Snowman Trek – September/October 2014
We are in the process of forming a group of people interested in participating in a Snowman Trek during September/October. The exact dates are not confirmed yet but are expected to start in late September.
The cost of the Snowman trek is quite high with only a few people due to the length and remoteness of the trip. A group of 5 people has been formed which will put the cost at $250/day (the minimum we can charge during October).
If you are interested in taking on the challenge of this trek and adding your name to the list of participants, please send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for a trekking challenge that very few other people have tried or succeeded in, then you have found the right place. There are many small variations that allow the trek to start in Paro, Thimphu or Punakha and exit at Thimphu, Punakha or Bumthang. In the itinerary shown below, we have covered the longest possible combination.
Once you reach into areas east of Rodophu then yaks are used due to the elevation to carry the equipment and satellite phones are the only means of communication. If something goes wrong then a helicopter from India would need to be dispatched or you would need to make an exit over one of several 5000m passes.
The itinerary described here on the website includes the minimum number of days before and after the trek. Additional days can be added before or after the trek if desired.
Map & Elevation Profiles
Day 01. 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 02. Paro – Shana
Distance: 17 km. Trek time: 5-6 hours. Altitude of camp: 2,800m.
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 03. Shana – Soi Thangthagkha
Distance: 17 km. Trek time: 6–7 hours.
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 04. Soi Thangthangkha – Jangothang/Jhomolhari Camp
Distance: 19 km. Trek time: 6–7 hours. Altitude of camp: 4040m.
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 05. 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 06. Jangothang – Lingshi
Distance: 19 km. Trek time: 6–7 hours. Altitude of camp: 4150m.
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 07. Lingshi – Chebisa
Distance: 12 km. Trek time: 5–6 hours. Altitude of camp: 3850m.
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 08. Chebisa – Shakyapasang
Distance: 17 km. Trek time: 6–7 hours. Altitude of camp : 4260m.
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 09. Shakyapasang – Robluthang
Distance: 15 km. Trek time: 5–6 hours. Altitude of camp: 4320m.
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 10. Robluthang – Limithang
Distance : 14 km. Trek time: 6–7 hours. Altitude of camp: 4160m.
Today is the first extremely high altitude pass of Sinche La which reaches 5000m.
Day 11. Limithang – Laya
Distance : 9 km. Trek time: 4 hours. Altitude of camp: 3804m.
One of the shortest trekking days of the entire trip.
Day 12. 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 13. Laya – Rodophu
Distance: 19 km. Trek time: 6–7 days. Altitude of camp: 4160m.
The trail today follows the ancient trade route and leads one through pasture for yaks. Overnight in camp.
Day 14. Rodophu – Narithang
Distance: 17 km. Trek time: 5–6 hours. Altitude of camp: 4940m.
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 15. Narithang – Tarina
Distance: 18 km. Trek time: 6–7 hours. Altitude of camp: 4300m.
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 16. Tarina – Woche
Distance: 15 km. Trek time: 5–6 hours. Altitude of camp: 4400m.
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 17. Woche – Lhedi
Distance: 19 km. Trek time: 6–7 hours. Altitude of camp: 4200m.
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 18 . Lhedi – Thanza
Distance: 19 km. Trek time: 5–6 hours. Altitude of camp: 4050m.
The trek is slightly easy today. Enroute visit the Chezo Dzong.
Day 19. 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 20. Thanza – Tshorim
Distance: 18 km. Trek time: 6–7 hours. Altitude of camp: 4500m.
Another beautiful pass to cross today, namely, the Jezela pass at an altitude of 5050m.
Day 21 : Tshorim – Gangkar Phunsem Basecamp
Distance: 13 km. Trek time: 6-7 hours. Altitude of camp: 4970m.
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 22. Gangkar Phunsem Basecamp – Geshe Woma
Distance: 12 km. Trek time : 6-7 hours. Altitude of camp: 4200m.
The trail further follows the Sha Chhu and descends gradually to Geshe Woma.
Day 23. Geshe Woma – Warathang
Distance: 12 km. Trek time: 8-9 hours. Altitude of camp: 4000m.
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 24. Warathang – Dur Tsachu
Distance: 8 km. Trek time: 5 hours. Altitude of camp: 3590m.
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 25 . Dur Tsachu – Tshochenchen
Distance: 15 km. Trek time: 8-9 hours. Altitude of camp: 3850m.
From the hot springs it is a long and steady climb again with great views of mountains in Lunana. You will also come across blue lakes and yak herder huts.
Day 26. Tshochenchen – Dur
Distance: 22 km. Trek time: 8-9 hours.
This is the last day of the trek and your porters change from yaks to horses. The path follows the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually with a few climbs in between. The trek ends here when you arrive at Duer village.
Day 27 Bumthang – Paro
Transfer to Paro via the lateral highway. This will be a very early start since the driving time is about 9 hours. Overnight in hotel.
Day 28. Departure
Your guide will take you to the airport and bid you farewell.
Printable version of the snowman trek: SnowmanFull