June 2018 ~ Student Service Adventure II

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Team #NoShaveNepal circled up for intros with students from the Thame Village School, Summer 2017 ~ 360° pic; click & drag to see everybody in the circle


June 13 – 30, 2018 (dates subject to change)

~  a trek for high school and college-age students through the Annapurna Himalaya with cultural and service exchanges, homestays and high passes, all woven into one big adventure  ~

Your Guides

Himalaya specialists, Jerry Lapp & Ang Dendi Sherpa

Tour Sketch

The Annapurna Circuit is the Himalaya’s oldest trekking route and comes with a diverse combination of culture, challenge, religion, and comfort.  Designed specifically for a younger audience, our trek winds its way upward to the village of Manang where we’ll take part in an exchange with the local school.  Nepali language classes are part of every day as we continue, climbing up and over the Thorong La Pass before diving steeply down into the roiling, black waters of the Kali Gandaki Valley into a land whose people and terrain are much more Tibet than Nepal.

Adventure Rating

Medium/High ~ while our villages en route have been somewhat tamed by time to provide us with comfortable stopovers, our trails guide us into challenging but well-traveled terrain.

Low    Point

The village of Chame is the start and low point of our trek.  It’s stacked above the Marsyangdi River just past the turnoff to the hidden valley of NarPhu.  Arriving there in late afternoon, we’ll begin walking the next morning in the crisp, clean air of 8,900 ft above sea level, ie, 2,714m meters.

High  Point

At 17,769 ft, the Thorong La has demanded excellence from generations of trekkers and local residents.  Wide and generous on its summit approach, its graceful trails pull us upward to views of yet another 8,000-meter peak, Dhaulagiri.


The oversized views from Ice Lake?  Dodging sheep in the medieval village of Kagbeni?  Making new friends with fellow students in Manang?

Room & Board

You’ll be treated to basic but comfortable hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara at the beginning and end of our adventure.  The Annapurna Circuit has been welcoming trekkers since the 1960s and is sometimes called the Apple Pie Circuit for, yes, its apple pie, and mountain lodge amenities.  While trekking, we’ll stay in village lodges or homestays where we’ll also share meals.


$3,699 is an all-inclusive price that covers almost all of your expenses over 16 days in Nepal, including guides; porters; 4×4 jeep transfers; Kathmandu & Pokhara hotels, all mountain lodges while hiking; all meals throughout; trekking permits, double occupancy.  Ground transport from Lancaster, PA to our departure/arrival airport is also included.


International flight into Kathmandu.  Although the flight cost is not included in our Tour, Skychasers will arrange group travel from the East Coast, most likely Philadelphia or New York.  You might expect fares to be in the range of $1,000 to $1,800. Travel insurance w/ evacuation coverage is required. Bring cash for snacks and soft drinks along the trail; the stray shower; tips for local guides; your Nepal visa; shopping; and other small miscellaneous expenses.

Nepali Language Classes

Nepal is one of those countries where your already-incredible travel experience will be even better with rudimentary language skills.  Towards this end, our awesome language teacher, Mina Rana, will again be trekking with us and we’ll end each day with an hour of formal language training.


New for 2018 . . . interest-free installment payment plans!  

We’re passionate about Himalayan adventures and strongly believe they open a student’s life to a whole new world of opportunity and should be accessible to all.   Choose an installment plan or a traditional payment plan when you register.


Register Now

Registration closes March 1, 2018


Handing out bracelets in Jubing, SoluKhumbuSarah & Maya, right, made bracelets at home, then broke the ice along the trail by handing them out to local kids  ~  2017 Student Service Adventure


Our Student Service Adventure is a ten-day fully supported trek through the heart of the Himalaya


Our students carry only a small day pack while the real work is done by our team of precocious porters.  Beginning in Kathmandu, we’ll drive to our trailhead deep in the Marsyangdi Valley of the Annapurna Range.  From there we walk up to Ice Lake, spend a few days with the school students of Manang, then embark on a high-altitude crossing of the Thorong La Pass.  Our trek ends with a couple days in the lakeside town of Pokhara before returning to Kathmandu.


