Dhaulagiri Circuit trek
Nepal

Dhaulagiri Circuit trek in Nepal
  • TRIP TYPE: Mountaineering
  • TRIP GRADE: Strenuous
  • TRIP STYLE: Camping
  • TRIP LEADER: International Leader
  • GROUP SIZE: 5 - 14 people
  • NEXT DEPARTURE: 18 Apr 2021

Details

Dhaulagiri Circuit, also known as Dhaulagiri Round, is one of the best treks in the Nepal Himalaya. Dhaulagiri trekking trail crosses French Col and Dhampus Pass with both passes over 5,000m in altitude.

Dhaulagiri Circuit trek itinerary has a reputation for being one of the hardest in Nepal. Find out how difficult the Dhaulagiri trek is in practice and how we plan the logistics for this challenging trek. If you prepare for the trip and know what to expect you will have an incredible experience.

Trekking Dhaulagiri route explores a remote area in central Nepal. The trek starts through villages framed by views of the Dhaulagiri range. After Italian Base Camp we walk through Chonbarden gorge towards Dhaulagiri Base Camp. We cross French Pass at an altitude of 5,360m into Hidden Valley and camp  in Hidden Valley for two nights.

Mount Dhaulagiri is the seventh highest mountain in the world at an altitude of 8,167m. It was first climbed along the northeast ridge in 1960 by a team of Swiss and Austrian mountaineers.

On the day walk from Hidden Valley you can explore this area with our trekking guides. Our recommendation is to ascend a ridge on west side of valley. From here there is superb views of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Nilgiris and Annapurnas. On our Blog you can see photos and read about the walk from Hidden Valley

The second option from Hidden Valley is to climb Dhampus Peak at an altitude of 6,060m. You need mountaineering experience for this route. If you like to climb to the summit of Dhampus Peak there is an extra charge to cover the cost of the climbing permit.

After camping in Hidden Valley we cross Dhampus Pass at an altitude of 5,240m. From Yak Kharka we descend on a steep walking path to Marpha then to Jomsom located on Annapurna Circuit. We use the airstrip in this town for the flight back to Kathmandu via Pokhara.

This is a camping style trekking expedition where you sleep in tents and our cooks provide the meals.

  • We are Himalayan trekking specialists having operated trips in Nepal for many years. Roland Hunter has designed the itinerary from his first-hand experience of this trek.
  • The Mountain Company has organised fifteen treks around Dhaulagiri since 2008. For more information on how these treks went please take a look at our Trip Reports.
  • Our AITO Traveller Reviews for Dhaulagiri Circuit have a holiday rating of 100%. Based on client feedback we won the 2018 Gold Award as AITO Tour Operator of the Year. Read more about our Testimonials and Awards
  • We have included a gradual ascent profile in our itinerary. This will help you acclimatise to the high altitude.
  • We use Western branded tents for our camping treks in Nepal. These are high quality three person tents with space for two people plus gear.
  • We pay for private weather forecasts for the Dhaulagiri region from EverestWeather.com. We also use in house forecasting throughout the duration of this trek.
  • We send a Thuraya satellite phone on our group treks in Nepal. Your leader will have reliable communications for logistics, planning and group safety. We use GPS to upload your location daily on to Google Maps to track your progress during the trek.
  • We provide the porters with windproof jackets & trousers, crampons and shelter. We follow International Porter Protection Group (“IPPG”) guidelines.
  • We provide a range of tasty meals for breakfast, lunch and supper. We give everyone in the group a chocolate or muesli bar per day. For breakfast we provide fresh coffee from our Bialetti Moka coffee machine.
  • We bring a comprehensive medical aid kit. There will also be a portable altitude chamber (PAC or Gamow bag).
  • Our team with first hand knowledge of this trek provides pre trip support. During high season we have someone from our UK Operations team based in Kathmandu.

