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Pikey Peak Trek

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Duration: 14 days
Minimum Age: Min Age : 10+
Max People : 12
Grade: 5 - Challenging
Max Elevation: 13200 ft
Accomodation: Lodge

Before Sir Edmund Hillary helped build the airport at Lukla in 1964, all Everest expeditions began at Jiri, where the Swiss had built a road. From Jiri it took seven days to reach Lukla. Now, most Everest trekkers fly directly to Lukla and fewer than a thousand trekkers begin their trek in Jiri. Thus, most miss travelers miss out on the rich Sherpa culture and stunning landscape of the lower Everest region which, on the Pikey Peak trek, you will get to experience first-hand.

On this travel program, you have the opportunity to experience daily life in the villages of Yolung and Bamthi. Both are predominantly Sherpa villages which are also the birthplace of our guides Pema Sherpa and Kandu Sherpa respectively. Here you will be a guest at their homes and you will join in their daily chores – helping out in the corn/millet/barley fields, collecting wood and grass for the cattle, making butter (and butter tea), picking tea leaves, making flour from the grains, and more. Pema worked as a cook on Everest expeditions until 2015 when an accident on the mountain severely restricted his ability to venture to high altitudes. Kandu is one of the very few female trekking guides in Nepal.

The trip begins with a bus ride to Jiri from where you will hike a short distance into Yolung (Pema’s village). Yolung lies in a beautiful valley with around 200 houses. Most of the houses are near the village center where there is a large school and a monastery. You will be living in a home on the outskirts of the village a little away from the hustle and bustle of the village.

You’ll then continue into Bamthi (Kandu’s village). From Bamthi you begin the journey to Pikey Peak, first descending to the river and then ascending to a small pass, through thick jungles of birch and rhododendrons, along fields of wheat, barley and millet, and through numerous villages, crisscrossing the jeep track until reaching Nagur Monastery. The trail is dotted with ancient chortens and small monasteries and offers views of the Rolwaling range. Pikey Peak is a great viewpoint offering a panoramic view of mountains from Kanchenjunga in the east to the Rolwaling range in the west (with Everest and Makalu in the middle).

You’ll then make a steep descent to Junbesi, one of the most beautiful Sherpa villages and the gateway to the Thuktencholing Monastery. This is one of the most important monasteries of the Sherpa people which was established by the Thulsik Rimpoche who escaped Tibet with his followers. Around 700 monks and nuns live at this monastery.

The journey ends at Phaplu from where you fly back to Kathmandu. The trip also includes time to enjoy the sites in and around Kathmandu, including Bodhanath and Pashupatinath.

All North Americans are requested to book this trek through our partner, Crooked Trails, based in Seattle, WA. Apply for this program here.

Non-North Americans can book this trip directly with us.

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Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 2 Exploring Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 3 Kathmandu – Jiri – Yolung Yolung 2,240m/7,350ft
Day 4 Yolung Yolung 2,240m/7,350ft
Day 5 Yolung – Deurali Deurali 2,890m/9,500ft
Day 6 Deurali – Bhandar Bhandar 2,680m/8,800ft
Day 7 Bhandar Bhandar 2,680m/8,800ft
Day 8 Bhandar – Goli Goli 2,990m/9,810ft
Day 9 Goli – Pikey Pikey 3,650m/12,000ft
Day 10 Pikey Summit – Junbesi Junbesi 2,715m/8,900ft
Day 11 Junbesi – Phaplu Phaplu 2,450m/8,100ft
Day 12 Phaplu – Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 13 Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 14 Departure    
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal

Arrive in Kathmandu. Our representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Welcome dinner.

MEALS: D

Day 2Exploring the Kathmandu area

In the morning, visit Bodhanath, the Stupa of a Million Dew Drops, to watch monks and devotees circumambulate the largest stupa in the world. Then visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. Drive to Patan for lunch in the garden of the Patan Museum Café. After lunch, visit the well-maintained Patan Museum storing ancient Nepali artifacts, followed by a tour of Patan Durbar Square.

