Great Himalaya Trail
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The Great Himalaya Trail is a proposed trail of more than 4500 km stretching the length of the Greater Himalaya range from Nanga Parbat in Jammu & Kashmir to Namche Barwa in Tibet thus passing through Kashmir, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. When completed, it will be the longest and highest alpine walking track in the world, As of July 2010, only the Nepal and Bhutan sections have been walked and documented thoroughly. The other countries are still being researched.
The Great Himalaya Trail is a network of existing treks and trails which together form one of the longest and highest walking trails in the world. Winding beneath the world’s highest peaks and visiting some of the most remote communities on earth, it passes through lush green valleys, arid high plateaus and incredible landscapes. Nepal’s GHT has 10 sections comprising a network of upper and lower routes.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 History
- 3 Sections
- 4 Routes of The Great Himalaya Trail
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The Trail links together a range of the less explored tourism destinations and products of Nepal’s mountain region with a view to create an iconic tourism product with global profile and appeal that will attract increased numbers of new and repeat visitors to Nepal.
The main objective was to create a trekking route that crosses both well-known areas as well as other lesser-known sites that are very poor but have enormous tourism potential.The purpose of developing the trail was also to promote socioeconomic benefits to mountain communities.The Great Himalaya Trail covers 16 districts, ranging from Dolpa that connects with the Tibetan plateau, to Darchula, which borders India.Trekking in Nepal is a major attraction for tourists, but popular destinations have been limited to the regions of Solukhumbu, Everest, Annapurna and Langtang.
The route offers an incredible diversity in terms of landscapes, flora & fauna, people and culture: from snow leopards to red pandas; from sub-tropical jungle to fragile high-altitude eco-systems; from the famous Sherpas, to Shamanism, to the ancient Bön Buddhist culture found still in Dolpa.
Winding beneath the world’s highest peaks and visiting some of the most remote communities on earth, it passes through lush green valleys, arid high plateaus and incredible landscapes. Nepal’s GHT has 10 sections comprising a network of upper and lower routes each offering something different, be it adventure and exploration, authentic cultural experiences, or simply spectacular Himalayan nature.
The formation of a trail along the Greater Himalaya Range was precluded by access restrictions to certain areas in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan requiring detours into the mid-hills away from the Greater Himalaya Range. With time these access restrictions were eased or lifted, and in 2002, with further restrictions being lifted in border areas of Nepal, it became feasible for the first time. Many expeditions have walked great distances across the Himalaya including:
- 1981 Peter Hillary (son of Sir Edmund), Chhewang Tashi and Graeme Dingle walked from Sikkim to the Karakoram.
- 1981-82 Hugh Swift and Arlene Blum completed a nine-month traverse from Bhutan to Ladakh in India.
- 1983 British brothers Richard and Adrian Crane ran the Himalayas, from before Kanchenjunga to beyond Nanga Parbat in less than 100 days. The route required a large deviation from the Great Himalaya Range to cross the Nepal-India border.
- 1990 Sorrell Wilby and Chris Ciantar, made a traverse from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh.
- 1994. In autumn 1994, from October 21 to December 1, the French runners Paul-Eric Bonneau and Bruno Poirier will add up 2,100 km and 55,000 meters of positive uneven through the Himalaya Népalais. A Himalaya which will be crossed by them from East to West, from Pashupatinagar to Mahakali, while tightening the highest mountain range of the World with difficult weather conditions.
- 1997 Alexandre Poussin and Sylvain Tesson walked a 5,000 km route from Bhutan to Tajikistan. They completed it in about six months.
- 2003 Rosie Swale-Pope ran the length of Nepal in the mid-hills and Great Himalaya range, with a support team, covering an estimated 1,700 km in 68 days to raise money for the charity.
- 2007 Dr Gillian Holdsworth walked across Nepal with guide, Sonam Sherpa, to raise money for the Britain Nepal Medical Trust.  
- 2008-09 Nepal's Great Himalaya Trail route was first walked, following five years of research treks, over two seasons by a team led by Robin Boustead. The walk took a total of 162 days and is documented in a book of the same title. 
- 2010 Sean Burch, multiple Guinness World record holder and hailed by CNN as one of the most extreme adventurers on the planet, set an official world record by crossing the Great Himalaya Trail in an astonishing 49 days, 6 hours and 8 minutes.
- 2010 three young travelers Dipesh Joshi, Surose Dangol, Raju Maharjan from a group named The Pathfinders completed the Nepal's great Himalayan Trail section in one go.
- 2011 Justin Lichter and Shawn Forry at the time of writing are attempting to walk '8000 m East to 8000 m West' from Kanchenjunga to Nanga Parbat 
- In 2011 Sunil Tamang solo-hiked Great Himalaya Trail from Kanchenjunga in east to Rara Lake in west Nepal in 128 days on his own route starting on his 20th birthday making him the youngest person to thru-hike the trail.  
- In 2012 Paribesh Pradhan trekked the Great Himalaya Trail from Kanchenjunga to Darchula in 98 days as a part of his project "The Great Himalaya Trail - My Climate Initiative".
