Mardi Himal is considered to be an ideal introduction to mountaineering in the high Himalaya, particularly if you have limited time available. No previous experience of high altitudes is necessary, as every precaution will be taken to ensure gradual and thorough acclimatization during the trek to the mountain.
Although Mardi Himal is the shortest and probably the easiest of our expeditions to Nepal, to maximize both your enjoyment and your chances of success, you need. A major benefit of Mardi Himal is the ability to climb it in a round trip of a little over 2 weeks. It therefore makes a visit to the Himalaya a real possibility for those who hither to have not been able to find the time to join a longer expedition.
This peak is located in the east of the Modi Khola, across the valley from Hiunchuli. It is separated from Machhapuchhre ridge by a col. and usual route of ascent reaches this col (about 5,200m. /17,060 ft.) and reaches the summit via a route on its east flank. Although the mountain rises above the entrance to the Annapurna sanctuary it is not often visited. The trek reaches and then follows the Mardi Khola for 2 days before turning and climbing the ridge line for 3 more days before reaching base camp around 4,100 m. /13,451 ft.
The climb has problems with route finding and effort but little technical difficulty: the couloirs leading to the col on the East Face can present an avalanche danger with fresh snow. The climb begins by heading steeply towards the col on the connecting ridge between Mardi Himal and Machhapuchhre. High camp is usually placed just below the final steep (45 degrees) couloirs leading to the col (about 4,650 m. /15,256 ft.) From high camp, climb to the col and turn west, ascending steep snow slopes to the summit. Descend the same route.
Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel and welcome dinner in the evening with typical Nepalese food.
Sightseeing to the highlighted areas of capital city Kathmandu and prepare the official documents such as climbing permit.
Drive to Pokhra, 6/7 hour by bus O/N in Hotel.
Trek to Gyachok
We make an early start for the 6-hour drive to Pokhara, Nepal's second largest town some 198 km to the west. Stopping at the village of Hyenja, we then set off on foot, along the bank of the Mardi Khola which is soon crossed via a rope bridge. We then follow the Seti Kola, through farmed terraces to the village of Gyachok, where we camp for the night. Good views of Machhapuchhre and Mardi Himal.
Trek to Sano Khoban (1,600m).
After breakfast we walk through the village with its beautifully built houses and dry stonewalls, and friendly villagers. As we climb higher through the paddy field terraces, the much busier villages on the opposite side of the valley become visible. A good track contours along the hillside to Dhiprang and later we reach a super lunch spot by the river. We then pass two more villages, Mirsa and Kaduwa, which are the last settlements we will see until our return trek. The day finishes with a steep climb to the pastureland of Sano Khoban, where we camp.
Trek to Pipa (3,150m).
The trail continues steeply, now through forest. The only clearing in the forest is about 1 ½ hours from Sano Khoban, so we may well stop for an early lunch. Then it is a long up-hill struggle through dense forest until we reach 2,900m, where we break out into the open air. A very steep ridge then leads to the small lake at Pipa.
Yesterday was a long day and we ascended 1,500m, so today is a welcome rest day, to help us acclimatize to the altitude. There is a stream suitable for washing about 20 minutes from the campsite.
Trek to Thulo Kharka (4,120m).
We continue up the ridgeline, with fantastic views stretching from the Manaslu group in the east, across the Annapurna to Dhaulagiri in the far west. Eventually we arrive at the pleasant grazing area of Thulo Kharka.
Trek to Base Camp (4,100m).
This is a short day and the whole route to base camp is visible from Thulo Kharka. It takes about 2 hours to reach it, where it sits in the obvious valley, which descends between the south and southeast ridges of Mardi Himal.
Another important acclimatization day. It is best to rest during this period rather than try and do too much - there will be plenty of opportunity for exertion later!
Climb to High Camp (4,650m).
It takes about 2 hours to reach the high camp, our take-off point for the summit. First we climb straight up for 200m then traverse around the south-east ridge. A steady climb on rocks and perhaps some snow then leads to the camp site. This is in a good sheltered location but water is scarce and may involve melting snow. Make sure your water bottles are full at the beginning of the day!
Climb Mardi Himal (5,555m).
With 900m of ascent before us, we need to make a very early start to ensure success. The first part of the climb is the couloir leading to the East Col (5,400m), between Mardi Himal and Machhapuchare. The base of the couloir is at 4,950m, where we will most likely need to put on crampons. The couloir is a very long snow climb, not steep, but it is sustained and tiring, and it will take about 4 hours to reach the col. On the col it will probably be quite windy (unless we are very lucky), but it is only an hour or so to the top, up a pleasant snow ridge. Once on the summit, we can rest and enjoy being on a Nepalese summit in the midst of the Himalaya. After taking photos and perhaps having a bite to eat, we descend to the high camp and then continue to base camp for a good meal.
Trek to Korchon (3,680m).
We take a different route back to Pokhara which stays high up on ridges to allow us to enjoy the views for longer. From base camp we traverse the south ridge to reach a col at 4,280m. We then stay up on the ridge, following it with wonderful views, to Korchon where we camp.
Trek to Riban (1,780m).
The ridge line continues to Odane Hill. The descent is steep and awkward, being on tussock grass with hidden holes, so care is needed. However, the trail is marked and eventually the grass gives way to forest. Soon after we reach the col below Odane Hill, which is a good view point. Following the ridge line south, we emerge out of the forest above Riban. This is our last evening on trek so it is usual to sample the local brew and have a sing-song with the Sherpas - they are always happiest when the hard work is over!
Trek to Hyenja, drive to Pokhara.
The final part of the trek is a lovely walk through Riban and on to Lachock. We cross the Mardi Khola and Mardi Pul which is an excellent lunch spot. Then it's a short walk to Hyenja where we are met by our bus whisks us to the luxury of the Fish Tail Lodge, on of Nepal's most celebrated hotels. It's buildings sprawl across a small island in Pewa Tal, the picturesque lake beside Pokhara. From here we can look back towards Machhapuchare and Mardi Himal, while sitting on the terrace drinking beer!
Return flight to Kathmandu.
Today we fly back from Pokhara to Kathmandu and the Hotel, where we can celebrate the success of our expedition in fine style.
- Airport transfers - pick up and drop upon arrival and departure
- Accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara as per package on bed and breakfast basis.
- Trek permit and climbing permit/ garbage deposit
- Necessary transportation for trip
- Climber and fee/Insurance/climbing hardware
- Tented camp support full board basis for climbing
- Three times meal during the trekking (breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
- Guide, Cook, Kitchen staff, and necessary porters for climbing period.
- Airport transfers - pick up and drop upon arrival and departure
- Nepal entry visa and airport tax.
- All the bottled drinks and snacks.
- All the personal gear i.e. Trekking boot, climbing plastic boot, warm cloths, sleeping bag, raincoat, suns cream etc.
- Travel / medical insurance and emergency evacuation cost
- Expenses of personal nature
- Tips for members and climber