Chulu Far East & Thorong La Pass

Situated to the north of the Annapurna massif this expedition in the Chulu range combines one of the world’s finest trek circuits with a technically easy and relatively quiet trekking peak.We trek north along the course of the Marsayangdi River, ascend through the verdant mid-hills and the colourful mosaic of cultures into alpine forest and then up higher into alpine meadows. Soon the temperate climate gives way to the arid desert conditions of the Manang district. At Pisang we leave the main trekking trail and head off along the Chetsi Khola towards Chulu Far East and our base camp. We have now entered an alpine wilderness of snow, rock and very cold temperatures. We remain amongst these magnificent peaks for the next four days. The precise timing of our final push for the summit of Chulu Far East will depend on whether conditions and acclimatization of the group. We will establish a base camp at 4,600m and then move.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Arrive Kathmandu, transfer to hotel.


    Day 2
    We leave Kathmandu early in the morning and drive towards Pokhara. After leaving the Kathmandu valley the road snakes its way westwards along the Trisuli Valley. We get superb views of the mountains, particularly the Ganesh Himal and Manaslu as we follow the river to Mugling. We then turn off the main road and continue to Besisahar where we begin our trek (sometimes we may be able to drive further than Besisahar). From Besisahar we walk down to the river and cross to the east side to avoid the new road which is currently under construction. Our trail undulates above the river, continuing northwards up the Marsyangdi Valley with Himalchuli and Peak 29 dominating the horizon. The trail takes us on quiet trails through rice paddies and villages for two or three hours until we meet the main trail at Bhulebule.


    Day 3
    The trail continues up the east bank of the river passing a beautiful waterfall to Ngaddi. Here we cross a suspension bridge and then begin a steady climb through scrub forest finally arriving at Lampatta, a Manangi village with Tibetan style prayer flags. A final short sharp ascent brings us to the village of Bahundanda at 1311m. From the ridge we descend to the river at Syange (1136m). The trail then follows the track to Jagat.


    Day 4
    An undulating trail leads to Chyamje, after which we cross a suspension bridge and climb through oak forest. The river disappears from view as we climb over a ridge. The trail then emerges into a level valley where Tal, the next village is situated at the foot of a grand waterfall (1700m). Crossing the river again the path ascends the narrowing valley, descending to cross the river to the village of Dharapani at 1943m.


    Day 5
    Our walk continues as we climb over a spur to Bagarchap, at 2164m. The name of this village means butcher's place and, although Buddhist, the people of this region do hunt animals. Continuing we follow the trail through forest to Dhanagyu and climb up to Temang, where we have lunch with magnificent views of Manaslu and Peak 29. The trail then descends though fir and pine forests to Koto and Chame (2713m), administrative centre of the Manang district.


    Day 6
    We now experience a dramatic change of scenery. Leaving the forests and vegetation of the alpine regions behind we enter the upper district of Manang, known as Nyeshang. At first our trail follows the river closely through a deep canyon, passing a number of waterfalls on the other side of the river before coming to Brathang at 2919m. The trail then follows the steep narrow valley through deep forest from which there are fine views of Annapurna II. We cross the river where the impressive curved rock face of Paungda Danda rises nearly 1500m from the riverbank, and climb away from the noise of the water to the village of Pisang at 3,185m. Today is only a short day and there will be time in the afternoon for an acclimatisation hike to Upper Pisang village for great views of the Annapurnas ahead.


    Day 7
    We have an acclimatisation walk on the high trail through Gyaru to Ngawal (3,657m). This is a trail with amazing views across the valley towards the Annapurnas. Both Gyaru and Ngawal are traditional Tibetan style villages where the pace of life has not changed for centuries. After lunch in Ngawal we leave the main trail and head off above Julu village to camp in a forest clearing at 3,962m.


    Day 8
    A long hard day today as we ascend the valley to base camp. The trail follows the river easily at first passing herders' huts to the base of a steep hill. The trail then climbs very steeply to the crags high above us. The trail zig zags seemingly forever with great views ahead and to our left of a couple of 2 magnificent (often frozen) waterfalls. Finally we round a corner and descend to our base camp at 4,860m.


    Day 9
    We spend the day here for acclimatisation. In the morning we go for a walk onto the hills around us. We also have time gear checks and some practice for the climb. We will practice ice axe and crampon techniques, walking roped up and the use of the jumar and abseil device.


