Mustang Trekking Information
Mustang is one of the few places in the Himalayan region that has been able to retain its traditional Tibetan culture unmolested...authentic Tibetan culture now survives only in exile and a few places like Mustang, which have had long historical and cultural ties with Tibet."The Dalai Lama
Mustang (which translates as “fertile plain”) is the former Kingdom of Lo and now part of Nepal. Lo and Upper Mustang are one and the same. Mustang is mainly dry and arid with around 200 - 450mm of rainfall per year. The population of Mustang District in 2001 was 14,981, spread between three towns and approximately thirty smaller settlements. Most of the population of Mustang lives near the Kali Gandaki River at about 2800 – 3900 meters above sea level. The tough conditions cause a large winter migration into lower regions of Nepal.
The main hydrographic feature of Mustang is the Kali Gandaki River. The river runs southward towards Nepal Terai, bisecting Mustang. Routes paralleling the river once served as a major trade route between Tibet and India, especially for salt. Part of the river valley in the south of Mustang, forms by some measures the deepest gorge in the world. Traditional Mustang (the Lo Kingdom) is 53 km north - south at its longest and 60 km east - west at its widest, and ranges from a low point of 2750 m above sea level to 6700 meters at its highest. Mustang was once an independent kingdom, although closely tied by language and culture to Tibet. From the 15th century to the 17th century, its strategic location granted Mustang control over the trade between the Himalayas and India. At the end of the 18th century the kingdom was annexed by Nepal.
Though still recognized by many Mustang residents, the monarchy officially ceased to exist on October 7, 2008, by order of the Government of Nepal. The last official and current unofficial king is Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista (born c.1933), who traces his lineage directly back to Ame Pal, the warrior who founded this Buddhist kingdom in 1380. Ame Pal oversaw the founding and building of much of the Upper Mustang and the Mustang capital of Lo Manthang (a walled city in which surprisingly little changed in appearance from that time period).
Jomsom has had an airport since 1962 and has become the main tourist entry point since Mustang was opened to western tourism in 1992. Tourism to Upper Mustang is still regulated and foreigners need to obtain a special permit to enter. Most tourists travel by foot over largely the same trade route used in the 15th century. Over a thousand western trekkers now visit each year, with October being the peak month.
A trek to the remote semi-independent Kingdom of Upper Mustang located north of Annpurna on the Tibet border. The Adventure Connexion Company’s group in 2009 were granted an audience with the King of Mustang at his palace in Lo Manthang.
From April to November are favorable months to trek to Upper Mustang. Upper Mustang is a rain Shadow area, thus, we can do trekking in this part of Nepal even in the monsoon season (mid June-mid Sept), while during monsoon, trekking in popular trails of Everest and Annapurna is not recommended.
Though often overlooked, it's no exaggeration to say the entire trekking and expedition industry in Nepal is built on the back of hard working local porters. It is their tireless efforts carrying supplies, equipment and baggage that make journeying to these remote areas possible. So it's very unfortunate that they have endured a history of exploitation and abuse at the hands of the industry. In an effort to combat this, we are firmly committed to porter rights. We ensure all our porters are well treated, well paid and we provide the level of shelter, clothing and footwear that these harsh environments demand. Porters who become sick are treated with the same care and attention as other team members and we have previously used helicopters - at our expense - to rescue porters from dangerous situations. And for the porter's sake we require that all trekkers keep their luggage bag weight under 15kgs/33 pounds. We support the work of the Porter Protection Group (IPPG), making our resources available to them to help improve the working conditions of the porters.
Acute Mountain Sickness
Our Upper Mustang Trek itinerary is planned with high degree of awareness of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Going up too fast causes a medical condition serious enough to kill. The higher the altitude the less oxygen there is in the air. While crossing some small passes are not that challenging and Upper Mustang trek doesn't require special acclimatization days but slow and gradual ascent is necessary for gradual acclimatization process in the think air environment. Thus the itinerary is planned sensibly allowing sufficient time for gradual acclimatization. We advise specially the guest(s) with known heart or lungs or blood diseases to consult their doctor before traveling. Mild headaches, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorder are symptoms of AMS. Check out "Altitude illness" by Dr Jim Duff Adventure Connexion itineraries are designed to try to prevent AMS but it is important to remember, some people can be more susceptible than others.
A Typical Day On The Trail...
Soon after first light your Sherpa will knock on your door and will offer you a nice cup of warm tea. After freshening up, you will pack your bags and assemble in the dining hall for a hearty breakfast before setting off on the day`s trek. After approximately 2-3 hours of trekking you will take a lunch break. After a relaxing lunch, you will typically spend 2-3 more hours on the trail before reaching your stopping point. Throughout the day you will rest and take some time to admire the views. There will be plenty of picture taking opportunities - incredibly panoramic mountains, rivers, landscapes, prayer flags, temples, shrines, cairns, monasteries, etc. Once you arrive at your teahouse, you will take a brief rest, shower, and have a light snack with tea or coffee. If you are so inclined, you may take a short walk through the village and surrounding neighborhood. After checking into your room you`ll have time to read or chat with fellow trekkers and your Adventure Connexion crew. Following a warm dinner in a cozy dining hall your trek leader will brief you on the next day`s itinerary. You will place your order for breakfast which will allow your guide to have everything ready for you in the morning. Extra time can be spent reading, enjoying some drinks or playing cards. Your Adventure Connexion crew loves to teach various Nepali card games as well as learning new Western games. Finally, it`s off to bed for a well earned night`s rest before starting all over again the next day.