Nepal 2022

After having been delayed by the COVID pandemic, we could finally go to Nepal, visiting the Dolpo region. A dream we already had for a long time, now came true.


We had visited the Himalayas in 2015 around Ladakh (India) and had almost forgotten how impressive they are. In Nepal the mountains are even higher making it a spectacular experience to hiking them again. Even if you do not climb the Mount Everest the views are simply stunning. We have been hiking at around 3000-4000 meters with often views of the high 8000 meters mountains in the distance such as the Dhaulagiri range. The climate is very mountain-like: during the day it can be hot but as soon as the sun sets it gets chilly. So having good clothes and a warm sleeping bag is no luxury.

Barley fields (after the harvest) near Mukotgoan (4000m) near the Dhaulagiri massif (>7000m)


There is a lot of wildlife in this area but the animals do not always show themselves. You will probably not see the famous snow-leopard, but we did find its poop. Of course, you will see many eagles and vultures of which the lammergeier is the most spectacular one. We saw a pair of them (they always appear in pairs) in a small village along the way at a short distance: beautiful birds. When we were camping at a campsite at around 4000 meters we saw a black bear in the far distance. Then suddenly a V-shaped flock of cranes appeared high up in the sky above the Dhaulagiri range. You could hear their sounds while they were flying above 8000 meters. They migrate from Tibet to the south across the Himalayas and many do not survive this challenging route. A beautiful sight!

These Himalayan vultures were abundant along the route, next to the occasional sighting of Lammergeier


Trekking on your own in the Dolpo region can perhaps be done but it has many disadvantages. We went with a trekking company (Kamzang journeys) which we can highly recommend. They take care of everything: permits, itinerary, food, tents and good company! Especially when things get tricky it is useful to have guides which are well-connected to the local communities.
We started our trek in Juphal where we arrived with a mountain plane; quite an adventure in itself! We gradually hiked up through the Lower-Dolpo to a small town called Ringmo which is the entrance of the Upper-Dolpo region. And then it started to rain for days in a row. Raining at 3500 meters (Ringmo) meant snow above 4500 meters and we had to cross a pass of 5300 meters (Kang La) to enter the Upper-Dolpo. This was clearly a no-go and many people got stuck in the Upper-Dolpo and had to be helicoptered out. We did not want that and changed our plans and headed for Dholpartan. Then it is crucial to have good and well-informed guides since trails can be broken due to landslides and passes can be snowed over. And indeed, for going to Dholpartan we had to cross a pass of 4500 meters. Our guides and horsemen inspected this pass and found it capped with lots of snow. A no-go again and next we decided to go up in another valley to Mukut; a small and isolated village.

Stupa at the entrance of Ringmo


In former times, the Dolpo-region belonged together with the Mustang-region and Tibet to one kingdom with capital Lo Mantang in the Mustang-region. This was a Buddhistic kingdom and many stupas and golpas remain. They are also to be found in small villages and oftentimes they are beautifully decorated with wall-paintings (much like frescoes). Hence, most villages feel very Buddhistic-like.
The people in the Dolpo region are generally poor and friendly. They rely on small-scale agriculture; herding yaks and goats and they live in houses which are not fully waterproof as we found out ourselves. Not all children go to school but some of them get external support to do so: the lucky ones. We noticed with sympathy that our guides helped the people in the villages with simple first-aid tools to alleviate small medical problems. Apart from that, they also run a fund for supporting children to visit schools. The environment is harsh: many people get killed in the mountains if they are surprised by bad weather.

Village scene in Ringmo

Day-to-day activities

Our days usually started with a hot tea or coffee and breakfast in the communal tent. Then the hiking started at around 08.30. Lunch was carried along by one of the help-guides and was usually served at a nice place along the way. When arriving at the campsite around 16.00, the communal tent and our private tents were already pitched and the relaxing could start with tea and snacks: a very luxury way of trekking! Along the route we also visited some small villages where we could interact with the local people. All in all, this is a multifaceted experience: mountains, villages and culture!

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Nepal 2022

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