The Langtang Valley is located only 19 miles north of Kathmandu, close to the border of Tibet, below the main crest of the Himalaya. The valley is dominated by Langtang Lirung (7246m), the highest peak in the area. This trek with its optional climbs of Yala Peak offers a wonderful introduction to mountaineering in the Himalaya, among some of the most beautiful scenery in the whole of Nepal.
Our trek begins with a 6 hour drive to Dhunche. Initially we trek through sub-tropical jungle, then dense forest of oak, birch and pine before the valley opens out into alpine meadows and yak pastures. In the spring these high meadows are carpeted with a rich variety of alpine flowers – gentians, violets, edelweiss and premolars to name just a few – and the forests are also in full bloom with rare tree orchids and the colorful rhododendron. The Langtang forests are also known for their wildlife, including red pandas, Himalayan black bear, and wild boar and languor monkeys.
We trek up the valley to Kyangjin where we camp in a superb setting, dominated by the fluted north west face of Kangchenpo, whilst Kyangjin Ri provides a splendid viewpoint. From Kyangjin we move further up the valley to Yala, a small yersa (summer hamlet). Basing ourselves here allows time to walk to the top of Tsergo Ri (5066m), the highest point on a broad flat plateau. The views from here are as spectacular as anywhere in the Himalaya, a 360 degree panorama of snow capped mountains including Langtang Lirung, Pemthang Ri, Langshisha Ri, Dorje Lakpa, and Kangchenpo.
Our base at Yala peak provides us with the opportunity to climb Yala Peak (5500m). This is not technically difficult and provides good acclimatization The view from the summit is breathtaking – magnificent snow capped peaks all around and views across to the mountains of Tibet, including Shishapangma.
Arrive international airport in Kathmandu and free transport to Thamel, The hotel is centrally located in the Thamel area of Kathmandu which is renowned for its many restaurants, shops, bars, and nightclubs etc which cater for the tourists.
Today is a full day’s drive to Dhunche from where we will begin our trek.
From Dhunche the trail turns east down the village’s main street, using one or two short cuts to avoid the longer dirt road loops, crosses the Trishuli Khola and follows the contouring road to the village of Bharkhu. Climbing steeply from Bharkhu the trail reaches a ridge where we enter the Langtang valley. From here there are views north to the snow peaks in Tibet and, to the east, the top of Langtang Lirung can be seen. Descending, we come to the village of Syabru strung out along a ridge.
The main trail to Langtang descends along the ridge, through the village, then continues the descent to the Langtang Khola. We follow the river, climbing though uninhabited forest of oak and rhododendron alive with birds. Passing the single dwelling of Chongong we climb along a steep trail to our camp in the forest.
As we continue climbing there are occasional glimpses of Langtang Lirung between the trees. At Ghora Tabela [3000m], the trail emerges into open ground. There was once a Tibetan resettlement project here, but now it is a Nepalese army post though it has no permanent inhabitants. The trail continues to climb gently and the valley widens, passing a few temporary settlements used by herders who bring their livestock up to graze in the high pastures during the summer months. There is a monastery which we can visit shortly before arriving at the village of Langtang, the headquarters of the Langtang National Park. The houses of Langtang and neighboring villages are of Tibetan style, surrounded by stone walls enclosing fields of buckwheat, potatoes, wheat, turnips and barley.
The trail climbs gradually through small villages and yak pastures as the valley opens out further and the views become more extensive. After crossing several small streams and moraines, the trail reaches the settlement at Kyangjin. Here there is a small monastery and a government-operated cheese factory. We should arrive at Kyangjin by lunch time allowing time to acclimatise and explore the area.
A day to rest, acclimatise and explore the area. Near the village, visits can be made to the monastery and the cheese factory. We may walk up the moraine to the north where there is a spectacular view of Langtang Lirung and its hanging glaciers, or climb Kyangjin Ri, just behind the village, for a superb all round panorama.
From Kyangjin we continue further up the valley, climbing above the Langtang Khola and contouring around the hillside to the yersa at Yala. From our camp here there are tremendous views towards the peaks of Dorje Lakpa [7000m], Kangchenpo [6400m] and Lonpo Gang [7100m].
From our camp at Yala it is only a short way to the top of Tsergo Ri [5066m]. This is an ‘easy’ walk to the prayer flags and mani stones marking the summit, the highest point on a broad flat plateau. The views all around are spectacular, a 360 degree panorama of snow capped peaks including Langtang Lirung, Kimshun, Yanza Tsenji, Langtang Ri, Pemthang Ri, Langshisha Ri, Dorje Lakpa, Kangchenpo and Naya Kanga.
Our base at Yala provides us with the opportunity to climb Yala Peak, a glaciated peak to the north east of Yala. The climb is not difficult and provides good acclimatization and training for our climb, The climb is straightforward being little more than a walk up steep snow slopes of around 30 degrees. Ice axe and crampons will be needed and most of the climb will involve walking roped together up the glacier. This climb is a superb introduction to mountaineering in the Himalaya with magnificent mountain scenery all around and views across to the mountains in nearby Tibet, including Shisha pangma.
From Kyangjin we retrace our route, following the Langtang Khola to Langtang village and on to Ghora Tabela. After lunch we continue the steep descent to Lama Hotel.
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