From the small, mountain village of Kyanjin Gompa in Langtang, there are two awesome day-hikes. The smaller and most popular hike is Kyanjin Ri while the longer and more strenuous option is Tserko Ri. The Tserko Ri viewpoint towers over Kyanjin Gompa and has almost 1500m of vertical gain to the summit. Tserko Ri (5000m) is the high point on the Langtang Valley Trek for most hikers and the highlight of the trip!
HIKING TO THE TSERKO RI VIEWPOINT
In this blog post, I will share with you all of the details about hiking to the Tserko Ri Viewpoint. I’ll detail how to get there, what to expect, the gear you will need, the best time of year for the hike, other adventures nearby, and where to stay in Kyanjin Gompa. I’ll also share my experience on the hike and all of my photos from the adventure. I’ve already created a lengthy guide for the Langtang Valley Trek and nearby viewpoints such as Kyanjin Ri or the climb of Yala Peak.
TSERKO RI HIKE DETAILS
- Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike is nine kilometers up and down on this out and back route.
- Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 5-8 hours depending on your speed and the trail conditions. The incline is quite steep and you are at altitude so expect to go pretty slow. We encountered a lot of soft snow in the final kilometer beneath the summit, which slowed us down a lot.
- Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 1450 meters at a very steep rate given that it all comes within the 4.5-kilometer ascent.
- Hike Difficulty: Tserko Ri is a very challenging hike due to the steep incline and high altitude of 5000m. Do not take this hike lightly. The route is relentlessly steep and when paired with the low oxygen at altitude, it can be a lot to handle. These two factors make it quite difficult but at a slow pace, most trekkers can manage their way up the ridge to reach the summit. There are no real dangers as the track is quite wide and there are very few points with drop-offs on both sides.
- Highest Altitude: 5000m is the highest point at the summit of Tserko Ri.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT KYANJIN GOMPA
Kyanjin Gompa is the end of the Langtang Valley Trek for most people. It’s a beautiful town with an incredible backdrop of snow peaks in all directions. The biggest mistake you can make on the Langtang Valley Trek is to stay one night and turn around and hike back down. The absolute highlight of this trek is to base in Kyanjin Gompa for a few nights and spend one day hiking up Kyanjin Ri and one day hiking up Tserko Ri. We also spent another day climbing Yala Peak but that requires certain gear and experience.
I ended up staying six nights in Kyanjin Gompa. My itinerary was the following:
- Kyanjin Ri
- Rest Day
- Tserko Ri
- Rest day
- Yala Peak Base Camp
- Yala Peak/Sleep at Kyanjin Gompa
Understandably that is a lot of time but we were also trying to acclimatize for Yala Peak so we added in the rest days. The trek to Kyanjin Gompa was good but not amazing. I really found that the time spent in Kyanjin Gompa was what made this trek is so great not the actual trek in itself. This is different from many other treks such as Everest Base Camp Trek or the Annapurna Circuit where each day of trekking is the highlight rather than a specific destination or a specific town.
BOOKING A GUIDE FOR THE LANGTANG VALLEY TREK
The Langtang Valley Trek doesn’t require a guide but it’s great to have a guide managing the logistics such as directions, tea-houses, distances, medical issues, and the overall organization. I’d say 80% of trekkers go with a guide. I did the trek with Himalayan Masters which is one of the top trekking companies when it comes to the Langtang Valley Trek.
The trek costs around $800 USD with Himalayan Masters as of 2022 and includes all transfers, accommodation, meals, drinks, permits, and even the hotel stay before and after the trek at a high-quality hotel. I honestly had a great time on this trek and I can wholeheartedly recommend Himalayan Masters.
You can use my discount code ‘JACKSON5‘ for 5% off the total price of your trek with Himalayan Masters which is a pretty handy saving.
Email: [email protected]
WHERE TO STAY IN KYANJIN GOMPA
I stayed at Mountain View Hotel while in Kyanjin Gompa. It’s one of the smaller, older guest houses and I really enjoyed it here. Unlike many of the new multi-story hotels in the village, this hotel just had two floors and a cozy dining room. Mipsang, the owner, is one of the kindest and most caring guys we’ve met in Nepal. Say hello to him for us if you end up staying there.
At Mountain View Hotel we had had water showers, internet connection from our sim card, great food, comfortable beds and blankets, and electrical outlets available in the room.
THE FULL VLOG FROM OUR LANGTANG VALLEY TREK
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING TO TSERKO RI
After trekking along the Langtang Valley Trek route to Kyanjin Gompa, our first adventure was to Kyanjin Ri. We then took a rest day before heading up to attempt Tserko Ri. It was the first week of March and only two people had reached the summit of Tserko Ri so far in the season due to the heavy snow. We didn’t know what to expect but we were ready for an expedition.
