Summiting Chulu West

Trip Overview

Nestled amidst Nepal’s most diverse and scenic Himalyan region – the Annapurna Region, summiting Chulu West is an expedition that moderately challenges your physical ability and consequently helps you conquer your heart and soul. First ascended in 1953 by a Japanese Expedition, Chulu West has been alluring trekkers and mountaineers alike. 
Starting from the beautiful subtropical Pokhara valley we pursue the Annapurna circuit trail up to Manang Valley. En route we cross lush green paddy fields through the villages of Jagat and Chame. Notice the landscape change to an arid valley as we cross the 3000 metres mark from Pisang onwards. Once in Manang, listen to the winds howl and observe panoramic views of the majestic Himalayas, including peaks of Annapurna II, III and IV. After Manang, we head towards our mission – atop Chulu West and take in a heavenly view of Gangapurna, Glacier Dome, and Himalayan peaks like the Annapurnas, Manaslu, Tilicho peak, and Dhaulagiri. 
After descending, we cross through Thorang La Pass (5416m), another highlight and reach Mustang, take in the valley, stay a night in Jomsom before flying to Pokhara and onto to Kathmandu the next day, thus ending a once in a lifetime expedition.


Day 1

Overnight: Hotel
Arrive at TIA, Kathmandu, meet representatives and be transferred to the hotel. Guests welcomed with a welcome drink and rooms duly assigned. Free to visit local attractions the remainder of the day. 

Day 2

Am: Sightseeing Pm: Preparation
Overnight: Hotel
The day is required for us to procure necessary permits and other legal documentations to grant guests permission to climb a peak in Nepal. 
In the meantime: 
AM: Tour Kathmandu valley and travel through time as you visit UNESCO Heritage sites like the Durbar Squares and Swayambhu Temple.
PM: Briefing about the trek and allow time for last minute purchases of necessary equipments. 

Day 3

Kathmandu / Besisahar / Bhulbhule (820 m)
Overnight at Lodge.     Drive duration: 7 hours
Early breakfast and a 5-6 hour scenic drive along the banks of Trishuli and Marshyangdi Rivers to Besisahar. Lunch en route.  Reach Besisahar (823 m) (known as Besigaon prior), the main town of Lamjung District and have your TIMS card examined. 
An hour drive away we reach Bhulbhule, have our trekking permits checked at the ACAP office. Proceed to cross the river on a ‘suspension bridge’, the first of many, and check into a lodge to retire for the night. 

Day 4

Trek: Bhulbhule to Jagat (1,340m)
Overnight:  Lodge     Trek duration: 5-½ hrs – 6 hrs
Trek formally begins – a pleasant early morning walk through fields of wheat, barley and maize to reach Nagdi (890 m) – a small picturesque village. Proceed through the trail consisting of terraced farms and small villages. Trail becomes steeper as we approach Bahundanda (Brahmin’s Village) (1314 m). Stop for lunch while enjoying the view of Mt. Phungi (6379m). 
After lunch, we descend toward Besi, cross a small stream; pass through a few villages to cross the Marshyangdi River via a suspension bridge. Turn right and start an ascent to reach atop a hill. The trail widens and we reach Jagat, a village along a mountain ridge (1340 m), our stop for the night. 

Day 5

Trek: Jagat to Dharapani (1,943m)
Overnight: Lodge     Trek Duration: 5 ½ hours.
Walk up hill for approximately 2 hours to reach Chamje (1433m). From Chamje, downhill to Marshyangdi River, cross another suspension bridge and walk up hill to reach Sathtalle (‘top of the hill’ in Tibetan). The trail becomes fairly gradual up till Tal Phedi. A 45 minute walk later we reach Tal (1600m), the gateway to Manang. Stop for lunch. 
Following lunch, we head north along the river, cross a 60 metre long suspension bridge. As we proceed, some parts of the trail are exposed to a vertical cliff, which calls for caution. Reach Dharapani (1943 m). Dharapani means ‘a stream of water’. 