Your  Tour begins in Kathmandu’s peaceful Tibetan Buddhist enclave of Boudha and ends with a spectacular drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu


Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Your mountain guide, Mr. Ang Dendi Sherpa, is wearing the baseball hat, above, and is a two-time Everest summiteer  ~  360° pic; click & drag to look all around, up and down


                    FastFacts on the Annapurna Student Trek

  • 17 days door-to-door from North America
  • our Tour winds up in the deepest valley in the world
  • we’ll start with a visit to the Hindu temples & cremation ghats of Kathmandu
  • the trek is designed to accommodate a wide range of hiking speeds
  • summer is monsoon season, but our trek is shielded from most of the rain by the high and mighty Annapurna Range
  • the Thorong La Pass gives our students a big dose of alpine terrain, but should be relatively easy for our students
  • paragliding above the lake is a popular pastime in the village of Pokhara


Himalaya Ranges , from left: Annapurna; Manaslu; Ganesh Himal; Tibet; Langtang

  The Himalaya  


 Your Route Through the Heart of the Himalaya  

Google Earth routing through the Annapurna Circuit


Student Service Adventure II Day-by-Day

  1.    Group flight from Philadelphia or New York to our international layover destination
  2.    Fly into Kathmandu from our layover city ~ your Tour package begins in Nepal
  3.    Tour the chaos and culture of Kathmandu
  4.    Private transfer from Kathmandu to our Annapurna trailhead
  5.    Trek to Upper Pisang
  6.    Trek to Braga
  7.    Trek up to Ice Lake, then down to Manang
  8.    Student service & cultural exchange in Manang
  9.    Student service & cultural exchange in Manang
  10.    Trek to Yak Kharka
  11.    Trek to Thorong Phedi
  12.    Hike over Thorong La Pass, then down to Muktinath
  13.    Trek to Kagbeni
  14.    Trek to Jomosom
  15.    Private transfer from Jomsom to Pokhara
  16.    R&R in and around Pokhara
  17.    Private transfer to Kathmandu and onward international flight to layover airport
  18.    Fly from layover city to home airport


Transport yourself through the High Himalaya with this flyover tour


 Your Detailed Plan of Attack (dates subject to change)


Day 1


Fly from your hometown airport to your international layover airport  ~  June 13, 2018

Fly from North America to your layover city; most major U.S. airports have high-quality, one-stop flights to Kathmandu, Nepal.  New this year, round-trip ground transport from Lancaster, PA to our departure airport is part of the Tour package.  Skychasers will arrange a group flight from Philadelphia or New York for those who would like to travel together, highly recommended (!) although international airfare is not included in the Tour cost.  Expect ticket prices to be in the range of $900 – $1,500.

Student Service Trekkers on flight from Lukla to Kathmandu
Our language guru, Mina, seen here in red on a Lukla > Kathmandu flight, is always optimistic, a tenacious trekker, and better Nepali teacher . . . she’s been known to teach our Sherpas English while she’s teaching us Nepali!
Day 2
Fly into Kathmandu from layover airport  ~  June 14

Upon arrival at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, we’ll be met by our driver who will take us directly to our hotel overlooking Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest site in Nepal, the Boudha Stupa.  If arriving in Kathmandu independently, you will be met at the airport by myself or a member of our staff.  Airport transfer, dinner, hotel included. 

Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal

4,500ft   ~   1,372m
Day 3
Tour the living museum that is Kathmandu  ~  June 15

Kathmandu is Nepal’s capital of culture and chaos!  We’re going to go as deep as possible today, but the diligent traveler could really use a few weeks to do justice to this incredible city.  With a million things to do, places to go and people to see, it’s hard to know where to start and end.  Going with a few highlights, we’ll walk from our hotel in a Tibetan Buddhist neighborhood to Hinduism’s holiest site, the cremation ghats of Pashupatinath Temple along the banks of the Bagmati River.  Pashupatinath is devoted to Lord Shiva and besides the cremation ghats, it accommodates a Hindu school and meditation center, holy sadhus (below), a Hindus-only temple, and a forest complete with a deer sanctuary.  Oh yea, there are monkeys too.  We’ll take time in the afternoon and evening to go over our gear and pack for the start of our trek tomorrow morning.  B/L/D, Pashupatinath tour, hotel.

