Lunana Snowman trek in Bhutan rewards the ardent trekking enthusiast

Bhutan's ancient capital Punakha. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

There’s no better way to experience the magical kingdom of Bhutan, the land of the thunder dragon, than by doing the Lunana Snowman trek, a rigorous but rewarding 26 day journey through the remote and rarely travelled Laya and Lunana valleys of north-western Bhutan.

Rimo Expeditions has been conducting treks in Bhutan since 1994. Our journey crosses numerous passes, reaches an altitude of 5,600 m/ 18,480 feet and begins in Paro, the second most popular destination after the Kingdom’s capital Thimphu.

It’s often referred to as the world’s toughest trek with far more people having climbed Mount Everest than have completed this trek. We like to point out, however, that we’ve had a 100 per cent success rate since we began conducting this trek 17 years ago. Our clients have included young and old. A new helicopter rescue service that has been established in Bhutan has made the trek even safer, in case of an emergency.

Trekking towards the Bhutan Himalaya. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

Yaks and ponies are used to carry loads. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

An elderly Laya lady weaving with the distinctly conical bamboo hat of the area. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

Woman wearing a bear hair hat. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

A spectacular vista during the Lunana Snowman trek. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

One of many high altitude lakes on the trek. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

A vista of the Himalayan mountains that border Bhutan and China. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

A well earned rest by a mountain river. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

Yaks and ponies are replaced from village to village. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

The trek traverses a wide range of spectacular scenery, from the lush, green valleys of the lowlands to the Himalayas that border China, a region that includes well-known mountains as Chomolhari (7.314 metres,) the second highest mountain in Bhutan and Gangkhar Puensum (7,570 metres,) the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. Climbing Gangkhar Puensum has been banned by the Bhutanese government for religious and cultural reasons.

A Lunana vista. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

Faith and the high mountains. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

A high altitude meal about to be served. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

The region is now served by a rescue helicopter. Photo by Rimo Expeditions

Along the way we encounter the Lunana and Laya people, a semi-nomadic tribe, whose women are well-known for their distinctive conical bamboo hats. Unlike other regions of the Himalaya, we also get into the habit of replacing yaks and horses that carry our load at different villages along the way.

This is an epic trek that will reward the ardent mountain pilgrim and good fitness and previous high altitude trekking experience are required to participate on this trek.

Photo by Rimo Expeditions

Potato and chilli, a Bhutanese delicacy! Photo by Rimo Expeditions

These photos are from a recent Lunana Snowman Trek that took place in October 2011 for an Australian group led by Geoff Bailey, his 9th Himalayan trip with Rimo Expeditions. For more details on booking this trip click here.

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