Hiking the Indian Himalaya Independently

It’s easy to hike Nepal independently.

Not so India.

I did Markha Valley independently.  But for Kuari Pass I finally signed on with a guided trek.

The hiking infrastructure in India is not well developed.  Getting to and from trailheads often a headache.  Next time I go to India I’ll likely sign on for trips guided by IndiaHikes.

One bit of good news.

Peter Van Geit has been creating detailed hiking maps of the Indian Himalaya.

So far, he has pulled together over 1,000 trails across Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

It shows 600 passes, 700 high-altitude lakes and more than 10,000 reference points. …

It allows hikers to see elevation profiles and download GPS logs onto their phones rather than having to carry multiple, less detailed paper maps.

“The map has more trails than anyone could ever cover in a lifetime,” he says.

“It took me months to plan a long traverse across the Himalaya. With this new digital map, you have all the information in a single place.” …

Everything is open sourced, so can be accessed with any Open Street Maps viewer or mobile app (for free). Other hikers can add information to it and help the resource grow. …

ExplorersWeb

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD battery

Though I’m now bikepacking with solar, to be SURE I’ve got enough juice to get my devices through a weekend hike I’ve also purchased the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W.

This is the largest portable battery currently allowed for airline carry-on baggage.

26800mAh of power charges most phones over 7 times, tablets at least 2 times or notebooks at least once.

There are two parts: battery and USB-C wall charger.

Charging devices from a wall socket (including the battery) is claimed to be up to 3x faster.

On longer cycling trips when I’m carrying a laptop, this unit IS powerful enough to recharge a MacBook Pro. That will help me keep up-to-date with photos, video and trip reports.

GUEST POSTS on BestHike.com

By site editor Rick McCharles

Every week I decline requests for sponsored posts. Those are mostly advertisements that look like a regular post.

But we do post guest articles.

So, if you’d like to summit something to this site, here are our guidelines for submissions:

What Content Do We Want?

  • Information of interest to independent hikers.
  • Things that are NEW. DIFFERENT. ORIGINAL.
  • Insider information not available elsewhere.
  • Hikes in parts of the world not well covered on the internet now: Africa, China, Russia, etc.
  • Technology / Apps being used by hikers

The more succinct, the better. But include visuals: graphics, photos, videos.

Send an email to RickMcCharles (a) gmail.

Include the following:

Your hiking history. Any links you’d like included.

If your post is simply to sell some hiking gear, it’s not likely it will be posted on this site.

There’s no payment or remuneration of any kind. This site now runs ad free.

Getúlio Felipe climbs Marmolada

Getúlio Felipe is a 14-year old kid born with cerebral palsy. That didn’t stop him climbing the highest mountain in the Italian Dolomites 3,343 m (10,968 ft).

… At the age of four, he was advised to start using a wheelchair, which he refused. He told the world he was going to learn to walk.
Age 5, nothing. Age 6, nothing.

Age 7, Getulio took his first steps. This in itself was an achievement no one saw possible, but in his own words, “the impossible does not exist”.

His sheer determination has inspired people around the world, giving people hope when they had lost it. …

… climbing Marmolada involves crossing a glacier with huge crevasses and then a steep climb requiring ropes, crampons, and ice axes. Just to add to the difficulty, there was a deep snowpack …

The day a boy became a man and inspired the world

Accompanying Getúlio on this journey were Pedro McCardell, creator of Lyfx, an app that conects travelers to local guides, Alessio Nardellotto, an experienced climber from the Dolomites, Alberto Benchimol and Stefano Fabris, who worked as a separate support team for safety and image capture.

Palm Springs to Paradise Cafe – day 5

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Tent sites don’t get much better than this.

Another gorgeous night. No fly. And my broken tent held up for the night on the ridge.

It was windy.

My gear got sooty from the 2013 forest fire burn.

It’s a stark and beautiful landscape.

I LOVE this section of the trail. Every step gorgeous.

Inspired, I left a Summit Stone for a PCT hiker to discover.

I was in a philosophical mood. In camp I was listening to an audio book about a man who lived alone for a year in Patagonia exploring the effects of deep solitude.

Here I left the State Park and entered San Jacinto Wilderness.

A father and son recommended a campsite where they had stayed the previous night. I found it using two popular PCT apps.

That’s Guthook. A paid app that most PCT hikers use.

I also used the free (no longer updated) Halfmile PCT app.

Though hidden from the trail, GPS found the place oft used by rock climbers. I was pleased to find a camp chair and large tarp for keeping my gear clean.

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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