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Dolpo Region Trek is one of the most isolated and least developed areas to consider trekking in Nepal. Dolpo region is situated on the Tibetan plateau and the Dhaulagiri Himalayan range and is the highest inhabited land in the western Nepal. Dolpo, a land beyond the Himalayas, captures mysterious views of ancient monasteries, blue sheep, and snow leopards. Dolpo region has been strictly off limits until 1990, which has helped the traditions and ways of life to remain intact for decades. Dolpo has gained an immense attention since the first trek which was organized by a British tour operator in 1990. Since the release of Peter Matthiessen’s book “The Snow Leopard” and David Snellgrove’s Himalayan Pilgrimage has contributed significantly to highlight and popularize this region.
The Upper Dolpo Trek begins from Jhupal and extends all the way to Shey Gompa which is the primary goal to every trekker who wishes to trek in this region. This route passes through many gigantic mountains like Mt Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Kanjiroba, passing through the lower Dolpo region at one point of time. This region is famous for the legendary Shey Monastery, Phoksundo Lake, snow leopards, blue sheep and Yak herders. Though this region is a part of Nepal but is greatly influenced by the Tibetan culture and preserves few of the last leftovers of traditional Tibetan culture. Phoksundo Lake is a major attraction in this region with greenish blue color water and over 1500 meter depth makes it is a remarkable art of nature, also this is the only place where people still practice the pre-Buddhist Bon-Po religion. Our path passes through Cedar Forest, spectacular waterfalls, Phoksundo Park, and Palam. The landscapes here are very desolate and the villages at a height of 4300 m and above are even more isolated and pure. Camping is also an important part of this trek and is a necessity at some places.
Welcome to the land of Himalaya at (1350m/4429ft). You will be warmly welcomed by the mountains and our company representative will be standing with your name card at the arrival terminal with a beautiful smile. You will be escorted to your hotel and you will be provided with all the detailed information about your program. Overnight stay at Hotel in Kathmandu.
On you second day in Nepal, you will start your morning after breakfast and head toward Pashupatinath Temple one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage places. Then on to Boudhanath & Swaymnbhunath Stupa (UNESCO sites). These two Stupas are sacred pilgrimage sites for Buddhist people. Half of your day will be sightseeing and remaining half day will bein preparation for your trekking. Your guide will provide you details about the trek and if you have any query regarding the trek then you can ask your guide. Overnight stay at Hotel in Kathmandu.
It’s a 1-hour flight this morning to Nepalgunj, a border town near the India-Nepal border located in the Terai lowlands area. The rest of your day will be spent sightseeing around the local bazaar by horse and cart (Optional). The Bageshowri Temple is also very popular and worth visiting in the early evening. Overnight stay at Hotel in Nepalgunj.
A 35-minute flight takes us to Jhupal. An incredible mountain flight which takes us over mountain ridges and valleys with majestic mountains as a backdrop. Jhupal is a small village with a small airstrip amongst the mountains and hills. From here we trek for a few hours until we reach Dunai, the district headquarters of the Dolpo district. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Dunai.
Leaving Dunai this morning we cross a suspension bridge and head west uphill towards Thulo Bheri valley. On the way to Phoksundo River valley, we will be welcomed by a great view of Kagmara Peak. We trek through fir and juniper forest before reaching Ankhe. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Aankhe.
It’s a long day of trekking today as we walk through the beautiful forest and raging rivers. Local yak herders can be seen along the way as the trail winds up and down before reaching Palam. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Palam.
Today we trek to Shey Phoksundo Lake, one of the highlights of this trek. Before reaching the lake we can see the Phoksundo waterfall, the highest waterfall in Nepal. Then we descend to the small picturesque village, Ringmo Village. Here you can witness people following Bonpo Religion, religion related to Buddhism but it is older than Buddhism. We can view the stunning view of glorious view of mountains from the point. We will view the first glimpse of Phoksundo Lake during the trek.The lake is popular for its pristine beauty. Overnight stay at Tented Camp near the lake.
Today we will spend the day exploring the area adjacent to the lake. This area was where the famous movie “Caravan” was filmed. You will have the chance to meet the local people and learn about their Buddhist and Bon traditions. Overnight stay at Tented Camp near the lake.
This is the day that we enter the restricted area of Upper Dolpo. Our route follows the famous trail where the movie “Caravan” was filmed. We trek past Lake Ringmo through pine forest and under the canopy of snow-capped peaks as we make our way to Salla Ghari. Kanjirowa Himal (6612m/21692ft) is visible along the way. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Salla Ghari.
The trekking trail gets steeper now as we are ascending quite rapidly through high rock walls and several streams. The landscape here is becoming very barren but it’s beauty is breathtaking. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Lar Tsa.
Today we cross the Kang La Pass (5350m/17552ft) after around 3 hours of difficult trekking from Lar Tsa. From here it’s a descent for another 3 hours before we reach Shey Gompa (4320m/14173ft). Shey Gompa is a small village with a Buddhist Gompa that is several hundred years old and is considered to be the spiritual center of Dolpo. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Shey Gompa.
It’s a day to rest for acclimatization process today which gives us the chance to explore the Monastery and adjoining areas. We can visit with the local Sherpa people. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Shey Gompa.
Today we cross the Shey-La Pass (5094m/16712ft). Crossing the Pass we can enjoy the panoramic view of the Tibetan plateau before descending to the village of Namgung (4430m/14534ft). Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Namgung.
From Namgung we have to ascend about 4700m and descend steep slopes to reach the village of Saldang (4050m/13287ft). This is a large village housing many families of the region. The village is prosperous, not only agriculturally but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Saldang.
Today we trek to Jengla (4480m/13385ft). We pass through terraced fields and Monasteries on the way before arriving at Namdo, half way to our destination. A couple more hours of trekking see us our destination. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Jengla.
It’s a short trekking day today and is quite easy. There is a French School just outside Tarap. In Tarap we spend time visiting Buddhist Gompas, interacting with the local Sherpa people and learning the art of weaving Thankas. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Tarap.
The trek today is quite adventurous as we follow the Tarap Khola River passing through a narrow and deep gorge heading mostly downhill. We may see the locals bringing sheep, yaks Serkam. and goats down from high pastures for the winter if we are lucky. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Serkam.
It’s an exciting day today as we head downhill from Serkam. We cross small rivers on stepping stones and long suspension bridges as we pass through fields of millet, barley, buckwheat, chilli and marijuana. Tarakot is a small and prosperous village of the Dolpo region and is extremely popular around the otherwise barren region. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Tarakot.
It’s a relatively easy trek today as we walk along the banks of the Bheri River before reaching Dunai. Dunai is a district headquater of Dolpo District. Overnight stay at Tented Camp in Dunai.
We climb uphill today before reaching Jhupal which was the starting point and is the ending point for our trek. We have the chance to relax in our guesthouse after our long trek. Overnight stay at Guesthouse Lodge in Juphal.
We have a transit day today. An early morning mountain flight sees us at Nepalgunj from where we take another flight to Kathmandu. Don’t forget the savor the incredible mountain view from your flight. Upon arrival at Kathmandu transfer to Hotel. Later in the evening, a farewell dinner will be served in a Traditional Nepali Restaurant where you will be able to enjoy authentic cuisine with a brief cultural program as a celebration of your completed trek. Overnight stay at Hotel in Kathmandu.
Your journey in Nepal comes to an end today! Our representative will escort you to the airport approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight. On your way to home, you have plenty of time to plan for your next adventure tour our wonderful Himalayan country. There will be heart touching relationship between you and our company during this journey. We will be missing you and praying for your safe return home.
To enable all expedition members to acclimatize well and hence maximize their chances of success, our expedition programs are prepared with sufficient time for acclimatization. Adaptation to the altitude takes time and there can be no short-cuts, even if supplementary oxygen is used in the final stages. The atmospheric pressure at the base camp is half of that at the sea level. A thorough program of acclimatization is built into the itinerary which consists of regulated height ascents, followed by descents and rests before the final ascent to the summit. This will prevent the climbers to get rid from altitude sickness
Although our guides carry first aid medical kit, it is better to carry a supply of first aid items for your own personal use according to your health conditions. Here are the list of some general as well as some special medications you may require:
– Antiseptic cream (Betadine)
– Sunblock SPF 30+
– Throat lozenges
– Painkillers and anti-inflammatory such as Aspirin, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen etc.
– Band-aids, bandage, compression bandage and ‘Second Skin’ for blisters
– Re-hydration salts. (Trioral, Electrobin, Oral Rehydrating Salt)
– Dextrose glucose tablets
– Water treatment tablets
– Your prescription medications
– Antibiotics for longer climbing and expedition style trips
You will be affected by high altitude problems if it is your fist trip at a high altitude. The altitude has some important beneficial effects on the human body and your trips have been designed to enable these. Please familiarize yourself with the information on AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and understand how to avoid it and read on benefits of high altitude and take advantage of these to improve your body’ metabolism.
Altitude sickness is the reaction of the body adjusting to decreasing amounts of oxygen. The high altitude slowly decreases the flow of oxygen means the higher you climb, the flow of oxygen is very thin resulting the malfunction of body. Altitude sickness most commonly occurs from above 2,800 meters (9,200ft) but this is different for everyone – there is simply no way of knowing your own susceptibility prior to being at altitude thus it is vital for you to monitor your own health. AMS occurs when the body is unable to adopt at the higher altitude having less amount of oxygen. At an altitude of 5490m (18000 ft.), the oxygen availability becomes just the half of the availability at sea level. While only a third of oxygen is available at the summit of Mt. Everest. Symptoms may be mild and subside/go away after a day’s rest, or if it is ignored it could lead to death.
Symptoms can appear within 1-2 hours although most often appear 6-10 hours after ascent and generally subside in 1-2 days as the body adjusts to altitude. They may reappear as you continue to go higher. Symptoms of AMS usually occur gradually and can be one or a combination of the following:
• Headache: Due to the less amount of oxygen in air, the blood influences the blood vessels to spread wide in order to supply more oxygen to the brain and which cause them to show the early symptom of AMS.
• Dopiness: The trekkers or climbers feel very sleepy but could not.
• Shortness of breath: The breathing pattern changes as the breathing becomes faster and deeper than normal in order to get enough oxygen and rapid pulse
• Loss of appetite and nausea: Despite of physical exercise, the trekkers don’t have an appetite to eat.
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)
If one accumulates of fluid in the lungs and mild fever then, there is a chance of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). The filling of fluid in the lungs is Pulmonary Edema. The fluid blocks the passage of fresh oxygen to get into the lungs which causes the shortage of oxygen. Though the exact reason for the HAPE has not been identified, scientists think that pressure of blood vessel around the lungs is directly proportional to the altitude. As a result the smaller blood vessels leak allowing the fluid to escape to the lungs. The treatment for the HAPE victims is to give the oxygen at the rate of 4 liters a minute, using Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC). In case of unavailability of PAC bag or oxygen, one is taken down to the low altitude which is the only way of life-saving. HAPE can also lead to unconsciousness which may also results to death in a short period of time.
High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)
HACE is the accumulation of fluid in the brain due of the swollen blood vessels to the brain. HACE is also seen within a couple of hours and can send the patient to coma and take his/her life in just few hours likewise to HAPE. The excessive flow of blood to the brain due to the low-level oxygen causes vasodilation which eventually leads to leakage of blood vessels to the brain. A 4 to 8mg of dexamethasone is given as a first dose to those who suffer from such sickness and then 4mg Diamox is given an every six hours gap. Similarly, 2-4 liters/minute oxygen is given and one is taken to down if it is necessary.
