Planning the Kathmandu Valley Rim Trail (KVRT) Challenge: Attempt v1

Update: I did this! Please see this post.

The mountains and ridges circling Kathmandu are amazing and too often under appreciated. I spend a lot of time looking at them while trapped within the city and when I hit the trails I am always amazing at how close they actually are and how much peace and beauty can be had. I know people have mountain biked around it fast, and I know others have trekked around it as a multi-day camping trip, but I don’t think anyone has tried to do it in a relatively continuous push. Over the last two months I have explored a possible route which measures in at:

  • Total distance:  172k (107.5 miles)
  • Total elevation gain: 12,608m (41,354 feet)
  • Total elevation change: 25,216m  (82,708 feet)

I have no illusions of speed on this, the elevation gain is huge and navigation at night by myself slow at best. There are wild boar, monkeys, leopards, you name it amidst 12 hours of darkness. But I know it will be an adventure and I know many are interested in seeing something like this develop into a sub 24hr challenge, so I hope my effort establishes some feasibility in a route for others to attempt or improve on – improvement to me is to find more trail instead of road and to achieve more height of land if possible – they often go hand in hand. The caveat being without increasing the distance. There are a lot of beautiful trails and plenty of room for adventure. Wild boar markings worry me as do leopards in Shiva Puri National Park and the military who sometimes are over zeoulous in their duties. This is a big reason I am starting in the west and crossing the park in the day time. I am less sure about how I will cross Nagarjan which is also national park – if it is in the nighttime (which means I am going beyond 36 hours) then I will likely skirt the backside, but my goal will be to reach Jamicho if possible.

Kathmandu Valley Mountains

Descending a ridge line off Pulchowki – South Rim

 

I plan on starting on Thursday at 6am (Wednesday 4:445pm PST)  on the western side in Mudkhu and travelling clockwise, finishing hopefully in the same place 36-48 hours later. Dorjee Sherpa has volunteered to pick me up on his scooter and whisk me home at the end.

There is no official KRT that I know of  –  so I’ve gone ahead and unilaterally plotted my own and will continue to document this route for others to either run or hike. Much of my original route was originally laid out by Stephen Keeling who has mountain biked around KTM and then some – thank you Stephen for sharing your tracks and knowledge with me and getting me started. I have scouted 80% of  these tracks and created some of my own, as well as merged in tracks from non bikable trails from Richard Bull, Trail Running Nepal, Sudeep Kandel, and Posan Samba. Thanks also to Naomi P. and Michelle Landry for going out and exploring trails with me. Tracking is provided by Satellite Rental Nepal. I think there is also plenty of room for improving on this route and welcome feedback. After the run I will post better descriptions of each section as well as info on how to access trail heads.

Looking forward to this – no matter how it plays out,

-Seth

p.s. I do these things partly out of stupidity but also to help my favorite charity (Wide Open Vistas) in Nepal – if you are at least partially entertained or want to help motivate me – please consider a tax-free donation. or becoming part of #TeamWOV

Nitty Gritty

Guesses

  • Total distance:  172k (107.5 miles)
  • Total elevation gain: 12,608m (41,354 feet)
  • Total elevation change: 25,216m  (82,708 feet)
  • Goal: 36 hours. This would be 4.7km per hour which is a feasible average speed when you factor in stops and elevation gain. I will try not to sleep for longer than 20 minutes every 6 hours or so. We will see. If I stretch this out to 48 hours we are looking at  3.6k per hour overall. Slow! That said – I have never run a 100 miles significantly faster than 30 hours and this has double the elevation gain of any similar distance I have done. Gulp. So 48 hours is not that unrealistic.
  • Start: Thursday, November 26th  at 6am (Wednesday 4:45pm PST)  in Midkhu
  • Finish: Friday, November 27th at 6pm if 36 hours. Dorjee Sherpa ha volunteered to pick me up on his scooter and whisk me home at the end.

 

The wheels on the bus go round and round

 

 

 

Gear: Ultraspire Fastpack, some cheap plastic water bottles, BD carbon fibre poles, Petzl Nao headlamp, Fenix handheld light, SOL space blanket, Feathered Friends puffy top, montbell puffy pants, OR Helium Shell, MH windshell, Buff, two phones with back country navigator pro, two battery packs, Delorme 2-way communicator, Cascadia shoes, some bars and water tablets.  Hopefully 5kg or less.

