Saribung Peak Expedition

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Starts at: Jomsom Ends at: Khudi
Trek Region: Annapurna Transport: Flight / Bus
Duration: 26 Days Trip Grade: Extreme
Max Altitude: 6328 m / 20761 ft Accommodation: Camping

Saribung Peak Expedition

  • Saribung Peak is newly opened for climbing (2006)
  • Be among the few: Few climbers have summited this peak, which has been open for less than 20 years.
  • Saribung Peak is in an isolated, remote, and restricted area of Upper Mustang, formally known as the Kingdom of Lo.
  • You will climb Saribung Peak at 6,328 m / 20,761 ft and cross the Saribung La Pass at 6,000 m  / 19,685 ft.
  • Explore the desert-like landscape of Upper Mustang, reminiscent of Tibet.
  • Be amazed at the stunning views of the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Manaslu mountain ranges.
  • Visit the walled city of Lo Manthang, the center of the Kingdom of Lo.
  • Experience settlements and people very similar to those in Tibet.
  • Trek along the Annapurna Circuit, the hidden valley of Nar Phu, and Upper Mustang.

This is a challenging climb not because it is technically difficult but because to reach Saribung Peak, you must trek through isolated landscapes, surrounded by high cliffs, and along remote mountain trails.

Only opened in 2006, this peak has not seen many climbers as most head for the more well-known climbs. The adventure starts from Kathmandu to the lovely town of Pokhara, which sits on Fewa Lake. From there, it’s a short morning flight to the market town of Jomsom, after which you start your trek, leaving Nepali-type towns and people behind and entering a land reminiscent of Tibet.  

Situated in Upper Mustang, the last kingdom in Nepal, this area lies close to the Tibetan border and has a distinct Tibetan feel – from the landscape to the culture and people.

You will visit the walled city of Lo Manthang, and visit ancient man-made caves linked together with a series of ladders.  Once you are at Lo Manthang’s altitude, built-in acclimatization days are an important factor in a successful climb.

The climb takes place over two days but involves staying six nights in a tented camp.   The two days of actual climbing are from Base Camp to Camp I and from Camp I to  Saribung Peak  (6,328 m / 20,761 ft)  and return to Base Camp the same day.  There is also the high  Saribung La Pass to cross at  6,000 m  / 19,685 ft, which may also need the use of some climbing gear.

For those of you who would love to experience an expedition in the Himalayas, explore less climbed peaks, and seek to experience new cultures and traditions, this is the expedition for you!

Preparation Day

Today, we will organize your trekking permits, and our climbing guide will check your gear: is your own in good condition? So you need to hire any? etc. 

  • We will brief you on what to expect during this expedition, such as:
  • How the weather might affect your summit plans.
  • Risks and mitigation of altitude-related problems.
  • Techniques and protocols, including safety.
  • Roles and responsibilities of your guide, support staff, and team members.
  • Communication and emergency procedures.

You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

Itinerary for Saribung Peak Expedition

Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara (drive)

Pokhara – 895 m / 2,936 ft

Day 2: Pokhara to Jomsom (flight) Jomson to Kagbeni (trek)

