Opened to foreign tourists in 1996, Upper Dolpo is still one of the least explored places in Nepal. Lying in the remote western part of Nepal, close to Tibet, the landscape, religion and cultural heritage of Upper Dolpo is more Tibetan. In some parts of Dolpo people still follow the ancient Bon Po religion, an ancient religion predating Buddhism. Stunning mountain scenery, villages untouched by modern civilization and people still following the old way of life, a trek to Upper Dolpo is one of the most challenging but exotic treks in Nepal.
Lake Phoksumdo, Upper Dolpo
One of our clients Piotr Zycki from Poland trekked to Upper Dolpo during April-May. He visited the beautiful Phoksumdo Lake, crossed the high Himalayan pass of Kang La (5360m/17585ft) to Shey Gompa and traversed all the way to Jomsom. After his return, he kindly consented to answer some questions we forwarded to him via email.
Devil's Trail above Lake Phoksumdo
EH: How was your trek?
Piotr Zycki: It was a great trek, very well organized.
EH: Any special reason for choosing this particular trek?
PZ : It is a very interesting trek because of the geographical and cultural characteristics of Upper Dolpo. It is also quite challenging because of its length and remoteness. Having done a number of other treks in Nepal and elsewhere I decided to take up the challenge.
EH: Do you have any special memories that you want to share?
PZ: Certainly, crossing Kang La was non-trivial because of the snow.
High Himalayan Mountain Pass of Kang La (5360m)
EH: How was the service of the support staff?
PZ: Faultless. They were very strong, experienced, helpful and know the area very well.
Porters & support staff
EH: Which was the most difficult part of the trek?
PZ: Crossing Kang La in snowy conditions. Without the snow there are no technical problems on this trek, but it is long with a lot of going up and down.
EH: What would be your comment or advice to those who would like to do this trek?
PZ: It is not easy to choose the right time of the year to do this trek. In spring (May) the conditions can be expected to be good weather-wise (not too much snow on the high passes), although actually this year there was a lot of snow on Kang La. On the other hand, there is not much greenery, so the colors in the landscape are somewhat muted. Autumn (September-October) brings nicer colors but some of the passes may be already closed by snow. It would be a good trek to do during the monsoon, except for the problems with getting to its starting point of Juphal or returning from Jomsom.