NEW 2024 Mountaineering Expedition Damodar Exploratory trek with Simon Yates> View trip details

20 Days$6490USD

  • 15 day trek
  • 4 nights hotel
  • 15 nights camping
  • 16 Dinners
  • 17 Lunches
  • 19 Breakfasts
Moderate to Challenging

Trip highlights

  • Trek to the fabled Crystal mountain in the spiritual heart of Dolpo
  • Be inspired by Peter Matthiessen’s classic The Snow Leopard
  • Visit ancient monasteries steeped in Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Po traditions
  • Trek alongside the shores of the scared Phuksumdo Lake
  • Traverse high passes with spectacular views that extend to the borderlands of Tibet
  • Escorted by Garry Weare, acclaimed Himalaya authority and veteran guide

We are pleased to announce that Garry Weare will be escorting an expedition into the heart of Dolpo. A land inspired by Peter Matthiessen’s classic The Snow Leopard and Eric Valli’s evocative, award winning film Himalaya. On this specially devised itinerary we ascend to sacred waters Phuksumdo lake set amid pine and birch forest before entering a wild and isolated corner of the Trans Himalaya. A remote land steeped in ancient Buddhist and Bon Po traditions where cultural horizons extend to Tibet.

Trip Code: DCM

You will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the Radisson hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. A pre-trek briefing will be given around 5pm where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fibrefill jacket. Evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.

Meals:  Nil

It’s a one hour flight from Kathmandu to Nepalganj a thriving but largely unattractive trading town, situated on the Terai close to the Indian border. On arrival we transfer to our hotel for overnight.

Meals:  B,L,D

We board the early morning mountain flight to Juphal. On arrival we drive for one hour to the confluence of the Bheri River and the Suli Gad (or Phuksumdo Khola). We commence out trek stopping at first at the entrance of the Shey/Phuksumdo National Park where are permits are checked. We then continue to a well brunch break before continuing for a further three and half hours to the settlement of Chekpa and our first overnight camp. En route keep watch for herds of bharal or Blue sheep along the river edge.

Meals:  B,L,D

Our trail winds through tiny settlements crossing bridges over the Suli Gad several times. The ascent is gradual through extensive blue pine and cedar forest and tiny glades, a favourite haunt for troupes of langur monkeys. At times our trail climbs high above the river affording panoramic views to the high snow-capped peaks that enclose the walls of the Sali Gad gorge. Our overnight camp is at the village of Sunji, (marked on some maps as Rechi).

Meals:  B,L,D

A big day as we ascend out of the gorge country to the fabled Phuksumdo Lake. We head to the confluence of the Phuksumdo and Yulung khola (flowing from the Kagmara La and western Dolpo) before reaching the substantial village of Samjhana (marked on some maps as Sanduwar) with the Tapriza school (an impressive high school for students in the region) and local Amchi centre and traditional Tibetan medical practices). We then commence the three hour ascent (steep in places) to Ringmo village and Phuksumdo Lake. Ascending the well-defined switchbacks we take in the awesome 200m waterfall flowing from the lake as well as our first glimpse Kanjiroba 6883m. The village of Ringmo comprises of 20 to 25 dwelling located on a ridge above the serene waters of Phuksumdo Lake. Over the last generation Ringmo together with most other villages in the region have displayed new found wealth from the lucrative yarsa gumpa harvest – a parasitic fungus growing from the burrowing lava of a ghost moth. Each May the villages climb the alpine ridges to collect the fungus that is highly prized as an aphrodisiac in China.

Meals:  B,L,D

A day to acclimatize alongside one of the largest lakes in Nepal. According to legend Ringmo village was once located in the present site of the lake. The lake was flooded and submerged by a spiteful demoness fleeing from the wrath of Padmasambhava – the Lotus Born - when he was converting Tibet to Buddhism. The demoness gave the people a turquoise making them promise not to tell her pursuer that she had passed this way. But the villagers believed that they had been deceived and the demoness in turn took revenge by flooding the village and creating the lake. The lake was one of the key locations for the 1998 movie Caravan (also called Himalaya) that engaged many of the villagers from Ringmo and surrounding area. During our rest day we hike to the nearby monastery steeped in Bon Po, the pre Buddhist Tibetan religious traditions.

Meals:  B,L,D

From Ringmo the trail skirts the western shores of Phuksumdo Lake before a steep ascent) to a crest approx. 450m that affords a birds eye view of the entire lake. The trail then winds down through birch forest to the verdant meadow where the Phuksumdo Khola flows into the lake. After lunch we head across undulating pasture to a Tibetan nomads camp. We camp in the vicinity ringed by blue pine while impressive hanging glaciers on the opposite side of the valley complete a stunning panorama.