Kagbeni 2,800 m / 9,186 ft -3-4 hours

Day 3: Kagbeni to Chele

Chele – 3,050m / 10,006 ft – 6 hours

Day 4: Chele to Syangmoche

Syangmoche – 3,475 m / 11,400 ft / – 7 hours

Day 5: Syangmoche to Ghami

Ghami – 3,400 m / 11,482 ft / – 5 hours

Day 6: Ghami to Charang

Charang – 3,560 m / 11,679 ft – 4 hours

Day 7: Charang to Lo Manthang

Lo Manthang – 3,770 m / 12,368 ft – 5 hours

Day 8: Acclimatization Day at Lo Manthang and Day Trip to Jong Cave, Chhoser

Lo Manthang – 3,770 m / 12,368 ft – 6 hours

Day 9: Lo Manthang to Yara

Yara – 3,900 m / 12,795 ft – 5 to 6 hours

Day 10: Yara to Luri Cave Monastery – Luri Cave Monastery

Luri Cave Monastery – 4,005 m / 13,139.7 ft – 4 to 5 hours

Day 11: Luri Cave to Ghuma Thanthi

Ghuma Thanthi – 4,600 m / 15,091.8 ft – 5 to 6 hrs

Day 12: Trek from Ghuma Thanti to Namta Khola

Namta Khola- 4,890 m / 16,043 ft – 6 to 7 hours

Day 13: Namta Khola to Saribung Base Camp

Saribung Base Camp – 4,950 m / 16,240 ft – trek 6-7 hrs

Day 14: Acclimatization at Saribung Base Camp

Saribung Base Camp – 4,950 m / 16,240 ft

Day 15: Saribung Base Camp to Camp I

Camp 1 – 5,730 m / 18,799 ft – 5 to 6 hrs

Day 16: Camp I to Summit and return to Base Camp

Saribung Peak Summit – 6,346 m / 20,820 ft – 8-9 hrs

Day 17: Contingency Day

Base Camp

Day 17: Base Camp to Nagoru via Saribung Pass

Nagoru – 4,400 m / 14,435.6 ft – 6-7 hours

Day 19: Nagoru to Phu

Phu – 4,080 m / 13,385.8 ft – 5-6 hours

Day 20: Phu to Meta

Meta 3,560 m / 11,679.7 – 7 hours

Day 21: Trek Meta to Koto

Koto – 2,600 m / 8,530 ft – 7 hours

Day 22: Koto to Dharapani

Dharapani 1,860 m / 6,102.3 ft – 6 hours

Day 23: Dharapani to Kathmandu (drive)

Kathmandu – 10 to 12 hours

Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara (drive)

  • Drive time: 8 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 200 km/124 miles

After breakfast, you will leave Kathmandu and go towards Pokhara, the first stage of the expedition.

Once you cross the gateway of Kathmandu, the road winds its way down the other side of the valley until it reaches a market town and junction.  Here we turn towards Pokhara and follow a much flatter road. 

The road out of Kathmandu is notorious for its twists and turns, and there can be delays both on this road and the flatter one to follow.  Settle back and enjoy the views of distant mountains and the Trisuli River.

Think about the adventure to come. As you are near Pokhara, you will get your first good views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.

Reaching Pokhara late afternoon, there is time to unwind, walk along the lake before dinner, and have another short briefing.

Day 2: Pokhara to Jomsom (flight) Jomson to Kagbeni (trek)

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 10.6 km/6.6 miles

After breakfast, you will leave Kathmandu and go towards Pokhara, the first stage of the expedition.

Once you cross the gateway of Kathmandu, the road winds its way down the other side of the valley until it reaches a market town and junction.  Here we turn towards Pokhara and follow a much flatter road. 

The road out of Kathmandu is notorious for its twists and turns, and there can be delays both on this road and the flatter one to follow.  Settle back and enjoy the views of distant mountains and the Trisuli River.

Think about the adventure to come. As you are near Pokhara, you will get your first good views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.

Reaching Pokhara late afternoon, there is time to unwind, walk along the lake before dinner, and have another short briefing.

Day 3: Kagbeni to Chele

  • Trek time: 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 15 km / 9.5 miles

After breakfast set off into Upper Mustang.  Have your permits checked again as you enter a completely different world.  Nilgiri and Tukuche peaks are present as you make your way into this dramatic landscape.

The countryside still has patches of cultivated land at this point – apple orchards and fields of mainly buckwheat. 

The villages you pass have a very distinct Tibetan vibe to them, and there are many more to come on this fascinating glimpse into a culture different from much of the rest of Nepal.

Day 4: Chele to Syangmoche

  • Trek time: 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 11.5 km / 7.1 miles

The altitude is rising today, which is good acclimatization for your climb. Today, the trail is a little rougher, with some steep climbs and loose gravel/ rocks, which will stand you in good stead for your climb.

The land is becoming more arid, and patches of cultivated land are disappearing. You will cross the Takelma La Pass at 3,624 m / 11,880 ft and Marjory La Pass at 3,735 m /   12,254 ft.

You can explore Ghar Gompa, a small monastery on a cliffside. The Upper Mustang Lo Manthang Viewpoint offers a panorama of the Mustang Valley.

Day 5: Syangmoche to  Ghami

  • Trek time: 5 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 9.3 km  / 5.8 miles

Today, there are two other passes to cross: Nyi La Pass at 4,020 m / 13,189 ft and Nyi Pass at approximately the same height.

Day 6: Syangmoche to  Ghami

  • Trek time: 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 10.7 km  / 6.6 miles

Today, you descend to a suspension bridge over the Ghami Khola (river) and hike on it to reach and cross the Charang La Pass, which has stunning views of the mountains. On reaching the village of Charang you can explore the Red Gompa and an old palace. 

It is said that the village was established in the 14th century, the same time as the Red Gompa and that the palace was built a few centuries later.

The painted murals in the gompa and the amazing wooden architecture of the palace sit well with the white-washed houses and alleys.  There is so much history and wonderful architecture here and time to enjoy.

Day 7: Charang to Lo Manthang

  • Trek time: 5 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 11 km /  6.8 miles

Crossing the Lo La Pass (3,950 m / 12, 959 ft), you get views of the walled city of Lo Manthang, the center of the ancient Kingdom of Lo.  It’s a straightforward trail through more traditional villages and a few cultivated fields, with Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I, and Bhrikuti Peak surrounding you. 

