Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) - live tracking

02 Mar 2018 16:42 - 02 Mar 2018 16:49 #72907 by Nicolaas
Andrew, at what time of the morning/day did you start on Day 1? If there is significant difference to Ryan and Ryno's attempt, we will see a lot of lead swopping in the next few days to come. For instance, 50 hours in, it was morning sunshine for you, while they are still sleeping.
Last edit: 02 Mar 2018 16:49 by Nicolaas.

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02 Mar 2018 18:40 #72910 by Richard Hunt
Elinda and myself are watching the progress...Elinda more than me :) It seems like the same route that Andrew took (kindof and if you look at Andrews report there was alot more additions like 10kms here and there) but with MUCH different circumstances...will elaborate on it at a much later stage as we gather in the unfolding updates............. :hike: :hike: :hike: :hike:

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03 Mar 2018 12:04 - 03 Mar 2018 20:37 #72914 by AndrewP
I also started at 4am, so in that sense all is identical.

I see they did 15hr40 on day one, and I guess day 2 was about 16hr30. I had only 3 days longer than 14 hours, with a max of 14hr50. Ryno has very good experience of long days from his adventure racing so it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

They pulled a 6hr or so route choice improvement on me early into day 2. Same choice as Lizzy Hawker took. Just one of those inevitable things, they have better osm maps than I did and more ecperiences to draw on. Well done to them for using it.

They are now rapidly on track to get an entire day ahead of me. I expected it within the first week because I messed up my resupply strategy and was carrying way too much gear at this stage.

They missed my favourite tea house of the entire 2 month trip to Nepal, missed out on a 4000m pass, which might not be a good thing later once they move into the higher ground in the Dolpo region.

Its a loooong way to go
Last edit: 03 Mar 2018 20:37 by AndrewP. Reason: Spelling correction
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06 Mar 2018 17:36 #72933 by AndrewP
The exciting part of the GHT now starts. They have entered the Dolpo region, which is the high ground. This is why I at least went to Nepal, so the "longer" route I took was a deliberate attempt to get in as much of the high altitude as possible. The advantage of not being sponsored, and the luxury of chasing down a much easier target gave me that opportunity. I thus got in over 100km during which I never dropped below 4000m.

I see they are taking a very different line to me. There are 3 possible ways of getting from where they are to Kagbeni, so we have to wait until tomorrow to see which they take. Regardless, they get in either 2 or 3 fewer 5000m passes than me, which means they miss out on the spirit of the adventure. And, will take the least challenging line anyone on the GHT has taken since 2010.

If you have not looked at the various pics they are posting, you should - they have a lot of snow about.

For info, the dot for my position is fairly accurate at any point in time. They seem to have my "over night" location accurate to within a few km's. They are currently 2 days ahead of me. This though is where I finally dumped the unnecessary gear due to a blotched resupply, and due to the excitement of the high altitude, I picked up my spirits considerably.
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08 Mar 2018 05:37 #72945 by AndrewP
They are now starting the crux.

They will follow this valley as it slowly gains height until an altitude of 5000m. They then bust over a 5500m ridge. That ridge is the only link between them and Kagbeni unless they want to go back down to where they were 2 nights ago, and then head 30km south before turning east again.

The river cuts through a ridge twice, each time through a very narrow, steep gap. The second one was fine, but 18 months ago, the first gap was rather dodge. The river was impossible to cross, so I had to climb through a few cliffs. The sort of thing that is fine to someone who is happy to try inner tower gully solo without a rope. I have no idea of course if any bridges have been built or the path repaired since.

Chharka Bhot gets abandoned during winter, just too cold. I will be surprised if anyone is there now, especially if nobody has crossed the pass yet this season.

So, it is balls to the wall.
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08 Mar 2018 12:43 #72949 by AndrewP
First narrow gorge passed easily, in fact a lot easier than I had.

They seem to have settled down in Chharka Bhot for the night, the same lodge I was in. Its a rectangular building with stone walls about 30cm thick. No windows and the place to be is deep inside the murky darkness near the fireplace. They are economical with fuel, which is largely yak dung so its not toasty, but at least better than the cold outside.

