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Kit's guide to the Himalaya and Karakoram

Nepal, India, Bhutan, Pakistan: welcome to the greatest show on Earth. Our guide to the world's most stunning mountain ranges, written by our expert, ... Read more
Kit's guide to the Himalaya and Karakoram

Nepal, India, Bhutan, Pakistan: welcome to the greatest show on Earth. Our guide to the world's most stunning mountain ranges, written by our expert, and longest-serving Product Manager, Kit Wilkinson.

A 2000-kilometre west to east journey through the great ranges of the Karakoram and Himalaya. Starting out in northern Pakistan and extending in a great arc through northern India, Nepal and Bhutan, the Karakoram and Himalaya between them include the great majority of the world’s biggest peaks and notably all 14 of those that are higher than 8000 metres.



The Karakoram Mountains

Accessed through the town of Skardu in the northern Pakistani region of Baltistan, the Karakoram is the least well-known (although in my opinion the most spectacular) group of big mountains on Earth. With nearly 40 years’ experience of running trekking holidays in this part of the world, KE Adventure Travel is the unquestioned leader here and we remain passionate about our classic Karakoram itineraries. Trekking up to the head of the Baltoro Glacier and the glacial junction at Concordia, which photographer Galen Rowell famously referred to as ‘the Throne-Room of the Mountain Gods’, is to find yourself within a ring of breath-taking summits which culminates in the awe-inspiring south face of K2 (8611m), second only to Everest on the list of the planet’s highest peaks. Trekking in the Karakoram has changed little since the first KE trip in 1984 and that’s what we like about it. If you are looking for a real adventure travel experience and you are ready to have your mind expanded by the sheer scale of the landscape, we can wholeheartedly recommend one of these treks.

K2 and Concordia. This was the first ever KE trip and remains little-changed, offering 3 weeks of mountain magic well within the capabilities of any keen hill-walker.

K2, Concordia and the Gondogoro La. For those with high-level trekking experience, this challenging trek exits Concordia across the glaciated Gondogoro La (5585m).

Hunza, Shimshal and the Rush Lake Trek. This exciting new trip offers an easier-level trekking and camping experience for those who want to discover the fabuously scenic Hunza Valley on foot without a sustained expedition-style trek.






Heading south-east from Baltistan, it’s little more than 100 kilometres as the crow flies to the town of Leh in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. This high and dry region is known as Ladakh (the Land of Passes) and it’s one of the best places for summer trekking in the big mountains. Flying in to 3500 metres at Leh and spending several days acclimatising before your trek, you’ll have time to check out one or two of the atmospheric Buddhist monasteries such as Alchi, Thikse and Hemis which occupy prominent sites above the Indus River. The people of Ladakh are of Tibetan origin – it’s often referred to as ‘Little Tibet’ - and the Buddhist religion is evident in the colourful prayer flags that adorn the passes of the region’s trekking routes. Trekking here is typically through remote and starkly beautiful valleys, via white-painted villages, each with its irrigated, emerald-green fields, set against snow-capped 6000 metre peaks.

The Markha Valley Trek. A two-week holiday with a logical 8-day trekking circuit via Markha Village and the Kongmaru La (5290m). The very best of Ladakh.

Kang Yatse 2 and the Lhato Valley. Suitable for someone seeking their first Himalayan summit, this is a super 9-day trek culminating in the ascent of the Kang Yatse 2 (6250m) - a new addition to our programme, get there before everyone else.

Peaks and Passes of the Nubra Valley. The remote valley of Nubra is only now coming to the attention of the world’s adventure travellers and this off-the-beaten track holiday offers you the chance to make two non-technical ascents of Samgyal Peak (5814m) and Dawa Peak (5900m).




Garhwal and Kumaon

The biggest peak located entirely within India is Nanda Devi (7816m) in the state of Uttarakhand close to the border with Nepal. The state is divided into 2 regions, Garhwal and Kumaon, each crowned by snow peaks and cut by steep-sided valleys and high ridges perfect for trekking. Two great rivers, the Ganges and Yamuna, sacred to the Hindu religion, flow through this part of India and innumerable shrines and sites of pilgrimage add to the cultural interest. We have 2 well-established, Moderate grade trekking holidays within sight of Nanda Devi and each of them promises an excellent walking holiday for either an experienced trekker keen to explore a relatively untouched corner of the Himalaya or for someone looking for an introduction to Himalayan trekking.

