Langtang & Helambu

Posted Mar 4th, 2008 under Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

Langtang and Helambu Region – Travel Guide

According to a legend, a lama following a runaway yak discovered the Langtang valley. Lang stands for “yak” while tang means, “to follow”.  The area lies 32 km, north of Kathmandu to the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. This region is the most accessible and closest trekking region from Kathmandu. It has a number of high peaks including Langtang range and Lirung (7246m), which dominates most of the upper valley of Tibetan border. Langtang possesses over 70 glaciers including Ganesh Himal and high altitude lakes like Parvatikunda, Gosainkunda, Dudhkunda and Bhairavkunda. Langtang and Helambu region offers some of the hauntingly beautiful magical and mystical scenery of landscapes and superb majestic view of the great peak of Langtang ranges. Yala Peak and the Ganja La Pass combine to offer more challenging trekking and a link with the valleys and ridges of Helambu.
Peaks in Langtang Valley
Langtang Lirung is the highest peak of the Langtang Himal, which is a sub range of the Nepal Himalayas.  Langtang Lirung is recognized for its large vertical relief above local terrain. It rises 5500m above the Trisuli Gandaki to the west.  The Langtang Himal forms the western portion of a complex of mountains, which also includes the Jugal Himal. This complex lies between the Sun Koshi valley on the east and the Trisuli Gandaki valley on the west. Langtang Lirung lies near the Trisuli Gandaki, and north of the Langtang Khola.H. W. Tilman and P. Lloyd reconnoitered the peak in 1949 . In early 1960s, attempts were made to climb the peak via the East Ridge, but none could reach  the summit. In 1978, Seishi Wada (Japanese) and Pemba Tsering (Nepali), succeeded in conquering the summit, via the same east ridge route.  You can relive a time away from the rest of the world. Yala Peak and the Ganja La Pass combine tooffer more challenging trekking and a link with the valleys and ridges of Helambu.
Langsisa Ri
Langsisa Ri (6427m) Peak is situated in Langtang region, one of the most technically challenging peaks to climb. For those who really want to experience the challenges and thrills this peak is the one to be climbed. It would be best to tackle the peak with highly experienced expedition team. Langsisa takes you through the Langtang valley. You  will enjoy the spectacular views of pristine pine forest, crystal-clear mountain streams, snow  peaks, grassy meadows, boulder rocks. In the upper part of the valley, you will come across snow ridges, angry spanning torrents, high challenging passes.

Paldor Peak
Paldor (5896m) lies at the southeast end of Ganesh Himal standing in the junction of the Tiru and Karpu Dandas at the head of the Mailung Khola, a tributary of the Trisuli Gandaki river. Paldor Peak is one of the earliest climbed peaks in Nepal. Bill Tilman (pioneer British explorer in Himalayas) conquered it in the year 1949AD. This peak can be climbed from north-east, south-east, west-north, west ridges. Dhunche is the starting point to trek up to Paldor base camp.
 Lord Baden Powell Peak
 Locally known as Urkema Peak, Lord Baden Powell Peak stands at an elevation of 5,718m.This mushroom shaped mountain situated in the Langtang region offers a perfect alternative to Imja Tse or Island Peak in the Khumbu region. On the way from Langtang to Kyangjin you will see a perfectly shaped snowy peak, which is situated slightly south of Naya Kanga(5844m) seen from the south-west, Urkema peak almost looks like Ama Dablam which is situated in the Everest region. However from the south-east the summit appears like a snowy cone, with a perfect ridge to be climbed on its southeast side. It is surrounded by majestic peaks such as Langtang II, Langtang Lirung, Dorje Lakpa and Xixapangma in Tibet.
Naya Kanga Peak
Naya Kanga (5,122m/16,800ft) is an attractive peak rising to the west of the Ganja La pass. Ascending to Ganja La , the summit of Naya Kanga offer the spectacular panoramic views of mountains in Nepal and Tibet including Langshisa Ri , Pemthang Ri , Shisapangma , Langtang Lirung , Pemthang Kapro Ri and Langtang II . The normal route of ascent to Naya Kanga is via the north – east ridge over a line on ice and snow. Northeast of Kyangjin Ri, there are two peaks; Yala Peak and Tsergo Peak that provide good climbing for acclimatization.

