4 to 7 September 2024 - Registrations open 16 October 2023!

Wild Dolpo to Mugu Skydance

Starting 29th April 2023 from Kathmandu, Nepal.


A wonderful and adventurous journey along part of the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT), through a still remote, still wild region of the Nepal Himalaya. 

We’ll approach Dolpo via Dhorpatan (the only hunting reserve in Nepal) to reach Dunai, the district headquarters. A high panoramic trail (rarely used by tourists) will lead us up the valley towards the spectacular Phoksundo Lake, sacred to Buddhist and followers of the Bonpo tradition. From here we’ll penetrate deep in to Upper Dolpo, visiting the ancient villages of Chharka Bhot, Tinje (where we’ll try to track down some friends of Lizzy’s), Shimen, Saldang, Bhijer and Pho. Imagine living at over 4000m, now that’s a hard and beautiful life.  Before the remote crossing into Mugu, we’ll visit Kugaon, possibly the most remote village in remote Dolpo. Read more here for an insight into village life for the school children there. Reaching the district of Mugu we’ll land in a totally different landscape, culture, language. The contrast is fascinating. We’ll end our journey in the mesmerising beauty of Rara Lake (the largest in Nepal). Our journey will take us to the wildest heights, crossing at least 9 passes over 5000m, yet allow us to observe traditional ways of life sharing time with locals in the villages. 

It will be beautiful, rough, hard and unforgettable! 

As a supported “fastpack” (see updated definition below!) we’ll carry our own personal gear, with support for the wild camps. We’ll guide you through every step of the way, we’ll organise all transport, food and accommodation, leaving you to focus on your own challenge and your own experience within this shared journey.

This journey offers you a very tangible physical and mental challenge, simply getting from A to B through some of the world’s highest mountains, but in this refuge from your everyday there will also space to reflect. You’ll see things from a different perspective, it will change you!

Trip information

Just click on the links below to jump to that section!


Who are you?

Who are we?

Contact us

Dates and cost

Equipment list and joining info



Gallery of photos


What’s a “skydance“?

Well, this isn’t a race and this isn’t a traditional trek, it lies somewhere between. Outside of a traditional race format, and as a small group, we have total flexibility over our itinerary, and how far or fast we travel each day, and within the constraints of eventually getting from A to B, we have the freedom to explore. It’s likely we’ll compress several “traditional trekking camps” into one day, but at other times we might decide to stay longer in a village to explore for a day off the main route. We won’t be running but we will be moving fast, with some long days once we are acclimatised. Some might call this fastpacking, but this isn’t quite that either. Jamie McGuiness coined the term “Skypacking”, but it’s something a little different to that too.

And so, it seems, the best way to describe this is as a Skydance. This is how Lizzy termed her original attempt at the Great Himalaya Trail back in 2011. Her intention then was to keep as much as possible to the trails through the highest mountains (a pure route), moving fast and light, with minimal support.

We’ll have support, but the spirit of our journey is the same, to move fast and light through Dhorpatan into the high mountain terrain of Dolpo, and to make the high crossing into Mugu to reach Rara Lake. Join us for this supported fastpack along parts of Lizzy’s GHT route!

This. Whatever else it becomes, it will be a “beautiful, rough, hard and unforgettable journey”. Not sure yet where this will take me. It is not simply about the physical challenge. This is my ‘kora’, a point to point journey across a country, but circling back to where I start, which is here and now. A journey inward to the core, and a journey outward to the edge of what I know.

Lizzy Hawker, in a facebook post before the start of her 2016 journey along the Great Himalaya Trail crossing Nepal from East to West

Who are you?

You love the mountains and wild places. You’re looking for a beautiful experience and magical journey shared with a small group of like-minded souls. You’re comfortable with doing without luxuries for a while, and you’re excited to have an opportunity to experience the ‘real Nepal’ off the beaten track, and to immerse yourself briefly in the traditional culture of some remote and thriving communities. You’re a runner or a hiker or a mountaineer, and to put it simply you love moving on foot through high mountains.

Bring an adventurous spirit, a sense of humour and a willingness to be challenged. This will be a journey of the mind, heart and spirit as well as a journey for your physical body. You’ll experience life from a different perspective. Be prepared to be changed!

Who are we?

Trip leader

Our journey will be led by Lizzy Hawker. On foot whenever possible, as an elite athlete Lizzy held the world record for 24 hours on the road and won the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc an unprecedented (and unmatched) 5 times. A National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and now race director of the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa her passion for exploring is taking her far beyond competition to high, wild places often alone, and often in Nepal. Lizzy completed the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) from east to west across Nepal in 2016 and 2017, this route follows parts of her GHT journey as well as covering ground she has come to know during later explorations. Her feet and heart know the lie of the land now, she’ll be happy to guide you through these high mountains, to share her experiences, and to create new memories and new dreams with you on this journey.

