Saribung Expedition
Nepal

On summit of Saribung La at 6,042m
  • TRIP TYPE: Mountaineering
  • TRIP GRADE: Challenging
  • TRIP STYLE: Camping
  • TRIP LEADER: International Leader
  • GROUP SIZE: 5 - 12 people
  • NEXT DEPARTURE: 07 Oct 2021

Details

Saribung Expedition is an adventurous trip from Phu village through a very remote region to the semi-independent Kingdom of Upper Mustang near the Tibet border

After leaving the Annapurna Circuit at Chame/ Koto we walk to the isolated village of Phu then from there walk up the remote Phu valley. At the head of this valley we cross the rarely trekked Saribung La pass (6,042m) to enter Upper Mustang. There is the option to climb Saribung peak from the pass which is another 300m higher (6,328m).

Upper Mustang is arid and dry with colourful rock formations containing many cave dwellings high up in the cliffs. The first trekking parties were allowed into Upper Mustang in 1992 and it is one of the few places left where one can see undisturbed Tibetan culture.

Our itinerary has been carefully designed for gradual acclimatisation to high altitude in order to maximise your chances of safely crossing Saribung La pass and making an ascent of Saribung peak. Acclimatisation works much better by starting from Phu side and before our approach to Saribung we trek up to Pokharkang Base Camp (5,030m). This trail is rarely visited by other trekkers and is a beautiful valley is rarely visited with blue sheep often seen grazing near Base Camp.

Saribung Peak would be a suitable objective if you have trekked to high altitude on previous trips and have basic mountaineering skills including use of ice axe and crampons. If you are interested in joining this group and would like to check whether this trip is a suitable objective for you please send in your pre trip application through our website and we will reply with feedback and any further training required.

  • We are Himalayan trekking specialists and we have been operating trips in Nepal for many years. Roland Hunter, owner and founder of The Mountain Company, has modified this itinerary based on his first-hand experience of this region.
  • We organised a group expedition to climb Saribung in April/ May 2019 and also a reconnaissance expedition led by Jo Clark in November 2018 where she and our Nepalese crew successfully crossed Saribung La pass. For more information on how these expeditions went please take a look at our Trip Reports.
  • We work with some of the best mountain leaders and guides with deep knowledge and experience of the Himalaya and Karakoram. Unlike many other operators we still allocate appropriately trained international leaders for more remote and technical trips like Saribung Expedition.
  • Our itinerary has been carefully designed for gradual acclimatisation to high altitude in order to maximise your chances of safely crossing Saribung La pass and making an ascent of Saribung peak. Acclimatisation works much better by starting from Phu side and before our approach to Saribung we trek up to Pokharkang Base Camp (5,030m). This trail is rarely visited by other trekkers and is a beautiful valley with blue sheep often seen grazing near Base Camp.
  • Read our AITO Traveller Reviews for Saribung Expedition where our overall holiday rating is 100%. Our approach to organising trips in the Himalayas has helped The Mountain Company win awards such as 2018 Gold Award as AITO Tour Operator of the Year and 2015 Bronze Award as AITO Tour Operator of the Year.
  • Western branded tents are used for all of our camping treks in Nepal. These are high quality three person domed tents with plenty of space for two people sharing plus gear.
  • The Mountain Company will receive bespoke weather forecasts for the Saribung region from EverestWeather.com and from our in house forecasting throughout the duration of this trek.
  • We send a Thuraya satellite phone on all of our treks in Nepal. It is essential for your guide to have reliable communications with us for logistics, planning and group safety. We use GPS on Thuraya satellite phone to upload daily your location on to Google Maps so your friends and family can track your progress during the trek.
  • We provide all porters with windproof jacket & trousers, crampons and shelter as per International Porter Protection Group (“IPPG”) guidelines.
  • There will be a range of tasty meals for breakfast, lunch and supper. We give everyone in the group one chocolate or muesli bar per day (Mars, Twix, Bounty etc) and also provide Pringles and biscuits at tea time. For breakfast every morning we provide fresh coffee from our Bialetti Moka coffee machine.
  • We bring a comprehensive first aid kit plus high altitude medicine, antibiotics and other medicines. There will also be a portable altitude chamber (PAC or Gamow bag).
  • Pre trip support will be given by our Operations team with first hand knowledge of Saribung Expedition. During high season we have a TMC representative from our UK Operations team based in Kathmandu.

