Jomolhari trek. The trek offers spectacular views of Jhomolhari (7314 m), revered by yak herders as the abode of Goddess Jhomo. The trek crosses mountain passes, high altitude lakes, and offers view of Bhutanese Himalayan peaks of Jichu Drakey and Tserim Kang (6789m).Yak herders and nomadic villagers would be your next door neighbours as you camp along.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Trek begins: Drive to Drukgyel Dzong, the starting point of the trek. While the team prepares the pack animals visit the ruins of the Drugyel. It was built as a monument of victory over Tibetan and Mongolian invaders in the 17th century. From here you can, as a preview, see the crown of Mount Jumolhari (24,029ft.), the base of which will make our camp in few days. The trail follows Paro River gently uphill through a narrowing valley of paddy fields. You will pass many traditional farmhouses along the way. The campsite is a meadow past an army outpost. Camp altitude 2800m., distance/walking time – 17 km/5-6 hours.
Continue uphill following the river and through the valley, which narrows and closes in after some distance . The trail then winds up and down along the drainage. Most of the trail actually is down hill after the initial climb. The campsite is located in a meadow with stone shelter. Camp altitude 3,400m., distance/walking time – 15 km/4-5 hours.
Gradual climb as the vegetation turns rapidly alpine, past an army outpost until the landscape opens up into wide valley. The view around is surrounded by high ridges and the snow-capped mountains all the way to Jangothang. You will also come across yaks and yak herder camps. Camp altitude 4,040m., distance/walking time – 19 kms/5-6 hours.
Rest day or explore the valley. There are many options for exploration including climbing the ridge behind the camp for better view Jumolhari and Jichu Drake or walk to the glacial basin of Jumolhari or to glacial lakes of Tsophu. A stop here does well for acclimatization since the route here on goes higher.
The trail enters more serious climb today starting with a climb to a higher basin, from where it level for a while, until the start for a long climb to Nyile La pass at 4,890m. After the pass it is a long descent into Lingshi basin. The vegetation is sparse and as you approach Lingshi you will see great view of the frontier fortress, Mount Tserim Kang and its glaciers to the north. Camp altitude 4,150m., distance/walking time – 19 kms/ 5-6 hours.
Spend the day resting or take day excursions to Lingshi Dzong and village or a trip to Tsokha Lake at 4,500m., the base camp for Jichu Drake. There are high chances to see Blue sheep and Musk deer during the day hikes. Tsokha excursion is 15 kms and will take 3 – 4 hours round trip.
The trail climbs up gradually to a glacial basin with great view of Lingshi Dzong and further high across Yelila Pass at 4,820m. From the pass, you see Jumolhari, Tserim Gang and Masagang on clear days. The trek from the pass to campsite at Shodu is almost all downhill. Camp altitude 3,963m., distance/walking time – 22 kms. /7 – 8 hours.
From here on the trail follows the Thimchu River through rhododendron forests and in the beginning bamboos. The valley is narrow most of the way until the climb to ruins of Barshong Dzong, a 17th century trade-route guard post. Camp altitude 3,785m., distance/walking time – 13 Kms. /3 – 4 hours
The trail descends through thick rhododendron forest and makes the place almost surreal in the right season. It is either on fairy level ground or downhill until camp by Thimchhu again. Camp altitude 3,628m., distance/walking time – 11 kms. /3 – 4 hours.
The trail descends all the way to Dodina through progressively temperate vegetation. It is a winding route downhill with great part of the day descending stone steps to the river again, which you leave at mid-day. Shortly after you hit the river valley, it is not far to walk to the bridge and road that marks the end of the trek at the base of two famous Buddhist Colleges and retreat center of Tango and Cheri. Distance/walking time – 14 kms./ 4 – 5 hours. Your car will pick you up.