Yala Peak(5520 m /18,110 ft)
Yala Peak is so named because from Yala Kharka it looks like a mountain but it is not a peak at all.It is a bump on a long ridge. Climbing Yala Peak (5520m) does not involve any technical skills. Most of the climb goes on steep snow slopes, but at times there are  vertical meters of rocks . The last 15 meters to the top are climbed on a relatively exposed rock pyramid, with 1500 meters to fall if you are unlucky. It is at the same altitude as Kala Pattar. From the summits, the incredible scenery of the upper valley can viewed in its entirety.

Climate, Flora and Fauna
The best examples of graded climatic conditions with complex topography and geography together with varied climatic patterns have enabled a wide spectrum of vegetation types. These include small areas of subtropical forest (below 1000m), temperate oak and pine forests at mid-elevations, with alpine scrub and grasses giving way to bare rocks and snow. From mid-October to mid December and from mid-February until mid-April the weather is usually clear but cold at higher elevation. From mid-April to mid-June, it is warm but often cloudy with occasional thundershowers. Summer monsoon lasts until the beginning of October. During the winter, daytime temperatures are low and snow may occur even at low altitudes.Nepalese alder, oaks, chir pine, maple, fir, blue pine, hemlock, spruce and various species of rhododendrons are the main forest species.
Langtang National Park
Langtang valley, which has been expanded up to the Tibetan border, was declared as a national park in 1976. Langtang National Park has a wide variety of biodiversity including 3,000 species of flora. It is also a rich storehouse  of medicinal plants. This National Park provides a habitat for approximately 32 mammals and 283 species of birds. 25% of the Park’s total area is covered by forest, starting at sub-tropical forests below 1,000 m. There are 45 villages within the boundaries of the Langtang National park .The Park provides habitat for a wide range of animals including wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjack, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalaya tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey and common langur. The Trisuli and  Bhote Koshi Rivers forms an important route for birds during spring and autumn migration between India and Tibet.
People
Langtang Valley offers an opportunity to explore the villages of the Sherpas and Tamangs. The majority of people are Tamang and of Tibetan descent mostly mixture of Tamang, Sherpa and Bhotia. Their religion is related to the Bon and the pre-Buddhist doctrines of Tibet. Today this religion has merged with the newer teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.
North of Kathmandu lies Helambu district, where you can find many scenic villages inhabited by Sherpas and Tamangs who have emigrated from Tibet. The Sherpas of this region are very different in their practices and lifestyle from the Sherpas in the Everest region.

Places
Helambu:
Helambu situated at the north side of Kathmandu valley, comprises of highland villages,like Melamchi and Tarkeyghyang. Helambu offers an opportunity to experience Sherpa culture.Beautifully situated in alpine meadow, the region is mostly inhabited by the friendly and helpful Sherpas. It is home to two major races of peoples, the Hyolmo or Yolmo and the Tamang. Helambu is also famous for its sweet apples and artistic Buddhist monasteries.

Gosaikunda: One of the most famous pilgrimage destinations, Gosaikunda is actually a sacred Lake, situated at an elevation of 4360m. Gosaikunda can be reached either from Dhunche or from Sundarijal, in the eastern part of Kathmandu Valley. Each year thousands of Hindu devotees visit these lakes during Janai Purnima festival in the month of August.

Briddim: Briddim is a Tibetan Buddhist village in Langtang valley, which is located at an altitude of 2229 m. Around 43 houses are spread around the village. Most of the houses are built of stone. The major inhabitants are Tamang and their lifestyles are influenced mostly by Tibetan culture. Briddim can be observed as a living museum that reflects the traditions and culture of the Tamangs and their lifestyle. Major facet of this village is the interesting lifestyle of the Tamangs and their culture. Livestock production, agriculture and trade with Kerung (Tibet) are the main occupation of this village people.