MEALS: B

Day 3Kathmandu - Jiri - Yolung

We start early as the drive (137 miles) to Jiri can take up to 8 hours. We will drive out of Kathmandu on the Kodari highway leading to the Nepal-Tibet border. At the Lamosangu Bridge, we continue east following the Pasang Lhamu highway, slowly snaking up the switchback until we arrive at Charikot. From Charikot, the road descends to the Tamakoshi River and then again ascends on switchbacks to Haat Danda. It is then a short descent to Jiri.

At Jiri, we begin our hike to Yolung. We ascend steeply to Deurali for about two hours (1,486 feet) and then make a 587 foot descent to the village of Yolung where we will be welcomed by our hosts. Today’s hike is approximately 3.62 miles.

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 4Yolung

At Yolung, depending on our group’s size, some may stay at Pema’s home and others at Zangmu’s home. Zangmu lost her husband, the village Lama, in the 2015 earthquake. She is a single mother raising three daughters. Our organization, 3 Summits for
nepal, helped her build a new home pictured above.

November is usually the time when villagers at Yolung and Bamthi harvest corn and plant barley. We will spend a whole morning in the fields, possibly plowing the fields with bulls depending on the need. In the afternoon, we may take off to collect fodder for cattle. And later Zangmu will teach us how to make millet/barley beer and Nepali moonshine.

Note: While at the villages and while trekking, it is important to stay away from buffalo, especially those that are nursing a young, one as they can charge.

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 5Yolung - Deurali

We’ll start early and follow the jeep track to the edge of the village. We then make a steep descent to Shivalaya, a small town along the river. From Shivalaya, we begin a short steep ascent to the telephone tower where we join the jeep track again. It is then a short gentle ascent to our lunch stop at Bhul Danda. After lunch, we leave the jeep track and trek through a thickly forested area to Deurali (hill pass in Nepali).

Yolung to Bhul Danda (lunch stop): 7 miles, 1,806 ft. ascent and 1,709 ft. descent. 4 to 5 hours of hiking.

Bhul Danda to Deurali: 2.05 miles, 1,384 ft. ascent and 62 ft. descent. 2 hours.

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 6Deurali - Bhandar

In the early morning, enjoy views of the Mt. Gauri Shanker and other peaks in the Rolwaling Range. We may be able to visit the cheese factory and the nunnery in this area. From Deurali, it is a short descent of 2.11 miles and 1,573 feet to Bhandar (approximately 2 hours).

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 7Bhandar

At Bhandar, depending on our group’s size, some will stay at Kandu’s home and others at another Sherpa home nearby.

Depending on the need, we may plow the fields using bulls or we may learn how to milk a cow and churn butter. Later we will be taught how to make potato bread and shaykpa stew for dinner.

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 8Bhandar - Goli

Today is a long, roller-coaster day of hiking (about 7 hours). We make a gradual descent of about 2,800 feet on the jeep track to the Likhu River for about 2 hours. It is then a three-hour steep ascent of about 2,286 feet to Namkhile where we will stop for lunch. After crossing the Likhu River, we follow a small trail along terraced fields of cardamom and alder trees. Later we trek through terraced fields of paddy, corn, and barley. We are now on the Pikey-Everest marathon trail.

After lunch, we again hike steeply through birch and rhododendron forests, crossing several rocks painted with Buddhist mantras. We finally arrive at a large bowl which is the village of Goli where we stop for the night.

Bamthi to Namkhili: Distance – 6.62 miles. 2,804 ft. ascent and 2,286 ft. descent. 4 to 5 hours.

Namkhili to Goli: Distance – 3.56 miles. 2,347 ft. ascent. 2 hours.

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 9Goli - Pikey


Following the jeep track to the edge of the village, we then enter the forest and begin our ascent to Nagur Monastery which is about an hour away (1.87 miles). At Nagur, there was a nunnery which was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. Some of the nuns continue to live in a nearby shed. There is also a small cheese factory. We continue our ascent through the forests and soon notice that the tall trees are replaced by small Rhododendron shrubs, azaleas, and barberry bushes. The berries attract bees which arrive in large hordes during the months of June through August. While these bees are not aggressive, they can sting if agitated. From Nagur it is about two hours to the base of Pikey where there are a few lodges operated by local shepherds who rear yaks and dzos (hybrid between yaks and cattle).