On reaching Lo Manthang you will be fascinated by the walls that surround the small city.  These were for protection and to control traders on the salt route between Nepal, Tibet, and India.  Lo Manthang has a unique and long trade, conflict, and isolation history. 

When Nepal was formed in the 18th century the Mustang Kingdom was pretty much forgotten.  This enabled the people to maintain their unique culture.  The King of Lo ruled until 2008 when the Nepal monarchy fell.  At that time the King of Lo was also officially ousted.

The temples, courtyards, monasteries, and Tibetan artifacts within the city are worth looking at.

Day 8: Acclimatization Day at Lo Manthang and Day Trip to Jong Cave, Chhoser

  • Trek time: 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 11 km /  6.8 miles

In order to prepare for summiting Saribung Peak at 6,328 m / 20,761 ft you need to be in peak condition and be well acclimatized to the rarified air.  So today you will spend an extra day at Lo Manthang to get your body used to the altitude.

Naturally, an acclimatization day is best spent being active.  And there is definitely something to get excited about here: a trip to fascinating man-made caves! 

No one really knows why these 40 chambers set five stories up in the side of the cliffs, accessible only by ladders, were built.  Perhaps these sky caves were burial chambers.  Or hiding places during conflicts, or places of meditation and worship?

After exploring the caves – the ladders are a bit tricky but you should be well-able to handle the climbing, head back to Lo Manthang to relax a bit and discuss the upcoming days.

Day 9: Lo Manthang to Yara

  • Trek time: 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Distance: 16.6 km / 10.3 miles

After breakfast exit, the walled city through one of the four impressive gates and descend until the trail heads towards the Dhi La Pass.  After crossing the pass, you will enter the village of Dhi, named after the pass, or is the pass named after the village? 

Naturally, the trail ascends through barley fields, villages, and some interesting and strange rock formations. 

Nestled among the cliffs is the village of Yara, which also has caves.

Day 10: Yara to Luri Cave Monastery

  • Trek time: 4 to 5 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

After breakfast, head to the Luri Cave Monastery, a historically significant monastery within an ancient cave complex once used by monks for mediation.   Within the caves you will see Buddhist paintings and artifacts, and from the outside you will get great views of the landscape – cliffs and barren hills.

As the climb up to the cave is a bit tough and is at the highest altitude you have reached on this trip so far, go slowly and steadily, keeping yourself hydrated.

Please note that this is a religious site, so please do not take away any artifacts, even if they look like simple stones, and please act respectfully and thoughtfully when inside. It might be the perfect place to spend half an hour in deep thought or meditation.

Day 11: Luri Cave to Ghuma Thanthi

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Now the altitude is really beginning to rise so please pay attention to your body.  You may be aware that altitude related problems can happen to anyone, regardless as to how fit or young you are, so please stay alert.

Today the trail goes up and down and is demanding physically but there are mountains to view and your thoughts may be  turning to your own climb ahead.

Day 12: Trek from Ghuma Thanti to Namta Khola

  • Trek time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Camping (Tent)

Today, we cross a high pass—the Saribung Pass. At around 5,600m / 18,372.7 ft, it is a long and hard hike over the pass. But with the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges on display, the views are quite spectacular. 

Also spectacular is the high river valley of Namta Khola, where we will camp for the night surrounded by rugged landscapes, high mountains, and a starry sky.

Day 13:  Namta Khola to Saribung Base Camp

  • Trek time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Camping (Tent)

Today the trail is rocky and steep, with a challenging climb up to base camp. One of the highlights of the day is crossing the  Khumjungar Glacier. What we can see today are Saribung Himal, Sano Bhrikuti Peak, Bhrikuti Peak, and Sano Kailash Peak.

After the long day to reach base camp you can relax first as the camp crew will have already set up camp.  Then it is time to check the equipment again and have one final briefing.

Day 14: Acclimatization at Saribung Base Camp

  • Accommodation: Camping (Tent)

At this height – 4,950 m / 16,240 and the climb going even higher at 6,346 m / 20,820 ft – it is important that everyone checks their body for any signs of altitude-related problems, which could become quite serious if left unattended.  This itinerary has allowed for acclimatization breaks and shorter days to mitigate some risks.  Today is also an acclimatization day when you can do some short hikes or relax in conversation with others.  Remember to stay hydrated.  Drink water even if you think you do not really need it.

Day 15: Saribung Base Camp to Camp I

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Camping (Tent)

Today, it’s another steep trail to Camp I, the first high camp for the Saribung Peak summit attempt.   You may need climbing ropes, crampons and ice axes as snow and ice will be at this altitude.

On reaching Camp, I prepare for the summit with a briefing from your climbing guide on safety, route, and weather conditions.

Day 16: Camp I to Summit and return to Base Camp

  • Trek time: 8 to 9 hours
  • Accommodation: Camping (Tent)

Your climbing guide will assist you get through the rocky terrain, crevasses and glacial zone.  You may be roped up for safety, depending on the guide’s advice.  