The Tamang Heritage Trail takes you to the midlands of Nepal and gives you an enriching experience.The beauty of the mountains and the unique culture and lifestyle of the people who live there is the hallmark of the Tamang Heritage Trail. Passing through the traditional Tamang villages where the lifestyle of the villagers has seen little changes, you will get the chance to mingle with  the locals, observe their custom and tradition, unique architectural houses, and the ancient monasteries
The Classic Langtang – Helambu trek
The classic Langtang Helambu trek comprises of trekking in the Langtang and Helambu region. Lying 30 km north of Kathmandu, Helambu is the most accessible trekking region in Nepal. The trek starts from Syabrubensi, after driving 150 km from Kathmandu. The trail gradually ascends upstream along the Bhote Kosi River, passing through the forests of the Langtang valley to the alpine meadows and yak pastures around Kyangjin. After an ascent of Kyangjin Ri [4350m.], from where the 360 degree mountain views are truly spectacular, the trail goes back to Syabru. From here, we further trek to the sacred Gosainkund Lake situated at an elevation of 4336-meter and to Kathmandu via the lovely Helambu region. This moderate trek can be done any time of the year except during monsoon [July & August]. This trek can be done throughout the year, except during the monsoon season.
Lord Baden Powell Trek
This is a new trekking route in the Ganesh Himal area, North of Kathmandu. The trek starts from Syabru Besi, after a day long drive from Kathmandu. On the way to Gatlang, the Goljung view point will, after a short 3 hour walk, give you an amazing panorama of the Ganesh Himal including Shishapangma (8013m) and Langtang Lirung (7246m).
From here, you enter a quiet and unspoiled valley which will lead you to the Jageswor Lake after a 3 days hike. The steep trail goes through a dense forest where life seems to be suspended on time. This region of Nepal is inhabited by the Tamang people. The ascent will eventually end up at almost 4200m and views from the south ridge of this mountain chain are truly breathtaking. At Changan Kharka, the descent to Tatopani starts passing through small Tamang settlements and large forest while following the Sanjen Khola stream. The 2 day descent will lead you to Tatopani located at 2600 meters high. A bath in the Hot Springs is a must and its rewarding after the wild camping trek. Day long walks lead you to a new valley where you will get a glimpse of Tamang culture (in Thuman, Rasuwagadi and Briddim). You will follow the Bhote Kosi River on the left side of the valley to the North and then come back on the opposite side on your way back to Syabru Besi, from where it all began. This trek can be done throughout the year, except during the monsoon season.

Rolwaling & Jugal Himal

Posted Feb 27th, 2008 under Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

Rolwaling & Jugal Himal

Rolwaling which means “the furrow left by the plough” is a rugged yet beautiful area rarely visited. This region offers a lot of mountaineering adventure. Rolwaling region is the east-west valley below Gauri Shankar(7145m) and lies just south to the Tibet border. It is exceptionally rich in flora and fauna. The most popular settlements in the Rolwaling valley are Beding village (3510m) and Na Gaun(4120m).The land is full of the tales of the yeti, the abominable snowman. During the Rolwaling trek, one gets to enjoy magnificent views of Rolwaling peaks: Pharchamo peak (6187m) and Ramdung (5925 metres). This remote area is a challenging and rewarding trekking destination.
 CLIMATE, FLORA AND FAUNA
 The difference in the climatic conditions in this region is responsible for its varied flora and fauna. One will find dense forest including pine, oak, ferns, the spectacular flowering  rhododendrons and other deciduous trees. Even in the high mountain passes above the tree line, tiny alpine flowers can be found dotting the windswept ground. This Himalayan region is quite, peaceful and surrounded with natural beauties. Some of the Nepal’s most beautiful animal and plantlife are found here. There are reports of many endangered species residing in this area including the elusive musk deer, barking deer and Himalaya Tahr. This place is one of the few true wild areas accessible to trekkers in Nepal.