Route Map

Itinerary

Arrival in Kathmandu

No meals

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

Flying into Kathmandu on a clear day is in itself an unforgettable experience, with the Nepalese Himalaya sprawling out below you. After customs, you will pass out of the restricted area and into the passenger pick-up area outside the building. You will see a Mountain Company signboard and our representative will be waiting to welcome you to Nepal. Please provide travel plans on booking and we will arrange the pick-up and transfer.

Breakfast

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

Today your leader will brief you on the expedition and check your gear for the trip. We will take your passports from you at the briefing and then we will visit the government offices to obtain the expedition permits. For the rest of the day you can explore Kathmandu and purchase any last minute items for the trek.

Drive to Jagat (10 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We leave Kathmandu early in the morning by private bus. It is a scenic drive with several picturesque gorges and occasional glimpses of mountain peaks. At Dumre we turn off the Pokhara highway and drive north following Marsyangdi River to Besisahar. We drive beyond this town passing a new hydro-plant being built at Bhulbule by the Chinese until we arrive at Ngadi. At this village we will change vehicles from our bus to local jeeps then continue the drive to Jagat where we camp in the garden of a lodge.

During the months of April, May and October it will very hot and humid with temperatures often more than 30 Degrees Celsius for the first few days of the trek. We have chosen the months of April/ May and October as these months are likely to have optimal conditions for crossing the Saribung La pass and climbing Saribung peak. It is important to bring plenty of water, wear a sun hat and apply sun cream.

Walking 16km (7 hours)

Walking ascent 950m

Walking descent 330m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Today we will walk up to Dharapani.  Shortly after leaving Jagat, there are views of the impressive 200m Chamje waterfall before dropping to the river and crossing to return to the quieter east side of the valley. The dirt road, which now runs all the way into the Annapurna Circuit, is on the west side of the valley; we avoid this, enjoying the wildlife, flora, terraces and small farms and an occasionally excellent path of large stone steps climbing and descending the spurs of the valley.  

The trail passes through huge boulders fallen from the mountains above. There is a steep but spectacular ascent on a good trail to the beautiful and colourful village of Tal, which lies in a wide flat valley. After about four hours walking we have lunch at Tal. 

After lunch there is a dramatic section of the trail along the base of a cliff next to the Marsyangdi River. Landslides on the east bank make the trail here impassable and we have to cross the river to the west bank where we join the dirt jeep track for a short section into Dharapani. There is a good selection of campsites, shops and a telephone point in the town. After about three hours hiking in the afternoon, the camp is at 1,940m.

Walking 13km (6 hours)

Walking ascent 900m

Walking descent 300m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

There is a permit checkpoint leaving Dharapani and then we pass through the picturesque villages of Bagarchapp and Timang and we start to get views of the Annapurnas, Lamjung Himal and if it is clear, Manaslu, appears on the left skyline looking back down the valley and Peak 29 is on the right. On this day, we hike for 5 to 6 hours into Koto located at 2,600m. 

We start off with a permit checkpoint immediately leaving Koto and then leave the Annapurna Circuit to enter the Naar Khola valley. This trail is much quieter and less frequented by trekkers. 

The trail is excellent and wanders initially through pine forests and then the valley narrows to a spectacular gorge with the river a torrent running through it. The path wanders around pine-clad spurs, crossing the Naar Khola after a short descent to a bridge. There is a small hot spring some 50 metres downstream of this bridge and although the path can be slippery, the spring is natural is worth the 5-minute detour. 

After about four hours of walking we stop in a small clearing in the pine forests where there are a few tea houses. We stay here for the night as this is required for acclimatisation to high altitude as otherwise if one pushes on there is a rapid ascent profile to Phu village located at 4,080m.

