Come join us for an exploratory fast pack following a route that few (any?) have ever done. We will start from Kathmandu on foot and return on foot travelling through Shiva Puri National Park, Helambu, Laurebina Pass (4,610m/15,124ft), Gosaikund Sacred Lakes, Langtang Valley, Kanja Pass, and finally returning on the Helambu trail to Kathmandu.
Details for 2017
- Dates: April 9th-22nd. 14 days including arrival and departure. See itinerary below.
- Participation is limited to 7 members plus Seth and Sudeep
- Trip is co-led by Sudeep and Seth
- Cost: $1,300 all inclusive except beer, candy, snacks etc. You are required to have emergency evacuation insurance (we can advise). We offer a 5% discount for members with advanced first aid training, medical professionals, anyone fundraising for Nepal, and people who have participated in prior events arranged by us, Trail Running Nepal, and Rainshadow Running. Just ask us.
Note: 2017 is sold out as of February 2017. You can pre-register for 2018 however we will not be setting the price until after we finish the event in April, 2017. If you pre-register and place a deposit and are not happy with the price – we will refund your deposit).
Distance: 186k/115mi, Total Ascent: 14,198m/46,581ft, Maximum Elevation: 5,130m/16,830 feet* on Kanja Pass. GPS Files can be found here.
*all measures approximate
Because this trek traverses some very remote valleys and a semi-technical pass, members will be expected to carry/share a shelter system as well as carry a sleeping system. Helmets for the crossing of the pass are highly encouraged. Please see the gear list for more information.
We will leave via the front door of our hotel and head north out of the city and immediately start heading up through Shiva Puri National Park. From there it is a lot of up and down (mostly up) on the Helambu trail to the start of our loop. Once we hit the loop, we will stop near Ghopte village and take an acclimatization. We will then cross Laurebina Pass (4,610m/15,124ft) and rest near the the sacred lakes of Gosaikund before connecting with Langtang Valley. We will go up (east) the valley and take another acclimatization day near the far end before we cross the rarely visited Kanja Pass (5,130m. 16,830ft) . From there we travel south through a rarely visited high altitude landscape – we will likely only see seasonal yak herders. We will likely need to camp out for one night here before we reconnect with the Helambu trail, and finish our loop, at Therapati. From there it is straight south in one long shot to Kathmandu. GPS Files can be found here.
Trekking in Nepal is not without risk. These are the Himalayas after all. We want you to be know that this fast pack carries a higher level of risk than your typical trek in Nepal. It is not for everyone. In addition to the normal risks most treks include such as altitude sickness, narrow trails with exposure, and the occasional landslide crossing (including rockfall risk), our risks will be higher due to crossing of Kanja Pass which is remote, high, and semi-technical.
There will likely be no other people at, or near, the pass as it is rarely visited and not crossed by locals. Statistics are very hard to come by and there is only one trip report on the web, written by our friend Michael Collins of Australia. It will be a tough climb out of the Langtang Valley to Kanja Pass and only the south side of the pass there are no lodges or settlements. This means we need to be self-sufficient for at least one night.
We have never had a serious case of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) on our trips but there is always a first time and our rate of ascent, rest days, and sleeping elevations may at times exceed some published guidelines. Our highest elevation at 5,130 meters is something to be taken seriously. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can be fatal. To mitigate these risks all members are strongly encouraged to meet with their physician, explain the itinerary, discuss AMS, and have a complete check-up. We encourage a discussion about taking Diamox (acetazolamide) as a prophylactic as well as carrying other AMS medications like Nifedipine and Dexamethasone. We will review the signs and symptoms of AMS and use a buddy system to monitor each other. We will carry satellite communication devices and have a remote doctor on a retainer in case we need help. As with all of our trips in Nepal, all members are required to have helicopter evacuation insurance (we can refer you to a good company, expect to pay $75-$125 USD for this coverage depending on whether medical is also included).
After some steep non-technical climbing we will have at least 2 hours of boulder fields and glacial moraine to cross. The greatest risk here is a wrecked ankle or knee as many of the boulders are unsettled, but with care and a little luck we should not have a problem.
Immediately below the pass is a small 5 meter climb on 4th class rock, this can be done without much fuss holding on to chains or with your hands. There is also an option to ascend on 4 ladders that are lashed together, but we prefer the climb.