The organisers

The journey will be organised by our local partner Hidden Trails Adventures and through Kora Explore GmbH (organiser of the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa and the Kora Explore training camps / running tours). Hidden Trails Adventure is a Nepal based travel company and notably a pioneer of tourism in the Manaslu region. The Hidden Trails team has successfully organised the Manaslu Trail Race since November 2012 and the Mustang Trail Race since April 2013. The team has a wealth of experience in creating beautiful experiences in the high mountains of Nepal and enabling guests to realise their dream journey.

The partnership

Neer Lalit Priya took over directorship of Hidden Trails Adventures in 2016, and Lizzy Hawker has been involved with the Mustang and Manaslu Trail Races first as a participant then as a volunteer since their inception. Neer and Lizzy have now worked together in the high mountains of Nepal for years and are excited for this chance to share some new trails with like-minded souls. To make it all happen they will be supported by the incomparable Ram Khatri (Sirdar), veteran of the war in Iraq and Sirdar for the Manaslu and Mustang races since the beginning, and Laxman Khatri who has spent some years managing the vipassana meditation centre “Dhamma Pokhara” at Begnas Tal and will be there to support you in the spiritual part of your journey (as well as in other ways). The whole team is happy to welcome you on this new adventure!

Contact us

Contact Lizzy directly by email info@koraexplore.com or whatsapp (link below)!

Dates and cost

Basic cost: 3425 USD

The basic trip is from Saturday 29th April 2023 (arriving Kathmandu) until Monday 24th May (leaving Kathmandu). For those of you already in Nepal and just joining us in Kathmandu…. we will have a pre-journey preparation meeting on Sunday 30th April ready for an early departure on Monday 1st May. We aim to return to Kathmandu on 22nd May. If you are leaving by international flight please only book for 24th May to allow us time to get you back to Kathmandu by road if the domestic flights are cancelled. If you have extra time before you need to leave we will be more than happy to suggest or organise another tour/excursion for you!

Cost includes everything from leaving Kathmandu to arriving back in Kathmandu: welcome dinner in Kathmandu on Sunday 30th, Dhorpatan & Dolpo & Rara permits (650 USD per person), domestic flights (400 USD per person: Kathmandu to Pokhara, Rara to Kathmandu), group transport by jeep (Pokhara to Dhorpatan), accommodation and food (lodges, homestays, wild camps) for 21 nights on the trail.

The basic cost is based on 3 guests, joining in Kathmandu. and a sliding scale will be applied for fewer guests.

Cost excludes: International Flights, Medical and Travel Insurance, Nepal Visa, Helicopter evacuation (should be covered by individual medical insurance), while on trek; additional meals, alcohol and bottled drinks, while in Kathmandu; all meals, drinks additional to those provided, Monastery donations, Equipment rental, Tips.

Extras: We can of course arrange for your accommodation in a quality hotel in Kathmandu, airport transfers etc. if required for an additional supplement. Just let us know what you need!

Support: We’d love to contribute to the school in Kugaon. Through Kora Explore we already support some families in Nepal with educational costs. The concept of sponsorship raises so many questions, but at the same time in certain circumstances a small financial contribution can make a huge difference to a child’s life. If, after your journey, you find you feel moved to help in some way then let us know and we can try to work out what could have the most lasting impact for a child/family/community. On a material level, good shoes and warm clothing (eg duvet jackets) are always in short supply, and if you have anything to bring or leave behind we’ll make sure it gets to someone who can use it!

Equipment list and joining info

Once you register we’ll send you a full list of gear/equipment that you will need to bring. We will also send you the “joining info” which will explain exactly how everything works once you reach Kathmandu airport, including orientating yourself to the craziness of Kathmandu, what happens while we are out in the mountains, and any useful tips that we can think of to tell you in advance!

Insurance & Cancellation

You must have a travel or medical insurance that covers you fully against the costs of helicopter evacuation, hospitalisation, repatriation as required in case of injury or sickness. We will need a copy of your insurance details before you arrive in Kathmandu. Please make sure your policy covers you for trekking up to altitudes of 5600m. Thank you!

Please do also take out a trip cancellation policy in case of injury or illness before our departure. We are keeping costs for you to the minimum which means we have a big loss if one participant is unable to come at short notice. We will ask you for a 400 USD (375 EUR) deposit. The balance is due 3 weeks before departure.

