- Trip Date: 1st October 2022 - 12th October 2022
- Package Cost: US$ 3000 Per Person (Including SDF of US$ 200)
- Group Size Maximum: 10 Pax (Mix Of Local & International)
- Room: Tent Will Be Shared By 2 People
Why Join This Trek?
This trek has been planned so that an outdoor enthusiast from abroad to get the opportunity to trek with local trekkers. This has never been done before. You will not only get to enjoy the trek it self but will also get to interact with the locals and get to understand Bhutan better. Moreover, the trek will cost US$ 500-00 more if someone wishes to execute the trek as a solo or a group of two people.
The Kangkar Puensum Trek is a true wilderness trek to the base of the highest mountain in Bhutan. This trek combines the Kangkar Puensuem southeast route and the Menla Karchung route into one and therefore takes longer than just doing the in and out trek to basecamp. The trek offers everything from pristine forest to alpine vegetation landscapes. The gain in altitude is gradual which makes it ideal for acclimatization as we get further into the trek and for those high altitude campsites. Highlights of the trek are seeing Kangkar Puensuem up close, the landscape around Bamurpa (basecamp), Tsampa, Mela Karchung and Pamee Tsho and the overall experience of trekking in pure wilderness of central Bhutan.
The Package Includes:
- SDF of US$ 200 per person per night
- Meals, Snacks and Tea/Coffee while on trek
- Shared tent, sleeping bag, mattress, blankets etc
The Package Does Not Include:
- Airfare to Bhutan
- Domestic ticket to Bumthang
- Cultural and sightseeing activities beyond the trek
Day 1: Early morning drive to Nasiphel, trailhead.
Route: Nasiphel to Kophu.
Distance: Approx. 17 km.
Time: Approx. 7-9 hours.
Start elevation: Approx. 2850 meters.
Campsite elevation: Approx. 3200 meters.
Today’s hike will be similar to the 1st day of Jhomolhari trek. The trail leads us in a northerly direction following the Chamkhar Chhu upstream. We will come across potential campsite like Tsho Zhawa and Saduk Suem along the banks of the river. The trail eventually cross the river over a suspension bridge, a little ways after crossing Saduk Suem. Our campsite is about 1-2 hours from here.
Day 2: Above the tree line and into open valleys.
Route: Kophu to Jiew Thangka.
Distance: Approx. 18 km.
Time: Approx. 7-9 hours.
Campsite elevation: Approx. 3950 meters.
Trail today starts off by gradually climbing out of the narrow gorge. Before reaching Tsampa (army outpost), if the the sky is clear, look to your left through the trees to get a first glimpse of Kangkar Puensuem’s east summit. The valleys opens up after we cross Tsampa.
There are a total of 8 herder’s camp, the 8th being basecamp (Bamurpa). We will cross two camps today, Buumjen followed by Tsawuu, our campsite is by the herder’s camp at Jiew Thangka.
Day 3: Basecamp (Highcamp)
Route: Jiew Thangka to Bamurpa
Distance: Approx. 13 km
Time: Approx. 5-6 hours
Campsite Elevation: Approx. 4450 meters.
We start off on rocky trails through forest of Juniper, Fir and Rhododendrons. Other literatures on the trek titles this section of the trek as ‘the trail of 1 million stones’. Before reaching the 4th herder’s camp called Zhiwa, we will get our first proper glimpse of the mountain. The trail slowly climbs through tree cover and sporadic openings that offer stunning views of the mountain. After Shingo, the 5th camp, we will be walking through wide open valleys till Bamurpa, our campsite for 2 nights.
Day 4: Explore Bamurpa
Explore the landscape around Bamurpa. We have an array of choices today. Bamurpa is surrounded by 7, 5000 meters plus peaks. We can either cross the river and climb the ridge to the west or head closer towards Kangkar Puensuem to get a closer look.
Day 5: Contingency Day
Keeping this extra day as a provision for bad weather, unforeseen events and circumstances. Also we can use this day to spend an extra day here at Bamurpa or at Chur Thang, whatever the group prefers.
Day 6: Back to Tsampa
Route: Bamurpa to Tsampa
Distance: Approx. 18 km
Time: Approx. 7-8 hours.
Campsite Elevation: Approx. 3650 meters.
We retrace our way back to Tsampa through the same trail that brought us to Bamurpa.
Day 7: High Camp
Route: Tsampa to Weitsang
Distance: Approx. 11 km
Time: 5-6 hours.
Campsite Elevation: 4100 meters.
From Tsampa we take the trail that heads northeast towards Menla Karchung. (The mountain in the picture is Chura Kang not Menla Karchung)
Route: Weitsang to Chur Thang
Distance: Approx. 9 km
Time: 4-5 hours.
Day 9: Explore
Visit Pamee Tsho and explore the landscape around camp.
If the group is feeling adventurous we could also climb Menla Karchung la pass (5400 meters).
Day 10: Retrace
Route: Chur Thang to Tsampa
Distance: Approx. 19 km
Time: 7–8 hours.
