The Snowman is said to be the trek of treks. It really is an impressive trek, covering almost the entire northern border of Bhutan with Tibet from west to east, between white peaks, glaciers, crossing a lot of mountain passes and passing through a series of isolated villages that maintain age-old traditions. But it is also a demanding trek, with 25 days of camping and the risk of unexpected snowfall blocking the way.
25 days trek
Very strong level
Highest altitude 5230m
Highest overnight altitude 5120m
Local guide English-speaking
Accommodation and meals in camping during the trek
Transfers in private vehicle
Best from ending September and October. Also possible in April-May. It can snowfall unexpectedly in any moment
The Snowman Trek is Bhutan’s trek par excellence. With a duration of 25 days, it covers almost the entire northern part of Bhutan, passing through the foothills of the permanently white Himalayan peaks. However, due to its long duration and very high cost, it is a trek that is not affordable for many hikers.
The first 9 days follows the beginning of the Jomolhari and Laya-Gasa trek. From Laya onwards, the itinerary continues through even more isolated and wild areas, with continuous uphill and downhill stretches and mountain passes. As you can imagine, such a long and complete route passes through a great variety of landscapes and terrains, from high altitude subtropical forests, with rhododendrons, firs, pines, cypresses, junipers and a myriad of flowers, glacier moraines, rivers and gorges, yak pastures, rocky areas and tarns, well-trodden paths and paths that get lost. Snow will always be an element to take into account, as unexpected snowfalls, somewhat more abundant than expected, can block mountain passes and stop us for a few days or make us turn back. It is also important to bear in mind that in Bhutan the trek stuff is carried by mules and yaks, and their movements are limited when there is too much snow.
It is a tough trek, we are not going to deceive you, and the fact that it is a trek with so many nights of camping means that fatigue is much more noticeable than if we slept in comfortable shelters. Not everyone who starts the Snowman finishes it.
The trek has two possible endings and here we present the version that passes through the Dur Tshachu hot springs and ends in Bumthang, a beautiful valley of great importance and Buddhist tradition, which, despite going further, takes two days less than the variant that leads to Sephu, near Trongsa.
This trek can also be started from Gasa if you wish. You can check the itinerary in the corresponding dossier.
Most of Bhutan is stunning, virtually untouched natural scenery. Permanent white peaks, yak pastures, occasional isolated and traditional villages, wildlife and unique flora. There are durations and landscapes to suit all tastes, from treks in the remote wilderness of the mountains to hikes that take you closer to a more cultural side, through villages and monasteries. Most of the routes can be done in both directions, so it is also possible to do partial round trips.
Overnight stays for most of the treks are in campsites, and yaks or mules are responsible for carrying your equipment and all the stuff for the trek, so, in a way, the old spirit of the pioneer treks is maintained, bridging distances of course. Bear in mind that there is little chance of charging the batteries of your cameras and other electronic devices, so it is advisable to carry spare batteries and perhaps a small solar charger.
Although we are still talking about a very unspoilt, lonely and wild territory, the rough-roads slowly advance following the valleys that enter the mountains to connect isolated villages, where services are very basic and difficult to reach. This naturally affects the route of the treks, especially during the first and last days, and is reducing the days of some itineraries.
Druk-Yul is what the Druk-pa, the people of the ‘land of the thunder dragon’, call Bhutan. It was one of the most isolated countries in the world until tourism was allowed in the 1970s, but there are still restricted areas of the country. This has preserved its traditions and culture from Western influence, while it has become the main attraction for tourists. And Bhutan has been able to capitalise on this with good tourist organisation and fares not suitable for all budgets.
With a very sparse population of about 700,000, Bhutan became famous for its GNH, the Gross National Happiness Index, as opposed to GDP, a concept they developed in the 1970s and included in the constitution.
Lush forests and high Himalayan peaks to the north define a majestic landscape, barely disturbed by the few existing roads, friendly and peaceful people greet the traveller embarking on the way through the so-called last Shangri-la on earth.
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Contact us to obtain the complete dossier of this itinerary, inquiry for all the information you need and ask us any questions you may have.