Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Trip report for Dhaulagiri Circuit led by Ade Summers and Chandra Rai in April 2017

Photo: crossing French Pass with Mt Dhaulagiri behind
In April we organised our 14th group trek around Dhaulagiri Circuit. Our leaders were Ade Summers (UK & Australia) and Chandra Rai (Nepal) and the Sherpa guides supporting the group were Mhin and Bhim. We had six people in this group and like in previous years this group was an international mix with people coming from Switzerland, USA and UK.

The group arrived to Kathmandu on April 16th and we organised the group briefing for late afternoon. We made one change with our Dhaulagiri Circuit itinerary compared to previous years  as we have extended by one day so the trip is now 21 days from arrival to Kathmandu. In previous years on Day 2 we flew from Kathmandu to Pokhara, drove to Beni and then trekked to first night's camp at Babuchur. This was too long especially if there were any delays in flying to Pokhara and quite often the group would arrive to Babuchur after dark therefore we now include one night in Pokhara before starting the trek. The feedback from the leaders and the group has been positive with this change in itinerary so we will keep this in place for our future Dhaulagiri Circuit groups.

The trek went well and the group arrived to Italian Base Camp as planned on April 24th. On April 30th the group crossed French Col into Hidden Valley. However the weather throughout the trek was quite rainy and there was deep snow higher up making the days crossing French and Dhampus passes more challenging for the group and crew. The weather this Spring throughout Nepal has been unsettled with more precipitation than in previous years. On May 2nd the group crossed Dhampus Pass with superb views of Annapurna South and Nilgiris and made good progress to camp at Alu Bari for the night.

Throughout this expedition we received weather forecasts from Michael Fagin at everestweather.com and we sent these onto Ade by text to his satellite phone. Having professional weather forecasts is essential for safety in crossing high passes and for decision making in the field.


We have carefully designed our Dhaulagiri Circuit for acclimatisation and our groups have two nights at Italian Base Camp at 3,660m followed by two nights at Glacier Camp at 4,200m then a further two nights at Dhaulagiri Base Camp at 4,700m. Only with this ascent profile will you have enough time for your body to adapt to the high altitude for safe crossing of the high passes and for sleeping in Hidden Valley at 5,050m.

As with all of TMC camping treks we track their progress while in the field through SPOT gps check ins, you can see the map of this trek in SPOT Adventure website

Congratulations to the group for completing Dhaulagiri Circuit. I would like thank Ade and Chandra plus the rest of the team for their help and hard work.

The feedback from the group has been very positive and everyone had a good time. I have copied several member’s feedback from AITO.com website below:

"I had an excellent experience with The Mountain Company---Top Notch" Melvin

"The Mountain Company organised everything to a tee. We never had to worry about anything as everything was taken care of giving us the time and space to enjoy Nepal."  Mat

"The whole trip was well planned,organised and executed by The Mountain Company. The Mountain Company works to very high standards and achieves them, whilst being sensitive to the fragile environment in which it operates and respectful of the local peoples. From the off, the level of communication and personal advice offered is detailed, considered and personally tailored. Very impressive personal service. It is pleasing that customer feedback is listened to, then, where appropriate, put into action to enhance the next treks experiences. Well done and I hope to trek with you again in the near future." Paula


The Mountain Company organises Dhaulagiri Circuit trek and Dhampus Peak expedition twice a year in April and October. Our Dhaulagiri Circuit group in October 2017 is now guaranteed to run so please get in touch soon if you like to join this group.

Trek on!

Roland Hunter

Friday, 7 April 2017

Our Dhaulagiri Circuit treks in April and October 2017 are now both guaranteed to run

Photo: Mount Dhaulagiri seen from French Pass
The Mountain Company's Dhaulagiri Circuit treks in Nepal during April and October 2017 are now both guaranteed to run and there is currently availability. There is also an option to climb Dhampus Peak for the extra cost of the climbing permit.

The Mountain Company has a long track record of organising treks in Nepal, our groups have successfully completed Dhaulagiri Circuit trek on eight previous occasions please click here to read the Trip Reports from our previous treks

Please get in contact with us soon if you would like to join one of our Dhaulagiri Circuit groups in 2017 .

Roland Hunter
www.themountaincompany.co.uk

Monday, 23 January 2017

Dhaulagiri Circuit in Nepal for April and October 2017

Photo: Mount Dhaulagiri seen from French Pass
The Mountain Company's Dhaulagiri Circuit treks in Nepal during April and October 2017 are now both nearly guaranteed to run and we require only one or two more bookings to guarantee these departures. There is also an option to climb Dhampus Peak for the extra cost of the climbing permit.

