Upper Dolpo Trek

Exploratory Trip to West Nepal

Remote, wild and famed in lore from Peter Matthiessen’s, The Snow Leopard. Dolpo is the legendary region of Nepal, situated between the Tibetan plateau and the Dhaulagiri ranges. The entire district was once closed to trekkers when the southern part of Dolpo was opened to organized trekking groups. This stunning and isolated region has less then 5000 residents spread across the vast landscape, and most all follow a Bon Buddhsit tradition.

As a first time offering for Alpine Ascents, we expect basic lodging and food, but a fully supported and portered trip. On our 16 day trek we pass through ancient villages, trekking routes and the chance to spend some time with people in local villages. We also cross a few high Himalayan passes and enjoy the vast and tranquil beauty of Phoksundo Lake. The trek also takes us across the centuries old Trans Himalayan Trade route. The trek indeed takes us into the “wild west” of Nepal of attractive for those with an explorers spirit.

We are thrilled to have Himalayan climber and expert Ben Jones leading this trek.

Ben Jones is a first class mountain guide and expedition leader. His competence and experience came through from day one. Ben Jones has the combination of a world-class climbing resume and winning personality. He has the ability to easily deal with the different personalities of a group of strangers and bring them together as a loyal and enjoyable team.

Upper Dolpo Trek Frequently Asked Questions

Upon sign up we will forward our famed, comprehensive confirmation package. This package will include all of the details for your trip.

What is the physical conditioning level needed for this trek?

Climbers must be in very good to excellent physical condition. Review cardio training on the training page. We strongly recommend following the advice of our guides to acclimatize properly.

What is the best season to trek?

The best time to trek is in the Summer season.

Will I be sharing a tent or lodging with other climbers?

During the trek we will be lodging in teahouses or tents depending on the village. Trekkers will be either sharing a teahouse room (2 per room) or a tent (2 per tent).

How much will my pack weigh?

During the trek we will only be carrying gear and supplies for the day. At no point do we carry camping gear or equipment for overnight. During the trek daypacks will weigh no more than 20 lbs.

What gear will I need?

Please review the gear list.

How does your gear rental system work?

Those requesting rental gear must submit an expedition rental form with payment by fax or mail. All rental gear will be mailed to the trekker prior to the climb. Trekkers are expected to clean all rental gear and return it to us by mail following the expedition.

Any further advice on gear and using your gear list?

While all items are required there may be times when some of the items on the gear list may not be used (such as warm weather or changing conditions). The gear lists are created by the guides to assist in having trekkers be prepared to travel in any conditions.

While it is impossible for us to list all brands for certain gear, we do offer a wide variety of equipment in our Gear Shop, that has been hand-picked by our staff of mountaineering experts. Please feel free to call our offices with any gear questions or substitutes.

How is drinking water treated?

During the trek we will provide unlimited amounts of water at mealtimes. Team members can fill up water bottles at meals and use their Steri pen to sterilize. Bottled water can also be purchased in teahouses at additional cost but can be expensive and creates waste.

Can I bring some food from home?

You may bring power bars, Gu, Power Gel, cereal bars or similar high energy foods, powder Gatorade is also recommended to fight dehydration. All meals will be provided on this expedition.

Are there any innoculation requirements?

No requirements at this time

What is the best air route to my destination?

Most routes from the States to Kathmandu are via Asia but there are many options via Europe as well.

When should I book my flight? Do I need to use your Travel Agent?

Fares are generally less expensive when booked early. You may use our Travel Agent (Charles Mulvehill 1-800-727-2157) or book flights yourself. Please note that flights booked online are often difficult to change. Please send us a copy of your flight schedule as early as possible as this allows us to book pick ups and hotels.

What time should I arrive and leave and where do I meet the guides?

We will pick up all trekkers at the airport. Guides will often meet you upon arrival at the hotel or at our first planned meeting.

What if I arrive early or depart late? Can you arrange extra night lodging? Is there a single room option for this expedition?

We are happy to make arrangements such as personalized tours, extra hotels rooms, airport pick ups and arrange for private rooms. Please indicate that you would like a private room on your application and we will contact you with information on single room supplement costs (for hotels only).

Are there any entry or Visa requirements?

The easiest way to obtain a visa is in the Kathmandu airport. Upon arrival in the KTM airport fill out the necessary forms and proceed to the visa line. As visa prices change often we suggest taking a variety of cash denominations, such as (2) $20.00 bills (1) $10.00 bill (1) $5.00 bill. We will obtain a trekking permit for you in KTM.

  • Current visa cost is $50.00 and is subject to change
  • Please obtain a one month visa

Please bring 2 passport photos (one for the visa and 1 extra).

Is there any communication while we are in the mountains?

Cell phones work in Kathmandu. We can assist you in getting a local sim card but you must “unlock” your phone beforehand. We can assist in getting a phone unlocked in KTM but can cost up to $50 and take 48hours (usually less). On the trek, your guide will have a satellite phone for cybercasts and emergency communication.

Where can I get more information on history, books, and additional activities in the region?

Check the reading list on this page of the web site.

Can I contact the others on the trek? How about the guide?

You can always call our offices and we will have your lead guide contact you. 30 days prior to departure, we will send a list of the other team members to you.

How much should I budget for this expedition? How much cash should I plan to bring?

$500 should easily cover any extra expenses and tips. Most trekkers prefer to bring about $1000 and have credit cards.

How much should I tip my guide and staff?

Please refer to your planning package sent upon registration.

How do I register for this expedition?

At: http://www.alpineascents.com/registration or by calling our offices with a credit card handy.

What paperwork do I need to send in?

Each climber should submit an application and flight information.

When is the money due for this expedition? What kind of payment do you except?

We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, personal checks and Alpine Ascents gift certificates. To reserve a space the deposit is $700.00 and balances are due 120 days prior to departure. Unpaid balances can result in forfeiture of trip.

What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?

Communication is sometimes difficult in the mountains. However our guides and local staff will make the necessary efforts to obtain the necessary transportation and reservations to get you home as quickly as possible if for any reason you need to depart early.

Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.

High Himalaya
by Art Wolfe, Peter Potterfield, Norbu Tenzing Norgay, Mountaineers Books
Everest; The Mountaineers Anthology Series
Foreward by Tom Hornbein, Peter Potterfield editor, Mountaineers Books
Everest
by Walt Unsworth, Mountaineers Books
Classic Hikes of the World
Peter Potterfield, W.W. Norton pub.
Fragile Edge : Loss on Everest
by Maria Coffey, Harbour Pub Co.
Coronation Everest
by Jan Morris, Burford Books
Everest : The West Ridge
by Thomas F. Hornbein, Mountaineers Books
Eric Shipton: Everest & Beyond
by Edmund Hillary, Peter M.D. Steele, Mountaineers Books
The Snow Leopard (Penguin Nature Classics)
by Peter Matthiessen, Penguin USA (paper)
Trekking in Nepal : A Traveler's Guide
by Stephen Bezruchka, Mountaineers Books

I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the course which was challenging and highly rewarding. The information, skills, experience that I gained should provide a solid foundation on which to build and take next steps.

Yak Caravan, Upper Dolpo Region, Nepal
Himalayan Vista, Upper Dolpo Region, Nepal
Lake Phoksundo, Upper Dolpo Region, Nepal
Himalayan scenery around Dunai
Dho Tarap Village, Upper Dolpo Region, Nepal
Ancient Bon Stupa, Upper Dolpo Region, Nepal

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