History of the GHT

Very few people have walked the length of the Himalayas within Nepal, or the entire length of the mountain range in the last few decades.

In 1980 Mr Shirahata, was mentioned in the book ‘Trekking in Nepal’, to have walked the length of the country from east to west, but there were no references or details on his route or the trip itself.

In 1981 Peter Hillary (son of Sir Edmund Hillary), Chhewang and Graeme Dingle walked from Sikkim in India, through Nepal to Karakoram on the Indian-Pakistan boarder.

In 1982, Arlene Blum and Hugh Swift, a travel and adventure writer, became the first westerners to complete the 4,500km great Himalayan traverse across Bhutan, Nepal and India.  Their adventures were documented in Blum’s book, ‘Breaking Trail’.

In 1983, two British brothers, Richard and Adrian Crane ran the Himalayas, from before Kanchenjunga in the east of Nepal, to Nanga Parbat, an 8,125m peak, in Pakistan.  It is claimed that they did it in less than 100 days.   The Crane’s wrote a book called ‘Running the Himalayas’, within which they talk about their adventures along the way and how they travelled.  They travelled super-light, carrying only one rucksack, once sleeping bag, once set of clothes and one pair of shoes each.  They shared the following equipment; map, diaries, camera, penknife, water jar and two plastic teaspoons.  Throughout, they had no porters or guides.

Two French men, Paul-Eric Bonneau and Bruno Poirier, in 1994 crossed Nepal in 42 days.  They started in Pashupatinagar in the east and finished in Mahakali in the west.

Nine years later in 2003, Rosie Swale-Pope, with the aid of a support team, ran the length of Nepal along the early Great Himalaya Trail route in 68 days.  She ran over 1,700km to raise money for the Nepal Trust.

Dr Gillian Holdsworth walked the aid of a support team, a similar route in 2007, raising money for the British Nepal Medical Trust.  Between 2008 and 2011, Jean-Claude Latombe completed the trail in two parts.  Each section took him 56 and 53 days respectively. 

It was not, however, until 2009 that the Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal was formally established.  Robin Boustead with his wife and support team, began his trek using high altitude routes and passes through the Himalayas, in order to identify a true high-alpine route for trekkers.  He completed mapping the route in detail over two phases which took him a total of 162 days.  Full details of the route and other routes in Nepal are available in his Nepal Trekking and the Great Himalaya Trail guide book, published by the Trailblazer.

More recently, American adventurer, Sean Burch, with the assistance of a support team, ran across Nepal in an impressive 49 days 6 hours and 8 minutes.  His route saw him start in Pashupatinagar in the east, go via LarkyeLarPass (5103m) in ManasaluNational Park and finish in Hilsa on the Tibetan boarder in the west.  In 2011, Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter, walked unsupported from Gunsa (in the east), to Simikot (in the west), in a remarkable 57 days.  Also in 2011, Sunil Tamang, a Nepali, trekked solo unsupported along much of the Great Himalaya Trail.  He started on his 20th birthday from Kanchenjunga in the east and finished at  LakeRara in the west.  It took him a total of 128 days.

Last year, in January 2012, two Nepali climbing legends, Apa Sherpa who has climbed Mt Everest 21 times, and Dawa Steven Sherpa who has climbed it twice, completed a route across Nepal in 99 days.  They did it with a team from Nepal Climate Smart Trek to raise awareness of climate compatible development in highly vulnerable regions. 

Most of the information contained on this page was researched through www.greathimalayatrail.org/the-ght/trail.history/



  1. gillian

    Dr Gillian Holdsworth walked west to east in 2007 with her long term friend and porter Sonam Sherpa – Not a ‘support team’!!

    • Doc McKerr

      Apologies. I took the info from the GHT website a few years ago. I’ll make the ammendments later.



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