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The long march



ROBIN BOUSTEAD
There's been a lot of hype surrounding the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) in the last couple of years. At least two separate entities have staked their claim on the GHT brand in Nepal, with Robin Boustead leading World Expedition's commercial venture and Dutch development organisation SNV recently handing over ownership of the official GHT to the Nepal Government. Ultimately, both have the same motivation: to promote sustainable tourism across the 1,700km length of the Nepal Himalaya, in a way that benefits both visitors and the communities of the visited.

On 17 February, the first ever commercial crossing of the Great Himalaya Trail kicked off. World Expeditions have been marketing the trail for the last 15 months in Australia, USA, Canada, UK and New Zealand, and now have over 40 participants who will walk parts of the trail. Two will trek the entirety of the GHT in one continuous 157-day push. Aussie Gregory Baggage (pic, right) and Brit Toni Wilson will be making history, as no one has ever completed the 1,700km route in a single season.

The various stages of the GHT will be led by a series of expert mountaineers, with the architect of the GHT Robin Boustead leading the first stage. Other guides include Sorrel Wilby, Stephen Venables, Greg Mortimer, and Carlos Buhler. The expeditions will employ porters and support staff from the regions they pass through, purchase food from the villages and of course, afford trekkers the opportunity to purchase traditional handicrafts. For Boustead and World Expeditions, this is sustainable tourism in practice.

"There are not many times in your life that you get an opportunity such as this," said Babbage before the GHT traverse began. If the GHT picks up, it won't be just trekkers who will be making the most of the opportunity.

PICS: RABI THAPA

READ ALSO:
The Great Himalayan Trail, ROBIN BOUSTEAD
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1. jange

Good marketing technique. Hope it exceeds expectations.

Best of luck.



2. A K Sherpa
Your article repeatedly mentions the length of the GHT as 1700 km. This sounds like an error to me. I thought the East to West length is only around 7000 km...

3. Sandy
Will love to trek this trail one day.

4. hange
Would have loved to have seen a larger image of the map depicted in the article above.


5. chandraGurung
One day we will have an express way along that trail. An environment friendly express way, I hope.

6. Hemendra Bohra
Not sure why the GHT ends (or starts) in Humla and not in Darchula.  After all Darchula is the westernmost Himalayan district of Nepal.

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


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