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Adapting to jeep tracks in Upper Mustang

Ghemi trail

Adapting to jeep tracks in Upper Mustang

This blog is a follow up to the blog we wrote in July 2019: Avoiding the jeep track on the Upper Mustang Trek. It’s been 5 years since the blog was written and with more construction over the years, it seems that avoiding the jeep track is quite difficult. That said, Upper Mustang is still an exquisite region; rich in culture and natural beauty. We have two new programs that have been designed with the road in mind and how to adapt to it – either by driving on the parts where the jeep tracks are unavoidable or by taking alternate hiking trails:

1) Upper and Lower Mustang Trek: This 19 day program is a comprehensive Mustang trek and starts in the lower Mustang region. We drive through lower Mustang and the program includes a couple of day hikes along the Kali Gandaki gorge until Jomsom. Drive another day in Upper Mustang and begin trekking at Samar. From Lo Manthang take another jeep to explore the surrounds and continue to Luri Gompa. From Yara, trek through Tange to Muktinath. The final day of hiking is through the Lubra valley until the trail meets the road to Jomsom where the trek ends.

2) Upper Mustang Trek: This 15 day trek visits the Upper Mustang region only. The trek begins with a flight to Jomsom from where you drive to Samar. Trek to Lo Manthang over 4 days from where you will take a jeep to explore Lo Manthang and the surrounds. Continue by jeep to Yara and explore Luri Gompa and Tashi Kabum cave. Return by jeep to Jomsom where the trek ends.

Update on the route:

Jomsom to Kabgeni:

The trail from Jomsom to Kagbeni is all on jeep track. Although, you could walk part way along the river to avoid the main jeep track, most of the road is paved and so it doesn’t make sense to hike this section.

Jomsom to Kagbeni
Enroute from Jomsom to Kagbeni
Kagbeni to Chele:

The trail from Kagbeni to Chele too is all along the jeep track. Again, you could avoid some of the jeep track by walking along the river. But this is not a great option.

Above Chele
Jeep track to Chele
Chele to Samar:

Trails and jeep tracks around Chele

Samar too has been connected by a jeep track. So it’s best to drive all the way to Samar. There is an alternative trekking route through Gyakar but a jeep track has been built in some segments. While the bridge connecting the jeep track to the village has not been built, some tractors will cross the river and there is some vehicular movement on the jeep track.

Samar village, Mustang
Samar village, Mustang
Samar to Syangbochen to Giling:

From Samar, it is possible to skip the jeep track by taking the trail through Chungsi caves up to Syangbochen.

Trail to Chungsi caves

From Syangbochen the trail is mostly on jeep track up to Giling.

Giling trail
The trail is either on jeep track or criss-crosses the jeep track
Giling to Ghemi:

From Giling there is a trekking trail to Ghemi though the trail sometimes runs parallel to the road and you would be required to cross the road a few times. See video below.

 

The trail from Giling to Ghemi

Ghemi to Dhakmar:

The trail from Ghemi to Dhakmar is all on trekking trail.

Ghemi to Dhakmar
Ghemi to Dhakmar
Dhakmar to Lo Manthang via Lo Gekar:

From Dhakmar, hiking is all on trekking trail via Ghar Gompa over the Mu la and Chogo la passes. This is a slightly long and strenuous day of about 10.42 miles; 2,536 feet of elevation gain; 2,270 elevation loss. You could break up the hike by either stopping at Ghar Gompa where the monastery operates a small lodge. But bigger groups can stop at Tsarang which is around 1 hours descent from Ghar Gompa.

Trail to Ghar gumba from Dhakmar
Trail to Ghar gumba from Dhakmar
Lo Manthang to Luri Gompa:

There is now a road all the way through Yara and Ghara to Luri Gompa.

Jeep track to Yara

Yara to Tetang:

The trail from Yara to Tetang (West of the Kali Gandaki river) does not have roads and is still pristine and ideal for trekking. If you are a strong hiker, you can hike from Yara to Tange and onward to Tetang in two days. The second day, the hike from Tange to Tetang, would be between 8 – 11 hours of hiking depending on your pace. But if you decide to break up this day, you would need to camp at Pa with tents and cooking equipment as no lodges or houses are available at Pa.

Trekking to Pa pass

Tetang to Muktinath

Instead of taking the jeep track back to Kagbeni, head east towards Muktinath. Note, this is a more strenuous route with around 2,500 – 3,000 feet of elevation gain taking a total of 6-7 hours. From Tetang it is mostly ascent on trekking trail, although a jeep track is being built to Ghyau la pass, to Muktinath where your trek ends. You can then choose to return to Jomsom by local jeep or you can continue to hike (the next day) on trekking trail down to the Lubra valley and onward to Jomsom.

Tetang to Muktinath

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