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 Jomsom to Kagbeni        Kagbeni to Jharkot        Mukhtinath       Tukuche

Not having time enough to hike the entire Annapurna circuit, I flew up from Pokhara to Jomsom.

Weather permitting, planes can land and take off here during about two hours of early morning calm. The rest of the day the valley is too foggy or too turbulent.

When the Karmapa came down from Tibet months later, he may have flown out from here on his way to Dharamsala, India.


Bishnu Prasad Subedi, my guide/porter, waiting for tea in a restaurant at the northern end of Jomsom.

I met Bishnu in Pokhara, while renting a sleeping bag in a mountaineering shop. I had planned to look for a guide only after flying up to Jomsom. The shopkeeper recommended instead that I fly his "cousin-brother" Bishnu up with me (Nepalis fly half-price on the several small local airlines.)

Hiring him was the best decision I made.

On the roof of the Red House Lodge in Kagbeni, a lovely, ancient trading town on the edge of the Tibetan plateau.

To the south is Nilgiri (m7061).

Photo: Bishnu Subedi.


Karma, young assistant hostess at the Red House Lodge.

Formerly a monastery, the Red House is owned and run by a warm Thakali extended family. This common room, where meals are served, is lined with centuries-old Buddhist murals.

The Thakalis speak a language related to but distinct from Tibetan, and are known for their entrepreneurial skills as traders and hoteliers.

A Thakali woman cleaning beans with a basket in the interior courtyard of the Red House Lodge, Kagbeni, Nepal.

Looking south from Kagbeni toward Nilgiri. Which way does the Kali Gandaki, the river in the middleground, flow?

In most parts of the world, looking toward such a tall mountain, you could safely assume that the river flowed toward you. But one of the great peculiarities of the Himalayas, stemming from its geologic youthfulness, is that all its great rivers flow directly through it, down from the high Tibetan plain.

"Here the Comfortable Camping & Best for Kitchen."

Exterior of a new lodge in Kagbeni, with recently slaughtered goat.

Young child peering out from a window in Kagbeni. In many houses kitchen fires vent through a hole in a side wall.

Candle in my room of the Red House Lodge, Kagbeni.

Some years ago a project to electrify Kagbeni through wind power failed. Though a hydroelectric plant further down the Kali Gandaki powers many neighboring communities, as of 1999 Kagbeni was still off the grid.

Jomsom to Kagbeni       Kagbeni to Jharkot        Mukhtinath       Tukuche

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