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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Trip report for Lunana Snowman led by Roland in October '08

The Lunana Snowman group arrived back to Thimphu yesterday afternoon after successfully completing this epic trek across northern Bhutan. The Snowman trek is known as one of the most challenging in the Himalayas crossing over 14 high mountain passes and covering 400km over 28 days of trekking.

Photo: beautiful farmhouse with Mt Jitchu Drake in background

The Mountain Company only organises the complete Lunana Snowman trek from Paro to Bumthang. Some of the shorter versions of the "Snowman" trek start in Punakha and others Lunana via the Nikka Chu valley. My feeling is that if you are going to do the Snowman it is worth doing the complete traverse rather than smaller sections of it. We found the quietest & most remote part of the trek was from Thanza to Bumthang where we only saw two trekkers in 10 days! This is very unusual in the Himalayas these days during the peak season of October.

Photo: archery competition near Laya
Photo: view from Karchung La (entrance to Lunana)
Photo: approach to Gophu La

As you can see from the photos we experienced good weather and excellent conditions on the passes. The timing of this trek is very important in order to increase the chances of successfully completing the journey as well as getting good views along the way! The optimal time to start the trek is at the end of September when the monsoon should be winding down which places the group in Lunana around mid October hopefully before the winter snows block the exit passes.
Photo: Gophu La (exit from Lunana)

The Lunana Snowman is a very special trek passing through a beautiful and unsploilt region of the Himalayas. The area is still heavily forested and this year's group saw the following animals & birds along the trek: Blue sheep, marmots, Himalayan black bear & cub, blood pheasant, lammergeier and birds of prey among others.

The Mountain Company is planning on organising the Lunana Snowman trek for September/ October 2009 so please get in touch if you are interested. For further information on this trek please see our Lunana Snowman trek page.

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