Walking 17km (8 hours)

Walking ascent 1,440m

Walking descent

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We start off with a permit checkpoint immediately leaving Koto and then leave the Annapurna Circuit to enter the Naar Khola valley. This trail is much quieter and less frequented by trekkers. 

The trail is excellent and wanders initially through pine forests and then the valley narrows to a spectacular gorge with the river a torrent running through it. The path wanders around pine-clad spurs, crossing the Naar Khola after a short descent to a bridge. There is a small hot spring some 50 metres downstream of this bridge and although the path can be slippery, the spring is natural is worth the 5-minute detour. 

After about four hours of walking we stop in a small clearing in the pine forests where there are a few tea houses. We continue to ascend the valley then cross behind a waterfall near a clearing in the forest at 3,250m called Dharmasala. After this village, there is a short steep section for a further hour into the terraced village of Meta (also known as Methang), which is used by some people from Naar as a winter retreat. Meta is above the tree line and here the valley begins to open out to provide superb views of the surrounding area, including a view of Mount Kang Garu.

Walking 8km (5 hours)

Walking ascent 900m

Walking descent 350m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

This is a shorter day to allow for some rest and acclimatisation. Leaving camp we contour along the valley, passing through some derelict villages until we reach Kyang. Kyang is also an abandoned village but there are now some tea houses there which have been built in the past few years to provide accommodation to trekkers in the valley.

Walking 8km (4 hours)

Walking ascent 850m

Walking descent 760m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Today we will contour the valley climbing slowly as the trail follows the Layiju Khola following a number of ridges in and out to reach the gates of Pu village. After the gates we will continue along the river side and finally cross onto the far bank to reach the village. There will be time in the afternoon to explore this unique and beautiful village perched on the hillside.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

This is an essential day for acclimatisation. We will do a short walk in the morning to gain altitude and help us acclimatise. We have the option to walk towards Himlung Base Camp or in the other direction towards the Naar Phu pass, finishing with a visit to the Tibetan influenced hilltop monastery just outside the village.

Walking 5km (4 hours)

Walking ascent 700m

Walking descent 100m

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

To make our way further up the valley, we cross back over the river and climb steeply to 4450m. As we move above Phu, the tea houses and trekkers disappear and the trail becomes more remote. We contour the hillside, walking past a number of Stupas before descending into the last abandoned village of the valley - Nagarou - where we will camp for the night. Blue sheep are often seen around the village along the valley sides, as well as many domestic yaks. Look out for the cave above the village.

Walking 7km (6 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Below the village of Nagouro, there is a bridge and here we will cross to the other side of the river and follow the trail which rises steeply then contours to a Yak herders camp. From here we will continue following the river until we turn into a small remote valley. A 300 metre climb from here will take us to our camp.

Few groups take this route as those descending from the pass take a more direct route straight down the glacier and the Khamjunggar Khola. However we will slowly make our way up this valley and over a pass to the join the glacier at the top of the Khamjnggar Khola so that we can take time to acclimatise. We walk along a beautiful trail up the valley towards Pokharkang Base Camp.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

This is an exploration day to help our acclimatisation around Pokharkang Base Camp. As this valley is rarely visited, blue sheep are often seen grazing here. We will go on an acclimatisation walk toward the lake above camp.

Walking 3km (3 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Today we will take a short walk over a beautiful pass at 5,190m. After climbing for about an hour and a half we reach the pass and will be able to see the beginning of the glacier and Bhrikuti base camp. The descent is on a poorly defined trail until we reach the river and cross to rejoin the main trail on the Khamjunggar Khola. From here we will spend 3 nights on the glacier as we make our way slowly along to set ourselves up for crossing the Saribung La. 

Walking 4km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Today we will be walking along glacial moraine for the whole day. It will be rocky and uneven with lots of up and down and there may be icy sections of trail. We will camp part way up the glacier in order to acclimatise fully before moving to high camp tomorrow.

