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Snowman Trek 35 Days

Bhutan's Last Frontier - Laya and Lunana - Explore remote alpine wilderness and natural landscapes as it lives and breathes.

Trip Grade

Tough

Trip AccommodationFor culture portion we use best tourist standard hotel, even relative upgrade wherever possible. For instance hotel Druk and Tashi Namgay Resort (4 star deluxe) in Thimphu and Paro respectively. For trek portion, we use best trekking equipment and gears. Moreover we constantly upgrade our trekking gears, so we are fairly updated. Since this trek is a long one, it becomes a priority to provide best equipment, including brand new tent. See Details

Group SizePrivate

Trip TypeTough Trek

Trip SeasonsThe window to do this trek is particularly very small. Ideal only in April, May, Sept and October. Summer is quite good actually as lots of flowers bloom in high alpine areas, although lower areas may be wet due to rainfalls.

Best MonthsMay, October

Good MonthsApril, September, November

Lean MonthsJune, July, August

Not RecommendJanuary, February, March, December

Trip highlights

Snowman trek is a top draw trek for its sheer challenges  that one confront up there. Such as crossing handful of high mountain passes over 4800 m, remoteness and long distance away from civilisation, difficult weather conditions and terrains and altitude.

Some of the highlight below
1.Breathe taking views of mountain peaks such as Chomolari, Jichu Drake, Table mountain etc.
2.Pristine temperate forest, beautiful valleys, wild life like Blue sheep, Marmot, Takin etc.
3.Explore and interact with yak herder, isolated communities of Laya and Lunana districts.
4.Camping above 4000 m most of time and on the base of beautiful mountain peaks.
5.Soak in hot springs (Dur Chachu) which is believed to have therapeutic benefits.
6.Visit historical dzongs and monasteries whilst in Culture trip.
7.Get an insight about buddhists tradition and culture with interaction with local and farmhouse visit.

From the multitude of treks available in the Himalayas, Snowman trek is among the few that stand alone on the top. This is an epic mountain trek with amazing wilderness and culture, an experience of a lifetime ! However this trek is not for everyone. It takes longtime and it is the most difficult trek in Bhutan and therefore one of the most difficult one in the world. We’ll cross dozen of high passes, many over 16,000ft, as we pass through the highest and wildest corner of Bhutan. If you are the kind of adventurer who wants to push your limits with the most challenging, most remote and most beautiful trek imaginable, then look no further than the snowman Trek.

It is extremely worthwhile objective and you can truly say that you have trekked to the very remotest parts of the world, if you have visited Laya and Lunana region of Bhutan. Snow capped peaks, Turquoise-tinted lakes, high altitude wildlife like the snow leopard, Takin and blue sheep, time-lost villages, meeting with nomadic yak herders round out this trek’s highlights.

Snowman is not an easy trek to organize because of several logistic problems such as arranging the Yaks and porters (especially in Lunana region). Having strong and ethical local Guides and team who has done the trek several times, pre-planning rescue in case of emergencies and providing good equipment and supplies for this long trek, Wind Horse has the most successful track record of completing Snowman Trek. Most of partners in the company and several senior Guides have completed Snowman trek successfully several times. We are proud to have the connection and right equipment required for this trek.  Our itineraries are carefully planned, allowing adequate time for acclimatisation as well as for logistical issues.

 

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paro (2200m)
Arrive in Paro and transfer to hotel. Later, we will do tour as per available time, this may be visit to landmark attractions such as Rinpung Dzong, National Museum etc or if you wish you can visit a local  farmhouses – a typical agrarian scattered houses forming a quiet village that lies not so far from the town or your hotel.   Overnight in hotel.

Day 2: Paro Valley Tour.
We can include some hikes, so that you can visit the sights as well as get bit acclimated. This may include a drive till Chelela pass (3850m) and a short walk around. Return to Paro and tour the monuments and sights. We like to keep Taktsang at the end, so that you can go back with good memories but if you wish you can do the hike today  instead.

Day 3: Trek from Shana Zam (2860m) to Thongduzam (3200m/ 11km/3hrs)
Drive for 1-2hrs north along the farm road till Shana Zam. From here trek begins, trail runs parallel to Paro river valley  upstream and with largely level gradients through the forest of pine and rhododendron. This short trek  aids to acclimate further. Overnight in tents in bank of river Paro in Thongduzam.

Day 4: Trek to Soi Thangthangkha(3575m/3-4 hours trek/16 km)
Today trek till Soi Thangthangkha follows a similar patterns like yesterday. However the distance to cover is more. It takes around 4 hours. Overnight in Tent in bank of river Paro.

