Chomolhari, Bhutan’s deeply venerated guardian peak, rises on the Tibet-Bhutan border near the major trade route from India into Tibet’s Phari Valley. In 1939, F. Spencer Chapman, the mountain’s ﬁrst climber, wrote, “Chomolhari gives a greater impression of sheer height and inaccessibility than any other mountain I know. . . . It is thought by many to be the most beautiful mountain in the whole length of the Himalaya.”
Unlike Chapman—who could only dream of visiting Bhutan, and approached the peak from the north—we’ll hike to Chomolhari and its dramatic companion, Jitchu Drake, through Bhutan’s little-visited villages, valleys, and forests, with good chances of seeing blue sheep, takin, and a huge variety of bird life.
The spring trek is a botanist’s fantasy: rhododendrons, azaleas, and masses of wildﬂowers carpet the high meadows, and pear and apple trees blossom in the valleys. In the fall, rice paddies ripen to a golden brown, and yak herders bring their charges down from high summer pastures.
Itinerary at a Glance
- Day 1: arrive in Paro
- Day 2: explore Paro
- Days 3–10: on trek to Chomolhari and Jitchu Drake Base Camps
- Day 11: drive to Thimphu
- Day 12: day excursion to Punakha to visit the massive dzong
- Day 13: return to Paro
- Day 14: depart Paro.