Rolwaling, Tashi Lapcha & Mt. Parchamo
Dudh Kunda, the milk lake, in Rolwaling (Photo: Jwalant Gurung)
Rolwaling, Tashi Lapcha & Mt. Parchamo (23 days, 22 nights)
The Rolwaling trek is one of the true wilderness treks in Nepal. Extensive logistics and special permit requirements make access to this region more difficult. In Tibetan, rolwa means “furrow” and ling means “place” – and local people believe that the straight narrow valley of Rolwaling was plowed out more than 2000 years ago by Padmasambhava, or Guru Rinpoche, the Indian yogi who introduced Buddhism to Tibet. After creating the valley, Padmasambhava meditated here for three months. Several sacred landmarks and monuments are scattered throughout the valley: The first gompa (monastery) in Rolwaling was located at Na, which was the earliest Sherpa settlement. At present, the valley’s main religious structure is the Sanga Chhoeling gompa in Beding. Several festivals occur at the Beding gompa and other sites around the valley each month.
The first western visitors to Rolwaling arrived in 1951 with the second British Reconnaissance Expedition, led by Sir Edmund Hillary. Hillary and Ridford approached the valley over the Treshi Labtse pass from the Khumbu while testing oxygen equipment. In 1952, Eric Shipton arrived in Rolwaling with another British mountaineering group from Tibet over the Menlung La. This trip is now famous because it was the first time that the YETI was photographed. In 1964, Rolwaling valley was closed to western visitors; only a handful of individuals were allowed to carry out studies in the area. The valley was opened again in 1971 and became a popular destination for both mountaineers and trekkers. However, it was once again closed in the 1980s and then opened again to mountaineering and trekking groups only in the early 1990s.
On this trip, we will be crossing the formidable Treshi Labtse pass at 5,755m (18,875ft) to reach the Khumbu valley. This is a difficult pass that requires some formal mountaineering experience and extremely good physical condition. The trip includes an option to climb Mt. Parchamo (20,295 ft.). Please note, this is a challenging trek on account of this pass and the climb of Parchamo. From Thame, we will then trek into Namche Bazaar, continue down to Lukla and fly out to Kathmandu from Lukla.
Day 1 - Kathmandu (1,350m/4,430ft.)
Transfer to Hotel Tibet. Rest of day free. Welcome dinner in Thamel. (D)
Day 2 - Kathmandu (1,350m/4,430ft.)
Full-day sightseeing (while we obtain your permits). Visit Boudha, Pashupati and Patan. Lunch at Patan Museum Café. (B,L)
Day 3 - Kathmandu to Singuti (1,660 m/5,450 ft.)
Early morning bus ride on the Arniko Highway to Singuti – approximately 9 hours ride. Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Singuti to Jagat
On the trail (Photo: Cheryl Parkins)
A 6 to 7 hour trek day to the Tamang village of Jagat. Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 5, 6, 7 - Jagat to Dong river camp
Trek to Dong via Simigaon (1,951m/6,400 ft.). Simigaon is populated by Sherpas and Tamangs and has many Buddhist chortens and mani walls along with a small gompa. The ridge summit above the village provides you a close-up view of Gauri Shankar, Rolwaling’s most famous peak. The next days camp is by the river in a small pasture called Dong. Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 8, 9 - Dong to Beding (3,630m/11,900ft.)
Trek to Beding, a small village of around 200 Sherpa families living in stone houses. There is a small hermitage set in a cliff above the village. Padmasambhava is said to have meditated here 2000 years ago. There is a gompa in Beding that is worth a visit. Although the external displays near the entrance are in poor condition, the interior paintings are well preserved. The thankas inside the Gompa were painted in 1960 by Kappa Kalden, a famous artist from Khumbu. The northern wall of the gompa is filled with books of the Kangul and Yum, which were carried from Tibet after being printed in 1944. The Lamas request that pictures not be taken inside the monastery. Donations are expected.
The following day is a rest day in Beding. Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 10 and 11 - Na (4,183m/13,720ft.)
Mani wall (Photo: Cheryl Parkins)
A short trek of 3 to 4 hours to Na. Na is the last major settlement in Rolwaling, and it is also the oldest village in the valley. The valley’s original gompa in Na is falling into disrepair, but efforts are underway to rebuild it. High up on the hillside at the western end of town is the Na meditation site visible by numerous prayer-flags. The large rock under which the retreat is built is known as Urgen Drokang – thought to be a spontaneously created likeness of Guru Rinpoche. Below the meditation place, painted on a large flat rock, is a picture of Guru Rinpoche, and below this painting are several large mani stones which were also visited by the Rinpoche on his way through the valley into Tibet.
The following day, we will take an acclimatization hike to Dudh Kunda at around 16,000 ft. Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 12, 13, and 14 - Na to Moraine Camp (16,500 ft. approx)
Hike to near moraine via Tsho Rolpa. This giant glacial lake has received a great deal of press in recent years. Fear that this lake may breach its natural dam and flood the valley below has led to international interventions. While previous attempts to siphon the water from the lake have failed, a current program which employs a series of deep trenches cut into the terminal moraine, has lowered the water level slightly. Still, the danger for an outburst exists. Early warning sirens have been installed in villages throughout Rolwaling and the Tamba Koshi valley far below. The buildings and signs at the edge of the lake detail some of this information.
