If you are looking for a challenging high altitude trek in the Himilaya Mountains that very few other people have tried or succeeded in, then you have found the right place! The trek is more than 300km long and consists of 9 passes in excess of 4500m. Most of the year the passes are closed due to snow.
Overview of Trekking in Bhutan
While you will need a typical set of equipment for trekking there are a few things that you do not need in Bhutan. To find your way, you will not need maps or GPS as a guide will be with you at all times. A cook will be provided to prepare 3 meals per day for you so you don’t need to worry about carrying cooking equipment or food. A team of horses and yaks will be provided to carry tents so you don’t need a tent for any part of the trek (you will need your own sleeping bag however).
Map & Elevation Profiles
There are several routes of the Snowman, especially towards the end of the trek. The guide may need to alter the path depending on weather conditions during the trek from what has been put into this itinerary. The path from Drugyel Dzong until Tsorim is usually fixed.
Day 1: Arrival at Paro
On arrival at the Paro Airport, you will be received by a representative of Bhutan Peak Adventure who will take you to your hotel for overnight stay at Paro. Depending on the time of arrival you will have the opportunity to visit the Paro Dzong, Kichu Lhakhang, or watch some locals playing archery.
Day 2: Day hike to Taktsang
This morning, we will drive to the base famous Taktsang Monastery. Taktsang nestles on a black rock face 900 meters above the valley floor. Taktsang monastery is one of the holiest and the most beautiful sites of Bhutan. Taktsang, the tiger’s lair, acquires its name from the legend of its foundation, when in the 8th Century Guru Rinpoche, widely revered as the second Buddha, arrived from Tibet flying across the mountains on the back of a tigress. Overnight in Paro.
Day 3: Paro – Shana
Drive up to the end of the road at Drugyel Dzong where the trek begins. The trail follows the river gently uphill through narrowing valley and agricultural fields of the Tsento Village. Overnight in camp near the army outpost.
Day 4: Shana – Soi Thangthankha
The trail continues uphill following the Paro River until the valley narrows and leads to the slopes. Then it descends down into another valley. Camp in a meadow.
Day 5: Soi Thangthangkha – Jangothang/Jhomolhari Camp
The trek is along a gradual uphill trail which passes an army out post. Pack lunch on the way. After lunch you will be passing through the bases of many snow peaked slopes. Overnight in camp at the base of Mt. Jhumolhari.
Day 6: Jangothang Rest
In order to help with the altitude acclimatization, a day of rest is planned here. There are many side trips from the camp that can be used to help get your body used to the altitude.
Day 7: Jangothang – Lingshi
Trek through wide yak pastures and beautiful snow clad mountains. Today you will be crossing Nyile La pass at 4890m. As you approach the Lingshi basin, the breathtaking view of the Lingshi Dzong can be seen. The Tsarim Gang mountain and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. Camp near the stone shelter for travelers.
Day 8: Lingshi – Chebisa
This is probably the easiest walking day of your trip and the walk is on a wide trail with hardly and ascends. On reaching camp one can visit the small yak herding village or take a walk to the upper end of the valley.
Day 9: Chebisa – Shakyapasang
The trek today is through wild high pastures and the trail passes through a few sparsely populated villages. You will be crossing the Gombu La pass at an altitude of 4440m.
Day 10: Shakyapasang – Robluthang
An early start is advisable as you will be crossing the Jarila Pass which stands at 4785 m above sea. Then descend down to Tsarijathang where herds of the National Animal, Takin can be seen. Camp on the flat ledge above the river.
Day 11: Robluthang – Limithang
Today is the first extremely high altitude pass of Sinche La which reaches 5000m.
Day 12: Limithang – Laya
One of the shortest trekking days of the entire trip.
Day 13: Laya
A day of rest and relaxation. One can take a leisurely walk through the village or hike to the monastery above the village. Entertainment by the local dancers in the evening. Overnight in camp.
Day 14: Laya – Rodophu
The trail today follows the ancient trade route and leads one through pasture for yaks. Overnight in camp.
Day 15: Rodophu – Narithang
Another early morning start to cross Tsemo La at 4905m. The trail follows the alpine grassland where yaks bound in plenty. The view of the surrounding mountains are absolutely breathtaking. Remember to drink plenty of fluids as the camp’s altitude is very high.