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 10Pikey Summit - Junbesi


We begin our day early in the morning to catch the best views from the summit of Pikey Peak (13,200 feet). It is possible to view Kanchenjunga, Everest, Makalu, Rolwaling, Numbur, Gauri Shanker and many other peaks from East to West. We then descend to the saddle at Jase Bhanjyang where we stop again for tea and snacks.

From Jase Bhanjyang we ascend along the ridge, crossing a few more pastures and shepherd huts, until we start making a sharp descent through a thick rhododendron forest. After descending about 2,000 feet, we reach a clearing with a small settlement. We continue through the village of Taktor and rejoin the jeep track past the village. A little further, we leave the jeep track and descend on a walking trail to the village of Junbesi.

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 11Junbesi - Phaplu


We start late in the morning and make a gentle ascent to Thuktencholing Monastery. The monastery was established by Thrulsik Rimpoche who had escaped Tibet along with thousands of his followers. The Rimpoche has now passed on to the next realm and searches for his reincarnate. The monastery is a complex of the main chapel, meditation caves that have been built along the mountainside, living quarters and learning halls for the young initiates. We will take a tour of the monastery and then enjoy lunch with a few of the monks and nuns.

After lunch, a jeep will pick us up and drive us for about an hour to Phaplu.

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 12Phaplu - Kathmandu

An early flight back to Kathmandu. The day is free to catch up on laundry and shopping.

MEALS: B

Day 13Kathmandu

This is a contingency day in Kathmandu. If bad weather prevents us from flying to Kathmandu, we will take a jeep back which is about 9 hours of driving.

MEALS: B

Day 14Departure

Transfer to the airport for departing flights home.

MEALS: B

Detailed Cost Information

Per person price (valid until December 31, 2019)

1 person: $2,700 per person (includes single supplement)

2 or more persons: $2,295 per person

Single supplement: $300

US$ 150 per person discount on September, December, January, February, May and June departures

Payment policy:

  • A 20% non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking.
  • Balance is payable a week prior to departure.
  • Contact us for coupon code if you are eligible for a US$150 low season discount or a US$150 alumni discount. Only one discount is applicable.

Cancellation policy:

  • Deposit is non-refundable.
  • No refunds for unused services once trek begins.

 

 

Price Includes

All airport transfers, Two full days sightseeing in Kathmandu as indicated in the itinerary and entrance fees to monuments.3 Nights Hotel Accommodation, Four nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet (3 star) in Kathmandu, Round trip airfare: Kathmandu to Lukla, Meals as indicated in the itinerary, Lodge trekking as indicated in the Everest Base Camp Trek itinerary, Three meals a day, Boiled water for your bottles two times a day, Use of Steripen to sterilize water, Guide and staff wages, equipment and meals, Guide and staff insurance, Sagarmatha National Park Fee, Gamow Bag (High altitude pressure chamber)

Price Excludes

Your international airfare, Nepal Visa, Meals not indicated in the itinerary, Tips and gratuities, Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you), Travel insurance (Required), Other expenses of a personal nature

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Options

Our standard Pikey Peak program is 14 days. If you don’t have as many days, we can definitely design a slightly fast-paced program for you for 10 a total of 10 days. On the other hand if you have extra days and want to get closer to the mountains, we can incorporate a camping trek to Dudh Kunda (4,561m) starting at Junbesi after your trek to Pikey Peak. This would add another 5 days to the program.

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

When is the best time to do the Pikey Peak trek?

There are two preferred seasons for the Pikey Peak trek: Spring (March through May) and Fall (October through November). Day time temperatures range in the 50’s and 60’s (10 to 15 Centigrade) while night-time temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s (0 to 5 Centigrade). Expect some late-afternoon showers in the Spring which is also the season for rhododendrons and magnolias. October is historically regarded as the best month to trek with clear skies and better views of the mountains.

As the trek doesn’t go to very high altitudes, it is also possible to do the Pikey Peak trek in the Winter (December through February). You will experience a couple nights at or near freezing in the Winter.

How fit do I need to be to do the Pikey Peak trek?

Anyone who is reasonably fit and can hike 10-12 miles a day can sign up for the Pikey Peak Trek. The trek is a roller coaster and does involve some steep ascents and descents. So, the better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trek. It is advised that anyone with a pre-existing condition consult their doctor before signing up for a trek.
We rate the Pikey Peak Trek a 4 on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).

