The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Adventure - GUARDIAN NEWS & ME­DIA LTD 2013

alayan re­gion is also in­cred­i­bly di­verse cul­tur­ally. For those who want to com­bine great walk­ing with gain­ing an in­sight into how peo­ple live in such ex­tra­or­di­nary ter­rain, there is a wide range of hol­i­days of­fer­ing treks com­bined with other ac­tiv­i­ties.

Wild Fron­tiers, known for its stylish ap­proach to ad­ven­ture travel, is one of the few com­pa­nies that will take you trekking in Kash­mir, a won­der­ful place to walk in the sum­mer, and then pam­per you on a house­boat on Dal Lake. It also runs an amaz­ing 17-day trip to the Hindu Kush that mixes a visit to the Kalash area with trekking on the Pak­istan-Afghan bor­der, along the Wakhan Cor­ri­dor.

At the other end of the Hi­malayas, far to the east, Moun­tain King­doms of­fers a 20- day trek in north­ern Myan­mar through pris­tine jun­gle and along rocky out­crops to reach the snow-capped Mount Phongun Razi. Trekking here com­bines the jun­gle ap­peal of parts of South­east Asia with the high drama of the Hi­malayas and the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore Yan­gon and the tem­ples of Ba­gan.

And if you’re look­ing for some­thing a bit less stren­u­ous, there is an al­ter­na­tive itin­er­ary that passes through the foothills. Al­though tourism in the Hi­malayas is chang­ing fast, it’s still pos­si­ble to do a big trek in the wildest land­scape on earth. Th­ese re­ally are for the hardier trekker, with weeks of camp­ing, and re­quire a tol­er­ance for se­ri­ous walk­ing and high al­ti­tude.

In Pak­istan’s spec­tac­u­lar Karako­ram moun­tain range, there are fewer vil­lages in the high moun­tains, and treks feel re­mote and ex­ploratory.

The jewel in the crown is the trek to K2’s base camp, tak­ing you past some of the most beau­ti­ful peaks you’ve prob­a­bly never heard of, such as the Trango Tow­ers and Masher­brum, be­fore reach­ing Con­cor­dia, the con­flu­ence of two mighty glaciers with spec­tac­u­lar views of K2. It takes about 15 days, walk­ing 13km a day, to reach the base camp and leave via the Gon­do­goro La, a pass at more than 5400m, into the very beau­ti­ful Hushe Val­ley. Pre­vi­ous trekking ex­pe­ri­ence is es­sen­tial. KE Ad­ven­ture of­fers a 22-day itin­er­ary.

Al­though the An­na­purna mas­sif is as beau­ti­ful as ever, the con­struc­tion of a road up the Kali Gan­daki, the world’s deep­est gorge, to link Pokhara with the Ti­betan bor­der, has abruptly ter­mi­nated in­ter­est in trekking the well-es­tab­lished An­na­purna cir­cuit. No one wants to trek be­side a road. A new road is also be­ing built on the eastern side of the mas­sif, to­wards the vil­lage of Man­ang.

Luck­ily for Nepal’s trekking in­dus­try, the long and ar­du­ous trek around Manaslu, higher than An­na­purna and just to its east, is plug­ging this self­in­flicted wound.

Moun­tain King­doms of­fers a slightly dif­fer­ent route in the early part of this in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar trek that makes each of the 18 days it takes to loop around the Manaslu cir­cuit’s re­mote north side as cul­tur­ally fas­ci­nat­ing as it is spec­tac­u­lar. The trip is the per­fect in­tro­duc­tion to the wilder side of Hi­malayan trekking.

If those two aren’t enough for you, then con­sider the Great Hi­malayan Trail, which tra­verses the length of Nepal’s high moun­tains, bro­ken down into 10 sec­tions, each of which takes two to three weeks. The Moun­tain Com­pany is of­fer­ing the first sec­tion, be­tween the third-high­est moun­tain in the world, Kanchen­junga, and Makalu, this Oc­to­ber. kead­ven­ture.com wild­fron­tiers.com moun­taink­ing­doms.com

Shakti 360 Leti in In­dia’s Ku­maon moun­tains

m left, est; ns near age nd up of kers

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