Snowman Trek – 27Days 26Nights

Snowman Trek – 27Days 26Nights
Trek overview

Snowman Trek in Bhutan is one of the most beautiful treks in the whole Himalayas. Billed as the most difficult trek in the world due to altitude, duration and distance, far more people climb Mount Everest in Nepal than completing this alpine quest. Many return incomplete due to altitude sickness. The trek goes on northern Bhutan along the border with Tibet crossing thirteen Himalayan mountain passes some as high as 5000m. You will have spectacular mountain views of Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Masangang, Tiger Mountain and Gangkar Puensum and other conspicuous peaks along the norther border.


Day 1 Arrival in Paro

Depart International Airport flying on our Drukair Royal Bhutan Airline. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by our representative who will escort you to your hotel. After an early lunch, you’ll visit the national museum (Ta-dzong). Once it was the watch tower of Paro valley from 1616 A.D to 1907 and it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley.

Also you’ll visit the Paro dzong which is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower (utse) of the dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the country. The dzong was built in 1645 A.D.Overnight at your Hotel/Resort.


Day 2 Excursion to Tiger’s Nest

If you feel like hiking then we will take an excursion to Tiger’s Nest, the Taktshang Monastery, most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries. Taktshang means “Tiger’s Nest,” so named because in the late centuries of the first millennium Guru Rimpoche reportedly flew to the site of the monastery on the back of a flying tiger. The monastery is perched on a cliff nearly 3,000 ft above the Paro valley floor. Over night in the hotel.


Day 3 Paro to Sharna Zampa

17KM | 5-6 HOURS | 500M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 2850M

You will drive 12km north of Paro valley from your hotel to the historic Drugyal Dzong ruins at 2,580m, from were your trek starts. Your trekking crew will be waiting here for you. After a brief meeting, you will walk downhill on a wide trail following the Pachhu (river), which then climbs gently traversing through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. Soon the valley widens and the route enters an area of apple orchards, traditional farmhouses and the tiny settlements of Mitshi Zampa and Sangatan. You reach the army post of Gunitsawa at 2,850 after walking for a while through blue pine forest. Here your trekking permit will be checked and stamped. This is the last stop before Tibet and border close to it. You will then cross Pachu River on a wooden bridge and then climb to Sharna Zampa at 2,870m. Just beyond Shana Zampa, there are several meadows surrounded by trees where you will camp for tonight.


Day 2 Sharna Zampa to Soi Thangkha

22KM | 7-8 HOURS | 900M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 3750M

The trail again follows Pachhu (Paro river), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. After 2 hours of continuous hiking and crossing several streams, you will reach at Shingkharap, a stone house at 3110m. A hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. Little ahead is the trail junction – left an old trade route and invasion from Tibet and right leading to the wooden bridge (we follow the right). After climbing up through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, we reach our camp at 3750m, which is amidst beautiful meadows.


Day 4 Soi Thangkha to Jangothang base camp

19KM | 5-6 HOURS | 300M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4050M

Although today’s is not a long trekking day, a significant height gain will take place as your trail goes above tree line. From the camp, your path ascends for a while till you reach the army camp. Then follow the river above the tree line enjoying the stunning view of surrounding peaks. We walk through a very muddy section of trail, pass a mani wall and enter yak country. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herder’s camp. After lunch, we walk past yak herder settlements of Soe and Takethang. Common crops that people grow here are barley, potatoes and turnips. We walk our final approach across a plateau and up a stream bed and Dangochang village to the awesome campsite of Jangothang at an altitude of 4,040m. From here, the views of Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.


Day 5 Jangothang acclimatization and exploration

Today, you will spend a day by doing four-hour acclimatization hike to the north of your camp. There is practically no trail but you will climb on a open and endless slope till you see the view of Mt Jichu Drakye (6989m). You can scramble further up till 4895m (higher than Mount Blanc) to see amazing view of Mount Jumolhari. You are likely to spot rare blue sheep, Himalayan rhubarb, griffon vultures, golden eagles and the remarkable blue poppy.

Jangothang base is a flat grassy land with an old ruined fortress on a hillock in the foreground, beneath the colossal Mount Jumolhari and its neighbour Jitchu Drake. Most people show signs of mountain sickness at this altitude and it is recommended that all trekkers halt here. If you do not wish to hike but simply wish to just relax in camp, whichever option you choose, its certainly going to be a memorable day.


Day 6 Jangothang to Lingshi

19KM | 6-7 HOURS | 780M ASCENT | 820M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4010M

The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Start the climb up to the first ridge with a breathtaking view of Jumolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6989m) and Tshering Gang (6789m). Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until you climb to the Ngye La pass at an altitude of 4,700m. After the pass, it is a gradual descent to the camp, enjoying the panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and Lingshi Dzong. Camp at an altitude of 4010m.


Day 7 Lingshi to Chebisa

12KM | 5-6 HOURS | 160M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3850M

Visit the Lingshi Dzong, perched on the hilltop with a commanding view of green hills, the winding river and magnificent peaks. For centuries, Lingzhi Dzong was a way station for weary Buddhist pilgrims and defense fort against Tibetan and Mongol invaders. It is an easy day and pleasant walk through villages and yak herders camp. After lunch, a short walk will take you to Chebisa, a charming little village adorned with a beautiful crystal clear waterfall. Camp by the side of stream at an altitude of 3,850m.


Day 8 Chebisa to Shoumuthang

17KM | 6-7 HOURS | 570M ASCENT | 290M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4130M

Begin your trek with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gogu La pass (4,500m) taking nearly four hours. The sights of rare blue sheep is common on the rocks near the top of this pass. After the pass, descend through rhododendron bushes to a lunch stop. Afternoon continue along the trail with intermittent ascents and descents and after crossing the stream, through rhododendron forests and yak herders camp we arrive at Shakepasa at 3980m. From there, we walked down through a thick rhododendron forest until our next camp in Shakshepasa at 3980m. Climbing steeply up to the northern side of the valley and passing by a couple of yak herder’s camp, we arrive at our camp, which is beside a stream at an altitude 4,250m.


Day 9 Shoumuthang to Rogluthang

17KM | 6-7 HOURS | 570M ASCENT | 290M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4130M

The trek starts by walking through edelweiss bound trail with a climb to Jari La pass at altitude 4,700m. The snow capped peak visible to the south-east is Kangbum at 6526m. Then descend to Tsarijathang valley, the summer residence of rare Himalayan Takins (national animal of Bhutan). From here we may have to cross the stream as most of the time the footbridge is washed away. After crossing the stream towards the left, the trail ascends till you reach Robluthang, a rocky meadow camp at an altitude of 4,200m.


Day 10 Robluthang to Lingmithang

19KM | 7-8 HOURS | 850M ASCENT | 870M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4140M

Today, you will cross the highest pass in our entire trek. Climb all way up through boggy patches crossing stream, traversing marmot holes and moraine, you will reach at the top of Shingchen La pass (5005m). The view of snow-covered Gangchenta or the Tiger Mountain (6,840m) filling the northern horizon is simply stunning. After the pass, descend through rough rocky trail following moraine river valley to Kango Chhu River. The path is quite narrow and you may have to cross a stream again and get wet. After walking through cedar forests we arrive Lingmethang (4,140m), which is a beautiful scattered meadow by the river with Tiger Mountain towering behind your campsite.


Day 11 Lingmithang to Laya

10KM | 3-4 HOURS | CAMP ALT 3850M

In the morning you wake up with a superb view of Gangchenta peak in front of you. The walk to Laya is very pleasant with wonderful views. You will pass through a damp forest, filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country, at altitude of 3,800m.


Day 12 Rest day at Laya

Explore around Laya village. You can go and visit any of the houses around. Even to a perfect stranger, traditional Bhutanese hospitality is extended and a cup of tea and Chang (local, wine) is always offered. The people in this valley are very interesting especially the women. They wear traditional black wool kiras and conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise, silver ornaments and strings of beads.


Day 13 Laya to Rodophu

19KM | 7-8 HOURS | 900M ASCENT | 70M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4160M

The trek leads down to the Lunana trail junction and then climbs to hilltop with good views over the Mo Chhu and the Rhodo Chhu. The trail follows Rhodo Chhu valley, first through mixed conifers and then through rhododendron, above the tree line. From top of large rockslide, there is a view of the glacial valley and a massive glacier on Tsenda Gang (7100m). Our camp is at Rodophu at 4160m just beyond a wooden bridge across the Rhodo Chhu river.