Once you achieve the summit, spend some time to take in this achievement and get some fantastic pictures of not just Nepal, but of Tibet too.  The panoramic views are astounding.  Well done!

Descending down the peak it is just as important to be fully aware of where you are. Don’t let your success distract you from the task of coming back down over the rough ground safely.  On reaching Camp I continue on down to Base Camp where a more comfortable camp site awaits you.

This is a physically draining day and you must pay attention to your guide who will be checking the weather and the route. 

Once down at Base Camp you can properly celebrate this fantastic achievement!

Day 17: Contingency Day

  • Accommodation: Camping (Tent)

Day 18: Base Camp to Nagoru via Saribung Pass

  • Trek time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Teahouse

Trekking over rocky moraine, you once again cross the Saribung Pass with its views of the landscape and peaks.  The descent from the  pass may well have some snow and can be slippery as well as steep.

Nagoru village is a remote place – can you imagine living at such high altitude?

Day 19: Nagoru to Phu

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Camping (Tent)

Today you will be in Manang District of Nepal, where Phu is situated.  Crossing over the Namta Khola and ascend gradually towards Phu. Phu has many ancient monasteries, and traditional architecture. It is very reminiscent of Tibet.  In fact many of the locals or their families migrated from Tibet in the near, or distant past.  Their main occupation is herding of yaks, blue sheep and goats. 

Overnight Phu – you have the option of staying in a teahouse or our own tents.  Whether you stay in a teahouse or tent, the food will be prepared by our camp chef.   

Day 20: Phu to Meta

  • Trek time: 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Teahouse

Although you have dropped considerably in altitude, we recommend you still keep a steady, not too fast, pace. 

There are plenty of Buddhist chortens in this area.  You will follow the Phu Khola (river) for some of the day and have great views of Pisang Peak and Annapurna II.

You may meet other trekkers on the trail as you are currently on the Nar Phu trek route, although this is still quite a remote area and not as busy as many treks in the Annapurna area.

Day 21: Trek Meta to Koto

  • Trek time: 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Teahouse

More suspension bridges and forests to cross today on this quite strenuous day, despite the wonderful fall in altitude which must be impacting your body positively.  The trail starts with a steep descent from Meta with Annapurna II and the Lamjung Himal mountain range surrounding you.

There are no settlements between Meta and Koto so today you will be taking a packed lunch.

Day 22: Koto to Dharapani

  • Trek time: 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Teahouse

The peaks of the Annapurna and Manaslu ranges are still with you today as you pass through pine forests and along the Marsyangdi River.

This is the final day of trekking on your Saribung Peak Expedition. What an experience that was!

Enjoy your last night on the trail and the possible last night with your trekking companions.  But we are sure you will meet again in Kathmandu!

Day 23: Dharapani to Kathmandu (drive)

  • Trek time: 7 to 8 hours
  • Accommodation: Teahouse

You return to Kathmandu, not from Pokhara where you started, but via Besisahar which is the start of the Manang treks.  Follow the same highway and winding road back into the Kathmandu Valley, arriving late afternoon. 

Saribung Peak Climbing Map

Best Month to Climb Saribung Peak

May is the best month  to climb Saribung Peak as the weather is good with little or no snowfall and the temperature is not too low at the higher altitudes.  There is less wind at these altitudes during this time of year (spring).   In addition, with clear skies the views are more spectacular! Naturally, we cannot predict the weather, especially in the Himalayas. This is why we have contingency days built in.

Minimum Number of Climbers  

It is normal to have a minimum of two climbers for this expedition.  For two reasons: it’s great to have some company, and to obtain the restricted area permits, there must be two trekkers/ climbers.  If you are just one person but very keen to do this expedition, please talk to us. 

Equipment for Climbing

We have a general list of  trekking equipment/ gear you can look at here.

In addition, we recommend you bring the following equipment with you.  Should you not have this equipment or do not want to buy this equipment for your trip, most of it is available to  buy/ rent in Thamel, Kathmandu when you arrive.

  • Trekking equipment (a per our standard list)
  • Climbing helmet
  • Climbing boots
  • Crampons
  • Climbing harness
  • Ascending device
  • Descending device
  • Ice axe
  • Carabiners
  • Prusik loop
  • Tape sling
  • Gloves
  • Down jackets (can be hired in Kathmandu)
  • Waterproof jackets and trousers
  • Sunglasses
  • Bring clothes that you can layer up as it will be extremely cold at higher altitudes but at lower elevations it will be warm.
  • Pack light.  Someone is carrying your gear up the mountain.
  • Medicines – any you take regularly plus items such as headache tablets, stomach tablets etc.  And a small first aid kit.
  • Four-season sleeping bag. This can be rented in Kathmandu.
  • Toiletries in small, travel sized containers. 

