Ultrarunner Prepares to Run the Length of the Great Himalayan Trail

GHT 02

There are long distance hiking trails and then there is the Great Himalaya Trail. The GHT is a beast of a route stretches for more than 1700 km (1056 miles) through the High Himalaya in Nepal, challenging hikers with its thin air, high altitudes and challenging paths. Walking it end to end takes weeks to complete but rewards trekkers with some of the most spectacular views on the planet. Starting today, ultrarunner Philippe Gatta will attempt to run the length of the GHT with the intent of finishing it in record time.

Philippe is currently in the village of Simikot in Nepal where he has spent some time acclimatizing to the altitude while scouting the route ahead. Today he will launch his bid to become the first person to run the entire length of the Great Himalaya Trail, a feat that he hopes to complete in just 40 days. As an ultrarunner, Gatta has trained for these kinds of extreme challenges but the numbers on the GHT are simply staggering.

While the 1700 km length of the trail is impressive, it is hardly amongst the longest routes in the world. But no other trail can match the GHT in terms of vertical gain. Over the course of the run, Philippe will face 88 km (55 miles) of vertical. That is an incredible number to consider. Along the way he’ll face a temperature variation that ranges from -25ºC (-13ºF) up to 35ºC (95ºF) as he passes through jungle, desert, forests and glaciers. He’ll also run at altitudes of just 880 meters (2887 ft) to well above 7000 meters (22,965 ft).

Philippe will be joined on this journey by his wife Anna who will run at least some of the sections with him. Along the way they’ll be testing out some new gear for Berghaus, including new lightweight equipment designed to move fast in the mountains. You can follow their progress on the expedition’s Facebook page, where you’ll find regular updates over the next six weeks. I’ll post updates on their progress over that time as well. In the meantime, check out the video below that shows the couple training for this epic challenge.

Kraig Becker