Route Map

Itinerary

Arrival in Kathmandu

None

Hotel Tibet

Flying into Kathmandu on a clear day is in itself an unforgettable experience. You will get your first view of Himalayan peaks as you make the descent to Kathmandu airport.
 
After clearing immigration, you will pass to the passenger pick-up area outside. Look out for The Mountain Company signboard and our representative will welcome you. We will drive you to the hotel and at some point in the afternoon your leader will give a full trek briefing.
 
The rest of the day will be yours to explore Kathmandu and to shop for anything that you might need for the trek. You can leave a bag at the hotel with any items not required to take with you on trek.
 
Today you will hear the Nepalese word for hello ‘Namaste’. You will never forget the warmth of the hospitality given by the people of Nepal.

 

Flight to Pokhara

Breakfast

Mount Kailash Resort

In the morning we take the flight to the lakeside town of Pokhara. The view of the Himalayas from the right side of the plane is spectacular. After checking to the hotel you have the rest of the day at leisure to explore Pokhara. In the evening the group will meet for a meal together at one of the excellent restaurants near the hotel.

Drive to Darbang (4 hours)

Walking for 4.5km (3 hours)

Walking ascent 515m

Walking descent 100m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

In the morning we drive via Beni to Darbang village. We should arrive in Darbang in the early afternoon where we meet the rest of our trek crew. After Darbang we cross the suspension bridge and soon after start the climb to Dharapani. Gurung and Chettri people live in this village. If the weather is clear you will get your first view of Dhaulagiri massif to the north.

Walking for 9km (5 hours)

Walking ascent 720m

Walking descent 265m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Mountaineering

From Dharapani we walk through the villages of Takum and Sibang. These are prosperous place with many terraced fields growing rice and wheat. During the hike today we pass traditional villages framed with mountain views. Many of the men in this area work overseas in the Middle East or in the British and Indian Gurkhas. There are good views of Gurja Himal and Puta Hiunchuli to the West. After crossing Dhara Khola on a suspension bridge we continue to the village of Muri. Most of the people living in this village are from the Magar ethnic caste.

Walking for 9km (7 hours)

Walking ascent 985m

Walking descent 535m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From the camp at Muri we descend to the bridge crossing over the Muri Khola. We walk through bamboo stands and clearings with fields and farmhouses. Further North the valley steepens and the trail is steep in places. We camp in the grounds of the primary school in Boghara village.

Walking for 6km (6 hours)

Walking ascent 950m

Walking descent 285m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

For the next few days we trek up the Myagdi Khola river. This valley receives high level of precipitation due to north to south orientation. As clouds approach from India in the South they climb over Mount Dhaulagiri at the end of the valley. The cooling effect of the uplift causes precipitation.  You should expect to get some rain in the afternoons although it usually clears off again in the evening. It is for this reason that there is lush sub-tropical forest up to Sallighari camp. Take care walking here as it is often slippery especially when hiking over tree roots.
 
From Boghara the trail follows the west bank of Myagdi Khola. We hike through an undulating trail in the forest. Look up to the cliffs high above the trail with large bees nests where villagers come to collect honey. We stop for lunch at Lipshe at 2,080m. Afterwards we continue walking in forest until we get to a clearing in the forest at Dobang. There are several basic teahouses and campsite.

Walking for 5km (5 hours)

Walking ascent 795m

Walking descent 110m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

The trail continues through dense, lush vegetation of ferns, bamboo and rhododendrons. We cross on a cantilever bridge over to the east bank of the Myagdi Khola. We camp for the night at a clearing in the forest called Sallaghari.

Walking for 4km (4 hours)

Walking ascent 520m

Walking descent 75m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

On leaving Sallaghari we walk through forest of pine trees, rhododendron and birch. Later on we are above the tree line and see heather, juniper and azaleas. The trail ascends to a grassy area on the lateral moraine at Italian Base Camp. High above camp is the impressive west face of Dhaulagiri. Tsaurabong Peak is visible on the other side of the valley.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We spend two nights at Italian Base Camp at an altitude of 3,660m for essential acclimatisation. In the morning we go for a walk to explore around Italian Base Camp and spend the afternoon relaxing in camp.

