Trekking At The Top Of The World

The Kharta Valley in Tibetone is of the most spectacular high mountain landscapes on the planet. We’ll immerse ourselves into the Tibetan culture while photographing in the city of Lhasa and surrounding towns so that we have time to acclimate properly to the high elevation. We’ll visit and photograph the Potala Palace, Sera Monastery, and the debating Monks.

Then we begin our expedition, as we continue to Shigatse, for another cultural feast. From Gudang, we’ll trek into the mountains for 11 nights of camping, where we’ll reach amazing locations next to the tallest mountains on earth. We’ll photograph Mt. Everest from the east, as well as other surrounding giants like Qomolangma, Lhotse, and Makalu.

This is an extremely demanding trek that will require both physical and altitude conditioning. Our expedition will be fully staffed to carry everything for you except your personal pack for the day. We have planned this expedition during the time of year for good weather and fall colors. Everything’s all-inclusive: food, lodging, internal flights, and tips for the local guides. This trip is for the adventure photographer who is in great physical shape. Everyone will be interviewed before registration to ensure that this trekking experience is right for them.

Location:

Tibet

Tuition:

$15,995

Dates:

September 15–October 4, 2021

Fitness Level:

Difficult: Trekking up to 8 miles/day at altitude up to 17,000 feet. 12 nights in alpine camping environment. Must be approved by MW.

Your Pros:

Marc Muench
Juanli Sun

Availability:

Open for Registration
Limited to 6 Trekkers

This workshop was beyond all expectations. It was a challenging but rewarding adventure. This trip tested me both physically and mentally but ended with lifelong Rewards. Completing the experience made me a better photographer and I was helped with much assistance From two very talented instructors Marc Muench and Michael Strickland
— Debi Bradway, Colorado River Expedition '18

Itinerary and General Information

September 15, 2021: Meet in Xining China for dinner and orientation. Xining is at 2,300 meters (7,500 feet) in elevation, so we can prepare for our flight into Tibet the following morning. Our hotel is adjacent to the airport, providing easy access.

September 16, 2021: Fly to Lhasa, check-in to the hotel and begin acclimating at the elevation of 3,600 meters (12,000 feet).

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September 17–19, 2021: Each day, we will walk over 15,000 steps in and around Lhasa to acclimate to the altitude and walking. We’ll get the chance to visit Barkhor Square for sunrise, immerse ourselves in local Tibetan culture, including visits to the Potala Palace, and Jokhang Temple. We’ll plan on meeting a local family and watching the Monks debate. We’ll arrange longer hikes in the surrounding mountains.

September 20, 2021: We’ll leave Lhasa and drive to Shigatse and see very high peaks for the first time. We’ll view one of the four most sacred lakes, Lake Yamdrok Tso. Shigatse is the second-largest city in Tibet and another cultural feast, including amazing architecture and more culture. Shigatse is at 3,900 meters (12,800 feet) in elevation. 

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September 21, 2021: We'll take a scenic drive from Shigatse through Qudang, and onto our start location for our trek where we’ll spend our first night camping at 14,000 feet.

September 22–23, 2021: Camp 1 The trek begins with our first camp at around 4,650 meters (15,300 feet). We’ll ascend 750 meters (2,460 feet) over 6 hours, approximately 6.3 miles. We’ll be getting our first view of an 8,000 meter (26,000 feet) peak, Makalu. Trekking and camping in one fo the most beautiful places in the world, the Kharta Valley. This is a high alpine region with spring flowers, rivers, and glacial lakes. All this with the world’s tallest mountains as a backdrop. We’ll then have an entire day to rest, photograph, and enjoy the location before moving again.

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September 24, 2021: Camp 2 We will ascend 250 meters (820 feet), and descend 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) over 8 hours, approximately 7.5 miles. Rhododendron and azalea flowers will be abundant in front of the 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) high snow-capped mountains. 

September 25, 2021: Camp 3 We will ascend 650 meters (2,132 feet) over 6 hours, approximately 5 miles. With good weather, Mt. Everest and a vista of surrounding Himalayan mountains will be in view. We’ll have incredible views of Everest over the top of the Kangshung Glacier. We’ll also have a great view of the large North East face of Chomolonzo.

September 26–27, 2021: Camp 4 We’ll descend a little off the ridge before a hike up the side of the Kangshung Glacier for several miles to a new camp with even closer views of Everest. Here wildflowers provide an excellent foreground for Mt. Everest. The trekking will be much shorter on this day, and we’ll spend another full day resting and enjoying our views of the East face of Everest. 

September 28, 2021: Camp 5 We retrace our steps a bit, and trek back to Camp 3, ascending back up 1000 meters (3,280 feet). 

September 29–October 1, 2021: Camp 6 We will ascend 450 meters (1,476 feet) over 6 hours, approximately 7.5 miles, with amazing views of glacial lakes and panoramic views of Mt. Everest range in the distance. We’ve planned on spending three nights here in this camp where alpine ponds offer reflections of the best views of the high peaks.

October 2, 2021: Trek back to Qudang, ascending 400 meters (1,312 feet) and descending 1100 meters (3,608 feet) in 10 hours, approximately 10 miles. We’ll be back in a hotel!

October 3, 2021: Eight-hour drive to Shigatse, filled with fantastic scenery and Wi-Fi throughout. Enjoy the time off our feet! 

October 4, 2021: Flights back to Beijing and home.

What’s Included

  • Single occupancy is included on this trek, hotel + tents

  • All meals during the workshop

  • Transportation during the workshop

  • Fully outfitted, guided camping

  • Internal flights (Xining to Lhasa, Shigatse to Xi'an, and Xi'an to Beijing

  • Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros

  • All tips and gratuities

  • Fun, inspiration and a great time!

Whats Not Included?

Transportation to Xining, China and from Beijing, China to home. Passport and visa fees. Medical Evacuation Insurance (required). 
Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended). Personal sleeping bag and air mattress. Items of a personal nature. Alcoholic beverages. Anything not specifically listed as included.

Payment Terms

Your deposit of $5,495 will hold your place in this workshop. Further deposit of $6,500 is due by February 1, 2021. The balance of $4,000 will be due not later than June 1, 2021. All payments are non-refundable which is why you should have Trip Cancellation Insurance. All of our other normal Terms and Conditions apply.

Additional Information

Logistics: We'll use Yaks and sherpas to carry all the gear, but you will want to carry a minimum of 5 pounds of personal items including snacks for the day and valuable documents along with any medications. 

Physical: You do not need to have high altitude or trekking experience to join this trekking workshop, so long as we have determined that your health is sufficient. The quality of this experience is based on your fitness level and the better you feel after hiking 8 hours at altitude the more you'll enjoy yourself. You will be interviewed by us to determine if you are able to successfully participate in this trekking workshop.

Unexpected Circumstances: Tibetan permits are officially granted 5–10 days prior to entering Lhasa. If political events prevent us from our original itinerary, we will work hard to offer the best possible alternative photography locations to create a unique experience.  

This is a great opportunity to experience Tibet and photograph the tallest mountains in the world, including Mt. Everest.