Walking 3km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Today we continue to walk up the glacier on similar terrain as yesterday with the views getting better as we ascend towards high camp and our first glimpse of Saribung Peak. This final climb will put us in a good position to cross that pass tomorrow.

Walking 11-13km (10 to 12 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Ascend Sarabung

We will start out early and make our way for about an hour over the final section of glacial moraine before reaching crampon point at 5,910m. Here we will rope together and navigate our way for about 2 hours around the crevasses to the pass.

From the pass we will make the 300m climb to the summit of Saribung before returning to the pass and descending towards the high camp on the other side. After a short section on the glacial moraine we will cross the icy glacier to reach the far side of the Khumjungar Glacier. From here it is about 3 hours to Japanese Base Camp and the end of the Khumjungar Glacier and the rocky terrain.

Walking 5km (3 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From Japanese Base Camp we will continue down to Damodar Kunda which is a important Hindu religious site. It is believed that if you are submerged in the lake, you will be freed of all sin. Moving further down the valley we reach French camp and set ourselves up to climb over our first pass of the Upper Mustang region.

Walking 10km (5 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We ascend on small trails through some landslide areas for about 3 hours to reach 5,450m on the Batsyak Pass. From here we will see the first good views of Upper Mustang before traversing gently down to start with then a final steep descent into the Paisye Khola to spend the night at Bacha Khola Camp. This camp, along with Ghuma Thati are camps used for the pilgrimages to Damodar Kunda. For this reason there are a number of basic tin roofed buildings for shelter.  We will camp next to these.

Walking 7km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

This morning we will climb steeply out of camp and then contour round and up towards the Kyumu La for about 3 hours. From here you can see a great view of Dhaulagiri.  It is then a steep descent into the Kyumupanin Khola and a final hour walking down the river to the camp at Ghuma Thati.  From this campsite there are breathtaking views looking out towards Upper Mustang. 

Walking 14km (7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Today we will trek to Yara, the first village we have seen in over a week. After a climb of about an hour and a half to the high point (4,930m) we traverse around the edge of the mountain until we reach a ridgeline and begin our descent towards Luri Gompa. When we reach the Puyung Khola, we will follow it down to the village of Yara. 

Walking 7km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

A pleasant walk down the river valley as we leave Yara and cross Kali Gandaki over to Charang village where we take jeeps tomorrow down to Jomsom.

Jeep to Jomsom (8 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

Today we travel by jeep as the new road has taken over from the trekking route. We drive through Chele and then change jeeps at Chusang and continue through Tangbe to Jomsom. We stay in a lodge near the airport and then in the evening we will have a party with our amazing crew. We will also hand out tips to our crew as a thank you for all their hard work throughout the trek.

Flights to Pokhara & Kathmandu

Breakfast

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

We take an early morning flight to Pokhara then onto Kathmandu. We will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in Kathmandu where you can then spend the rest of the day doing what you please.

Sightseeing in Kathmandu

Breakfast

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

This is a one day guided sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu Valley visiting three out of the seven World Heritage Sites. You will start off by visiting Patan Durbar Square then drive to the Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath followed by 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 as well as to pack your bags for the trek starting tomorrow morning. You can leave a bag at the hotel with items not needed on trek.

Three major towns are located in the valley, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, each having a great artistic and architectural tradition. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city in the country. Patan, the second largest is separated from Kathmandu by a river. Bhaktapur, the third largest, is towards the eastern end of the valley and its relative isolation is reflected in its slower pace and more distinctly mediaeval atmosphere.

In the streets of Kathmandu there is a constant bustle of activity, especially in the bazaars and markets where the farmers sell their vegetables and fruit as well as products imported from China and India. While the city has dramatically expanded over the last 10 years, on the outskirts of the valley it is still possible to see traditional houses set in landscape sculpted by contours of the paddy fields. These villages are alive with the colours of farm produce, ranging from pyramids of golden grain to the vivid red chillies of laid out on mats drying in the sun.

