Is The Great Himalaya Trail In Danger?

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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.

Personally, I was excited about this trail when I first wrote about it, and I hope it has a chance to become a real draw for adventure travelers to a country that is already synonymous with adventure. 
Kraig Becker

7 thoughts on “Is The Great Himalaya Trail In Danger?”

  1. Don't they get loads of money from all those Everest climbers ? I mean $50-60 K per person ? Where does it all go ? Or is it really true that a lion share of the money ends up in the pockets of all those greedy tourist companies and local officials ?

    Sometimes I feel sorry for countries like Nepal, India, Philippines, Africa…Most visited countries, tons of tourists…and still poor

  2. I went to a talk on the GHT by Robin Boustead a couple of weeks ago in London and it was really inspiring stuff. I know that World Expeditions have around five people signed up to trek the whole 153-day route already so I hope this news doens't play havoc with them.

    I fear enormously for Visit Nepal Year 2011 – the Tourist Board out there have no idea what they're doing.

  3. don't take it too seriously – or event seriously at all. It's an article stating only one person's opinion (and he has vested interests).

    The GHT is made of existing trails connected together to form a long mountain journey across Nepal and beyond.

    The GHT is there now for anyone who wants to walk it or any section of it. It doesn't need a big jamboree in Kathmandu with big names. And indeed the headline should have read, "The GHT opening party in danger…"

    It just needs people to decide they would like to walk on this trail and then go.

    It also needs good people like you to spread the word – a lot of people in Nepal couple benefit from off the beaten track tourism.

  4. Good point Koji. The trail does already exist and this is mostly just a promotion to get it going and further spread the word about the route, which is spectacular and going to be quite amazing to hike.

  5. Himalayan range covers the entire northern part of India, nestling five major states of the country within it. The ancient Indian pilgrims who have travelled in these mountains since time immemorial coined a Sanskrit word for the Himalayas meaning “Abode of Snow”. Foothills of Himalayas.

  6. A very nice and informative blog on great himalaya. Thanks a lot for sharing such a nice blog!

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