Day 16: Narithang – Tarina
Today you will be crossing the highest point of your trek at the Ganglakarchung Pass at an altitude of 5100m. This is considered the highest pass in the country. Overnight in camp.
Day 17: Tarina – Woche
The camp site marks the beginning of the Lunana region, a land known for it’s glacial lakes which brought the heavy flood in Punakha a few years ago.
Day 18: Woche – Lhedi
The trail today consists of crossing the Kechela Pass at 4550m. Stop at the Thega village for rest and lunch, then continue to camp.
Day 19: Lhedi – Thanza
The trek is slightly easy today. Enroute visit the Chezo Dzong.
Day 20: Thanza
A day of rest to soothe aching muscles. Explore the village and meet some locals. Short hikes can be taken around the camp.
Day 21: Thanza – Tshorim
Another beautiful pass to cross today, namely, the Jezela pass at an altitude of 5050m.
Day 22: Tshorim – Gangkar Phunsem Basecamp
This is one of the highlights of the trek and the day starts with a short climb to the Tshorim Thso. You walk on the side of the lake enjoying a panoramic view of the Gophu La ranges. The last climb to the Gophu La pass (5,230m) is very short. After the pass descend to the base camp, walking along the ridge to enjoy a great view of Gangkhar Puensum. If interested, one can divert to the left side to climb up the pyramid peak for a better view or you can go down to the base camp nearby Sha Chhu.
Day 23: Gangkar Phunsem Basecamp – Geshe Woma
The trail further follows the Sha Chhu and descends gradually
to Geshe Woma.
Day 24: Geshe Woma – Warathang
The path continues following Sha Chhu for two and a half hours until the stiff climb to Saka La begins. Visibility along the Saka La trail is poor so one must see top of the ridge for guidance. After having lunch nearby a yak herders’ camp you climb up to Saka La (4,800m). The path then descends to a couple of lakes and another short ascent is stunning. Scenery once again is beautiful with small lakes and the mountain peaks.
Day 25: Warathang – Tshochenchen
A one hour climb leads to Juli La (4,700m). After the pass, you descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron, juniper and conifer forests. After the bridge a short climb leads to Duer Tsachu. These hot springs, where Guru Padmasambhava is supposed to have taken bath, might be the most stunningly beautiful hot springs of the Himalayas. You might want to spend an extra day at Duer Tsachu.
Day 26: Tshochenchen – Lungsum
The path follows the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually with a few climbs in between.
Day 27: Lungsum – Bumthang
This morning, we will continue downhill and cross the Gorzom chu,. After climbing little, we will follow a beautiful trail through mixed forest for more than an hour to reach a meadow. From there, we will descent to the footbridge to continue to south for about one and half hours to reach Dur, the end point of the trek. From there, you will be driven to the hotel.
Day 28: Bumthang – Thimpu
After breakfast drive to Thimphu.
Day 29: Thimphu
Spend a leisure day visiting Thimphu. Drive to Paro in the evening.
Day 30: Departure
Your guide will take you to the airport and bid you farewell.
The price of the trek goes up very quickly for groups of less than 5. We have 2 people who are ready to do this trek and we want to find 3 more. If you are interested, please let us know.
The table show a range of numbers; we are working with the trekking subcontractor (cooks, horsemen, etc.) to get a good rate. We are confident that we can get the price close to the
lower end of the range.
|Group Size||Price per person|
What is included?
- Visa fee to Bhutan
- All hotels when not on the trek
- All meals each day
- Experienced English speaking guide
- Transportation within Bhutan
- Entrance fees to museums
What do you have to pay in addition to the cost above?
- Drinks when not on the trek
- Tips to the guide, cooks, porters
- Any personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, etc.)
Approximate Flight Costs
The following round-trip prices per person (USD) are provided just as a rough estimate. The exact flight prices are set by the airline and of course could vary.
- Kathmandu: $450
- Delhi: $800
- Bangkok: $900
Printable version of the snowman trek: Snowman Trek 2015
I want to join
Please let us know if you are interested in the Snowman Trek starting May 15, 2015.
If your schedule requires that the day be moved by a few days please let us know and the group may be willing to adjust the timing slightly.
I don’t want to join
If you are not interested in joining could you just click on one of the link below and press vote. If you think the price is too high compared to other agents, we certainly wouldn’t be offended if you submitted a comment to let us know….we think we can get the price down quite a bit from what is listed but not until we have a group formed.