Additionally, because you will be camping for six nights, we suggest you bring with you the following: 

  • Portable solar panel (one which hooks onto your day pack) to recharge equipment.
  • Headtorch with batteries and extra batteries.
  • And, as always on any trek or expedition, your favorite snacks!

Experience and Physical Demands of  the Saribung Peak Expedition

It is highly recommended that you have trekked at high altitude before and that you have basic mountaineering skills before signing up for this climbing expedition.  We would expect you to know how to use an ice axe and crampons at the very least before coming along.  This is for your safety and for the safety of others on the team.

This is not a technically difficult expedition, but it is extreme in that you are trekking in for several days at high altitude in a dry atmosphere and then undertaking two days of climbing: from Base Camp to Camp I,  and Camp I to the summit.

Not as long as some other climbing expeditions, it is still 22 days,  with 20 of these being on the trail.

It is also highly recommended, regardless as to if you have climbing experience, you build on your general fitness before you come.

Physical Fitness – What You Need to Know

We know you would not be reading this if you were not already in extremely good physical shape! 

While this is not like scaling an 8,000er, this is trekking and peak climbing to extreme. You should have a basic knowledge of climbing as well as a good level of fitness and stamina.

The key word here is probably stamina.  Hiking into the Saribung Peak area takes many days over some rough terrain and very high altitudes.  That alone is more than enough stress for the average experienced trekker.  Then you add on time spent at Base Camp, Camp I and summiting the peak and you get the picture.

Even although you feel you are in great shape, unless you are planning to scale some other peaks just before this one, do increase your overall fitness / workout routine before arriving in Nepal.  The fastest marathon runner does not just take a day off from his office job to run 42.19 km / 26.2 miles. He prepares for months ahead of time. You should too.

While on the expedition, it is important not to overdo things.  Trekking too fast at altitude is not going to benefit your body, quite the reverse. As a small reminder, you can check out our information on altitude sickness here. 

here.But as an experienced climber, you know this already and we don’t need to tell you more! 

Questions Answered before You Ask Them

  • Yes, Saribung  Peak is high (6,328 m / 20,761 ft), not much less than Mera Peak, the highest trekking peak in Nepal. But no, it is not technically difficult. 
  • Yes, some basic climbing skills, using ropes and ice axes, is preferable but there is your  climbing guide there to help you.  Fixed ropes will be in place as well.
  • Yes, you will be camping on this expedition.  For six days.
  • No, there are no toilet facilities when camping, other than the toilet tent we will bring for you.
  • Yes, altitude related problems are real and are something to be aware of at any altitude over 3,000 m / 9,842.5 ft.  You will be at over 4,000 m / 16,404 ft for a good deal of the time so extra care is required.   We do have plenty of acclimatization on this expedition and encourage you to take a slower, steady pace on the trail and stay hydrated.  We would ask you to report any feelings of illness – headache, dizziness etc to the guide.
  • Yes, your guide is knowledgeable about what to do should  you require emergency evacuation while on this trip.On this note, please ensure your insurance covers helicopter evacuation.
  • Yes, we insure all our staff in case of accidents/ illness.

A Day on  the Saribung Peak Expedition

This expedition is basically broken down into two sections: when you are trekking and staying in teahouses, and when you are climbing and staying in a tented camp.

A day on the trekking trail:

Breakfast is taken at the teahouse you slept in and you are out and on the trail around 8am. This area is particularly barren, with high cliffs and rocks along the trails and the mountains high overhead. Typically you are walking for 5 to 6 hours a day in dry conditions and at altitudes that will slow your regular hiking pace down. There may be caves to explore, monasteries to visit or high ridges to cross with spectacular views of the mountains.

Lunch is taken on the trail, whether it is in a small eatery or a packed lunch.

On arrival at your next overnight teahouse, you can relax before and during dinner in a warm dining room before heading off early to bed.

A day on the climb:

At base camp staff will set up the tents – sleeping, dining, kitchen and toilet tents.

The chef will be busy preparing your meals while the climbing guide will be ensuring the equipment is in good condition and that you know exactly what to expect on the climb.

If you are acclimatizing, you will get to explore the nearby countryside. If you are climbing you will be paying close attention to the climbing guide’s advice. 

While at Camp I and  on the push to the summit there will be packaged ready meals available. 

Location of Saribung Peak

Saribung Peak is located in Upper Mustang, more specifically in the Damodar Himalayan mountain range. 

Upper Mustang is often known as the Hidden Kingdom of Lo as it has remained as it was for centuries.  It had its own king until 2008 and its people follow Tibetan Buddhism, having migrated – different groups at different times – from Tibet over the centuries.

Lying close to the Tibetan border, the landscape of this area is very similar to Tibet.  Dry land, high cliffs, strange rock formations – overall dramatic.