    Day 10
    A short day to high camp (5,465m), where there will be time for more acclimatisation and more practice for the climb. From high camp expect views of the Annapurnas with an incredible sunset and sunrise. We will have an early dinner this evening in preparation for tomorrows early start.


    Day 11
    Summit day will start very early (usually around 2/3am in the dark). From high camp we have a steep climb up to a col at approx 5,600m. We can see the wonderful summit ridge ahead. From the col the sherpas will fix ropes most of the way to the summit as there can be ice on the route. We will use a jumar up the fixed ropes. It will take about 7 hours from camp to the summit. The hard work is rewarded with incredible views from the top n front of us is Gangapurna, the Annapurnas and Herzog Great Barrier to our left is Manaslu and behind us lies Tibet. We descend carefully past the high camp, where we will have a good rest and then descend all the way to base camp.


    Day 12
    Today we retrace our steps down the hillside past the Yak Kharka camp and further down to Julu village. Please not that in case of bad weather on summit day this day will be used as a buffer day.


    Day 13
    We say goodbye to some of our porters and cook as we trek join the main trail again. An easier half day today as we descend to the Manang Valley and follow the main trail to Manang. We can visit the small village of Braga on the way with its ancient monastery towering high above the village. Braga is also home to a small tree nursery which is a project we have been supporting for the last 10 years. A short walk from Braga brings us to Manang where we stay in a tea house.

    Day 14
    Leaving Manang we head to the base of the Thorong La. We climb out of the Marsyangdi valley and turn northwest up the valley of the Jarsang Khola. We are above the forests now and pass through dry, alpine country, with scrub juniper and occasional clumps of birch. We stay tonight at Yak Kharka.


    Day 15
    The trail climbs further up the valley and at one point descends to cross the Jarsang Khola.Look out for herds of Blue Sheep. A traverse across a scree slope brings us to the lone teahouses at Thorong Phedi which is surrounded by high cliffs at the foot of the Thorong La (4,400m.). We should be there by lunchtime and those feeling energetic can take a walk up to the Thorong High Camp, about an hour from Thorong Phedi.


    Day 16
    A long day as we leave Phedi very early for the climb to the pass. The first part of the ascent is very steep, but it becomes easier as we approach the top, although the altitude still makes the going tough. Eventually, after numerous false summits, we reach the pass itself at 5416m. Ahead there is a magnificent panorama of snow-capped peaks extending northwards into Tibet, and looking back we can see several of the main peaks of Annapurna. Directly in front of us is the great chasm of the Kali Gandaki, 2,500m. below. The long descent starts gently but becomes steeper before easing off to a gentle descent to Muktinath (3802m).


    Day 17
    From Muktinath we pass through a landscape of bare, eroded hills with a backdrop of snow-capped high peaks. After visiting the temples above Muktinath, we follow the main trail down the valley through a magnificent landscape of wind-eroded cliffs in an array of beautiful colours. A final descent brings us to the Kali Gandaki Valley at Eklabatti, from where an easy trail brings us to the end of our trek at Jomsom.


    Day 18
    The flights from Jomsom to Pokhara are usually in the early morning due to the high winds which blow up the Kali Gandaki Valley later in the day. The short but very spectacular flight takes us all the way down the Kali Gandaki Valley with great views of Niligiri and Dhaulagiri. We fly to Pokhara, where we transfer on to another flight back to Kathmandu.


    Day 19
    Free day in Kathmandu, you can go for sightseeing Durbar Square in the herar of the old city.


    Day 20 
    Depart Kathmandu

Date & Price

Includes & Excludes

  • Profile
    16 days walking with full porterage. Altitude maximum 6059m, average 3600m.
    3 nights hotels, 10 nights Tea house and 6 nights in camping.
    Breakfast included in Kathmandu and Pokhara and fullborab basis in camping.
    What to Know
    This is a E grade, climbing with 10 days walking.
    The maximum altitude is 6059m, and the average altitude is 3600m. Apart from the Thorong La, a high pass with quite a steep approach, the walking on this trek is relatively moderate, and the first few days do not involve any long or steep ascents at all. We strongly recommend this trek to those who want to get a general sense of Nepal, are confident of their physical fitness but are also prepared to put in the necessary physical preparation.We organise this trek at the best times of year for crossing the Thorong La. However, it may very occasionally be too dificult to cross the pass if there is an unseasonable snowfall, and in this event, we would have to retrace our route back down the Marsyangdi River.
    The Annapurna Circuit trek involves walking under quite a variety of conditions, but almost entirely on well-established trails. Except for the crossing of the Thorong La the walking is at intermediate altitude, but it is likely to fall below freezing on several nights.
    Group size and age
    Min. 2, max. 16, plus leader and appropriate local staff. Minimum age 18.