Walking for 6km (5 hours)

Walking ascent 735m

Walking descent

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Italian Base Camp the trail descends down a steep lateral moraine to the glacier. In the past we have fixed a rope here to help the group and trek crew although the trail has been recently improved.
 
We cross the glacier and then traverse along the moraine on the left side of the Chonbarden gorge. We hike through the loose rocks in the narrow Chonbarden gorge. In some years at the snout of the Chonbarden glacier we have to cross a fast flowing stream. We walk on the glacier for another hour to Glacier camp. There some ledges levelled in the ice of the glacier for our tents.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Today is another essential acclimatisation day before walking to Dhaulagiri Base Camp tomorrow. In the morning we walk up the glacier towards Base Camp to a large moraine ridge. From here there are fine views of Tukuche and the icefall on Dhaulagiri. This morning walk takes four hours return. In te afternoon we recommend you relax in camp as this helps your body adjust to the high altitude.

Walking for 5km (4 hours)

Walking ascent 650m

Walking descent 65m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We follow a rough trail along the moraine covered glacier to Dhaulagiri Base Camp. The view is impressive with Dhaulagiri I, Tukuche Peak and Little Eiger. Further to the west lies Dhaulagiri II (7,751m) and IV (7,618m). You can also see the start of the climbing route on Dhaulagiri through the icefall. In climbing season there are likely to be some expeditions camped on the moraine strip at Base Camp. Climbing Dhaulagiri is more popular with mountaineers in Spring season.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We have two nights at Dhaulagiri Base Camp as well as Italian Base Camp and Glacier Camp. By ascending to high altitude at a slow pace is to allow time for our body to adjust. It is critical for the group and trek crews' safety to be well acclimatised to camping in Hidden Valley at 5,000m.
 
In the past some groups have enjoyed going for a short walk towards French Pass. This can be helpful to check the condition of the trail for tomorrow's walk.
 
Your international leader will organise a training session to learn mountaineering skills. This will help those in the group who have no prior experience of using ice axe and crampons. You will need these skills for crossing the high passes to Jomsom.

Walking for 8km (7 hours)

Walking ascent 820m

Walking descent 320m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

After an early breakfast we walk out of Base Camp along the moraine strip. We cross over to the left hand side of the Upper Chonbarden glacier. We follow a lateral moraine ridge towards French Pass. From here there are are superb views back down the valley to Dhaulagiri I and Tukuche Peak.
 
The final ascent up to French Col starts from a cairn on the ridge . The approach to the pass is up moderate angled snow slopes. The summit of the pass marked by Buddhist prayer flags and cairns.  The view from the summit of the pass is superb. You can see Sita Chuchura, the peaks of the Mukut Himal, Tashi Kang, Tukuche Peak and of course Dhaulagiri I.
 
The descent from pass is on snow slopes as we enter into Hidden Valley. After a long descent you arrive to camp next to the river not far from the base of Dhampus Peak. In Hidden Valley there is sparse vegetation of isolated patches of moss and grass. This area is in an area affected by the rain shadow effect of Dhaulagiri massif.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Option 1: Exploration walk around Hidden Valley.
 
There are several options for day walks around Hidden Valley. One of the best options is to hike up a ridge on the western side of the valley. From the high point on the ridge there are incredible mountain views. You can see of Dhaulagiri, Nilgiris, Annapurnas and down the Hidden Valley. Please take a look at our blog for more information and photos from our day walk in October 2010
 
Option 2: Climb Dhampus Peak (6,060m).
 
We offer the option to climb Dhampus Peak at an altitude of 6,060m. Mountaineering experience and previous experience at high altitude is mandatory. If you would like to climb Dhampus Peak there is an extra cost to cover the climbing permit.
 
