“The preparation for an expedition of this magnitude takes years.” Sven DeRoch, leader of Intensity Trekker, has been planning his expedition on the Great Himalayan Trail for over a year and a half, so his words here are no exaggeration. The Great Himalayan Trail covers over 4,500 km from Bhutan to Tibet and has never been attempted in one try, but this International Adventurist plans to change that next summer. In each of his adventures, Sven is accompanied by his teammates— the Intensity Trekkers. The group earned its name by aiming to conquer mountain trails known for their difficulty. There are approximately 15 contributing members; however, only six will take this Himalayan Journey.
Between studying maps, fauna and weather patterns, Sven slides in a training session on Washington’s mountain terrain once a week to prepare for the expedition. Mt. Rainier National Park is a particular favorite, “Mt. Rainier was my first experience climbing here, I hold a special place for her.” Sven is devoting a lot of his time preparing for this adventure, as it will be his greatest to date. His most recent accomplishment with Intensity Trekker was the Hayduke Trail in Utah, which starts in Arches National Park and ends in Zion. He now will go from the desert heat to the icy mountains to put his team to the test.
The Great Himalayan Trail will lead the group to elevations on average of 5,000 km. It will expose them to a plethora of different weather conditions; bitter cold, scorching sun exposure and even drenching storms. Bhutan feels like a final frontier, where immense forests buffer and protect against potential invaders and where the mountains are both spiritual inspiration and a life sustaining resource. The team hopes to gain the most from the King’s concept of Gross National Happiness. The Nepal Himalaya is amazing; a place where you can immerse yourself in authentic cultures and be inspired by the greatest mountain scenery on the planet.
This stunning trail is well worth all of the hours in the gym, the days spent over maps planning and the time away from friends and family. These men and women have to prepare for the expected and unexpected.
“You have to come ready with a certain mental preparedness; I mean, we are attempting the highest, most remote, dangerous trail in the world. But I think the mentality is going to be based on the crew— we have to hold ourselves and each other accountable to push through.”
Sven and the Intensity Trekker crew are very excited to have the support of sponsors such as Teton Sports, Smile Share the Vibe, Jetboil and more before the trip takes off next July. Mountain House will even be supplying the team with the food capable of sustaining the entire trip. With backings such as these, it’s no wonder that Sven has accepted the challenge to become the first to complete this trip. Having the support of so many great sponsors as well as having financial backing will allow Sven and Intensity Trekker to document the whole trip in HD, capturing on film not only the gorgeous scenery, but also the transformation of each member of the expedition and the lives of the locals in some of the most remote communities in the world.
What does Sven have that most don’t? An unstoppable determination that comes from his Detroit roots and backing from the collective will of those closest to him. That’s why I hope that the Great Himalayan Trail will welcome Sven and his crew and allow them to do what no one has done. Yet.
This piece comes to you from James Kennedy of the Intensity Trekker Team