Snowman Trekking With Gankhar Phunsum Extension - 27 Nights/ 28 Days

Samtengang Winter TrekkingSnowman Trekking in Bhutan is the longest and the most difficult trek and requires not only excellent health but also a high spirit of adventure. The combination of distance, altitude, weather and remoteness makes this a tough journey. Snowman Trekking starts of taking the same route as Laya trek. After reaching laya, it turns eastward and crosses the Ganglakarchung pass, at 5,100 meters (16,700 feet), into the Lunana region where habitation is concentrated in the villages of Thega and Chezo. Trekking region of Snowman is difficult region of Bhutan to reach, lying at 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) at the foot of the peaks that soar up to 7,000 meters (23,000 feet). The inhabitants are farmers, herders who are famous for their difficult character. The Snowman trek heads south, and after crossing the Rinchenzoe pass, at 5,220 meters (17,125 feet), it hits the tarmac road at Nikkarchu Bridge.

Snow man trek in Bhutan goes to the remote Lunana district and is considered the most difficult trek in Bhutan and perhaps in the world. The attributes those make it a tough trek are; distances, altitude, weather and remoteness. The alpine quest is deemed only for the adventurous trekkers.

Season: The snowman trek is frequently closed because of snow and is almost impossible during winter. The recommended season for this trek is mid June to mid October

Snowman Trekking With Gankhar Phunsum Extension - Day to Day itinerary

Day 01. Arrive at Paro:

Upon arrival at Paro airport, received by representative of Mountain Sherpa Trekking & Expeditions and transfer to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Paro. Dinner and Overnight at Paro.

Day 02. Paro – Shana (Start of Trek):

Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong following the Paro river and we pass cultivated fields and tiny webpicturesque villages. The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly coloured butterflies. Overnight at camp Shana. Altitude 2,820 m; Distance 14 Km; Time 5 - 6 hours.

Day 03. Shana – Thangthangka:

The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction enroute, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter. Altitude 3610 m; Distance 21 Km; Time 7 - 8 hours.

Day 04. Thangthangka – Jangothang:

In the morning after passing a small army post, the trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions. Altitude 4,115 m; Distance 15 Km; Time 5 - 6 hours.

Day 05. Jangothang (Acclimatization):

Rest day at Jangothang, enjoy the superb view all around.

Day 06. Jangothang – Lingshi:

The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Start the climb up to the first ridge with a breathtaking view of Jumolhari, Jichu Drakey and Tsrim Ghang. Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until the climb to the Nyeley la pass at an altitude of 4,700 meters. After the pass it’s a gradual descent to the Lingshi camp, enjoying the panorama view of the peaks and Lingshi dzong. Camp altitude is 4000 meters. Walking time 7-8 hours.

Day 07. Lingshi – Chebisa:

Walk past the Lingshi dzong, perched on the hilltop with a commanding view of green hill, the Winding River and magnificent peaks. This is a very easy day and a pleasant walk, through villages and yak herders camps. Lunch will be at scenic Goyuna village. After lunch, a short walk will reach you to Chebisa village. We camp here by the side of stream at an altitude of 3,850 meters. Walking time 5-6 hours.

Day 08. Chebisa – Shomuthang:

Today begins with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gubula pass at an altitude of 4,500 meters, taking nearly 4 hours to the top. After the pass descend to a lunch spot, through rhododendron bushes. Afternoon continue along the up and down path, after crossing the stream, through rhododendron forests and yak herders camps. You may see herds of Blue sheep now and then. Arrive at camp. Walking time 7-8 hours.

Day 09. Shomuthang – Robluthang:

The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass at the altitude of 4,600 meters. Then descend to Tsharijathang valley, the summer residence of the rare Himalayan Takin (national animal of Bhutan). From here we may have to cross the stream and get wet, as most of the time the foot bridge is washed away, After crossing the stream towards the left the trail ascends till you reach Robluthang camp at an altitude of 4400meters, walking time 8-9 hours.

Day 10. Robluthang - Lemithang:

A long climb up to the shinje la pass (altitude 4900meters). The views of the mountains from the pass are breathtaking. After the pass descend to Lemithang. The path is quit narrow and you may have to cross the stream and get wet again. The last part of the trek is very interesting, with the view of Mount Gangchey Ta peak. Arrive at camp at an altitude 4100 meters.

Day 11. Lemithang – Laya:

In the morning you wake up with a superb view of Gangchey Ta peak in front of you. The walk to laya is very pleasant with wonderful views. You will pass through a damp forest, filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country, at an altitude of 3,800 meter. Walking time 5-6 hours.

Day 12. Rest day at Laya:

Explore around the village. You can go and visit any of the houses around. By tradition one can go to any house without an invitation. A cup of tea or Chang (local drink) is always offered. The people in this village are very interesting with a unique dress, language and ornaments.

Day 13: Laya – Rhodophu:

From Laya descend to army camp and continue following the river till the turn off point to Rhodophu. After lunch continue the climb through rhododendron bushes until the camp. Altitude 4,350m. Walking time 8-9 hours.

Day 14. Rhodophu – Tarina:

This is the longest day of the trip and therefore very essential to start very early. We start at 5 am by climbing to Tsimola (4700m) After crossing the first pass and at the little summit one can have a superb view of Lunana, Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. This path is flat for another four hours till the climb to Gangla Karchula pass (5,080m). The view from the pass is breathtaking. The whole range of mountains, including Masagang, Tsendegang, Teri Gang can be seen, after the pass there is a very long descent to Tarina valley. Altitude 3,980m. Walking time 10-11 hours.

Day 15. Tarina – Woche:

The day is much easier as the path follows the river down valley. Lunch at the lowest point (3500m). After lunch climb up about 300 meters to the village of Woche. Altitude 3,800m. Walking time 6-7 hours.

Day 16. Woche – Lhedi:

The Trek starts through juniper and fir forests and then through rhododendron bushes. We climb up to Keche la pass (4,480m) where one can have a great view of the mountains. After the pass, descend to the river walking through the village with stunning views of Table Mountain and others. Follow the river, one of the main source of Phochu, till Lhedi village. Altitude 3,650m.

Day 17. Lhedi – Thanza:

The trek continues following the river, rising gradually to Choejong village. After lunch visit the Choejong dzong and continue towards the wide valley. Cross the bridge to reach Thanza camp 4,000m. Walking time 7/8 hours.

Day 18. Thanza – Tsorim:

The trek starts with climb up to the ridge with great view of the Table Mountain and Thanza valley below, The ridge altitude is 4,500 m and rises gradually up to 4,650m near by the foot bridge. After lunch walk up towards the left side of the bridge enjoying the views of the snow peaked mountains. Climb up ridge after ridge until you reach the camp at Tsorim at the altitude of 5, 150m. Then down to the camp at 5125m. Walking time 8-9 hours.

Day 19. Tshorim - Gangkar Puensum base camp:

This is the highest of the trip and we start the day with a short climb to the Tshorim lakes. Walk on the side of the lake enjoying the panoramic views of the Gophula ranges. The last climb to Gophula pass (5,230m) is very short. After the pass descend to the base camp walking along the ridge. Enjoy the great view of Gangkar Puensum. Those with a lot of energy can divert to the left side to climb up the Pyramid Peak for better view. Others can go down to the base camp nearly Sha Chu at the altitude of 4,970m. Walking times 6-7 hours.

Day 20: Rest day at the base camp, enjoy the great view.

Day 21. Base camp - Geshe woma:

Time to leave the beautiful mountains, but the trek is far from over. The path follows the Sha Chu and descends gradually to Geshe woma at the altitude of 4,200m. Walking time 6-8 hours.

Day 22. Geshe woma – Warathang:

The path continues following shachu for two and a half hours until the stiff climb to Sakala begins. Visibility along the Sakala trail is poor so one must watch the top of the ridge for guidance. Lunch nearby a yak herder’s camp. After lunch climb up to Sakala pass at the altitude 4,800m. Descend to the lakes and another short ascent to Wartangle pass (4,590m). The scenery once again is stunning with small lakes and mountain peaks. Camp at the altitude of 4,000m. Walking time 8-9 hours.

Day 23. Warathang - Dur Tsachu:

A short half hour climb to Juelela (4,400m). After the pass descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron, juniper and conifer forest. After the bridge a little climb to Dur Tsachu hot spring, where Guru Padmasambava is supposed to have bathed in the 8th hot spring. Walking time 5 hours.

Day 24. Dur Tsachu –Tshochenchen:

Today we go across the last pass of the trip (Juelela pass). From the stream it is along and steady climb again with great views of the mountains in Lunana. One comes blue lakes and yak herders camps to arrive at the Thochechen camp at an altitude of 3,850m. Walking time 8-9 hours.

Day 25. Tshochenchen – Dur – Jakar:

This is the last day of the trek. Here we change from yak to pack ponies for carting trekking gear. The path follows the Chamkhar Chu, descending gradually with few climbs. The trek ends when you arrive at Dhur village.

Day 26. Jakar – Wangdi:

Start early to visit some of the famous monasteries in Bumthang and drive to Trongsa (70km) for lunch at local hotel. After lunch drive to Wangdi (130km) via Pelela. Overnight at the lodge.

Day 27. Drive to Thimphu: (68km)

Afternoon free time for shopping.

Day 28. Paro (Departure):

Drive to Airport and farewell.


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