At a glance
Trekking Destination: Rolwaling Trek
Transportation: private and public vehicle
Trekking hour: 5-6 hours each day
Duration: 19 Days
Rolwaling trek offers outstanding view of Himalayas that lies along the north-eastern side of the finger land and that juts into Tibet to the north-east of the Kathmandu – Kodari – Lhasa highway. It forms the northern border of a wild, beautiful and seldom frequented valley below a string of some 50 peaks all over 6000m. It is crowned by the double peaks of Gaurishankar (7,145m/23,475ft) on the border and the peaks of Melungtse I (7181m) and II (7023m) in Tibet.
Rolwaling valley trek contains several small villages, the largest at Beding, and is fed by the Rolwaling Khola and its numerous tributaries. In 2010 this area was declared a conservation area, known as the Gaurishankar Conservation Area: covering 2179 square Kilometers. It is home to some 58 000 people, the largest group being Tamangs followed by Sherpas and Chhetris.
Our 18 days Rolwaling trek begins with a scenic drive along the 106km friendship highway towards east of Kathmandu,through beautiful scenery towards the border town. After another 50km, at Khadichur, we leave the main highway to travel eastwards as far as the bus terminus at Charikot Dolakha.
From here our footpath undulates, often steeply, between broad ridges and river crossings to link picturesque Chhetri, Sherpa and Tamang villages. There are numerous suspension bridges across impressive gorges that shorten the climbs. The path passes through ancient rhododendron, oak and pine forests interspersed with terraced fields around the villages. From the top of the Daldung La (3900m) there could be magnificent views of Gaurishankar and its satellite peaks.
Beyond Na, the last kharka (summer grazing village) is the magnificent Tsho Rolpa, an ice lake held behind its terminal moraine. There is serious concern that with climate change increasing temperatures in the region, melting waters could cause the moraine to burst: causing havoc downstream. Work is being done to permanently dam the lake.
The unmarked route then passes the Trakarding Glacier before climbing onto the Drolambau Glacier. The highest point on the trek is the Teshi Lapche La (5755m) on the slopes of Patchamo. It is one of Nepal’s highest trekking passes and rises in a glaciated wilderness set amongst snowy peaks including Tengi Ragi Tau (6943m), Bisphero Go Shar (6729m) and Dragkar (6793m). The descent to the campsite is steep and some 300m below the pass. From here, it descends easily into the Solu Khumbu to join the ancient caravan route from Tibet that leads to the lowlands via Namche Bazaar. The trek ends at Lukla and a flight back to Kathmandu.