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This 9 day itinerary gives you a stunning 6 day round trip to Shishapangma Base Camp - one of Tibet's best kept trekking secrets and one of Tibet's finest high alpine walks.

Departure: Kathmandu
Duration: 9 Days
Best season: April to October
Grade: Strenuous

Shishapangma or Xixapangma (8046 meters) is probably the least known of the world's fourteen peaks over 8000m. It is the only peak above 8000m that is wholly within Tibet but although only 80 km north east of Kathmandu, it is hidden from Nepal, tucked away behind the main Himalayan range.

We will trek on the southeast side of Shishapangma, where the monsoon just manages to push over Nepal’s Jugal Himal, bringing some rain most nights from June until early September. In the season when we trek here, most days are clear and we will have stunning lush meadows and an outstanding display of wildflowers high into the mountains.

The normal Shishapangma trekking route back tracks down to Nyalam from the Base Camp, however being trekkers, we don’t like back tracking, so we have come up with this great alternative trek to Ngora via the beautiful Kong Tso (lake). This section from the Tshongdü Chu Valley to Ngora village, via Kong Tso La, takes us two days starting from the herder camp at Shingdip.

After finishing the trek at Ngora we drive back to Nyalam and the next day we will go back to Kathmandu, or stop to spend some extra time at The Last Resort (optional)!

BRIEF ITINERARY

Day 01: Drive Kathmandu [1300m] to Nyalam [3750m]
Day 02: Rest day / acclimatisation
Day 03: Trek to Draabochhan [4110m]
Day 04: Trek to Shingdip [4560m]
Day 05: Shishapangma Base Camp [4980m]
Day 06: Explore towards Advanced Base Camp and return to Shingdip
Day 07: Trek to Kong Tso [5030m]
Day 08: Trek to Ngora [4340m] and drive to Nyalam
Day 09: Return to Kathmandu directly or stop at the Last Resort on the way!

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu [1300m] to Nyalam [3750m]
We leave Kathmandu after an early breakfast and drive northwards through Nepal’s beautiful terraced hillsides, river valleys and forests and catching glimpses of the Himlayas. We reach Kodari on the Nepal - Tibet border and must complete the border formalities at both the Nepalese and Chinese immigration posts. Once in Tibet we follow a series of incredibly steep switchbacks climbing up a mossy gully with cascading waterfalls to Nyalam where we stay the night.

Day 02: Acclimatisation day
With Tibet’s average altitude being over 3500m above sea level we take altitude sickness very seriously, so we spend today resting in Nyalam in order to acclimatise before heading up higher.

We take the opportunity to go a short way out of town to visit a small temple, Nyalam Pelgye Ling, associated with eleventh- and twelfth-century poet-lama and saint Milarepa, credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet.

Day 03: Trek to Draabochhan [4110m]
After breakfast we head out of Nyalam for our first day of Tibetan trekking! We walk for a couple of hours up the Tshongde Phu river valley before we have a choice of whether to head directly up to Draabochhan or make a detour to the lake Tara Tsho.

The pilgrimage route up to Tara Tsho (lake) is quite a climb, but worth it! After 2 or 3 hours climbing steeply we reach the lake, which although quite large, remains hidden until we are quite close. When it reveals itself we see the shoreline is speckled with hundreds of small stone offering piles and larger rock cairns with prayer flags. Tara Tsho is remarkable for having neither inlet nor outlet and it is said to be 40 meters deep. According to local legends, the lake manifested from a piece of ice brought here by a lama returning from holy Mount Kailash in Western Tibet.

We spend the night camping at the herders' camp at Draabochhan.
 
Day 04: Trek To Shingdip [4560m]
After breakfast today we begin with a heartstarter! We climb up for about an hour to the top of a ridge. From here we walk parallel to the ridge, along hills thick with dwarf rhododendrons.

This afternoon we make camp Shingdip, a beautiful meadow camp featuring a large boulder at the junction of converging moraine valleys. While the Shishapangma Base Camp is relatively close to us now, it is nearly 450 meters higher in elevation, so we will stop here for the night.
 
Day 05: Shishapangma Base Camp [4980m]
From our camp at Shingdip we head cross country, west towards Shishapangma Base Camp. We climb up to a ridge and follow it for some time, with splendid views of Jugal Himal towering across the valley to the south. Well worth the breathlessness you might feel!

We reach the Base Camp by a lovely little glacial lake after about two hours of walking. While Shishapangma is just out of view from the Base Camp we will have a rest after our mornings walk and then decide if we want to rest and take it easy or explore a bit in the afternoon.
 
Day 06: Explore towards Advanced Base Camp and return to Shingdip
This morning we explore up towards Advanced Base Camp and explore some more around Base Camp. There are brilliant views of Shishapangma on a boulder-plateau an hour above base camp.

In the afternoon we do the only backtracking we have – down to Shingdip where we camp the night in familiar surroundings.
 
Day 07: Trek to Kong Tso [5030m]
This morning we get an early start to cross the Kong Tso La, a 5180m pass between us and the stunning Kong Tso, a holy lake associated with Guru Rinpoche and said to be life-power lake for the Nyalam region.
As we trek up towards the pass we can really observe how different this arid alpine terrain is from the lush area around Draabochhan, where we started trekking. We will be surrounded by stunted juniper bushes and may see the rare flowers of the Blue Poppy in summer time.
Descending from the pass we walk for about an hour to our camp at Kong Tso. It seems that Mt Shishapangma and Pholha Gangchen seem to rise straight up from the edge of the lake and this is a truly an awesome campsite!

Day 08: Trek to Ngora [4340m]
Today is a much easier day, trekking down to the village of Ngora. We pass another stunning glacial lake before heading down through alpine meadows down the valley. We have the option to visit Ralo Phuk, a cave hermitage of the 11th century Buddhist scholar and tantric translator, Ra Lotsawa. Continuing down to Ngora, we find a nice campsite and may like to visit the little red walled gompa before dinner.
 
Day 09: Back to Kathmandu
This morning we load up into our comfortable jeeps for the trip down to the border crossing and re-entry into Nepal. Bidding farewell to Tibet we head to the Last Resort for lunch in this lovely canyon setting. If you like we can arrange a stop over here for you to check out Nepal’s only bungy jumping, the world’s biggest swing and the high ropes course (optional and extra). Otherwise we head back to Kathmandu for a final dinner to celebrate our Tibetan adventure!

 

 

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