You start in early hours of the morning for climbing Dhampus Peak. This climb entails over 1,000m ascent from Hidden Valley at 5,050m to the summit at 6,060m. The route ascends on moderate snow slopes and scree along a ridge to the summit. The view is sensational with views to Dhaulagiri, Annapurnas and into Mustang.

Walking for 10km (9 hours)

Waking ascent 430m

Walking descent 1,400m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

This is a long day and by far the toughest on this trek. After an early start from camp we walk up a moderate snow slope to gain Dhampus pass at an altitude of 5,240m. There are views of Dhampus Peak to the left of the pass and to the right the beautiful ice flutings on Tukuche Peak.
 
From the summit of the pass the trail descends for about 100m before starting to traverse left. Depending on the snow and ice conditions crampons might be used for group & porters at this point. There is a long traverse on snow and rock usually taking about four hours. There are excellent views of Nilgiri and the western end of the Annapurna Massif. At a large cairn we start the steep descent to our camp at Alu Bari at an altitude of 3,480m.

Walking for 10km (5 hours)

Walking ascent 165m

Walking descent 970m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

There is a long descent today down to Marpha village located in the Kali Gandaki valley. Marpha has a Buddhist monastery, whitewashed houses and paved streets. It is also famous for its apple orchards so well worth stopping here to get a glass of apple juice at one of the lodges.
 
In Jomsom we stay at one of the lodges located near the airport. After hot showers you can explore Jomsom. In the evening the cooks will produce a special last meal together. Later on we will hand out tips to our crew as a thank you for all their hard work throughout the trek.

Flight to Pokhara & Kathmandu

Breakfast

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

We take an early morning flight to Pokhara then connect onto another flight to Kathmandu.
 
Important note: there is a significant safety risk when flying on airlines in Nepal. If you would like to avoid STOL flight from Jomsom to Pokhara there is an option to extend your trek by walking out. The hike to Beni takes three days followed by a 4 hour drive to Pokhara. A public bus from Jomsom to Pokhara takes one day if there are no delays along the way. There are also safety considerations with this option as driving in Nepal is risky too. For information about the flight risk in Nepal read our Trip Dossier. The relevant sections are “Threat and Risk Assessment” and “Jomsom STOL flight”.

Sightseeing in Kathmandu

Breakfast

Camping

This is a one day guided sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu Valley. We visit three out of the seven World Heritage Sites. You start off by visiting Patan Durbar Square. Afterwards you drive to the Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath. The last stop of the day at the Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath. The tour is likely to finish around 4pm and the rest of the day is free to further explore Kathmandu.
 
In the streets of Kathmandu there is a constant bustle of activity. In the bazaars and markets the farmers sell their vegetables and fruit. While the city has expanded over the last 10 years it is still possible to see traditional houses.

Flight back home

Breakfast

Transfer to Kathmandu airport for the flight back home.  End of trip.

Dates & Prices

We provide an early bird discount for the first people paying their deposits to make up our minimum group size

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2021

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 18 Apr 2021 to 07 May 2021 Trip Leader Jason Day Price US$3,215pp
US$3,115pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$300pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
Book Now
Dates 03 Oct 2021 to 22 Oct 2021 Trip Leader Ben Walker Price US$3,215pp
US$3,115pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$300pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
Book Now

2022

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 17 Apr 2022 to 06 May 2022 Trip Leader International Leader Price US$3,295pp
US$3,195pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$300pp
Availability 1 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
Book Now
Dates 02 Oct 2022 to 21 Oct 2022 Trip Leader International Leader Price US$3,295pp
US$3,195pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$300pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
Book Now