Joining up: Please join me – especially if it is a night section! The best way is to message me first with the Delorme https://share.delorme.com/SethWolpin since that is always on. I will probably call you, or message you back from  891 807 6544 or my second phone 981-874-2240 or my last-resort NTC number: 986-007-9775 . Please see splits further below the’My Location Page‘. Nagarkot, Sanga,  Hattiban, Nagdhunga  are natural meeting spots. Bring a space blanket for yourself, a good headlamp and trekking poles if joining at night in case of dogs, wild boars, or leopards. Please do not bring any food for me.

Style: Semi-self supported: I will be buying food from shops when I encounter them. I will otherwise carry my own weight and not rely on anyone to mule for me, but I welcome company.

Tracking: Use ‘My Location Tab’ or to the larger map view on  https://share.delorme.com/SethWolpin

Messages of support- welcome via the ‘message’ tab on https://share.delorme.com/SethWolpin – it is very easy, just enter your email and a phone number.

Link to GPS files: Individual GPS tracks, including waypoints, can be downloaded here. These files have been optimized for loading onto a gps device/app by reducing and removing excess data points. If you would like the original gps files feel free to contact me. You can also explore the route using the embedded map tool or via wikiloc  which is a web service for sharing GPS files.

 


Segment 1: Mudkhu  to Julhe.

I ran this to Shiva Puri four days ago – huge views of Langtang. I am excited.

Currently planning on leaving at 6am, arriving 5pm (11 hours)

Measures:  46k, 3332m

Fast: 11 hrs (arriving 5pm Thursday)
Slow: 13 hrs (arriving 7pm)

Segment 2: Julhe to Sanga

I will be running this at night and it is the only section I haven’t done. But it also looks well populated and pretty easy navigation.

It is roughly 15k to Nagargot – so 8-9pm is a good guess.

Measures:  28k-1810m

Fast: 5 hours (arriving 10pm Thursday)
Slow: 7 hrs (3am Friday)

 

Segment 3: Sanga to Persey Ridge

This is up and over Pulchowki in the middle of the night.

Measures: 24k,  2050m

Fast: 5 hrs (arriving 3am Friday)

Slow: 8 hrs (arriving 11am Friday)

 

Segment 4: Persey Ridge to Hattiban

Measures 22k  1718m

Fast: 4 hrs (arriving 7am Friday)
Slow: 5 hrs (arriving 4pm Friday)

 

Segment 5: Hattiban to Bhimdunga

Measures: 28k-2698m

Fast: 6hrs (arriving 1pm Friday)
Slow: 8 hrs (arriving 12am Sat)

 

Segment 6: Bimdunga Chia to Mudkhu

Measures: 23k, 1000m gain (guess)

Fast: 5hrs (arriving 6pm Friday)
Slow: 7 hr (7am Sat)

 

Total distance: 47 + 28 + 24 + 22 + 28 + 23= 172k

Total elevation gain: 12,608m = 41,354.24

Total hours: 36-49

7 Responses to “Planning the Kathmandu Valley Rim Trail (KVRT) Challenge: Attempt v1

  • Great stuff! Unfortunately, I am coming to KTM end of Dec only. I would be most interested in the Chisopani to Nagarkot section as we will do this as a wee trail with the kids. Looking forward to your trail report.

    • Hi Elias – sorry I’ll miss you in December – I am looking forward to that section too. I’ll do my best to pull together a good trip report. Have a great journey too Nepal!

  • Good luck Seth! Your middle name should be Adventure. We’ll be thinking of you on Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks Scotty – I always think of you and Rich out here on the trails. See you and Deborah in Jan!

  • Good luck. Sounds interesting. Hope yo0u post results soon.

    Love Georgie and John

  • Good luck Seth and have fun! Been a dream for me to do this for a long time, but I lack the mindset to beat the sleep dragons. Nasty beasts…

    • Thanks Roger – I owe you a couple emails and thanks for the tracks on everytrail and email advice. Hope to run with you someday!

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