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Mar 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Everest's seldom-scene cousin: Tibet's Kawa Karpo

Already been to Everest Base Camp? Next time, head to Muztagh Ata, a raggedy 24,754-foot summit in the Karakoram Range in China's Xinjiang province. The five-day trek (instead of yaks, you've got camels!) starts at 12,369 feet, climbing through grasslands and river valleys to Camp One at 17,388 feet—where not one but ten glaciers converge in a vast expanse of ice and snow. Outfitter: Wild China, 011-86-10-6403-9737, www.wildchina.com. When to go: September- October. Price: $2,710. Difficulty: strenuous. PILGRIMAGE TO KAWA KARPO [TIBET]
Mount Kailash gets all the press—and all the Western trekkers. But this May, another sacred Buddhist route, the annual pilgrimage to Kawa Karpo, a 22,245-foot fang of snow and ice, will open to Western visitors. The 18-day camping trek climbs out of semitropical rainforest and Tibetan villages before circling the peak's base. Snow leopards live here, too, but if you don't catch a glimpse, at least you'll leave with a lifetime's supply of good karma. OUTFITTER: High Asia Exploratory Mountain Travel Company, 203-248-3003, www.highasia.com. WHEN TO GO: May, July, October. PRICE: $3,800-$5,000. DIFFICULTY: moderate.

Now that they've limited tourist permits on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, we're left wondering, What else is there? How about a 17-day camping trek to Peru's lost city of Victoria, a 600-year-old ruins discovered in 1999 and encircled by 19,000-foot peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba. You'll log some 40 miles over ancient Incan walkways along the Tincochaca River, and then climb 15,000-foot Choquetecarpo Pass. Once at Victoria, you'll have the excavated homes and ceremonial sites all to yourself. OUTFITTER: Wilderness Travel, 800-368-2794, www.wildernesstravel.com. WHEN TO GO: May-June. PRICE: $3,895. DIFFICULTY: strenuous.

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