Back to Tsampa, continuing on our exit route.
Route: Tsampa to Saduk Suem
Continue on our exit following the Chamkhar Chhu down stream. Our camp will be by the shed at the Saduk Suem
Day 12: Exit Day
Route: Saduk Suem to Nasiphel.
Drive to the hotel
A Typical Day On The Trek
The day starts off with a wake up call, around 6:30-7am, if you are not already awake by then. A staff will come with a bowl of warm water to wash up along with tea/coffee brought to your tent. Before heading over to the dinning tent for breakfast, usually around 7-8, we suggest you pack your overnight gear into your duffel bag and prepare for the day. During breakfast the staff will pack away the tents and ready the horses.
After breakfast, usually between 8:30-9 am, 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, if any. Lunch will be around noon at a spot by the side of the trail. Lunch will be carried by the staff.
There is more walking after lunch, we will always plan to cover big ascents/passes before lunch but this does not always pan out as expected. Normally we will get into camp by mid afternoon with the tents already set up by the staff. Once you arrive at camp, you can change and get into your comfy camp clothes and try and get comfortable.
Tea and snacks will be served. Followed by dinner later in the evening around 7pm.
You will use your backpack to carry your daily essentials like water, rain gear, clothing layers, snacks, your camera, sunscreen etc. Make sure it fits properly and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. A 20 to 30 liter pack is recommended, depending on what gear you wish to bring along.
Breakfast with fried rice, toast, omelettes and a range of hot drinks. Hot lunch is prepared by the kitchen crew during breakfast and packed. On arrival at the campsite, there will be tea in the dining tent with biscuits and other snacks, help yourselves. Dinner will follow with soup, meal and dessert.
ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS (AMS). Nothing to worry, but good to know about.
This happens due to the body’s reaction to the low air pressure (less oxygen) at high altitudes and each individual responds to this situation differently. So please ascent at your own steady pace so that you allow your body to acclimate as you gain elevation.
This is a problem for some people, especially when hiking and sleeping above 3500 meters. The onset of symptoms has no logic in the sense that you never know who will get it regardless of your previous climbs and high ascents. There is no natural way to avoid getting AMS. However, acclimatization before the trek (we recommend day hikes, climbing high and sleeping low) and staying hydrated, eating and sleeping (rest) well on the trek goes a long to keeping yourself fit and feeling good.
Usually a steady and throbbing headache at the back of your head is a telltale sign of the onset of AMS. But this is not a major concern if it does not develop further and persists. Other symptoms include: fatigue, shortness of breathe, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and vomiting. There is no treatment to this sickness other than letting the body rest, acclimate and cure itself. If the symptoms do not get better, we will descend in altitude.
PACKING LIST AND TIPS
They say we pack our fears when we travel and thus all of us pack different and are each their own creatures of comfort. But the rule of thumb on trips like these is to keep it to the essentials and be organized.
Less things to pack in the morning means, being swift and at ease which translates to a few more cups of coffee while enjoying the morning sun.
So I am only listing the essentials here.
- DAS BOOT: Your favourite hiking boot or shoe (I personally like to keep away from sneakers but there are people out there, who are nimble and comfortable in them). One that is broken in and kept you on the trail, blister free, while hitting the gnarly stuff. A pair with good ankle support that breathes well and to a certain extent is water resistant, keeps your feet happy!
- THE FART SACK: I mean the sleeping bag. Check where and when you are going and take something that is rated lower by 5ºC than the expected temperature, just be on the warmer and safer side. Women typical tend to sleep colder than men.
- MATTRESS: A foldable and comfortable mat. After a long day, you just want some good sleep. One that can be packed away inside your duffle bag or secured on the outside with the straps (easier for us to stow away and load it onto the horses). We will provide a footprint foam mat.
- DAY PACK: Just like your boots, a backpack is something you wear almost throughout the day and the entirety of your trek. So take a pack that you are comfortable with. A 20-30 L pack is ideal, depending on the gear you carrying.
- CLOTHING: Apart from the clothes you are comfortable with, a rain jacket or a poncho that can double up as a windbreaker, is indispensable. Micro climates in the mountains are an enigma. So its always nice to be prepared, that way the rain doesn’t feel so bad and you can slog on with a grin on your face. Another essential is a down jacket, to throw over yourself while at camp after the sun goes down.
- MEDICATION: Please don’t forget you personal medication. Also a small personal first aid kit. You may never need them, but it can prove to be crucial for your wellbeing incase you do while on the trail. We will also have a common first aid with only the essential medicine and kit.
- HEADLAMPS: keeps your digits free to do other chores and pick on snacks.
- GLOVES & BEANIES
- SUNSCREEN, SUN GLASSES AND HAT
- WATER BOTTLES
THE NOT SO ESSENTIAL
- BUFF: keeps the sun off your neck and doubles up as a makeshift beanie, very versatile.
- A PACKABLE PILLOW
- TOILET PAPER
- OTHER PERSONAL GEARS
NOTE: Each individual is only allowed one duffle bag weighing no more than 20kg.
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