SNOWMAN TREK I
The Snowman trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya-Gasa trek. From Laya, you climb higher to the Bhutanese Himalayas. It takes tough and enduring trekkers to make it.You enter the Lunana region and further on to Gangkhar Puensum. Depending on which route you choose, you can climb down to Bumthang or to Sephu in Trongsa. The Snowman trek leads through the most remote areas up to very high altitudes. The climb takes trekkers to altitudes above 5,000m more than once. Depending on the seasonal temperatures, the camps are sometimes on snow.
Duration: 25 days, Max. Elevation: 5,320m
Highest Camp: 5,050m
Best Seasons: Mid June to Mid October
Start: Gunitsawa Village, Paro Valley
Finish: Sephu (Trongsa)
Day 1: Gunitsawa Village – Sharna Zampa
40mins, 80 m descent, camp altitude 2,850 m.
This trek begins at Gunitsawa village. You cross an army checkpost where you need to produce your permit (provided by your tour operator). The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.
Day 2: Sharna Zampa – Thangthangkha
Distance 22 km, 7-8 hours, 770 m ascent, 10 m descent, camp altitude 3,610 m.
It is a long day with as the trail climbs and crops. After climbing the river valley,itgradually narrows to a mere path, which descends to a meadow. That’s where thecamps are pitched.
Day 3: Thangthangkha – Jangothang
Distance 19 km, 5-6 hours, 480 m ascent, camp altitude 4,080 m.
If you did not see Mt. Jomolhari the previous evening, you will still have a chance to get a great view early this morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley, which widens into patches of alpine meadow.
Day 4: Jangothang halt
You take a break at Jangothang today. However, it provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley.
Day 5: Jangothang – Lingshi
Distance 18 km, 6-7 hours, 840 m ascent, 870 m descent, camp altitude 4,010 m.
This is one of the longest days of the trek. A short distance from the camp, the trail begins climbing rapidly for about half an hour and then becomes a gradual ascent to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m.
Day 6: Lingshi – Chebisa
Distance 10 km, 5-6 hours, 280 m ascent, 410 m descent, camp altitude 3,880 m.
Today is the shortest walking day, a chance to take it easy. Shortly after starting, you will reach a chorten below Lingshi Dzong. Here, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking a detour.
Day 7: Chebisa – Shomuthang
Distance 17 km, 6-7 hours, 890 m ascent, 540 m descent, camp altitude 4,220 m.
The morning starts with a long ascent behind Chebisa village (2-3 hours) through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La (pass). On the way, you will see a few people herding yaks.
Day 8: Shomuthang – Robluthang
Distance 18 km, 6-7 hours, 700 m ascent, 760 m descent, camp altitude 4,160 m.
You begin by climbing up the valley to view Kang Bum (6,526 m) and some edelweiss. After two hours of climb, you reach Jhari La (4,750m), from where you catch the first glimpse of Sinche La.
Day 9: Robluthang – Limithang
Distance 19 km, 6-7 hours, 850 m ascent, 870 m descent, camp altitude 4,140 m.
The trek starts out with an initial 40-60mins ascent before gradually raising for another 1.5 hours through a boulder field. It is then a 1 hour steep ascent before reaching Sinche La (5,005m).
Day 11: Rest / Acclimatisation day in Laya
If you have trekked from Paro valley, you should spend a day recuperating from the trek in Laya. This gives you the time to prepare for the challenging but spectacular treks to come. If you have started from Gasa (Punakha) you should also walk up to Laya to acclimatize.
Day 12: Laya – Rhoduphu
Distance 19km, six to eight hours, 1,030m ascent, 750m descent, camp altitude 4,160m.
From Laya, we descend to an army camp and continue following the river until the turn off point to Rhoduphu. After lunch the climb continues through rhododendron bushes until you reach the camp at Roduphu.
Day 13: Rhodophu – Narethang
Distance 17km, five to six hours, 740m ascent, camp altitude 4,900m.
After following the river for about half an hour, you will pursue a steady climb to a high open valley at 4,600m and then further up to Tsomo La (4,900m). Tsomo La offers a superb view of Lunana, Mount Jomolhari and Jichu Drakey.
Day 14: Narethang – Tarina
Distance 18km, five to six hours, 270m ascent, 1,200m descent, camp altitude 3,970m.
From the camp, you will climb for about an hour to Gangla Karchung La (5,120m). The view from the pass is breathtaking and the whole range of mountains, including Jekangphu Gang (7,100m) and Tsenda Kang can be seen.
Day 15: Tarina – Woche
Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 270m ascent, 330m descent, camp altitude 3,910m.
The walk leads down through conifer forests following the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu, passing some impressive waterfalls. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to a settlement called Woche.
Day 16: Woche – Lhedi
Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 980m ascent, 1,190m descent, camp altitude 3,700m.
The trek starts through juniper and fir forests, and further ahead, through rhododendron bushes. Climb up to Keche La pass (4,650m) where one can have the great view of surrounding mountains again.
Day 17: Lhedi – Thanza
Distance 17km, seven to eight hours, 450m ascent, camp altitude 4,150m.
In clear weather, you will have great views of Table Mountain (7,100m). Around lunchtime, you will pass the small village of Chozo (4,090m) which has a dzong still in use.
Day 18: Rest day at Thanza
In Thanza, walk around and experience some village life or climb up the ridge for fascinating views of lakes and mountains. But as it takes time to arrange new yaks (the yaks from Laya do not go beyond Thanza) you might have to spend one day at Thanza anyway.
Day 19: Thanza – Danji
Distance 8km, three to four hours, 80m ascent, camp altitude 4,230m.
From Thoencha, the trail climbs up to a large boulder from where you will have excellent views of Thanza, Toencha and Choso village and the surrounding mountains.
Day 20: Danji – Tshochena
Distance 12km, five to six hours, 980m ascent, 240m descent, camp altitude 4,970m.
Having chosen the route to Sephu, the trek crosses the creek and after a long climb, you will reach Jaze La (5,150m) with spectacular panoramic mountain views . The path then descends between snow covered peaks.
Day 21: Tshochena – Jichu Dramo
Distance 14km, four to five hours, 230m ascent, 150m descent, camp altitude 5,050m.
You follow the bank of the blue green lake before reaching a ridge at 5,100m. Pause to get another spectacular 360 degree view.
Day 22: Jichu Dramo – Chukarpo
Distance 18km, five to six hours, 320m ascent, 730m descent, camp altitude 4,600m.
Right after leaving the camp you will climb through a moraine to Rinchen Zoe La (5,320m). Spectacular mountain scenery with Gangkhar Puensum among the impressive mountains is the reward for making it.
Day 23: Chukarpo – Thampe Tsho
Distance 18km, five to six hours, 400m ascent, 700m descent, camp altitude 4,300m.
The descent continues along the river until you reach the yak herder huts at Gala Pang Chhu (4010m). From here, the trail climbs steeply towards Thampe Tsho, a beautiful clear turquoise lake, with the campsite …
Thampe Tsho – Maurothang
Distance 14km, five hours, 330m ascent, 1020m descent, camp altitude 3,610m. From the lake you climb steeply to the last pass on your trek, the Thampe La (4,600m) with a good chance to spot some blue sheep on the way. Then the path descends to the sacred lake Om Tsho.
Day 25: Maurothang – Sephu
Distance 18km, five to six hours, 990m descent.
On the last day of this extraordinary trek, you would switch from yaks to horses. The path follows the Nikka Chhu to reach a large grassy area overlooking the road.
Snowman Trek I – Finish