Best Himalayan Trip

Trekking the Tsum Valley

Mar 13, 2012
Outside Magazine

Most trekkers don’t stray far from Nepal’s obvious routes, like the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp, which might explain why the Tsum Valley, a remote north-central region nine hours by bus from Kathmandu that opened in 2008, sees fewer than 500 travelers annually. That could change quickly as word trickles out about a region where women spin wool by hand, men in Tibetan hats ride jangling horses on centuries-old paths, and many households still brew homemade raksi, a local moonshine. You need a permit to trek on your own here, and local guides and porters can be found at Or go with Mountain Madness’s new 27-day trip and trek with a local lama through valleys dotted with monasteries and surrounded by 18,000-foot peaks (Nov. 6–Dec. 2; $4,900). One World Trekking’s Tsum Valley Research Trek is another good option, a 21-day trip that passes hot springs, peaks, waterfalls, and hamlets (Oct. 7–27; from $2,495).

Mountain-Bike the Himalayas
This year, World Expeditions introduces a novelty: a 25-day Himalayan mountain-bike expedition between Lhasa, Tibet, and Kathmandu (May 6–30; $4,890). Riders cover as much as 56 miles per day on remote four-wheel-drive roads and singletrack under the shadows of the tallest peaks on earth, including a three-day side trip to Tibet’s Everest Base Camp to see the North Face of the famed mountain. Camp and stay in guesthouses in tiny, seldom-visited Buddhist villages, ascend three passes over 16,000 feet, and top it off with a screaming 11,000-foot descent from the Tibetan Plateau to Kathmandu.