Mustang Saribung La Pass trekking is challenging trek traverse from Mustang to Nar & Phu. This trek is situated to the north of Mustang of Nepal seldom visited by westerners. Damodar is one of the last frontiers close to the Tibetan border, where rugged landscapes and ancient culture merge in a very unique interpretation of lands forgotten by time. On this stunning traverse from Mustang we cross numerous high passes including the Saribung La (5600m), and emerge to the regions of Nar & Phu, where Tibetan culture thrives in the small villages and monasteries we pass. The highlight of a trek in this region is the beautiful landscapes; it is a must for keen photographers who will appreciate the scale and grandeur of the high plateaus and solitude this region has to offer.
This is a very remoteness trekking. Only organized camping trekking is possible. Damodar kunda Saribung La trekking is belongs to control trekking. So a two special trekking permit – Mustang trek and Nar Phu valley trek permit is required for this trekking. This is a very challenging trekking and a very good level fitness and good trekking gear with good sleeping bag is required for this trekking.
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
You will be met by us and transferred to hotel. A pre-trek briefing will be given in the evening. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow trek guide and helper before heading out to dinner.
Day 2: Kathmandu Tour
Kathmandu sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu World Heritage sites-Pashupatinath temple, Boudhanath stupa, Swoyambhunath stupa and Kathmandu durbar Square. Kathmandu is a mysterious culture centre of Nepal. Kathmandu has more than any other city in the world.
Day 3: Kathmandu to Pokhara
This morning either takes drive or flight to Pokhara, Nepal is second largest nature town. In the afternoon take a walk at the bank of Phewa Lake and boating into the Phewa Island where the Barahi temple is exist. You could see nice view of Fishtail and Annapurna from there.
Day 4: Fly to Jomsom (2713m), trek to Kabana (2810m, 3hrs)
This morning we take a spectacular flight tracing the Kali Ghandaki underneath the massive bulk of Dhaulagiri to Jomsom. Here we will meet our trekking crew and make last minute preparations. A half day walk brings us to Kagbeni, an impressive village that is our gateway to Mustang. To pass beyond this point we have a special Mustang permit. We will meet our liaison officer and the crew will prepare for tomorrow is crossing into Mustang.
Day 5: Kagbeni to Chele (3030m, 6hrs)
Trek for 6 hours to Chele on dry arid valley, villages and fields of wheat, barley, buckwheat and interspersed with small apple orchards.
Day 6: Chele to Giling (3440m, 6-7hrs)
A more challenging day ahead cross of three passes. We cross a long suspension bridge hanging over the canyon which is used to access the village of Gyakar, and climb on a dusty trail to the first pass, Taklam La (3624m) and then Dajori La (3735m. In the afternoon we descend and climb twice to cross two streams before a climb to the next pass which is the Yamda La (3920m). From the pass, we can see Shyangbochen in the distance. We descend on switchbacks, traverse a ridge and then make a final climb to Shyangbochen. The surrounding countryside is picturesque and you may choose to wander around with a camera or just relax under the juniper trees.
Day 7: Geiling to Tsarang (3490m, 7hrs)
We begin the day with a steep climb followed by a gradual descent. We pass a beautifully painted chorten surrounded by flat rocks with Tibetan prayers carved on them, and from this point it is mostly downhill towards Ghemi. After lunch at Ghemi, which has the longest Mani Walls in Mustang, we descend to Qumona Khola, cross a bridge and pass by a Japanese funded hospital. Avenues of poplar trees and fields of barley mark our trail as we head toward Tsarang La (pass). At 3850m this is the highest point of the trek thus far and the southern boundary of Lo. After the pass, it is downhill until you reach Tsarang, the second largest town in Upper Mustang and a former capital. Here we visit the red gompa and the abandoned king’s summer palace. This palace was built in 1378AD and once boasted the greatest library in Mustang.
Day 8: Tsarang to Luri Gompa, (walk 5hrs)
We follow the river for approximately 2 hours before arriving in Surkhang and then Yara village.This is a unique area where we find ancient caves set into stone walls. From Yara, it is a short trek to Luri Gompa which is built into the rock.There are two monasteries; one is situated below Luri cave monastery accessed by a steep climb. This is the oldest and most famous cave monastery in the Mustang region, constructed in the 15th Century. It is situated at an elevation of 4005m. Inside the caves, we can see a big chorten and many images and statues of protectors and deities. There is also a highly sacred religious text however access to this is not permitted.
Day 9: Luri Gompa to Ghuma Thanti (4600m, 5-6hrs)
Today we will carry a packed lunch as there are no rest stops suitable for cooking. After a 5100m pass crossing we follow the barren valley and reach the village of Lhetak. We are now leaving “classical” Mustang and entering the vast, wild valley of the Namta River.
Day 10: Ghuma Thanti to Damodar Lake (4890m, 7-8 hrs)
We follow an undulating trail to our next pass crossing at an altitude of 5600m which takes us to the high plateaus of the Damodar Kunda. Conditions here can be harsh with extreme cold and wind however it is also a very beautiful place. The lakes are sacred to the Hindu people and many perform a pilgrimage to this place, where it is believed that those who take a dip in the lake’s water will be freed from all sins. We are high in the rain-shadow area of the Himalayas, north of the famous Annapurna range of the Upper Mustang region. From here, the views are spectacular, and we can see the Tibetan Plateau and Damodar Himal to the north, and the massive Annapurna in the south. There are 65 peaks in the himal range including Damodar Himal, Muktinath Himal (6706m) and Bhrikuti Peak (6364m). We continue to Namta Khola after passing the lakes, today again we travel with a packed lunch.