Day 6

Trek: Dharapani to Chame (2, 713 m)
Overnight: Lodge     Trek Duration (5 – 5 ½ hours) 
Log our entries at an ACAP check point. Reach Bagarchap (the river bank) (2164 m) in 45 minutes. Bagarchap marks where the point of contrast in topography begins – lush green fields in the south and arid dry lands in the north. Reach Donaque. Ascent to Timang along beautiful pine and rhododendron forests and be rewarded with stunning views of the Annapurna range atop. Lunch at Thanchowk with a back drop of Mt. Manaslu. 
After lunch we walk towards Kodo which means ‘millet’ and then to Kyupar (2600 m). A police check post guards access to Nar Phu Khola Valley which leads to Tibet. Show our permits again and proceed to Chame (2713 m) – the District Headquarters of Manang. 

Day 7

Trek: Chame to Pisang (3,185m)
Overnight: Lodge     Trek Duration: 5 – 5 ½ hours 
Consistently gradual with an occasional climbs along the river through pine forests, in two hours we reach Bhartang (2919 m), a small village with mostly Tibetans. Reach Dhukur Pokhari in 1 ½ hours and have lunch.  Enjoy splendid views of the Annapurna range en route. 
Walk for about an hour through a pine forest to Pisang after lunch. Pisang is divided into two villages – upper and lower. Upper Pisang is the main town; however the recent construction of the main highway to Manang has resulted into residents migrating to Lower Pisang.  

Day 8

Trek: Pisang to Manang (3,530 m)
Overnight: Lodge     Trek Duration: 4 – 4 ½ hours 
A relatively short however an equally interesting hike. We reach Humde after two hours of a fairly easy walk. Humde has a small domestic airport which connects Manang to Pokhara and subsequently Kathmandu. We cross the village, log our entries at another checkpoint and proceed to Barkha – our lunch destination. We explore the village with its thatched houses and visit the Gompa (the largest in the region with a beautiful collection of Thankas) while we wait for lunch. 
After lunch, reach Manang in a short while which sits atop a plateau. 

Day 9

Rest Day: Manang (3530 m)
Overnight: Lodge.
Manang at an elevation of 3530 meters serves as a perfect place to rest and acclimatize before proceeding to summit the peak.  ,br>Plenty of activities to do – observe the art and explore the culture of this quaint little village. In the afternoon we can take a walk to the north of the village to take in panoramic views of the Annapurna Annapurna IV and II to the southeast and Gangapurna (7455m) and Tarke Kang or Ice dome (7202m) to the southwest. 

Day 10

Trek to Leadher (4220 m)
Overnight: Lodge.     Trek Duration: 4 ½ – 5 ½ hours approximate. 
A steady climb till the hamlet of Tengi (3642 m); from then on another hour of steady yet gentle climb to Gunsang (3850 m). After Gunsang the trail is gradual up till our lunch destination – Yak Kharka. 
After lunch, a gentle climb through a vast meadow, cross the suspension bridge and reach Leadher (4220 m) in an hour. 
A short day trip to help with acclimatization. 

Day 11

Trek: Chulu West Base Camp (4900 m)
Overnight: Tented Camp.     Trek Duration: 5 – 5 ½ hours.
Thus begins the real expedition. Have breakfast and head up to Base Camp to the northern valley of Leadher accompanied with the entire crew. Walk along grass lines from the scenic ridge and reach base camp. 

Day 12

Trek: High Camp (5100 m)
Overnight: Tented Camp.     Trek Duration: 4 ½ – 5 hours.
Continue our ascent to High Camp which is at 5100 metres. Take in the stunning vistas of the Himalayan range en route. Spend the night at High Camp. 

Day 13

Acclimatization at High Camp (5100 m)
Overnight: Tented Camp.
A day is essential to acclimatize before we make the final leg of our journey – reach the summit. Light exercises or a small hike along with some climbing training with our experienced guide before the big day.

Day 14

Summit: Atop Chulu West and back to High Camp or Base Camp.
Overnight: Tented Camp.
Summit will start early – 2 to 3 a.m.

Phase 1: Steep climb up to 5,500 meters. Not technical, however, the use of ropes, crampon, and ice axe may be used. 
Phase 2: After 5,500 meters, we will be roped up for the ascent. The trail gets steeper – assisting Sherpas will fix ropes on the steeper sections. Once atop, immerse yourself in one of the most incredible and spectacular views you will behold. Ahead of you will be Gangapurna, the Annapurnas, and Herzog’s Great Barrier, to your left Manaslu and behind you is Tibet. 
Take in the excitement of accomplishing your incredible before beginning descent. Carefully descend to High Camp and then to Base Camp.

