Upper Mustang Trek Difficulty
Upper Mustang is also known as the “The Last Forbidden Kingdom”. The Upper Mustang Trek is the most iconic adventure in the world. It is the hidden kingdom of the ancient Buddhist Kingdom. Hardly very few trekkers undertake this adventure. It is not easily accessible. The Upper Mustang Trek is a difficult journey in terms of many aspects. However, the trek is absolutely doable if you are physically fit and mentally prepared.
The Upper Mustang Trek takes one to the remote Trans-Himalayan Region of this semi-independent Tibetan Kingdom. This trek takes one through the semi-arid desert with colorful rock formations, deep ravines, and snow-capped peaks surrounding the valley. The history, culture, myth, and legend blend perfectly with the stunning scenery.
Table of Contents
- 1 Upper Mustang
- 2 Highlights of Upper Mustang Trek
- 3 Upper Mustang Trek Difficulty
- 3.1 Altitude and Mountain Sickness
- 3.2 Upper Mustang Weather Difficulty
- 3.3 Upper Mustang Weather in March, April, and May
- 3.4 Upper Mustang Weather in June, July, and August
- 3.5 Upper Mustang Weather in September, October, and November
- 3.6 Upper Mustang Weather in December, January, and February
- 4 Trekking Trails to Upper Mustang
- 5 Conclusion
Mustang itself refers to the arid Tibet-like region at the northern end of the Kali Gandaki. The valley is traditionally the home of the people known as Lo. Mustang has a long, rich, and complex history that makes it one of the most interesting places in Nepal. The early history of Lo is shrouded in legend, myth, and mystery, but there are records of events in Lo as early as the 8th century. It is quite likely that the Tibetan poet Milarepa, who lived from 1040 to 1123, visited Lo.
Upper Mustang is similar to the Tibetan plateau with its endless expanses of yellow and grey rolling hills eroded by wind. There is more rain in the lower part of the upper Mustang and the hills tend to be great red fluted cliffs of tiny round stones cemented together by mud. Villages are several hours apart and appear in the distance almost as mirages; during the summer season, after the crops are planted, they are a green oasis in the desert-like landscape.
Upper Mustang is the Restricted Region in Nepal. Upper Mustang Trek is a moderately difficult trek in the Himalayas of the Annapurna range. Although it is quite far and isolated, trekking trails of this region are not extremely difficult. It has smooth and paved trails also. Even though it is an easy path, the difficulty factors of Upper Mustang Trek still linger as it is also a high altitude area. Therefore, in this blog, we are highlighting what are the concerning difficulties of the Upper Mustang Trek.
Highlights of Upper Mustang Trek
- Muktinath Temple and other pilgrimages nearby
- Marpha village and Nyingma monastery
- Walking the marvelous stone-lined towns, passing multi-colored Chortens
- Exploring the deepest Kaligandaki gorge, sitting at 2,520 meters
- Lo Manthang which largely reflects Tibetan culture and
- A pristine view of Mt. Annapurna, Nilgiri, Thorung Peak, and Chulu West
Upper Mustang Trek Difficulty
Altitude and Mountain Sickness
Altitude is the main factor that determines the difficulty of any trekking or mountaineering activity. The more you ascend, the less will be the level of oxygen in the air. Due to which your body cannot adjust to the surrounding atmosphere. You will have problems in breathing, feel nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. Such medical condition due to the low level of oxygen in the body is call altitude sickness.
The maximum height you will come across during Upper Mustang Trek is Lo Manthang, located at an altitude of 3850 m above sea level. The trek takes you to one of the greatest heights. However, it is a completely achievable altitude. However, almost every trekking destination is more or less prone to altitude sickness. Upper Mustang is a high-altitude area that is definitely not out of this danger.
The Altitude Sickness also referred to as Acute Mountain Sickness may be mild to dangerous depending upon the situation of people and how they approached the trail. Therefore, while doing any treks in the Himalayas, one should make sure to approach the trek avoiding any chances of getting mountain sickness. If you follow some safety measures, you will be able to reduce the chances of altitude sickness. Below are some measures to reduce the chances of Altitude Sickness on your Upper Mustang Trek.
Measures to Reduce the Chances of Altitude Sickness
- Drink up to 4-5 liters of fresh drinking water
- Do not rush while trekking
- Follow the itinerary and the hours allocated for that day
- Avoid eating any foods that may disturb your digestive system
- Drink plenty of soups
- Do not drink alcohol during trekking days
- Must listen to your trek leader
- Don’t forget to bring Diamox or medicines to tame down the symptoms of mountain sickness with the consultation of the doctor
- Take frequents breaks in between the journey
Upper Mustang Weather Difficulty
Mustang is a semi-arid region. This Trans Himalayan region is located in the rain shadow area. Hence, it remains dry most of the year as it receives low precipitation. It has extremely windy days during April and May. However, days in Mustang will normally be a little windy almost throughout the year.
The high mountain region like Upper Mustang has windy days that will challenge the people to move forward in their journey. Some people even enjoy the hard blow of the wind. However, some trekkers take the recurring wind as an obstacle to their smooth journey. The wind also makes the locale a little cold. We advise you to wear at least 2 or 3 layers of clothes to avoid the crispy wind.