PEOPLE AND PLACES
Sherpas are the main ethnic group who live in the Rolwaling region. Rolwaling is the heart land of Sherpas, with rich local cultures and their influence is to be seen everywhere from their traditional dresses to their distinctive houses and monasteries. Several ethnic minorities such as Rai, Tamang, Brahmin and Chhetri also inhabit the Rolwaling region. The only settlement on the upper Rolwaling is the small village of Beding.
Jugal Peak (Himal)
To the north-east of Kathmandu lies a chain of peaks called Jugal Himal, which includes Dorjee Lhakpa (6,966m), Madiya (6,257m) and Phurbi Chhyachu (6,637m). Jugal Himalaya trekking area (5755m) has high crossing passes, superb mountain view, picturesque villages, deep forests with attractive Panch Pokhari and Bhairab Kunda lake, impressive display of wild flowers, abundant wild life and friendly local people.The trail is narrow, it involves a lot of climbing. Usually March/April and October/November are the best time to trek.It is a marvelous trek through remote traditional Tamang villages and luxuriant forests. The drive from Kathmandu to Melamchi Pul takes about five hours. The trek towards the holy lakes named, “Panch Pokhari” (five lakes), situated at 14,000ft. is another breathtaking attraction. Enjoy the tranquility of trails that offer superb mountain views, green Himalayan ranges, and waterfalls. Jugal Himal Trekking is ideal for trekkers who would prefer not to meet other tourists or spend time in crowded villages. The high and remote Rolwaling Valley provides access to two of the permitted trekking peaks:Ramdung Rolwaling Peak and Pachermo Rolwaling Peak.
Ramdung Go Peak (5925 m): Ramdung Peak stands at the height of 5925 metres. The peak is situated south of the Tesilabtsa pass, which borders Khumbu and the immense Rolwaling valley. Crossing the pass into the remote valley of Rolwaling takes one to the Ramdung Peak. Ramdung Peak lies in the upper Rolwaling region. This little peak, offers a panoramic view of mountain ranges from Langtang to Everest and a splendid view of Mt.Gauri Shankar (7134m) as well as Menlungtse(7181m).Ramdung Go Peak is one of a cluster of peaks surrounding the Yalung La, which provides an access to upper Rolwaling from the south via the Khare Khola.  A team led by Bill Murray first climbed the peak in 1952. Ramdung had numerous ascents and has proved to be an ideal summit for commercial trekking and climbing group.
Pachermo Peak (6187m): Pachermo Peak lies to the south of the Tashi Lapcha pass. It is one of the trekking peaks that lie in the east- west of Rolwaling region. The peak is just above Tashi Lapcha. This peak of 6187 m can be approached either from Rolwaling or from Khumbu. Pachermo Peak has become the most popular climbing peak for trekkers who cross the high Tashi Lapcha pass to Khumbu Valley.It is an attractive and straightforward snow peak with a well-defined north-west ridge rising from the relatively flat crevassed glacier astride the Teshi Lapcha. To the west of the ridge, the face forms a uniform snow slope broken by crevasses and small seracs rising from the rocky lower buttresses above the Drolambau Glacier.
Rolwaling Trek:  This is an isolated and culturally diverse area. The trail crosses over Teshi Lapcha (5755 m) and enters into the Khumbu valley. Rolwaling and Teshi Lapcha are technically closed to foreigners. However, if you obtain a climbing permit for Ramdung, one of the trekking peaks, it will be easy to obtain a permit to explore this area and climb one of the peaks.  The trail starts from Charikote, leading up along the Tama Koshi riverbank under the shadow of Mt. Gauri Shanker (7,145m), the holy mountain to Bhote Koshi River. From Simigaon, the trail turns right along Rolwaling Khola running deeply below ahead and parting from the old trade route to Tibet. Views of Melungtse(7,181m) appear proceeding further through the village of Beding (3,690m) with its monastery. From the Na Gaun (4,183m) village, the trail ascends through grass-covered valley to Tso Rolpa then traversing the moraine on the north side of the valley onto the snout of the Tram Bau Glacier, which feeds the Rolwaling river.

Dhaulagiri Travel Guide

Posted Feb 25th, 2008 under Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

DHAULAGIRI TRAVEL GUIDE
Dhaulagiri comes under the Western division of Nepal and is one of the fourteen zones of Nepal. The name Dhaulagiri is derived from the Sanskrit word which means “White Mountain”. The Dhaulagiri range is made up of some of the world’s most impressive peaks. Baglung is the headquarters of this zone. Royal Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, the only hunting reserve in Nepal is spread over Baglung and Myagdi districts of this Zone. Geographically, the Dhaulagiri region is a land of dramatic contrast, from the near tropical Pokhara valley to steep slope climb to snow capped Himalayan giant. This region is considered to be one of the most remote places of the kingdom of Nepal, abundance of Himalayan peaks, hidden valleys, high passes and sweeping vistas. Dhaulagiri is separated from the Annapurna region by Kali Gandaki Gorge (deepest in the world) and includes some fifteen magnificent peaks above 7000 metre. Mt. Dhaulagiri I, the sixth highest peak of Nepal and world’s seventh towers high above the well- trekked Muktinath pilgrim trail up to the Kali Gandaki Valley. The foothills of the Dhaulagiri region are marked with spectacular views of both majestic Himalayan peaks and white-water rivers. This region was remained largely unknown until a Swiss aerial survey in 1949. Best Trekking Season is from mid-September to November and February to May. Dhaulagiri region has four pyramid-like peaks, in addition to the main summit, and all of them rise more than 25,000 feet altitude. High passes and sweeping snow-clad vistas seem to challenge the trekkers who would love to go on an off-beat trek. Trekking in the  Dhaulagiri region amid the serene and tranquil; surroundings will energize and refresh you.

