty of activities to do – observe the art and explore the culture of this quaint little village. In the afternoon we can take a walk to the north of the village to take in panoramic views of the Annapurna Annapurna IV and II to the southeast and Gangapurna (7455m) and Tarke Kang or Ice dome (7202m) to the southwest.
Day 10: Trek to Leadher (4220 m)
A steady climb till the hamlet of Tengi (3642 m); from then on another hour of steady yet gentle climb to Gunsang (3850 m). After Gunsang the trail is gradual up till our lunch destination – Yak Kharka.
After lunch, a gentle climb through a vast meadow, cross the suspension bridge and reach Leadher (4220 m) in an hour.
A short day trip to help with acclimatization.
Overnight: Lodge. Trek Duration: 4 ½ – 5 ½ hours approximate.
Day 11: Trek: Chulu West Base Camp (4900 m)
Thus begins the real expedition. Have breakfast and head up to Base Camp to the northern valley of Leadher accompanied with the entire crew. Walk along grass lines from the scenic ridge and reach base camp.
Overnight: Tented Camp. Trek Duration: 5 – 5 ½ hours.
Day 12: Trek: High Camp (5100 m)
Continue our ascent to High Camp which is at 5100 metres. Take in the stunning vistas of the Himalayan range en route. Spend the night at High Camp.
Overnight: Tented Camp. Trek Duration: 4 ½ – 5 hours
Day 13: Acclimatization at High Camp (5100 m)
A day is essential to acclimatize before we make the final leg of our journey – reach the summit. Light exercises or a small hike along with some climbing training with our experienced guide before the big day.
Overnight: Tented Camp.
Day 14: Summit: Atop Chulu West and back to High Camp or Base Camp.
Summit will start early – 2 to 3 a.m.
Phase 1: Steep climb up to 5,500 meters. Not technical, however, the use of ropes, crampon, and ice axe may be used.
Phase 2: After 5,500 meters, we will be roped up for the ascent. The trail gets steeper – assisting Sherpas will fix ropes on the steeper sections. Once atop, immerse yourself in one of the most incredible and spectacular views you will behold. Ahead of you will be Gangapurna, the Annapurnas, and Herzog’s Great Barrier, to your left Manaslu and behind you is Tibet.
Take in the excitement of accomplishing your incredible before beginning descent. Carefully descend to High Camp and then to Base Camp.
Overnight: Tented Camp.
Day 15: Contingency Day
The day is reserved for any unforeseen events such as illness, bad weather, etc.
Overnight: Tented Camp.
Day 16: Trek: Base Camp to Leadher (4220 m)
Retrace ours steps back to Leadher, however within us a euphoric sense of accomplishment.
Overnight: Lodge. Trek Duration: 5 hours
Day 17: Trek: Leadher to High Camp (4800 m)
Walk a gradual trail towards Dewrali, take in the breathtaking landscape of the unique high altitude desert. Head towards Thorang Phedi (4220 m) (foot of the hill). Lunch at Thorang Phedi and proceed towards High Camp (4800 m), a steep climb for an hour.
At High Camp, notice wide Himalayan pastures and yaks. Herds of Thar (wild goats) can also be seen.
Short day trek to prepare for the arduous trek to Thorang La Pass the next day.
Overnight: Lodge. Trek Duration: 5 hours
Day 18: Trek: High Camp – Thorang La Pass (5416 m) – Muktinath (3802 m)
“The day you cross 20 hills and one of
Nepal’s highest pass – Thorang La Pass.”
Early morning ascent to Thorang La. Several prayer flags offering prayers to the mountains as we reach the highest point. At the highest point (5416 m) watch a panoramic view of the Himalayas – Thorangse, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Tukche, Gangapurna.
Drop down 1600 meters in 3 hours to reach Muktinath.
