Saturday, February 23, 2013

Great Himalaya Trail

We have finally arrived at the largest part of our sabbatical year: The Great Himalaya Trail. After 8 fantastic months spread throughout the US and Canada, we're in Nepal making our final preparations for an attempt to thru-hike the entire trail in 3 months.  The Nepal portion of this trail cuts across the entire country through the heart of the Himalaya, passing in the shadows of all of the country's 8000 meter peaks: Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna, and Dhaulaghiri.  It's more than 1,700 kilometers long, and crosses over passes higher than 6,200 meters tall.  In short, she's a doozy. The trail is a concept thought up by Robin Boustead, a long-time trekker in Nepal who wants to increase tourism revenue in the more remote portions of the Himalaya.  We just think it's an awesome idea.

Nepal’s Great Himalaya Trail
One trail to rule them all?  I don't know about that, but it DOES look pretty awesome on a map.
Abby and I initially started planning the trip solo, but we soon found two friends interested in joining us.  Andy and Mary are friends from Anchorage who have been with us on most of our big recent adventures, including our thru-hike of the Sierra High Route, our spring fly-in ski trips, and our rafting trip on the Grand Canyon.  We're excited to have them along, especially for the more remote sections where there is definitely strength to be had in numbers!  The company will be nice, too.  We've done short sections of it on our last trip to Nepal, 5 years ago, through Annapurna and Everest.  This time, we want to tackle the entire thing.

There is very little information on large parts of the trail, since it's a pretty new thing, and relatively few people have done it, so we're hoping to fill in the rest of the blanks here in Nepal, and let the chips fall where they may.  We'll have a SPOT with us (a small emergency GPS device), which will allow us to send out periodic updates of where we are on the trail.  The link to our site can be found here, and you can check in regularly to see where we're at.

Right now we're in Kathmandu, sorting out the last of the logistics and figuring out where to start.  It's been pretty rainy here in Kathmandu, which means snow up high.  This is a little concerning, but we're here, and we're motivated, so here we go.  Wish us luck!