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The Toughest Treks in the World

  Some people would say it is all down to machismo, that those who want to tackle the world's toughest treks, are just another set of peak bagge... Read more
The Toughest Treks in the World


Some people would say it is all down to machismo, that those who want to tackle the world's toughest treks, are just another set of peak baggers. Now, we actually love a bit of peak bagging, but we also know from our own experience that the journey on any trek can surpass reaching the end goal. That's not to say there's not a huge amount of personal satisfaction that comes with knowing that you've tested the highest stretches of fitness and endurance and passed. But the journey, which will take you to the remotest, highest places in the world, with a small team all striving for each day's success, that's what you'll remember. And in fairness, the beer together celebrating your survival. Here's KE's most challenging trekking trips which frequently appear on global compilation lists as the toughest hikes on the planet.



Snowman Trek - Bhutan - Grade 11

Quite possibly the greatest trail on Earth, Bhutan's incredible Snowman Trek follows the spine of the Himalaya between Bhutan and Tibet, from Paro in the west to Trongsa in the east. During the course of this unsurpassable 25 day trek, we will cross 11 passes in excess of 4,500 metres, including 5 over 5,000 metres, and visit the almost separate mountain kingdom of Lunana, one of the remotest inhabited valleys on the planet Earth. 

What makes it: As modern life advances, few and fewer places remain inaccessible by vehicle. Enjoy not only one of the worlds toughest, but remotest and spectacular hikes.



Trek along the Great Himalaya Trail - Nepal - Grade 11

The Great Himalaya Trail is without doubt the toughest single trail in the world. But few can spare the months required to trek the thousands of miles of trail. Instead, we've picked the best section to immerse you into this incredible trail. Accessed by way of the airstrip at Juphal, the few fortunate travellers who visit Dolpo each season confirm that it’s home to some of the best trekking in the Himalayas. A network of scant trails penetrates this far-flung region and links together its steep-sided valleys, villages and age-old Buddhist monasteries.

What makes it: The lack of any other human contact, only with incredibly friendly locals, gives a feeling of sheer remoteness matched with few other trails.



Kang Yatse 2 and the Lhato Valley - India - Grade 8


Kang Yatse is the 6,000m summit to climb. Offering another view to the Himalaya, India’s mountains have a character of their own, something you’ll come to see as you head toward this excellent first 6,000m mountain. If you like the sound of remote, this is the journey for you, trekking through the almost unknown Lhato Valley to acclimatise in the week before the summit. With a technically straightforward ascent, this two-week holiday is the perfect combination for those wanting to hone their mountaineering skills whilst enjoying cultural immersion and true wilderness trekking.

What makes it: So far, this trekking peak is much lesser visited than a lot of its Himalayan cousins. Get there before the crowds do.



The Complete GR20 - Corsica - Grade 10

You wouldn’t think that Europe’s toughest trek lies in the Mediterranean, but here it is: the GR20, a spiny traverse of rugged Corsica. Over 2 weeks you’ll trek 180km of mountainous terrain, 12,000m of ascent and descent and encounter series of scrambling manoeuvres to top it all off. Dramatic coastline, mountain villages and a landscape which only can be seen by those prepared to take this challenge head on make it all worth it.

What makes it: The sense of achievement you’ll feel at the finish. Completing the GR20 is no mean feat – relish knowing you’ve conquered it. 



The Tour du Mont Blanc – France, Italy, Switzerland - Grade 9

The Tour du Mont Blanc is already iconic, but this adventure elevates the classic – literally – by taking high level routes where possible to complete the circuit around Mont Blanc. The benefits of this are numerous: quieter trails, spectacular views and the joy of hut-to-hut trekking. More than worth the extra challenge, this is the best way to experience the French, Italian and Swiss alps in one.

What makes it: Staying in some of the Alps most spectacularly situated mountain huts. Perched next to a glacier, with alpine peaks sprawling before you and a beer in hand – that’s the way to finish a day of hard trekking.



