How Climate Change Is Affecting The Great Himalaya Trail

STORY BY Patrick 2nd July 2024

With the last section of the 2024 edition of the Great Himalaya Trail starting this week, World Expeditions, the only operator to offer the full 1,050-mile Nepal traverse, has announced that next year’s departure of the epic trail will have to be delayed by two weeks due to how the global climate change has been affecting the world’s most famous mountain range.  


In the last few years, changes in climatic conditions have resulted in snowfall at higher levels of the Himalaya occurring later in the season than has been traditionally the case. As a result, the snow accumulates, but does not freeze, due to the higher temperatures. This can not only pose a greater risk of avalanches on the higher sections of the trail but it also means that more challenging trails and passes are harder to navigate due to heavy snow.  


In light of these changes, this year World Expeditions has sent additional climbing sherpas and support team members to assist in breaking trail and supporting the 2024 trekkers on the Great Himalya Trail; however, planning ahead World Expeditions has taken the decision to review the 2025 departure date.  


Gordon Steer, UK Manager for World Expeditions, said: 

“Under the advice of our Nepali experts, who have first-hand experience with conditions, we have chosen to delay the start of the trip by two weeks in 2025, to give trekkers the best chance at a successful and safe journey along the Great Himalaya Trail. It should be noted that the changing conditions also affect Nepal’s far west and, based on recent years, we expect that the Rara Lake section, at the end of the Great Himalaya Trail, should be reasonably stable despite our arrival two weeks later. Naturally mountain weather can change at any time and preparation, appropriate equipment and a can-do attitude are all key to navigating any challenges that may arise on this epic trail.”

Adventure travel specialist World Expeditions remains the only operator to commercially offer the Full Nepal Traverse of the so-called ‘trekking’s holy grail’, which for logistical reasons can only run once a year. A true exploratory experience, it takes in spectacular vistas of all of Nepal’s 8,000m peaks as it crosses trails up to 6,190 metres above sea level (from Kanchenjunga in the east to Yari Valley in the west), whilst giving trekkers the opportunity to experience remote cultures in hidden corners of the country. 


For those who cannot afford the time or the money to complete the whole length of the trail, it can be broken into seven smaller stages, from 18-34 days, which can also be joined separately. 


The Full Nepal Traverse of the Great Himalaya Trail – the longest and highest alpine walking track in the world once complete – became first available through World Expeditions in 2011. Winding between the largest mountains and remotest communities on the planet, the Great Himalaya Trail will ultimately connect five Asian countries (Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan); at the moment only the Nepal section is available to traverse, as it is the only part that has been walked and mapped thoroughly. 

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