Nepal

Pikey Peak Village Trek


Before Sir Edmund Hillary helped build the airport at Lukla in 1964, all Everest expeditions began at Jiri, where the Swiss had built a road. From Jiri it took seven days to reach Lukla. Nima looks on as granny separates the husk Pikey Trek NepalNow, most Everest trekkers fly directly to Lukla, with fewer than a thousand trekkers begin their trek in Jiri - thereby missing out on the rich Sherpa culture and stunning landscape of the lower Everest region.

On this travel program, you have the opportunity to experience daily life in the villages of Yolung and Bamthi first-hand. Both villages are predominantly Sherpa and are the birthplace of our guides Pema Sherpa and Kandu Sherpa, respectively. As a guest in their homes, you will join in their daily chores – helping out in the corn/millet/barley fields, collecting wood and grass for the cattle, making butter (and butter tea), picking tea leaves, making flour from the grains, and more. Pema worked as a cook on Everest expeditions until 2015 when an accident on the mountain severely restricted his ability to venture to high altitudes. Kandu is one of the very few female trekking guides in Nepal.

Thukten Choling Monastery Pikey Trek NepalThe trip begins with a bus ride to Jiri from where you will hike a short distance into Yolung (Pema’s village), located in a beautiful valley. Yolung is a small community of 200 homes, most of which are near the village center, along with a school and monastery. You will be living in a home on the outskirts of the village away from the hustle and bustle of the village.

The trek continues to Bamthi (Kandu’s village). From Bamthi you begin the journey to Pikey Peak, first descending to the river and then ascending to a small pass, through thick stands of birch and rhododendrons, along fields of wheat, barley and millet. The trail passes through Working in the corn fields Pikey Trek Nepalnumerous villages, crisscrossing the jeep track until reaching Nagur Monastery, dotted with ancient chortens and small monasteries and offering views of the Rolwaling range. Pikey Peak offers panoramic views of mountains from Kanchenjunga in the east to the Rolwaling range in the west (with Everest and Makalu in the middle).

You'll then make a steep descent to Junbesi, one of the most beautiful Sherpa villages and the gateway to the Thuktencholing Monastery. This is one of the most important monasteries of the Sherpa people and was established by the Thulsik Rimpoche who escaped Tibet with his followers. Around 700 monks and nuns live at this monastery.

The journey ends at Phaplu, where you fly back to Kathmandu. The trip also includes time to enjoy the sites in and around Kathmandu, including Boudhanath and Pashupatinath.

A special women-focused group departure is also being offered October 31 - November 13, 2019 - details here.

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • All airport transfers
  • One full day sightseeing in Kathmandu
  • 4 nights twin sharing hotel accommodation in Kathmandu
  • Chartered Vehicle: Kathmandu to Jiri
  • Airfare: Phaplu to Kathmandu
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Homestay in Yolung and Bamthi with activities
  • Lodge trekking as indicated in the itinerary
  • Gauri Shanker Area Fee and Trekkers Information Card
  • Lunch with the monks at Thuktencholing Monastery
  • Homestay and Sherpa culture experience

Sample Itinerary

Our itineraries are designed to let the country and its people guide your experiences. Please be flexible and allow the program to unfold.

DAY 1

Arrival in Kathmandu, Nepal

Arrive in Kathmandu. Our representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Welcome dinner.

MEALS:  D


DAY 2

Exploring the Kathmandu area

In the morning, visit Bodhanath, the Stupa of a Million Dew Drops, to watch monks and devotees circumambulate the largest stupa in the world. Then visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. Drive to Patan for lunch in the garden of the Patan Museum Café. After lunch, visit the well-maintained Patan Museum storing ancient Nepali artifacts, followed by a tour of Patan Durbar Square.

MEALS:  B


DAY 3

Kathmandu - Jiri - Yolung

We start early as the drive (137 miles) to Jiri can take up to 8 hours. We will drive out of Kathmandu on the Kodari highway leading to the Nepal-Tibet border. At the Lamosangu Bridge, we continue east following the Pasang Lhamu highway, slowly snaking up the switchback until we arrive at Charikot. From Charikot, the road descends to the Tamakoshi River and then again ascends on switchbacks to Haat Danda. It is then a short descent to Jiri.

At Jiri, we begin our hike to Yolung. We ascend steeply to Deurali for about two hours (1,486 feet) and then make a 587 foot descent to the village of Yolung where we will be welcomed by our hosts. Today’s hike is approximately 3.62 miles.

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 4

Yolung

At Yolung, depending on our group’s size, some may stay at Pema’s home and others at Zangmu’s home. Zangmu lost her husband, the village Lama, in the 2015 earthquake. She is a single mother raising three daughters.

November is usually the time when villagers at Yolung and Bamthi harvest corn and plant barley. We will spend a whole morning in the fields, possibly plowing the fields with bulls depending on the need. In the afternoon, we may take off to collect fodder for cattle. And later Zangmu will teach us how to make millet/barley beer and Nepali moonshine.

Note: While at the villages and while trekking, it is important to stay away from buffalo, especially those that are nursing a young, one as they can charge.

