Climbing the Chulu West at 6419m through the North-East Ridge is considered the usual route to climb this peak from a Base Camp on at an elevation of 5334m (17500ft). The trail meanders from the main path to Thorung La past the village of Manang with base camp situated in a small valley just by the north of the peak. Doing the Chulu West via the well known Annapurna circuit is something first time climbers will cherish for a long time to come. Summiting Chulu West offers you majestic views of the sprawling Himalayas & your eyes even cross the borders into neighboring Tibet. Most climbers make it to the top and back from Base Camp in one long day although some have, in the past, established a higher camp somewhere below the peak. Another ancillary peak called Chulu Far East (6059m) may also be attempted from this approach.
Chulu West was first identified & ascended in 1952 by a Japanese Expedition. The Base Camp of this peak is situated in a small valley north of Manang, off the main trail to the Thorung La. This trip sets out from Beshi Sahar, the district headquarters of Lamjung a neighboring district of Gorkha. From Beshi Sahar the trail leads up slowly towards Manang valley, one of the highest valleys of the world situated at an altitude of 5000m. One-day rest will be set to explore the Manang Valley and for acclimatization. From Manang valley the route heads north to the Chulu West Base camp. Three days are set aside for the ascent of this peak and you head to Thorung-La and follow the same route coming back to Katmandu as in the "Around Annapurna Trek". This is adventure is pretty tough & taxes your stamina if you haven’t done it before.
Day 1You drive along the Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway to Dumre and then follow the narrow and paved road by the Marsyangdi River to Besi Sahar (823m.). It takes almost 06 hours. Beshishahar is the district headquarters of Lamjung district. All the local government offices are situated here. From here, you can see some of the mountain peaks, natural sceneries surrounding the valley and the daily activities of local people. This headquarters is the center from where the daily usable commodities are supplied to the different villages and numerous towns.
Day 2Trek from Beshishahar to Bahundanda (1305m.) and it takes about 06 hours. The first part of the trail passes on a flat level along the bank of the Marshyangdi River. You can enjoy the sceneries and the local culture of the Gurung community. After lunch, the trail goes steeply upwards to Bahundanda which takes about 2 hours. At this point, you can see the area surrounded by eye-catching scenarios with snow capped mountains.
Day 3Trek from Bahundanda to Chamje (1410m.) which takes about 06 hours. A steep trail descends for early half an hour and then follows flat path through rice terraces, before crossing a stream at the bottom of a small waterfall. It then climbs again and traverses the hillside high above the river before reaching the village of Lali Gaon. Ahead, the Marsyangdi valley forms a steep V-shape, and you follow the winding mountain path down through Syange (1100m.) where there is a beautiful waterfall above and along the river for some distance. The trail then climbs steeply and the path is cut into the sheer cliff-face some 200-300m above the riverbed. Eventually, you descend to the stone village of Jagat (1330m.) situated on a shelf which juts into the precipitous Marsyangdi valley. Now the trail begins to observe small ups and downs to Chamje through the forests.
Day 4Trek from Chamje (1410m.) to Dharapani (1960m.) and it takes about 06 hours. The first part of the trail descends to the river and after crossing a suspension bridge, you begin a climb to Sattale (1550m.) on a path so steep that it seems one slip would send you hurtling down into the valley. You continue on an undulating path above the river, and at one point, where a tributary flows in from the opposite bank, the main river becomes covered with huge boulders that hide the water. Climbing the zigzagged path to the top of the hill, you see the level plain of Tal (1700m.) before us. Though it is enclosed by cliffs, the level area looks reassuring after the harrowing mountain paths just traveled on. You descend to a grassy riverbank which leads to Tal with its hotels and teahouses. Beyond Tal, the valley narrows and the path becomes high and winding, and in several areas hewn from the rock itself. Beyond the small village of Karte (1900m.), there is a bit more cliff-walking before the path drops again to the river. You cross a suspension bridge, and climb the short distance to the stone kani marking the entrance to Dharapani (1960m.), and our camp for the night.
Day 5Trek from Dharapani to Chame (2675m.) which takes about 4-5 hours. As you cut through a narrow field from the village, the Dudh Khola, which originates from the south face of Manaslu, enters on the opposite bank. The Marsyangdi then veers to the left, and as Annapurna II becomes visible ahead, you arrive at Bagarchhap, a Bhote village with prayer flags fluttering in the breeze around a Buddhist monastery. Continuing to climb through forests of pine and oak, you pass through Danaque (2210m.). From here comes a small wooden bridge which takes you to follow a steep ascending path up to Timang. It lies at the bottom of Lamjung Himal. The trail goes through flat level until you reach Chame where there are government offices, shops, and hotels. Chame is the administrative headquarters for the Manang district.