Day 14 Laya to Rodophu

19KM | 7-8 HOURS | 900M ASCENT | 70M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4160M

The trek leads down to the Lunana trail junction and then climbs to hilltop with good views over the Mo Chhu and the Rhodo Chhu. The trail follows Rhodo Chhu valley, first through mixed conifers and then through rhododendron, above the tree line. From top of large rockslide, there is a view of the glacial valley and a massive glacier on Tsenda Gang (7100m). Our camp is at Rodophu at 4160m just beyond a wooden bridge across the Rhodo Chhu river.


Day 15 Narithang to Tarina

18KM | 6-7 HOURS | 220M ASCENT | 770M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4350M

Today you will be climbing Ganglakarchung Pass at an altitude of 5120m. From the pass, the views of Kangbum (6530m), Tsendhen Gang (7100m), Teri Gang (7300m) and Jejegangphu Gang (7120m) are superb. You will descend through massive moraines to the edge of straight cliff with views of glacial hanging from Teri Gang that forms two turquoise-colored lakes at the base. The lake towards the left in 1961 due to outburst has caused a flood downstream in Punakha destroying the Mochu Bridge. Descend through a steep path to the U-shaped valley following the Tangchu stream towards right to arrive at your camp at 4350m.


Day 16 Tarina to Woche

15KM | 5-6 HOURS | 250M ASCENT | 310M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4350M

Your trail passes through the junipers down the Tangchu River on the left passing through amazing waterfalls. After a gentle climb out of the valley for sometime, you will be making a steep ascent to Woche Village, the first settlement in Lunana region at an altitude of 4350m. The Woche village marks the beginning of the Lunana region and above the village, you will see tomorrow’s route to Ledhi.


Day 17 Woche to Lhedi

19KM | 6-7 HOURS | 300M ASCENT | 450M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4200M

Start climbing up the Woche valley and cross a small stream to go over a moraine. You will then descend to a wooden bridge across a Woche Chu River and climb up past a clear glacial lake to reach Keche La pass (4650m) with magnificent views of nearby mountains including three-prong peaks of Jejegangphu Gang mountain. The trail then descends to Pochu Valley and reaches Thaga village at 4050m. In the late afternoons, one can expect bitterly cold winds at Thaga Vilalge in autumn. From the Thaga village, we descend passing few scattered settlements, waterfalls and reach Lhedi (4200m) after walking along the Phochu River bed. Lhedi village consists of a school, Basic Health Unit and a wireless station.


Day 18 Lhedi to Thanza

19KM | 5-6 HOURS | 250M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4250M

The trek is slightly easy today. We will follow the north bank of Phochu River passing through several small farms and then reach Chuzo Village (4090m) sometime around the lunchtime. Enroute visit the Chezo Dzong. We follow the trail along the riverbed and then climb a steep hill overlooking Thanza valley at 4250m.


Day 19 Rest day in Thanza

You have two optional activities for today. You can either visit the Thanza village or explore nearby glacial lakes. Thanza Village is virtually untouched, medieval-like society. Most people wear clothes they make by hand, weaving and dyeing their own material. They fashion their own unique hats, boots and and jewelry. Their homes are built from stone walls, hand-hewn wood shingles and clay mortar. They survive on grains battered with yak meat and cheese from the lower valleys.

Optionally, you can hike through small moraine rocks to clusters of Raphstreng Tsho and Thorthormi Tsho. These lakes are the source of Phochu River of Punakha, which caused a flood in 1994 due to moraine outburst. The view of 7100m Table Mountain (locally known as Zongphu Gang) is superb as it forms 3000m high wall of ice and snow behind Thanza Village.


Day 20 Thanza to Tshochena

18KM | 7-8 HOURS | 750M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 5000M

You will climb to a large boulders hill towards south of Thanza and after few hours of easy walk, we reach Danji (4500m), which is a summer grazing ground for the yaks. At Danji, you may also see herds of blue sheep grazing on the meadows. From Danji, we climb few hundred meters up to the top of the ridge, which offers excellent views of surrounding mountains. Walking for another 20 minutes, will reach at the junction of trails leading to Gangkar Phunsum and Tshochena. We take the trail to the right that leads to Jaze La pass. The Jazela pass, which is at 5200m, offers majestic views of surrounding mountains in all directions. From the pass, the trail descends through snow-capped peaks and lakes to Tshochena at 5000m.