Sadhus of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu, Nepal

4,500ft   ~   1,372m
Day 4
Private vehicle transfer to our trailhead at Chame  ~  June 16
  • 150 miles ~ 243 km
  • 4,500 ft ~ 1,372m   Start in Kathmandu
  • 830 ft ~ 253m   Low point near Mugling
  • 8,900ft ~ 2,713m   High point and finish in Chame

No visit to Nepal is complete without a couple road trips!  We’ll get an efficient start this morning so that our drive may be leisurely and relaxed, characteristics that don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with travel in this part of the world.  As we top the pass on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley, brace yourself for the awesome downhill headed your way.  A good part of the morning is spent winding along the Trisuli River and marveling at the colorful Indian trucks bringing goods in and out of Kathmandu.  A northward turnoff begins our foray into the Himalaya.  As we enter the Marsyangdi Valley, our terrain narrows and we find ourselves at the bottom of a very deep canyon and eventually, the tiny village of Chame.  Private transfer, B/L/D, mountain lodge, trekking permits.

4x4 on Himalaya Road - photo by Emerson Standish
We’ll travel by 4×4 from Kathmandu to our trek start in the village of Chame ~ photo credit Emerson Standish
8,900ft  ~ 2,713m
Day 5
Begin your trek with a hike to Upper Pisang  ~  June 17
  • 9 miles ~ 14.5 km
  • 8,900 ft ~ 2,713m   Start and low point in Chame
  • 10,900 ft ~ 3,322m   Finish and high point in Upper Pisang

Our trek starts with a bang as we fight our way out of the very narrow canyons around Chame on trails above the roaring Marsyangdi River.  By lunchtime, our world and our views begin to open up as we round a right-hand bend in the river.  As the views widen, a smooth mile-high rock, that might inaccurately be said to resemble Half Dome in the shape of a satellite dish, rises straight out of the river.  It’s called the Paunga Danda and it stays with us for the rest of the day.  Lurking beyond the Paunga Danda is Pisang Peak, popular as a climbing peak, but infamous for a 1994 disaster.  As we continue up the valley, we pass through the lakeside village of Dikure Pokhari on undulating and ascending terrain.  Our final steps are gently upward to gain the heights of Upper Pisang, which also houses a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.  Mina, our language teacher, starts off Nepali classes after our trek today and they’ll continue every evening throughout the trek.  B/L/D, mountain lodge, language class.

Google Earth elevation profile from Chame to Upper Pisang
Elevation profile from Chame to Upper Pisang
10,900ft ~ 3,322m
Day 6
Trek to Braga ~ June 18
  • 11.25 miles ~ 18km
  • 10,900 ft ~ 3,322m   Start in Upper Pisang
  • 10,735 ft ~ 3,272m   Low point outside of Upper Pisang
  • 12,500 ft ~ 3,810m   High point at several spots
  • 11,600 ft ~ 3,536m   Finish in Braga

The monster massifs of the Annapurna Himalaya make their first big appearance today.  Traveling westward out of Upper Pisang, we lose a little altitude in the first hour or two, then take an abrupt right turn upward onto the lowest slopes of Pisang Peak.  We could walk on the valley floor, but we’re headed up to the old, traditional village of Ghyaru to take advantage of direct cross-valley visual access to Annapurna II.   OK, maybe not direct . . . Annapurna II is almost three miles higher than Ghyaru.  Check out the photo below, taken in the snowy winter of 1999 and complete with tons of firewood, hand-hewn log ladders, and a rather nicely preserved yak’s head.  And, we do need the occasional challenge, so we’ll try to find the boy in the photo!  From Ghyaru, we traverse far below the Kang La Pass, the high route to the forbidden kingdom of NarPhu and presently march through the plateau village of Ngawal.  A significant dip in the trail provides false hope as it’s immediately followed by an even more significant ascent before slowly meandering down to the village of Braga.  B/L/D, mountain lodge, language class.