For private and bespoke trip, please contact us

Enquire Here

What's Included

  • All internal transport and transfers including airport collections.
  • Internal flights. The flights are Kathmandu to Pokhara and Jomsom to Pokhara & Kathmandu. The weight allowance is 15kg for your main bag checked into the hold and 5kg for your day pack.
  • One day sightseeing in Kathmandu with Nepalese cultural guide and private vehicle.
  • Twin share rooms at Hotel Tibet or Ambassador in Kathmandu and in Pokhara at Hotel Mount Kailash.
  • Breakfast only in Kathmandu and Pokhara, all meals included while on trek.   
  • Twin share tents while on trek using our Western branded tents. These are three person domed tents with plenty of space for two people sharing plus gear.
  • Trekking arrangements. Including permits and fees, tents, International and Sherpa guides, porters and cooks.
  • Porterage. The allowance for your main bag is 18kg (or 20kg for those climbing Dhampus Peak too).
  • Weather forecasts for Dhaulagiri region from EverestWeather.com.
  • Thuraya satellite phone for organising logistics and medical evacuations. It can also be also used for personal calls at extra cost.
  • GPS tracking on Google Maps. Your friends and family can track your progress during the trek.
  • Trekking map given to you on arrival to Kathmandu.
  • Rubberised luggage tag posted to you before departure.
  • Full financial protection. Our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) number is 10921. Our Association of Bonded Travel Operators Trust (ABTOT) membership number is 5365).
  • Pre departure support and advice from The Mountain Company. We are available by email, phone or face to face meetings.

What's Not Included

  • International flight to/from Kathmandu.
  • Travel & trekking insurance.
  • Nepal visa for 30 days.
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu.
  • If you like to climb Dhampus Peak there is an extra charge to cover the cost of climbing permit.
  • Personal clothing & equipment, please see the Appendix for suggested kit list.
  • Tips.  Each trekker should budget for giving tips into the group fund. This should be in region of 21,000 Nepalese rupees (£135, US$175 or €150)
  • Other items not listed in “What is included”.

Accommodation

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

Hotel Tibet is in Lazimpat next to the Radisson. This is our usual hotel for our standard trips in Nepal.

We have used Hotel Tibet for over 15 years and our clients have enjoyed staying at this property. It has a good location, comfortable rooms and high level of service. There is a garden terrace next to the restaurant on the ground floor. On the fifth floor there is a roof terrace with the Yeti Bar overlooking the city.


Camping in Nepal

We use both Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1s and Quechua tents for our camping treks in Nepal.

Mount Kailash Resort in Pokhara

Mount Kailash Resort is in a good location along a quieter section of Pokhara Lakeside. It has fine views of the lake and the mountains.

This is a modern property with an attractive garden and swimming pool. The rooms are spacious with attached bathrooms. The rooms have television, air-condition and free Wi Fi.


Practical Information

Typical Day On Camping Trek in Nepal

We provide a comfortable experience on our camping style treks in Nepal. Our team works hard to support you so that you can relax and enjoy the trek. We provide personal tents, mess tent, kitchen tent and toilet tent(s). The camp will be set up and dismantled by the trek crew. We bring along a cook and kitchen helpers to provide the meals.

The day starts with an early morning mug of tea brought to your tent by one of the trek crew. Before heading for breakfast you pack your overnight gear into your duffel bag. During breakfast the trek crew pack away the tents. The porters arrange their loads and set off on the trail in the cool of the morning. After breakfast, between 7am and 8am, we start walking.

The pace of the trek is moderate as there is plenty of time in the itinerary to reach the camp for tonight. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, take photos and explore the local villages. Lunch will be around midday at a spot by the side of the trail. Our cooks prepare lunch for us and the food is usually ready by the time the group arrives.

After lunch we continue the walk and on most days we arrive to camp by mid afternoon. Some of the trek crew would have gone ahead of the group to set up camp and to put up the tents. On arrival to camp you will get a hot drink and biscuits. In the evening our cook will provide a three course meal in the mess tent around 6pm.

After supper the leaders will discuss the plan for the next day. Afterwards people might stay in the mess tent chatting about the day’s events or playing cards. After a tiring day most people head to their tent quite early for the night. Tomorrow is likely to be very similar as today! The only difference is that if we are crossing a high pass or climbing to a summit we leave camp earlier in the morning.