Day 5: Trek to Jangothang (4080m/ 15km/6 hrs)
The trail continues to follow the similar pattern till the army post after which valley widen up. Mountain peaks and ridges can be seen from all sides. Change of vegetation is distinct with short bushes and medicinal plants.   Yaks and nomadic yak herders camp are seen . Overnight in camp below ruined fortress.

Day 6: Jangothang Halt
On this rest day, you can choose to rest the entire day and explore yak herder community,  visit school or prepare for further tough days ahead. Alternatively,  you can also opt to visit Tshophu Lake  or walk toward Jhomolari to see moraines and glaciers.  Overnight in tented Camp.

Day 7: Trek Jangothang – Lingshi (4010m/18km/7 hours trek)
By now you will have well acclimatised as tough trek lies ahead, climb the first pass among the few -Nyile la pass.(4800m)Also you may be able to spot  Blue sheep and mountain Marmot.Descent  steeply into camp besides stream near Lingshi. Overnight in tented Camp.

Day 8: Trek Lingshi – Chebisa (3880m/10km/5 hours)
One of the short trekking but a  fascinating one, it passes through Lingshi school, village, and  then through  picturesque Goyul village till  Chebisa , where we camp for the night.

Day 9: Trek to Shomuthang (Sagipasa) (4220m/15km /6-7hrs/ 890m ascent /540m descent).
Leaving Chebisa,  climb steep till the  Gogula Pass (4440m) and descend into the campsite at Sagipas (4000m). The highlights are the wildlife like Blue sheep and Himalayan Griffon and grassy land whilst ascend. Overnight in Tented Camp

Day 10: Trek Shomuthang – Robluthang (4160m/16km /7hrs/ 700m ascent/760m descend.)
Today the hike is slightly strenuous, after crossing Jerela pass (4750 m), descend into the valley of Tsharithang- sanctuary for Takin (National animal). Enroute on clear day, you will see Mt Gangchen Ta(6840 m), Kangbum (6526 m), Tsherim Khang. Overnight in tented camp.

Day 11: Trek Robluthang -Lemithang (4460m/18km/6-7 hours/850m ascent/ 870m descent)
Today is another long and tough day, climb  the highest pass -Singye la pass (5005m) through stream and moraines. Then descend through moraines, glacial valley, stream and cedar forest into vast meadows. Campsite in meadows near river in Limithang (4140 m).

Day 12: Trek Lemithang – Laya (3840m/10km/ 4 -5 hours trek/60m ascend/340m descent)
Today’s walk traverses cedar forests, small river, stream and light descent into the valley and further mount to the wooded area. It takes around 4 hrs. Overnight in community school area (3840 m).

Day 13: Free day in Laya
Explore Laya. Interact with local and they stand out with their distinct custom, tradition and dresses. There is also a view point above Laya village that you can visit with views of Mt. Masagang mountain.

Day 14: Trek to Rodophu (4,120m/19km/ 6-8hrs trek/ 1030m ascent/ 70m descent)
Leaving Laya, we will crosses forested spur, Mo Chhu river and army post and will touch base with remote Lunana for first time. Further through sinuous steep trail across pines, oaks and rhododendron forests takes you to broad river valley of alpine pasture. Overnight in Tented camp near stream.

Day 15: Trek to Narethang (4,900m/17km, 5-6 hours/ 720m ascent.)
Prior to crossing Tshomo la pass (4905 m), we will have to cross small stream, and small valley of alpine pasture. Descend into the grassy slope where we will pitch tent for overnight. Highlight is Mt Gangla Karchung. (6395m)

Day 16: Trek to Tarina (3,900m/18km/6-7 hours/270m ascent/200m descent)
It takes 1 hour to reach  Karchung la pass (5,240m). Views are astounding from pass of Kangbum (6526m), Tsenda Kang, Teri Gang (7300m) and Jejekangphu gang (7100m). Whilst descend it passes through lateral moraine and through thick rhododendron brushes and tree to the valley floor. Overnight in tented camp (3980 m)

Day 17: Trek to Woche (4,150m/17km/6-7 hours/ 275m ascent/330m descent)
Walk through the conifer forest, Pho Chhu river, waterfall and climb the ridge and descend in valley of Woche -It  is a small settlement in Lunana after Laya. Further, leaving Woche, cross river and dwarf Rhododendron bushes and camp in meadows. Overnight in tented Camp.

Day 18: Trek to Lhedi (3,700m/17km, about 6-7hr/980m ascent/950m descent)
Make a gradual climb toward   Keche La Pass(4,435m). Views are great of surrounding mountains. Descend into Thaga village (4050 m) and then into Lhedi village along the Pho Chu riverbed. It is the HQ of Lunana with small clinic, School, Wireless station. Overnight in camp.