Child on a hand hewn log ladder in Ghyaru on the Annapurna Circuit

11,600ft ~ 3,536m
Day 7
 Trek up to Ice Lake, then down to Manang  ~  June 19
  • 6.5 miles ~ 10.5 km
  • 11,600 ft ~ 3,536m   Start in Braga
  • 11,500 ft ~ 3,505m   Low point near Manang
  • 15,340 ft ~ 4,376m   High point at Ice Lake
  • 11,600 ft ~ 3,536m   Finish in Manang

We’re now high enough to be in the land of Tibetan Buddhism and it’s just our luck that an exquisite ancient monastery is embedded into the upper slopes of Braga.  From here, the choice is yours . . . take the low and easy road or the high and challenging road to Manang.  The low road takes an hour, probably less.  The high road goes straight up and up and up the hill behind Braga, to the tune of 3,500 ft up.  Ice Lake is our goal and it’s nested into a mini hanging valley that feels impossibly high, but in reality is much closer to the valley floor than its mountaintop.  This may seem like a lot of work to have a pond as a destination, but the real rewards on this day are the views across the valley to the highest peaks of the Annapurna Range.  And never fear, should you feel that you’ve not had enough of a challenge, there are several small summits to tackle above the lake.  Our day ends with a descent down the mountain into the biggest village in the area, Manang.  B/L/D, homestay or mountain lodge, language class.

Google Earth snapshot of the view from Ice Lake on the Annapurna Circuit
Grandiose views from Ice Lake reveal the giants of the Annapurna Range
11,600ft ~ 3,536m
Day 8
Cultural & Educational Exchange in Manang, 1st day  ~  June 20
  • 11,600 ft ~ 3,536m   Manang

Most trekkers spend a second overnight in Manang to aid acclimatization, but we’re staying three . . . yes, the altitude will feel lower after our stay here, but what we’re really here for is interaction with the students and teachers of the Manang Village School.  I like to call it an exchange opportunity as much as a service opportunity, for there’s no doubt that our students will benefit as much or more than the students of Manang.  Last year’s exchange in Thame, Everest Region, was a highlight of our trek, even though it was cut short by national elections.  You might stick to teaching English or a work project, or, like Michael last year, have a go at physics & chemistry with our students!  B/L/D, homestay or mountain lodge, language class.

Student introductions in Thame, Khumbu, Nepal

11,600ft ~ 3,536m
Day 9
Cultural & Educational Exchange in Manang, 2nd day  ~  June 21
  • 11,600 ft ~ 3,536m   Manang

We continue our educational and cultural exchange today, but schools start late in Nepal, so we’re going to try to sneak in an early day hike.  As usual, we’ll invite our new school friends along for the ride.  Manang has a wealth of hiking options, it’s the Himalaya after all, and one of the best is the upward walk to Milarepa’s Cave, where the legendary Tibetan Buddhist philosopher lived above Manang, 1000 years ago.  We’ll aim to return by start of school at 10am.  B/L/D, homestay or mountain lodge, language class.

Students and Sherpas on Sumdur Ridge above Thame, Nepal
Tea time with students from the Thame Village School, 2017
11,600ft ~ 3,536m
Day 10
Trek to Yak Kharka  ~  June 22
  • 6 miles ~ 10 km
  • 11,600 ft ~ 3,536m   Start and low point in Manang
  • 13,250 ft ~ 4,039m   Finish and high point in Yak Kharka

Altitude protocol dictates that sleeping altitude from one day to the next should be limited above 10,000 ft.  Keeping this in mind, we’re back on the trail today well-rested and ready to go, but we’re going to cap our mileage at six today to keep our altitude gain reasonable.  Heading west out of Manang, we’ll say goodbye to new friends and follow the valley upwards towards the Thorong La Pass.  Continuing above tree-line, the terrain becomes gnarly and rocky as our valley gradually narrows around us.  Presently, we’ll cross a bridge that takes us over the glacial meltwater of the Chulu Peaks, far above us to our north.  An hour or so later we find ourselves at our destination of the day, Yak Kharka.  B/L/D, mountain lodge, language class.

