Epic and mythical to all who are serious about hiking, the Himalaya could fill a lifetime of wandering and transcendence.
In our latest title, Wanderlust Himalaya, we guide you through breathtaking nature, diverse cultures, and various hikes across the whole region; collaborating with Cam Honan to bring you spectacular photography, informative maps, firsthand tips, and itineraries, offering everything you would need to plan your own adventure.
Described by Backpacker Magazine as “the most travelled hiker on Earth”, Cam has trekked across 56 countries and six continents, logging more than 60,000 miles (96,500 km) in three decades. We sat down with him to discuss his experiences in exploring this region, and creating Wanderlust Himalaya in collaboration with gestalten.
Q: What has shaped the Himalaya into becoming the legendary mountain range that it is today?
A: The Himalaya has long been renowned as a mecca for climbers, trekkers, and adventurers. Apart from being the highest range on earth, it is the source of some of Asia’s most important rivers (including the Ganges, Indus, and the Yangtze), and is sometimes referred to as the “Third Pole” due to it possessing the world’s largest quantity of glacial ice and snow after Antarctica and the Arctic.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you can give regarding trekking in the Himalaya?
A: Acclimatize gradually and listen to your body.
One of the most common mistakes hikers make when visiting high-altitude regions is ascending too rapidly. This can result in AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Though the dangers of AMS are very real, thankfully, it’s a malady that is almost entirely preventable, so long as some basic precautions are followed before and during your hike. These include:
1. Take it easy upon arrival and gradually increase your exercise workload over the initial days of your trip
2. Always stay sufficiently hydrated before and during your trek
3. Aim to sleep at a lower elevation than which you ascend during the day’s trek (aka “climb high, sleep low”)
Q: What are ten essential items you carry when undertaking a multi-week trek in the Himalaya?
A: Your gear selections will vary somewhat depending on the season. Essential items that you will need on almost any Himalayan trek include:
1. A sleeping bag rated to - 10°C
2. Water filter or purifying drops/tablets
3. Topographical maps and compass and/or a GPS app on your smartphone
4. Thermal underwear
5. UV protection sunglasses
7. Sufficient insulation layers
8. Trail running shoes or lightweight hiking boots
9. A battery pack for your electronic items
10. Enough cash to last for the duration of your trek, because most of Nepal’s teahouses don’t accept credit cards
Q: What sets the Himalaya apart from other mountain ranges you have hiked before?
A: Apart from the fact that they’re higher, distinguishing qualities of the Himalaya include its iconic teahouses, Buddhist monasteries, and rich folklore.
Q: Was there a specific moment or place during your hikes in the Himalaya that was memorable to you? And if so, why?
A: I couldn’t pinpoint one specific moment or place. That said, among the standout features of all my journeys in the region has been the friendliness of the locals. Irrespective of the country, the hospitality I’ve encountered during my Himalayan treks is something I’ll never forget.
A: It was a great experience. Everyone from the editorial manager, the photography and design teams, the mapping folks at Bureau Rabensteiner, and the illustrator Florian Bayer, played an important role in what will hopefully be another well-received addition to the Wanderlust series.
Wanderlust Himalaya explores one of the most appealing regions to hikers around the globe, and lifts you to the top of the world. The mountains are calling, check it out today.