Into the former Kingdom of Upper Mustang
2014-10-31, Kagbeni (2846m)

While there’s little new snow on the ridges, we observe fast moving high altitude clouds and strong winds in the summit regions.
This definitely confirms our decision to not force an ascent into the Hidden Valley as being a good call.

Instead, our partner in Kathmandu managed to organise an expensive 10-day Upper Mustang permit, which should arrive with a sherpa friend we travelled with last year. He will acompany us for the next few days.

Upper Mustang is one of the most fascinating regions in the Himalayas. It’s as dry as a desert and has deep canyons which are surrounded by snowy 6000m peaks. In the south it is locked by the Himalaya Main ridge, consisting of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massivs (both 8000m peaks). This is why the area is safe from blizzards and we will not experience heavy snowfalls, despite the extreme cold. Untill the seventies it was an autonomus kingdom and no tourists were allowed. That was for two main reasons: Firstly because the side-valleys served as hiding places for the Khampas (tibetan rebellions) who fought the Chinese invasion trooops in their Tibetan homeland. And secondly because of the rich religious treasures that can be found in the many monastaries and hermitages around here.

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Nils and Hannes have alreday been to Upper Mustang in 2009 for a research and filming project. Five years ago most of the small villages and their people still seemed to be the way they’ve been for centuries. But even then the first small signs of change were becoming visible.
Today a road to Tibet is completed but not really in use. We’re keen to find out more about the developments in the region since our last visit.
As a trekking and exploration goal we hope to get to the hermitage of Lupri, lost deep in the canyons, far away from any village.