Pharchamo Peak is a beautiful unfrequented climbing peak located in the Rolwaling Himalayan range of northeastern Nepal. The 20 days Pharchamo Peak Climbing journey leaps from the famous Gaurishankar Conservation Area to Pharchamo summit in Rolwaling Himalayas and winds up at the Everest region. Pharchamo Peak is one of the best trekking peaks in Nepal, offering panoramic views of Mt. Cho Oyu, Mt. Thamserku, and Mt. Gaurishakar at its summit (6,187m/20,298ft). It was acclaimed for the first time in 1955 from the northwest ridge, and climbers still use the same route.
This adventurous trip is set in the remote off the beaten trail of the Rolwaling valley traversing to the amazing Tsho Rolpa, one of the biggest glacial lakes of Nepal. Following the thrill of crossing the challenging Tashi Lapcha Pass, a triumphant climb to the silent Parchamo Peak summit beautifies the experience. Moreover, the desolate route meets the bustling classic Everest trail in the temperate and subalpine terrain of Sagarmatha National Park.
Pharchamo Peak Climbing itinerary starts with a drive to the northeast of Kathmandu towards Gongor Khola, from where the trek progresses to Simigaun, Dhongang, Beding, and Na villages in the Rolwaling valley. After proper acclimatization, the trail crosses Tashi Lapcha Pass towards the peak. From there, the climb is technical then straightforward until the summit of Pharchamo. After a successful ascent, the path descends to Thame, opening up to Dudh Koshi River valley. Next, the trail reaches Namche Bazaar and Lukla, then finally a scenic flight back to Kathmandu.
Rolwaling valley has some of the toughest and technical terrains making this trip difficult. Tashi Lapcha Pass (5,755m/18,882ft), one of the highest passes in Nepal, adds to the difficulty as it involves steep climbing in rugged and rocky trails where a lot of patience and attention is required. Climbing the Pharchamo Peak summit requires physical fitness and prior climbing knowledge while passing by the deep crevasses and ice steps.
The trek reaches a maximum elevation of 6,187m/20,298ft at the summit and a minimum of 1,440m/4,726ft. There are two weeks of trekking and one climbing day with crossing the challenging Tashi Lapcha Pass. Hence, it is a physically demanding trek best suited for trekkers with prior high altitude trekking experience. However, with the guide's assistance and proper prior training, one can successfully climb the Pharchamo Peak summit and complete the trek, which will be cherished for a lifetime.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400m/4,593ft)|
|Day 2||Cultural Sightseeing in Kathmandu and trip preparation|
|Day 3||Drive from Kathmandu to Gongor Khola (1,440m/4,726ft) - 8 to 9 hours|
|Day 4||Trek from Gongor Khola to Simigaun (2,036m/6,682ft) - 4 to 5 hours|
|Day 5||Trek from Simigaun to Dhongang (2,800m/9,189ft) - 6 to 7 hours|
|Day 6||Trek from Dhongang to Beding (3,790m/12,437ft) - 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 7||Trek from Beding to Na (4,200m/13,783ft) - 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 8||Acclimatization and Rest day at Na|
|Day 9||Acclimatization and Rest day at Na|
|Day 10||Trek from Na to Chukima (4,560m/14,961ft) - 4 to 5 hours|
|Day 11||Trek from Chukima to Tolomban (5,410m/17,753ft) - 7 to 8 hours|
|Day 12||Cross the Tashi Lapcha pass (5,755m/18,882ft) and Trek to Tashi Phuk (5,110m/16,765ft) - 8 to 9 hours|
|Day 13||Summit Pharchamo (6,187m/20,299ft) and trek to Ngole (5,110m/16,765ft) - 7 to 8 hours|
|Day 14||Contingency Day|
|Day 15||Trek from Ngole to Thame (3,800m/12,468ft) - 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 16||Trek from Thame to Namche Bazaar (3,440m/11,284ft) - 3 to 4 hours|
|Day 17||Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla (2,840m/9,318ft) - 6 to 7 hours|
|Day 18||Flight from Lukla to Kathmandu|
|Day 19||Free Day or Sightseeing around Kathmandu|
|Day 20||Final departure from Kathmandu, Nepal|
Welcome to the architecturally and historically significant city of Nepal, Kathmandu. Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be greeted by the fresh air and vistas of mountains and hills surrounding the valley. After completing your formalities and customs at the airport, head to the terminal, where you will meet our representatives from Third Rock Adventures.