At the top there is a narrow ledge which is about 1 meter wide and 5 meters long. Chains were installed in early 2016 and will hopefully still be in place. Holding on to these should add comfort to those who are exposure avoidant. A fall here would be straight down about 10-15 meters onto jumbled rock and possible fatal so is best avoided!
Traversing the top: Once we are on the top – we can relax, take pictures, and eat a chocolate bar. The top of the pass is about 2 meters wide and marked by prayer flags. There may be more, or less, snow on it than the picture below. Hopefully the visibility is better.
Scrambling on the descent: The first 150 vertical meters down from the pass (south side) is steep and has a lot of loose rock. We will and stagger our paths, to minimize rock fall risk. A rock climbing helmet is highly encouraged. A fall here would likely scrape and bang you up, but would be unlikely to be fatal.
Other than the 4-6 hours described above, this trek is not inherently more risky than your typical trek in other parts of Nepal.
Note that there is some chance Kanja Pass will have too much snow on it to cross safely – if this happens we will need to backtrack down to the Langtang Valley but we will be able to either explore other valleys and return from the west end of Langtant to Kathmandu by Jeep, or return on foot. Chances are we will know this before the whole group does the tough climb up to the pass. Seth or Sudeep will probably scout it the day before to assess conditions. We will also be in close contact with a expert weather forecaster during our trip, but of course he can not see how much snow is actually on the pass and it is quite possible we will be the first visitors of the year.
GPS Files can be found here.
Day 1: Sunday April 9th – Arrival
We will pick you up at the airport, there is only one exit and we’ve done this a million times. Don’t worry. Look for your name with a sign on it. After transporting you to the hotel and getting you checked in and briefly oriented, we will ask to run through your gear to make sure all is squared away and then you may be on your own for much of the day. We can direct you to some options. Please feel free to explore Thamel (a tourist district about 20 minutes away with many services) and get some money changed, buy gear, sleep etc. We will all meet up in Thamel for dinner and do a debriefing.
Day 2: Segment 1. Monday April 10th – Kathmandu to Gul Banjang
We will walk up into Shiva Puri National Park just north of Kathmandu and continue moving north on the Helambu Trail: Distance: 29.3k, Ascent: 2,256 meters, Descent: 1,278m, Sleeping Elevation 2,398m.
Day 3: Segment 2. Tuesday April 11th. Gul Banjang to Ghopte
We will meet the loop in Therapati and then start going clockwise, stopping in Ghopte or a bit beyond: Distance: 16.1k, Ascent: 1,690m, Descent: 676m, Sleeping Elevation 3,430m
Day 4: Wednesday April 12th – Possible Acclimatization Day.
As we will be at 3,430 with the goal of crossing Laurebina Pass (4,610m) the next day.
Day 5: Segment 3. Thursday April 13th. Ghopte to Thulo Syrabu.
We may stop a little earlier so we are not in a busy village or near road. We will cross our first pass Laurebina (4,610m). Distance: 24.3k, Ascent: 1,491, Descent: 2,681m, Sleeping elevation 2,243m
Day 6: Segment 4. Friday April 14th. Thulo Syrabu to Kyangjin Gompa.
Distance: 32.7k, Ascent 2,936m, Descent 1,282m, sleeping elevation 3,891. Will be a tough day going up Langtang Valley. Total distance will likely be ~8k shorter as we can take a short cut and avoid Syrabu Besi.
Day 7: Saturday April 15th: Acclimatization Day/Explore Upper Langtang Valley.
Possibly climb Tserko Ri (4988m).
Day 8: Sunday April 16th: Acclimatization Day/Explore Upper Langtang Valley.
Possibly move to high camp.
Day 9: Segment 5. Monday April 17th Kyangjin to Dukpu
Up and over the pass. Distance: 20.4k, Ascent 1,965m, Descent: 1,745m. Sleeping elevation: 4,150m
Day 10: Segment 6. Tuesday April 18th. Dukpu to Therapati
Distance: 20.5k, Ascent: 2,230m, Descent: 2,689, Sleeping Elevation: 3,617
Day 11: Segment 7. Wednesday April 19th. Therapati to Chisopani
Distance 25.8k, Ascent: 1098, Descent: 2,594m. Sleeping elevation: 2,150m
Day 12: Segment 8. Thursday April 20th. Chisopani to Kathmandu
Distance: 16.4k, Ascent: 500m, Descent: 1262m
Day 13: Friday April 21st
Day 14: Saturday April 22nd
Pictures from Version 0. October, 2016.