We had an early breakfast and packed a Tibetan bread and omelet combo in our bags for the summit. The trail begins in the center of the town and then heads down underneath the Kyanjin Ri ridge. We got started early and enjoyed the sun breaking over the mountains as we passed by yaks and prayer flags on our way down to the river.
There’s a small, glacial river crossing before the trail really begins. Be on the lookout for the yellow arrows and yellow signs. Sometimes the spelling isn’t quite what you will be expecting and one of the signs was labeled ‘Chergori’. Either way, the signs are quite clear and you begin by following a series of switchbacks up to reach the tip of the ridge. Throughout these switchbacks, you have amazing views back towards the village of Kyanjin Gompa.
Once you reach the ridge, the real incline begins and the rest of the hike is relentlessly steep. The trail now follows the spine with a few twists and turns. You can see exactly where you are headed for most of the trek, which is great for navigation but also daunting.
Halfway along the trek, you will pass by some of the old yak sheds and most likely the yak themselves. Most are friendly and will let you pass.
The final kilometer of the trail became quite difficult for us due to the heavy and soft snow conditions. During the summer this final approach to the summit is quite basic but in the first week of winter, we found ourselves up to our hips in the snow at times. Needless to say, we were moving quite slowly.
Despite the thick snow, we were able to enjoy the surrounding peaks throughout our ascent. The views from Tserko Ri are simply phenomenal. With panoramic views, you can expect to see Yala Peak, Langtang Ri, Langtang Lirung, Naya Khang and many more.
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The summit of Tserko Ri is quite unique. A festival years ago at the summit involved carrying many large wooden poles to the top from which prayer flags were hung. There are so many poles and flags the summit has begun to look like a sailing ship. Nowhere in the Himalayas have I seen this many prayer flags at a summit, which made for a colorful, vibrant setting atop the peak.
What are my favorite pieces of trekking gear?
There are six pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go trekking. These are five items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my trekking essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
- Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
- Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.
- Osprey Atmos AG 65L Backpack: I’ve never had a more comfortable 65L pack than this one. I got it in the Navy Blue and have trekked with it through many a mountain.
- Black Diamond Trekking Poles: They might feel weird at first, but on a long trek with incline and decline you’ll begin to love these.
- Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: I’ve used this for three years. It filters your water with one press and you can drink directly from it. Never buy a plastic water bottle again!
As with Kyanjin Ri, it is best to be up at the summit before midday to avoid the afternoon clouds rolling in. I advise starting this hike no later than 7 am for the best possible conditions and views at the summit.
The descent was quite grueling on the legs with 1500m of decline to swallow on the way down. However, despite the steep decline, we made good time on the way down and made it back to Kyanjin Gompa in the early afternoon.
GEAR YOU WILL NEED TO HIKE TSERKO RI
By the time you have made it to Kyanjin Gompa, it is assumed you have all of your trekking gear with you already. The nice part about hiking up to Kyanjin Ri is that you can leave most of your gear at the tea house and carry a light pack up to the viewpoint and back down. These are the essential pieces of gear to take with you on the Kyanjin Ri hike.
*We hiked right on the edge of winter and were the 4th and 5th people to summit Tserko Ri for the season. Due to this, we wore our 6000m boots (we had them with us for Yala Peak) in case of heavy snow conditions at the summit. For most of the year, they aren’t required as the path is clear of snow or covered only in firm snow.
- Trekking Poles
- Down Jacket
- Trekking Boots
- Rain Jacket
- Water Bottle (1-2 Liters)
BEST TIME AND SEASON FOR HIKING TO TSERKO RI
The peak season for hiking in the Langtang Valley region is March to April and October to November. The time to avoid trekking in this region is during the rainy season from June to August.
During the winter from December to February, this region gets very cold and there will be snow cover in the higher parts of the trek. Many of the guesthouses actually close up for the winter and re-open in late February to March. However, it is possible to hike the Langtang Valley Trek on the fringe of the season in late February/early March and it can be quite beautiful with snow cover.
I hiked the Langtang Valley Trek in early March and it was warm during the day and got pretty cold at night. We experienced some heavy snow on Tserko Ri and Yala Peak but the lower trekking routes, such as Kyanjin Ri, were clear.
DRINKING WATER ON THE LANGTANG VALLEY TREK
I use the Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier and it is a game-changer for hiking in Nepal, making this super easy and cheap. The Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier removes 99.9999% of viruses of disease-causing bacteria. The best thing about it is it only takes 15 seconds and one press to purify water from any fresh water source. You don’t need to buy bottled water at every tea-house contributing to large amounts of plastic waste and costing you $4+ per day.
Along the Langtang Valley Trek, we filled up at tea-houses, rivers, and local village taps. Unlike aqua purification tablets which require you to wait 30 minutes before drinking, you can have rehydrated yourself immediately with the Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier.
GrayL Water Purifier
- Never pay for water on the trek
- Save 3-4 plastic water bottles a day
- Turns any water into drinking water