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.
NOTE: Below I describe the idea of heading to Europe to hike some in July and August. Now, four months later, I’ve decided to switch things up. I will not be going to Europe and will be heading back home to the Pacific Northwest to do some hiking in July. The GHT is supposed to wear you out, and I haven’t been feeling a strong pull to Europe this year. I have felt the pull to be home more, so that’s where I’ll head. Back to Portland, OR.
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!
Whew is right! Can’t wait to follow along on this years exciting travels! Happy New Year!
Wow! I’m sure I’m romanticizing the Himalaya a bit, but this trip sounds epic! Good luck, and I can’t wait to follow along!
Wow! What an inspiration in my first email of the new year! This looks anazing, challenging, awe-inspiring. I am breathless from the flyover. I look forwad to sitting in my comfortable chair and following your journey.
In the meantime, it is time to take my dogs out for a flat two-mile walk in the desert.
Haha! I’m sure I’ll crave a walk like that many times this season! Happy 2018:)
Keep piling on the adventures Erin. You go girl! It will be fun to follow you.
Gotta channel my inner Jean! 🙂
Just completed my usual binge reading of the blog to get me up to date. Looking forward to your 2018 adventures.
Any Germany hiking plans?
Really, nothing has caught my eye there so far. Suggestions if I ever go?
I think it is all very pretty, but I am not at your hiking level so the routes I have done are much too simple. Perhaps the area of the Zugspitze? I haven’t hiked it, however.
Got tired just watching the Google earth flyover. Wishing you the best of 2018 trip. Stay well.
Thank you JR:)
Excited for you to hike the GHT. Looking forward to following all
your posts. I will be hiking a month long trip there shortly after you. Great timing to get all your amazing
Wow this will be an epic hike but you have a great team and the experience and stamina to do it! What an adventure! Wish I could attend your evening presentations- Portland is just a bit far from NZ. May just have to book flights for next year’s talks! Happy New Year Wired!!!
Thank you Lou! You’d definitely win for the furthest anyone’s ever come for a presentation! The hiking poles are coming with me:)
Dizzying video! Totally excited for all three of you, and for us, too.
The biggest altitude here in Fountain Valley, outside a building, is 56′. And our tallest building is 6 stories.
What a contrast!
Excited for the return of Griggs and the fleeces. ?
I was just thinking I was missing having your adventures to read in the mornings and opened my email to this!! Happy New Year, it sounds like a really exciting and challenging one! So glad we can come along and live vicariously through your tales!
Oh that’s so funny! This will be particularly challenging in that I may not have cell service to post for 3-4wks at a time. I’m working on how that strategy will work out because I for sure still want to post a daily entry and not do summaries. I’ve warned the guys, we will be taking many zeros of rest and blogging when we do get to town. I’m thinking I’ll schedule them to come out 1-2 a day so they don’t all come in bulk 20 days at a time…
Wow Erin, can’t believe what an epic and challenging year you have ahead.
Having this comment…just right:)
This is just gonna be so epic! I can’t wait! I see you’ve been following the European trio on the GHT at the moment, how awesome is their adventure? I love reading their blog and seeing the photos – just think, that’s you soon! How exciting!! I so can’t wait to read your take on it. It looks like a brutal tough hike, but I’m sure you’ll pull through with the great company you are keeping. I am so excited for you, it’s almost like I’m doing it too! Lol. Best wishes and happy new year Erin! X
Yes, it’s been nice to see their take on it. They had not had the best luck, but it’s just like that out there and it’s good to see it’s possible to continue on even when knocked down pretty hard.
Will you be taking the same basic route they are on? It certainly has seemed challenging, and at times at the mercy of the various guides.
Knowing of your plans, I have followed them with even more interest.
I am happy seeing your planned team and have great confidence in your judgement.
It will be more waiting for your blog entries, but always well worth the wait.
Overall, we will be on very similar routes. They are taking much longer with large gaps waiting for permits or recovering from ailments, which could happen to us, but we are doing our best to mitigate that. They have also chosen to do a couple more of the high technical ones we aren’t interested in and gone low where we might stay high. Yeah, I’m calling it the spectacularly scenic shit show with how many X factors there are and how much is out of our hands. As for their guide issues, it’s tricky. All the good guides are hired for the major trips where all the $$ is. Helping a few thru-hikers over a pass is chump change, so it’s nearly impossible to have anyone commit their schedule to that as a guide when other more lucrative options are out there. Another factor as thru-hikers is not knowing our dates. We could never guesstimate what date we’d land where with so many unknown factors, so how do you hire someone to meet you out there and when? That is why they have left it to chance and chosen random people from whatever village was before the pass at times…which turned out to be a major issue at times. It’s just a whole other animal trying to do this in a third world country with few regulations.
Their experiences have to be giving you a good idea of what is possible and I think your added time will be a very good thing.!
And going back to Europe afterwards will be quite a change of pace.
