Happy 2018 everyone! I always like to welcome in the new year with an update on where the new season of Walking With Wired will take place. I’ve been good since returning from Europe in September. I’ve settle back into my work routine of substitute teaching and nannying. Though my weeks can range anywhere between 55-70hrs of work per week, I enjoy the comfort of my routine and being home in Portland, OR. I still have the time and energy to get outside and run some each week, so that fills my tank with the nature aspect of life while off the trail. I did get a new bumper sticker I just couldn’t resist. Like many cities, Portland has adopted the motto, “Keep Portland Weird.” I was elated to find out that the local Electrical Union makes one that says, “Keep Portland Wired.” Just too perfect!
It actually feels like these months are going by too fast, and spring hiking will be here before I know it. With my knack of procrastination when it comes to planning, I still have much to do to prepare for this coming hiking season. I briefly mentioned my intentions at the end of this past summer, but wanted to do a separate post since I’ve been getting many inquiries.
The big event of this coming year will be an attempt at hiking the Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal. I will have more detailed posts in the coming months as I prepare, but this will surely be my most challenging venture yet. This will be a thru-hike through the Himalaya Mountain Range in Nepal that will extend the length of the country. The creator, Robin Boustead, has provided information for both low and high route versions. The plan is to take the high route as much as possible, but divert to the low route where technical mountaineering would be required over certain passes. With this planned route, it should be ~3 months of hiking, ~900mi/1450km long, the lowest point will be 1471ft/448m, and the highest point (Tashi Labsta Pass) will be 18881ft/5755m. Since there really is no other way to conceptualize it, I’ve created a GoogleEarth Flyover of the intended route. It still seems so unbelievable that I’ll be out there in four months time. There is a group out there right now, and one of women has some pretty great photos on her blog, so you can also see her site to get an idea of what we’re in for.
No need to worry, I definitely will NOT be doing this one solo. A team of three seems to be the best strategy with our skillset and lack of familiarity with the Himalayas. My hiking partners are both guys that I’ve hiked with before and are very experienced thru-hikers who have racked up thousands of miles thru-hiking all over the world. I will be hiking with Griggs (who I hiked with on the Te Araroa and Tasmania) and Buck-30 (who I did the Wonderland Trail with). Each have their own journals, so be sure to check them out! I couldn’t ask for a more solid and reliable team than what we have. We all know the ups and downs of long distance hiking, and go into this fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead. We are fortunate to have multiple hiking acquaintances that have completed the GHT in some form. They have assured us that this is within our abilities, and have been very helpful in our planning process. I know many of you may be interested in this hike as well. Once I have all the planning resources together, I’ll be making a link to those resources for anyone interested in learning more about the GHT as a thru-hike.
This route will be very challenging with many factors that are outside of our control including the unknown random logistics of hiking in a third world country, altitude sickness, extreme weather conditions, Giardia, and food poisoning. We do plan to carry our own gear, and will not have a guide for most of the route, except for where it is required or where we would like technical assistance over a difficult pass. Knowing that there are many X factors with this hike, we are all going into this knowing that there is a fair likelihood that we may not be able to complete what we set out to do. Our goal is to go out there and give it the best try we can. There are always options of other more traveled routes if any or all of us don’t take to the GHT. We know it will be full of challenges and discomforts, but will head in as prepared as possible to hopefully mitigate any possible hurdles.
There are plenty more details to give and new gear we all will be purchasing. I’ll go over all that in future posts, but just wanted to give a decent overview for everyone at this point. There can be times looking at this endeavor where one would wonder if it’s worth all the efforts. Well, we would rather go out there and find out for ourselves than forever wonder what could have been. We realize how fortunate we are to have one another, as there are few in the world who would want to do such a hike and have all the factors fall into place to attempt it. The timing is right for all three of us to do this together, so we’re giving it a shot.
As if that wasn’t enough, I should still have July through possibly mid September to hike in the summer. Knowing that the GHT could deplete me quite a bit, I’m keeping my plans fluid, but have a general idea of where I’m heading. I will go back to Europe and pick up where I left off. I want to finish up the Haute Route Switzerland that was cut short for me at the end of last summer with snow. Then I would like to head to the Dolomites in Italy. There are many options there including a long hike along a section of the Via Alpina.
I feel like a long relaxing hike out in the Dolomites may be just what I’ll be needing after Nepal. There are also Via Ferrata routes in the Dolomites that involve using a harness to clip into cables and climb/hike on quite exposed terrain. There are varying levels of options with the Via Ferrata routes, so it may be fun to change things up and do some of those.
The main goal of Europe this summer will be to have fun and enjoy the mountains of Switzerland and Italy at a somewhat relaxed pace. I know I’ll want that after the grueling exertion that will be required on the GHT. I will do more research on my options in the coming months, but honestly have not looked at anything in detail yet. In the next few months, I’ll be posting mainly on the prep and planning of the GHT, along with all the new gear I’ll be using there. Whew, it’s pretty exciting and I’m excited for all of us to head out together this spring. We’re going to Nepal everybody! I hope everyone had fun over the holidays and has exciting plans for 2018!