Taking on the full traverse: Meet the trekkers

Posted on 30 Jan 2018
Meet Ricardo, Ken and Vince, three trekkers who will embark on a journey of a lifetime to conquer the Great Himalaya Trail this 2018.


It’s not long now for three trekkers to begin their expedition on the longest and highest alpine walking tracks in the world. You could say it’ll be a journey of their lifetime — one that will take over five months to complete.

The Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) winds through the remote regions of Nepal to take these adventurers through the thick and thin of the Sherpa heartlands. The continuous 152 day trek will begin from February 26 where trekkers will fly into Kathmandu and pass into the lower sections of the Kanchenjunga region. 

Below we chat to the travellers, who will be amongst the few globally, that will be ticking off this ultimate adventure from their bucket list.

Meet Ricardo

Ricardo Cordeiro (picture above) is one trekker who became inspired by mountaineering stories that he decided to turn his interest on the GHT to reality.

“After visiting Nepal a few years ago, and reading a few books describing the whole course, I felt a strong desire to live this experience,” he explains. 

“I was in a bookstore in Kathmandu a few years ago, flipping through some books, when I heard about GHT while reading a description of it written by Robin Boustead.”

Ricardo previously trekked the Everest region back in 2014, travelling from Jiri to Dingboche over two weeks, which soon sparked an aspiration to conquer the full traverse — a decision his friends and family thought was “crazy” to even consider.

But adventure trekking isn’t new to Ricardo, having previously climbed Cerro Plata, a 6000m peak in the Argentinean Andes. The trek, he says, was one of the hardest ones he’s done to date.

As for training for the expedition, Ricardo says that there is no one specific workout or routine to get him ready for such a long walk. He, however, stays focused on keeping fit and active prior to better prepare his body for the journey.

“I am trying to keep my cardiovascular system in good shape and at the same time preserve my joints and tendons free from injury by doing a variety of exercises. For example: running, cycling, swimming, climbing stairs, and strengthening muscles in a gym, [around] five to six sessions per week.”

So, which part of the journey is Ricardo most looking forward to completing?

“For me, the most exciting and demanding section will be the one from Makalu to the Everest area,” he says.“In such a walk, the essential things are to manage our physical resources, enjoying the scenery, some water and food, and a shelter to rest at night. When I go home, I hope to live a simpler life.”

Meet Ken

Looking for his next challenge to embark on, Ken Harris decided to undertake the Great Himalaya Trail.

"After completing three treks in Canada and the US in 2016 — West Coast trail, High Trails of the Canadian Rockies, and the John Muir Trail back to back — I was looking for a challenge. Fortunately, I was able to take early retirement and bingo, I'm on my way to Nepal again."

Ken will be returning to the Himalaya for a third time; his first experience was when he traversed the lower areas of Nepal and explored various routes best for him, and the second time was the Everest and Cho La Trek followed immediately by the Annapurna Circuit.

"After 18 days of trekking each trek, I fell in love with Nepal and the Nepalese people and had to return," he says.

Ken says that while his previous visits to Nepal have already changed him, he hopes completing this once-in-a-lifetime expedition it will transform him even more.

He is most looking forward to trekking in areas of the GHT which are away from the main tourist sections. "I am looking forward to the chance to meet and experience the real Nepal... [and] meeting the other guys, guides and porters," Ken adds. "All that makes each trek special. Plus, plenty of photographic opportunities along the way — might even come up with another poem!"

Ken describes his many trekking experiences as "incredible", which have left him wanting more. "I think when I do the multiple treks it is usually the last one, but a few days later you are ready to go again. I think having the right mindset and taking one day at a time helps," he says.

It would come at no surprise then that the GHT has been on Ken's bucket list for years, training for the ultimate traverse for the last eight years.

"I walk 40 to 50 kilometres a week and add the odd crazy trek or two once or twice a year."

Meet Vince

For 65-year-old Vince Gayman, simply the name ‘The Great Himalaya Trail’ gives him shivers, but the excitement and anxiety of stepping out of his comfort zone is what attracted him to this feat of a journey. 

“When I first read about the GHT I was hooked on the dream of the challenge and the imagery of the country,” he says.

Image of Vince Gayman

It isn’t Vince’s first time to the Himalaya; he travelled twice to Nepal and fell in love with the country.

“The amazing mountains; the hard working people; and the sounds of yak bells, prayer wheels, and water crashing down the canyons — even the crazy smog, traffic and city sounds of Kathmandu,” he recollects.

Vince calls the seaport city of Seattle, Washington home, and grew up with adventure sports and travel in his blood. He has previously embarked on long, challenging adventures, including cycling across the United States with his wife and mountain biking from Mexico to Canada with his son.

“There’s joy in travelling and making friends with your companions and travelling off the beaten path where local people are living their lives, and not just there to serve the tourist industry,” he adds.

Vince has been physically preparing for the trek by running regularly and adding in as much stair climbing and mountain hiking he can fit in.

“Getting prepared physically to trek at altitude and cross passes that go above 20,000 feet takes some focus,” he explains. “I’m feeling prepared, but I know the altitude and steep climbs will be tough. For me those high passes and climbing sections are the ones I most look forward to.”

He hopes that by accomplishing the GHT, he will gain new perspectives. “For me, the goal is to not be in a hurry. [I want to] take advantage of the fact it’s a long trip, and learn to enjoy the daily rhythm of moving through the mountains, and meet new people.”

Among his circle of friends who also share a passion for sports and travel, the common reaction to his trip is a little jealousy with a dose of, “How old are you?” thrown in. Clearly, age is just a number for Vince.


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