Trekking in Nepal

Helambu and Langtang Treks

One of the great advantages of the Helambu trek is its accessibility. For a few dollars you can simply take a taxi from Kathmandu Center to the trailhead at Sundarijal and be walking before lunch. There is another important advantage: the Helambu Trek is low, by Himalayan standards since the main route doesn't go much over 10,000 feet although there are higher alternates and you don't have to worry as much about altitude sickness.

The Langtang trek also stays lower than the Annapurna and Everest treks, rising to about 12,000 feet at the head of the Langtang Valley, just a few miles south of the Tibetan border. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the Langtang region has a more alpine character than the Helambu region. The upper reaches of the Langtang Valley, beyond the last trekker's lodge, offer wonderful opportunities for exploring.

The Helambu trek takes about a week; the Langtang trek can take up to two weeks. You can also combine the two treks in a variety of ways for a trek of up to about 24 days that is, if you can handle a 16,800-foot pass. Lauribina Pass, which links the two regions, goes past sacred Gosainkund Lake, where every August, thousands of pilgrims come to pay their respects to Shiva, who, according to one trekking map, created the lake himself.

The return requires retracing your steps, unless you have a tent, stove, food, good weather, and the skills to tackle remote Ganja-La, another high (16,800-foot) pass that leads back to the Helambu region. If you choose this route, it's advisable to have an alternate plan in case of bad weather. Using a local guide who knows the way is also a good idea.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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