Hike to Taktshang monastery as good acclimatisation for the trek
Today we will do another acclimatisation hike at Chele La pass. We can also visit Kila Gompa nunnery.
Early in the morning drive about 2 hours through farm road to Shana, where you will start your trek. We ascend through the river valley and beautiful pine and rhododendron forests. Sadly much of the forest has been cut to make way for electricity to be run to Jangothang and Lingshi – the sight of fallen trees is a reminder of the cost of progress. We turn north towards Mount Jomolhari, which can be seen from the top of the valley. Our camp will be at 3680 metres. (19 km, 8 to 9 hours)
The trail continues to follow the river and passes a small army post where the valley begins to widen again. Views of high ridges and snow-capped peaks can be seen on all sides. At this altitude (about 4040 m) it is possible to see yaks and yak herders. Camp is beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mount Jomolhari. (19 kms, 6 hours)
It’s possible to hike in various directions: towards Mount Jomolhari and its subsidiary to the west, Jichu Drake to the north and unclaimed summits and ridges to the east. Or just relax at camp and enjoy the splendid views.
The trail leads north crossing the Paro Chhu (river) on a wooden bridge. Climb the hillside to the lakes of Tshophu (4380m) and continue high above the eastern side of the second lake across a scree slope to a crest. Descend into a hidden valley and climb steeply to Bhonte La at 4890m. From the pass the trail eventually switchbacks down to the Dhumzo Chhu and after you cross the river there is a short climb to a camp in a meadow at Chora at 3800m. (16 km, 6 to 7 hours)
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge, then drops to another stream. Crossing that stream, the trail heads up the hillside, dropping into a small side valley before emerging onto a ridge. Here the route turns south, ascending past a few huts to Takhung La (4520m). A short descent leads to Thombu Shong, with three yak herders’ huts. We camp at Thombu Shong at 4180m. (12 km, 5 hours)
Climb out of the valley to Thombu La at 4380, then drop gradually to about 4000m. The trail then makes a steep descent, switch-backing down the ridge, finally reaching the helipad at Gunitsawa (2730m) (13 km, 5 hours) from where your driver can meet you to and drive to Thimphu.
Sightseeing in Thimphu