Like other mainstream trekking of Nepal, Upper Mustang Region also experiences all four seasons. Yet spring and autumn are the best seasons for Upper Mustang Trek. If we are a little conscious about the planning, we can go for this trek all year round. In this section of the blog, we are giving you a glimpse of all four seasons in the Upper Mustang Region.
Upper Mustang Weather in March, April, and May
March, April, and May in Nepal are the spring season. During these months, the environment looks invigorating because it is greener than ever. The days in this season are warm with a clear blue sky. Neither it is too hot, not cold. Even the evenings and nights are mild. But up in the Himalayas like in the Upper Mustang Region, days are generally windy.
Spring season is one of the best times to visit the Upper Mustang. The average temperature around this season ranges from 16˚C to 22 ˚C in the day and -6˚C to -2˚C during the nighttime. Because of the clear days, you will be able to enjoy the best mountain vistas. The pleasant weather of spring provides you a unique opportunity to encounter the great landscape and untouched Tibetan culture. Since it is a peak season for trekking in Nepal, the number of trekkers will be a little high.
Upper Mustang Weather in June, July, and August
June, July, and August constitute the summer season in Nepal. Since Nepal is located in the sub-tropical climatic zone, this season is monsoon in Nepal. Nepal receives plenty of rainfall during this season. However, Mustang lies on the leeward side and it rarely experiences rain even in summer. This makes the Mustang one of the best places for trekking in Nepal even during monsoon. And the weather remains hot during the day and chilly at night. The warm temperature of summer offers a lifetime experience. Trekkers can observe the vegetation of Himalaya’s rain shadow area.
The average temperature during this season ranges from 13˚C to 20˚C during the day and drops to -3˚C to 0˚C at night time. Overall, it is one of the favorable times to trek in the upper mustang. Generally, other trekking destinations of Nepal are not that much on trend in the summer season. But the treks of the Annapurna region are suitable even for summer.
Upper Mustang Weather in September, October, and November
September, October, and November are autumn months in Nepal and it is one of the best times to trek in Nepal. This is also a peak trekking season in Nepal. The weather around this time is splendid and trekkers will get to see clear blue skies and the crystal clear picture of the Trans Himalayas and Annapurna range along with Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, and Nilgiri.
The average temperature around this time in Upper Mustang stays around 12˚C to 20˚C and during the day and at night it drops to -8˚C to -4˚C. As it is one of the most convenient weather to do trekking in Nepal, it receives heavy traffic amongst other seasons.
Upper Mustang Weather in December, January, and February
December, January, and February are winter here in Nepal and Upper Mustang during this time remains mostly inactive. As the weather gets biting cold, people of the upper region also descend to lower regions where the weather is at least bearable. Hence, the cold temperature will be testing making it nearly impossible to trek in the upper region.
Therefore, trekking in Upper Mustang during winter is not recommended. Nevertheless, if it is the only time you are available to do this trek, you may head for trekking up to the lower Mustang. The temperature ranges around 0˚C – 5˚C during day time and drops to -25˚C to -20˚C during night time. The temperature during the daytime is bearable, however; nighttime will be very difficult to pass.
Trekking Trails to Upper Mustang
Unlike the trekking trails of the rest of the other trekking destinations of Nepal, the trekking trails of the Upper Mustang are wide and not that rugged or rough. However, some segments of the path are difficult because it is narrow and requires walking or driving past the paths constructed on the edges of the cliffs. The path over the Kali Gandaki gorge is one of the difficult and frustrating paths on the whole journey. It is small, narrow and if you make the mistake of looking down, it will only make you dizzy. Because you will find yourself walking on the track that directly drops to the deepest end of the gorge.
The depth of the gorge is still unknown. The trekking route to Upper Mustang follows a motor route, but a classic trekking route is taken while trekking. Over the years, ever since trekking in this region is allowed, the trek route keeps forever changing. The roads are being made and trekkers fear that it will not be much before the development will steal its beauty. As much as it is nice for development to take place in this region, many are in terror that it may lose its authenticity.
Physical Fitness and Training for Upper Mustang Trek
The upper mustang trek is doable by both novice trekkers as well as experienced trekkers. However, it is very important to be healthy and physically fit to do this trek. Similarly, doing early physical exercises and training that increase your cardiovascular capacity is highly recommended. Trekkers looking to trek in Upper Mustang should do exercises like swimming, hiking, running, brisk walking, and jogging. And similarly, make sure to walk for 5 km in just 30 minutes before the date you start your hiking to Upper Mustang. Overall, Upper Mustang is not a difficult trek. So anyone can explore the magnificence of this place.
Preparation for Upper Mustang Trek
- Cardiovascular Exercises
- Mental Exercises
- Stress Endurance Training
- Small hiking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc.
- Walk 5 to 6 Km on the daily basis.
- Yoga and medication
Upper Mustang is the must to experience trekking destination in Nepal. This restricted trekking destination gives you the exotic experience of remoteness, incomparable natural beauty, unique hospitality, and hidden treasures of the Buddhist world.
Upper Mustang is a little bit difficult in comparison to Lower Mustang. Only the adventure junkies dare to go for this venture. This trek is so pristine, so unique, and so beautiful. This trek really gives you the solace of real adventure trekking.
If you are an adventure lover, have moderate physical features, can withstand severe cold or wind, this trek is for you. You can go for it without any hesitation.
So if you are interested in this trek then here is the detailed itinerary of the trek.