Negotiating a snowy trail on the Annapurna Circuit near Thorong Phedi, 1999
Another classic photo from the winter of 1999 ~ it would be shocking to have any snow during our summer trek
13,250ft ~ 4,039m
Day 11
Trek to Thorong Phedi  ~  June 23
  • 4.5 miles ~ 6.25 km
  • 13,250 ft ~ 4,039m   Start and low point at Yak Kharka
  • 15,075 ft ~ 4,595m   High point above Thorong Phedi
  • 14,862 ft ~ 4,530m   Finish in Thorong Phedi

Take it easy and relax today.  Yes, we’ll end up at our highest sleeping altitude of the trek,  which is significant, but you’ve been this high just a few days before on the hike to Ice Lake.  The land around the trail is still rugged, but our walking route is in good shape with thousands and thousands of people having walked it over the past 40 years.  Thorong Phedi is a great place to hang out – that is until the sun goes down.  In an instant, as the sun drops below the Thorong La Pass 3,000 feet above us, the temperature drops 30 degrees.  Enjoy the potent energy mixture of excitement and nerves as you and every other trekker in the place anticipates an early wake-up followed by a major league climb up and over the Thorong La.  Following language class and dinner, it’s off to bed early to prep for an early start up the pass.  B/L/D, mountain lodge, language class.

Students and Sherpas take a break on Sumdur Ridge - photo credit Emerson Standish
~ photo credit Emerson Standish
14,862ft ~ 4,530m
Day 13 
Up, up and over the Thorong La, then down to Muktinath  ~  June 24
  • 9.25 miles ~ 15km
  • 14,862 ft ~ 4,530m   Start in Thorong Phedi
  • 17,769 ft ~ 5,417m   High point on the Thorong La
  • 12,000 ft ~ 3,658m   Finish and low point at Muktinath

A special day awaits those of you who somehow haven’t gotten enough adventure along the way!  After an early morning breakfast, we start on an upbeat, or at least uphill, note as our first goal of the day is High Camp at about  16,000 ft.  The first 30 minutes are steep and it’s possible you may think you’re going to die, but fear not, not only will you survive, you’ll make it over the pass.  With relative ease.  Today.  And that’s a promise.   Remember, hundreds if not thousands of trekkers make it over the Thorong La every year, and many of them are three or four times older than you.  Just in time, the gradient eases and soon you’ll find yourself at High Camp, a collection of a few desperate lodges where intrepid trekkers overnight to get a jump on the Pass.

Take a minute to regroup here, adjust your layers, have a snack, whatever you need.  Soon after, the pass opens up into a wide, beautiful dirt meadow between two very high mountains.  We’re aiming to go between the two high mountains, but as we wind around, up and down, but mostly up, it’s not always immediately obvious where our trail shall lead us.  The last hour before the summit, we’re at some serious altitude and the going gets very slow, maybe even slower than the first steep section, although it’s not nearly as steep up top.  Call it relentless though as you put in some work to ease up to the summit at 17,769 ft ~ 5,416m.  Congratulations on making it to the top of the Thorong La, something you can hang your hat on for the rest of your life!  It’s all downhill from here and hopefully you saved something for the descent, especially your brakes since Muktinath is exactly 5,769 vert feet down from the Thorong La summit.  B/L/D, mountain lodge, language class.

Students and Sherpas eating a packed lunch at the trekkers' summit of Sumdur Peak
Summits of the High Himalaya are perfect picnic spots . . . here Team #NoShaveNepal enjoys a packed lunch of yak cheese and Tibetan bread on the trekkers’ summit of Sumdur Peak, 16,100 ft
17,769ft  ~  5,416m
Day 14
Trek to Kagbeni & the Kali Gandaki River ~  June 25
  • 8 miles ~ 13 km
  • 12,000 ft ~ 3,658m   Start in Muktinath
  • 12,130 ft ~ 3,697m   High point near Muktinath
  • 9,314 ft ~ 2,839m   Low point and finish in Kagbeni

Good Morning, trekkers . . . you’ll be putting in a few miles today, but most of them will be downhill and not that steep.  After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll have some time to take in the sacred Hindu sites in and around Muktinath.  Our day begins with a walk across the valley to the old, old village of Jhong, with its monastery perched on a hilltop overlooking everything.  And, I’ll have prints of these gems and we’ll try to track them down . . .

Kids with balloons in Jhong, Nepal

. . . continuing the descent towards Kagbeni, we’ll pass through several other green oasis villages before entering the “countryside” with its big, big terrain and massive landscapes.  The 8,000m behemoth of a mountain known as Dhaulagiri will be with us throughout the day along with many of its friends and neighbors.  Eventually, there are no more villages and our world becomes truly Tibet-like.  Kagbeni is a charming, ancient trading post with swarms of sheep and goats charging through its narrow passageways.  It’s also an oasis of greenery in an otherwise arid landscape with large apple orchards and wheat fields.  No trip to Kagbeni is complete without a visit to YakDonalds!  B/L/D, mountain lodge, language class.

Kagbeni, Nepal on the Annapurna Circuit beside the Kali Gandaki River
Kagbeni is a great little town set along the banks of the always-black Kali Gandaki River and guarding the entrance to the Kingdom of Upper Mustang
9,314 ft ~ 2,839m
Day 15
Trek from Kagbeni to Jomsom  ~  June 26
  • 8.5 miles ~ 13.75km
  • 9,314 ft ~ 2,839m   Start in Kagbeni
  • 11,350 ft ~ 3,459m   High point at Dagarjong Pass
  • 9,030 ft ~ 2,752m   Low point and finish in Jomsom

This isn’t a particularly long day, but we’ll try for an efficient start so we have plenty of time to enjoy a few ancient villages along the way.  We’re also taking the road less traveled, the high road, that is, far above the true right bank of the Kali Gandaki River.  Crossing the river on a long extension bridge, we ascend into the green and gold fields of Phallyak.  Even if it’s not quite lunchtime, we’ll likely partake here because marching straight on through this town is to deny its beauty, history, and hospitality.  After lunch, we cross a ravine to the next town and continue gently upwards towards Dagarjong Pass.  From there, it’s all downhill into Jomsom and the conclusion of our trek, but certainly not the end of our adventure.  Congratulations on finishing your journey through some of the most exotic terrain on earth!  B/L/D, mountain lodge, language class.

Village with prayer flags near Muktinath, Nepal
Traditional tiny villages in massive terrain line the Kali Gandaki Valley
9,030 ft   ~  2,752m
Day 16
Drive from Jomsom to Pokhara  ~  June 27
  • 9,030 ft ~ 2,752m   High point and start in Jomsom
  • 2,713 ft ~ 827m   Low point and finish in Pokhara

Yes, the trek is finished, but not the adventure.  A couple of 4x4s will magically appear outside our Jomsom lodge this morning and whisk us away to Pokhara.  Driving down the Kali Gandaki a couple hours later, we’ll find ourselves a mere 19,000 ft directly underneath below the colossal summit of Dhaulagiri and the Icefall that’s continuously gurgling down its frontside.  Ladies and gentleman, you are now at the nadir of the deepest canyon in the world!  In a matter of hours, our big, open, desert terrain swiftly narrows and changes to a lovely shade of green as we escape the rainshadow of the High Himalaya.  We’ll arrive in Pokhara by mid-afternoon where we’ll eat, shower, rinse, repeat with very little planned beyond that.  B/L/D, 4×4, hotel.

Dhaulagiri Icefall above the Kali Gandaki Valley
Descending through the Kali Gandaki Valley, the Dhaulagiri Icefall tumbles down from the sky
2,713ft  ~      827m
Day 17
Free day of R&R in Pokhara  ~  June 28

Pokhara is both the adventure and relaxation capital of Nepal, so pick your poison today or mix them up.  The mountain biking is epic, and if the weather’s nice, I’ll gladly lead a gentle ride through the hills of Pokhara.  There’s a gorgeous Peace Pagoda, below, on one of the hills overlooking the Pokhara Valley that makes a perfect triathlon loop of a boat ride, a hike, and a taxi.  After the big trek though, some of you may be content with sitting on the rooftop of our hotel watching the mountains go by.  Shopping in Pokhara could be considered both an adventure and relaxing.  Whatever you do, we’ll intersperse it with a couple delicious meals, one of the great pleasures of post-trek life in Pokhara.  B/L/D, hotel.