It is an area steeped in history and myth.  Guru Rimpoche, it is said, stabbed a ghost here whose blood covered the rocky hills.  Mythology explains this is why the cliffs are red in color today.  It is a fact that Guru Rimpoche (an ancient Tibetan guru who traveled Nepal and Tibet to bring Buddhism to the people), was in this area.  But as for the ghost…

After the climb you are also going to pass through the Nar Phu Valley in Manang district.  Very similar in culture and beliefs to Upper Mustang, this valley is also a hidden away restricted area.

What to Expect when Camping

On this expedition you will spend six nights camping.  One night in the valley of Namta Khola, four nights at Base Camp and one night at Camp I.

We will provide you with all the facilities you require to make camping as comfortable as possible. A good two man tent, comfortable sleeping mat, separate communal toilet tent, and a dining tent.  At Camp I and while summiting you will be provided with packaged ready meals for each meal. 

It will be possible to take a hot water shower (in a bucket) at Base Camp and Namta Khola. 

The food will be prepared by a special chef who is used to cooking in these conditions. 

Breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner are provided at the Namta Khola and Base Camp camp sites.  Breakfast will be ready for you when you wake up, and lunch will be taken on the trail when necessary. Dinner will be prepared in the camp site and tea/ coffee is readily available when required during the acclimatization / contingency days.

Because there is no electricity at the camp sites, cooking is done on a kerosene stove. But our marvelous chef will prepare some wonderful, filling,  meals under these harsh conditions. 

You might also want to bring your own snacks for times when you just need something a little different or want a boost of energy.

Menu at Camp Site

Breakfast may be porridge with bread (probably roti – a Nepali flat bread)

Lunch and dinner can be pasta, noodles, Nepali vegetable curry and rice, pizza, etc.  

Snacks may consist of fried potatoes and popcorn.

We will carry some canned meat and tuna fish for non-vegetarian but do tell us your preference. Vegetarian food is always available and we will try to accommodate vegans as much as is possible.

Tea/ coffee/ hot water is unlimited.  There will  be powdered milk for the tea/coffee as well as sugar.

We do not carry alcohol on an expedition as it is not recommended to drink at altitude.  Neither do we carry soft drinks.  Both alcohol and soft drinks are just too bulky to carry.

You could carry your fruit flavored powders to add to water for something a bit different.

Note: see the section on teahouse accommodation for what to expect in the way of facilities and food in a teahouse (trekking lodge) in this area.

Drinking Water While Camping and in Teahouses

At the camp sites you will be provided with boiled water for drinking.  The alternative is to collect spring water, and add your own sterilizing drops or tablets.  A Lifestraw is also a good investment.

In teahouses, it’s the same: you can use the tap water only after sterilizing it.  If you wish boiled drinking water in the teahouses, you will be expected to pay for it.  

What to Expect from Teahouse Accommodation

The area where Saribung Peak is located, Upper Mustang district, is rather a remote area with limited land available for cultivation.  Therefore, the villages are fewer and more isolated.  As a result, when there is accommodation for trekkers, it is quite basic.

The average teahouse will provide two beds in the sleeping rooms, simple bedding, and perhaps a chair to put your stuff on.  Not much more.  No towels. In the vast majority, no private bathroom. Bathrooms will be shared with other trekkers. Toilet facilities may even be in another building, outside of the main teahouse.  But since you will be camping for almost a week, we feel this is not a deal breaker for you!

The dining room in a teahouse is the warmest room (apart from the kitchen) and the focus point of socializing.

The menu in the teahouses will be basically Nepali, Chinese, Tibetan and limited Western items.  Sometimes it is better to select what the chef knows well, such as local fare.

In the teahouse that you sleep in you shall be having breakfast and dinner.  Lunch will be taken on the trail.  If there is not anywhere to eat on the trail on a particular day, you will carry a packed lunch.  

Some teahouses may have WiFi access, hot water showers and charging points. Please note you will be expected to pay for these.

Typical Menus in Teahouses in Upper Mustang

Breakfast items:

  • Porridge
  • Eggs
  • Toast
  • Tibetan bread
  • Buckwheat pancakes
  • Rice dishes
  • Noodles dishes
  • Tea/ coffee

Dinner items:

  • Soup
  • Thukpa (Tibetan soup with flat noodles)
  • Nepali Dal Bhat (vegetable curry and rice)
  • Fried rice
  • Noodles
  • Momos (very popular Nepali steamed dumplings)
  • Fried momos (similar to the steamed ones but fried) 

Lunch items:

Quite similar to the dinner items but with a more limited choice in some places.  If it’s a packed lunch it may be bread, boiled eggs, fried potatoes etc.


Tea and coffee are included in the breakfast and dinner.  We suggest Nepali tea is better than the Nescafe you will get!  Tibetan butter tea (which is salted) is an acquired taste but if you think of it as a soup rather than a tea, it can be bearable!