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 5

Yolung - Deurali

We'll start early and follow the jeep track to the edge of the village. We then make a steep descent to Shivalaya, a small town along the river. From Shivalaya, we begin a short steep ascent to the telephone tower where we join the jeep track again. It is then a short gentle ascent to our lunch stop at Bhul Danda. After lunch, we leave the jeep track and trek through a thickly forested area to Deurali (hill pass in Nepali).

Yolung to Bhul Danda (lunch stop): 7 miles, 1,806 ft. ascent and 1,709 ft. descent. 4 to 5 hours of hiking.

Bhul Danda to Deurali: 2.05 miles, 1,384 ft. ascent and 62 ft. descent. 2 hours.

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 6

Deurali - Bhandar

In the early morning, enjoy views of the Mt. Gauri Shanker and other peaks in the Rolwaling Range. We may be able to visit the cheese factory and the nunnery in this area. From Deurali, it is a short descent of 2.11 miles and 1,573 feet to Bhandar (approximately 2 hours).

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 7

Bhandar

At Bhandar, depending on our group’s size, some will stay at Kandu’s home and others at another Sherpa home nearby.

Depending on the need, we may plow the fields using bulls or we may learn how to milk a cow and churn butter. Later we will be taught how to make potato bread and shaykpa stew for dinner.

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 8

Bhandar - Goli

Today is a long, roller-coaster day of hiking (about 7 hours). We make a gradual descent of about 2,800 feet on the jeep track to the Likhu River for about 2 hours. It is then a three-hour steep ascent of about 2,286 feet to Namkhile where we will stop for lunch. After crossing the Likhu River, we follow a small trail along terraced fields of cardamom and alder trees. Later we trek through terraced fields of paddy, corn, and barley. We are now on the Pikey-Everest marathon trail.

After lunch, we again hike steeply through birch and rhododendron forests, crossing several rocks painted with Buddhist mantras. We finally arrive at a large bowl which is the village of Goli where we stop for the night.

Bamthi to Namkhili: Distance – 6.62 miles. 2,804 ft. ascent and 2,286 ft. descent. 4 to 5 hours.

Namkhili to Goli: Distance – 3.56 miles. 2,347 ft. ascent. 2 hours.

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 9

Goli - Pikey

Following the jeep track to the edge of the village, we then enter the forest and begin our ascent to Nagur Monastery which is about an hour away (1.87 miles). At Nagur, there was a nunnery which was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. Some of the nuns continue to live in a nearby shed. There is also a small cheese factory. We continue our ascent through the forests and soon notice that the tall trees are replaced by small Rhododendron shrubs, azaleas, and barberry bushes. The berries attract bees which arrive in large hordes during the months of June through August. While these bees are not aggressive, they can sting if agitated. From Nagur it is about two hours to the base of Pikey where there are a few lodges operated by local shepherds who rear yaks and dzos (hybrid between yaks and cattle).

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 10

Pikey Summit - Junbesi

We begin our day early in the morning to catch the best views from the summit of Pikey Peak (13,200 feet). It is possible to view Kanchenjunga, Everest, Makalu, Rolwaling, Numbur, Gauri Shanker and many other peaks from East to West. We then descend to the saddle at Jase Bhanjyang where we stop again for tea and snacks.

From Jase Bhanjyang we ascend along the ridge, crossing a few more pastures and shepherd huts, until we start making a sharp descent through a thick rhododendron forest. After descending about 2,000 feet, we reach a clearing with a small settlement. We continue through the village of Taktor and rejoin the jeep track past the village. A little further, we leave the jeep track and descend on a walking trail to the village of Junbesi.

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 11

Junbesi - Phaplu

We start late in the morning and make a gentle ascent to Thuktencholing Monastery. The monastery was established by Thrulsik Rimpoche who had escaped Tibet along with thousands of his followers. The Rimpoche has now passed on to the next realm and searches for his reincarnate. The monastery is a complex of the main chapel, meditation caves that have been built along the mountainside, living quarters and learning halls for the young initiates. We will take a tour of the monastery and then enjoy lunch with a few of the monks and nuns.

After lunch, a jeep will pick us up and drive us for about an hour to Phaplu.

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 12

Phaplu - Kathmandu

An early flight back to Kathmandu. The day is free to catch up on laundry and shopping.

MEALS:  B


DAY 13

Kathmandu

This is a contingency day in Kathmandu. If bad weather prevents us from flying to Kathmandu, we will take a jeep back which is about 9 hours of driving.

MEALS:  B


DAY 14

Departure

Transfer to the airport for departing flights home.

MEALS:  B


PRICE

$2,295 based on double occupancy

DURATION

14D / 13N

DEPARTURE DATES

April 13 - 26, 2019 plus October 31 - November 13, 2019 as a special women-focused group; details https://www.crookedtrails.org/itinerary/nepal-pikey-womens-trek/)


ACTIVITY LEVEL

Challenging

ROUTE

Kathmandu - Jiri - Yolung - Deurali - Bhandar - Goli - Pikey - Junbesi - Phaplu - Kathmandu

PROGRAM ELEMENTS

Village experience, trekking



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