 K2 and Concordia - Pakistan - Grade 8

Moving along the Himalayan chain, Pakistan’s Karakoram present a wild personality of their own. Anyone who’s been will tell you: these mountains are like no others on earth. Kicking off the adventure in Baltistan, where you can be assured of a warm welcome from our partner (the same one we’ve been connected with for over 35 years), you’ll then head into the heart of the Karakoram and from there begin trekking, aiming to reach the foot of the second highest mountain on earth, K2. As your route takes you over the Baltoro Glacier and up and past the granite faces of the Trango Towers, you’ll start to realise why the Karakoram has captured the hearts and minds of so many of the world’s greatest adventurers. Has to be seen to be believed.

What makes it: Nowhere else on earth can you stand so close to so many of the world’s highest peaks; as well as K2, you’ll be gazing up at Broad Peak (8047m) and Gasherbrum (8080m).



The Ultimate Fann Mountains Trek – Tajikistan - Grade 7 


Central Asia is one of the last great frontiers of adventure travel, and this trek helps you step into it. The beautiful Pamirs are home to the little-visited Fann Mountains, a stunning range home to snow-capped 5,000m peaks, rocky valleys and an abundance of aqua-marine lakes. 15 days here offers a comprehensive tour, featuring high viewpoints, dramatic passes and memorable encounters with Tajik shepherds.

What makes it: The campsites are situated next to pristine lakes and babbling, crystal clear brooks. Take a dip, or simply relax and enjoy the view. It’ll feel like a slice of mountain paradise.



Choquequirao to Machu Picchu - Peru - Grade 8

Anyone who loves the mountains needs to explore the Andes and see Machu Picchu at least once in their lifetime. This is the way to do it a little differently. Trek a longer, more challenging route than the Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu, with the added reward of seeing the incredible lost fortress of Choquequirao too. Your journey will include trekking along canyons, exploring the rugged Cordillera Vilcabamba, and standing in awe of snowy 6,000m peaks, including Salkantay. One epic route with two jaw-dropping Inca sites to explore.

What makes it: The fortress itself. More remote and challenging to access than Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is far less visited and still offers you the chance to explore Inca ruins in relative solitude.



Everest Base Camp - Nepal - Grade 9

A complete high-level circuit of the Khumbu that crosses 3 major passes that link the valleys of Thame, Gokyo, Khumbu and Imja Khola. From Namche Bazaar, we follow the course of the Bhote Khosi towards Tibet, before turning eastwards to cross the spectacular Renjo La (5340m). We then spend 2 nights in the Gokyo Valley with a free day to trek up-valley to the 'Fifth Lake' and the option to hike to the top of Gokyo Ri. Crossing the Ngozumpa Glacier, we then hike up and over the Cho La (5420m) to reach Everest Basecamp and the dramatic viewpoint summit of Kala Patar (5550m).

What makes it the best: Reaching Everest base camp and knowing you’ve gone the extra mile(s) to get there, with less people on the trail.



Traverse of the Cordillera Real - Bolivia - Grade 8

Experience the Andes at their snowy best in Bolivia’s Cordillera Real. This traverse is a high-altitude challenge but more than worth it. Our itinerary will get you acclimatised with a few days at Lake Titicaca, before heading into the depths of the mountains. Over two weeks the traverse will keep you on high trails, crossing several passes which reach the height of over 5000m. Expect alpine valleys, Quechua villages and idyllic lakes – along with of course, a few fluffy friends in the shape of ubiquitous llamas.

What makes it: This adventure excels in its sheer variety. From the surreal experience of acclimatising on the shores of Lake Titicaca to encountering local communities in stunning mountain scenery, there are plenty of things which make this traverse unique.



Tour de Monte Rosa - Switzerland - Grade 8

One of the finest long-distance trekking opportunities in Alpine Europe and for some reason, no-one knows about it. This tour circuits the massif of Monte Rosa, dipping into Italy along the way. This is alpine trekking at its finest, with stunning views of famous peaks such as Weisshorn and Matterhorn, and plenty of variety, walking over airy passes and even glaciers. Trekking hut-to-hut with a bit more in your backpack than usual adds an extra challenge, but this simply creates an even better sense of mountain immersion.

What makes it: the quiet trails. This route is tougher than the Tour du Mont Blanc and less well-known, making it the perfect tour for those who fancy an Alpine adventure but want to get away from the busier areas. 


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