Enlightened Athletics: High Altitude Mind & Body Training



2018 DATES:
MAY 9-14

Shared Tent: $1,500 USD | Shared Cabin: $2,100 USD  |  Single Cabin: $2,900 USD

10,500 feet up (3,200 meters) on the grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau...

 Nomads, Buddhist monks, and thousands of years of culture...

Empowering your body, mind, and the local community...



For the casual or professional athlete or team, engage in mind and body training at over 3,200 meters (10,500 feet) amongst the vast and challenging hills of the plateau. Six days of training alongside nature and the elements at altitude, discovering the power of meditation, introspection, and reflection in relation to your sport, and immersing yourself in the surrounding Tibetan culture and Buddhist influences. Daily physical workouts include plyometrics, calisthenics, long distance running & sprints, hill training, and body workouts at an altitude with 30% less effective oxygen. Daily mindful workouts include workshops on sports psychology, mental athletic training, meditation, and optimizing athletic performance.

Norden Camp offers urbanites from around the world the rare opportunity to experience authentic Tibetan culture in complete comfort. Managed by and for the benefit of grassland nomads, Norden Camp operates sustainably, without compromising the existing Tibetan Buddhist culture or our spectacular natural environment. Located at 3,200 meters (10,500 feet) above sea level, Norden Camp is situated 20 minutes outside of Labrang, the famous Tibetan monastic town in the Tibetan Autonomous Kanlho Prefecture, Gansu Province, China. The 11-hectare (27 acre) site borders a meandering river and is home to gazelles, hares, marmots and foxes, and visited by a vibrant array of migratory birds. 

Norden Cuisine is based on the local pastoral lifestyle and the food derived from it. Ours is an innovative, culturally conscious menu rooted in tradition, based on local seasonal products, and suitable for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. The area is untouched by development and the food that emanates from the pasture is organic by default. The milk from dris (female yaks) grazing in areas teeming with medicinal plants is known for its high nutritional value and reduced lactose content; it is the source of our healthy and delicious butter, yogurt and cream. The pasture in summer abounds in local herbs and mushrooms that can be collected daily and added to the menu. Bread is baked in traditional mud brick ovens and noodles are hand pulled and fresh at every meal. 

As part of the Enlightened Athletics experience we will travel to the remote village of Zorge Ritoma and Norlha Textiles. Norlha, Norden's sister organization, is a groundbreaking social enterprise and one of the few luxury brands in the world merging cultural and environmental sustainability with the most sophisticated and enduring style. Norlha is internationally known for its innovation with yak textiles and its inclusion of local nomads in the entire process of transforming the yak. We will tour Norlha's atelier and the village of Zorge Ritoma, and join the Norlha women's and men's basketball teams - a group of nomads turned artisans turned basketball players - in their athletic training. 

Our mission at Norden Travel and Norlha Textiles is to generate sustainable employment for former nomads while offering exceptional, uniquely Tibetan experiences and products. With nomadism in decline and in an increasingly precarious state, many Tibetans are left with no choice but to move into the large cities in search of work. The training and employment provided at Norlha and Norden allow these Tibetans and their families to stay in their home villages, keep their traditions, and do work they can be proud of. Your participation in Enlightened Athletics directly supports these important initiatives. 


Day 1
Staggered Airport Pickups, Arrivals and Orientation at Camp, Welcome Dinner

Day 2
Visit Labrang Tashi Kyil Monastery, Yoga & Meditation, Mindful Athletics Workshop & Training

Day 3
Visit with Local Nomadic Families, Yak & Horseback Riding, Mindful Athletics Workshop & Training

Day 4
Visit Local Tibetan Village, Norlha Textiles Tour, Training with Norlha Textiles Basketball Team

Day 5
The Hike: Summit to the top of Norden's highest hill - a physical and mental test. Reward yourself afterwards with sauna and massage.  

Day 6
Exit Orientation, Travel Departures


5 Nights Norden Camp
All Meals (Lunch/Dinner Day 1, Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner daily Days 2-5, Breakfast Day 6)
All Local & Airport Ground Transportation
All Activities & Guides
Personal Trainer


We recommend flights into:
Xiahe (GXH) - accessible worldwide via Xi'an or Chengdu, 30 minute drive to camp
Lanzhou (LHW) - accessible worldwide via major Chinese cities, 4.5 hour drive to camp

A Chinese visa is generally required to enter China (please consult your country's embassy and China visa policy). No Tibet Autonomous Region (T.A.R.) special permit is needed to enter this part of the Tibetan Plateau. 

Travel Insurance
Kindly consult your local travel insurance agency.

We recommend bringing extra spending money for additional food and alcohol, Norlha purchases, souvenirs, etc. 


Yak Khullu Tent (2 person)
18 Square Meters, Two Twin Beds
Adjacent Detached Eco-Friendly Toilets
Stove Heating

Log Cabin (2-person)
24 Square Meters, Two Double Beds or King Bed
Ensuite Eco-Friendly Bathrooms
Stove Heating


Willard "Bill" Johnson

Coach Bill is the head coach of the Norlha women's and men's basketball teams and Director of Norlha Wellness. After a nomadic basketball career playing collegiately and around the globe, he joined the nomads of the Plateau in 2015 and lives in Zorge Ritoma village most of the year. During the basketball offseason he competes with the USA National Beach Handball team. He believes very strongly in the mental side of sport, and ways of enhancing this in all aspects of training.


Amdo Region, Tibetan Plateau
Xiahe County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China.