Oct 17, 2009 at 7:17 pm #1240335
A new route has been declared. I'd love to see someone thruhike it. I'd love to do it myself. Alas, I suspect that the various governments will not allow independent hikers. Perhaps there could be a movement to encourage them to change their stance. It is surely one of the nicest long distance hikes in the world.
As I understand, the Nepal segment is done. Some of the trail has been hiked by pioneer Australian Robin Boustead. It's estimated to be 3400 miles (5500km) long.
Bhutan – 440km
China (Tibet) – 500km
India (Northwest) – 1,100km
India (Sikkim) – 155km
Nepal – 1,600km
Pakistan – 125kmOct 18, 2009 at 6:33 pm #1537556
…a resounding lack of interest for one of the top trails on earth…Oct 18, 2009 at 6:49 pm #1537559
That would be one epic long-distance hike! I can't even wrap my brain around the logistics that would be required.Oct 18, 2009 at 7:41 pm #1537581
What's truly epic is that it looks like they're making two routes. One lower in the middle hills, that would support more local economies and one higher. And when you loop them together….
Absolutely logistics would be a challenge. It probably involves forking over huge sums of cash to local "fixers".Oct 18, 2009 at 7:52 pm #1537585
Looks amazing. But also requires a lifestyle commitment to thru hike and is a bit far to section hike. So I'm guessing that explaisn part of the lack of interest. I've done a trip to Ladahk and a trip to Nepal, both in Fall 2000. Would love to get back there.Oct 19, 2009 at 11:16 am #1537730
@pivvayLocale: Rocky Mountains
Perhaps a lack of interest in a thru hike is because it's far from complete? It looks fascinating but if there is no full trail then there is no thru hike.Oct 19, 2009 at 11:54 pm #1537956
Hello from Kathmandu,
I am interested in getting feedback from trekkers about their perceptions of this trail.
*It probably involves forking over huge sums of cash to local "fixers".* – What constitutes a huge sum? Can you give me an example of a logistical challenge and i will see if I can find out some real costs.
*"…two routes. One lower in the middle hills, that would support more local economies and one higher."*
If you see the map ( http://www.thegreathimalayatrail.org/ght-map/ ) there is just one researched & completed high-level route. Yellow lines are alternatives and access routes.
*"…it's far from complete…"*
Apart from Nepal, yep – lots of work still to do. If you or anyone else are interested in actually developing and hiking other sections of the route, contact Robin Boustead, he'd be interested to hear from you.Oct 20, 2009 at 12:06 am #1537958
Without looking at the details in depth, I can't give specific examples. But I imagine that much of the trail requires guides, as much of Nepal does. A solo hiker like myself would probably be pushed in to a team of 4-5 guides, porters and cooks. A couple of hundred dollars a day? I wonder what it costs to have resupplies dropped off in remote places? Surely it depends how remote. But to have 30 pounds of food dropped off eight days from the nearest road? Is this even done? I'd image that a good "fixer" could organize reliable and cheap porters to do drops such as this in various villages. I haven't done much hiking in Nepal, but I've never heard of such a practice.
When I was there, I couldn't find a guide that was willing to hike with me. Only the guide, we carry our own stuff, cook our own meals, share a tent, hike reasonably long distances. I suspect that with deep local contacts such a person can be found.
Do you know if Robin hikes independently? What are his logistics like? I've sent him an email…Oct 20, 2009 at 12:27 am #1537960
On other notes. Thanks for joining and commenting! I'm excited about the idea of a long trail in the Himalaya. And I'm excited that the Nepal segment seems to be established. It would be nice if there was more information on it. Perhaps one day there will be quality info like the type that Yogi puts together for U.S. trails (pcthandbook.com)? The map that you linked to is great, I hadn't seen it.
It seems like the route passes over many mountaineering passes. It would be nice to also have a route that doesn't require such effort.
I hiked a little in the "middle hills" and I loved it. I'd like to see the southern route established as well.
What will the guidebook include? Hopefully 7.5 minute Topos, descriptions of route finding, town/village description, and stuff about logistics. The description of the current photo book makes it sound like it already includes some of this.
A fantastic step that I'd like to see in terms of small scale tourist development… Support businesses in villages along the way by offering seed money to purchase basic non-perishable hiking food that can be sold to long distance hikers.Oct 22, 2009 at 8:05 pm #1538910
Sorry Jack, took me a little time to get back to email land. I have started putting more info on the site in response to a bunch of questions from people both in Nepal and o/s.
I think there is a huge potential for independent walkers along the GHT and the more people start to voice a desire to walk the trail this way the more trekking agencies will listen. I feel like there is a plot to homogenise trekking into package tours to a few ‘profit centres’ like Everest, Annapurna and Langtang. Yes, these are all great areas, but there are many others equal to them that can provide some wonderful hikes – Phuksumdo is an example where for a US$10 permit you can tea-house trek to perhaps the most beautiful place in the Himalaya!
The GHT follows local village-to-village trails across most of the country, with only the big passes Sherpani and West Col, Amphu Labsta, Tashi Labsta and Tilman requiring Sherpa support. There are also a few genuine wilderness areas that you would be unwise to trek alone, like the Lumbha Sambha and the Dolpo-Mugu traverse. These areas constitute less than 40% of the total trail in Nepal, so there is about 1,000km that could be trekked independently.
Beyond Nepal, East Tibet has lots of restrictions, and Bhutan is not prepared to allow any independent hiking. Much of Sikkim can be trekked by individuals, in fact, this was the first place I hiked in the Himalaya with my sister for company. And nearly all of the trails in northwest India are roadhead-to-roadhead so the issue there is how to avoid potential resupply points.
For my traverse of Nepal, I had 5 re-supply points – Chhukung in Everest, Last Resort (Arniko Highway), Syabru Besi (Langtang/Ganesh Himal), Jomsom (before Dolpo) and Gamgadhi (Rara). This meant frugal dinning for much of the time – just chapatti, rice and potato with the occasional chicken or goat meat – I lost a lot of weight!
What I love about the GHT is that it is a personal challenge, there is no right or best way to go. I have completed the ‘extreme’ route to highlight the variety Nepal has to offer – the lowest point of the extreme route is 970m, and more than 30% of trails are under 3,000m, the highest point being 6,190m. It’s a trail network that can add value to regions that previously where thought to offer little, I hope to have helped prove that wrong.
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