Nepal: A unique terrain.
The Great Himalaya Trail is a unique trail in the world that crosses Nepal and includes from the regions of Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Langtang, Ganesh Himal and Manaslu, Annapurna, Mustang and Dhaulagiri and goes to the west of Nepal through Upper Dolpo and ends in Darchula. A unique terrain that advances under the highest peaks in the world, crossing lush and fertile valleys, as well as arid glaciers.
Although this route can share similar regions to the alpine ones in general terms for Cardona this trekking in the Himalayas is nothing like what we have in Europe.
“It is something very exclusive. This route crosses various high passes reaching 5,700 meters and this is something practically unique in the world. In addition, you go through all kinds of terrain, you leave tropical areas, you go through very jungle areas, you go up, then you come to the forests where a lot of vegetation accumulates and as you go up it becomes very alpine terrain, even crossing some great glacier. For example, in the Alps you would not start walking in a tropical area with its oppressive heat. This makes this trek quite different and unique. “
How to tackle trekking at the highest altitude in the world:
The route has two variants, a high and a low. The high route passes through hills between 4,000 m and 6,200 m, some of them snow-capped, requiring an ice ax and crampons, as well as porters. The low route oscillates between 1,500 and 2,500 meters of altitude, passing through small villages, inhabited by the various ethnic groups of Nepal. Cardona and Pinsach have been adapting their progression between the two routes, but without dodging some high passes. Undoubtedly one of the few difficulties that this trekking entails according to Cardona.
“The basis of this trekking is acclimatization more than km, we did 1,200 kilometers, but divided into 70 days of walking it is relatively little, but the big handicap is the height. If you acclimatize well, you can make the same effort as here. It only costs a little more… we have to take into account that people like the Tibetans live at 4,000 meters, and that’s okay, the altitude is just a problem due to acclimatization.”
Joan Cardona, recognized for his career as a mountaineer, climber and also as director of the Catalan Ski Mountaineering Team, has already traveled 1,200 km with 70,000 positives on this high route. Although he has set foot on Nepali lands on more than a dozen occasions throughout his life, having even reached the summit of Everest, he has returned to Nepal accompanied by his friend Joan Pinsach, simply to enjoy walking.
The day before returning to Nepal to continue accumulating kilometers and unevenness, Cardona reveals some keys to understanding and appreciating the attraction of this unique trekking route in the world.
Interview with Joan Cardona
For Cardona this is a trek to enjoy the views and simply let yourself go: