Mustang is one of the most beautiful treks that we can perform. In fact, this is one of the most preserved circuits in the Himalaya.
Trek in the Mustang area
This hike is one of the most beautiful treks that we can perform. In fact, this is one of the most preserved circuits in the Himalaya. Each Nepali organism has just a small annual quota for tourism. The number of visitors is limited to less than 1 000 permits per year.
A specific and mandatory authorization is issued against payment to travel in this “restricted area”.
The route, in loop, begins and returns to Jomsom, goes through the Kali Gandaki valley and continues at mountainside at Geling, southern boundary of Upper Mustang, where the river takes the name of Mustang Khola. The crossing of several passes gets to Lô Manthang, the capital of the mythical “Land of Lo” and northern aim of the trip.
The return is made in the southern direction, on the left bank of the Mustang Khola and again on a mountainside, with the crossing of several tributaries of the Kali Gandaki, before meeting Jomossom, following the river.
The route is “not very engaged” in the sense we are never too isolated except in a few specific areas, but this doesn’t exclude snow and cold being present, especially crossing highest passes.
It is a long journey of 15 days of walking, including 13 in a restricted area, at an altitude between 2800 and 4300 meters. The route involves the passage of several passes and several fords. No glacial area is covered.
PROGRESSION AND STAGES
The progression takes place on trails, in the bottom of the valley, in all kinds of terrain, and eventually crossing glacial moraines. The altitude changes are small (maximum 1 000 m). The steps are balanced, last around 5 to 7 hours, but there will be two days lasting about 8 hours. This trek allows an excellent acclimatization to the altitude.
The carrier team takes care of carrying the luggage. Each person carries only their own things for the day (sweater, gourd etc.).
Carriers, under the responsibility of the Sirdar, install every night the camp, the food is made by the “cook” and his assistants. No intervention of the participants is required other than the strictest politeness.
GROUP AND GUIDANCE
The group operates under the direction of the chief guide in charge of the journey, that will change the stages or the travel if necessary.
Supervision is provided by at least a French mountain guide assisted on site by local specialists (Sirdar, guides, cooks, carriers, etc.), necessary to carry all the tasks and for a good execution of the journey.
This program is given as an indication. It can be changed in its duration or route, for climatic reasons, the general organization or safety. Internal aerial links, particularly those serving Jomsom, more random, are subject to weather conditions.
Although 50 km north of the dominant Dhaulagiri and Annapurna massifs, Mustang is usually spared by the monsoon, but bad weather can however modify the program flow.
So, to prevent the consequences of a possible delay a safety day is disposed at the end of the trip, in preparation of the international flight back.
During this trek which roughly follows the “Kali Gandaki” but whose name becomes “Mustang Kola” halfway, two sites on the Unesco World Heritage will be visited: the temple Lô Geykar and the city Lô Manthang.
Leaving from Paris in the day by a scheduled flight.
KATHMANDU. Arrival in the city (1350 meters) during the day. Transfer to the hotel for the night.
Flight Kathmandu – POKHARA 822 meters. After a morning in Kathmandu (formalities, special permit) flight to this small and charming town with its fantastic view over the lake, tropical vegetation, and its shops and bistros that remind Nepal during the “Baba Cool” days. Getting settled at the hotel and walk by the lake in the evening.
Flight Pokhara – Jomosom 2740 meters. Early departure for a 25 minutes flight between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to Jomosom, big town and administrative center of Mustang, which was once the last major town before the Mustang / Tibet. The trek starts by a stage of 3:30hs in a mineral world where the wind, very present, blows on large flat expanses of the Kali Gandaki. The track follows the left bank of the Kali Gandaki to Eklobhatti, then back to the east to the village of LUPRA 2880 meters dominated by the Great Barrier (Tilicho and Nilgiri) where we set camp for the night.
The trail climbs to Muktinath 3710 meters and its 100 sources. Similar to a small Chamonix, this pilgrimage site dedicated to Vishnu is the end point of the Annapurna tour. Lunch on site before continuing further north, to the village of Jhong 3600 meters, for the night.
This trek is in a restricted area. The track initially rises to a high pass, the Gyu La 4077 meters and continues to the village of TETANG 3000 meters where the camp is set, after a stage of 5hs, for the night.
The trail initially joins Chuksang 2950 meters, a small town established on the Narshing Khola, a tributary of the Kali Gandaki. Three hamlets surround it, and some houses and cave sanctuaries are to be discovered along the way. Then the track goes slightly to the village of Gyakar 3200 meters, for lunch, and continues on SAMAR 3630 meters surrounded by golden poplars of Himalayas. Stage of around 6 hours.
The route now follows the “Way of the Pilgrim”. The Bega La 3790 meters is quickly reached in 1:15hs, before a long and steep descent into a dizzying canyon leading to a thalweg where, by a short climb of some additional meters, we reach the holy cave Chyungsi Rhangchung 3400 meters and its monastery where Guru Rimpoche lived. This sacred place is one of the most revered by Buddhists Lamaists.
The route continues with a short climb to a narrow canyon that opens onto a balcony path leading to the village of Syanboche. Syanboche La 3 850 mètres follows and opens on a downhill leading to Geling 3600 meters, which according to Michel Peissel, is the door of the Kingdom of Lo. Stage of 6 hours approximately.
The trail leads to Nya La 3 4 010 meters, then to Ghami La 3 820 meters, from where we descend to Ghami Khola, which has ocher and cut cliffs with many old cave dwellings, that we follow to the village of Ghami 3 590 meters, where King of Mustang’s King’s sister lives. A fantastic 250 meters long prayer wall is visible and leads to a spectacular set of chorten.
We continue to the village of DHAKMAR 3750 meters dominated by exceptional pink cliffs with many cave dwellings; sgate of about 5 hours.
A short and steep climb, resulting in a first pass at 4030 meters which precedes a moderate slope leading to Mui La 4170 meters and then to the Marang La, 4125 meters. We continue with a short descent leading to the ancient monastery of Lo Gekar 3750 meters, dating from the eleventh century and listed as World Heritage. Visit of the monastery (huge Buddha statues and sculptures).
A new pass, Chogo La 4000 meters provides an access after a long step of 7hs to Lo Manthang 3800 meters, mythical fortified capital of the kingdom of Mustang. Camp set up for 2 nights.
Lô Manthang 3800 meters. Fascinating day to discover this legendary capital (a village at most) and its surroundings, walking or on horseback (it is possible to rent on site), according to your desires and how tired you are.
You could spend the day visiting the city and its special places, walls, heart of the city, shops, monastery etc.
Possibility of a royal audience and meet the Raja Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista, the last king of Mustang, whose title doesn’t really hide the lack of real power.
Trek to the north. A day to discover some sites totally isolated and close to the border with China (Tibet), to which access is still prohibited.Subsequently, we will visit sites and the Namgyal village (monastery of the fourteenth century), Thingar, Kimalong, Choeser, Garphu NYIPHU and 4000 meters (gompa exceptional and cave dwellings), where the camp is set for the night.
The day begins on the right bank of the Mustang Khola and continues on its left bank, and may be done on horseback (it’s possible to rent one on site).
Final day towards Koncholing, exactly Drakphuk Konchok Ling, and discovery of one of the most extraordinary sites of the Upper Mustang (engravings of the twelfth century), in an exceptional setting.
In the evening, return to Lô Manthang 3800 meters for a last night in the capital.
The way back begins with the climb to the Lô La 3950 meters. A descent follows, first gently, then steep, in a lunar landscape of hundreds of hoodoos. It leads to the beautiful village of Dhi 3410 meters on the banks of the Kali Gandaki.
After crossing the river and a gentle climb, the trail overlooking the Puyang Khola leads to YARA 3610 meters, where the camp is located. Stsage of around 6 hours.
New raid on one of the remotest sites of Mustang Luri Gompa 3990 meters, that houses in a natural, fitted and painted cave, hanging on the cliff, a magnificent stupa.
At the sanctuary entrance all the line of the great Buddhist masters is represented: Repa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa … This is again one of the highlights of this unusual trek. In the evening, return to YARA 3610 meters, after a stage of approximately 5 hours .
The trace goes to the south, a stunning landscape and a succession of valleys. The Ghechang Khola is crossed before reaching Tangye 3340 meters, one of the most beautiful villages of Mustang, where the camp is prepared for the night. Stage of around 6 hours.
Long day. After a steep climb, a high point is reached at Paha 4060 meters, before reaching and crossing the Cho Cha La 4186 meters, the highest point of the hike. The balcony trail overlooks multiple and distant valleys bristling with turrets and hoodoos. In a colorful spectacle, the trace is set in an extraordinary landscape.
For the last part of the trail, carved into the cliff, let’s go down and reach the village of CHUKSANG 2980 meters for the second time and its satellite towns, Tetang (where the trek started) and Ketang, at almost the same altitude, for the night.
Stage of 8 hours walking, after which we leave the restricted area.
Back to the valley. Now the trail again follows the Kali Gandaki and crosses the beautiful fortified village Tangbe 3020 meters, its narrow streets and whitewashed houses decorated with ocher.
A final link to Kagbeni 2800 meters (lunch) and JOMSSOM 2740 meters, where a last night in a tent or lodge will close the trek.
Flight to Pokhara and then KATHMANDU. This flight is subjected to weather conditions, a safety day is planned. Transfer to the hotel for the night.
Free secure day. Guided tour of the Kathmandu Valley.
Transfer to the airport, international return flight, arriving in PARIS in the morning.
- Guiding fee
- Accommodation included
- Transport during the trip
- Permit and entrance fees
- Group porters
- Personal insurance
3 nights in Kathmandu at ROYAL SINGI, double room with breakfast, 1 night in Pokhara in half board (dinner included)
I was born in Lyon, from a Savoyard mother and an Ardéchois father. I discovered in the slopes, the school benches and the knowledge of the life outside the walls of the successive schools I frequented.
Then, Saône docks followed. And in one of these venerable institutions, where a big number of dunces were graduated, I started studying latin. But in order to “fluctuat nec mergitur”, I decided to leave it and start enjoying another culture, the National Union of Mountain Centres (that became the UCPA).
There, as a “volunteer instructor”, I discovered in successive seasons the Guisane and its mountains, supervised by great professionals, Oisans guides, attentive to all important things of its valley and culture.
At that time, Gaston Rebuffat passed by there. Armed with a long pole, commenting on the silent film images projected in some obscure church halls, he brought with him images of the world responsible for odours and a host of flavours that only childhood memories know how to render it.
Aspiring guide in autumn of 1967, I was integrated and assigned to the Military Mountain School of Chamonix in the next spring, while “May ‘68” raging, I had done my time as an instructor.
From the other side, my permanent disputes and mountain escapades allowed me to discover myself, in addition to the friendship of some great personalities of the Alps, jails in 27th BCA and six weeks of “overflow” which intensified my opinion…
In 1970, in possession of my guide certificate, I failed the Haute Tarentaise, and I came to the Arcs where I have practiced my profession for over 35 years.
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