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Thread: Upper Mustang in early winter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Australia
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    Default Upper Mustang in early winter

    The Lonely Planet notes for Mustang are pretty good although they lack track times, some of which we provide in the link below with extra notes that apply particularly to early winter. At this time about 80% of Mustangis leave their homes for warmer Pokhara, Kathmandu and even the USA, goats and other stock are moved lower or sold down, and homes are winterised ahead of night-time temperatures that can go as low as -25°C (-13°F).

    After 30 November organised tour groups stop, so independent trekkers will find the kingdom empty, the weather fine and the remaining people welcoming, although there may be trouble finding accommodation in some villages, the days are short (8.30am-4.30pm for comfortable walking) and it is cold once the sun leaves. Of course you will still need the expensive permit and a guide, but 60% of the permit fee now flows to development in Mustang. A Tibetan-speaking guide is more likely to be welcome in Upper Mustang.

    Despite many treks in Nepal, the 10 days we spent in Upper Mustang in this season were the most spectacular and extraordinary in terms of scenery: the huge, quiet, empty scale impresses itself upon you and on the rare occasions you meet people the meetings are memorable. You will be haunted by the colours and beauty and will know your time has been well-spent.

    One very special opportunity is that, because the Kali Gandaki is so low in winter, trucks can drive from Tsarang and Dhi right down to Jomoson. This must be one of the most exciting drives in the world, often in the middle of the river, through spectacular narrow gorges that horsemen don’t venture into, and even through a tunnel. Presumably trucks can also now be taken into Upper Mustang, enquire in Jomoson.

    Some details to add to the Lonely Planet notes (in PDF) are at

    http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.in...ang%20trek.pdf

    Some photos (webpage) are at

    http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.in...tangphotos.htm

    cheers

    Taghairm

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Packington, Leicestershire
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    Default Re: Upper Mustang in early winter

    Great photos, took me back to our trip in March 2006. Unfortunately we didn't get north of Lo Manthang but the permit was more expensive then.
    Thank you.
    **************
    * thesilvertops *
    **************

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Kathmandu, Nepal
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    Default Re: Upper Mustang in early winter

    Really beautiful pictures! *****

  4. #4
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    Aug 2008
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    Default Re: Upper Mustang in early winter

    [QUOTE=Despite many treks in Nepal, the 10 days we spent in Upper Mustang in this season were the most spectacular and extraordinary[/QUOTE]

    Mustang is next on my list and I’ve been considering how to get acclimatised rather than just starting out fresh from Jomsom/Kagbeni, as the altitude gain seems rather quick in the first three days. The Nepal mob I’ve trekked with before have put together an itin that starts out trekking from Pokhara taking six days to get to Kagbeni via Ghorepani and Marpha which should get rid of the cobwebs.

    Then from Kagbeni, it’s 13 days up to Lo Manthang and return to Jomsom, and flying back into Pokhara.

    The first six ‘part Circuit’ days are standard tea house accommodation. The 13-day Mustang trek is camping.

    I’ve just seen Taghairm’s spectacular pics and trip notes from their Mustang trek.

    I’d appreciate any comments about Mustang in general, in November, and in particular what it will be like camping at that time – eg night time temps in a tent? Whether it’s usually single-person or shared tents, mess tents for meals or just campfires etc? I realise that this trek can be done using tea houses, but I guess they’re trying to keep the costs low. Is it too late in the year to camp – or does that depend on how much you like to rough it? The price is very reasonable, and groups are small and flexible.

    Has anyone done Mustang as a camping trek, and got any advice please?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Upper Mustang in early winter

    We trekked in Upper Mustang in early March 2006. Our start was delayed by 2 days because of snow and we had more snow after a couple more days. We were going to camp but after the second dump of snow the ground was in such a wet mess that we were given rooms instead. In fact we mostly had rooms as they were easily available and it wasn't necessary to camp. When we did use the tent it either on the roof of the house or on a balcony. It wasn't really necessary to camp at all. If you are going off-season then I would suggest you forget camping and just rely on finding a room. There are enough available now. It's a great trip but make sure you have enough days on your permit to venture north of Lo Manthang. Suggest 12 days.

