NEW – Annapurna Seven Passes route

I’ve twice been on the Annapurna Circuit. It has been degraded by road building. In fact, on the more recent trip I enjoyed mountain biking more than hiking.

Tripple P. Gurung decided to invent an alternative in the region.

The Annapurna Seven Passes … is a 20-day trek that takes a trekker through seven high passes, four of which are above 5,000 meters. In addition to the challenge of the high passes, this trek offers a mix of wilderness and culture that is missing from treks that run through villages. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

It’s actually a route, not a trail. I would need a guide.

QUICK FACTS

  • Difficulty Level
    Hard
  • Total Length
    177 Km
  • Highest Altitude
    5416 Meters
  • Start location
    Tal (1,665m)
  • Finish location
    Jomsom (2,740m)
  • Permits
    ACAP Permit,TIMS Permit,Naar-Phu Restricted Area Permit
  • Best Season
    April-November

Click through for details:

Saving the Annapurna Circuit – The Annapurna Seven Passes Trek

Morocco’s Toubkal Circuit – day 4

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | info | video

Once again the guided hiking group nearby was up and gone before I’d even woken up.

I started up into a very cool gorge section. It was dark and hazy.

This is Azib Imi n’Ouassif (2841m), a crossroads of several gorges where some people camp.

From here it’s a steep climb to the pass at Tizi n’Ouanoums.

Escapee goats live on these inhospitable cliffs. There’s not much to eat.

It was a bit of a relief to reach the second high pass of the circuit. From here it was all downhill … at least while carrying full pack.

Descending the pass was supposed to be a bit treacherous. As I crossed it wasn’t all that bad.

I could see some of the Iceland group having lunch at the bottom. By the time I got there they had begun climbing a secondary trail up the other side to the 2nd / 3rd highest peaks in north Africa. Their guide stayed back having hurt his ankle. In fact he sent the group cook as guide in his stead.

I had some lunch too. Then, with plenty of time, followed. Weather looked good.

The scramble to one Ouanoukrim summit — Ras Ouanoukrim (4083m) — in a hail storm turned out to be the highlight of the entire circuit. We had a blast.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I hustled over to another lump of a peak — Timzguida (4089m) — which we later found out to be 5m higher.

In fact my phone had it (wrongly) at 4100m.

I left a Summit Stone.

Once safely down, the others headed off briskly (as they always did) to rejoin their group. One of the men, Dorfi, had once led a 3 week horse trek across Iceland. This weather was nothing to him. He wore a wool sweater under a waterproof poncho on that trip. Never got wet.

In no rush I walked slowly downhill to Toubkal Refuge (3207m).

I’d plan to wild camp again … until I saw the massive complex. It looked intriguing.

As it was raining too I decided to camp at Refuge Mouflon and sign up for the 7pm dinner. It was pretty good.

I charged my batteries in Mouflon after dinner and watched an episode of Better Call Saul on my phone as I waited. Then headed out into the rain to my tent.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | info | video

new app – Trekking in Nepal

If interested download both the app and checkout the web page:

HoneyguideApps.com

The app offers offline support for both guided and independent trekkers.


Guest post by Ashish Shrestha:

Phuraphuti Sherpa runs the homely Namaste Lodge at Monjo, one of the many small villages that trekkers pass through on their way to Everest Base Camp.

The number of trekkers is close to fifty thousand per year, but only a handful know the fact that Phuraputi also runs a small kitchen garden and serves organic vegetables to her guests.

As she says, “I run a small lodge but I make sure every trekkers leave happily when they go. I even grow my own vegetables and serve organic food. I hope that now even small lodges like mine get equal opportunity to be noticed!

In traditional dress for the photo.

She is one of the 80 lodges in the Everest Region that has signed up for HoneyGuide, an online community that connects mountain lovers with people who depend on the mountains for their livelihood.

