Dhaulagiri (massif) Himalaya range falls in the western region of Nepal, extending 120 km (70 mi) from the Kaligandaki River west to the Bheri. There are total of 14 high peaks located on the massif; Dhaulagiri (I, II, III,IV, V and VI), Churen Himal (Main, East and West) and others.
The Dhaulagiri base camp trek is one of the toughest and longest treks one can undertake in Nepal, including sightseeing and cultural immersion.
In literary sense, Dhaulagiri means White Mountain. Dhaulagiri I, the highest peak in the region, is ranked seventh among world’s 14 highest mountains.
Starting from Beni, you must cross uneven terrains of Kaski region of western Nepal. The trail leads of Italian Base Camp 3,660 m (12,005 ft), supposedly the base camp to the 1st Italian expedition. From here, you can trek directly to Dhaulagiri Base Camp, followed by the hardest pass in the region, French Col. Pass.
The trail descends to Ghandruk via Yak Kharka, and passing through Ghorepani, Tatopani and Poon Hill. back to Pokhara, hence ending the trek.
Dhaulagiri I (धौलागिरी) 8,167 m (26,788 ft), Alpine PD+, is the seventh highest peak in the world, and is one of the 14 Eight-thousanders. It was first climbed in May 1960 by a Swiss-Austrian expedition led by Max Eiselin. The successful ascent was made by Kurt Diemberger, P. Diener, E. Forrer, A. Schelbert, Nyima Dorje Sherpa and Nawang Dorje Sherpa.
It is usually climbed from the North East Ridge, whereas, it’s South face still remains unconquered.
The french expedition led by Maurice Herzog and including Lionel Terray, Lachenal, Gastron Rébuffat and Oudot, with almost 200 porters, managed to cross the dangerous French Pass and arrived at the South-East Ridge (one of the hardest route), however, they found it impossible to climb. They dropped the idea of climbing Dhaulagiri and climbed Annapurna I instead.
You can trek Dhaulagiri during Pre-monsoon (March-June) and Post-monsoon (September-November) seasons. Handful of trekkers attempt trekking the region during winter as well, however, a good weather, accessibility and accommodation isn’t guaranteed. Many trekkers choose post-monsoon season over any other because of good weather and the ease of access.
Day 01: Drive from Pokhara to Beni
Day 02: Trek to Babi Chaur, 5-6 hr walk
Day 03: Trek to Dharapani, 5-6 hr walk
Day 04: Trek to Muri, 5-6 hr walk
Day 05: Trek to Bagar, 5-6 hr walk
Day 06: Trek to Dobang, 5-6 hrs walk
Day 07: Trek to Italian Base Camp, 6-7 hr walk
Day 08: Acclimatization day (3,660 m/12,005 ft)
Day 09: Italian base camp to Dhaulagiri base camp (4,750 m/15,580 ft), 6-7 hr walk
Day 10: Trek to French Col (5,360 m/17,581 ft), 5-6 hr walk
Day 11: Acclimatization at camp (5,050 m/16564 ft)
Day 12: Trek to Dhampus Pass to Yak Kharka, 6-7 hr walk
Day 13: Trek to Tukuche, 5 hrs walk
Day 14: Trek to Ghasa, 4-5 hrs walk
Day 15: Trek to Tatopani (1,200 m/3937 ft), 4-5 hrs walk
Day 16: Relaxing day at hot spring
Day 17: Trek to Ghorepani, 6-7 hrs walk
Day 18: Pun hill hike and trek to Tadapani, 6-7 hrs walk
Day 19: Tadapani to Ghandruk, 3-4 hrs walk
Day 20: Ghandruk to Pokhara, 5 hrs walk & 1 hrs drive
Dhaulagiri Base Camp
Italian Base Camp seen during the morning
Poon Hill with Annapurna on the background
Dhaulagiri South Face
Tatopani en route to Dhaulagiri. Tourists are seen bathing in the hot pond.
∞Gears and Equipment∞
- Pair of hiking boots (well broken in) – One could spend over 5 to 6 hours a day on the trail, therefore, long-lasting boots are essential. The boots can range from light to medium, high or low. If one plans to trek during the months when it snows, the high boots become essential for proper hiking.
- Soft and light shoes (sneakers) – Carrying light-weight sneakers for ‘after the day hike’ serves comfort.
- Lightweight knapsack - It is useful for short trips away from one’s lodge, and will save you from carrying large backpack along. It should be large enough to fit a camera, spare clothes and a sleeping bag, if one plans to spend a night away.
- Lightweight sleeping bag - Essential during peak seasons (October-December). Lodges do offer blankets, but are scarce during the peak season, therefore carrying a sleeping bag (-10 C°) can be a great precaution.
- Fabric band-aids - Blisters are common due to rigorous walking. A good alternative to bandaids is duct tape. Works great for blisters and also proves invaluable in many other ways.
Costs & Permits
One must obtain a permit before entering Annapurna Conservation Area (ACAP). The cost is as follow;
- SAARC Nationals – Rs. 200 per person per entry (Approx. US $2 p.person)
- Non-SAARC Nationals – Rs. 2,000 per person per entry (Approx. US $20 p.person)