Latest news from the Himalaya and Karakoram

Friday, 13 February 2015

Classic Circuit and The Great Himalaya ("GHT") treks in Nepal

Photo: Phoksumdo Lake on Upper Dolpo to Jomsom GHT
Two of our most popular types of treks in Nepal are the Classic Circuits and trips along The Great Himalaya Trail ("GHT").

The main Classic Circuit treks in Nepal are as follows from East to West: Kanchenjunga Circuit, Everest High Passes, Manaslu Circuit, Annapurna Circuit and Dhaulagiri Circuit. All of these treks are very different in terms of scenery, culture, accommodation, grade and number of days on the trail.

Please see The Mountain Company’s website: Classic Circuit treks in Nepal webpage in Information Centre to find out how the different Classic Circuit treks in Nepal compare and the pros & cons of each one.

Photo: North Face of Kanchenjunga
Whereas The Great Himalaya Trail ("GHT") is a trekking route that traverses the Himalaya from end to end starting in Burma and finishing in Pakistan. However the most popular section of GHT is through Nepal, this trails starts near Kanchenjunga in the East and continues to Humla on the Tibetan border in the West.

In Nepal there is a GHT High route crossing high passes up to 6,146m and GHT Low route passing through the middle hills with highest pass at 4,519m. GHT High route takes the highest feasible route along the spine of the Himalaya, this involves very challenging trekking as well as several mountaineering sections over technical passes (eg Sherpani Col near Makalu).

GHT has been divided into ten sections and our approach at The Mountain Company has been to focus on organising these sections one at a time rather than promoting the full GHT from Kanchenjunga to Far West. The advantage of this way is we can select the optimal time of year to trek each section.

GHT sections and The Mountain Company treks are as follows:

Section One: Kanchenjunga ---> Kanchenjunga to Makalu

Section Two: Makalu Barun ---> Makalu to Everest

Section Three: Everest and Rolwaling ---> Everest High Passes

Section Four: Langtang and Helambu ---> Langtang & Laurebina La

Section Five: Manaslu and Ganesh ---> Manaslu Tsum valley

Section Six: Annapurna and Mustang ---> Naar to Upper Mustang

Section Seven: Dolpa ---> Upper Dolpo to Jomsom

Section Eight: Rara and Jumla ---> Rara Lake

Section Nine: Humla [TMC does not yet organise trek on this section]

Section Ten: Far West [TMC does not yet organise trek on this section]

Please see The Mountain Company’s website: The Great Himalaya Trail (“GHT”) webpage in Information Centre to find more about GHT and how GHT treks differ from standard Himalayan treks.

We hope this helps you select the right trek objective for you, if you require further information please get in contact with us.

Roland Hunter

Monday, 9 February 2015

Tsechu (religious festivals) in Bhutan with dates for 2015

Photo: mask dance at Paro Tsechu
If you are planning a visit to Bhutan it is well worth considering coming during one of the tsechu (religious festivals) held annually at most dzongs and monasteries throughout the country. Click here for more information on Tsechu (religious festivals) in Bhutan

The festival dates in Bhutan for 2015 are as follows:

Punakha Tsechu: 28 February to 2 March

Paro Tsechu: 31 March to 4 April

Wangdi Tsechu: 21 to 23 September

Thimphu Drubchen: 22 September

Thimphu Tsechu: 23 to 25 September

Gangtey festival: 26 to 28 September

Jakar in Bumthang: 21 to 23 October

Jambay Lhakhang Drup in Bumthang: 27 to 30 October

Mongar Tsechu: 18 to 21 November

Trashigang Tsechu: 19 to 22 November

Trongsa Tsechu: 20 to 22 December

The Mountain Company organises several different tours of Bhutan where you will have opportunity to visit one of these tsechu festivals, please get in touch if you are interested in joining one of our groups.

Roland Hunter

The Mountain Company