Mardi Himal, lying less than fifteen miles north of Pokhara, is the most southerly mountain of the Annapurna range. It is the lowest and perhaps the least climbed or visited of the trekking peaks in Nepal. Taking on this trek you will get to sight beautiful mountain views, sparkling rivers and lush green terraced fields. Mardi Himal trek takes you through beautiful forests, interesting villages and valleys, the cultural diversity being the main attraction of this trek.
The attention of western mountaineers was first drawn to Mardi Himal by the photographs of Basil Goodfellow, taken in 1953. However, it was not until 1961 that the mountain received its first ascent. Jimmy Roberts, with two Sherpas, first climbed to the summit by a route on its west flank. Though there have been rumors of another route being made on the South-West Face, Robert’s route is the only recorded route for the ascents.
Best seen from the south, the mountain terminates the South-West ridge of Machhapuchhre as a distinct and separate mass, at right-angles to that ridge. From some viewpoints it seems little more than an outlier on the south-west flank of Machhapuchhre. On Mardi Himal’s South-West Face are three well-defined ridges rising from rock buttresses and separated by hanging glaciers. Mardi Himal’s East Face is separated from Machhapuchhre ridge by a col [circa 5,200m]. Our trekking route of ascent reaches this col from a glaciated amphitheatre that rises above a hidden plateau; the ‘Other Sanctuary’, so called by Roberts.
The peak provides a commanding view of the Annapurna Range along with a spectacular vista of the Himalayan Matterhorn, Machhapuchhre. Despite its lowly latitude the mountain obviously has a great deal of potential for those interested in small-scale exploratory mountaineering and the ridges already mentioned present obvious climbing challenges at a reasonable standard.
It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities..
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. Patan and Bhaktapur, its two major neighboring cities bear immense historical, cultural and religious significances. There will be a half day guided tour to the famous and biggest Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath, the 15th century Palace of 55 windows and Swoyambhunath. .
Your trip starts with a 45-minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. During the flight, you will get to view the most magnificent and sensational sights of the Himalayan range. As the flight lands in Pokhara, you will be mesmerized by the irresistible visual treat of Manaslu and other enchanting Himalayan peaks of Nepal. The trek begins in Pokhara. On reaching Pokhara, there is enough time to trek to Mardi Pul which is about three hour’s walk from Pokhara. You start by trekking up the busy trail to Hyenja, past the ribbon development of the ever-growing suburbs of Pokhara and the new water irrigation project. This is the major trade route and is usually bustling with trekkers. Shortly after passing the original Tibetan Refugee Camp, the trail divides. You take the right-hand branch which leads north across paddy fields and then follow the west bank of the Seti Khola. You follow the trail to where it drops down to the river just after the confluence of the Seti and Mardi Kholas and cross the small bridge which leads to the village of Mardi Pul. .
Leaving the Mardi Pul, the trail then follows the east bank of the Mardi upstream before turning right up the hill to the Gurung village of Riban [1,676m]. You move ahead along the route which now becomes much steeper as it climbs uphill from the village, past a chautara, shortly after which the trail divides. You take the right-hand fork which leads past some cow sheds. Until now the trail has been steep, it further becomes even steeper. You climb through bamboo forest towards a massive slab of grey rock. The path bears around to the left on to the rhododendron-covered ridge. Despite the steepness of the route, the ridgeline path offers ever-increasing views of the surrounding country. The path passes through a small clearing, Lalghar Kharka, and continues along a faint track to another clearing marking a high point on the ridge, which is Odane Hill..
The route continues along the ridgeline, but you need to be careful of false trails that can lead you astray. Today you are rewarded of the previous day’s hard work with cool mountain air and a stunning panorama, with Machhapuchhre [6,997m] straight ahead. To the west is the Annapurna I [8,078m], towering above Annapurna South [7,273m] and Hiunchuli [6,336m], the western bastion guarding the entrance to the Annapurna Sanctuary. To the east are views of the granite mass of Annapurna II [7,937m], Annapurna IV [7,525m] and Lamjung Himal [6.986m], like the bulk of a sleeping elephant. Further east beyond the Marshyangdi are the triple giants of Manaslu [8,156m], Peak 29 [7,835m] and Himalchuli [7,540m]. Given that the distant summit snows of Dhaulagiri [8,167m] can also be seen, three of the world’s highest mountains are on view along this trek. Eventually, a short, sharp climb leaves the main forest behind and leads you to a fine camping area amid alpine grassland. Today, you trek for about seven hours..
Leaving Kumai, you continue climbing steeply along the ridgeline to grazing pastures called Khorchon at around 3,568 meters. Today is a relatively short, although once again, steep trek..
The trail now leads steeply across a ridgeline to a hidden plateau beneath the south face of Mardi Himal and the South-West Ridge of Machhapuchhre; this is the ‘Other Sanctuary’, so called by Jimmy Roberts. You then trek along the trail to reach the Base Camp at around 4,100 meters. .
Today, you climb to the Summit of Mardi Himal. This climb is of little technical difficulty, where route finding and effort are the major problems. The difficulties can be found in the couloir leading to the col below the East Face. Late in the day, this might present avalanche danger under fresh snow conditions. From the Base Camp, you ascend steeply towards the col between the East Face of Mardi Himal and the connecting ridge of Machhapuchhre. A high camp can be placed at 4,650 meters. From camp, you reach a snow couloir leading to the col with a steep section of perhaps 45 degrees. At the col further steep snow slopes lead to the summit of Mardi Himal at around 5,555 meters. Grade: Alpine F. After enjoying your hard earned climb, you then descend by the same route to the Base Camp..
Leaving the Base camp, you descend through the high grazing country called Khorchon and follow the same trails back to Kumai. .
Today, you descend from Kumai which is relatively hard for weary knees, as much of the altitude gained is lost on the return to the valley. Descending on the ascent route you reach Odane Hill. Just before the high point a small track goes left down the east flank of the ridge, dropping steeply to grazing country and a good lunch spot at Hile. Later, the trail further descends more steeply to the prosperous farming village of Ghachok, in the valley of the Seti River. Today you descend for nearly eight hours o reach Ghachok..
Today is the last part of your trek, as you continue along the direct route crossing the Seti to the east bank and follow the main trail south. Descending down the east bank of the Seti, you finally reach Pokhara in about five hours. Once you reach Pokhara, you can relax amidst the stunning natural beauty of the city..
Today, you take a flight back to Kathmandu from Pokhara..
Our Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. Or if you prefer to stay longer you can go for short tours such as Safari at National parks, Rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking, etc.- ask us..
Dolpo requires some extra logsistics and Pemba made all necessary arrangements. We also benefited. Both treks were wonderful! from having a local guide- Baba –in Mustang- as this is more of a cultural trek-his personal knowledge was useful.
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