Flight home

Breakfast

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

Dates & Prices

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2021

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 07 Oct 2021 to 31 Oct 2021 Trip Leader Cory Jones Price US$5,395pp
US$5,295pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$520pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
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2022

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 21 Apr 2022 to 15 May 2022 Trip Leader International Leader Price US$5,495pp
US$5,395pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$520pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
Book Now
Dates 06 Oct 2022 to 30 Oct 2022 Trip Leader International Leader Price US$5,495pp
US$5,395pp
Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$240pp / US$520pp
Availability 5 Left to Guarantee
Early Bird Discount
Book Now

For private and bespoke trip, please contact us

Enquire Here

What's Included

  • Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit  (US$500). 
  • Peak permit to climb Saribung (if this option is chosen).
  • Internal flight from Jomsom to Pokhara and onto Kathmandu.
  • All transfers including airport collections.
  • One day sightseeing in Kathmandu with Nepalese cultural guide and private vehicle.
  • Twin share room at Hotel Tibet or Hotel Ambassador in Kathmandu.
  • Breakfast only in Kathmandu, all meals included while on trek.   
  • Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1 tents are used for our Saribung Expedition. These are expedition grade tents for three person with plenty of space for two people sharing plus gear.
  • All trekking arrangements including permits and fees, tents, western leader, Sherpa guide, ponies, porters and cook.
  • The porterage allowance for your main bag to be carried by a porter is 20kg. 
  • Bespoke weather forecasts for Damodar Himal region from EverestWeather.com throughout the duration of this expedition.
  • Thuraya satellite phone for organising logistics and medical evacuations, it can also be also used for personal calls at extra cost.
  • We use GPS on Thuraya satellite phone to upload daily your location onto Google Maps so 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 for all monies paid to us through our membership of Association of Bonded Travel Operators Trust (our ABTOT membership number is 5365) and having an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (our ATOL number is 10921).
  • Pre departure support and advice from The Mountain Company by email, phone or face to face meetings in London. After booking with us we will send our comprehensive “Nepal Pre Trip Information” notes.

What's Not Included

  • International flight to/from Kathmandu.
  • Travel & trekking insurance.
  • Nepal visa for 30 days.
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu.
  • Personal clothing & equipment, please see the Appendix for suggested kit list.
  • Entrance to the monasteries in Lo Manthang (US$10)
  • Tips. Each trekker should allow for tip amounts into the group fund of 21,000 Nepalese rupees equivalent to £150, US$200 or €170.
  • Other items not listed in “What is included”.

 

Accommodation

Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu

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

We have used Hotel Tibet for over 15 years and our previous clients enjoy staying at this property due to its good location, comfortable rooms and high level of service. There is a garden terrace next to the restaurant on the ground floor and the 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.

Practical Information

A Typical Day On Camping Trek

The day starts with an early morning mug of tea brought to your tent by one of the assistant guides. Before heading over to the mess tent for breakfast you will pack your overnight gear into your duffel bag. During breakfast the tents will be packed away and, after the porters have arranged their loads, they will set off on the trail in the cool of the morning. After breakfast, probably between 7am and 8am, we start walking. The pace of the trek is leisurely with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, take photos and explore the local villages. Lunch will be around 11am at a spot by the side of the trail and is prepared for us by the cooks.


There is more walking after lunch and normally you will get into camp by mid afternoon with the tents already put up by the local staff. In the evening a three course meal is served in the mess tent around 6-7pm. After supper the international leader will discuss the plan for the next day with the group. People might stay in the mess tent chatting about the day’s events for a while before retiring to their tent for the night.

While on the trek, the cook will provide good quality food in sufficient quantities.  For breakfast you are likely to get porridge or cereal, toast or chapatis, omelettes and a range of hot drinks. For our camping treks in Nepal we provide fresh coffee from our Bialetti Moka coffee machine. On arrival to camp in the afternoon you will be given tea and biscuits and a three course meal will follow later in the evening.

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.