Day 6Trek from Chame to Pisang (3100m.) which takes about 05 hours. With Lamjung Himal (6893m) sparkling in the morning sun, you set off for Pisang. The mountain disappears as you climb the path up the valley, passing a huge apple orchard. You continue through a fir and pine forest, climbing to a high, rocky area as the opposite bank becomes an impassable cliff. From this point the valley becomes extremely steep-sided as you follow the path to Bhratang (2950m.).In the past this was the military station for troops who fought against the Khampa tribal revolution, but the dilapidated buildings are all that remain of that era. A short climb from the village brings you to a rock-strewn area where you cross a wooden bridge and follow a high, winding path, before crossing back to the right bank again. You now walk through a pine forest and as the forest ends, the valley changes from a V-shape to a gentle U-shape, opening up a wonderful vista before you. You can see the east peak of Annapurna II as well as Pisang Peak (6091m.) to the north-east. Continuing on, you come to a long Mani wall by a bridge and the lower village of Pisang.
Day 7Trek from Pisang to Manang (3440m.) and it takes about 5-6 hours. Beyond Pisang, the trail climbs a steep ridge which affords good views of the Manang valley and Tilicho peak (7145m.). Descending past Manang's airstrip at Hongde (3320m.), you come to a level area from where the north-east face of Annapurna III rises majestically above you. From the wide plains of the Sabje Khola Valley, Annapurna IV (7525m) also becomes visible. Just beyond this point you cross the considerably reduced flow of the Marsyangdi Khola via a wooden bridge to the tiny village of Mungji. Cultivated fields appear on both sides of the path and off to the right, below a craggy mountain, you can see the village of Bryaga with its splendid monastery. Large chortens and mani walls abound and the tall peaks of the Himalaya spread out before you - Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna (7455m) and, to the rear, Tilicho Peak [7145m].After a short steep climb you reach Manang which is a surprisingly large village for this remote mountain region. You camp here for the night, amidst the fluttering prayer flags which adorn the houses.
Day 8Rest day at Manang and hang in and around town. This is an important rest and acclimatization day today before crossing the Thorung La. There are optional day walks such as crossing the river to see the tremendous icefall coming down from the Annapurnas, or climbing high above the village for a full panorama of the Annapurna range and the Manang Valley. There is also a Himalayan Rescue Association [HRA] aid post in the village which makes an interesting and educational visit. Moreover you can visit Ganagapurna Glacier Lake to make your rest day a memorable one.
Day 9Trek from Manang to Yak Kharka (4350m.) and it takes about 3-4 hours. Now the trail ascends gently all the way to Yak Kharka passing through the Gunsang (3960m.) village. En route, you can see panoramic views throughout the day.
Day 10Trek from Chulu West Base Camp to Chulu West High Camp and it takes about 03 hours. The path is steeply up all the way. En route you can enjoy the panoramic views of Annapurna range and Chhulu West.
Day 11 Climb Camp I (5400m).
Day 12 Climb Chulu West (6420m.) and return back to Chulu West High Camp
Day 13Trek from Chulu West High Camp to Chulu Letdar (4200m.) which takes about 04 hours. You descend all the way to Chulu Letdar. Again you are greeted with beautiful views of the Annapurna range and Chulu West.
Day 14Trek from Chulu Letdar to Thorong High Camp (4800m.) and it takes about 05 hours. Until Thorong Base camp the path is rocky and you trek on a gradually ascending path. Afterwards, the path is steeply up to Thorong High Camp.
Day 15Trek from Thorong High Camp to Muktinath (3850m.) via Thorong La (5416m.) Pass and it takes about 08 hours. You start early today for your crossing of Thorong La [5416m]. The trail becomes steep immediately on leaving camp but as this trail has been used by local people for hundreds of years the path is well defined. The gradients finally ease and after around 4 hours of steady climbing you reach the chorten and prayer flags of the pass. The views are dramatic to say the least, from the snow-covered mountains above, to the head of the Kali Gandaki valley below and the brown and purple hills of Mustang which are spread out before you. The descent to Muktinath is a knee pounding 1600m but it's compensated for with excellent views of Dhaulagiri. Eventually the moraines give way to grassy slopes before a pleasant walk along the Jhong Khola Valley to Muktinath and its shrines and temple.
Day 16Trek from Muktinath to Kagbeni (2895 m.) and it takes about 3-4 hours. You now begin the trek descending down the dramatic Kali Gandaki Gorge, initially through arid country, in the same geographical and climatic zone as Tibet. After passing through Jharkot and Khingar villages with typical Tibetan architecture, you follow the path steeply down to Kagbeni, a primitive village famous for Tibetan architectures. People living there follow the Tibetan life style and culture. Here is a monastery said to belong to the 15th Century. Kagbeni is the border for Upper Mustang.