Day 15

Contingency Day
Overnight: Tented Camp.     Trek Duration: 5 – 5 ½ hours.
The day is reserved for any unforeseen events such as illness, bad weather, etc. 

Day 16

Trek: Base Camp to Leadher (4220 m)
Overnight: Lodge.     Trek Duration: 5 hours
Retrace ours steps back to Leadher, however within us a euphoric sense of accomplishment. 

Day 17

Trek: Leadher to High Camp (4800 m)
Overnight: Lodge.     Trek Duration: 5 hours 
Walk a gradual trail towards Dewrali, take in the breathtaking landscape of the unique high altitude desert. Head towards Thorang Phedi (4220 m) (foot of the hill). Lunch at Thorang Phedi and proceed towards High Camp (4800 m), a steep climb for an hour. 
At High Camp, notice wide Himalayan pastures and yaks. Herds of Thar (wild goats) can also be seen. 
Short day trek to prepare for the arduous trek to Thorang La Pass the next day. 

Day 18

Trek: High Camp – Thorang La Pass (5416 m) – Muktinath (3802 m)
Overnight: Lodge.     Trek Duration: 7 – 8 hours.
“The day you cross 20 hills and one of  Nepal’s highest pass – Thorang La Pass.” 

Early morning ascent to Thorang La. Several prayer flags offering prayers to the mountains as we reach the highest point. At the highest point (5416 m) watch a panoramic view of the Himalayas – Thorangse, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Tukche, Gangapurna. 
Drop down 1600 meters in 3 hours to reach Muktinath. 

Day 19

Trek: Muktinath to Jomsom (2,713 m)
Overnight: Lodge.     Trek Duration: 4 – 4 ½ hours (approximate) 
Pay a visit to Muktinath – a revered Hindu and Buddhist temple. Breakfast at hotel and begin trek to Jomsom. Cross Ranipauwa, Jharkot, a small Tibetan settlement, and reach Kagbeni. Cross the Kali Gandaki and head towards Jomsom, the capital of Mustang district. 

Day 20

Flight: Jomsom to Pokhara (884 m)
Overnight: Hotel.      Flight Duration:  25/30 minutes 
Enjoy a last breakfast in the laps of the Himalayas and bid farewell to the Sherpas and Porters and head to the airport for a short flight to Pokhara. 
Enjoy a laid back afternoon alongside Pokhara lakeside.

Day 21

Flight: Pokhara – Kathmandu
Overnight at Hotel.     Flight Duration:  25/30 minutes 
Breakfast and catch a flight to Kathmandu. Be met by representative and transferred to a hotel. The remainder of the day is at your own leisure. 

Day 22

Last minute shopping of souvenirs and transfer to TIA, Kathmandu. Head home, or to your next destination with beautiful memories and a wide glossary of experiences. Watch the Himalayas pass by. 

Trip Facts

Best Period: Feb, Mar, April, May – Oct, Nov, Dec

Time Period: 21 Nights / 22 Days.

Trek Period: 17 Night / 18 Days

In Kathmandu: 03 Nights

In Pokhara: 01 Night

Flights: Jomsom / Pokhara / Kathmandu

Trek Type: Strenuous

Highest Altitude: 6419 meters

Warning: Altitude Sickness.

Trek Start Point: Bhulbhule

Trek End Point: Jomsom

Accommodations: Hotels in Kathmandu / Lodges on trek / Camping while climbing


National Park: Annapurna National Park (7629 sq. kms)

Mountains: Annapurna I, Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Yaka Khawa, etc.

Pass: Throng la Pass (5416 m)

Summit: Chulu Far East (6059 m)

Rivers: Marshyangdi Khola and Kali Ghandaki.

Villages: Jagat, Dharapani, Chame, Pisang, etc.

Tribes: Brahmins, Chettris, Gurungs, Magars, Thakalis, Lobas and the Tibetans.

Forest: Of Rhododendron and Pine. 

Landscapes: Varying from temperate valleys to snow clad mountains

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