Day 19: Trek to Thanza village (3,970m/17km / 7-8 hours / 400m ascent)
The trail follows the rivers bed past small farms to Chozo village -it houses small Dzong. Further hike passes through yak pastures and fine glacial sand. With light climb reaches Thanza village (4100 m) first and Tochena (4150 m) on opposite bank. Campsite at Thanza or Tochena

Day 20: Rest day in Thanza
Today there is an optional morning walk to the glacial lake above Thanza or you can relax in camp and explore the village. We may also choose to trek till Danje, after exploring the village in the morning, so that you can use this as an extra contingent day.

Day 21. Trek to Danje (4540m/ 8 km/4 hrs/ ascent 450 m)
Continue trek for about 4 hours covering 8 -9 km. It is advised to spend a night in Danje as it will aid further acclimatisation rather continue trekking to Tshorim. Overnight in Danje in tented camp.

Day 22. Trek to Tshorim lake (5,200m/ 11 km/ 6 hrs)
Walking for 6 hours . Further climb a ridge before reaching camp site at Tshorim Lake.
Overnight at Tented Camp.

Day 23. Trek to Geshe Woma (4950m/ 12 km/ 6 hours)
Today we will climb and  cross Gophu la pass (5,345m), in total  we will walk  for about 5 – 6 hours till we camp at Geshe Woma. Overnight in tented camp.

Day 24: Trek to Mischugang (4300m) – and continue to base of Phorang La Pass (4850 m/12 km/4-6 hrs)
In today’s trek the first port of call is Mischugang, continue trek till base of Phorang la Pass (4300 m). For better camp site you may choose to walk further 2 hrs crossing Phorang La pass and camp. Overnight in Tented Camp.

Day 25. Trek to Worithang (4500m/ 10 km / 6 hrs)
If camped on base of Phorong la pass (4850 m) then cross  Phorang La  pass and Saga La (4,960m). Camp at 4000 m altitude. Overnight in Tented Camp.

Day 26: Trek to Dur Tsachu (3,200m/ 10 km/4-5 hrs)
Climb and cross Nephu La (4,560m)- 4 -5hours. Descend and through temperate forest  and with short climb lead to Dur Tsachhu hot spring. The hot springs are well worth visiting in the afternoon for a soak. Overnight in tented camp.

Day 27: Trek to Tso Chenchen (3,850m/ 18 km/ 8hrs)
Today is a long day, cross two passes first is  Gongto La pass (4,327m) and then  Djule La pass (4,551m). It takes -8 to 9 hours. From the spring it is a long and steady climb again with great views of the mountains in Lunana. You also come across blue lakes and yak herders camp at altitude of 3850m. Overnight in Tented Camp.

Day 28: Trek to Gorsum (3,300m/ 12 km/ 5-6 hours)
Its a penultimate trek day, after breakfast, start hike and walk for 5 to 6 hours across beautiful temperate forest. Camp in Gorsum

Day 29: End of Trek – Bumthang (2700 m)
Trek to the road head at Dhur village or till Minchugang (4hrs) then drive for about 45 minutes  to Bumthang (2,700m)- 4hrs. In the afternoon, visit Jakar Dzong and monasteries then walk around Jakar township. Overnight at hotel in Bumthang

Day 30: In and around Jakar
Spend the day to rest, visit sights in the cultural heartland of Bhutan. The valley is dotted with many historical attractions and sights also we can include some beautiful short hikes to visit monuments. Overnight in hotel.

Day 31: Jakar -Trongsa (2200m)-Gangtey (2900m)
A long journey on the road (due to bad road condition caused by the new widening project, it takes longer that usual 6hrs drive. However we will start early and allow time for us to break the journey frequently to stretch legs. Visit Yathra weavers in Chumey, Trongsa Dzong in Trongsa. The road cross over two passes along the way. Towards evening, arrive in Gangtey, Phobjikha valley. Overnight Hotel

Day 32: Gangtey -Punakha (1350 m)
Visit Gangtey, Phobjikha valley in the morning and drive to Wangdue and Punakha valley (3-4hrs), where you can visit Punakha Dzong, located at the confluence of two rivers and other attractions in the valley.
Overnight in hotel

Day 33: Punakha – Thimphu (2300)
3-4hrs drive across spectacular Dochula brings us to capital Thimphu. Tour Thimphu for the rest of the afternoon.

Day 34: Thimphu – Paro (Takstang)
Drive to Paro and proceed straight to the trail head. (1.5hrs). Begin hike to famous Tiger’s nest (Takstang) monastery.Return to Paro for evening and overnight

Day 35: Departure
Departure transfer to the airport in time for the flight

This itinerary is the full circuit of Snowman Trek and it is the best version. However there are slightly shorter versions as well. Keeping the trek portion intact, we can make it shorter depending on your time by making useful domestic flight to Paro from Bumthang  after the trek. Please note a few days is imperative prior to  trek for acclimatization.

 

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