Soft drinks, beer and drinking water are not included and must be paid for yourself directly to the teahouse.

Before the Expedition

Your First Days in Nepal

We can, if you like, pick you up at the Tribhuvan International Airport.  Just let us know.

Hotels in Kathmandu:

Included in your trek are camping and teahouse stays, plus one night in Pokhara at the start of your trip. and both give you a selection of hotels in Kathmandu; we suggest you look at the hotels in Thamel.  Thamel is the tourist hub of Kathmandu with lots of hotels, hostels, cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops.  It also has our office there.

Explore Kathmandu:

Planning to explore Kathmandu before your expedition?  We can organize a half or full day tour for you.  Or you can simply lose yourself in the maze around Thamel, Ason and the Kathmandu Durbar Square.  Or both.

There are many UNESCO Heritage Sites in Kathmandu – the ancient parts of the city have so much heritage and history. 

Visa for Nepal

Visa on arrival is available for people from most countries, via the Immigration Department of Nepal’s on-line site.   Complete the form, print it out and bring it with you.  Bring USD cash (exact money) to make payment on arrival at the airport. 

Visa on arrival is valid for 15 days, 30 days or 3 months and costs: 

  • 15 Days – 30 USD
  • 30 Days – 50 USD
  • 90 Days – 125 USD

Trekking Permits You Need

For the Saribung Peak Expedition you need the following permits:-

Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit – USD500 per person for 10 days. USD50 per day for any additional days.

Nar Phu Valley Permit – USD100 per person per week from September to November and USD75 per person per week from  December to August.

Annapurna Conservation Area Permit – USD25 per person for the duration of the trek. 

Climbing Permit  –  a climbing permit is required to climb Saribung Peak.  Issued by the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) the cost of the permit depends on the season and team size. 

Note: We will organize all the permits for you.

Why You Need These Permits

Climbing permits: A permit is required to climb any mountain in Nepal. 

These are required to allow the government to regulate climbing activities and ensure no one attempts to climb unprepared.  Permits must be issued through a registered Nepali company.

In addition, controlling the number of climbers protects the unique environment of a mountain, and helps fund conservation efforts in the region.

And finally, when you apply for the permit, the route you are planning to take is noted; helpful if there is any need for search and rescue.

Restricted Area permits: Restricted areas, mainly those being close to the Tibetan border, require a permit as per the government rules.

Annapurna Conservation Area Permit and Nar Phu Permit: The fees from these permits go towards the conservation efforts in these unique areas. 

Landscape, Culture and Wildlife You Will See on the Saribung Peak Expedition

Landscapes: The countryside starts off quite lush as you drive from Kathmandu along the Trisuli River.  Driving through the foothills you reach Pokhara to see the glittering Fewa Lake which makes Pokhara a fantastic tourist destination, and the start of many of the treks into the Annapurna mountain range. Flying into Jomsom you are now in the heart of the mountains.  The mountains dominate the skyline and the Kali Gandaki river and gorge (one of the deepest gorges in the world) dominate at ground level. 

Entering Upper Mustang at Kagbeni, you are now in a land much less lush but as unique and stunning as any forests, river or lake.  Upper Mustang has a lunar appearance of high rock cliffs, unique rock formations, some cultivated land, mainly for buckwheat, and even a few apple orchards. But overall, it is reminiscent of Tibet in its dry appearance. Even the monsoon rains do not reach here.

Peoples: The people along the trek through Upper Mustang, and then again when you exit through Manang are very much attached to their Tibetan roots.  Having migrated here at different times during the past centuries, they follow Buddhism and each area has its own language and customs.  Lo Manthang is the capital of this area – a walled-city that was the heart of the Lo Kingdom until 2008.

Wildlife: Small mammals  such as Himalayan Tahr (a wild goat), goral (another type of wild goat), pika (a rabbit like rodent), Himalayan marmots, can easily be found in this harsh landscape.  It is fitting there are a great many types of birds of prey since traditional sky burials are still carried out in these dry lands.  As for the larger mammals – you need to be lucky to spot any of them.  Himalayan Black Bear and stunning Snow Leopard are there somewhere hidden in the cliffs and rocks, we believe.

Safety on the Expedition 

One of the main concerns is altitude related illness. No one yet has discovered why some people suffer more than others. It does not seem to be related to general fitness.  Perhaps in the genes as people such as the Sherpas who have lived at high altitudes for generations, seem to be just fine as they, for example, scaled Everest with no oxygen.

However, most of us need to take care to avoid altitude sickness by staying hydrated, not going too fast and taking acclimatization breaks.  If you do feel unwell, it is important to tell your guide immediately, even if it seems like a simple headache.

Getting lost on a mountain trail can be a safety issue too.  Don’t go off alone, and if you go anywhere, remember  to tell the guide and listen to him if he says you should not attempt to go alone. Be aware at all times of your surroundings.

Tips for Safety on the Expedition:

  • Trekking poles are great for stability.
  • Do not go off on your own at the rest/ overnight stops. without telling your guide.
  • Drink at least 4 liters of water per day.
  • Eat.  You need the energy.
  • Do tell your guide if you feel unwell.  Before it becomes a real problem.
  • Have the correct insurance.
  • Wear the correct gear.
  • Bring your own regular medicines and a medical kit.
  • Pay attention to the guide in tricky or dangerous areas, in particular, listen to the climbing guide.

Expenses You Should Calculate For

The days you spend camping, that is from Saribung Peak Base Camp until you reach the village of Phu some 15 days later, there is nothing to spend your money on. 

In the villages where you stay in tea houses you will be tempted by WiFi access, electricity to charge your devices, and maybe a bottle of beer or cold drinks!  On those days you will want to carry Nepali Rupees with you.

You will also require rupees to make donations at monasteries, buy tea on the trail (if available) and maybe even buy a souvenir, again if available.  As a rough estimate, for the days you are not camping, bring around USD12 per day to spend.  Unused money can be spent in Kathmandu.

What is Included and Not Included in the Cost of Your Trek

Transport: Road transport from Kathmandu to Pokhara; flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, and road transport from Dharapani to Kathmandu are included in the cost of the expedition. 

Climbing gear:  

We will supply the group gear such as fixed ropes.  It is expected that you will bring your own personal climbing gear. Please refer to our list under Equipment for Climbing.  Should you not have your own equipment, it can be hired when you arrive in Kathmandu.  Please discuss this with us. 

Accommodation: Tented accommodation is provided where indicated, and teahouse accommodation is also provided where indicated.

Food: When you are camping you will get breakfast, lunch, dinner,  and afternoon snacks made by our chef.  When you are staying in a teahouse you will get dinner and breakfast in the teahouse and lunch will either be a packed lunch or from a smaller establishment on the trail. Should you wish to have more food in the teahouses, or some soft drinks, you will be expected to pay those yourself.

Tips: Tips for your guide and porters are not included in the trek.  Tips can be in Nepali rupees or other currencies.

Transport: Transport to the starting point and at the end of the expedition is by public transport.  Should you prefer a private jeep just for your climbing group, please discuss this with us.  There will be an additional charge for this. 

Porter for Hire 

While the trek porters will carry the camping equipment and climbing gear, they will not carry your personal backpack.  Should you wish a porter to carry your backpack, then let us know and we will arrange for you to hire one for the duration of the expedition. The cost of the porter hire can be divided between you and another climber who would also like to use the services of a porter.  This will be very cost-effective for you.  But remember, if two climbers are sharing one porter, please keep your pack down to 10kg each. 

Tipping the Guide and Porter

Porters will be hired to carry the camping and climbing equipment. This is hard work.  Your guide and/ or  climbing guide are there to keep you safe, as well as show you the way and the ropes! Please show your appreciation for your porters and guides by tipping them. Don’t forget the chef, for without him we cannot climb even the smallest hill!    100% of your tips go to the staff.  We do not deduct anything from them – they work hard and deserve it.

We suggest the following:

It is normal to tip the guide around $250 – $300 on this type of expedition.   This amount is divided by the number of climbers on the expedition. 

Equipment porters should be tipped US100 each.  

nts etc

The chef should be tipped around US200, again divided by the number of clients on the expedition.  

If you have hired a personal porter, you should tip him around $150.  

Being more generous is always appreciated, especially by the porters, whose work is more seasonal. If you are sharing a porter with another trekker, obviously that amount will be shared between the two of you.

Communication on the Expedition

  • While on the mountain, it is unlikely there will be any signal for phone or internet. 
  • In order to charge your equipment, we suggest you bring a portable solar panel. 
  • There will be WiFi/ electricity for charging in most of the teahouses you stay in. You will be expected to pay for that (around USD2-5 per time).

Why Book with Magical Nepal

Diversity – Equality – Inclusion: Keys to a Great Experience

We at Magical Nepal are a team of highly trained travel enthusiasts.  

We started Magical Nepal in 2017 and pride ourselves on growing a great team. From our climbing guides, trek guides, and liaison staff to our camp staff, porters and camp chef, we all love to explore and travel in the Nepal Himalayas. We also love to share this with our clients. 

We are committed to human dignity, security and safety for all – from our clients to the communities we visit –  and to the environmental sustainability of the landscapes, flora and fauna of these Himalayas.

Please check the reviews from our past clients to see for yourself.

We also pride ourselves on offering great value for money and a price guarantee – if you can find the same trek at a lower price, we will match it – guaranteed.

Ask a Question

Feel free to ask us anything about this tour. A travel expert will then get back to you as soon as possible.

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