The Great Himalaya Trail is the combination of several trail networks stretching the length of the Himalaya range, with sections in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. From April to September 2019 Mathi and I hiked the Nepal section from Kanchenjunga (on the Indian border in the East) to Hilsa (on the Chinese border in the West).
The concept of the high route is that it follows the highest feasible continuous route across the country, averaging 3,750m (12,000ft) of elevation, with several passes reaching 6,200m (20,300ft). In total 1,400km (870 miles) over 115 days of hiking, with 240,000m (800,000ft) of elevation change - that's an average of 2,000m (6,500ft) per day. Including rest days, we completed the trek in 154 days.
Although the route passes through the more popular trekking areas of Everest and Annapurna, many sections visit some of the most remote corners of Nepal. We completed trek with the minimum of support, so no guides or porters us unless absolutely necessary for safety or mandated by local law.
After finishing the GHT, I made comprehensive trail notes and a FAQ for people planning the trail:
- Frequently Asked Questions
- GPS routes
- Trail notes (also available without maps)
- Trail notes data (spreadsheet)
A great place to ask questions is my GHT WhatsApp group. In the group are several people who have completed the trek, and several who are planning it.
I filmed a short vlog style video every day of the trek. You can find weekly summaries here:
- Week 1: Kanchenjunga - I'm hiking up the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trail towards the far north east corner of Nepal.
- Week 2: Kanchenjunga - I reached the amazing Kanchenjunga Base Camp, and started the first really remote section.
- Week 3: Makalu - The trail is getting really tough as I cross the first high pass.
- Week 4: Makalu - I get a helicopter rescue and finally meet my hiking buddy Mathilde.
- Week 5: Everest - We cross the highest, most technical and most dangerous passes of the whole trek.
- Week 6: Everest - We hike through the most spectacular scenery as we take a detour to Cho Oyu Base Camp.
- Week 7: Rolwaling - More amazing scenery as we tackle yet another major pass.
- Week 8: Rolwaling - We leave the high mountains and get our first taste of how hot and humid Nepal can be at the lower elevations.
- Week 9: Helambu - A week of slogging through heat, humidity and leeches into the high mountains again.
- Week 10: Langtang - Another huge pass with full mountaineering gear, and we take a very refreshing swim on the way down.
- Week 11: Ganesh Himal - Finally monsoon hits, we both get sick and make some huge navigational blunders. A hard week!
- Week 12: Manaslu - Some more pleasant trekking and spectacular views as we join the Manaslu Circuit trail.
- Week 13: Annapurna - Into the Annapurna region now, so easy hiking through beautiful scenery, but a big change of plans at the end.
- Week 14: Mustang - We take an unconventional exit from Annapurna, and enter the utterly spectacular Dolpa region.
- Week 15: Dolpa - The scenery gets better and better as we trek through Dolpa, but will we make it out of the mountains in one piece? Major navigation and tent disasters this week.
- Week 16: Dolpa - Long, hot, exhausting days across rugged terrain as we continue through Dolpa… and we're lucky to be alive after some terrible decisions.
- Week 17: Rara - Baking in the sun, sinking in the mud, and we cross the final 5,000m pass of the trek.
- Week 18: Humla - An emotional end to the trek as we arrive at the Chinese border.
Here's some blog posts I wrote during my preparation for the GHT. Some have post-trail updates: