source of the Tsangpo, Tibet

Outside Magazine on line selected a trek to remote Nepal and Tibet as the “2007 Trip of the Year” overall winner.

“The best of the best.”

The last time trekking guide Gary McCue set out to explore far-western Tibet, he happened upon an acre-size hot spring that tumbled from a mountainside near Lake Manasarovar. “I’d never seen a boiling creek just come crashing out of a hole in the ground,” he says. But it’s just the sort of surprise the Tasmania-based author of Trekking in Tibet: A Traveler’s Guide has come to expect from this part of the world.

Tourism may be booming—the controversial new Qinghai-Tibet Railway helped bump up visitation to Tibet by 30 percent last year—but much of this mysterious land of Buddhist temples and mist-shrouded peaks remains blissfully unexplored by outsiders.

This spring, McCue will return to the Himalayas on a quest to reach the source of the Tsangpo River, the mightiest of four rivers that flow from the sacred 22,028-foot peak of Kailas. The 42-day exploratory trek is the first commercial expedition to a pilgrimage site very few Westerners have seen since a Swedish explorer hiked nearby in the early 1900s.

After driving across the plains from Lhasa to Darchen, you’ll trek the perimeter of Kailas before camping in the Lha Chu Valley during the annual Saga Dawa full-moon festival. Then you’ll start the weeklong journey through a glacial valley to Tamchok Khabab, the river’s source.

The trip ends with a visit to the temple-strewn Limi Valley, a newly opened region of western Nepal. “It’s hard to find wilderness this wild and remote that doesn’t require Reinhold Messner-level skills to reach,” says McCue. “It’s the closest you can come to what the explorers experienced 150 years ago.”

OUTFITTER: Wilderness Travel, 800-368-2794, wildernesstravel.com; PRICE: $10,560–$13,160; DIFFICULTY: Challenging; WHEN TO GO: May–June

Best Trips 2007 | Outside Online

kailash_south_side.jpg
sacred Mt. Kailas – Wikipedia

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