The inspiration behind HoneyGuide is to:

  1. Make sure that porters, guides, and lodges get paid equitably and get business transparently.
  2. Make sure that trekkers get enough options and information to run a trek the way they see fit: from going independent without any bookings to a fully guided trek.

To these ends, HoneyGuide is:

  1. A Trek Planning Tool with:
    1. Comprehensive and Up to date information on Everest Base Camp Trek
    2. Complete Checklist for planning a trek in Nepal
    3. Health and Safety Advice for Trekking in Nepal
  2. A Trek Booking Tool with:
    1. Transparent Trek Booking starting with minimum services and options to add on extra services. See Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri Trek.
    2. Capacity to Book Flights, Lodges, and Guides separately. Email addresses and Phone Numbers are also available to aid communication.
    3. Reviews and Ratings to ensure that lodges, and guides get business not based on kickbacks, but hard work and good service.
  3. A Trek Companion that:
    1. Introduces you to the Attractions, Mountains, Birds, Flowers, and Cultural Sightings of the villages you will pass through. See Namche for example.
    2. Breakdown of what you can expect on each Day of your trek. For example see Day 8 of the Everest Base Camp Trek.
    3. Provides all of the above in an offline Mobile App “Trekking in Nepal”. Here are the download links for Android and iOS devices.

(The iOS app is not free right now. Contact Dakshina with the Referral Code BestHike, and we will send you a promo code for iOS devices.)

Everest View from Kala Pathar. PC: Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon.

Author Information.

Ashish Shrestha from Kathmandu grew up surrounded by lofty peaks and early developed a love for mountains. He’s a co-founder of the project 

The HoneyGuide Team.

 

free offline maps for hiking

In South America early 2018 I quickly learned that most every tourist was using the free maps.me app every day.

I was using Google Maps offline.

Google has the best map data in the world.

Maps.me uses Open Street Map data.

Soon I was using both apps and comparing the results. Google Maps offline might be better but it’s far more complicated. You must define the exact square area you want to download. Files sizes are huge.

Maps.me does only one thing. And it does it well.

Opening the app in a new geographical area while on wifi results in one prompt asking if you want to download the maps for your current area. It’s dead easy.

Offline it uses GPS to pinpoint your location.

Surprisingly some hiking trails are included in the Open Street Map data.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

If interested, download the free Maps.me app to your mobile device. Browse the Maps.me support – Getting started.

 

National Geographic OPENEXPLORER

National Geographic OPENEXPLORER 

… is a platform that allows you to connect with others, raise money as you go, and tell your story as it unfolds. It’s a new way to share fieldwork, projects, and expeditions of all sizes …

It’s for everyone: university researchers to citizen scientists, students to professional explorers …

Each entry on Open Explorer is a geotagged timeline that documents a given expedition in text, photos and video.

There are over 460 Adventures as I post.

You can sort by POPULARITY, ACTIVITY, or MOST RECENT.

One example – New England Explorers:

… search for lost Historic location buried in the forests and waters of New England.

Currently we are focusing on the shipwreck graveyards in Narragansett Bay. Narragansett Bay has more shipwrecks per square mile than any other state.

Over 2,000 wrecks, including colonial trading ships, ships of war, and luxury passenger vessels from the 19th century, can be found in its waters. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Via Adventure Podcast #16 – U.S. National Park ‘hidden gems’

OK … I’ve downloaded Gaia GPS

Apps and maps.

Viewranger offers no coverage for Chile and Argentina. Sounds like Gaia GPS is best for those nations.

I can download Patagonian maps and use them offline on the trail.

sample Gaia map

Gaia GPS is free to try for a week. Subscription membership costs $19.99/year while a Premium Membership is $39.99/year.

I joined the lower tier plan hoping the additional maps would help in South America. For Aconcagua Park, Argentina, for example, none of the layers are much good aside from Satellite with Labels. You can see the trails clearly beside water sources, tents, etc.

I’ll try it when I get there in a week or so.

Gaia claims to be superior to AllTrails in most regards, as well. And less expensive.