The Mountain Company has a long track record of organising treks in Nepal, our groups have successfully completed Dhaulagiri Circuit trek on eight previous occasions please click here to read the Trip Reports from our previous treks

Please get in contact with us soon if you would like to join one of our Dhaulagiri Circuit groups in 2017 .

Roland Hunter
www.themountaincompany.co.uk

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Trip report for Dhaulagiri Circuit led by Ade Summers and Chandra Rai in October 2016

Photo: Dhaulagiri Base Camp
In October we organised our 13th group trek around DhaulagiriCircuit and this was also our 3rd expedition to climb Dhampus Peak. On their return to Kathmandu I caught up with most of the group for a debrief at Yak Bar on the roof terrace of Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu to get their feedback on the trip. 

We had twelve people in this group and like in previous years this group was an international mix with people coming from Australia, Switzerland, USA, Canada and UK. There were three people who decided to pay for the extra cost to climb Dhampus Peak. This surcharge covers the permit fee and per permit rules the costs to provide equipment to the climbing guide and insurance fees for helicopter rescue. Therefore the cost of this surcharge depends on the number of people opting for Dhampus Peak and with a larger group the cost per person will decrease.

The leaders for our Dhaulagiri Circuit with Dhampus trip were Ade Summers (UK & Australia) and Chandra Rai (Nepal). The climbing guide for Dhampus Peak was Dorje Sherpa and the Sherpa guides supporting the group was Hebi and Bhim. The cook was Kancha Tamang.

The group arrived to Kathmandu on October 9th and we organized group briefing for late afternoon. The group flew to Pokhara on 10th and took the bus to Beni. As it was already 3pm by the time the group had finished lunch Ade and Chandra decided it would be better to take a bus to the first camp as it was not possible to camp at Tatopani instead continued on to Babaychur camp.

Throughout this expedition we received weather forecasts from Michael Fagin at everestweather.com and we sent these onto Ade by text to his satellite phone. Overall the weather for this trek was good with sunny and stable conditions and had clear days with superb views for crossing French Pass and Dhampus Pass. Having professional weather forecasts is essential for safety in crossing high passes and for decision making in the field.


The trek went well with fine weather virtually no precipitation and the group arrived to Italian Base Camp as planned on October 16th. On October 22nd the group crossed French Col into Hidden Valley. As per our weather forecast from everestweather.com it was sunny however windy on the pass as the jet streams were low and high winds were mixing down to 5,000m.

On October 24th the group crossed Dhampus Pass with superb views of Annapurna South and Nilgiris and made good progress to camp at Alu Bari for the night. The next day there is a steep and sustained descent to Marpha village and after a refreshing apple juice (this village is well known for its apple products including stronger versions of juice!) some of the group took a bus to Jomsom and others walked.

We have carefully designed our Dhaulagiri Circuit for acclimatisation and our groups have two nights at Italian Base Camp at 3,660m followed by two nights at Glacier Camp at 4,200m then a further two nights at Dhaulagiri Base Camp at 4,700m. Only with this ascent profile will you have enough time for your body to adapt to the high altitude for safe crossing of the high passes and for sleeping in Hidden Valley at 5,050m.

As with all of TMC western led treks we track their progress while in the field through SPOT gps check ins, you can see the map of this trek in SPOTAdventure website

Congratulations to the group for completing Dhaulagiri Circuit. I would like thank Ade, Chandra, Dorje, Hebi, Bhim, Kancha plus the rest of the team for their help and hard work.

The feedback from the group has been very positive and everyone had a good time. I have copied one member’s feedback from AITO.com website below:

“It started with a warm and generous Nepali welcome at the airport and it continued for the next 20 days. A good bunch of people of varied ages, a fantastic Leader and support crew who could not do enough to ensure you had a great time. The views were superb, they seemed to get better each day and I loved every minute of the trip.

The itinerary was very well planned with rest days to assist with acclimatising. The tour company were extremely well organised, they communicated the plan for the day and were flexible in their attitude and generally appeared to care that everybody was well and enjoying themselves. There was always somebody not that far away on the trail if you had a question and to make sure the group stayed together. A truly professional tour group.”
TE

The Mountain Company organises Dhaulagiri Circuit trek and Dhampus Peak expedition twice a year in April and October. Our Dhaulagiri Circuit group in April 2017 is nearly guaranteed to run so please get in touch soon if you like to join this group.