Food provided on Camping Trek in Nepal

While on a camping style trek in Nepal we provide tasty and nutritional food. We make sure there is more than enough quantity to go around as trekkers will be hungry after a long day on the trail. Over the years we have worked on increasing the variety of the menus. We have expanded the list of ingredients provided to the cooks so they have more to work with. Also in 2015 we purchased two food dehydrators with a vacuum sealing machine. We dehydrate a large number of different vegetables in Kathmandu before departure. This has transformed the quality of food especially on longer treks to remote areas.

For breakfast we provide porridge or cereal, toast or chapatis and eggs. There will be hot drinks including tea, herbal teas, hot chocolate and coffee. We provide fresh coffee from our Bialetti Moka coffee machine.

For lunch we stop at a convenient spot with water at the side of the trail. The cook and kitchen walk ahead of the group in the morning and lunch should be ready shortly after our arrival. After lunch we have time to relax before starting to walk again in the afternoon.

On arrival at camp in the afternoon you have biscuits and a hot drink such as tea or coffee. Around 6pm we serve a three course meal in the mess tent. The starter is often soup with popcorn or poppadums. We have a range of main dishes and carbohydrates including rice, potatoes or pasta.

We cater for a variety of dietary requirements. Our meals are suitable for vegetarians. If there is a meat dish then we also provide vegetarian options as standard. During booking we find out if you have any dietary needs and agree upon meal plans before departure. If you have any questions about the food provided please get in touch with us to discuss further.

Communications

We bring a Thuraya satellite phone for logistical, safety and personal use. Personal calls charged at £4 (US$5 or €4.50) per minute and £2 (US$3 €4.50) to send and receive SMS text.

Kit List for Dhaulagiri Circuit trek

This is the mandatory kit list for the safety of everyone in the group and to ensure a successful trek. You must have the following items tailored for Dhaulagiri Circuit trek. The group leader will check your gear in Kathmandu before departure for the trek.

As a reminder, the weather on this trek will vary season to season and day to day as you ascend to higher elevations. At the start of the trek you will experience hot and humid conditions. The temperatures are often up to 25 to 30 Celsius. You experience the coldest temperatures in Hidden Valley at an altitude of 5,050m. The overnight lows can go down to around -15 Celsius.

You should bring a rucsac or backpack for gear required during the day. Your pack should contain items such as warm clothes, jacket, camera, water bottles, personal first aid kit and snacks. The weight limit is 5kg. A porter will carry the rest of your personal equipment packed in a duffel or kit bag. The weight limit for your duffel bag is 18kg (or 20kg for those climbing Dhampus Peak). Please mark your bag on the outside for easy identification.

Print the kit list and tick items off as you pack them then weigh your kit bag before you come on trek.

Footwear

  • Walking Boots. A pair of water repellent boots with ankle support. Boots must be in good condition, the best approach is to get new boots and break in before the trek. Over the years we have had several boots fall apart so you should also bring trail shoes as a backup.
  • Trail shoes. Used around camp and as a replacement if your walking boots fall apart!
  • Sandals. Enclosed sandals are best to protect your feet during river crossings. Required for river crossings as well as two trekking poles.
  • Walking socks.

Clothing

  • Waterproof and Windproof jacket (with hood) and trousers (goretex or similar). For use if it rains or snows during the trek and in windy conditions.
  • Trekking trousers. (eg. Mountain Hardwear Mesa V2 or The North Face Paramount Peak).
  • Soft Shell Trousers.
  • Long sleeve tops or shirts (not cotton).
  • Micro fleece.
  • Mid to heavyweight fleece or synthetic/ primaloft top.
  • Sleeveless/ gilet or body warmer type fleece / synthetic top. This will help keep your core warm while not bulking when layering up. Gilet used in combination with base layers, other fleeces and down jacket. This provides the most warmth and insulation.
  • Thermals or base layer for top & bottom (merino wool or synthetic).
  • Fleece or synthetic leggings. Worn around the camp or added as a layer when the temperatures start to drop higher up.
  • Medium weight down jacket.