In the Shadow of Nanda Devi. Crossing from Garhwal into Kumaon and with a mix of unspoiled villages and far-reaching views including Nanda Devi and the Panch Chuli group.

Curzon’s Trail and the Kuari Pass. After a 9-day trek and some of India’s finest mountain views, experience the madness of the Hindu pilgrimage sites of Rishikesh and Haridwar.






Something about this relatively small, landlocked Himalayan country; the towering peaks, the lowland forest, the network of trekking trails linking high valleys, the welcoming Nepalese people, has struck a chord with the world’s adventure travellers over the last 50 years. Nepal is the No.1 trekking destination on Earth and KE has 30 different holidays here, including classic lodge-based treks in the Annapurna and Everest areas, camping-based treks in many remote regions of the country, several 6000 metre peak climbs and even an increasingly popular trip that includes the chance to take part in the annual Everest Marathon. There’s something for every adventurer in Nepal and our long association with the best local agents and most passionate Sherpa guides means that whichever trip you choose you can expect a first-rate level of service. It's important to remember that KE trips include all your meals while out on the trek so you're always fueled up without worrying about having to pay for food during the day - we think this contributes to our near 100% success rate on our Nepal treks.

Annapurna Sanctuary and Poon Hill Trek. From lowland farms to 8000-metre peaks, everything that’s great about Nepal condensed into a 2-week holiday.

Kangchenjunga Trek. Refined for 2019, now a little shorter, but still one of the ‘Best Walks in the World’. Trek to the south and north basecamps of this Himalayan giant.

Mera Peak. Trekking in from Phaplu is the best way to do Mera and the summit panorama of 5 of the world’s 8000 metres peaks will take your breath away.

Everest Basecamp Trek. Justifiably one of the most famous treks in the world, this classic Nepal trekking holiday completes the legendary 'Everest Trail'. We offer several variations to Everest Basecamp so it's worth giving us a ring if you want to make sure you're on the exactly the right trip for you.

Ganesh Himal Panorama Trek. An accessible yet rarely visited part of the Himalaya, this is an easier-level classic supported camping and trekking trip on Nepal's Great Himalaya Trail.






Sandwiched between Nepal and Bhutan, this former independent Buddhist kingdom, now an Indian state, extends just 50 kilometres from west to east. Much of the territory of Sikkim has traditionally been off-limits to foreign visitors, but for many years we have been able to run an excellent trek which starts out on the northern end of the Singalila Ridge and traverses a veritable mountain wilderness to reach the valley of the Prek Chu below the soaring South-East Face of Kangchenjunga (8586m).

Sikkim Beneath Kangchenjunga Trek. Trek to a viewpoint above Samity Lake for mighty Kangchenjunga, the jewel in Sikkim’s crown and the world’s third highest peak.






The eastern end of the great chain of the Himalaya forms Bhutan’s northern border with Tibet and includes peaks such as Chomolhari (7326m) and Gangkar Puensum (7570m) which may well be the world’s highest unclimbed summit. With its focus on environmental protection and ‘gross national happiness’, Bhutan is a special place and somewhere which is now on the radar of increasing numbers of trekkers. Along with our classic trekking itineraries here, KE has recently been pro-active in developing new adventure holidays in Bhutan, each of them offering up a full measure of the country’s special cultural aspects. If it’s trekking you’re looking for, there are some beauties -from 5 days to 25 days.

The Druk Path Trek. Short and sweet, 5 days of trekking, with 2 of the departures coinciding with the outrageous Buddhist masked dance festivals at Paro and Thimpu.

The Snowman Trek. The ultimate, high-level traverse, 25 days of trekking, through the Bhutan Himalaya, from Shana and Laya to rarely-visited Lunana.
The Laya Trek. One of the world's greatest treks, through the Bhutanese Himalaya to the remote village of Laya, only accessible by foot.



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