Our Dhaulagiri Circuit group arrived back to
It was interesting to see the differences in the conditions and weather between my two treks around
However this year there was a heavy monsoon that extended into October, and as a result we had several rainy afternoons and evenings while walking up Myagdi valley. In fact this valley is known as being wet as the orientation is north to south with clouds travelling up from India then collide with Dhaulagiri at the top of the valley causing high levels of precipitation. The Myagdi valley is clearly a rainy place with sub tropical forest up to Sallighari camp.
The condition of
The other main difference I noticed compared to May 2008 was the improvement in the trail, in particular the path before Boghara village has now cut into the rock whereas before there was just a fixed rope to help climb over a rock slab! Beyond this village there are several other sections of the path that have been widened making the walk easier than before. The other challenging section is the descent down the lateral moraine from Italian Camp down onto the glacier, for the first time a trail has been cut into the moraine however we still felt a rope was necessary to secure the safe passage of the group and porters. Also several of the old log bridges have been replaced with well constructed cantilever bridges, in fact it is now possible to use mules to carry loads all of the way to Italian Base Camp.
I was surprised that most other groups on the Dhaulagiri Circuit were still ascending way too fast and breaking all of the rules of acclimatisation with most other people we met complaining of headaches and other symptoms of altitude sickness. Of course one has to consider the entire trekking team including the health of all of the porters and kitchen crew as they are the ones working hard at these altitudes! The main consideration on this trek is the risk of someone getting serious altitude sickness in
Our acclimatisation schedule seemed to well by spending two nights at Italian Camp (3,660m), two nights at Glacier Camp (4,200m) and two nights at Dhaulagiri Base Camp (4,700m) then we crossed
Our October 2010 group were very lucky as the weather cleared on the morning before we walked into
Congratulations and well done to everyone in our October group for completing this trek! My view is that in spite of the improvements in the trail and construction of new bridges Dhaulagiri Circuit is still one of the hardest treks in Nepal and careful planning and preparations are required to ensure the safety and well being of the group and trek crew.
The Mountain Company is organising two Dhaulagiri Circuit treks in 2011, one starting in late April and the second departure starting in mid October, please get in touch if you are interested in joining one of these groups.