I guess they will start early tomorrow and try get in the 67km push to Kagbeni. Even without potential snow, its a huge day
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12 Mar 2018 07:53 #72962 by AndrewP
They got to Kagbeni in 9 days which is very fast. Well done. And raced through the Annapurna Circuit section equally fast.

What is interesting though is that in those first 9 days they have spent more time navigating in the dark than I did on the entire 2 month trip. Further, I have never seen the dot stop moving for long enough to suggest they have ever stopped at a tea house for lunch. Now, this is fair, and if you move for an extra 6 hours a day, after 9 days it amounts to a lead of about 4 days.

I do though seriously question the claims about an adventure of a lifetime because that they are not.

18 months later, I can look at their dot and still recall what the scenery looked like there. But what I really remember was my time in tea houses. On the Annapurna circuit I met a chap who had hiked both the Appalacian and the Pacific Crest trails. Apparently the Appalacian trail has a lot fewer MacDonalds and RV parks than I had expected and is well worth doing. And on the Manaslu curcuit I met some American climbers hoping to get the first ascent if a nearby peak. Their antics to try get Dimox which was scarse due to poor relations with India at the time amused me. Not as much though as when the one one girl from South America said she met a South African, Tim, the previous year. Surely I must know him. Well, actually yes, I have known the same Tim for many years.

Or, the tea house where I had a total vocabulary of 2 words either the owner or the 4 other patrons could understand. So, they ganged up on me and when I asked for water, gave me alcohol instead. The shock on their faces as I downed it told me all I needed to know.

I spoke for hours to a chap in Letdar who told me his vegetables come from a greenhouse he runs, in Manang, 10km downstream. That's a fair commute to get a few leaves of spinach.

They are about to cross their final 5000m pass, Larke La, and will then start a 4800m descent, more of it on stone steps than you would expect. I feel it fair to say that the FKT attempt starts now.
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12 Mar 2018 15:23 #72969 by ruthtbl
Thanks for all the updates and commentary Andrew :) It makes the whole thing a lot more interesting for the rest of us!

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13 Mar 2018 10:36 #72975 by AndrewP
A lot of trekkers combine the Manaslu and Annapurna circuits. It makes sense, acclimitise once and do both circuits. It is thus still fairly busy, but a lot less so than the Annapurna circuit. Everyone is heading in the opposite direction.

Technically, it must be done accompanied by a guide. They are clearly using the same strategy as me, namely to count on the fact that nobody can hike in Nepal with such a small pack, and that officials will thus assume you have a porter carrying your gear, behind. Thus, you might not even have to speak the lie.

I recall this stretch as being a never ending valley with lots of side streams and thus waterfalls.  And thus a lot of mud and landslides. Vegetation gradually changes from glacier to scrub to jungle.Very pretty.

And stone steps. Lots of them. More than the trip combined thus far. But less than the Jiri to Gudel section.

Somewhere here, I thought I has passed the half way mark, but sadly I was confused. Thanks to the difficulty of planning a route on an incomplete map.

It will be interesting to see their route choice, there is a band 50km wide with path networks leading eastwards. I adjusted my route on the fly as I wanted to get to an overnight spot that had internet access. And thus learnt a lot about how my gps works in the process.
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15 Mar 2018 13:46 - 15 Mar 2018 14:38 #72982 by AndrewP
I see that both yesterday and today they stopped for lunch. Good to see they are human.

They are now heading on a line south of mine. I passed through Rautbesi, Melamchi and Chautara. (Switch to the opentopo view). They seem to be swapping out foothills in favour of longer and flatter roads, most likely even running on tar for the next 50km. I had my fair share as well, but at least had a few hills to break the monotony.

For this stretch, I was off my planned route, so each evening had to program a 50km route on a 3cm x 3cm screen. Did not help that the town names on my paper maps did not match the town names on gps map. I learnt a lot about my gps in the process.

They are of course now in an area that is populated. They are bound to have kids running besides them and after the lonely mountains, the people around them should be a welcome change.

I stuck to rice and lentils with the occasional samoosa. And lots of coconut cookies. But, now you could eat other food if you want, and in some cases are brave enough. On my way back to Kathmandu, my guide, Nawang, bought some cheese sticks for his dog. Even after 20 minutes, it was still too hard to chew.
Last edit: 15 Mar 2018 14:38 by AndrewP. Reason: Spelling correction
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