Trek on!

Roland Hunter

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Our Dhaulagiri Circuit treks in April and October 2016 are now both guaranteed to run

Photo: Mount Dhaulagiri seen from French Pass
The Mountain Company's Dhaulagiri Circuit treks in Nepal during April and October 2016 led by Almas Khan are now both guaranteed to run and there is currently availability. There is also an option to climb Dhampus Peak for the extra cost of the climbing permit.

The Mountain Company has a long track record of organising treks in Nepal, our groups have successfully completed Dhaulagiri Circuit trek on eight previous occasions please click here to read the Trip Reports from our previous treks

Please get in contact with us soon if you would like to join one of our Dhaulagiri Circuit groups in 2016 .

Roland Hunter
www.themountaincompany.co.uk

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Trip report for Dhaulagiri Circuit led by Allan Gibbs and Domi Sherpa in October 2015

Photo: summit shot on Dhampus Peak of Domi, Sonam and team 
The Mountain Company has organised Dhaulagiri Circuit ten times before however for October 2015 we made a significant change to the itinerary as we included the option to climb Dhampus Peak (6,060m) from Hidden Valley. This addition makes a superb trip even better as not only does the group get the chance to complete one of the most challenging treks in Nepal crossing two high passes over 5,000m but also includes climbing a peak over 6,000m! We had eight people in this group and five people paid the supplement to cover the permit fees for Dhampus Peak.

The group arrived to Kathmandu on October 4th and as usual with our teams there was a mix of nationalities with people coming from UK, Ireland, Canada and Germany. The leaders for our Dhaulagiri Circuit with Dhampus trip were Allan Gibbs (UK) and Domi Sherpa (Nepal). The Sherpa guides supporting the group were Sonam and Tenzing and the cook was Parbat.

Photo: view from the summit of Dhampus peak
On 5th the group flew to Pokhara and took the bus to Beni then after lunch walked to their first camp at Tatopani. For the next three days the trail passes through attractive traditional villages (luckily no earthquake damage here) with views of Dhaulagiri and surrounding mountains to the north. These first few days of Dhaulagiri Circuit are always very hot and humid as Tatopani is at an altitude of only 870 metres.

After Boghara village on Day 5 the trail enters sub-tropical forest and as usual during this section of the trek there was some afternoon rain after the group had arrived to camp. The group reached Italian Base Camp as planned on October 11th and after an acclimatising day on 12th they walked up to Glacier camp on 13th. There was a change in the trail as previously one approached the glacier on left side of Chonbarden gorge however the glacier has melted back and now there is no longer a gentle ramp to access the glacier. Therefore the new trail crosses the river below the glacier to access the right hand side of the glacier. Domi and Sonam rigged a Tyrolean traverse over the river and the lighter members of the group were hauled across whereas the heavier members (no names!) crossed the river on foot.

Photo: summit ridge on Dhampus peak
Overall the weather for this trek was excellent with sunny and stable conditions apart from one cloudy day walking up to Dhaulagiri Base Camp. This group was very lucky as had superb sunny day on crossing French Pass into Hidden Valley. This period of fine weather carried on until the end of the trip so the conditions for climbing Dhampus Peak and crossing Dhampus were very favourable- see photos below.

On October 18th three members of the group plus Allan left the camp in Hidden Valley at 5am to ascend to Dhampus pass, from there they started up lower scree slopes of Dhampus Peak. Above here the route joins the ridge and this is followed to the summit. I gather this year there was no snow on the pass and only a small amount towards the top of Dhampus.

It was a clear day with wonderful views from the summit of Dhampus Peak over to Annapurnas and Nilgiri to the east and over to Dolpo to the west. The climbers took a different way down from the top descending on Kali Gandaki side of the mountain and meeting the rest of the group at a camp over from Dhampus pass. The next day everyone descended all of the way down to Marpha instead of staying at Alu Bari camp, I think the draw of apple juice, apple pie (and apple schnaps?) was too tempting for everyone. Marpha is a traditional village and everyone enjoyed their time exploring the next morning before walking onto Jomsom.

Congratulations to the group for completing Dhaulagiri Circuit and well done to the climbers who summited Dhampus Peak! As mentioned this is the first summit of Dhampus Peak by a TMC group and hopefully not the last. I would like thank Allan, Domi, Sonam, Tenzing and Parbat plus the rest of the team for their help and hard work in making this trip work so well. Great job!