Day 11: Damodar Kunda to Base of Japanese Pass (4950m, 6-7 hrs)
Continue along the Namta Khola valley. Our camp tonight is stunning and surrounded by wild mountain terrain, a truly remote wilderness location.
Day 12: Japanese Pass to Base of De Hults Pass
After our crossing of the Japanese Pass we encounter a large river of ice which leads from the heart of Damodar Himal to De Hults Pass and eventually forges south to become the valley of Phu. This region was for a long time inaccessible and mysterious, and today still receives a small limited number of visiting trekkers.
Day 13: Cross De Hults Pass (6225m)-Base of Saribung Pass (5240m)
De Hults Pass is a high altitude pass and a more challenging proposition than the Saribung pass - it is glaciated and therefore we need to be aware of the crevasse hazards as we negotiate our crossing. Surrounding us is a magnificent amphitheatre of snow covered mountains where only a handful of people have passed before us.
Day 14: Cross Saribung Pass (5600m)
We are now very close to the Tibetan border. From the base we make our traverse over the Saribung Pass and descend steeply on a snowy trail. The first part of the walk is on small yak herders trails and then the trail ascends steeply until we reach an easy walk over a small pass. There are often blue sheep grazing on the hillsides with the magnificent backdrop of Bhrikuti and Chaku Himal.
Day 15: Trek to Glacier Camp and Phu
A tough day as we must cross the glacier and ascend to our next camp. Initially we descend the lateral moraines to cross the rubble strewn glacier and then follow the valley until we reach Phu Gaon. There is usually no trail due to snow, and so crossing the glacier can be slow, however the scenery is absolutely stunning and more than makes up for the effort. We view the Bhrikuti Himal’s southern face and say our goodbyes to the Saribung Himal. Follow a small stream until we reach the deserted village of Nagoru Kharka. We are now in one of the most unique, hidden valleys where the cultures, natural diversity and religion of ethnic groups like Lama, Gurung and Ghale can be found. The people are dependent on subsistence agriculture, animal breeding and seasonal migrations.
Day 16: Rest Day at Phugaon (3980m)
Today we will take a rest day and explore both the Tashi and Samdu Choling Monasteries. The very old Buddhist Monastery of Tashi Lakhang is listed in the 108 world’s greatest Buddhist monasteries. It is believed to be the last monastery constructed by Karmapa Rinpoche. We also have a great view of Himlung Himal and other snowy peaks. Phugaon is a remote village with stupas and Mani walls, the houses are built of stone and constructed on top of one another. It is a wonderful place to explore and to gain a rare insight into village life.
Day 17: Phugaon to Nar (4100m) via Kyang (walk 7hrs).
The walk from Phu to Kyang is one of the most exciting of our trek. Passing through the Mani gate end of the village we drop down from the Tibetan Plateau into the valley. The descent is a spectacular trail of switchbacks into a narrow valley which appears to be blocked by an impressive rock pillar. In Kyang we see the remnants of ruined forts of the Khampa settlements (the place which Khampa refugees from Tibet once captured and lived illegally in the 1960s) at places like Jhunam/Chyakhu and Kyang. With spectacular views of Annapurna II and Lamjung Hima, the trail immediately follows a spectacular route carved into the cliffs. We cross through the canyon floor and a small water crossing where some rock hopping is required. The trail mainly contours around the hillsides and the scenery is in stark contrast to that of the Annapurna range. There are a series of small passes and we pass through open valleys at Chakku (3560m) and Jhunam (3580m). We are surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery of the northern slopes of Kangaru Himal. Finally we ascend to Mahendra Pul which after crossing takes us to Nar. We camp just above the village of Nar with options to explore the impressive gorge country. Blue sheep sightings are a sure sign that the elusive snow leopard may not be too far away!
Day 18: Trek to Kang La Base (4460m, 2-3hrs)
We head up the Nar Phu valley crossing a series of alpine meadows to reach our camp at the base of the Kang La. This is a short stage with plenty of time to explore the high ridges in the vicinity that afford an almost 360 degree mountain panorama including Chulu east at the head of the valley.
Day 19: Cross Kang La (5100m) to Ngawal (3600m, 5-6hrs).
The Kang La is not a difficult pass and we should be able to complete the ascent to the crest of the pass in 3 to 4 hours – sometimes less depending on snow conditions. An early start is imperative to gain magnificent views of the Annapurna Range as well as the panorama of peaks to the immediate north and east. After a well earned rest we descend across scree slopes before heading down to our camp in an open meadow close to the village of Ngawal.
Day 20: Trek Hunde (3280m, 3 hrs)
A short stage today and the final day of this magnificent traverse which has taken us on a journey through some of the most remote and untrodden trail in the Nepal Himalaya. Hungde is a small town with an airport which will fly us back to Pokhara and then onto Kathmandu.
Day 21: Fly to Kathmandu via Pokhara
We board the early morning flight to Pokhara savoring magnificent views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. On arrival into Kathmandu we transfer to hotel for overnight accommodation.
Day 22: Kathmandu Airport.
Final transfers to Kathmandu airport to get flight back to home.