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Snowman TrekWorld's Toughest Trek in Bhutan

This 25 days trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa trek and starts from Drugyal Dzong in Paro and ends in Trongsa. The trek leads through some of the most remote and isolated high altitude villages of Laya, Lingzhi and Lunana. It takes tough and enduring trekkers into the Lunana region and further on to Gangkhar Puensum and Bumthang or down to Sephu in Trongsa district, depending on which route you choose…

With the information, we will get back to you with the Customised itinerary for your feedback and Review:
Your Travel Group:
  • Trek Summary
  • At a Glance
  • Inclusions
  • Accommodation and Gears
  • Seasons Vs Trekking
  • Route Map
  • Photo Gallery

The Snow man Trek is considered as one of the most difficult and toughest treks in the world. This 25 days trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa trek and starts from Drugyal Dzong in Paro and ends in Trongsa. The trek leads through some of the most remote and isolated high altitude villages of Laya, Lingzhi and Lunana. It takes tough and enduring trekkers into the Lunana region and further on to Gangkhar Puensum and Bumthang or down to Sephu in Trongsa district, depending on which route you choose. Trekkers have to camp in altitudes above 5,000m more than once, and depending on the seasonal temperatures, the camps are sometimes on snow.

Many groups that attempt this tough trek do not actually finish it due to problems with the high altitude or snow blocked passes. Therefore, for the serious trekker you have to keep in mind the most realistic time of the year to do this trek.

The most appropriate month for the Snowman Trek is in October, specifically the first three weeks for its perfect weather without rain or snow. If you go at other times there will be either lots of rain or snow. Since this is a high altitude trek most of the time you will be staying continuously above 4000m.

For those who have successfully completed the trek, they remember this trek as an outstandingly beautiful and maybe as the most rewarding trek of their life

Duration: 25 days,

Maximum Elevation: 5320m

Highest Camp: 5120m

Standard: Hard

Best Seasons: Mid June to Mid October

Start: Gunitsawa Village, Paro

Finish: Duer Village, Bumthang

What is Included During the Trek:

  • All Trekking Meal during the Trek
  • One Trekking Expeditions Leader
  • 2 Horsemen
  • One Helper
  • Group Medical Kit
  • Good Quality accommodation througout. The use of a world expedition trek pack which includes a quality sleeping bag, and insulated mat
  • All Park entrance Fees and Trekking Permits
  • Horses to carry 20 Kgs personal quipment

What is not Included During the Trek:

  • International Airfare
  • Alcohol
  • Tips/gratuities
  • Cost arising out of Flight Cancellation/road blockades/ landslides and events beyond our control
  • Expenses of personal nature and any other expenses not mentioned in the above cost

Accommodation/your night Camps

Camping in extreme weather such as cold temperatures and snowy conditions can be extremely enjoyable; Camping by the snow can be peaceful, picturesque and out door adventure. 

All the accommodation while on Druk Path Trek is twin sharing, double occupancy (Single occupancy with supplement) in the Tents. The tents are Cold Weather Tents and designed for harsh weather and snowy conditions. A separate tents will be pitched for dinning and rest room. 

On demand, a luxury tents will also be provided like bed and mattresses, warm shower tents, rest room with proper toilet pots, fishing equipment etc..

Check for the following Essential Trekking GearsTents Camps

During the Trek

  • Clothes:  Waterproof jacket and pants. You really don't need thick heavy clothes. As always, trekking in layers is better. 
  • Bag pack with rain cover for bagpack
  • Water bottles (at least 3 liters total capacity)
  • Baseball cap (the sun is strong at all elevations)
  • Hiking poles (lessen the impact on your joints)
  • Sunglasses (essential when you cross snow line)
  • Trekking shoes: A pair of lightweight-waterproof hiking boots is a must. Break them in beforehand
  • Winter hat
  • Winter gloves

At the Camp Site 

  • Head lamp with extra batteries
  • A pair of Camp shoes too.
  • Thermal underwear and can be useful in the mornings, or for sleeping in at night. If you forgot some, jogging pants are widely available in all towns for less cost
  • Reading materials (Kindle may be best)
  • Journal and pens

This table shows you the most suitable times for trekking in Bhutan: Good: (***), Moderate: (*), Not good: (X) 

 

TrekJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Druk Path Trekxx**********xxx*****xx
Snowman Trekxxx*******x*xx*******xx
Jumolhari Laya Gasa Trekxxx********xxx*******xx
Gangtey Trekxx*********xx*************
Bumthang Cultural Trekxx**********x*xx**********x
Bumthang Owl Trekxx**********x*xx**********x
Sagala Trekxx*********xxx**********x
Mt Jumolhari Trekxxx*******xxx**********x
Dagala Trekxx*********x*xx*********x
Merak Sakten Trekxx*********x*xx*********x

 Day 1 Drukgyel Dzong – Sharna Zampa 

walking stickWalking Distance:

17km, 4 to 5 hours

Camp Altitude:

2850 m

JumolhariTrek GunitsawaWith a gradual climb the trail follows the Paro Chhu passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields and impressive farm houses. After about four hours you will reach the army post at Gunitsawa village. At the army checkpost your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa

Day 2

Sharna Zampa- Soe Thangthangkha

 walking stickWalking Distance: 22km, 7 to 8 hours

Camp Altitude:

3,610 m

JumolhariTrek JangothangOn this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After goinguphill through the river valley , you enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Mount Jomolhari

Day 3

Thangthangkha – Jangothang

walking stickWalking Distance:

19km, 5 to 6 hours

Camp Altitude:

4,080 m

JumolhariTrek JumolhariBasecampIf you did not see Mount Jomolhari the previous evening, you will get a great view in the morning. The trek continues up the Paro Chhu river valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. Cross an army outpost along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. Yaks and the herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the beautiful villages Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another highlight of today. Reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari


Day 4

Acclimatization

walking stick Walking Distance:

0.00

Camp Altitude:

4,080 m

JumolhariTrek JumolhariBaseJangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization. There are plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views on lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. Jichu Drake is also one of those unclimbed mountains. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Trek up to Tosoh or hike around the area. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jumolhari and its subsidiary mountain chains lie directly west, Jichu Drake to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east. Nearby there are trout filled lakes. You may also walk towards the glaciers of Jhomolhari or visit and experience a high altitude village life nearby. Don’t sweat it too much as you prepare yourself for a tough climb the next day


Day 5

Jangothang – Lingshi

walking stick Walking Distance: 18km, 6 to 7 hours

Camp Altitude: 4,010 m

JumolhariTrek LingshiThe trail climbs rapidly for about half an hour and then becomes a gradual ascend to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. Apart from the beautiful landscape you might see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains and spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherimgang. You will pass through yak herder’s tents made from yak wool. You will also get a view from the top of beautiful Lingzhi Dzong

Day 6

Lingshi – Chebisa

walking stick Walking Distance:

 

10km, 5 to 6 hours

Camp Altitude:

3,880 m

JumolhariTrek ShoduToday is the shortest walking day, and you can really take it easy. Shortly after starting you will reach a chorten below Lingshi Dzong. Here, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking a diversion up to the Lingshi Dzong (4,220m), which sits right atop a ridge. Besides a very special atmosphere of mystic silence Lingshi Dzon g provides a great view over the valley. After Lingshi Dzong you will be passing the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. In Goyul, the stone houses are clustered together to a small compact village that is unusual in Bhutan where village houses are normally scattered. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa with a beautiful waterfall behind the village, you will have plenty of time to visit the village houses if you feel up to it

Day 7

Chebisa – Shomuthang

 walking stickWalking Distance: 17km, six to seven hours

Camp Altitude: 4,220 m

You walk through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La (pass).

On the way, you will see a few people herding yaks. There is also a great chance to spot large herds of blue sheep above the trail. After crossing the Gobu La (4,410m), you descend to the valley, then climb again a little bit, and descend again to Shakshepasa (3,980) where a helipad has been established. Climbing from here you will finally reach the campsite at Shomuthang, above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochu river

Day 8

Shomuthang – Robluthang

 walking stickWalking Distance:

18km, 6 to 7 hours

Camp Altitude:

4,160 m

As the walk is a little strenuous, it is advisable to start early. Climbing up the valley to view Kang Bum (6,526 m) and some edelweiss. After two hours of climbing you will reach Jhari La (4,750m), from where you catch the first sight of Sinche La, the pass you will have to cross the day after. The big snow peak in the north is Gangchhenta 6,840 m, better known as the Great Tiger Mountain. If weather is clear, Tserim Kang and the top of Jumolhari will be visible. The camp by the river is called Tsheri Jathang. Herds of takin, the Bhutanese National Animal, migrate to this valley in summer and remain for about four months. The valley has been declared a takin sanctuary. Climb up a little bit and you will reach the campsite at Robluthang in a rocky meadow

Day 9

Robluthang – Limithang

Walking Distance:

19km, 6 to 7 hours

Camp Altitude:

4,140 m

The last and highest pass on the trek in case you don’t intend to continue the Snowman trek from Laya onwards – you descend to a little stone house where a few Laya women – dressed in typical Laya costume with long pointed bamboo hats on their head – live and offer their weaving products. Right behind the stone house you will see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. You can see classic examples of the lateral moraines where the glacier has pushed rocks up both sides of the valley. Below the moraine, you cross the Kango Chhu and soon reach the Limithang campsite. The peak of Gangchhenta towers over the campsite even though it’s quite a distance away

Day 10

Limithang – Laya

 walking stickWalking Distance:

10km, 4 to 5 hours

Camp Altitude:

3,840 m

Today, you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. After a long time, you again trek partly through deep forest. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. From the west of the village you will view Gangchhenta again and catch a glimpse of Masagang. In the village centre is a community school and a basic health unit with telephone connection. The campsite is below the school

Day 11

Rest/Acclimatization day in Laya

walking stick Walking Distance:

00

Camp Altitude:

3,840 m

If you have trekked from Drukgyel Dzong you should spend a day recuperating from the trek to Laya and preparing yourself for the rest of this challenging but spectacular trek. If you have started from Tashitang/Damji (Punakha) you should also walk up to Laya to acclimatize, and not just stay at the trail junction to Lunana. It’s worthwhile to spend one day in Laya just for the great views from Laya and its extraordinary inhabitants

Day 12

Laya – Rhoduphu

walking stick Walking Distance:

19km, 6 to 8 hours

Camp Altitude:

4,160 m

Snow man treks in Bhutan trekkingFrom Laya we descend to an army camp and continue following the river till the turn off point to Rhoduphu. After lunch the climb continues through rhododendron bushes till you reach the camp at Roduphu just next to the Rhodu Chhu

Day 13

Rhodophu – Narethang

 walking stickWalking Distance:

17km, 5 to 6 hours

Camp Altitude:

4,900 m

After following the river for about half an hour you will have a steady climb to a high open valley at 4,600m and then further up to Tsomo La (4,900m). Tsomo La offers a superb view of Lunana, Mount Jomolhari and Jichu Drake, and the Tibetan border. The route then crosses a flat, barren plateau at about 5,000m. The campsite at Narethang is towered by the peak of Gangla Karchung (6,395m)

Day 14

Narethang – Tarina

walking stickWalking Distance:

18km, 5 to 6 hours

Camp Altitude:

3,970 m

From the camp you will climb for about an hour to Gangla Karchung La (5,120m). The view from the pass is breathtaking and the whole range of mountains including Jekangphu Gang (7,100m), Tsenda Kang and Teri Gang (7,300m) can be seen. The pass descends along a large moraine. Again one has great views: a massive glacier descends from Teri Kang to a deep turquoise lake at its foot. Up here a glacial lake burst through its dam in the early 1960s, causing widespread damage and partially destroying Punakha Dzong. Finally, it is a very long descent through thick rhododendron to Tarina valley, where you will find several good campsites along the Tang Chhu

Day 15

Tarina – Woche

walking stick Walking Distance:

17km, 6 to 7 hours

Camp Altitude:

3,910 m

The walk leads down through conifer forests following the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu, passing some impressive waterfalls. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche, a settlement of a few houses, the first village in the Lunana region

Day 16

Woche-Lhedi

 walking stickWalking Distance:

17km, 6 to 7 hours

Camp Altitude:

3,700m

The trek starts through juniper and fir forests, and further ahead, through rhododendron bushes. Climb up to Keche La pass (4,650m) where one can have the great view of surrounding mountains again. After the pass, descend to the riverside walking through a village with a stunning view of Table Mountain and others. Follow up the river till Lhedi Village. Lhedi has a basic health unit, a school and a wireless telephone connection

Day 17

Lhedi-Thanza

 walking stickWalking Distance:

17km, 6 to 7 hours

Camp Altitude:

3,700m

In clear weather, you will have great views of Table Mountain (7,100m).Around lunchtime you will pass the small village of Chozo (4,090m) which has a dzong still in use. Reaching Thanza again you will have a great view of Table Mountain which forms a 3,000m high wall of snow and ice behind the village. Although there are possibilities to camp directly at Thanza, most groups prefer to camp in Thoencha

Day 18

Rest day at Thanza

 walking stickWalking Distance:

0.00

Camp Altitude:

4,150 m

In Thanza walk around and experience some village life or climb up the ridge for fascinating views of lakes and mountains. But as it takes time to arrange new yaks (the yaks from Laya will not go further than Thanza) you might have to spend one day at Thanza anyway

Day 19

Thanza – Danji

 walking stickWalking Distance:

8km, 3 to 4 hours

Camp Altitude:

4,230 m

From Thoencha, the trail climbs up to a large boulder from where you will have excellent views of Thanza, Toencha and Choso village and the surrounding mountains. After a few hours of relatively flat and easy walking, you will reach a yak meadow with some yak herders’ huts. An excellent campsite with a great chance to spot some blue sheep on the hills above. A trail junction near the campsite will give you the choice between the route up to Gangkhar Puensum base camp, and further on to Bumthang or to Sephu (Trongsa). Both routes are described in this website

Day 20

Danji – Tshochena

walking stickWalking Distance:

12km, 5 to 6 hours

Camp Altitude:

4,970 m

Having chosen the route to Sephu, the trek crosses the creek and after a long climb, you will reach Jaze La (5,150m) with spectacular panoramic mountain views . The path then descends between snow covered peaks and a couple of small lakes to the campsite near the shore of Tshochena lake

Day 21

Tshochena – Jichu Dramo

Walking Distance:

14km, 4 to 5 hours

Camp Altitude:

5,050 m

You follow the bank of the blue green lake before arriving at a ridge at 5,100m, where there is another spectacular view in all directions. After going up and down over small hills to reach a glacial lake, the route descends first before climbing again up the next pass, the Loju La (5,140m). Finally after crossing a small saddle (5,100m) you will enter a wide glacial valley from where the trail descends gradually to the campsite at Jichu Dramo

Day 22

Jichu Dramo – Chukarpo

walking stickWalking Distance:

18km, 5 to 6 hours

Camp Altitude:

4,600 m

Right after leaving the camp you will climb through a moraine to Rinchen Zoe La (5,320m). Spectacular mountain scenery with Gangkhar Puensum amongst the impressive mountains is the reward for climbing the highest pass on this trek route. Rinchen Zoe Peak (5,650) towers above the pass the west. Descending from the pass, the route leads into a wide valley with several lakes and goes steeply down along a moraine to the Thamphe Chhu. Here the vegetation begins to thicken again and you will see the first real trees since Lhedi. After a couple of hours you reach the campsite at Chukarpo

Day 23

Chukarpo – Thampe Tsho

walking stickWalking Distance:

18km, 5 to 6 hours

Camp Altitude:

4,300 m

The descent continues along the river till you reach the yak herder huts at Gala Pang Chhu (4010m). From here the trail climbs steeply towards Thampe Tsho, a beautiful clear turquoise lake, with the campsite next to it

Day 24

Thampe Tsho – Maurothang

walking stickWalking Distance:

14km, 5 hours

Camp Altitude:

3,610 m

From the lake you climb steeply to the last pass on your trek, the Thampe La (4,600m) with a good chance to spot some blue sheep on the way. Then the path descends to the sacred lake Om Thso. Passing a waterfall you will reach another, smaller lake 100m below to descend steeply to the Nikka Chhu. The path finally leads through mixed forest to large clearing on the banks of the river with a few yak herder huts, Maurothang

Day 25

Maurothang – Sephu

walking stickWalking Distance:

Distance 18km, five to six hours

Trek Summary


Tour Type: Toughest Trekking Adventure

Travel Difficulty: Challenging


8- 9 hours of activity a day and/or elevation gain, higher altitude, longer distance, uneven terrain.


Duration: 27 Days 26 Nights

 

No of Night Camps : 26

Highest Camp : 4900m above Sea Level


Start :Paro

Finish :Trongsa

Starting Price USD 7,280

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