    Tough +

    Fitnes is important and you may have to improve yours before departure. Previous trekking experience is desirable and we got 6 day climbing days, but not vital if you are confident of your physical condition. Walking & Trekking: Trips are wholly trekking-focused and climbing .

Trip Notes

  • Do I need to take walking poles?
    If you are used to walking with trekking poles then take them with you, as you will probably find them useful especially on the way down. They are not essential though and the walk is manageable without them. It is mostly a personal preference but do remember to pack them as part of your main luggage to be stowed in the hold. If you decide later you'd like to have some, they are available to buy in Kathmandu.
    Any good tips for eating out in Kathmandu?
    Head down to the Everest Steak House in southern Thamel for a mouth watering steak and chips, well earned if you’re just back from trek. Finish it off with a cocktail in the legendary Tom & Jerry bar up the road!
    You can also head to Fire and Ice Pizzeria in Thamel, a great place with casual indoor and outdoor eating which is popular amongst travellers, and locals alike. This restaurant is a great place to meet for a morning cup of Italian espresso, or a hearty meal of delicious pizzas, pastas, ice cream and even a Grappa!
    Is there anywhere to store luggage while on trek?
    You will be packing your kitbag for the trek before you leave Kathmandu, and can leave your main luggage at the hotel in Kathmandu, where it will be stored securely free of charge. However, as with any destination, we recommend you keep valuables with you at all times.
    Any special food I should try in Kathmandu?
    This Nepalese version of dumplings/ wantons is a traditional delicacy and a must try local dish while you are in Nepal. Momo dumplings are either steamed or fried with chicken/or buff (water buffalo) as well as stuffed with vegetables for vegetarians and have become the most famous fast food amongst Nepalese and can be found on the menus of most restaurants serving locals and tourists alike.
    Kwanti soup
    This mixed bean soup is usually served during festivals and gatherings and now has made its way in many of restaurant menus. Goes well with Naan or roti bread.
    This is a typical Newari dish smoked meat (chicken; lamb or buffalo meat) tossed with spices and mustard oil. Easily available in most Nepalese and local restaurants in Kathmandu around Hotel.
    I have some free time in Kathmandu?
    If you are looking to do something off the beaten track just for half a day around Kathmandu, head out to Bungmati and Khokana. Just an hour drive on the outskirts of Kathmandu and you will find yourself in this sleepy little twin village where not much has changed in terms of construction, profession of people (most are still farmers, woodcarvers and weavers) or the pace of life. The twin villages are 15 minutes apart and you walk through the dirt trails, with farms and fields on either side. Should you have extra time and still want to do something, the Tibetan Refugee Settlement where you can see carpet weaving to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery falls half way on the way back from here to the Hotel.
    On a lodge or teahouse trek, how much spending money should I allow ?
    US $ 40 – US $ 50 per day is ample, but it is possible to spend less (and more!). Meals are usually pretty cheap but extras such as sweets or snacks will add a bit more to your budget. There are plenty of ATMs in Kathmandu, so you can withdraw more Nepalese currency if you are running short towards the end of your trip.
    Can I buy any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
    Yes. There are dozens of trekking shops in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Depending on how good your bartering skills are, you can usually pick up items for about one third of the price that you'll pay in the Europe / America and its more fun to bargain! However, please note we cannot guarantee the quaility of anything you may purchase so buyer beware.
    Should I get my Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
    Most of our clients choose to get their visas at Kathmadu airport. This may mean some time queuing, but the transfer bus won't leave for the hotel until all arriving passengers are through Immigration and have collected their bags. So if you have your visa in advance, you will avoid the visa queue but you won’t get to the hotel any earlier. If you'd like to get your visa in advance, please contact the Nepalese embassy direct.


Quick Inquiry