Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) - live tracking

19 Mar 2018 11:24 #73002 by ghaznavid
Absolutely agree with you Andrew. It's not like he had to plan a DGT where he knows the route well after 4 finishes, this is completely new ground in an unfamiliar region. Ryan has done well to get himself into the sponsored position he is in, but it is definitely harder for Ryno to find the time to train.

I think Stijn has the right idea on this one - work hard and save up, then go for voluntary fun-employment for a year or two and do some awesome stuff.

As the old saying goes "work gets in the way of my hobbies".

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20 Mar 2018 11:51 #73012 by AndrewP
When I looked a few minutes ago, they seemed to have stopped for a while at what is marked on the map as a viewpoint for the big E. I was being rained on, so cannot confirm. I guess we will know the weather they currently have by the posts on social media, or lack thereof.

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20 Mar 2018 14:12 #73017 by ASL
Wow! Sounds very anal! FKT's are not officially regulated anyway so who made him god?

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22 Mar 2018 07:15 #73026 by AndrewP
The whole point of the article is that there is no single, defined route for a GHT.

Now, Ryan and Ryno, myself and Burch all took a line that is significantly easier than the higher,more remote line most people take. Afterall, why go to Nepal if you are going yo run on a tar road? So, you just cannot compare the various routes.on one deviation a week ago, Ryan and Ryno halved the number of 5000m passes I did. Good for speed, but missing a part of the adventure. Can you compare. No.

I fully agree with that article.

I will say though that I have learnt a lot by watching the dots move. I really love the map setup and wish it was possible to do same on the Spot website. Sadly they do not allow you to uploada planned track. I have now found a way, have also found a way to display OSM maps with contours on the web. And even figured out,by accident, how to embed DEM data into a garmin map which gives better elevation functionality in the map. I actually say thank you to the guys,you helped me more than anyone would have thought possible.

Today they will finish the trails and move onto roads for the last haul. Distance remaining depends on how many shortcuts they find. just a few more days to go
The following user(s) said Thank You: Stijn, Richard Hunt, Biomech, WarrenM

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23 Mar 2018 08:57 #73039 by AndrewP
I realise I am one against 40000 fans and a huge brand but someone has to take a stand.



To Ryan, Ryno and your support crew

Why you will not be "beating" me or anyone else.

As you know by now, a lot has been said about claims for an FKT for the Great Himalaya Trail.

The GHT involves more than just following a route. It includes being open about the STYLE of your trip. Yesterday, your support crew posted on Facebook that they used a helicopter with an intent to give you a remote resupply.

Now, nobody has ever used a helicopter for resupplies in an attempt to cross Nepal before.  I am sure I am not alone in hoping you are the last.  The whole idea of the GHT is to be in remote mountains and to raise your own game to match that of the environment around you.  If your 200 hours of research and planning had taught you only one thing, it should be that everyone on the trail tries to do it in the best style possible.

The cost of that single helicopter flight probably equalled the entire cost of my GHT effort, and would have exceed the total earnings in the lifetime of the average Nepalese.  What has been done demonstrates a failure to understand or appreciate the local culture. But, as you have knocked on doors at midnight (due to poor planning and insufficient gear to survive a night), you have already demonstrated your lack of respect to the country and its people.

The sheer cost of your trip has ensured that there is no way to possibly compare your effort to mine. Or anyone else. We simply cannot afford to have that helicopter. And do not want it either.

As I understand it at least, the whole spirit of an FKT is that it is repeatable by someone else. Most importantly, and I quote from “fastestknowntimes.proboards.com” on this one – PAY RESPECT TO THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE.  You have not done that.

I do not know how you will refer to your crossing of Nepal. But by choosing to do so in a fashion that is not consistent with anyone who came before you, you have no right to claim to have “beaten” anyone.

I wish you luck for the last few kilometres and hope Ryno has a speedy recovery.

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25 Mar 2018 17:07 #73054 by AndrewP
Ryan and Ryno finished this morning in in 25 days, 3 hours and 24 minutes. That is a very fast.

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25 Mar 2018 19:25 #73055 by swordfish
Andrew where is the difference in the distances coming from? In the tracking page, it says there will be doing 1408 km. Then the live tracker shows 1220 km completed. And somewhere on Twitter yesterday they were saying 1504 km.

Not that the difference matter much. My question is purely to understand more about GPS tracking accuracy.

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26 Mar 2018 08:19 - 26 Mar 2018 09:36 #73056 by ghaznavid

swordfish wrote: Andrew where is the difference in the distances coming from? In the tracking page, it says there will be doing 1408 km. Then the live tracker shows 1220 km completed. And somewhere on Twitter yesterday they were saying 1504 km.

Not that the difference matter much. My question is purely to understand more about GPS tracking accuracy.


Google the coastline paradox.

I find my GPS gives me two generally very different distance readings - one on the general stats tab and one on the track. It is usually out by 10-20%, and is probably down to recording intervals. The live tracker probably only updates every 10-15 minutes, but their personal track will update much more frequently and thus give a significantly further distance. Technically, actual distance covered is theoretical anyway - is it the distance between your shoes every time you put your feet down, or is it the distance between certain waypoints on the route? What about zig-zagging up a hill - I do this a lot, but others don't. Have I walked further than someone else on the exact same route because of zig-zagging?
Last edit: 26 Mar 2018 09:36 by ghaznavid. Reason: Clarification

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26 Mar 2018 15:17 #73061 by AndrewP
I think this one is answered as follows.
1406km is my route. 1220km is a straightened out version of my route. They do not have my exact track, so went to a lot of effort to trace out an approximation, which came out as they drew it at 1220km.
The distance shown for them at anytime was not based on actual movement, but on the closest point their tracker was to this approximate line for me.you could see this when they deviated from the line. Their distance stopped for hours and suddenly jumped when they rejoined.
They got in 1500km because I took more shortcuts through the final stages while they stuck to bigger roads.
Altitude gain worked as a simple percentage of distance above as ratio of gotal gain I did. I have not seen their gain and I doubt we ever will, it is probably under 60000m, they skipped a lot of hills

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26 Mar 2018 17:56 #73063 by AndrewP
A brief mention has been made in a few places that I have revoked my claim to an FKT on the GHT. This is a formal declaration of such, as well as the reasons behind this. I hope that future attempts at a crossing of Nepal will take some of these lessons to heart.

