Robin Boustead is mapping the Great Himalayan Trail that spans roughly 4,500km through the mountainous regions of Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Tibet. The trial is not only rugged, remote, and long – it also has the dubious honor of being the highest trail on earth with an elevation gain and loss of over 150,000m. The highest point on the trail is 6,200m.
Boustead started the mapping expedition in 2008 after decades of trekking the Himalayas with inadequate maps. “I was unimpressed with the maps of the Himalayas and I thought ‘why not try and improve them,’” Boustead told reporters. The latest earthquake in Nepal caused variations in the current map that Boustead vows to try to correct next year.
One of the biggest problems Boustead has encountered is the dramatic changes in climate and ecosystems found in the Himalayan region. Boustead warns that a trekker will experience everything from tropical to alpine conditions; testing both mountaineering experience and determination. According to Boustead the trail ranges from 400m above sea level at its lowest point to 6200m at the highest point. Depending on the exact route selected, trekkers could experience 3000m ascents and descents on multiple days. “No matter how tough you think it’s going to be, it will be tougher! But it is a great, life changing experience – you genuinely don’t come back the same person,” said Boustead.