Published Date: February 08, 2015
A safe but exciting Chulu Peak climbing adventure is a great addition to the well-loved Annapurna Circuit Trek. This expedition follows the Annapurna Circuit Trek up the beautiful Marsyandi Valley to the far side of the Annapurna Massif, diverts to a nearby Chulu Peak, and returns the Annapurna Circuit Trek to climb the formidable, high altitude Thorung La pass and descend the Kali Gandaki gorge to Jomsom. A Chulu Peak Annapurna Circuit Expedition is a thrilling adventure where you explore the extremes of beautiful Himalayas and your own physical stamina.
The Chulu Massif towers above the Marsyangdi Valley to the north of Manang. Chlu Far East, 6059m, Chulu East, 6584m, and Chulu West, 6419m are three climbing peaks which provide an excellent range of difficulty, depending on your preference. A guided ascent of any of these peaks is an excellent introduction to high altitude climbing. The north side of the entire range is flanked by glaciers and the ascents to all three peaks involve traversing glaciers. Chulu East is the most challenging of the three, and Chulu Far East is the most straightforward. Our experienced climbing guides will provide practical training sessions to ensure your proficiency using climbing gear such as crampons, harness, ice axe and ropes, and techniques needed for your successful summit expedition.
To ensure your safe and successful attempt, our expert team has planned the itinerary to allow for acclimatization. Scheduled ‘rest days’ are used to climb up to a higher elevation, and then descend to the same place for a second night. These days are also useful to practice climbing techniques with our professional climbing guides.
Chulu East Peak, 6584m: Climbers with a degree of technical ability, will find Chulu East Peak a straightforward but challenging snow climbing experience. Fractured glacial terrain and steep scree slopes must be crossed to gain the high summit ridge.
The Annapurna Circuit trail diverts north along Julu River valley to the moraine where base camp is set up, 5300m. The traditional route to Chulu East follows the relatively wide northeast ridge. From high camp the rock and snow slopes to the summit from are often 40 and require walking roped together. The most technical part of the climb is a notch in the glacier climbing on to northeast shoulder of Chulu East below Chulu Far East. Chulu East is situated high above the Manang valley with breathtaking views across to the Annapurnas II, III and IV, Gangapurna, Glacier Dome, Dhaulagiri, Tilicho Peak and Manaslu.
This same base camp site is used to summit Chulu Far East. Since both Chulu East and Chulu Far East are climbed from the same base camp, and are covered by the same permit, it is actually possible to decide which peak to climb from base camp. Depending on your stamina you could chose Chulu East, a longer and higher climb or Chule Far East, a relatively easier ascent.
Chulu Far East Peak: This is the easiest of the three peaks, though by no means easy. A grueling climb to the summit can be reached from base camp, or a high camp can be used. There is a steep walk in snow up to the col at 5500m. Climbing Sherpas will fix ropes for the steeper sections. There is a small serac just below the summit ridge. The summit is fairly exposed. The summit view is similar to Chulu East Peak.
The typical Chulu Far East Peak expedition includes a short cut to Jomsom through Tilicho Lake and Mesokanto Pass. Tilicho Lake, 4919m, is the highest lake in the world. This stunning lake is the product of the glacier coming down from Tilicho Peak, 7132m, and dropping like a massive wall right into the lake.
Note: Although Chulu Far East may be the most straightforward of the three Chulu Peaks, the Tilicho Lake route is more challenging than the Thorung La route back to Jomsom. There are a number of steep scree slopes left from landslides as well as a longer and more difficult pass.
Chulu West, 6419m:
Chulu West is technically, slightly easier than Chulu East, but is a longer climb. The approach to Chulu West Peak diverges from the Annapurna Circuit trail on the way to Thorung La pass. Base Camp is established in a hidden valley. The route follows a North-West ridge on rugged terrain of rocks and rough frozen ice. We climb snow slopes to the base of a band of rock and set up a high camp, 5530m. We use fixed ropes to climb to a rock band on the northwest shoulder of Chulu West, where, depending on conditions, it may be necessary to set up a second high camp. The long gradual ascent to the summit of Chulu West requires fixed ropes as the ridge grows increasingly narrow. The panorama from the summit includes magnificent views of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna II, Annapurna IV, Nilgiri and Manaslu, Gangapurna and Lamjung Himal.
Choose any one of the Chulu Peaks to add a thrilling Himalayan summit experience to the Annapurna Circuit Trek. This trekking climbing expedition includes the deep subtropical valleys of the Marsyangdi River and the Kali Gandaki, a 6000+m peak and the barren Thorung La pass. The contrasts of elevation parallel the contrasts of landscape: there are terraced green paddy fields and rhododendron, oak and pine forests, barren hills, desert and spectacular Himalayas. The diverse cultures of different Nepalese castes and ethnicity also correlate strongly with the elevation. The similarities with Tibetan-Buddhist culture grow stronger as the altitude increases, while the lower regions are of mixed caste and ethnicity and predominately Hindu.
First of all, thank you again for everything you and your team did to made our trip to chulu west went well. Here is my review for our trip.
It was the end of 2012 when I first made contact ith Annapurnafoothills. At that time I asked many questions regarding the package trip to Chulu West and Ngima response from Annapurna foothills was very help full and gave us confidence. We love how Ngima explain everything including the tiniest matter for the trip.
During our trip from Kathmandu until Pokhara (including trekking and climbing) was a blast. Citra (trekking guide), Gelu (climbing guide), Dorjee, Mongol and Kancha (porters) working together efficiently and very friendly. Not to mention they all answers to many of our questions during the trip.
We hope on our next trip to Nepal, we can meet and do the expedition together again.
You have a great and friendly team Ngima.
Best Regards from Indonesia
Suzanna Zas and Koesharjanto
Our trip: Chulu West, September-October 2013
Sulawesi 39 Pontada Soroako 92984
Sulawesi Selatan Indonesia
I did the above mentioned trip in December 2016. The trip was perfectly planned and everything went smoothly. The itinerary allowed for perfect acclimatisation, especially having two nights at Island Peak Base Camp. Tashi, the trekking guide for the trip picked me up at the airport and helped me through…Lukas
A friend and I worked with Annapurna Foothills Treks to be guided trekking on the Annapurna circuit from Besi Sahr over the Thorong La pass to Jomsom, with a guided climb of Chulu West on the way. Our trekking guide Dawa was outstanding all the way to Pisang, and provided…Craig
Our 14 day Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp trek, guided by Tashi was an outstanding experience. We enjoyed his local knowledge while making the trip a joy. From the trip's booking to departure from Nepal, all aspects of the trip were carefully organized and well executed-something we appreciated very…Kathy