You will be transferred to your hotel based in Thamel, only 5 km away from the airport. After getting well-rested, you can head out to enjoy the vibrant streets of Thamel. You can enjoy some local food and drinks in the evening. At night, we offer a warm welcome dinner.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu city is a treasure trove of cultural and religious sites. On this day, after having breakfast, you will explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Nepal. In the meantime, as suggested feasible by your guide, you will make preparations for the trek. It will include getting your Group B climbing permit and documentation in the authorized office. Also, you can hire or buy trekking gears, warm clothing, or accessories, whereas the team will manage the technical climbing gears.
In the afternoon, you will visit the Kathmandu Durbar Square situated in Basantapur/Freak Street. There you can explore the ancient Shah Dynasty palace, which has now been turned into Hanuman Dhoka Museum, the alleyways, courtyards, temples, and status. Later, you can visit Swayambhunath Stupa, located on a western hilltop with a birds-eye view of the city below. Alternatively, you can also head to the northeast of the city to witness one of the largest dome stupas, Boudhanath Stupa. If time permits, explore the vicinity of Pashupatinath, one of the most renowned Hindu temples in the world.
In the evening, get your backpack and belongings ready for the upcoming day.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Kathmandu.
Early in the morning, we will drive off to Gongor Khola, Dolakha. For an initial couple of hours, we will follow the Arniko Highway with the Bhotekoshi and Sunkoshi rivers flowing down on the side. You might witness people rafting in the white waters of the thrilling rivers. The road from thereon is zig zag, and at some places, it is not blacktopped. Upon entering Dolaha, you will drive further up to Charikot and continue on the rugged road to Gangor Khola. The village of Gangor is located near the riverbank of the same name. It lies in the shadow of the Tamakoshi hydroelectric dam project. There is a big construction site.
Overnight stay in Gongor Khola.
We begin the initial leg of the trek by taking the north road to Chetchet. The trail sees a couple of settlements in between on the right side. There is a suspension bridge over the Tamakoshi River, which you'll be crossing to take an ascent on the steep rocky slope. We hike up to a forested area from thereon then cross a series of terraced fields in Simigaun. The village is green and spreads over the side of the hill. It is inhabited by a mix of different cultures and traditions, from the ethnic Sherpa to Chhetris. As it is a relatively short trek, you can lay down your backpacks, after some rest, head to the village, and interact with the warm and welcoming locals.
Overnight stay in Simigaun.
We will be leaving Simigaun today on our way to Dhogang after having breakfast. Moving through the dense forest, we enter Rolwaling Valley, from where we will cross the stream and head down to the riverbed. Eventually, the path will lead to Dhongang.
Dhongang is a small village in pasture land, green and beautiful most times of the year. It is situated at the Tinsang- la pass base, where you will find many camps. A small Buddhist monastery is just above the village, which is of high significance to the local Sherpa's residing there. Even from here, you will be able to witness the mesmerizing views of the surrounding mountains.
Overnight stay in Dhongang.
We will leave for Beding, about 6 hours away from Dongang. The trek begins in a forested trail with alpine vegetation, particularly rhododendron. All along the path, you will witness the magnificent Mt. Gaurishankar surrounding us with other adjoining mountains. Next, take a descent to Nyamare village from where the views of Melungtse, the highest peak of the Rolwaling range, will be seen. The trail will finally head to the Rolwaling River on the left side of the valley, where a Sherpa village called Beding is situated.
Unpack your bags, take some rest, then head out to enjoy the amazing scenery and interact with the friendly Sherpa tribe.
Overnight stay at Beding.
Initiate your trek from Beding to the village of Na by walking on a fir forest path. We will be exploring the upper slopes of the valley. First, climb through the Rolwaling river banks into a forest with the impressive scenery of mountains. The climate gets chilly with an increase in altitude. Finally, walk steadily in the high terrain to a glaciated valley just before Na.
Na village is relatively bigger than the other villages where you have been. It is scattered across the terrain, offering plenty of tea houses and campsites friendly for trekkers and is also one of the antiquated settlements based in the Rolwaling region and has been a camping site for many treks. The locals are known particularly for growing potatoes and feeding their cattle in this grazing pasture. There is a small monastery in the area. The Chobutse peak above the Tsho Rolpa prominently protrudes in the village.
Overnight stay in Na.
This day has been segregated to acclimatize your body against the sudden increase in altitude and subsequent increase in air pressure. Your body needs to cope with the increasing elevation not to fall victim to altitude sickness.
Na is a beautiful village, one of the most famous villages in the Rolwaling region. You will find many camps and other trekkers who are taking different treks and acclimatizing here. After breakfast, you can take a hike to the nearby areas. You could take a side trip to Yalung La pass, which allows you to the amazing views of the Rolwaling range and glaciers. Significant among them are the Yalung glacier and Ramdung peak, seen clearly from here.
Overnight stay at Na.