Meals:  B,L,D

We continue alongside the Phuksumdo Khola for an hour to a side gorge that marks the direct route to the base of the Ngadra La (the pass we cross on return from Shey). We continue along the floor of the main valley before ascending grassy ridges to our campsite. We are rewarded with spectacular views of numerous high peaks including Shey Shikar (6139m) and Kang Chunne (6443m). A short but necessary stage to assist acclimatization.

Meals:  B,L,D

Another short stage to assist acclimatization. From camp we ascend a sree slope at 4490m before heading to the crest of a grassy ridge at 4640m. There follows a gentle descent to Mendok Ding and our camp. The area is renowned for its flora and fauna including the bharal, the Himalayan blue sheep and the elusive snow leopard.

Meals:  B,L,D

A challenging stage as we cross the high passes that define the windswept circuit around the Riwo Drugdra (the Crystal Mountain). We complete the long pull to the Sehu La (also known as the Mendok Ding La) before undertaking the kora (circumambulation) around the western perimeter of Dolpo’s sacred peak. The trail includes traversing two subsidiary passes that lead to the Tar valley and Shey. On the final stages the trail passes Tsakang, an ancient gompa perched dramatically on the cliffside, which we visit on this stage on return the following day. A well-defined trail then descends to a comfortable campsite on a large meadow opposite Shey monastery.

Meals:  B,L,D

We are now in the heart of Dolpo. Here Peter Matthiessen and George Schaller, the world renowned zoologist and conservatonlist spent the first two weeks in November 1973 exploring the rugged landscape in a concerted attempt to see the elusive snow leopard. The area also abounds in Buddhist traditions, not only with Tsakang gompa but also with Shey monastery situated in the shadow of the Crystal mountain. The tiny monastery is sad to be over 800 years old and includes statues of the Guru Rimboche and Milarepa as well as Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha.

Meals:  B,L,D

From Shey we follow the initial stages of the Crystal Mountain kora to Matthiessen’s black pond camp, an extensive meadow where we rest before ascending for approx. two hours to the crest of the Ngadra La. From the pass the views of the snow-capped peaks extend to the borderlands of Tibet while a cluster 6000m peaks to the south complete our stunning vista. From the pass the trail winds down across a series of scree slopes to our high camp at 4690m.

Meals:  B,L,D

The trail follows the course of a fast following stream to the confluence of the Phuksumdo valley. A number of stream may necessitate a change of footwear although the descent should take no more than three hours to reach the main valley floor. After a well-deserved rest at Tibetan camp we follow the trail beside the Phuksumdo khola to our comfortable camp alongside Phuksumdo Lake.

Meals:  B,L,D

The last four stages of our trek complete our challenging Dolpo Circuit. We trek around the western shores of Phuksumdo Lake to Ringmo (4 to 5 hours) and then descend to Sunji (4 to 5 hours) and Chekpa (5 hours) before our final stage to Suli Gad (4 hours) and the one hour drive to our final camp at Juphal.

Meals:  B,L,D

From Juphal we take a short 40 minute flight to Nepalgunj and connect with the flight to Kathmandu. On arrival transfer to the Radisson Hotel.

Meals:  B,L

A contingency day in case of flight delay from Juphal with time to explore Nepal’s vibrant capital.

Meals:  B

After breakfast arrangements cease unless further ones have been made. For those leaving today transfers will be organised to the airport and your onward flight.

Meals:  B


  • 19 breakfasts, 17 lunches and 16 dinners including all meals on trek valued at approx. US$760
  • Airport transfers
  • Return flights Kathmandu/Nepalgunj/Juphal
  • Expert bilingual guide and group medical kit
  • Accommodation at the Radisson Hotel in Kathmandu and in our fully serviced wilderness campsites
  • Use of a World Expeditions trek pack which includes a quality sleeping bag, down or fibre fill jacket and insulated mat (valued at over US$500)
  • Souvenir World Expeditions kit bag
  • Safety equipment including satellite phone, portable high altitude chamber and expedition medical kit
  • All park entrance fees and trekking permits, valued at US$520
  • Porters to carry all personal and group equipment and porter's insurance
  • Sightseeing and site entry fees in Kathmandu

  • Lunch & dinner in Kathmandu
  • Bottled water, aerated & alcoholic drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc
  • Tips
  • International flights
  • Airport and departure taxes
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance

Departure dates


*2024 price to be confirmed

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Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement 2023USD$380
  • Single Supplement 2024USD$430
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Dolpo Crystal Mountain with Garry Weare trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.

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