THE UPPER DOLPO TREK
At the edge of the Tibetan Plateau lies the legendary “Hidden Land” of Dolpo. This beautiful, wild, and crystalline land had been off-limits to outsiders for many years. The Upper Dolpo trek begins north of the massive gorge of the Kali Gandaki. Crossing the Toudje La (18,250 feet) beyond Dhaulagiri we gain access to a world of rugged people and remote monasteries. This includes Dho, Saldang, Shey (Crystal Mountain), and Ringmo on the shores of Phoksumdo Lake.
Dolpo lies in the great Himalayan rain shadow on the Tibetan Plateau. The legendary Ba-Yul or “Hidden Land” is geographically cut off from the rest of the world by a barrier of high mountains, deep gorges and thick forests. Our 30-day Upper Dolpo trek through true Himalayan wilderness will gain us access to this unique place. Dolpo is home to one of the few enclaves of un-oppressed traditional Tibetan culture. En route we pass many of the highest and most beautiful mountains in the world: Maachapuchhare, the Annapurnas, the Dhaulagiri massif, and the remote Kanjiroba Himal. It is not difficult walking, but there is a lot of it!
The Upper Dolpo Trek is no tourist tea-house trek, and you will not find our route outlined in any of the Himalayan trekking guidebooks. And it is rugged, unspoiled, and unforgettable – arguably the best trek in all of Nepal.
Crystal Mountain, the holiest mountain in Upper Dolpo, is the English name of a mountain near Shey Gompa, the most important monastery in Dolpa. Dinesh Gurung, Crystal Mountain Trek’s founder, named the company after a trek to the area in the early 80’s. After successfully running the trek to Upper Dolpo for several consecutive years, we have now adopted the Crystal Mountain Trek as our signature trek.
This trek does involve sleeping and hiking at high altitude. We will 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. We also carry supplemental oxygen (1 or 2 depending on group size).
This trek is rated challenging and involves trekking at high altitude. Most of the hiking will be above 12,000 feet, with nine major pass crossings (the highest being 18,250 feet). Our highest camp will be at about 16,000 feet. There can be snow on the passes. No technical climbing experience is required.
This trip is non-technical and suitable for anyone in good physical condition. It is suitable for anyone who loves to hike and would enjoy camping out for an extended period (30 days). You should feel comfortable hiking 10-12 miles per day at these altitudes while carrying a day-pack of approximately 15 pounds. Our maximum altitude gain in one day will be about 4,300 feet. And our maximum altitude loss in one day will be about 3,800 feet. Because of the altitudes involved, this is a serious trek. If you don’t have experience backpacking in remote areas for lengthy period, this trek can be more than what you asked for. This is not a backpacking trip; your gear will be carried by mules.
Upper Dolpa is not at all like lodge trekking in the Everest or Annapurna region; it is unforgiving and charmingly remote.
WHY TREK WITH US?
All our UPPER DOLPO Treks are private treks for a minimum of two participants. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – all inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. With over 30 years of experience, most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We employ the most professional and friendly staff.
We are also proud to give back to our community through 3 Summits For Nepal managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…