It is yet another rest day at Na village. You can have a chat with your guide to know more about the upcoming days of the trek and make preparations for crossing the Tashi Lapcha pass later on. Proper rest and acclimatization are mandatory before crossing Tashi pass as it is one of the highest and the most thrilling passes in the world.
Later in the afternoon, you can visit the monastery and interact with the locals in the village. Finally, pack up your belongings before bed so that you get an early start for the next day.
Overnight stay at Na.
After spending three days at Na, it is time to move ahead to the valley by crossing the Rolwaling river and heading south to Sangma. It is a large pasture land where you might witness herds of cattle grazing, depending upon the time you arrive. From there on, you will cross a wooden bridge then ascend to the trail through moraines towards the dam of Tsho Rolpa, also known as Tsho Pokhari. Tsho Rolpa (4580m/15030ft) is the biggest glacial lake in Nepal, with a surface area of 1,537 square kilometers.
You will hike to the south of Tsho Rolpa at Chukima and set up your camps in a beautiful and clean area. From the south, you will witness views of the high-standing Chobutse mountain at a distance which is an overwhelming sight.
Overnight stay in Chukima.
Leaving Chukima behind, we proceed to Tolomban, just below the Tashi Lapcha pass. Begin the first leg of your walk through the Drolambu Icefall. By this day, the climate will have dropped significantly, so you need to be wearing all your warm clothes. Walk slowly to acclimatize with the increasing altitude. From there, you will head on to Jabowa. Expect the trek to be difficult, considering the rugged terrain and the chilly weather. There is no trace of habitat in this area, so we will not make any stops here. However, you can take short breaks. After the tiring trek, you will set up camp and make preparations for one of the most challenging trekking days tomorrow.
Overnight stay in Tolomban.
Even before dawn, you will begin the trek towards Tashi Lapcha pass. As the weather in the high pass can get unpredictable and stormy during the day, we try to cross it as early as possible. This trek takes more than 8 hours and is not meant to be easy. Taking small steps, we will reach the upper section of the glaciated pass. The climb is strenuous but utterly rewarding with the views of the high Rolwaling range surrounding you. It is triumphant to have crossed one of Nepal's toughest and highest passes, Tashi Lapcha. After enjoying the views with the faint sound of prayer flags fluttering in the wind, you will begin your trek along the glaciated Tashi Phuk.
Finally, you will be reaching the base of the Pharchamo Peak. Upon arriving there, take some rest, then make preparations for tomorrow's big climb. As needed, you will be learning the use of technical climbing gears like harnesses, crampons, and ascenders. The guide will clarify any doubts you might have regarding the climb. Get well-rested and mentally prepared for the big day tomorrow.
Overnight stay at Tashi Phuk.
One of the most incredible days of the entire trip is here as you will attempt climbing to the summit of Pharchamo peak. Your day will start early in the morning before dawn, where your team will set up all the required necessities for the climb. Initially, you have to take a steep climb then take small steps into the crevasses towards the summit. From the northwest ridge, climb on the crevassed glacier and seracs. In about 4 hours, you will have reached the top of the majestic Pharchamo Peak! It is the most awe-striking feeling to have acclaimed the peak at the altitude of 6,187m/20,299ft after a tough climb.
You are instantly greeted with splendid views of the Khumbu region mountains. You will witness some tallest mountains like Mt. Cho Oyu, Mt. Gaurishanker, Makalu, Mt. Amadablam, Mt. Thamserku, and Mt. Kusum Kanguru, among others. The views are almost surreal, so you should take a moment to take in everything. After enjoying the sights and clicking pictures, take a descent to Ngole. The decline becomes much easier due to your newfound energy and as the altitude sees a drastic decrease. Upon reaching the campsite in a few hours, take ample rest as you have deserved it.
Overnight stay in Ngole.
This day has been set aside in case we have any contingencies before or during the climb. Contingency may occur in case of any mild health issues or bad weather. As the weather in the mountainous region is rather unpredictable, there may be blockage of hovering clouds. You might not want to climb to the summit with views of surrounding mountains being blocked by the clouds. If we cannot make the climb on the earlier day due to these issues, we can opt to climb the summit today. However, if everything goes well, you can use this additional day later on in the trek to explore other areas.
Leaving behind Pharchamo Peak and the campsite, you head east over the snowy slopes on the trail down to Thame. The trek is relatively easy and short, with amazing views of the surrounding Rolwaling and Khumbu mountain range. You will be walking through wide pasturelands along the way while making gradual descend through small villages and forests.