  • Until 8 weeks before departure: up to 75% of your deposit refunded
  • Between 8 weeks and 3 weeks before departure: up to 50% of your deposit refunded
  • From 3 weeks before departure: no refunds of your deposit, and full payment is due, thank you.


Saturday 29 April (for those arriving from outside Nepal)

Arrival in Kathmandu. We will meet you from the airport and provide transport to your hotel in the Lazimpat district of Kathmandu. See the “joining” info on how to orientate yourself to the craziness of Kathmandu. We’ll meet for a group dinner to welcome you and answer any questions or concerns! Lodging: Hotel

Sunday 30 April

We’ll meet after breakfast for a briefing on the adventure ahead and to check kit, answer questions etc. This is mandatory even if you are only joining us in Kathmandu, so that we can make sure we carry only (and all) that is necessary for the journey! Following this you are free to enjoy the day! We’ll give you some suggestions of how you might like to spend the day, whether that’s gear shopping in Thamel, enjoying a spa or massage, or exploring some of the heritage sites of Pashupatinath, Durbar Square and Swayambunath. We’ll suggest a group visit to Boudhanath in the early evening to make a few koras, set some intentions for the journey ahead, and enjoy a good meal together. Lodging: Hotel or own accommodation as required

Monday 1 May

We’ll take an early morning flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara (822m). After breakfast on the shores of Phewa Lake we’ll take a jeep to reach Dhorpatan (3900m). Lodging: Teahouse

Tuesday 2 May

Dhorpatan to Dhule (3410m). Lodging: Teahouse

via Phalgune Pass (3915m)

Wednesday 3 May

Dhule to Tarakot (2540m). Lodging: Teahouse

via Jang La (4535m)

Thursday 4 May

Tarakot to Chhepka (2720m). Lodging: Teahouse

via the high panoramic trail from Dunai

Friday 5 May

Chhepka to Ringmo (Phoksundo Lake). Lodging: Teahouse

Saturday 6 May

A day to rest, acclimatise or explore around Phoksundo! Lodging: Teahouse

Sunday 7 May

Ringmo to Dho Tarap (3944m). Lodging: Teahouse

via Bagala La (5169m) and Numala La (5309m)

Monday 8 May

Dho Tarap to Chharka Bhot (4302m). Lodging: Teahouse / homestay

via Chan La (5378m)

Tuesday 9 May

Chharka Bhot to Tinije (4110m). Lodging: homestay

via Mola La (5030m)

Wednesday 10 May

Tinije to Saldang (3770m). Lodging: homestay

Thursday 11 May

Saldang to Bhijer (3850m). Lodging: homestay

via Nengla La (5368m)

Friday 12 May

Bhijer to Kuwagaon. Lodging: homestay

via Yambur La (4813m)

Saturday 13 May

Kuwagaon to Pho. Lodging: homestay

Sunday 14 May

Pho to Chyandi Khola (4830m). Lodging: wild camp

via Nyingma Gyanzen La (5563m), Ridge Pass (5450m), Yala La (5415m)

Monday 15 May

Chyandi Khola to Thajuchaur (4040m). Lodging: wild camp

via Chyargo La (5150m)

Tuesday 16 May

Thajuchaur to Shilenchaura Kharka (2945m). Lodging: Teahouse

Wednesday 17 May

Shilenchaura Kharka to Mangri (1950m). Lodging: teahouse

Thursday 18 May

Mangri to Rara Lake (3010m). Lodging: teahouse

Friday 19 May

A day for exploration at Rara Lake. Lodging: teahouse

Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 May

We’ll keep these days “in hand” on the trail giving us the freedom to explore, rest or so that we have the option to split a longer day into two.

Monday 22 May

Travel back to Kathmandu. We are hoping this will be a morning flight from Gamgadhi to Nepalgunj, followed by an afternoon flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu. But we have to wait for the domestic flight routes for the spring season to be confirmed! Otherwise it will be a jeep ride followed by a flight to Kathmandu.

Tuesday 23 May (for those departing Nepal)

It’s always best to keep an extra “free” day in Kathmandu at the end of your trip in case of domestic flight delays or cancellations.

Wednesday 24 May (for those departing Nepal)

International departures.


A moment of stillness on a wild and beautiful pass (the 5563m Nyingma Gyanzen La) deep in the heart of the Himalaya. It was like standing on the spine of the world. For that moment that was my world, and right then there was nowhere else I needed to be. Come and share this high, wild journey with us, and you too can experience what that feels like!