JOMOLHARI LAYA GASA TREK : 12-DAYS
Day 1: Gunitsawa Village – Sharna Zampa
40mins, 80 m descent, camp altitude 2,850 m.
Today, you will just get yourself ready for the actual trek, which would begin tomorrow. You will start from Gunitsawa Village from where you will pass an army checkpoint. At the checkpoint, you have to validate your trek permit, which will be given to you by us – your tour operator. The permit would be endorsed. You will spend the night at your campsite, which is on the other side of the river.
Day 2: Sharna Zampa – Thangthangkha
Distance 22 km, 7-8 hours, 770 m ascent, 10 m descent, camp altitude 3,610 m.
Today will be a long day. You will hike through an undulating trail and then climb uphill till the valley narrows gradually to a path. You will then descend to a meadow where you will camp for the night. From your camp you can have the first view of the popular Mount Jomulhari on a clear day.
Day 3: Thangthangkha – Jangothang
Distance 19 km, 5-6 hours, 480 m ascent, camp altitude 4,080 m.
You will continue to trek up the Paro Chhu valley. It widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty forest growths. You will also cross an army checkpoint along the way. You will see local yak herders tending the yaks. You will pass the villages of Soe, Takethang and Dangochang. You will camp at Jangothang from where you can again see Mount Jomolhari.
Day 4: Jangothang Halt
You will halt at Jangothang today. You have the option to do day hikes and there are trails in three directions. If you love photography, you can engage yourself in a lot of ways. Jomolhari and its subsidiary mountain chains lay directly west, Jichu Drake to the north and there are a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.This is also a good time to acclimatize.
Day 5: Jangothang – Lingshi
Distance 18 km, 6-7 hours, 840 m ascent, 870 m descent, camp altitude 4,010 m.
After the rest yesterday, you will have the energy for a long day today. After a short walk from the camp, you will hike uphill for about 30 minutes and the climb becomes more gradual till you reach the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. From here, you will have spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherimgang, all of them standing tall and proud above 7,000m.You could also encounter blue sheep along the way. Then you descent and you will see yak herders’ tents. You will then enter the Lingshi basin, a beautiful U-shaped valley. You can see the Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. Tserimgang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. You will camp next to a stone just before Lingshi Dzong.
Day 6: Lingshi – Chebisa
Distance 10 km, 5-6 hours, 280 m ascent, 410 m descent, camp altitude 3,880 m.
Today will be your shortest hike. After reaching a stupabelow the Lingshi Dzong(4,220m), you can choose to stay on the main trail or take a detour up to the Lingshi Dzong. After Lingshi Dzong, you will pass the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. In Goyul village, you can see stone houses clustered together to form a small compact village,which is unusual in Bhutan where settlements are usually scattered. After you reach the capsite at Chebisa, you can choose to visit the local village. There is a beautiful waterfall behind the village.
Day 7: Chebisa – Shomuthang
Distance 17 km, 6-7 hours, 890 m ascent, 540 m descent, camp altitude 4,220 m.
From you camp, you will ascent for about three hours through a pastureland toward Gobu La Pass (4,410m). You will then descend into a valley, climb uphill again for a while and descend again to Shakshepasa (3,980), a large U-shaped valley. You will climb again toll you reach your campsite at Shomuthang which is above a river.
Day 8: Shomuthang – Robluthang
Distance 18 km, 6-7 hours, 700 m ascent, 760 m descent, camp altitude 4,160 m.
You will start the day by climbing up the valley till you see Mount Kang Bum (6,526 m) and some edelweiss. You will climb again till you reach Jhari La (4,750m), from where you catch the first glimpse of Sinche La, the pass you will have to cross the day after. The big snow peak in the north is Gangchhenta (6,840 m), better known as the Great Tiger Mountain. If weather permits, Tserim Kang and the top of Jomolhari will be visible. Herds of takin, the Bhutanese National Animal, migrate to this valley in summer and remain for about four months. The valley has been declared a takin sanctuary. You will climb again till you reach your campsite at Robluthang.
Day 9: Robluthang – Limithang
Distance 19 km, 6-7 hours, 850 m ascent, 870 m descent, camp altitude 4,140 m.
You will begin the day with an ascent of about an hour after which the trail becomes more gradual for the next 90 minutes through a boulder field. You will climb uphill again for an hour to reach the Sinche La (5,005m) – the final and highest pass on the trek if you don’t intend to continue the Snowman trek from Laya onwards. Then you descend and you can see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. You can see classic examples of lateral moraines where the glacier has pushed rocks up both sides of the valley. Below the moraine, you will cross the Kango Chhu and reach the Limithang campsite. From the camp, you can see Mount Gangchhenta.
Day 10: Limithang – Laya
Distance 10 km, 4-5 hours, 60 m ascent, 340 m descent, camp altitude 3,840 m.
The day will not require much climbing. You will walk downhill along a narrow, winding river valley. After a long time, the trail takes you through densely forested region. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. From the west of the village you will have spectacular views of Mt. Gangchhenta and Mt. Masagang. In the village, there is a community school and a basic health unit with a telephone connection. The campsite is located below the school.
Day 11: Laya – Koina
Distance 19 km, 6-7 hours, 260 m ascent, 1,070 m descent, camp altitude 3,050 m.
The trail winds up and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the raging river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Lots of ups and downs will lead you to Kohi Lapcha at 3,300 m. The trek then drops down to the large stream of Koina Chhu, where you will find the campsite of Koina.
Day 12: Koina – Gasa: Trek ends
Distance 14 km, 6-7 hours, 740 m ascent, 1,500 m descent, camp altitude 2,240 m.
You will climb for the last time in the trek when you cross the Bari La Pass (3,740m). You will then descend towards Gasa village (2,770m). You can chose to camp near the Gasa Dzong or descend for another hour to the Gasa Tsachu (hot springs) and relax in the rejuvenating mineral waters. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot springs in Bhutan.