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February 9, 2020

Great Himalayan Trail: My Observation

  • Sanjib Gurung
Sanjib Gurung and Maria together
Sanjib Gurung and Maria together. (all photos by Sanjib)

Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) is one of the longest, challenging and adventurous trekking routes in the world. A trekking route extending from the Far East-Pangpemba BC- to the Far West -Hilsa- of Nepal which encompasses high passes in the Himalaya region. There are two routes for this Great Himalaya Trail. One comprising of the high route and second comprising of the low route.

crossing river with potter
crossing river with potter

Most of the trekkers prefer to trek through high route rather than the low route for the simple reason that the fun of adventure can be enjoyed while trekking through high route.

For the high route of Great Himalaya Trail, we have to cross passes up to 6193m including glaciers. Great Himalaya Trail is about 1700 km, but my GPS showed a bit lesser than this distance. This could have happened due to a few short cut routes taken by me and Maria Theresia Zwyssig, (a Swiss female trekker) while trekking along the Great Himalaya Trail.

This is the first time that I completed the GHT. In earlier times, when I went out to guide someone along this trail, I used to finish only a few sections of the Great Himalaya Trail according to what has been agreed in the deal. Serpani col is the highest and most dangerous pass that we passed through during our Great Himalaya Trail trekking. It was difficult too as it was 6193m meters high, glacier and rockfalls.

Child from far western region
Child from the far western region

In this trekking route, we can see most of the snow-covered higher peaks of the world such as Mt. Everest, Mt.Lhotse, Mt.Kanchenjunga, Mt. Makalu, Mt.Dhaulagiri, Mt.Manaslu, Mt.Annapurna, and Mt.Cho-oyu which are 8000m. This section is also a hard one for the trekkers.

Sherpani col, West cole, Tashi lapcha, Amphulabtsa are the most difficult and risk part of GHT. Glaciers, crevasse, and rockfalls in this region are dangerous for the trekkers. One of our porters was injured by rockfall in this section. Now, he has recovered from his injury.

Great Himalaya Trail offers the panoramic views of mountains, different topographical regions of Nepal, a variety of cultures of various ethnic and indigenous communities from east to west.

Way to Lumbasumba
Way to Lumbasumba (Sanjib)

As we move from eastern Nepal to the western part, the land in the western parts is seen dry. More of a desertification process has gripped the land in far western Nepal rather than eastern Nepal, which we can witness while traveling through this region.

Peak sight
Peak sight

When we enter Manang to Dolpa, we can see only the lands turned into deserts. Many Bon temples can be seen in this region where people are seen circumambulating from the opposite side. There are no plants and human settlement in between Dolpa and Mugu.


This time we met people who were collecting Yarshagumba. I felt different when we trekked from Mugu to the Humla area because this region is afflicted with poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, and lack of basic facilities.


Tourists’ flow to this area is very low may be due to its remoteness, lack of information dissemination or owing to lack of tourism promotional activities in this region. Other trails are even longer than the GHT in the world, but thinking from adventure and risk point of view, GHT can be one of the adventurous treks for the lovers of long trekking and nature.

Trekkers do this GHT to prove that they have done this type of long and adventurous trekking in their lives and tour operators do this type of trekking to show their efficiency about their tour operations to expose their abilities and experiences of trekking. It takes 90(120) days to complete this 1700 km route of the Great Himalaya Trail.

(Sanjib is a trekking/climbing guide, who completed the Great Himalayan Trail recently)

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