The GHT is worth every minute of suffering!
Hi, my name is Luc Hapers, 48 years young from Belgium.
I have travelled extensively since I was 18.
Since 2011, I´m also into ultrarunning and I´ve done several 100 milers and even longer races. But when that was not satisfying enough anymore I started looking for something more challenging.
So, searching the net I came across the GHT about 3 or 4 years ago. That looked to me like the perfect challenge.
Because of my races I always postponed this trip but then last year I decided to not wait any longer, I would not sign up for another race the next year or two and start preparing myself for this GHT. To make it all even more challenging I set myself a time limit of 80 days to finish.
I posted a message on the GHT website and soon found some people to join me.
September 5th, 2019 Charlie from UK, Milena from Poland and myself met in KTM, arranged our permits, supply bags and climbing gear and started the GHT on the 9th in Taplejung. We chose Mac Trek as our partner to arrange all this stuff for us and I have to say that it was an excellent choice! Also in terms of communication they were amazing. All reasonable priced as well. Narayan has a good knowledge of the GHT and everyone in the office was super nice.
HIGH vs LOW
My initial plan was to run the whole GHT high route in 40 to 60 days, skipping the technical passes, but because I couldn´t find anyone with the same intention within the same time frame I adjusted my plans a bit. High plus low route including all 5 technical passes in 80 days, hiking the first 50 days ´till after Tilman´s pass and start running from there. For different reasons that didn´t happen either.
I ended up spending more time than expected on the low route. Not that I regret it though. In that way I got to know more of the everyday life and the hospitality of the people in the villages. A whole different experience! Everyone´s personal situations that occur along this trip are what make every GHT so unique.
DANGER LURKS AROUND EVERY CORNER
At around 4000m altitude sickness had hit both Charlie and Milena. causing Milena not to be able to join us to Kachenjunga BC.
Later, just before the technical passes Charlie got a terrible headache and was vomiting because of AMS.
Torrential rain had caused trails to become very slippery, even dangerous in some parts. Sometimes we found ourselves knee deep in the mud. We slipped countless times and at one point I even fell down an abyss but could hold on to a tree and managed to pull myself up again.
Milena was less fortunate when she fell off a 200 meter cliff. Ironically this occured on a supposedly safe section near Namche avoiding the technical Tashi Labsta pass.
Mental river crossings and massive landslides were other potential dangers that we encountered during this trip.
THE HARDEST THING YOU´LL EVER DO
´It will be the hardest thing you´ll ever do´, that´s what Robin told us, and hell, was he right about it! But it was worth every minute of suffering!
( Although I don´t think I thought that way about it 2 months ago. )
The fact that I had to finish within 80 days didn´t help much either.
But I made it eventually in 70 days. I have again pushed my limits and I can say that I certainly gained mental strength. Every future race will look like a walk in the park. from now on.
Link to Luc’s full GHT Blog: https://lucsbigadventure.weebly.com/home/november-26th-2019
Link to MacTreks: http://www.mactreks.com/nepal/