It is touted as one of the most challenging treks in the world. As much as it takes one into the extreme snow-capped northern frontiers of the high Himalayas, it is breathtakingly beautiful. The route traverses highland settlements, amazing vistas of Bhutan’s highest mountains, and more than a dozen scenic mountain passes where a very few have stepped before. The journey is unforgettable, as it meanders through alpine meadows, conifer, juniper and rhododendron forests, beautiful and balmy hot springs, valleys inhabited by yak herders and Highlanders, glacial lakes, the headwaters of Bhutan’s major rivers and spectacular views of the Tibetan plateau. This part of the world is also the home of the elusive snow leopard, the blue sheep, the Takin and many other varieties of wildlife. The experience is other-worldly, quiet and meditative with almighty nature as your only constant companion from start to finish.
Set as an international benchmark for ardent trekkers and treks around the world, Snowman Trek is acclaimed as the toughest treks in the world. The journey of the trek bodes well as a classic convergence of the wonders of nature at its serene and pristine habitation. Across narrowing mule tracks, unique highland settlements coupled with a loyal view of the gigantic mountain that sentinels the valleys at its foot, the journey, as much arduous it is, it is one of the most rewarding treks in the whole world. Witness the rarest of flora and fauna around the world, the trek is a gem of adventures for a passionate lot of trekkers.
Soon, Blue Fox Entertainment, an American movie group will reel the journey of four ultra-marathon Runners that took on the World’s Most Difficult Trail. The intrepid team tackled Bhutan’s Snowman Trek—typically a month-long feat—in a record-breaking two weeks.
- Touted as the World’s Toughest Trail, taking almost a month to complete the trail, as an ardent trekker’s paradise, Snowman Trek it is a trekking icon of Bhutan. As one of the most rewarding trek, there is an unceasing succession view of the mountains elevating as high as 7500 meters above the sea level. By the end of the tour, you are nothing less than a highlander experiencing their lives firsthand, it will be you’re the most cherished tour of your life.
- Day 1 Drugyel Dzong – Shatna Zampa: Flagging off from the Drugyel Dzong walking downhill on a wide trail, the journey traverses through poetic verses of rice terraces and fields of millet- we cross over a cantilever bridge and reach the Shatna Zampa. For tonight, we camp at 2870 meters beyond the village in the meadows.
- Day 2 Thangthangkha: Through conifers and rhododendrons along the trail, we reach Shing Karap after a two-hour gradual hike. For the passion of fauna, we can witness blue pine, maple and larch. Crossing over a bridge to a meadow, the Mount Jomolhari looms large and we camp at Thangthangkha elevated at 3600 meters.
- Day 3 Jangothang: Moving onwards to our next destination, the tour takes us higher to the alpine meadows hiking 450 meters above the last leg. Upon a summit at 3770 meters, we reach the nomadic acre. Here, we can see the furry yaks grazing; the yaks are the lifeline of the Highlanders. Further, at 4000 meters, we reach Jangothang; we pitch our camp flanked by a stream for the night.
- Day 4 Jangothang: Lauded as a beautiful hamlet up in the sky, here at this elevation we explore day hikes and put our fly rod, reel, and specialized weighted line to experience angling at Tshophu, a high altitude lake. The fishing expedition will be one adrenaline gushing activity of the day.
- Day 5 Jangothang – Lingshi: Crossing the last of two high passes of the trek, at 4500 meters elevation we journey into a large east-west glacial valley hosting numerous moraines. At the peak of vegetation, here in the alpines, we can surely spot few gentians along grass, tundra and juniper bushes. At 4010 meters, our camp at Lingshi towers over valleys at the foot.
- Day 6 Lingshi – Chebisa: Crossing a stream and climbing in the opposite direction of the camp, we reach a stupa, after this stupa, we are at ease by gradually descending through a breathtaking scenario to a small hamlet Goyak at 3800 meters. After Goyak, we traverse further uphill for an hour reaching a metaphorical balcony that overseer a valley on the other side. Then, another descent ushers us to the spectacular Chebisa valley possessing a frozen waterfall at the top of the valley. At a meadow 3880 meters opposite to the valley, we camp for the night.
- Day 7 Chebisa – Shomuthang: The route climbs the ridge behind Chebisa. You can spot several blue sheep living in the rocks and also watch out for bearded vultures and griffons flying overhead. The camp is at Shomuthang (4220m). Our route sketches on a ridge behind our camp. Up above the trail, overhead, we see vultures and griffons hovering for the day’s meal. Our camp is in Shomuthang, a valley at 4220 meters.
- Day 8 Shomuthnag – Robluthang: In the day’s trek, we encounter the beautiful pass- Jhari at 4700 meters away from the valley, just two-hours from the camp. To the northern horizon, we observe the glint of the Mount Gangchhenta at 6800 meters. On the trail, we see the changing vegetation and surely see big rhododendrons, birch, and firs. Panting uphill to a dizzying elevation of 4160 meters, we camp at Robluthnag.
- Day 9: Robluthang – Limithang: Across the highest pass of the trek- Sinche, along day awaits us. A treat for the avid trekkers, a five-hour journey, it is a very steep trail to reach this 5000-meter mountain pass. At the backdrop of our destined location is the spiraling skyward Mount Gangchhenta at 6800 meters. Calling it a day after a grueling sojourn, we camp at Limithang at an elevation of 4000 meters in a meadow by a river.