CLIMATE, FLORA AND FAUNA: The difference in the climatic conditions in this region is responsible for its varied flora and fauna. The Dhaulagiri region possesses a variety of flora and fauna. The vast massif covers Dolpo to its north west, following river up stream, ferns and forest of oak and other deciduous trees and juniper forest. Mountain sides filled with rhododendrons are blaze with color during springtime. Many species of flowers are abundantly found on the trail, even in the high mountain passes above the tree line, tiny alpine flowers can be found dotting the windswept ground. This Trans-Himalayan region is quite, peaceful and full of this area is relatively surrounded with nature full of peace and tranquility. Sparse vegetation is found up to 4,500 metre. Some of the Nepal’s most beautiful animal and plant-life are also found here. There are reports of many endangered species residing in this area including the elusive snow leopard. Although rare, the snow leopard and Danphe bird are much talked-about sights amongst the visitors. This place is one of the few true wilderness areas accessible to trekkers in Nepal.

PEOPLE AND PLACES: The people in this region produce and sell cheese besides working as mountain-guides and porters. Many also trade Tibet and across the boarder to sell their goods. These areas are inhabited by several ethnic minorities such as Magars, Thakalis and Gurungs who speak their own languages and still adhere to local customs. The trekking starts at the small village of Baglung where one will begin the ascent along the banks of the powerful Kali Gandaki River. From here, one will travel northwards deep into the territory of the Magars; amiable and unique group of people that still have minimal contact with the outside world. After crossing higher then 3000 metre Jaljala Pass, the trail winds west into the forests of Dhorpatan, an ancient hunting reserve of the Rana Dynasty. Slowly one will begin the descent south into the Myagdi River drainage on trails that offer excellent views of the entire Annapurna range. A natural hot spring awaits at Tatopani, providing a bit of relaxation near the end of the journey. The area around Tansen is home to the Magar people and capital of the independent kingdoms to become part of Nepal. From Dhorepatan the panorama of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges is exceptional and this remote area is home to communities of Tibetan refugees who search the area for minerals and medicinal plants.

DHAULAGIRI PEAKS:
Mt. DHAULAGIRI:
Dhaulagiri is derived from a Sanskrit which means “White Mountain”. It is an enormous Himalayan massif, located in north central Nepal. It is the highest mountain located entirely within Nepal. On the altitude scale it is the seventh highest mountain in the world. Dhaulagiri (White Mountain), separated from the Annapurna region by Kali Gandaki Forge (deepest in the world) includes some fifteen peaks above 7000 metre. There are few mountains which translate ‘White Mountain’; this is the biggest one in the world. In 1960, the Swiss/Austrian expedition first reached the summit. Dhaulagiri’s crest stretches for thirty miles, lending structure to an otherwise tangled topography of twisting ridges, glaciers, and ice falls. Along the main crest, several pyramid-shaped peaks rise. Four of these summits, numbered from east to west, rise above 25,000 feet.

DHAMPUS PEAK:
Dhampus peak 6012 metre is situated in the heart of the Dhaulagiri region. This peak is also known as a Thapa peak which is generally covered with snow but not alpine in nature i.e. no bergshrund or crevasses. It is a conical peak on the northern side of Thapa (Dhampus) Pass. In terms of climbing technicalities, it is easy mountain to ascend. The overwhelming altitude differences between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges make Dhampus peak a very vantage spot to observe the mountains with Tukuche peak (6920 metre) and Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167 metre) spectacularly close. This peak provides more than thirty mountain views and as well as Dhaulagiri glacier and deepest gorge of the world.

GURJA HIMAL:
This magnificent mountain is situated in Dhaulagiri range next to the Churen, Putha Himal, Konaban and Dhaulagiri IV. Gurja Himal is named after the near by Gurja village in mid west Nepal which offers an interesting climbing experience. The approach to the base camp follows the Myagdi Khola (River) which drains from Dhaulagiri I and then climbs over the 4590 metre high pass of Bhujunge Bara to enter the stunning Kafe Khola Valley. The climbing route is on the North side of the Gurja Himal following the Kafe Khola glacier and over the north east ride which leads to the summit. The climb offers grade IV rock climbing on some places and some interesting ice and snow slopes. Once on the North ridge – great views of Myagdi valley in the South and spectacular view of Dhaulagiries in the north; and Api, Saipal are feast for the eyes through out the climb.
 CHUREN HIMAL:
Churen Himal with the height of 7371 metre is situated north west from Beni. Mt. Churen Himal lies in western Nepal.  This peak belongs to the western Dhaulagiri range. Churen Himal, west of Dhaulagiri, rears it’s sharp-cut crest, as deep shadows play over the nearer range. Churen Himal has been explored by a Japanese group. From Pokhara to Beni Bazaar, the way leads to the foot of Churen Himal Base Camp. In trek towards Churen Himal, one will have a chance to trek into the mass of the Dhorpatan hills at about 3000-4300 metre. This area is full of rivers and fast glacial streams, lots of forest and animals. Our route crosses very pleasing Chhetri, Magar and Chhantyal villages, especially Gurja gaun which is very good majority of Chhantyal people.