    Gallery here: http://www.pbase.com/thesilvertops/upper_mustang


    On the roof.


    In the field.


    Bed tea.

    I'll find a photo of a camp on a landing and post here later. They put you there to keep the tent out of the wind! We took our down sleeping bags and jackets and they were used. It can be cold especially in the wind.
    **************
    * thesilvertops *
    **************

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Upper Mustang in early winter

    Two more camping pictures from Upper Mustang.


    On the roof with the firewood. This is Tsarang, the Gompa is in the background. We had 7 staff including the guide and the kit was mostly carried by 3 cows. Some of the team are in the second tent, the rest are in rooms!


    On the first floor of the lodge in Lo Manthang. We only slept there, when we were not sight-seeing we stayed in the dining room. I'm sure we could have had a room. There were two other trekkers in the lodge and they were tea-housing with just a guide.
    **************
    * thesilvertops *
    **************

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Upper Mustang in early winter

    Hi M/Silvertops

    Thanks very much for this - where HAVEN'T you been? Interesting about where they located your tents. You must have felt like kids on holidays camping in the lounge room.

    I didn't want to do this destination on my own so my agent agreed to put this trek together when I couldn't find an advertised one that started out from Pokhara - they all seemed to start from Jomsom. From my own experience, and from what Taghairm says, it makes sense to have the benefit of being acclimatised before the Mustang part starts in earnest. It will also be good to retrace some of the AC (in the opposite direction) on the way up to Jomsom/Kagbeni. It's to be advertised on their website and hopefully we'll get a nice small group of trekkers - some of their repeat customers who've done the standard treks.

    I've asked whether camping is essential and a few other questions and am waiting on a reply. It looks like your tent was a 2-person? Is that the standard? What did you sleep on - just a rubber mat or was it elevated on something?

    From Kagbeni to Pokhara it's 15 days, so we'll have enough time. Lo Manthang will be our base for three nights so that we can hike or pony trek north to Garphu etc (one day to explore the town, one day for excursion).

    Am looking fwd to checking out your pics gallery. Thanks again!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Upper Mustang in early winter

    We always use Thermorest self-inflating mattresses even when we're sleeping on beds in a lodge. If we're on a supported trek then we use the standard versions - full length for me and three-quarter length for Margaret. If we're backpacking then we carry the lightweight versions. We've only had one puncture in years of use and easily fixed with the supplied repair kit.

    There's lots of places I would like to go but time is not on my side now - I'm 69 this month.(Insurance is the big problem) Burma (Myanmar) is high on the list and might fit it in next year. Concordia (K2) is a trek I would love to do but the situation in Pakistan means it probably won't happen. Southwest USA is booked now and we're off there for 8 weeks in September. Nepal (8th trip) is on the list for January next and we will probably go to Everest again and do more side trips. Australia is then next on the list and I'm looking at going there in September 2012, buying a 4WD and spending a year touring mostly in the bush. So, plenty of ideas and trips to look forward to.
    **************
    * thesilvertops *
    **************

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Victoria BC Canada
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    Default Re: Upper Mustang in early winter

    I did the Mustang trek mid-March of this year. We had a guide and two porters for two of us. I met the guide in Pokhara and were suppose to fly to Jomson but because of low clouds in Pokhara we could not fly. Rather than wait for next day our guide got a taxi which took us to Beni and then a bus to Ghasa. The next day we took a bus to Jhomson and met our porters. After lunch we headed to Kagbeni. Our stays were all at guest houses which were all very basic, limited electricity and heat from cooking stoves. The food is what you would expect for this region, again very basic. Our guide did much of the cooking and had brought along extra food to supplement the meals, such as fruit, canned meat and coffee. Stong winds every afternoon, no snowfall or rain however cold at night with freezing temperature. Some snow on the trails as well as on the hills. Lo Mathang had old snow in the shaded part of the city. Some of the guest houses along the way were still not open. We only saw one group of about 8-10 people that were camping, and only 2 groups of two throughout the trip. We were the only ones at any of the guest houses that we stayed at.

    Send me a personal message and I will give you more information and link to photos.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Upper Mustang in early winter

    Thanks very much Garfield. I've sent you a PM.

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