Day 21 Thanza to Tshochena

18KM | 7-8 HOURS | 750M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 5000M

You will climb to a large boulders hill towards south of Thanza and after few hours of easy walk, we reach Danji (4500m), which is a summer grazing ground for the yaks. At Danji, you may also see herds of blue sheep grazing on the meadows. From Danji, we climb few hundred meters up to the top of the ridge, which offers excellent views of surrounding mountains. Walking for another 20 minutes, will reach at the junction of trails leading to Gangkar Phunsum and Tshochena. We take the trail to the right that leads to Jaze La pass. The Jazela pass, which is at 5200m, offers majestic views of surrounding mountains in all directions. From the pass, the trail descends through snow-capped peaks and lakes to Tshochena at 5000m.


Day 22 Thanza to Tshochena

18KM | 7-8 HOURS | 750M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 5000M

You will climb to a large boulders hill towards south of Thanza and after few hours of easy walk, we reach Danji (4500m), which is a summer grazing ground for the yaks. At Danji, you may also see herds of blue sheep grazing on the meadows. From Danji, we climb few hundred meters up to the top of the ridge, which offers excellent views of surrounding mountains. Walking for another 20 minutes, will reach at the junction of trails leading to Gangkar Phunsum and Tshochena. We take the trail to the right that leads to Jaze La pass. The Jazela pass, which is at 5200m, offers majestic views of surrounding mountains in all directions. From the pass, the trail descends through snow-capped peaks and lakes to Tshochena at 5000m.


Day 23 Chukarpo to Tampetsho

19KM | 7-8 HOURS | 80 DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4320M

We descend following the right bank of a river to a Galapang yak pasture at 4025m. We will then climb steeply through forests of junipers and silver firs until we reach Tampetsho. The trail to Tampetsho follows a stream to a beautiful clear turquoise-colored lake, which is set like in a bowl surrounded by steep ridges. We will camp at end of the lake at 4320m.


Day 24 Tampetsho to Maraothang

24KM | 4-5 HOURS | 280M ASCENT | 980M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3620M

Today, we will climb steeply to the Tampela Pass (4600m). The sight of blue sheep on the mountain slopes above trail is common here. We then descend to the Omtsho Lake. The legend has it that, in 15the century, the famous saint Terton Pema Lingpa miraculously discovered a treasure from this lake. The trail goes toward the shore of the lake and reaches it’s outlet marked by the prayers and then descends steeply pass a waterfall to a small lake. The trail finally meets the left bank of Nika Chu River. After sometime, we reach to a large open area close to the confluence a major tributary flowing from east. We will then cross a wooden bridge and walk along mixed forests to reach Maraothang (3620m), which is a wide open area with yak herder’s camp and your last night camp.


Day 25 Maraothang to Nika Chhu Zam

20KM | 6-7 HOURS | 970M DESCENT

The last day of the trek goes gradually downhill through mixed deciduous and bamboo forests. Descending through the rhododendron forest, deep mud pools and streams, over slippery boulders and tree roots, we come to a large grassy area overlooking the motor road and bucolic Sephu Village (2650m). You will head by bus to Punakha, where the first hot shower is awaiting you in nearly after a month.


Day 26.Punakha – Paro Via Thimphu Valley.

Drive to Punakha. Visit the Dzong when the monks are in Thimphu. Punkha Dzong was the nation’s capital until 1955. The remains of Shabdrung, the saint who unified Bhutan in the 17th century, are interred here. The Je-Khenpo, the head abbot of the country, resides here with the monk body from Thimphu during winter. Then drive back to Paro over Dochula pass. Overnight -hotel base in paro.


Day 27. Departure

Your guide will bid you a farewell at Paro International Airport.

  • Package Cost per person for above group size 4Pax: US$ 11,700
  • Package cost per person for above group size 8Pax: US$ 9,360

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