About Us: Some GHT History
The Nepal Himalaya is amazing; a place where you can immerse yourself in authentic cultures and be inspired by the greatest mountain scenery on the planet. Since the early 1950s, tourists have been exploring the countless valleys and peaks of the pahar (mid-hills) and himal (high ranges). Recent democratic elections and relative political stability have led to a surge in visitors to Nepal as the mountains again offer unhindered trails for anyone to explore.
The three main trekking regions, Everest, Annapurna and Langtang, attract tens of thousands of trekkers every year. Facilities have never been better and easily rival those found in Europe or elsewhere; there are even some luxury lodges in the Everest and Annapurna should you want a touch of comfort! Trails are well maintained and safe, and the locals will welcome you with genuine friendliness that will make your heart melt.
The other two-thirds of Nepal’s mountain terrain is normally considered ‘off-the-beaten-track’ and counts visitors in mere hundreds. From the lush rhododendron forests of the east to the dense woodlands in the west, the Nepal Himalaya is predominantly wilderness dotted with remote communities that have remained relatively untouched. In these regions, a small trekking group can make a real difference to lives that are barely subsistence.
Although the mountains are beyond compare, it is the people you meet along the trail that linger in your memory. You can’t help but admire their indefatigable boldness and energy, their independence, strength and resilience when times are bad, and their fun, openhearted, generous nature towards strangers who may never return. It’s impossible to make a comparison, but surely the people of the high himal are the very best of mankind?
In 2002, the Nepali government reconciled all border disputes with its northern neighbour China thus de-militarising seven border areas and for the first-time tourists were allowed to explore them. All of these areas offer unique trekking opportunities, and tend to be next to the major trekking routes, so it’s possible to design itineraries combining old and new routes, which makes your journey a more ‘complete’ Nepali experience.
For many years, one of the great trekking ‘holy grails’ has been a route through the remotest peaks of the entire Himalaya, linking all the main trekking regions. The author is the first person to survey, plot and describe such a route: the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT). The Nepal section of the GHT can take 90 to 150 days of walking, so for convenience it is broken into sections, all of which have easy access and lower route alternatives through the pahar.
The introduction of new trekking routes through remote communities will encourage micro-tourism businesses in places that are to remote for intensive infrastructure development. By creating value in regions that previously had little to offer for tourism, it is hoped that the relevant government departments will establish a comprehensive network of National Parks and Conservation Areas that form a continuous corridor for animal migration, which could reduce illegal hunting and help save many endangered species. The snow-covered crown of Asia may then become one of its greatest assets.
The GHT Community
Everyone who treks a GHT ‘end-to-end’ says it changes them… changes them inside and often changes their life direction. There can be few activities in life that so profoundly touch you and have the potential to transform your perspectives – on yourself and the world around you.
This means that the end-to-end club, that is those folks who have walked from border to border across a Himalayan country, share something very special. You might only ever see them once in your life, but you immediately have something profound in common with each other.
We want to see that ‘club’ grow… for more people to experience what we believe is so simple and wonderful… to challenge yourself and become a GHT end-to-ender. Every GHTer is happy to answer questions and share their stories in the hope that it will inspire more to do their GHT!
The GHT attracts long-distance hikers from around the world, and the stats show it!
As at September 2019, 93 trekkers had registered as hiking across Nepal from border to border, and a further 32 had been within a whisker of success!
Since 2009, the numbers of GHTers has been growing each year and we hope doing the GHT, at least in Nepal, will become as popular as climbing Mt Everest and, without a doubt, the GHT is harder!
If you’ve trekked the GHT in Nepal, India or Bhutan, then please let us know! If you’d like to submit your details to the GHT registry, then please contact us or Himalayan Adventure Labs (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a brief outline of your route, trekking times, details of those who completed the trek, and a GPS file if you have one!
Robin first fell in love with the Himalaya in 1993 and has returned every year since. With a group of friends, he conceived the idea of developing the most challenging trek in the world along a route which encompassed the entire Himalaya from one end to the other. This became known as the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT).
Robin began researching new trekking routes that link each of the himals in 2002 and has now completed high traverses of the Indian, Bhutanese and Nepal Himalayan ranges as well as dozens of shorter treks. He completed a full traverse of the Great Himalaya Trail over two seasons, an epic journey which took six months and during which he lost over twenty percent of his body weight.