PUTHA HIMAL:
The Dhaulagiri range is made up of some of the world’s most impressive peaks. In this range, to the west of Annapurna South of Ganesh Himal, lies a long ridge at the end of which stands the serene Putha Hiunchuli. This mountain is the last 7000 metre marking the end of the snow-capped range. Though the climb is technically challenging there are many possible routes that may be explored. Putha Hiunchuli’s south slopes present easy access to the different summit’s base camps but the ascents route is technically difficult due to the many ridges and seracs. The route on the North Slope was rediscovered four years back, which crosses extremely remote and wild terrain. The landscape during the approach walk is as enchanting as it is unique: a mineral world made of high cliffs and deep canyons.
TREKKING AROUND DHAULAGIRI:
This remote and challenging trek for the more adventurous walker circles Dhaulagiri, the seventh Highest Mountain in the world. Its name means “white Mountain”: towering in solitary splendor, this magnificent peak rises as a giant shoulder of shining ice and snow. Around Dhaulagiri trek is long an arduous trek where one will encounter simple lifestyle and magnificent scenery of Nepal. The valleys and villages surrounding it are unspoiled and unchanged as the route is less frequented by the trekkers due to its challenging two passes, French Pass (5430 metre) and Thapa Pass (5365 metre). There is a long difficult trek around Dhaulagiri (8167 metre) that starts from Beni on the Kali Gandaki and follows the Myagdi Khola westwards to Darbang before turning north along a tiny trail. Much of the route is over snow and glaciers, crossing the base camp; we come to the high point of our trek, the traverse of French Pass (5,360 metre). Once over the pass we descend into Hidden Valley and Dhampus Pass (5182 metre), a high level route which brings us back to the upper Kali Gandaki Valley in Jomsom. Crossing the French pass and the Dhampus Pass offers the most awesome view of the Dhaulagiri range, the Annapurna range, Nilgiri and a look at the deepest gorge in the world of the Kaligandaki Gorge. Around Dhaulagiri, just west of Annapurna is the 40 mile wide Dhaulagiri Himal. Dhaulagiri I, the sixth-tallest peak in the world, towers high above the well-trekked Muktinath pilgrim trail up the Kali Gandaki Valley. The vast massif screens the hidden lands of Dolpo to its north, and to the west of it are Nepal’s far western hills. Only to the east along the Kali Gandaki Valley one can easily view the mountain close up, massive Dhaulagiri with its symmetrical peak and four major outliners which remains an enigma along much of its perimeter.

DHAULAGIRI FRENCH PASS:
The way to French Pass from Dhaulagiri base camp is long and steep. Much of the route is on snow and glacier as it crosses French Pass and descends into Hidden Valley and cross Thapa (Dhampus) Pass.

CHUREN HIMAL TREK:
This is one of the superb trekking destinations. This trek will take one out of the beaten track inside a region, reaching the Churen Himal base camp. This trekking is for the person who love the beauty of nature, the wild valleys, Himalayan scenery. Churen Himal is a peak belonging to the western Dhaulagiri range or behind Dhaulagiri and Gurja Himal lies in North East. This route crosses the Magar villages; near the hunting reserve of Dhorpatan. The trekking start from Beni and ending will the same place where we drive back to Pokhara and Kathmandu. Churen Himal Trekking is completely apart from the beaten paths; this trekking is for the person who love the beauty of nature, the wild valleys, Himalayan scenery. As Churen Himal trek is non touristy area, one will get chance to explore the new trekking experience in Nepal. Be-part from Beni, it will lead one to the foot of Churen Himal. Walk across Myagdi Khola until Sibang to cross Jalja la (3430 metre) Dhorpatan and of the hunting preserve Gurja Gaon and Beni drunk of return to Katmandu.

Satellite Phones

Posted Feb 19th, 2008 under Climbing & Expeditions, Trekking & Hiking,

Satellite Phones
We, at Explore Himalaya aspire to make the Himalayan journey of our clients’ smooth, hassle free, enjoyable and memorable. We are always in the lookout for latest products and gadgets that would make your travel into remote pockets of the Himalayas easy and smooth. The satellite phone is one gadget which has proved to be indispensable in this regard. During emergency situations in the high mountains, when life hangs on a balance, satellite phones have been useful in reaching out for help. Satellite phones are also useful keeping in touch with friends and families while traveling in the remote mountains.

The Satellite Phone for Expeditions, Trekking and Tibet Tours : Thuraya SG2520
After searching for an ideal set, we have finally selected the Thuraya SG2520 satellite mobile hand sets, for our trips and expeditions this year. We have chosen this model, because: it has a built in browser (which does not require connection to a laptop or PC to browse the internet), camera of 1 mega pixel and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) phone. It is also quite light and sleek (170g). With the use of this set while traveling in the high mountains away from human habitation, you can stay connected with your family and friends, because the satellite service option in Thuraya SG-2520 allows you to connect with your family and friends (the satellite service option helps you to roam across nearly one third of the globe). Thuraya SG-2520 is GmPRS(Geo Mobile Packet Radio Service) enabled. The embedded micro browser facilitates Internet access. Which means you can enjoy reliable internet access and efficient data transmission at 60/15 kbps using Thuraya’s satellite network. Whether you are traveling in “the roof of the world” (Tibet) or climbing up a 8000+ meters Himalayan peak in Nepal, you can stay in touch with your office or your colleagues via the internet using the Thuraya network. You can make and receive calls, send SMS and e-mails .In addition, the GPS (Global Positioning System) feature in the handset allows users to navigate and find locations, and thus reach destinations quickly and safely. Moreover the phone’s integrated 1.3-megapixel camera allows you to capture special moments and grand sights on your journey to the wilderness of high Himalayan mountains. The Bluetooth technology allows you to recode sounds as well.

Phone Accessories
The set comes with a heavy duty battery, solar battery charger and USB data cable.

Heavy Duty Battery
Heavy duty battery is used to power the set for longer periods of time.
The battery takes four hours to charge It gives you a talk time of up to 2.4 hrs and standby time of up to 40+ hrs.

Solar Charger
The Solar Charger kit is used for charging the satellite handset even in the most remote areas or locations with limited, erratic or no power service. It can charge the phone battery in around 3 hours. The Solar Charger comes with a built- in cigarette lighter outlet. It also can be used for charging Notebooks.

USB Data Cable
The data Cable is used for connecting your Thuraya handset to the serial port on your Windows PC where you can go online (Internet) or send data/fax.

The data cable comes with a Software CD. The software package is compatible with Windows 98/Me/NT 4.0/2000 & Windows XP Home & Professional editions. Once configuration is complete, users are ready to dial in and surf the Web, check e-mail, send and receive faxes, trade stocks, research an issue during a meeting etc.

How to upgrade the software on your PC
Step 1:

Download the Software CD on your desktop.

Go to the desktop and run the setup file.
Note: To double check successful download, click on Start programs and check if you have Thuraya SG-2520 on your programs list.

Step 2:
Download the Thuraya SG-2520 Firmware release 4.4 into your hard disk.

Step 3:

Go to Start> Programs > Thuraya SG-2520> Thuraya SG-2520 Software Upgrade Manual

Earset
The earset is a simple earphone and microphone arrangement designed to allow the user to utilise both hands while engaging in a telephone conversation.

Payment terms
You can hire the handset and charger (together with the software CD and data cable) against a rental fee of US$ 85 per week. You need to purchase a scratch card of 39 units (US$70) and 80 units (US$140). The talk time & charge varies from country to country.
Please do send in your booking queries to sales@explorehimalaya.com or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418-100.

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Rara Travel guide

Posted Jan 21st, 2008 under Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

Located in the remote western region of Nepal, Rara lies in Mugu district, touched by Jhobu lake (Dolpa) in the east, Humla(Karnali river) and Bajura in the west, Dhucchi lake (Jumla) in the south and Humla Karnali, Humla district and Tibet in the north. With long ridges surrounded by temperate forests and alpine pastures enclosing high valleys, this region lies in a remote and a wild corner of Nepal. The region is famous for its lake ‘Rara ’, the largest lake in Nepal. Rara region definitely gives you a taste of natural wilderness and serenity.

Climate, Flora and Fauna
Rara is noted for its scenic grandeur and pleasant climate. Usually the climate remains fine between May to October. During these months Rara looks most stunning and beautiful with clear mountain views at the backdrop and with many beautiful flowers and lush vegetation. Many hills, villages and some parts of the districts can be apparently seen.Summer is pleasant. It is sometimes wet and warm – a suitable time for botanists for observation as different varieties of plants thrive during this time. However, winter is quite chilly, as the temperatures drops to below freezing point, and heavy snowfalls occur up to one meter.

About 245 species of rare plants having medicinal value are found in the catchments areas. Up to 3200m the area is dominated by blue pine , black juniper, west Himalayan spruce , rhododendron , oak and Himalayan cypress . Other deciduous tree species found in the area are walnut , Himalayan poplar and Indian horse-chestnut . Rara also provides a rich habitat for ghorals, musk deer, red pandas, Himalayan black bears, snow leopards and both rhesus and langurs. About 250 species of birds are said to be found in this area, of which 49 belong to the wetlands and most of them are believe to be migratory. The Rara Lake and its surrounding presents a wonderful habitat for otters, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck etc.

Chuchemara Peak
Located on the southern side of the Rara lake which is 4039m high, this peak is the highest point of Rara. Standing along with neighboring peaks like Murma, Malika, Ruma, it gives an excellent backdrop to lake. From the point one can catch a panoramic view of neighboring peaks, Kanjiroba peak of Dolpo, Tibetan mountains and many other parts of a district.

Malika Kand and Ruma Kand
The snowcapped summit of Malika Kand (3444m) and Ruma Kand(3731m) lies on the northern side of the Rara lake. They both provide an excellent view of the lake to the south and the beautiful Mugu-Karnali River to the north.

Kanjiroba Massif Situated in the remote Dolpo region, west of Nepal, Kanjiroba massif is the major attraction of the region. The Kanjiroba Himal provides you a panoramic backdrop to complete your experience. It truly provides a lifetime experience to those who are longing for a challenging and adventurous trek in the remote Himalaya. One can view this massif clearly through chuchemara peak of Rara.

People and Places
Thakuris were residing in the area for many years. It had been a thriving community with a couple of villages around the shore. But the residents were relocated a decade before to create the national park and were resettled in Banke and Chisapani. But there are still many villages around the park namely, Jyari, Pina, Topla, Tuma, Ruma and Murma. The local economy is based on agriculture, primarily potatoes, buckwheat, beans, barley and wheat. Hindus dominate the community composition.

Rara Lake :Rara is the largest lake of Nepal and one of the most fascinating spot of Rara National Park.
Situated at an elevation of 2990m, the lake covers an area of 10.80 sq.km which is 5 km long and 2 km wide. Surrounded by the verdant alpine meadows and steep densely forested ridges, the lake is neighbored by tall trees and high mountain peaks. It provides a wonderful habitat for otters, winter water birds like Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, solitary snipe and an important resting place for migrating water fowl. The lake is very beautiful and tranquil, the charm and beauty of the lake will easily make you fall in love with it.

Rara National Park: Adjoining the Rara Lake is the Rara National Park, which was established in 1976 to conserve the unique beauty of lake, and to protect the representative flora and fauna of the Humla-Jumla region. The park contains more than 500 different kinds of flowers and herbs. It is an ideal habitat for Himalayan black bear, musk deer, leopard, ghoral, Himalayan tahr and wild boar etc. It is believed that 250 species of birds are found in the area which includes coots, snow cock, different species of pheasants, grebes, mallard, Nepal kalij etc. The Major treks JUMLA – RARA LAKE TREK This trek through the remote wilderness of western Nepal offers an experience of nature and a visit to Rara lake, Nepal’s Largest lake at 3062 meter. The trek begins from mountain airstrip of Jumla after flying from

Kathmandu via Nepalgunj the trail passes through countryside which provides glimpses of culture and scenery quite different from that found elsewhere in Nepal, eventually leads to Rara Lake National Park. This beautiful high altitude lake is surrounded by alpine meadows and forests of pine, juniper and spruce, whilst in the background are the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. The entire route is ‘off the beaten track’ which involves crossing of Gurchi Mara pass at 3710 meter on the way to Rara Lake and few ridges at around 3000 meter on the way back.

Best time to visit
The best time to visit is from October to December or March to May.

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