The heart of the matter is that the GHT (at the time of my crossing at least) consisted of both a high and a low route, and in practise some ground in-between. The high route is in remote mountain areas, where you have to carry several days of supplies and camping equipment to pass through the region. There are 5 technical passes that need mountaineering equipment such as ropes to pass safely. The low route passes as a lower altitude, in theory through rice paddies and jungle, but in modern Nepal this section has become a network of dirt or tar roads.

In 2010, Sean Burch made a crossing of Nepal and claimed a World record for his attempt. I was lucky enough to see his write-up of the trip. Giving benefit of doubt in his favour, he did roughly: 280km or so for the stretch through the Manaslu and Annapurna Circuits through to Charkka Bhot and a little beyond and 160km of High Route between Gamgadhi and Hilsa. He took in a few sections of Low Route as well – 100km between Jiri and the Manaslu circuit and 150km from Juphal to Gamgadhi. So, in his estimated 1700km he did about 440km of high route and 250km of low route. The remaining ground was used up crossing space between the routes, or south of it completely (in the eastern side of Nepal)

In 2016, I made an attempt of a similar line to him. I “improved” on it by including 3 extra 5000m passes (Bagala La, Numala La and Chan La). I also included additional low route between Jiri and (a bit before) Tumlingtar. I thus did over 500km of high route and about 350km of low route, in my 1400km. It seemed fair at the time to claim a record - I not only went faster but did it in better “style” (getting in more of the actual trail), and going solo instead of expedition style with a team of porters.

I had wanted to do more high ground. In light of my inexperience of the area, the definite dangers of trying to cross glaciated terrain on the 5 technical passes, a possible danger in trying to cross flooded rivers with no bridges so soon after the monsoon, and a lack of imagination on my part whilst looking at the map, I missed out on large parts of the high route. At that time that I started out, I was not aware of anybody having completed a completely solo GHT.

While I was out there, I became aware of Lizzy Hawkers attempt. She took a much higher line to me and was also solo. I mentioned her briefly in my detailed writeup, but not in the short summary. In fairness to her, I now realise this was a mistake. I apologise as she took the better line.

[For the sake of completeness, Ryan and Ryno skipped about 40km of high route and a 4000m pass between Simikot and Gamgadhi and also took the same line as Burch through the Dolpo region. They thus did about 400km of high route in a total distance of 1500km.]

I then took a break from running, carried on with my life and largely forgot about the GHT. I knew that Ryan and Ryno wanted to attempt it and meet with each of them over a few months to discuss. I first became aware of concerns being raised about the validity of Ryan and Ryno’s claim to beat the FKT on the GHT in March 2018, once they had already started out.
www.himalayanadventurelabs.com/2018/03/14/on-open-letter

The issues raised had a direct implication to my claims. I understand them fully and thus quietly withdrew my claims and started the process of ensuring that the websites proclaiming my record were reworded. I intentionally withheld a formal announcement as it would have detracted from the attempt currently underway. Now that the attempt is over, it is correct for me to set the record straight.

This is a dramatic change of heart, so let me explain what has changed in the interim.

In 2017, Lizzy Hawker returned for a second solo crossing of Nepal. She took what is likely to be the highest route thus far that excludes the technical passes. It is thus the highest route that can be done solo, and without mountaineering equipment such as ropes, harness and helmets. Thus, the highest line that can be done fast by a trail runner.

Further, also in 2017, a race was held during which 11 competitors completed the GHT taking various high lines in a 45 day stage race. They all started at Kangchenjunga base camp and included significant portions of the high route, including some of the technical passes.

It is thus very apparent that it is possible to do significantly more high ground that I did, at speed either solo or as part of a small team with minimal support.

Interestingly, in late 2017, a second edition of the GHT maps was released. A significant point to make is that the low route has now been removed from the maps. This is mostly because the low route as a concept no longer exists. The trail has been replaced by a set of roads. This is not a reason to fly halfway around the world. You go to Nepal to be in the mountains.

Now, looking at the numbers again: Only a third of my trip [500km out of 1400km] was on what is now recognised as the GHT. The numbers speak for themselves. I could not start out today, follow the same route and then claim to have completed the GHT.

I WILL THUS WITHDRAW MY CLAIM TO HAVING COMPLETED A GHT.

Now, this is not a universal belief and I understand that everybody is free to make their own choice. But, to me an FKT can only be about SOMETHING. To me, a random set of dots on a map is not a basis for an FKT. I strongly believe an FKT needs a definite line to be followed or a specific goal. So, now that I have no longer run the GHT, and have “merely” crossed Nepal, I am going to withdraw my claim to an FKT as well. After all, the real prize is the high route. And as such, Lizzy Hawker with her journey in 2017 is the true queen.

With this in mind, my adjusted claim this thus as follows: I completed a crossing of Nepal that included 7 5000m passes and parts of the high route. I spent a lot of time in the lower regions, more of which was on road than I would have liked. I had fun every day, and it shows in the photos. I have may very pleasant memories of the adventure. As such, I only gained and will lose nothing by denouncing the claim.

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