The hike to the moraine camp can be a long day of between 7 to 10 hours (depending on your ability) and requires walking on scree and rocks. The following day is a rest day. Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 15 - Moraine camp to Tolumbhu Buka (17,000ft. approx)
Trek to Tolumbhu Buka below the Tashi Labtsa pass. The first section of the hike is very steep and might require fixed lines depending on the conditions. Camp is before the pass. Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 16, 17 and 18 - Tolumbhu Buka to Thengpo
Crossing to Khumbu (Photo: Jwalant)
Climb to Treshi Labtse (5,755m/18,875ft.). This can take up to 2 hours. Those climbing Parchamo will continue towards the summit. It can take between 4 to 7 hours to the summit from the pass. Depending on the condition of the group, we will either camp at Tashiphuk (just below the pass) or continue descending to a small pasture below the pass. Fixed lines are required both during the climb of Parchamo and the descent from the pass.
The following day is a short day to Thengpo. Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 19, 20 and 21 - Thengpo to Lukla (2,840m/9,315ft.)
Descend down the Khumbu valley to Lukla via Thame (12,465 ft.), Namche (11,285 ft.) and Monju (9,185 ft.)
Day 22 - Lukla to Kathmandu
Morning flight from Lukla to Kathmandu – approximately 30 minutes. Transfer to hotel. Rest of the day free. (B)
Day 23 - Kathmandu
Free day in Kathmandu. (B)
Day 24 - Final Departure.
Transfer to airport for your final departure.
- All airport transfers; 1 full day sightseeing in Kathmandu with guide, vehicle and entry fees
- 4 nights twin-sharing accommodation in Kathmandu on bed-breakfast basis
- Transfer to trek-head at start of trek.
- Airfare: Lukla - Kathmandu
- Camping trek as per itinerary with camp equipment, food, and camp staff; Staff insurance while on trek; Sagarmatha Conservation Area fee
- Rolwaling Area Climbing Permit; Climbing Sherpas; Necessary ropes and snow pickets.
- Satellite Phone and Gamow Bag
This trek/climb is challenging not only for you but also for your Nepali staff. Several porters have perished on this trek due to unpreparedness (or even apathy) on the part of the organizers. But we do things differently:
- Gear: We provide all porters on this trek with warm clothing and boots. Don't be surprised if your porter's boots are as good or of better quality than yours.
- Food: All porters are provided meals above 15,000 ft. So once they get to camp, they don't have to worry about cooking etc.
- Rescue: If a porter is in a severe condition and is in need of immediate evacuation (helicopter or otherwise), we will arrange one at our expense.
Also read about our "redefining staff care" initiative.
Price does not Include
- Your international airfare, visa fee for Nepal, and international airport tax
- Personal insurance and emergency/rescue evacuation (Required)
- Personal trekking and climbing gear including sleeping bag, appropriate clothing, ice axe and crampons
- Meals unless otherwise indicated on itinerary
- Bottled/canned beverages including soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and mineral water
- Tips and gratuities, and expenses of personal nature
To Book this trip
A completed reservation form must be either faxed to us or scanned and emailed as an attachment.
Fax: 977 – 1- 4412647
You must also send us a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person. The deposit must be wired to us. We will refund up to $30 to cover your wire expenses. Wire details will be provided. The balance of the amount must be paid on arrival, either in traveler’s checks, cash or by credit card (visa only).
Cancel anytime prior to trip start date, forfeit trip deposit. No refunds for unused services after your trip begins.
This trek is rated Challenging and involves trekking and climbing at high altitude – the highest climbing altitude reached is at 20,295 ft. and highest trekking altitude reached is 18,700 ft. The trek requires physical fitness and involves walking through rocky terrain and landslides; expect to walk through snow and ice. Mountaineering and glacier experience is required and participants must know the fundamentals of travel in rope teams, use of crampons and ice axe. On this trip, you should be prepared to walk 10 to 12 hours a day for at least 2 days.
Walking and hiking at high altitude is never easy. At high elevations your heart and lungs work harder. So if you really want to see the area and enjoy the trip, you must get into shape. And to get into shape, you need a regular program not only to increase your cardiovascular endurance but to increase your leg muscle and joint strength/endurance for the daily walking you can expect in the Himalayas. A good way to get in shape for this trip -- apart from leading an active life year-round -- is to go on daily hikes of at least one hour duration for at least two months prior to the trip. This, in addition to endurance-building cardiovascular conditioning (running, swimming, etc.) will prepare you adequately. Keep in mind that the better shape you are in, the better time you will have in the Himalayas.
Foreign travel can be tiring, so you will need to have patience and a sense of humor. Also keep an open mind that is receptive to the richness and paradoxes of Himalayan cultures.
This trek does involve sleeping and hiking at high altitude. We will, as we do for all high-altitude treks, provide a GAMOW bag for this trip. A GAMOW bag is a portable hyperbaric chamber that looks like an inflatable extra-large sleeping bag. The effective altitude inside the inflated GAMOW bag is about 5000 feet lower than the altitude you are at; it has been very effective in the past in relieving headaches and other symptoms of altitude sickness.
WHY BOOK WITH CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN?:
There are over 500 and counting trekking companies in Nepal. We are aware that you have lots of options. But, we believe there are reasons we stand out from our competitors. We've listed some reasons here...
Crystal Mountain organizes treks and tours in Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet for hundreds of satisfied travelers each year. Feel free to ask us for references who can tell you about their experience with us.
PRE AND POST TRIP EXTENSIONS:
Arriving early or leaving late? Nepal (and the region) has a lot to offer besides your main trip to Rolwaling. Depending on the extra days you have and your budget, we would be glad to match you up with other activities in Nepal, Tibet or Bhutan.
Land Line: + 977 1 4416813
Mobile: + 977 98410-00724