Day 17Trek from Kagbeni to Marpha (2650m.) and it takes about 5-6 hours. You now begin the flat path along the bank of dramatic Kali Gandaki Gorge, initially through arid country, up to Marpha. Marpha is a big village enriched with a Buddhist Monastery in the center of the village which has its own cultural importance. It is also rich in cultivating apples. The apple brandy available there is famous among the local people and travelers.
Day 18Trek from Marpha to Kalopani (2530m.) which takes about 06 hours. Your trail stretches at almost a flat level through forests to Kalopani, a Thakali village and the southern-most limit of Tibetan Buddhism. En route, you find Larjung which is situated near Dhaulagiri Glacier. The first part of the trek passes through the windy area covered with pine forests, rhododendron forests and birches. At Kalopani, you are quite amazed at the panoramic view of Annapurna I (8091m.), Dhaulagiri I (8167m.) and Tukuche peak (6920m.).
Day 19Trek from Kalopani to Tatopani (1189 m.) which takes about 6-7 hours. The trail descends steeply to Rukse Chhahara (Rukse Waterfall) which is amazing to look at. Here is situated the deepest gorge of the world between two mountains Annapurna I (8091m.) and Dhaulagiri I (8167m.) which face each other near Rukse Waterfall. The trail again descends slightly to Tatopani through different human settlements. You can enjoy the hot spring at Tatopani, as the word Tatopati is termed after the natural hot spring situated at the bank of the Kali Gandaki River. It is popularly believed that taking bath in Hot Spring helps you to get rid of skin diseases. Along with this, it also gives you physical and mental refreshment.
Day 20A rest day at Tatopani to enjoy the natural hot spring bath. After several days trekking, it is a great idea to take bath at hot spring and relax.
Day 21Trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani (2853 m.) for about 07 hours. Your trail passes on flat land for some distance. Then the trail begins ascending steeply for at least one hour. Now the path goes up through different villages inhabited by the people of different castes and agricultural land. The majority of the people here serve in the Gorkha Regiment and Indian Regiment as well.While trekking, you cross through the Kali Gandaki River with panoramic view of Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna range. The trail ascends gently all the way to Ghorepani passing through small villages like Phalate, Chitre and so on. While trekking you pass through rhododendron forests and come across wild life such as monkeys and various species of birds. You are also accompanied by more panoramic views of different mountains. Ghorepani (Watering to Horse) is a small pass and the village of Deurali. Although there is time enough to continue, it is better to stay here overnight so that you can make the morning trip to Poon Hill (3180m.) for an outstanding panorama of Dhaulagiri I,II,III,Iv, Tukuche peak, Dhampus peak, Nilgiri ranges, Annapurna I, Bahra Sikhar (Twelve peaks or renowned as French Fang),Annapurna South, Himchuli, Fishtail and Mardi Himal. The view you can see from here is probably the best view in the world. Because of this, Poon Hill is often crowded by different visitors to enjoy the sunrise and sunset over the snow-capped mountain.
Day 22Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3180m.) to Hille (1475m.) which takes about 05 hours. Early morning trip to Poon Hill (3232m.) to enjoy the sunrise view over Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m.), Tukuche Peak (6920m.), Nilgiri (6940m.), Varaha Shikhar (7847m.), Mt. Annapurna I (8091m.), Annapurna South (7219m.), Annapurna III (7855m.), Machhapuchhre (6993m.), Annapurna IV (7525m.), Annapurna II (7937m.), Lamjung Himal (6931m.) and other numerous snowcapped mountain peaks. After breakfast, you again follow a gradual descending path through the forests of rhododendron and oak to Banthanti. It is a small village where you can pause for hot and cold drinks. Then the trail descends to Ulleri (1960m.), a big Gurung village from where you can enjoy views of Annapurna South, Machhapuchhre and Hiunchuli. From here, the trail to Tirkhedhunga steeply descends passing terraces and some villages. After a short walk of 15 minutes from Tirkhedhunga, you reach Hille. It is also a small Gurung village with surrounding green hills. Most of the inhabitants of this village are occupied in agriculture.
Day 23Trek from Hille to Nayapul (1050m.) via Birethanti and it takes almost 03 hours and drive from Nayapul to Pokhara which takes about 1-2 hours. This day’s trek gradually descends following Bhurung Khola (Bhurung Stream) all the way to Birethanti before you cross the Modi Khola over the suspension bridge. You are amazed to pass small villages, see the magnificent waterfalls and walk through the sparse forests.
Day 24Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu by tourist mini bus that takes about 07 hours. While driving from Pokhara to Kathmandu, you head up to Damauli, Dumre, Mugling and Kurintar where Nepal's first Cable car is operated to reach to Manakamana Temple. En route, you can enjoy the mountain views, green sceneries, rice terrace fields, vegetable fields and people being engaged in their daily life activities. From Naubishe you climb up to Thankot, the gateway to the capital city. Or you can also fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu which takes about 25 minutes.