Way back in February of this year I wrote a piece about the Great Himalayan Trail, a new epic hike that is set to open next year. The trail will wind it’s way through the mountainous regions of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India, and Pakistan, covering more than 4500km (2800 miles) in the process. When it was announced, the new trail immediately went on the radar of long distance hikers who were intrigued with the new option that would take approximately 150 days to complete.
Now, it seems the trail is in danger even before it officially opens. According to this story from the Himalayan Times, the plan was to invite mountaineers, trekking experts, and journalists to the official opening of the trail in order to kick it off in grand style. But now, because of a lack of budget, those plans are in jeopardy, as the required money just isn’t available in the public sector alone to properly complete the trail and promote it abroad.
The trail is expected to officially open in January or February of next year, helping to kick off Nepal’s Tourism Year 2011, and will consist of two different routes, the Higher Great Himalayan Trail and Mid Hill Great Himalayan Trail. The former will link 21 distinct trails together, and will be above 5000 meters (16,404 ft), while the latter will be far less strenuous and appeal to a more open crowd.
Ang Tshering Sherpa, the former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, is calling on the government there to help pick up the tab. He believes that the increased tourism will help the country as a whole and that Nepali officials should embrace the economic possibilities of the trail. At this time there are few teahouses or any other form of lodging available, something this is likely to change in the months ahead.