Can I drink tap water on the Pikey trek?

Nepali tap water is NOT safe to drink. Even if you see the locals drinking water straight from the tap, never drink water before boiling or sterilizing. Bring water purifying tablets or other water purifiers. At higher elevations during the coldest times of year the water will freeze, so you’ll need to buy boiled water from teahouses. If you plan to use a STERIPEN, bring wide mouth water bottles. You would need at least 2 one-liter water bottles for the trek. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack, bring 1 one-liter water to sterilize the water before pouring into your hydration pack.

Crystal Mountain Treks will provide you with a Steripen to use on the trek for no charge.

What kind of meals should I expect on the Pikey Trek?

Meals on the Pikey Peak trek are not as varied as on the Everest Base Camp Trek. Especially at the home-stays, expect basic but healthy and organic meals. In general, expect porridge (Oatmeal), toast, eggs (any style), muesli, hash browns, sausages etc for breakfast. And sandwich, pizzas, momos, noodles (dry and with soup), rolls, fried rice, Indian bread with vegetables etc for lunch and dinner. And expect Nepali dal-bhat (rice-lentils with vegetables and/or meat) at all the lodges.

Ours is an OPEN menu. Meaning we allow our clients to order anything from the lodge menu besides bottled beverages, specialty coffee and packaged snacks. We also don’t limit the number of items per meal as long as you aren’t wasteful. When choosing your trekking company, ask if meals are fixed or if you are only allowed to order one item from the menu. If this isn’t the case, costs can add up over 15/16 days.

Is there mobile signal available on the trek?

Most of the places on the Pikey Peak trek route now has cell coverage. Lodges in some locations will offer wi-fi for between $1 to $2 per hour. You can also buy a Sim card with 5GB or 10GB data for under $25: do this in Kathmandu.

How should I prepare for the trek?

The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip. There are three aspects to training for any trek. 1) Cardiovascular Training will make your body more efficient in using oxygen. Running, walking, swimming or biking, or any combination of these are great for cardiovascular conditioning. 2) Strength Training by either using free weights or machines at the gym will build hiking strength. Walking stairs, especially with a pack will simulate the hiking environment. We also recommend practicing squats. Trekkers will encounter low hanging obstacles to duck under, and many toilets are at ground level, which requires a low squat.
3) Endurance Training is where you build endurance in the months leading up to your trek, slowly increase your length of training sessions. By the time you are 2 weeks from the scheduled trek date you should be able to ascend 3,000 ft. in a 3-4 hour period.

In the end, the more your training simulates a trek, the better off you will be. So hiking 4-5 hours outdoors, uphill and downhill, about once or twice a week in addition to other cardio vascular training at the gym or at home will greatly benefit and prepare you for the trek.

What are the toilet facilities like? Will I have a chance to take a shower?

Most tea houses have a common toilet. Only a couple tea houses on this trek have en suite rooms. While squat toilets are more prevalent, newer lodges have Western style toilets.

It is possible to shower in almost all the lodges. And hot shower usually means a bucket of boiled water. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $2-$5 for this service.

What kind of gear do I need for this trek?

Layering is key. And it’s always recommended to trek with good branded gear. A good pair of hiking boots that’s been broken in is very important. Good top and bottom base layers, a mid layer (fleece or capilene), and an outer layer (Gore-tex or other material). If you tend to get cold quickly, bring a down parka especially for the evening at the lodge. On most days, you’d be hiking in a convertible hiking pant that can be converted into shorts and one or two top layers.

if you’re trekking with Crystal Mountain Treks, we provide a sleeping bag (rated to 0 degree F or -17 degree C), duffel bags, down jacket and Steripen for water purification to our clients for no charge.

It is possible to buy cheap and relatively functional gear in Kathmandu – convertible pants, down jackets, fleece, Gore-tex jackets. But remember, you get what you pay for. Wool gloves, hats, socks are available too.

There are quite a few branded stores too. North Face, Moutain Hardwear, Marmot and Sherpa. If you’re coming from Australia or Europe, items in these shops are probably cheaper than back home. But if you’re coming from the US, it’s better to buy branded gear at home.

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