Clothing and Equipment List for Saribung

For the safety of everyone in the group and to help ensure a successful trek, you are required to have the following items in our clothing and equipment list tailored for Saribung Expedition. Your gear will be checked by the group leader in Kathmandu prior to 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. During the first couple of days on this trek you are likely to experience quite warm conditions and you will experience the coldest temperatures at Saribung High Camp at an altitude of 5,684m where overnight lows can get down to around -18˚C.

Each trekker should bring one backpack for gear required during the day. Your day backpack will contain items such as warm clothes, jacket, camera, water bottles, personal first aid kit and snacks. The maximum weight allowance for back pack is 5kg. The rest of your personal equipment packed in a duffel or kit bag will be carried by a porter. The maximum weight allowance for your duffel bag is 20kg. Please ensure that your bag is marked clearly on the outside for easy identification.

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

Footwear

  • Double mountaineering boots with insulated inners (i.e Plastics) eg. Scarpa Vegas High Altitude or La Sportiva Spantik. There are other suitable boots available please visit a reputable outdoor store for further advice on latest products available. Please note double mountaineering boots are mandatory for Saribung. If you are UK based you can rent boots and other mountaineering gear from Expedition Kit Hire.
  • 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 of organising treks in Nepal we have had several boots fall apart so it is essential you also bring trail shoes as a backup.
  • Trail shoes. Can be used around camp and as a replacement if your walking boots fall apart!
  • Sandals. fully enclosed sandals are best to protect your feet during river crossings. These are 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) Minimum two.
  • Soft Shell Trousers.
  • Long sleeve tops or shirts (not cotton). Minimum two.
  • 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 can be used in combination with base layers, other fleeces and down jacket to provide maximum warmth and insulation.
  • Thermals or base layer for top & bottom (merino wool or synthetic).
  • Fleece or synthetic pants. To be worn around the lodge or added as an additional 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 purchase a #myTMCbuff).
  • Headtorch.  Bring extra batteries.
  • Sunglasses. The lenses need to be Category 4 rated and should have side protection or wraparound design to prevent light getting through to your eyes that could cause sun blindness.
  • Ski goggles.

Climbing equipment

  • Mountaineering ice axe with leash.
  • Crampons. The best type for Dhaulagiri Circuit are universal crampons that you can use with normal trekking boots such as Stubai Universals or Kahtoola KTS crampons.
  • Helmet (mandatory).
  • Gaiters. A pair of knee high gaiters used to keep boots dry if walking through deep snow or on wet ground.
  • Climbing harness with two 60cm slings, four screw gate carabiners, Figure 8 belay belay device and 3m of 5mm static cord for prusiks. [we have a limited number of “Harness packs” for rent, this includes harness (medium size Black Diamond Alpine BOD), belay device with large carabiner, three screwgate carabiners, Petzl handle ascender, two slings and prussik cord. 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. Maximum overnight lows will be around -18℃. Note: it is possible to rent a bag in Kathmandu from Shonas Rental.
  • Fleece or silk liner for your sleeping bag. A liner protects your sleeping bag from getting dirty and helps by adding extra insulation to keep you warm at night.
  • Sleeping mat (eg.Thermarest). On trek we provide everyone with one foam mat however we recommend two layers for maximum insulation and comfort. We also provide everyone with a pillow.
  • Daypack. Recommended size is 40 litres or larger as you need to have enough space to carry water bottles, camera, snacks and extra clothing as well as climbing gear and down jacket. 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.
  • Trekking poles (Black Diamond with “Flick Lock” are best). Having two poles is mandatory as required for your safety on steep and loose sections of the trail, river crossings and for walking through deep snow higher up.
  • 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. Highly 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 lipsalve with a high SPF. As the environment in Upper Mustang is dry and arid we also recommend bringing skin moisturiser and lip balm for use in the evenings.
  • Water purification tablets (Pristine, Biox Aqua or Aqua Mira).
  • Favourite snack food.
  • Books, ipod and cards etc.
  • Camera with spare batteries and memory cards.
  • Insurance certificate.
  • Earplugs (optional).
  • Baby wipes (optional).
  • Hand sanitizer. We suggest you 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). A rugged, waterproof duffle bag made of a plastic material 100-120 litres in size is recommended 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, soap, travel towel, toothbrush, travel wash etc. You will be provided with toilet paper on trek.

