The first trek we did in Nepal is the “around Dhaulagiri trek”. We did it from October 24 to November 6, 2010. Dhaulagiri (धौलागिरी) which means “white mountain” in Nepali, is the 7th highest peak in the world and culminates at 8167 meters (26795 ft). We were interested in this trek for two reasons: we looked for a low touristic trek and also a trek which could be done independently. Once the list of “overcrowded” treks is removed (top of the list: Annapurna trek and Everest Base Camp trek), we kept those where we had not oblige to take a guide. We chose to perform the trek around the Dhaulagiri!
The advantage of this trek is that it is not very known. In addition, the beautiful and varied landscapes (rice fields, jungles, bamboo forests, glaciers and moraines, …) are waiting for you. The only disadvantage of this trek is the consequence that it is not much known, it is very difficult to find information about it in the books or on the Internet. That’s why we decided to share our experience.
We will not lie to you, although there is no technical difficulties, it is mandatory to have excellent physical and moral conditions to do this trek. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to take a guide and porters. Indeed, it would be a pity that your trek would become an ordeal. Very few people decide to go around the Dhaulagiri independently. Along the way, we will have the opportunity to notice it because each Nepali we met asked us where were our guide and porters!
If you’re lucky enough regarding the weather conditions, this trek can be done in 11 or 12 days of walking and 1 or 2 days of rest for acclimation. We advise you to plan some extra days in case the weather turns bad.
The steps are the following:
- Day 1: Beni – Tatopani
- Day 2: Tatopani – Dharapani
- Day 3: Dharapani – Muri
- Day 4: Muri – Boghara
- Day 5: Boghara – Dobang
- Day 6: Dobang – Italian base camp
- Day 7: Acclimation day at Italian base camp
- Day 8: Italian base camp – Glacier base camp
- Day 9: Glacier base camp – Dhaulagiri base camp
- Day 10: Dhaulagiri base camp – Hidden valley
- Day 11: Hidden valley – Yak Kharka
- Day 12: Yak Kharka – Marpha
- Day 13: Marpha – Pokhara
For a full circuit around Dhaulagiri, it takes 2-3 days more to go from Marpha to Beni (green curve on the topographical map of the trek). The information on this extension are numerous because it corresponds to the end of the trek around Annapurna. A quick search on the Internet or in specialized books should provided you the necessary information about it.
During the around Dhaulagiri trek, it is also possible to make the ascent of Thapa Peak at 6012 m. In this case, add 1 more day to perform it.
The achievement of a peak is highly regulated. We suggest you to inquire about your guide.
In addition to the information related to the steps, you will find below further information regarding the preparation of the trek:
You will find a topographical map of the trek around the Dhaulagiri of Nepa Maps. Nepal, stores cards, you will find two others. We recommend the version of Nepa Maps because it seems to be the most up to date. However this card has some mistakes that we highlight in the description of the different steps.
The latitude and longitude data of the “Nepa Maps” map are wrong. We advise you to not use them (with a GPS) to plan your trip. Nevertheless the distances and directions are rather correct.
During the trek, we used a GPS. The attached map lets you see the exact route of the trail. We have completed certain areas because these areas were too steep-sided to capture the satellite signal. At the end of each step description, we mentioned the GPS coordinates recorded.
If you have Google Earth, you can view the map in 3D so you can better appreciate the way to go. We recommend it because it’s really impressive in terms of rendering.
Curve of difference in heights
The around Dhaulagiri trek we made is about hundred kilometers. we started at Beni (839 m) and ended at Marpha (2670 m). The highlight of the trek is at the French Pass at 5,354 m.
The curve of the difference in heights is just given for infomation. We could not garentee its correctness. As already said, a part of the data are not coming from our GPS but Google earth extrapolation.