Thinking back 7 years….first day on the PCT. Can you imagine if someone would have told you what you would be doing in 2018. Incredible!
I know, just unimaginable!
Kathryn and I got to fly over the Himalayas on our trip to Tibet ten years ago. The Google map reminds me of what we saw in the plane – 15-25,000+ foot mountains as far as the eye could see. I can’t wait to follow your adventure.
That all sounds so exciting! I love the idea of having a relaxed trip in the Dolomites after the GHT. That would provide much-needed reflection and processing of your experience on the GHT, and a nice change of pace.
Also, that sticker is hilarious and perfect! Hahah
Wow! Quite the summer you have planned. I’m looking forward to reading about it and seeing the pics. Sounds like you’ve got quite a good team for the challenge. All I’m doing is a couple of weeks in the Sierra and some weekend trips in the Trinity Alps near my home. I doubt I’ll ever be above 13,000 feet and you’ll be going over a pass well above 18,000 feet, crazy. I hope you have a wonderful 2018!
Hilarious! You and Buck_30 reunited again, and Griggs!! You are going to have a good time with those two. I really enjoy Buck_30’s tell it like it is with humor and irony, and Griggs just seems like the steady, trusted, rock. What a combo! Plus you get to walk thru the ancient mountains of renown with so much history climbing to the roof of the world! So many Britts do this trek as well. Good for you, what a great plan. Do you think it will hard for Buck_30 to find any soda and you, chocolate milk in the Himalayas?
Haha, it’s great that you know Buck-30’s personality. He’s leaning towards not journaling this one daily since I’ll be doing that, but his commentary is classic and would surely be quite entertaining. He’s already in training trying to wean off the caffeine IV he has in daily life…we are both jockeying to NOT be the anchor of this trio since we know Griggs will be a machine out there, ha!
Haha, his commentary will be sorely missed if he doesn’t decide to occasionally blog 🙁 Just get well versed regarding how to spot avalanche conditions and how to find protected camping spots in such conditions, and of course, survival & safety procedures. There must be a mountaineering/Himalayan climbing community in Portland that could assist with that kind of thing. I’m sure you all will be in peak condition by time you go, glad you’re a trio on this one, what an exciting adventure!!!
Griggs’s mom is conveniently an instructor on avalanche safety!
Hey, I found this link to RMI’s (Rainier Mountainerring) Fitness and Training preparation page info for mountain/alpine fitness: https://www.rmiguides.com/resources/fitness-and-training
RMI is a highly respected company, and even has guided non-peak bagging Treks, and clinics. You could even set up a weekend guided clinic for the three of you to help get ready for the Himalayas before you go.
you go girl!!!! cannot wait to follow your GHT. after having done a number of routes in Nepal and Pakistan i had thought of trying this one but think it is too late now and my feet are too stuffed for it.
The 30 days on the Rim of Africa was awesome though.
All the best for 2018
I’ll have to look that one up!
Found your website too late ;-( I have always had a soft spot for the HRP and have planned to cherry pick – lack of time – it for a long time now. The High Sierra Route is also magnificent – Dusy Basin, Knapsack Pass, etc all special places. Your hikes and write ups are very inspiring. Superb work!
For future consideration in Europe since you mentioned the Dolomites – magnificent mountains, though it can be crowded – is to go further east to the Julians of Slovenia. I have hiked and climbed in that super country since 2002. They have a High Route path which runs from Maribor, winding its way through several different ranges to end up on the Adriatic. There is also a long distance path known as the Route of Peace – Pot Miru – which runs through the western Julian range, though its main focus is on the WWI history – still lots of war remains from over a hundred years ago literally on top of the mountains. The Pot Miru also ends up on the Adriatic at Trieste. In Italy – Trentino Province – there is another Route of Peace that covers the WWI frontlines staying high in the mountains – it winds through much of the Dolomites where some of the most magnificent scenery – Tre Cime, Pale of San Martino, Tofane, Marmolada – was the frontline.
If you look towards South Africa, I recommend the Drakensberg. You can do a 5 – 20+ traverse of the Rim – think a very long hike of Steens Mountain with baboons bellowing up at you when you look over the edge. The Drak is simply magnificent. No huts on the way and most of the way is cross country high above the treeline. If you have been to the Ruby Mountains in Nevada, Steens or the South Warners out of Alturas then you will get an idea of the type of escarpment I am talking about. https://drakensberggrandtraverse.wordpress.com/ is a website I found which gives you an idea. And after a traverse, Table Mountain and the Lions Head await in Cape Town.
Best to you, hope to hear you talk about Taz next week!
Thank you for the suggestions Mark!Yes, I have heard about Slovenia and have it on the list. Not sure it will happen for this summer, but hopefully in the next few years. There are so many places!
There are certainly a lot of places! A better starting point for ideas about the Drak in South Africa is this http://peakhigh.co.za/mini-traverse/ Have fun in Nepal – stay healthy, last time I was there I got SARS, but then I was seeing patients all day. The Alps will be another reward. Cheers!