World Peace Pagoda or Stupa and flowers above Pokhara, Nepal

2,713 ft   ~    827m
Day 18
Drive to Kathmandu, then onward international flight to our Layover City  ~  June 29

Today is getaway day, but Nepal still finds a way to captivate its guests until the bitter end.  Driving back to Kathmandu lands us in Nepal’s capital sometime in the afternoon.  If there’s time before your flight home, we can do some last-minute shopping, grab a bite to eat, or whatever before we head back to the airport to catch our flight home.  B/L/D, ground transport, airport transfer.

Smiling Sherpa girls are porters for students
Kamu-didi & Paschi-didi were star crew members in 2017 . . . if they’re not available next summer, we’ll recruit a couple other girls/women to join our team
4,500ft   1,372m
Day 19
Fly from Layover City to North America, arrive home!  ~  June 30

Qatar and its capital of Doha are our most likely route to and from Kathmandu.  From there, it’s a 12-hour flight to Philadelphia.  If we don’t fly Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, China Southern amongst a number of others, all provide excellent one-stop service between many North American gateways and Kathmandu.

Qatar Airways delivers Student Service Adventure trekkers to Kathmandu, Nepal


Logistics, Registration, Etc . . .


Registration & trip deposit

Total trip cost is $3,699

Reserve your spot on the trip by clicking the button below, entering your information, and making a $500 trip deposit, either by credit card or check


New for 2018 . . . interest-free installments!

Choose to pay installments when you register and follow up your trip deposit with $639 monthly payments on Feb 1, 2018  •  Mar 1, 2018  •  Apr 1, 2018  •  May  1, 2018  •  June 1, 2018


Choose a traditional plan and follow up your trip deposit with one final balance payment of $3,199 by  April 1, 2018


Register Now

Registration closes March 1, 2018


Mountain Lodges

 Lodges along the Trek are comfortable but basic and offer fantastic, powerful meals to fuel trekkers.  Meals are made-to-order and served up in a warm dining room around a stove.  Menus are often extensive enough to accommodate a variety of food sensitivities.  The Circuit is famous for placing boxes of hot charcoal underneath dining tables with oversized tablecloths sealing in the heat and warming the lower extremities.  Sleeping arrangements come in a variety of offerings, but are almost always private, and sometimes come with an en suite bath as well.  Showers are available throughout the tour, although hot water seems to become more scarce the higher we travel.


So, you’re not a professional hiker?  No problem!

 Annapurna Circuit North is a nice challenge for most hikers, but a number of things make it particularly accessible to those who don’t trek on a regular basis.

There’s no camping . . . the mountain lodges provide a great amount of rejuvenation every day with help from hot meals, showers, comfortable beds, and friendly staff
You carry only a small daypack . . . our precocious porters do the heavy lifting, transporting your  big backpack or duffel bag to the next mountain lodge
You won’t be hiking every day . . . don’t feel like hiking up to Ice Lake on Day 4?  Walk straight to Manang with one of our friendly staff instead, saving a few thousand vertical feet up and down.  3,585 to be exact.  Follow up with a couple days of rest in Manang and you’ll be back in business.
Show up with a mediocre amount of fitness, suffer a bit the first few days, then watch in amazement as your body rises to the challenge and you end up in the best shape of your life!

I firmly believe in the power of youth and have every confidence that you can get the job done!


Contact Your Tour Organizer

Skychasers, LLC and Jerry Lapp are honored to organize and lead your Circuit . . . we specialize in mountain treks, particularly in the High Himalaya, but in other locales as well.  Get in touch with me, Jerry, on any questions or comments:


USA phone     +1  717 . 682 . 5265


628 Oxford Drive  ~  Lancaster, PA  17601  ~  USA

Jerrry Lapp, owner of Skychasers, LLC ~ photo credit Saara Atula


“Did this trip push me outside of my comfort zone?  Absolutely, sure did!  As I get older I find myself craving trips that not only educate me but physically challenge me.  I would go back, again, in a heartbeat.  Jerry did everything he possibly could to prepare us physically for the trip.  Well, we had to do all the work, but he did not sugar coat any detail related to trek.  Even when I was at my breaking point (the first day of trekking) Jerry stayed back with me to help me to realize the journey was my own and it was ok for me to take one step at a time.”
~ Beth B., Kali Gandaki Trek, 2017


Register Now

Registration closes March 1, 2018