Kingdom of Bhutan
The Chomolhari route [see map] is a sixteen day trek up into the high country of the Himalayas. The route often parallels Bhutan’s border with Tibet, and ranges in altitude from 7,500 to 16,076 feet. It passes under the highest unclimbed peaks in the world with several mountains higher than 20,000 feet clearly visible. It also passes through remote towns and villages that can only be reached by several days of hiking. The locals still live very traditional lives without electricity or plumbing and depend on subsistence farming and animal herding for their living.
partly because Bhutan has a much smaller population,
but it is also because the government has made a great
effort to protect the environment. We were told that you
have to get permission to chop down a tree.
the mountains of Bhutan. They are good at staying hidden and we never
saw one. We did see a freshly killed sheep which our guide thought may
have been the result on an encounter by a leopard.
Our tents pitched below Bhutan’s highest peak, the 23,997 ft. Jhomolhari (Chomolhari). Bhutan briefly opened up this peak to climbers, but the local population was upset as they believe that the peak is the home of gods and should not be trespassed upon. One year when they had a bad harvest, the farmers complained that it was because the gods were upset. Under pressure, the government agreed to place the mountain off limits to climbers. Many of the Bhutan’s highest mountains have never been climbed for this reason.
invading Tibetans. We passed by this abandoned one.