Heads and Gloves

  • Fleece gloves.
  • Warms mittens and/or gloves.
  • Wool or fleece hat.
  • Sun hat.
  • Bandana or scarf. (eg. Buff Headwear or buy a #myTMCbuff).
  • Head torch. Bring extra batteries.
  • Sunglasses. The lenses need to be Category 4 rated. They should have side protection or wraparound design.

For crossing the passes

  • Mountaineering ice axe with leash.
  • Crampons. The best are universal crampons that you can use with trekking boots. Such as Stubai Universals or Kahtoola KTS crampons.
  • Helmet (mandatory as there is risk of rock fall in Chonbarden gorge).
  • Trekking poles (Black Diamond with “Flick Lock” are best). Having two poles is mandatory. For your safety on steep and loose sections of the trail, river crossings and if there is deep snow higher up.
  • Gaiters. A pair of knee high gaiters used to keep boots dry if walking through deep snow or on wet ground.

Climbing equipment for Dhampus Peak

  • Climbing harness. Plus two 60cm slings, four screw gate carabiners, Figure 8 belay device and 3m of 5mm static cord for prusiks. [we have a limited number of “Harness packs” for rent. Please contact TMC office for further prices and availability].
  • Jumar ascender (eg. Petzl handled ascender).
  • Mountaineering boot suitable for 6,000m peak (eg. Scarpa Phantom Guide).

Personal equipment

  • Sleeping bag. Overnight lows down to -15 Celsius. It is possible to rent a bag from Shonas Rental in Kathmandu.
  • Fleece or silk liner for your sleeping bag. A liner protects your sleeping bag from getting dirty. Also helps by adding extra insulation to keep you warm at night.
  • Sleeping mat (eg.Thermarest). On trek we provide everyone with a foam mat. We recommend two layers for insulation and comfort. We also provide everyone with a pillow.
  • Day pack. Recommended size is around 40 litres. You need to have enough space to carry water bottles, camera, snacks and extra clothing and climbing gear. The pack should have a good waist belt. It is also a good idea to bring a rain cover to keep the contents dry.
  • Stuff sacks for keeping your gear dry and organised. Or even better are fold- drybags such as from Exped.
  • Two water bottles (Nalgene wide mouth bottles are the best).  You may use a hydration pack lower down but the tube will freeze in the cold so ensure you still have 2 water bottles.
  • Pee bottle. Recommended as means you do not have to get up to find toilet tent at night! For men you can use an old water bottle for women take a look at SheWee.
  • Sunscreen and lip salve with a high SPF.
  • Water purification tablets (Pristine, Biox Aqua or Aqua Mira).
  • Favourite snack food.
  • Books and cards etc.
  • Camera with spare batteries and memory cards.
  • Insurance certificate.
  • Earplugs (optional).
  • Baby wipes (optional).
  • Hand sanitizer. Keep this in your day pack for use after a toilet break during the trek or before eating any snacks. We provide sanitizer for use before meals.

Travelling

  • Duffle bag for your personal gear on the trek (carried by a porter). Rugged and waterproof made of a plastic material. Size 100-120 litres. Eg. Mountain Equipment 100l or Rab 120l. Bring a small combination padlock to secure the bag.
  • Travel clothes. You will need casual clothing for air travel days and time spent in Kathmandu.
  • Toiletry bag with soap, travel towel, toothbrush etc. We provide toilet paper while on trek.

Personal first aid kit

We provide a comprehensive group first aid kit.  Please bring personal medications and other items you might use such as:

  • Any personal medications.
  • Blister treatment (Compeed patches are the best)
  • Rehydration powder (eg Dioralyte).
  • Analgesics (paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin).
  • Plasters and zinc oxide tape.
  • Throat lozenges.
  • Diamox (helps with acclimatisation).