The Mountain Company organise our Dhaulagiri Circuit trek and Dhampus Peak expedition twice a year in April and October, please get in touch if you like to join one of these departures. By the way our Dhaulagiri Circuit group in October 2016 is already guaranteed to run.

For more testimonials on Dhaulagiri Circuit and our other trips please take a look at AITO review section of their website

Roland Hunter

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Trip report for Dhaulagiri Circuit led by Almas Khan in April 2015

Photo: terraced field near Muri village
Our Dhaulagiri Circuit trek in April 2015 was led by Almas Khan. Almas led our successful October 2013 trek around Dhaulagiri Circuit and I know he was looking forward to going back again (read October 2013 Trip Report). The Sirdar for this trek was Domi Sherpa one of our most experienced climbing guides and the assistant guides were Sonam and Khumbu. The cook was Saila Tamang.

Our Dhaulagiri Circuit group arrived to Kathmandu on April 19th. During this Spring season the Nepal Himalayan region received high amounts of precipitation, this was much more than usually experienced at this time of year. However we carefully tracked the amount of snow that had fallen in Dhaulagiri region for the last month through our bespoke weather forecasts and hindcasts from everestweather.com. From this information we identified there was less snow in Dhaulagiri region compared to Annapurna. Therefore we were confident with our experienced crew led by Almas Khan that our group would have a good chance of safely crossing the high passes to Jomsom.

On 20th the group flew to Pokhara then drove by bus to Beni where they met the trek crew and then walked to their first camp at Tatopani. The trek progressed as planned and on 24th they arrived to Dobang camp. However this all changed at 11.56am on 25th as there was a 7.8 Richter earthquake in Nepal with epicentre located near Gorkha. I was in Kathmandu during the earthquake and shortly afterwards I called Almas on his satellite phone to find out if the group and crew were all ok. I heard from Almas there was some rockfall on the trail although there were luckily no injuries in our team as the tremors were not so strong in this area compared to other trekking regions of Nepal.

On 26th we decided to allow the group to walk up to Italian Base Camp as this is a wide, open area with low risk of rockfall or avalanche so would be a safe place for them to stay for a while. After further discussions with Almas on satellite phone we decided to abort the trek as we were concerned about the risk of rockfall in the narrow Chonbarden gorge leading to Glacier Camp. All of the other groups descended from Italian Base Camp however we decided to keep the group at Italian Base camp for a further four days. We felt this was the safest option as it would be risky walking down the narrow Myagdi valley if there were further aftershocks.

The other consideration was the severe congestion at Kathmandu airport with many people trying to leave the country when at the same time many international aid flights were arriving. Therefore we decided to stick to their original return date to Kathmandu of May 6th. The group descended Myagdi valley and slept the night of May 5th in Beni then drove to Pokhara staying that evening at New Pokhara Lodge. On May 6th they all returned to Kathmandu as planned and then flew home on May 8th. By this time the airport was far less busy and was back to operating normal schedules so there were no delays or flight cancellations like a week earlier.

I was in Kathmandu when this group returned and spoke to each member of the group for a debrief. Everyone was supportive of our decisions and I gather they enjoyed their time exploring around Italian Base Camp and overall had a positive experience. Please see some of their comments below:

“There is no doubt that Almas is extremely experienced and there was no time on the entire trek where I felt like I was in danger including the earthquake. I believe the handling of the situation was very professional and in the interest of everyone in the party.” Eva (USA)

“I was of course concerned about the impact of the earthquake on the local people and our team - but I never had any concern that anything other than the best decision had been taken for the immediate safety of the group (both staff and clients).” Martin (UK)

Martin also went on to say “The Mountain Company specialises in its area of expertise and this showed through at every level - ability to communicate useful info; answer questions; provide the best best team for the trek and then take the best decisions re the earthquake. I was very happy to have chosen The Mountain Company. In addition one of my concerns on my first trip to Nepal was to ensure I traveled with a company who recognise the safety of the team (in particular porters) is equally important to that of tourists - I was very happy with The Mountain Company's approach to this.”

Thanks very much to Almas, Domi, Sonam, Khumbu, Saila and the rest of the crew for their help in organising this trek. Great job!

The Mountain Company has a guaranteed departure for our Dhaulagiri Circuit trek in October 2015 led by Allan Gibbs, please get in touch with us soon if you would like join this group.

Roland Hunter