Personal first aid kit

Note: we provide a comprehensive group first aid kit but please bring personal medications and other items you might use regularly 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).

Threat and risk assessment for Saribung

Participants should be aware trekking, mountaineering and travelling in a developing country are activities that involve a risk of personal injury or death. As a condition of booking you must accept these risks and be responsible for your own actions and involvement. 

Adventure travel requires an open and flexible attitude. You may experience extreme conditions, unpredictable weather and last minute changes to the itinerary beyond our control. The ability to work in team is an important aspect of all of our trips.

As a part of our planning process we have performed a detailed threat and risk assessment for our Saribung Expedition. It is worth pointing out all of our trips have a certain degree of risk, this is of course part of the attraction of adventure travel and why so many people choose to join this type of holiday. However by identifying the potential hazards on the Saribung Expedition we can assess the level of risk and implement control measures to reduce this happening.

Our full threat and risk assessment for the Saribung Expedition is available on request. For your information 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 high passes in whiteout.
  • Severe bad weather and conditions when camping.
  • Climatic injuries (dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion, hypothermia or heat stroke).
  • Crossing a river with no bridge resulting in drowning and/ or a fall.
  • Rock fall and landslides.
  • Snow and ice avalanches eg crossing Saribung pass and climbing Saribung.
  • Falling into glacial crevasses eg while crossing Saribung pass and/or climbing Saribung.
  • Lightning strike.
  • Wildlife, pack animals (eg. donkeys or horses) or stray dogs. Pack animals have been known to knock people off the path. Dogs can attack and bite, we advise you discuss rabies vaccination with your doctor.
  • Earthquake.
  • Risk of fire in the hotel or lodge.
  • Endemic local diseases. We advise you discuss vaccinations with your doctor before departure.
  • Physiological injury such as heart attack, appendicitis, hernia, toothache etc. in a remote area.
  • Road traffic accident. We use a private bus or jeep from Kathmandu to Ngadi. Due to local rules we cannot take drive our bus to Jagat so we have to use local jeeps for this section of road and also at end of trek from Ghemi to Kagbeni and onto Jomsom.
  • Flight accident [see paragraph “Internal flights in Nepal” for further information about STOL flights].
  • Contaminated food and/ or water.

This trip visits a remote area where you are away from normal emergency services and medical facilities. In case of a serious injury requiring hospitalisation evacuation could take up to several days and may impede your ensuing recovery. Helicopters are the most usual means of evacuation, however they are not always available or they may be hindered by poor weather and flying conditions.

Internal Flights

British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (“FCO”) travel advice to Nepal states that “STOL airstrips in Nepal are among the most remote and difficult to land on in the world and are a challenge for even the most technically proficient pilots and well-maintained aircraft.” For their latest advice please take a look at their Safety & Security section under Air Travel.

There have been a number of recent air accidents in Nepal and in December 2013 The European Union banned all airlines based in Nepal from flying in the 28-nation bloc under the latest changes to a list of unsafe carriers.  For more information on Nepal’s air safety profile take a look at Aviation Safety Network.

Weather and climate for Saribung

Saribung Expedition will have a wide range of temperatures depending on the altitude and the time of day. In the mountains between 1,000m and 3,500m the nights will be cool, normally around 5˚C, and during the day temperatures sometimes rise to 25˚C. At higher altitudes temperatures range from about 15˚C to -15˚C.

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

Suggested reading for Saribung

Maps

Climbing: Damodar Hinal by Himalayan Map House  Scale: 1:50,000

Upper Mustang The Last Forbidden Kingdom High Route by Nepa Maps Scale: 1:80,000 This map will be included in your welcome pack when you arrive in Nepal.

Books

East of Lo Manthang: In the land of Mustang by Peter Matthiessen and Thomas Laird.

Mustang, a Lost Tibetan Kingdom by Michel Peissel.

 

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