Risk assessment for Dhaulagiri Circuit trek

We have performed a threat and risk assessment for this trek. Our trips have a degree of risk. This is part of the attraction of adventure travel and why so many people choose to join this type of holiday. By identifying the hazards on Dhaulagiri Circuit we assess the level of risk. We have control measures in places to reduce this happening or to reduce the impact.

Our risk assessment is available to clients on request. We have listed below a summary of the significant risks and hazards identified by us:

  • Falls and trips resulting in physical injury eg. slipping on ice or falling off the path.
  • Altitude illness including but not limited to AMS, HACE and HAPE.
  • Getting lost or becoming separated from group eg. crossing Dhampus pass in whiteout.
  • Severe bad weather and conditions when camping eg. in Hidden valley at 5,000m.
  • Climatic injuries (dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion, hypothermia or heat stroke). Please note during the months of April and October it will be very hot and humid for the first three days of the trek.
  • Crossing a river with no bridge resulting in drowning and/ or a fall.
  • Rock fall and landslides eg walking in Chonbarden gorge.
  • Snow and ice avalanches e.g. crossing French and Dhampus passes.
  • Lightning strike.
  • Wildlife, pack animals (e.g. donkeys or horses) or stray dogs. Pack animals can knock people off the path. Dogs can attack and bite. Discuss rabies vaccination with your doctor.
  • Earthquake.
  • Risk of fire in the hotel or lodge.
  • Endemic local diseases. Discuss vaccinations with your doctor before departure.
  • Physiological injury. Such as heart attack, appendicitis, hernia, toothache etc. in a remote area.
  • Road traffic or flight accidents. Read paragraph “Internal flight".
  • Contaminated food and/ or water.

This trip visits a remote area. You are away from the usual emergency services and medical facilities.  Evacuation for a serious injury requiring hospitalisation could take up to several days.  This delay could impede your ensuing recovery. Helicopters are the usual means of evacuation. They are not always available or  hindered by poor weather and flying conditions.

Internal Flights in Nepal

Flights from Nepal’s Short Take-Off & Landing (“STOL”) airstrips are dependent on weather. Delays often happen if there is poor visibility or high winds.For our itineraries with flights to or from STOL we include one extra day in Kathmandu at the end of the trip. This is in case of delays flying back. If the delays are longer we will help reschedule your international flights. There is likely to be a fee charged by the airline for this. You also have to pay for costs incurred in Kathmandu as a result of the delay such as accommodation and meals.

You should read the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (“FCDO”) travel advice to Nepal. For their latest advice take a look at their Safety & Security section under Air TravelThere have been some recent air accidents in Nepal. The European Union has banned Nepalese airlines from flying to Europe. For more information on Nepal’s air safety profile take a look at Aviation Safety Network.

Weather and conditions for Dhaulagiri Circuit trek

Dhaulagiri Circuit trek has a wide range of temperatures. This depends on the season, altitude and time of day. In the mountains between 1,000m and 3,500m the nights will be cool around 5 Celsius. During the day temperatures sometimes rise to 25 Celsius. At higher altitudes temperatures range from about 15 Celsius to -15 Celsius.

The trekking season in Nepal is late September to May. October and November is generally recognised as having the best weather. Spring is a popular time of year with warmer weather than in Autumn. Also there is the advantage of seeing spring flowers and rhododendrons in bloom.

We have written a blog article When is the best time to go trekking in Nepal Himalaya? This has information about the weather and conditions in Spring and Autumn seasons. It also explains the differences between the trekking regions of Nepal. 

Suggested reading and maps for Dhaulagiri Circuit trek

Maps

Dhaulagiri (Nepa Trekking Maps) by Map Himalayan Maphouse 1:87,500. We include this map in your welcome pack when you arrive in Nepal.

Books

Annapurna by Maurice Herzog

The Ascent of Rum Doodle by WE Bowman

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