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I wish to circumambulate around Mount Kailash on foot. This is roughly 33 miles of mountaineous terrain.

Many people do this for spiritual reasons, i.e circumambulate once to wash away your sins, circumambulate 108 times to attain nirvana.

I just want to circumambulate around Mount Kailash because I want to.

What type of training do I require? I understand this can take years, even decades.

Some information about me.

  • lady in mid-30s (people swear I am in early 20s)
  • 5'4", 140lbs (last time I weighed myself was Jan 2016)
  • mostly eat fruits, veggies, fiber
  • exercise 4 to 5 days a week, perform Surya Namaskar (started with 3 reps in Summer 2015, I'm up to 69 reps now, goal to reach 108 reps by end of 2017), plus light weights

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If you want to do this route, I strongly suggest that you use a tour operator. They know the area, weather, locals and will make your trip very safe.

Based on a popular pilgrimage tour operator the route takes 3 days. http://www.yowangdu.com/tibet-travel/mount-kailash.html

Some Tibetans will make the whole 32 mile (52 km) circuit in a single long day (like 14 hours), but it is common for visitors to take three days, with this basic itinerary:

  • Day 1: Darchen – Drirapuk Gompa
  • Day 2: Drirapuk Gompa – Zutrulpuk Gompa (Also Dzutrulpuk)
  • Day 3: Zutrulpuk Gompa – Darchen

Day 2 will be the hardest day, as you will have to cross the Dolma la pass, at 18,471ft (5630m). This pass is blocked by snow until April.

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Recommendation for you is to call up a tour operator and ask them what training you should do. From a acclimatisation perspective there is value in going on a 3 day hike over the same distance in Scotland (again, with a mountain leader for support).


But I want to go there without support, guides, insurance etc.

If you want to throw away all shackles of using a tour to give you sensible, experienced, advice on training for the region and wish to make the trek then you will want to train reasonably hard.

Note, you need to get a permit and getting to the mountain isn't the easiest either, see: http://wikitravel.org/en/Mount_Kailash

The training you need to do will be linked to the terrain that you will be in.

  1. Unfamiliar Terrain Navigation
  2. Height above sea level

1. Unfamiliar Terrain Navigation

To train for navigation a good practice would be to get a crudely drawn map of an areas landmarks (hand drawn/public information map). Buy the ordinance survey of the area and try to navigate off-path around a route of all parts. An event like Ten Tors (but for adults) is ideal for practicing this skill. Hit up your local rambling/hill-walking group or local outdoors shop for some help in finding events to practice at.

Fortunately the route is reasonably well travelled and so you should not have a huge amount of difficulty staying on path.

2. Height above sea level

The route at the mountain is in the region of 4-5000m above sea level. At this height it is recommended that walkers (anywhere in the world) carry oxygen tanks. In addition to a few days acclimatization as you make your way to the mountain you should definitely try and get some exposure to walking at height. This can be done anywhere there is a mountain or hilly range. You want to aim to get as much time walking at close to 5000m as you can, ideally with a mountain leader for support and advice. Plan a couple 3 day walks at heights 2, 3, 4/5km above sea level on different weekends. Keep the distance short but the exposure high.

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  • "What type of training do I require?" - Your response does not actually answer this question.
    – rrirower
    Jul 4, 2016 at 14:24
  • @jjosaur The map is extremely helpful.
    – Rhonda
    Jul 4, 2016 at 16:01

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