– A dry cough, developing to a wet one with blood-tinged discharge or saliva
– Tightness in the chest & blueness/darkness of face, lips & tongue
– Low fever up to 38°C/100°F
– Severe fatigue, progressing to coma
– Severe headache symptoms not relieved by painkillers or lying down
– Confusion, disorientation & drowsiness
– Loss of balance or coordination
– Blurred or double vision/retinal hemorrhage
Certain medical conditions (such as respiratory disease) or medications (such as sleeping pills) can increase the risk of altitude sickness – it is important that you inform your guide of any medical conditions or medications before ascending to altitude. You can help your body to acclimatize and avoid altitude sickness by:
– Avoiding alcohol, tobacco and substances that can interfere with good delivery of oxygen to the body or cause dehydration
– Eating small, frequent meals high in carbohydrates
– Drinking plenty of water – the test of sufficient amount of water intake is ability to urinate colorless urine
– Taking it easy or have a rest. Walk at a slower pace than you would at sea level and avoid over-exertion
– Climb the mountain gradually and stop for a day or two of rest for every 600m/2000ft above 2,400m/8000ft
– Climb high but Sleep at a lower altitude if possible
– Learn how to recognize early symptoms of mountain sickness
Most travelers are able to successfully acclimatize by following the previously mentioned guidelines. However, there are instances where medical treatment is required. Ultimately, the best treatment for acute mountain sickness (AMS) is to descend to a lower altitude and rest. Early diagnosis is important. Acute mountain sickness is easier to treat in the early stages. The guide will monitor you all the time for symptoms and will pace you appropriately to minimize your exposure to AMS.Cooperating with the guide and reporting if any of the above-described symptoms are seen allows your guide to undertaking appropriate and timely action to minimize your exposure to AMS. Sufficient time for acclimatization (After 3000 meters) is also another method to minimize AMS. Following precautions can be done in order to get rid of AMS:
Don’t ascent up rapidly.
• Never use alcohol, sleeping pills and smoking.
• Drink more fluid 3-4 liters a day, clean boiled water / tea / coffee / soup / juice etc.
• Climb high and sleep low.
• Don’t go trekking alone, take guide/porter.
• Follow the advice from your guide, hotel, local people, guidebook.
• Descent if mild symptoms rapidly getting worse.
• Never leave or descent sick person along.
• Avoid getting cold.
• Take an easy and comfortable trekking route even if it is longer.
• Sleep more than normal.
Your Guide will carry some medications in First Aid Kit and may suggest for medication such as Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, combination of them or specific AMS medication. Standard and effective medication for prevention of AMS is Acetazolamide (Diamox) and it may be given to help improve breathing and reduce mild symptoms. This drug can cause increased urination. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol when taking this drug.With severe cases of AMS, our guide will contact our office in Kathmandu and arrange your evacuation by helicopter. Before we accept you on the trek we will require that you purchase health and travel insurance including helicopter rescue and hospitalization.
You never know when the unexpected situation comes and put you in hearse condition. So such cases you will be rescued by Helicopter. You are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation. So, before coming to Nepal, please make your travel insurance. Ask your guide to arrange a runner to the nearest communication point and inform office about requirement of a helicopter. For evacuation, we require the name of the sick person and the exact location from where helicopter can airlift you. You should not leave the place after calling Helicopter for evacuation though you are feeling better than before.
On the trek, there is a facility of purchasing safe drinking water in teahouses.It is better if you carry the water purifying pills on your own. On camping trek, the water will be treated with Potassium permanganate or Iodine. On the trail, water from the streams is safe to drink, but better not to use it directly for drinking.
Security and a safe journey is our core objective of trekking. Our guide holds licenses issued by the Nepal Government and our staffs are local, honest, kind and genuine. But we also insist you to take care of your own personal belongings. If you are on ‘camping trek’ please take your main bag inside the tent once you reach campsite and put all bags and belongings in the middle of the tent when you feel sleepy. Your guide assigns a Sherpa on turn wise basis to guard the campsite throughout the night. If you are on ‘Tea house arrangement, never leave your baggage unattended and keep your lodge room locked when you go out.