Ski-mountaineering over 6000 m in Damodar Himal
The Damodar Himal mountain range, located between the upper Mustang and Annapurna, offers numerous glaciers and magnificent peaks over 6000m, some of which are really attractive for skiing. The region, on the border with Tibet, is rather remote and little visited.
There are many possibilities to climb virgin peaks or ski descent lines never sattempted before; the approach at altitude is never extreme, since the peaks are normally reached from the base camp with only one intermediate camp. This allows to reduce the duration of the trip and the quantity of gear; in addition, for peaks below 6500 m, permits are less expensive and a liaison officer is not required.
In conclusion, the Damodar offers the possibility to accomplish a fully enjoyable high-altitude expedition, with less effort than a 7000 m, but with a greater chance of success and guaranteed skiing satisfaction.
The whole area conveys the charm of the Tibetan Buddhist culture, still relatively intact thanks to the distance from major centers or roads.
From our experience in the area, which began almost 20 years ago, we suggest among the many possible objectives:
a) with approach from the north, from the village of Lo Manthang (reachable by road from Jomsom), in 5 days of trekking you get at the base camps of interesting peaks, including Bhrikuti Shail 6361 m (described in the program) and those of the Khumjungar glacier: Saribung 6328 m (now a classic climb), Futi Himal 6425 m, Sonam Himal 6225 m, Khumjungar Himal South 6420 m, Bhrikuti Himal 6460 m;
b) with approach from the west, starting from the village of Tangye (reachable by road from Jomsom): Futi Himal 6425 m (with possible crossing on the Khumjungar side), Tangye Himal 6265 m, Rijung 6190 m, Purkung 6166 m;
c) with approach from the south, starting from Phu (reachable by trek from Jagat and Chame in the Marsyangdi valley, along the Annapurna circuit): Jomsom Himal 6335 m (classic), Thansunjiti 6084 m, Pokharkang 6342 m (challenging);
d) two steep lines never skied before: Khumjungar Himal 6759m, east face, and Chhib Himal 6650m, west face.
As a period, you can decide to go on the pre-monsoon (spring) or post-monsoon (autumn) season; with the well-known advantages and disadvantages of the choice.
OTHER SKI MOUNTAINEERING PROGRAMS IN NEPAL:
-> Putha Hiunchuli 7246 m (Dhaulagiri VII)
-> Himlung 7126 m
-> Saribung 6328 m and Nyamdo Glacier (upper Mustang), Mera Peak 6476 m (Khumbu), Baruntse 7129 m (Makalu region), Kanjiroba group (Dolpo), Panbari 6905 m (Manaslu region)
-> Manaslu 8156 m.
Please contact us for any customized programme or special project.
Expenses to be paid by participants: entry visa to Nepal; excess baggage charges on domestic flights; expenses for any extra baggage during the trek; meals not mentioned; personal equipment; summit bonus for the Sherpa (if used); tips to local staff; any permission for use of satellite and video; expenses for any rescue; expenses for any changes to the program; and anything else not mentioned as included.
Be aware: there are hundreds of agencies in Kathmandu and Pokhara; however, many of them do not provide the sufficient quality standards of services, some do not have the necessary authorizations or work with falsified permits.
Photo credits  , : Ervin Jacomet
DAILY PROGRAM FOR BHRIKUTI SHAIL 6361 m or SARIBUNG 6328 m
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to the city and welcome dinner.
Day 2: meeting with the staff, check of gear and permits; free visit of the city.
Day 3: Transfer by private bus to Pokhara.
Day 4: 4WD transfer to Jomsom 2700m, the gateway to the high Mustang.
Day 5: 4WD transfer to the village of Lo Manthang 3840 m, where we will spend the night in a tented camp.
Day 6: acclimatization day and meeting with porters, distribution of loads for the trek.
Days 7-10: trekking with yaks and porters along the valley, crossing the villages of Yara 3600m, Ghuma 4850m, and the pastures of Damodar Kunda 4900m. In the lower valley, some Buddhist monasteries and temples are visible. Finally we reach the base camp at an altitude of about 5200 m.
Days 11-16: Ascent and descent of Bhrikuti Shail or Saribung, with an intermediate high camp.
Days 17-20: trek back to Yara, then from here to Muktinath 3800m where you will spend the night in the lodge.
Day 21: trek to Jomsom.
Day 22: Internal flight (or road transfer in 4WD) to Pokhara.
Day 23: Reserve day in Pokhara, one of the most beautiful cities in Nepal, ideal for relaxation.
Day 24: Transfer by private bus to Kathmandu. Farewell dinner.
Day 25: Transfer to the airport for return flight.
Alternative peaks, with identical approach logistics: as from a) in the general description.
Trip dates, Duration, Departure
The period of time given in the trip description sheet is indicatively the most recommended for optimun conditions for the planned activities. Different periods are possible, especially during season with special climate situations. Duration is referred to the “standard” programme as per description sheet, however it could change according to the local conditions and/or the team’s requirements. If the trip is included in the Scheduled Trips list (yearly planner), the departure date is the one given in the planner; otherwise it will be decided according to the requests we have received. In any case we suggest to contact us for more precise information. In customized trips, departure date and duration are established according to customer’s request
By means of the scores given in the trip decsription sheet we wish to provide an indicative assessment of the challenges to be expected, divided in the following three categories:
Grade 1: adult performing a minimum sport activity (4-8 hours/week), or teenager in medium fitness conditions
Grade 2: adult performing sport activity (8-16 hours/week) or teenager in good fitness conditions
Grade 3: adult performing regular sport activity (16-20 hours/week) or teenager in very good fitness conditions
Grade 4: adult only, regularly performing sport activity and intense training (more than 20 hours/week)
Grade1: no prior experience in the activity is required, just a natural predisposition
Grade 2: prior experience in the activity as beginner to medium level
Grade 3: prior experience in the activity at medium to high level, with regular practice since min. 3-5 years
Grade 4: excellent technical skills with long experience in the activity (more than 5 years)
Grade 1: no prior experience in adventure travel id required, just a positive attitude to adapt
Grade 2: prior, yet limited, experience in adventure travel, with a strong attitude to adapt and determination
Grade 3: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding
Grade 4: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding, strong determination to overcome unforeseen events
The type of accomodation as planned is indicated in the trip sheet (hotel, lodge, tents, etc..).
The means of local transfers are indicated as planned (flight, bus, 4WD vehicle, ferry, etc.). Some changes are possible in relation to the actual availability on site and/or the terrain and wheather conditions.
Service included and Prices
We do not have a price list. Quotes are sent on request only. Details of services included, excluded, or optionally available, will be specified in the quote and confirmed at the time of booking. Prices depend on number of participants and on the specific requirements of the group. They will be definitely set at the time of booking after definiton of all trip details and confirmation of dates. Special prices can be granted according to number of participants, and/or for pre-established groups, clubs and associations, guides with own clients, active athletes, tour operators and travel agents, journalists, physicians, rescue operators, schools, staff of organization running an humanitarian or research project.