Overnight: Lodge. Trek Duration: 7 – 8 hours
Day 19: Trek: Muktinath to Jomsom (2,713 m)
Pay a visit to Muktinath – a revered Hindu and Buddhist temple. Breakfast at hotel and begin trek to Jomsom. Cross Ranipauwa, Jharkot, a small Tibetan settlement, and reach Kagbeni. Cross the Kali Gandaki and head towards Jomsom, the capital of Mustang district.
Overnight: Lodge. Trek Duration: 4 – 4 ½ hours (approximate)
Day 20: Flight: Jomsom to Pokhara (884 m)
Enjoy a last breakfast in the laps of the Himalayas and bid farewell to the Sherpas and Porters and head to the airport for a short flight to Pokhara.
Enjoy a laid back afternoon alongside Pokhara lakeside.
Overnight: Hotel. Flight Duration: 25/30 minutes
Day 21: Flight: Pokhara – Kathmandu
Breakfast and catch a flight to Kathmandu. Be met by representative and transferred to a hotel. The remainder of the day is at your own leisure.
Overnight at Hotel. Flight Duration: 25/30 minutes
Day 22: Departure
Last minute shopping of souvenirs and transfer to TIA, Kathmandu.
Head home, or to your next destination with beautiful memories and a wide glossary of experiences. Watch the Himalayas pass by.
Best Period: Feb, Mar, April, May – Oct, Nov, Dec
Time Period: 21 Nights / 22 Days.
Trek Period: 17 Night / 18 Days
In Kathmandu: 03 Nights
In Pokhara: 01 Night
Flights: Jomsom / Pokhara / Kathmandu
Trek Type: Strenuous
Highest Altitude: 6419 meters
Warning: Altitude Sickness.
Trek Start Point: Bhulbhule
Trek End Point: Jomsom
Accommodations: Hotels in Kathmandu / Lodges on trek / Camping while climbing
National Park: Annapurna National Park (7629 sq. kms)
Mountains: Annapurna I, Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Yaka Khawa, etc.
Pass: Throng la Pass (5416 m)
Summit: Chulu Far East (6059 m)
Rivers: Marshyangdi Khola and Kali Ghandaki
Villages: Jagat, Dharapani, Chame, Pisang, etc
Tribes: Brahmins, Chettris, Gurungs, Magars, Thakalis, Lobas and the Tibetans
Forests: Of Rhododendron and Pine.
Landscapes: Varying from temperate valleys to snow clad mountains.
NEPAL TREK INFORMATION
What is Tea House / Lodge trek?
A simple way to under Tea house / Lodge is probably ‘a small hotel’. However this can sometimes be misleading, as they do not have high-end facilities like modern hotels in urban areas. The concept though is same as hotels in providing accommodations (rooms) and meals for guest staying in it.
So if one does a trek going from point A to B to C etc., and spending nights in these kind of lodges or teahouse is called a ‘Lodge Trek’ or ‘Tea House Trek’
Which areas in Nepal have Tea House treks?
The most popular regions for treks in Nepal are Annapurna, Everest Langtnag and Upper Mustang. All these places have good quality lodges, well managed, variety of food to choose from the menus available and boast of Wi-Fi, bakeries etc.
Around the areas that have lesser trekkers like, Makalu Barun, Manaslu, Kanchenjunga etc. the tea house/ lodge are very basic in comparison.
Basically good lodges have developed where foot traffic is the most and Annapurna, Everest and Langtang receive the most trekkers in Nepal.
Rooms in the Lodges?
The rooms are very basic in most places. In some very popular areas like Annapurna and Everest high-end rooms with attach bath and flush toilet and ruining hot/ cold water have come out in the recent years. However these kinds of lodges are very few and not available in all places on the trek route.
Basic room’s sizes are on an average of 8 feet by 8 to 10 feet. They have twin cots with mattress and pillows. Most lodges provide blankets, however for hygienic regions it’s advisable to carry a good sleeping bag of your own. The walls are pretty thin and noises carry. Earplugs are recommended to be carried.
