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The Great Himalayan Trail


ROBIN BOUSTEAD


If there is a trekking 'holy grail', it is a route through the remotest peaks of the Great Himalaya Range that joins all the major trekking regions in Nepal. Following five years of research treks, the Nepali section of the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) is now a reality. Starting in September 2008 in Kanchenjunga and ending in July this year in the Api Himal, Pema Sherpa and I became the first people to traverse the entire length of the Nepal Himalaya. In doing so we traversed some of the most amazing mountain scenery on the planet and discovered an incredible wealth of ethnic and natural diversity. The result (see below) is an extreme trekking trail over 162 days with more than 150,000 metres of climbing and descending, a proposition sure to tempt adventurous trekkers. Over the next couple of years, I will be trekking through the Eastern and Western Himalaya to complete a trans-Himalayan trail over 4,000km that will take between 16-18 months to trek.

Nepal's three main trekking regions, Everest, Annapurna and Langtang, attract tens of thousands every year. The trails here are well maintained and safe, and offer novice and experienced trekkers alike the opportunity to explore the Himalaya in relative comfort. The other two thirds of Nepal's mountain terrain are normally considered 'off the beaten track'. From the lush rhododendron forests of the east to the dense woodlands of the west, relatively untouched wilderness and remote communities await discovery. Indeed, a small trekking group in these regions can make a real difference to lives that are barely subsistence.

In 2002, the Nepali government resolved all its border disputes with its northern neighbour China. This demilitarised seven border areas and for the first time in over fifty years, tourists were allowed to explore them. All of these areas offer unique trekking opportunities. They also tend to be next to the major trekking routes, so it's possible to design itineraries combining old and new routes.

Although the mountains are beyond compare, it is the people you meet along the trail who linger in your memory. You can't help but admire their indefatigable boldness and energy, their independence and resilience, and their open-hearted, generous nature towards strangers they may never see again. It's impossible to make a comparison, but surely the people of the high Himal are among the very best of humankind?

I hope that the GHT will inspire other trekkers to embark upon their own GHT trails, helping develop micro-tourism projects in communities too remote for major infrastructure development. Creating value in regions that previously had little to offer could also precede the establishment of a transboundary corridor for animal migration, helping to save many endangered species. The snow-covered crown of Asia may then become one of its greatest assets.

ROBIN BOUSTEAD

ROBERT ROSENBAUM

ROBERT ROSENBAUM

PEMA SHERPA

SANDRA BUTLER

SANDRA BUTLER

ROBIN BOUSTEAD

ROBIN BOUSTEAD

ROBIN BOUSTEAD


The real Naya Nepal

ROBERT ROSENBAUM
In his fascinating book 'The Great Himalaya Trail - A Pictorial Guide', Robin Boustead uses stunning photographs, compelling storytelling and section route descriptions to describe the highest feasible route across Nepal. The large format pictures offer an intriguing insight into the first expedition to trek and map the Great Himalaya Trail. It crosses every one of Nepal's mighty mountain ranges, from Kanchenjunga in the east to Saipal in the west. Folklore combines with descriptions of the communities encountered to give the reader an intimate glimpse into the lives of mountain people. The series of interlinking trekking maps and graphical trail profiles provide enough detail for anyone to begin planning their own Great Himalaya Trail adventure.

The Great Himalaya Trail - A Pictorial Guide, by Robin Boustead
Himalayan Maphouse, 2009
ISBN: 9789993347408
Pages: 167

Robin will be signing copies of his book at Mandala Bookpoint on Saturday, 3.30PM



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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