The Snowman Trek is one of the most demanding, strenuous treks in the Himalaya. Over a course of 22 days, you cross 11 passes, three of which are over 5000m.
A truly high altitude trek - is a combination of Jhomalhari, Laya and the Lunana treks crossing the Renchen zoe pass at 5,400m the highest pass in Bhutan. From Laya onwards you stay continuously above 4000m. On the route, four of the highest passes to cross are the Gangla Karchung La at 5230m; the Jaze La at 5251m; the Loju La (5155m) and the Rinchenzoe La, at 5332m.
Taking you into seldom visited regions of the Himalayas and Lunana, it passes through picturesque farmlands and forest as well as alpine pasturelands.
When: September to October
Tour: 22 days
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Day-1: Arrive Paroby Druk Air. On arrival and after visa formalities you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Afternoon / evening time at leisure. Overnight Hotel Olathang or similar.
Day-2: Day hike to Taktsang monasteryThe hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2 /3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the Paro valley. Return to Hotel Olathang or similar
Day-3: Distance: 13km - 5 to 6 hoursA short drive from Paro takes us to Drukgyel Dzong, the old fort where the trek used to begin, but we continue up the extended road to the Army Camp, and the start of our trekking route. Heading up the Paro Chhu river valley, the trail passes the small settlements where we see excellent examples of Bhutanese farmhouses and gradually ascends to 2800 meters at Shana camp.
Day-4: Shana to Soi Thangthangkha. Distance: 18km - 6 to 7 hoursToday, the trail continues up river and the route winds in and out of rhododendron and blue pine forests. We are now in Jigme Dorji National Park, so keep your eyes open for wildlife and changes in vegetation as we continue to climb in elevation. Tonight we set our tents in Thangkthanka at an altitude of 3800 meters near a stone shelter.
Day-5: Thangthangkha to Jangothang. Distance: 19km - 5 to 6 hoursAfter hiking for an hour we leave the tree line and head into the high mountains. After about 8km we cross Tengethang, a winter home of the migratory yak herders. Arriving at Jangothang (4040m / 13,250 ft), we can watch the sun set on Mt. Jhomalhari (7314m) and Mt. Jichu Drake (6989m).
Day-6: Jangothang.Explore the surrounding areas like Tshophu lake, visit Yakherders or simply relax.
Day-7: Jangothang to Lingshi. Distance: 20km - 6 to 7 hoursHeading uphill from Jangothang we cross the first of many major passes. The Nyile La pass at 4890m (16,135 ft) is about a four hour ascent. Descending the other side we will encounter sparse juniper and rhododendron bushes and pass many yak herder camps. From this area on we start to see herds of blue sheep. Arriving in Lingshi we set up our stop at 4150m
Day-8: Lingshi to Chebisa. Distance: 14km - 4 to 5 hoursThis morning we will visit Lingshi Dzong, also known as Yugyel Dzong in the 17th century, it was used in the past to control travel between Tibet and Bhutan. Since today's hike will not be as long, the pace will be more relaxed. Upon reaching Chebisa (3850m), we will have time to visit Chebisa village and witness Bhutanese village life.
Day-9: Chebisa to Shomuthang. Distance: 18km - 6 hoursCrossing the Gombu La pass at 4350m we descend into a rhododendron filled valley, and continue past some yak herder camps to Shakshepasa where we stop or continue on to a bigger camp for another 1.5 hours further along the trail to make the next day a little shorter.
Day-10: Shomuthang to Robluthang. 18km - 7 to 8 hoursAn early morning start will take us to Jhari La pass at 4747m (15,600 ft). Descending to Tsharijathang, the valley where herds of Takin (the national animal of Bhutan) are normally seen. From here we climb to Robluthang at 4160m were we set up camp for the night.
Day-11: Robluthang to Limithang. Distance: 19km - 7 to 8 hoursStarting early, a strenuous hike leads us to the Shinge La pass at 5005m (16,650 ft). Descending to Limithang we'll see Mt. Gangchenta (6840m) and the glacially carved Gangchhenta valley. Gangchhenta means Great Tiger Mountain. Tonight we sleep at 4140m (13,650 ft).
Day-12: Limithang to Laya. Distance: 10km - 4 to 5 hoursA shorter hike follows a trail in and out of a heavily wooded, uninhabited valley. climbing up out of the forests we will be rewarded with some great views of Gangchhenta and Masang Gang (7165m) mountains. We camp at Laya at 3840m (12,650 ft).
Day-13: Laya.Explore the village by visiting the home of the Laya people.
Day-14: Laya to Roduphu. Distance: 19km - 6 to 7 hoursThe trek leads gradually downhill to the Lunana trail junction, then makes a gradual climb to the camp through a forest of conifers, maple and rhododendron. The trail improves and becomes wider as we climb out of the river valley. We camp at Rodufu near a small stream at 4160m
Day-15: Roduphu to Narithang Distance: 16km - 8 to 9 hoursThis is a long hike, first crossing the Tsimo La pass at 4950m (16,200 ft). Descending to Narethang we pass some dwarf rhododendron and hike in the shadow of Gangla Karchung peak (6395m). We camp at 4900m
Day-16: Narithang to Tarina. Distance 18km - 6 to 7 hoursclimb to Karchung La pass at 5240m (17,187 ft) and down to the glacial lakes that are the source of the Tang Chhu river. Above the lakes are the mighty peaks of Jejekangphu Gang (7300m) and Tsenda Kang (7100m). We camp at Tarina, 4020m
Day-17: Tarina to Woche. Distance: 15km - 5 to 6 hoursThe walk leads down through conifer forests, following the upper reaches of the Pho Chhu river. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to the village of Woche at 3940m (13,000 ft). The trek has now entered the Lunana region. We often continue on about an hour past Woche to a spectacular campsite below the Keche La pass.
Day-18: Woche to Lhedi. Distance: 19km - 7 to 8 hoursIt's a gradual climb from Woche to the campsite below the pass, and then gets steeper on the section up to the Keche La, at 4580m (15,100 ft), after which it drops steeply to Thega village our usual lunch spot. The afternoon hike continues along a beautiful river valley past spectacular waterfalls to Lhedi village where we camp at 3600m (11,800 ft). Sometimes we continue on about an hour or so beyond Lhedi village to a lovely campsite.
Day-19: Lhedi to Tanza. Distance: 19km - 6 to 7 hoursThe trail climbs gradually following the main source of the Pho Chhu to Chozo village. At the small Chozo Dzong there are some lay monks. Above Chozo the valley opens as we approach Thanza village near the foot of 7100m Zogophu Gamp, which is also know as Table Mountain. We camp at Thanza, 4080m
Day-20: Tanza to Danji: Distance: 8km - 4 hoursToday is a relatively short, although somewhat steep, climb to a campsite called Danji, part way up to the Jaze la pass. It will allow us to have some extra time in the morning and make a later start. The camp is around 4600m/15,000ft, with spectacular views of snow-capped peaks! It is an important acclimatisation spot.
Day-21: Danji to Tshochena. Distance: 12km - 5 hoursThe first part of the day involves a climb up over three false summits to Jaze La pass at 5050m (16,570ft). From the pass it is a short downhill trek to the campsite at the lake of Tso Chena at 4800m (15,740 ft). Keep your eyes open for blue sheep during the hike.
Day-22: Tshochena to Jichu Dramo. Distance: 14km - 4 to 5 hoursThe trail has a series of gradual ups and downs between the snow-capped peaks and across the Loju La pass at 4940m (16,300 ft) before descending to camp at Jichu Dramo at 4880m
Day-23: Jichu Dramo to Chukarpo. Distance: 18km - 6 to 7 hoursWe start with a hard climb to Rinchen Zoe La pass at 5332m (17,350 ft), the highest on the trek. It is then all downhill to Chukarpo, which is just above the tree line at 4950m
Day-24: Churkarpo to Tempetso . Distance: 18km - 5 to 6 hoursIt is a long mostly downhill walk along the river, followed by a climb up to the Um So lake at 4230m (13,950 ft). In this lake Pema Lingpa found a number of religious treasures. Continuing downhill we camp by the lake of Thampe Tso at 4200m
Day-25: Tempetso to Marothang. Distance: 14km - 5 hoursIt is a short walk to the base of Thampe La and a steep climb to the pass at 4580m (15,100 ft). The trek is then all downhill through rhododendron bushes to the yak pasture of Maurothang where we camp at 3550m
Day-26: Marothang to Nicachu Zam. Drive to Punakha | Distance: 17km - 5 hoursOn our final day of trekking we descend through a beautiful valley to the lovely village of Sephu where the new road-head beyond Nikachu Chazam continues to push up the valley to the upper part of the village. From there, we drive to Punakha, stopping at the top of the Pele La pass (3400m). Overnight in Punakha
Day-27: Punakha to Thimphu. This morning we will start with a visit to the PunakhaDzong which served as an old capital of Bhutan. This beautiful Dzong is the centre of the region of Bhutan called "Bumthang". The Trongsa Dzong is one of the most impressive in the kingdom, and can be seen from a great distance in its strategic position high above the Mangde Chhu river. Drive 3 hours to Thimphu for lunch and proceed 2 hours to Paro via visiting the oldest building in Bhutan, the Simtokha Dzong. Overnight Hotel Olathang or similar.
Day-28Early morning transfer to airport for departure.
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