LANGTANG TO HELAMBU
Via The Gosainkund Lakes
16 Days. Max. Altitude 4,300m.
Tea-House Trekking with guides and porters.
16 Days Kathmandu-Kathmandu.
If attempted seduction by big names like Everest and Annapurna doesn’t do it for you, but trails less tramped and vibrations of an altogether lower key are a siren’s call. . . Then head to The Langtang Himal that lies - or rather stands tall - due north of Kathmandu and close to the border with Tibet.
Do not however expect less; no less spectacle, no less exercise, no less wonder. Actually in many ways be ready for more. And there could be no better place to start than to spend night #1 at ‘The Famous Farm’, an utter delight and a perfect repose in an idyllic and historic setting.
Thus to the trek start-point and the charm and mystique of the west-east Langtang Valley before climbing to the ethereal lakes of Gosainkund and down to the sunny upland meadows and rice terraces of Helambu to complete and almost spiritual experience.
DAY TO DAY PLAN –
Day 1: Kathmandu to Nuwakot – The Famous Farm
(O/nt Altitude 1,000m approx./4 hrs drive ) Morning departure from Himalayan Encounters, Courtyard of Kathmandu Guest House. The road heads north-westward through Balaju before making a steady climb to the rim of the Kathmandu valley. Weather permitting, views of the Manaslu massif, Ganesh, Langtang and Jugal Himal are possible. A long, winding descent brings us to Trisuli bazaar. From Trisuli, it’s a short uphill drive to the town of Nuwakot, with its palace/fort & famous Farm. (L, D)
Day 2: Nuwakot to Syabrubesi
(O/nt Altitude 2720 m/6-7 hrs approx. drive) The current road conditions to Dhunche (50 kms) are rigorous to say the least. Another 15kms further will get you to the dead end of the road and the start point of the trek.
Day 3: To Lama Hotel
(O/nt Altitude 2,480m/6-7 hrs approx. total time) Set off trekking from Syabrubesi. The trail first descends then turns northwards, passing through woods, sometimes filled with monkeys. We arrive at the village of Doman. A steep climb over a rocky ridge brings us to a junction with the trail from Thulo Syabru. The region is deciduous, rich in birdlife and home to the extremely elusive red panda.
Day 4: To Langtang Village
(O/nt Altitude 3,430m/6hrs approx.) It’s upwards and then upwards…. following the Langtang Khola, climbing to Ghora Tabela (2,970m) from where Langtang Lirung should be visible. After the village of Thangshep the valley opens out and at times some pleasant level sections give respite some. We eventually reach the Tibetan-like village of Langtang.
Day 5: To Kyanjin Gompa (O/nt Altitude 3,850m/3hrs approx.) Leaving Langtang the trail crosses yak pastures and follows a meandering stream. Gengchempo (6,387m) is a prominent landmark off to the east. The trail reaches the Tamang settlements of Mundu (3,410m) and Sindum (3,410m). Beyond we continue our climb. Kyanjin Gompa, flanked by equally spectacular peaks, notably the Langtang range and Langshisa, comes into view.
Day 6: Acclimatisation day with day hikes in and around Kyanjin Gompa
(O/nt Altitude 3,850m) Today takes into account the higher altitudes we’ll encounter in the days to come. Hike to the Langtang Lirung Glacier (4,300m/1 hr uphill) in the afternoon, and/or explore Kyanjin Gompa and its half-century old, Swiss-influenced, yak cheese factory.
Day 7: Return to Lama Hotel
(2,470m/approx 6 hrs)
Retracing our steps back down the valley over the same route to Lama Hotel.
Day 8: To Thulo Syabru
(O/nt Altitude 2,130m/6 hrs approx.) A steady day’s trekking to arrive at Bamboo Lodge, from where we head off on the uphill trail towards the Sherpa village of Thulo Syabru.
Day 9: To Laurebina
(3,900m/5 hrs approx.) We climb to Dursagang (2,550m), then the gradient eases as the trail makes its way through rhododendron forest to Chandan Bari (3,250m). The next village of note is Sing Gompa. The trail cuts across the ridge tops before finally reaching the saddle of Chalang Pati (3,380m). A final upward thrust and we’ve reached Laurebina; from where there are astounding views of the Annapurnas, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal and Langtang Lirung.
Day 10: To Gosainkund
(O/nt Altitude 4,380m/4 hrs approx.) The Gosainkund Lakes are one of the high points of this trek.
The ridge top trail (4,100m) brings us to where we can see the first of the lakes, Saraswati Kunda. We then cross a rocky spur and a short distance ahead the much larger, second lake, Bhairabh Kund, appears. Keeping to the ridge and finally dropping about 20m we come across the third and largest lake, Gosainkund. The fabled black rock at the centre of the lake is venerated as the head of Shiva.
Day 11: Exploration/Rest Day in Gosainkund
(O/nt Altitude 4,380m) A day free to enjoy the beauty of this very special place.