With their deep spirituality and dramatic scenery, the Himalayas and Karakorum are powerful destinations. From gentle treks through remote ranges to some of the most challenging mountain climbing in the world, Nepal has something for everyone. Often, the hikes surrounding the great giants of the sky are as much of a treat as scaling the peaks, meaning that maps of the region are seeing a surge in popularity.
Here is our guide to three of the most stunning hiking routes in the Himalayas and Karakorum.
1) The Annapurna Circuit
9789937806220, Around Annapurna – trekking map, £7.99
9789937810913, Annapurna base camp trek, £7.99
Annapurna is the tenth highest mountain in the world. Its chocolate-box peaks bask in a 2,946 square mile conservation zone, which presents the dramatic backdrop for the renowned Circuit Trail. 145 miles long, the Circuit kisses the Tibetan Plateau as it rises gracefully to an altitude of 5416 meters. Passing through river valleys, waterfalls, subtropical forests, and traditional Hindu villages, the Circuit has earned itself a reputation as being one of the best treks in the world.
The Annapurna Circuit is popular but is not an easy walk. The well-publicised accident in 2014 did nothing to dent the reputation of the trail, but it did reinforce the need for high-quality maps. Annapurna is terrain to be taken seriously, and today’s trekkers will be sure to pack the latest guide.
2) MOUNT K2 Climbing Map, £16.50, 9789937577960
With its stark name and deadly reputation, K2 has earned itself a formidable place in mountaineering history. Part of this is due to its otherworldly location, which is one of the most remote – and staggeringly beautiful – in the Karakoram. Simply getting to K2 is an endeavour in itself, but the unique geology of the area has made the footpath to K2 Base Camp, the Baltoro Glacier, a desirable trekking destination. A moonscape of greys and granites, the Baltoro Glacier is a natural walkway in an otherwise inaccessible realm.
As glaciers are active, their typology changes. This is particularly true in the Karakorum, which features sheer rock walls held together with ice. Fierce winds screech through the valley during the winter, meaning that the landscape can look very different from one summer trekking season to another. Regularly updated maps are an absolute must for hikers and climbers.
3) Langtang, 9789937577403, Langtang trekking map, £8.50
To experience the spirituality of the Himalayas without having to spend weeks on a hike, Langtang is one of the most underrated treks around. Located close to Kathmandu and offering striking views of the Annapurna Massif, the Langtang Trek combines short walks, a low altitude, and dazzling valley scenery. Hikers can expect lush forests, rolling meadows, and beguiling yak pastures. The traditional Langtang route passes by Kyangjin Gompa – an ancient Buddhist monastery – for a walk that exudes peace and tranquillity.
Langtang was heavily damaged in the 2015 Nepalese earthquake. Villagers were forced to temporarily relocate and, as of 2019, re-building is on-going. From a practical perspective, this has meant the need for new maps that reflect the topographical changes and alterations to rest stops. The area is vibrant, and travellers are warmly welcomed, so the popularity of the area is undimmed.
These maps are growing in popularity. Our audiences include:
- Serious hikers
- Expedition planners
- Mountaineering societies (such as the Alpine Clubs)
- Hotels and guest houses
- Map collectors and enthusiasts
These three adventures are just a taste of what the Himalaya and Karakorum ranges offer. We stock regularly updated maps and guides for the areas surrounding each of the 8000m peaks, including their base camps and summit routes. For more information please call 01727 761677.
Image source: Pixabay