Thame is a small Sherpa village located in Namche, a salt trading route between Tibet, Nepal, and India. It is also known best for being the home of some of the most popular Everest Summiteers. Tenzing Norgay, the first to successfully ascend Mt. Everest, Apa Sherpa, who set the record for climbing it 21 times behind Kami Rita Sherpa, who has climbed it 24 times, all spent their childhood here.
Upon reaching Thame, set your camp, then head out to visit the Thame monastery, which is one of the oldest in the Khumbu region, believed to be founded in the 17th century by Rolpe Dorje. The vicinity is beautifully complemented by the beauty of Sumdur Mountain towering behind.
Overnight stay in Thame.
Leaving Thame, we will follow the trail down the Thame River and head to Then go. Rejoice in the views of Mt. Everest, Mt. Thamserku, and Mt. Ama Dablam along the way. Next, you take an ascent to Sansa, where you will witness many tea houses and settlements. You can buy the Tibetan goods being sold by the locals as well. Then, take a descent to the bridge over the Dudh Koshi River at Phunki Tenga. Passing the tea houses, you will walk along the scenic trail with mountain views. Mt. Kusum Kangkaru is seen in its full glory along the way. The path further heads to Namche Bazaar with lots of ups and downs.
Namche Bazaar is a tourist and commercial hub in the Khumbu region. Upon reaching Namche Bazaar, you will be amazed by the numerous tea houses, lodges, shops, cafes, and restaurants. You might have been missing some delicious cuisine along the route for many days so that you can opt for some bakery goods and a well-deserved coffee from the cafes. As you will have the whole afternoon to yourself, you can either take a rest or head out to visit some of the significant sites like Kunde Hospital set up by Sir. Edmund Hillary or a hike to Namche Monastery.
Overnight stay at Namche Bazaar.
After having breakfast, you will take a long hike to Lukla. Follow the Dudh Koshi River trail to the valley passing by the Jorsale village. Hereon, you will bid farewell to the views of Mt. Everest. You will be passing by Monjo, the exit gate to Sagarmatha National Park. Crossing a suspension bridge from a rhododendron-clad forest, you will cross a suspension bridge to Phakding. You can take a rest in Phakding village and have lunch. Head to Chaurikharka village then you will come across stone houses reaching the Pasang Lhamu Memorial Gate, an entrance to Lukla.
Lukla is a small Sherpa settlement that has been a significant tourist hub for the Khumbu region. In addition, it has the Tenzing Norgay Airport allowing tourists to visit the Everest region. In the evening, head out to the streets to interact with the locals and also buy some locally made souvenirs if you like.
Overnight stay in Lukla.
After a delicious local breakfast, you will board a flight to Kathmandu. The flight is scenic, with views of the Khumbu Himalayas range and the green hills of Kathmandu city. Upon reaching the Kathmandu airport, you will drive to your hotel based in Thamel. As you have the entire day to yourself, you can engage in numerous activities. Most tourists prefer to head out to eat western cuisine that they have been missing for many days. Some visit the massage parlors to relieve their muscles of all the pain and tiredness after the long trip. Lastly, you can treat yourself by heading to the local pub and enjoying yourself with your newfound friends.
Overnight stay in Kathmandu.
This day has been reserved if there are any delays or cancellations of the flight from Lukla to Kathmandu. As this is a long trek in the Himalayan region, there might be bad weather conditions causing these contingencies.
However, if things go as planned, then you can use this day for a final sightseeing tour in and around Kathmandu. You can plan out your day along with your guide. If you have already visited the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kathmandu, then you can opt to visit other monuments located around the Kathmandu Valley. For example, you can visit the Narayanhiti Palace Museum, which was once the home of the ruling Shah Dynasty. It will give you a historical insight into the lives of the kings and queens of Nepal. Patan Durbar Square is another place that is worth visiting for religious, architectural, and cultural significance. It is located in the Lalitpur district, just beside Kathmandu city. Alternatively, some tourists also prefer visiting Bhaktapur Durbar square, around an hour's drive from Thamel. The durbar soiree and the surrounding houses and monuments are a couple of centuries-old and reflect the beauty of Hindu and Buddhist culture along with ethnic Newari heritage.
Overnight stay in Kathmandu.
The adventurous Pharchamo Peak Climbing trip will conclude on this day. We will drive you to the Tribhuvan International Airport after breakfast, as per your departure time. After bidding farewell to our representatives, you will proceed to the terminal. Taking a final glance at the skies of Kathmandu as you board your flight, you will most certainly remember the Rolwaling valley and Khumbu Himalayan range. In addition, you will vividly revive the challenging climb to Pharchamo summit.
If you wish to take on a similar adventurous climbing trip or trek in Nepal, please contact us.
Recommended to Read: Packing List For Peak Climbing In Nepal
Images: Pieter, Vuylsteke, Andy | Flickr