In more remote areas one may only get dormitories for accommodations and dinning and sleeping arrangements may be in the same common area.
Toilets in the Lodges
Most lodges have several common toilets inside the lodge. The number depends on how big the lodge is. On an average a lodge having 15 /18 rooms may have 3 /4 common toilets. The toilets are very basic and no flush or running water is available in the toilets. Please bring you own Toilet paper. Drums with water and a mug are the ways to flush!
In Annapurna and Everest region we try and provide rooms with attach bath
where available. However, do note that there are only a handful of places where this kind of facility is available.
Food in lodges
Menu in most places especially the more popular trekking routes have extensive looking menus ranging from local, Tibetan to western delicacies. Items like Dal Bhat (rice, vegetables and lentils), pizzas, pastas, momos (dumplings), noodles, soup, fried rice etc., are amongst the common ones in all menus.
Our recommendation is to avoid meat, as in most places porter carry the meat to lodges without any hygienic way to keep the meat fresh on the way. It takes at least few days to reach the lodges. Even the canned meat items are not recommended, as one has no way to check the expiry date etc.
Recommended food items are the local ones like Dal Bhat, Momos (Dumplings), noodles etc, as they are freshly made in comparison to other food items. Please remember the cooks in the lodges are ‘not chefs’, very few are trained professionally as most have learned through looking at other cooks cooking in the same lodges or similar ones in the area. Basically sticking to local food is best as they are hygienic and fresh.
For breakfast pancakes, porridge, toast (not available everywhere), eggs etc. are available in all lodges.
There is a common dining area with fireplaces in all lodges. This is not only a place to eat but also a good place to unwind, interact with fellow trekkers, read a book, play board games or cards and relax.
Everyday our guide will help you and provide information on what choices to make in which places / lodges for food.
Drinking water on treks
One can get boiled water or bottled mineral water or filtered water in the Everest region, Annapurna and Langtang region. On an average a liter of water will cost US $ 1.50 to US $ 4.00 per liter. As one gains altitude on trek or goes further from the urban areas the higher the cost of drinking water.
Showers during treks
Hot or Cold showers are available everywhere in the Lodges. In some lodges, especially as we go higher in altitude instead of showers a bucket of hot water may be the option.
A hot shower cost on an average of US $ 3.00 to US $ 5.50 per shower. The higher we go the more expensive the bath.
We recommend not to take too may baths on treks specially if one is going to high altitude treks. The reason being the temperature drops rapidly as the sunsets and getting the body temperature back to normal after shower at high altitude becomes difficult. This increases the chances of catching cold and walking with cold at high altitude with thin cold air is not a pleasant experience. So please try and avoid taking showers as much as possible.
Electricity on treks
Electricity hasn’t reached all places in Nepal. So electricity is limited to certain areas of the trek. On an average one has electricity till about 3500 meters in altitude. As we gain altitude solar system has been set up in all lodges.
Rooms have lights only till places where electricity has reached. So where electricity has not reached there are no room lights. Dining hall, toilets and all common areas have electricity through the night even if it is being supplied through solar system.
Charging camera batteries, mobile phones can be done at the dining hall upon informing the management. They charge on an average of US $ 2.00 to US $ 6.5 for getting the batteries fully charged. The higher we go the more expensive to charge.
We recommended that you put your batteries in your sleeping bags at night to keep it warm as in cold the batteries drains energy very fast.
Wi-Fi and mobile phone on treks
Annapurna and Everest regions have lodges that provide Wi-Fi. A cost of US $ 5.00 to $ 12.00 depending on what data package they have is charged on per hour or per day basis.
Other trek areas have not developed this facility.
Annapurna and Everest region has good mobile connectivity. Other areas don’t have much coverage but the mobile network connection is growing. Please enquire via mail about the mobile phone coverages on trek routes for details.
One can get a mobile phone sim card on arrival at the airport. Passport photocopies with passport size photo (one) is required.