Trekking in Bhutan is organised into official routes that you can combine to traverse the country. Robin Boustead summarises the route as: “After arriving in Paro, head to Shana and Drugyal Dzong and the beginning of the Jhomolhari Trek. Continue around over the Nyele Pass to join and then follow the Ghasa Hot Springs trail to Thanza and the Snowman Trek. From the high lakes descend to Ungar on the Gankar Punsum route before following the Rhodang La Trek to Trashi Yangtse in the east. This route takes about 40 days depending on fitness.” 
As of September 2010 only Robin Boustead and his team (Pema Tsiring Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa and Karma Sherpa) have walked the full trail that links each himal from Kanchenjunga to Api.The upper route passes from East to West through established trekking areas of Kanchenjunga to Makalu Barun, Solukhumbu, Rolwaling Himal, Helambu, Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu, Annapurna, Dolpa, Rara Lake and Humla finishing on the border with Tibet at Hilsa.
Clusters of The Great Himalaya Trail Nepal
Kanchenjunga, at 8586m is the world’s third highest mountain and lies on the border with Sikkim. Eastern Nepal is generally more developed than western Nepal and more prosperous. This is due in part to the more favourable climate with its higher rainfall and in part to the employment of many Rai and Limbu people in the Gorkha regiments and the income and ideas such experiences bring in. Rugged terrain however means that mountain areas are especially remote.
The region is named after Mt Makalu, which at 8463m is the world’s 5th highest mountain. It’s home to more than 3000 species of flowering plants, including 25 species of rhododendron and hundreds of varieties of orchids
Everest and Rolwaling
Everest is also known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and Chomolungma in Tibet; the Everest region is known locally as the Khumbu. Its home to three of the highest peaks in the world: Everest 8848m; Lhotse, 4th highest at 8516m; and Cho Oyu, 6th highest at 8201m.
Rolwaling Himal is home to Tamang, Sherpa, eastern Gurung and the indigenous Thami people. While Rolwaling Himal has no formally protected areas it is rich in plant and bird species and wildlife including red panda, black bear and leopard cat!
Langtang and Helambu
Manaslu and Ganesh
Annapurna and Mustang
Rara and Jumla
Far West Nepal
Routes of The Great Himalaya Trail
Trekkers can choose between two routes. Nepal’s GHT high route is winding through high mountain ranges on an average altitude of 3000 to 5000 metres, providing for breath-taking views on the country’s towering peaks. Along the GHT low route, often referred to as the cultural route, tourists will get the chance to visit small communities and villages and learn about the culture and traditions of Nepal’s various ethnic groups.
Trekking along the GHT high route makes for an unforgettable adventure and the trip of a lifetime.
The trail stretches over a distance of about 1,700 km and passes through spectacular, high altitude mountain landscapes, visiting some of the most remote villages on earth, where life remains as it was centuries back.
Trekking along the GHT high route requires to cross high passes with altitudes up to 6,146 m and the whole trek takes about 150 days on average. Proper trekking gear and mountaineering equipment is needed and anyone attempting this trek should be physically fit and have trekking and ideally some mountaineering experience. For safety, a local mountain guide who knows the terrain is definitely recommended especially in high altitudes.Due to the remoteness of the trek, camping is required for most parts of the adventure and it is necessary that you (or your porter) carry a tent, food and cooking equipment. But what could be better than pitching your tent surrounded by the mighty snow-capped Himalayas and sleeping under the star lit sky?
Nepal’s high route starts north of the Kanchenjunga Base Camp and ends in Hilsa at Nepal’s Tibetan border in the Western district of Humla.
The GHT low route – also called the cultural route – winds through the country’s mid hills with an average altitude of 2000m. However, there are many passes to cross with the highest being the Jang La at 4519 m between Dhorpatan and Dolpa in West-Nepal.
Trekking along the GHT low route means walking through beautiful lush forests, pastures, green rice terraces and fertile agricultural land, providing the basis for Nepal’s rich culture and civilization. You will come across local settlements of many different cultural groups, giving you the chance to see what authentic Nepali village life is all about.
For most parts of the trek, you’ll be able to stay in small guesthouses or homestays, but make sure to still take your tent for some of the more remote sections of the route. With lots of local restaurants around, you’ll find a place to eat almost everywhere and so you don’t necessarily need to carry large amounts of food. Shorter than the high route, the GHT low route stretches over a distance of 1,500 km and the whole trek will roughly take around 100 days.
- "The Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal". UNWTO. SNV Nepal. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "GHT trail in Nepal". travelbiznews. Communication Nepal Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Nepal Trust
- Hillary, Peter; Dingle, Graham (1984). First Across the Roof of the World: the story of the first crossing of the Himalayas from one end to the other.. Hodder & Stoughton. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- Blum, Arlene (2005). Breaking Trail. Harcourt Books. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- Poussin, Alexandre; Tesson, Sylvain (1999). La marche dans le ciel. Broché. Retrieved 2010-09-09.