- Day 10 Limithang – Laya: Acquainted as the jewel in the crown of the nation by the travelers and Bhutanese folks, we plot the course of a winding river to reach the Laya valley. As the trail forks, we take the one that goes in the direction of the river ushering us to the western entrance to the Laya village. We camp at 3840 meters on a natural bench at the eastern end of the Laya valley.
- Day 11 Laya: Gift oneself the jewel in the crown’s beauty. Cusped in the intricacy of nature, at here we flex our muscles, acclimatize and prepare to continue the rigorous trek. You may wish to change the location of your camp, or find it good at the same campsite.
- Day 12 Laya – Rodophu: Trekking away from Rodophu and the thin strip of a footpath, we trample down gradually to the forked path of Lunana. After this point, the trail gets better, it becomes wider. By a small stream in a pasture land, we camp at 4160 meters above the sea level.
- Day 13 Rodophu – Narethang: Passing through the vegetation of dwarf rhododendrons spiced by great boulders, we reach a pass- Tshomo at 4700 meters above the sea level. Trampling the trail riddled by boulder downhill, we reach the yaks’ pasture Narethang located at 4500 meters above the sea level. We will camp at Narethang underneath the 6500 meter Gangla Karchung.
- Day 14 Narethang – Tarina: Wading a dreadful trail worsened by slippery muddy puddles, we take on the ascent to a pass- Karchung at 5250 meters and further into the glacial lakes, a source to many rivers in Bhutan. Surpassing everything, the Mount Jejekhangphu at 7300 meters and Tsenda Kang at 7100 meters stands in glory. Descending as low as 4020 meters, our campsite is in Tarina.
- Day 15 Tarina – Woche: Our trail penetrates through the conifer forest descending to the first village after Gasa- Woche is at an elevation of 3940 meters. We are officially in the Lunana region and we camp at this serene valley. Not a drop is heard, it is only of the nature whistling and rustling.
- Day 16 Woche – Lhedi: Steadily climb a mountain pass- Kheche at 4580 meters. The trail is Thega village bound. As the walk continues to we reach Khedi village at 3700 meters above the sea level. The village will host our campsite too.
- Day 17 Lhedi – Thanza: The trail climb gradually following the main source of the Pho Chu to Chozo village. At the small Chozo Dzong there are some lay monks. Above Chozo the Valley opens as you approach Thanza village, near the foot of 7100m Zongophu Gang, which is also known as table mountain. Camp at Thanza, 4090m, the main village of Lunana district. The trail takes us to the foot of a table mountain- Zongophu Gang at 7100 meters above the sea level. Before reaching here, we gradually climb by the main source of the Pho Chhu to Chozo village. In Chozo valley, we take a quick respite from the tours by visiting the Chozo Dzong. Upon reaching the Chozo and further away, the village opens wide and far ushering to Thanza village at 4000 meters. For the night, we camp in this scenic valley.
- Day 18 Thanza – Tshochena: Today is a long trek and should start as early as possible. It’s a long climb over three false summits to Jaze La(5050m). It's then less than an hour down to the campsite at the lake of Tshochena. You may see blue sheep during the hike. Wake up to the first chirp of the bird, as early as possible to trek the longest. On a gradual stiff, we cross almost three summits. From here, it will only take us an hour to reach our campsite at Tshocena Lake.
- Day 19 Tshocena – Jichu Dramo: On an undulating trail plotting course amid the perennial snow-capped mountains’ ridges and gorges, we trek to a pass- Loju at 4940 meters and go on to camp at Jichu Dramo at 4880 meters.
- Day 20 Jichu Dramo – Chukarpo: The trek is a climb of Rinchen Zoe La(5140m), the highest point on the trek. It is then a long downhill to Chukarpo, which is just above the tree line at 4950m. Across a pass- Rinchen Zoe at 5200 meters, the highest elevation of the trek, we reach Chukarpo after a long walk. It is at 4950 meters above the tree line and our camp is here as well.
- Day 21 Chukarpo – Thampe Tsho It’s a long, mostly downhill, walk along the river, then a climb back to Um Tsho at 4230m. In this Lake Pema Lingpa found a number of religious treasures. A bit further in the camp by the lake of Thampe Tsho. From Chukarpo campsite, we follow a trail that is mostly downhill along the river to our destination at 4230 meters above the sea level. The lake is considered legendary owing to many treasures discovered from the floor of the lake. We camp by the Lake.
- Day 22 Thampe Tsho – Maurothang It’s a two-hour walk to the base of Thampe La and then a steep climb to the pass at 4580m. The trek is then all downhill through rhododendron bushes to the yak pasture of Maurothanbg at 4000m. After the two-hour walk to the base of Thampe Tsho, we climb up a pass at 4580 meters. Then we trod downhill through rhododendron bushes to the yak pasture of Maurothang at 4000 meters. For the night, we take a halt here for the night.
- Day 23 Maurothang – Sephu: Following the course of Nikka Chhu through the bamboo thickets and fields, we reach Sephu at an elevation of 2500 meters above the sea level. This is the last destination of the trek. Onwards, we retrace our journey to Paro International Airport.